Saturday, December 31, 2005

Top 25 Albums of 2005: 25-11

I ran 8 miles today in 1:21 with a little bit of rain, so that's good, but even better was the year in music. It was a damn good year. So, in honor of all the great stuff I heard this year, here are my favorite albums of 2005, starting with albums 25 thru 11. The top 10 will be posted in the next couple of days. Happy New Year!

25. M. Ward: Transistor Radio
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I can’t pin down what I appreciate about this album. It’s a work that eschews most of what I look for in music—hooks, big sounds, overstuffed arrangements—yet I love this album. It evokes the sound of old-time country music heard through an AM radio, even replicating the muffled sound, and in doing so it shines a light on the craft of songwriting. I love Ward’s vocals and would love to hear him let loose.

Hear Ye: “One Life Away,” “Sweethearts on Parade,” “Big Boat,” “Deep Dark Well,” “I’ll Be Yr Bird”

24. M.I.A.: Arular
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People love the M.I.A., but I guess I don’t like her as much as others. “Arular” is inventive and dance-happy and possessed of a refreshing global consciousness that one doesn’t usually find in hip-hop. I probably undervalued her here, but it just seems like in figuring out which albums to listen to, I always opted for something else. When I do listen to “Arular,” I do find myself mostly impressed, especially by the five songs below.

Hear Ye: “Pull Up the People,” “Sunshowers,” “Amazon,” “Hombre,” “Galang”

23. Nada Surf: The Weight Is A Gift
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I have to confess that I’m oblivious to Nada Surf’s post-Popular career. I read that they were still around and making damn good records. Apart from a cover of “If You Leave” from an episode of “The OC” last year, I had not listened to them at all. I found this in the discount bin and liked it as a light, enjoyable pop album. I guess I should check out “Let Go.”

Hear Ye: “Concrete Bed,” “Always Love,” “Your Legs Grow,” “All Is A Game,” “Imaginary Friends”

22. Rogue Wave: Descended Like Vultures
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Zach Rogue is a talented songwriter. He looks like Bam Magera, so seeing him sing in that soft, geeky voice was a bit disorienting. “Descended Like Vultures” is the sunny side of pop, and at times it suffers for being too sunny to the point of drowsiness. Performed live, however, Rogue and his crew reveal the energy and vitality of these songs. A live version of this album would kick the studio version’s ass any day.

Hear Ye: “Publish My Love,” “Salesman at the Day of the Parade,” “10:1,” “Are You On My Side,” “You”

21. LCD Soundsystem: LCD Soundsystem
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I’d categorize this as electronica, but the fact that I actually like it implies that it’s more than that. It’s clever and incorporates rock and roll attitude, but you can also dance to it. What it has is plenty of personality.

Hear Ye: “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House,” “Never As Tired As When I’m Waking Up,” “Great Release,” “Losing My Edge,” “Yeah”

20. The White Stripes: Get Behind Me Satan
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This album just didn’t excite me as much as I thought it should. There’s not a bad song in here, but apart from “My Doorbell” and “I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet),” there are few songs in here I feel drawn to listen to over and over again.

Hear Ye: “Blue Orchid,” “My Doorbell,” “Little Ghost,” “As Ugly As I Seem,” “I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet)”

19. Okkervil River: Black Sheep Boy/ Appendix
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The album and the EP would probably warrant a higher ranking if I listened to them more. These songs are amazing, but I can’t get myself to listen to them because they are too dark for everyday listening. It’s probably not a fair assessment of the album, especially one with such a gut-wrenching song like “So Come Back, I Am Waiting.”

Hear Ye: “Black,” “A King and Queen,” “A Stone,” “So Come Back, I Am Waiting,” “Another Radio Song”

18. Brendan Benson: Alternative to Love
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This album broke my heart. I looked forward to it after falling in love with Lapalco, and after listening to the first four songs I thought this was undoubtedly the album of the year. Four songs. All of them great pop songs. Surely Benson won’t drop the ball. Sadly, he does. The rest of the album is OK, but disappointing in that they fail to live up to the brilliance of the first four songs. Maybe if the sequencing is changed so that these four songs are spread out I would appreciate the album more, but now I mostly listen to the first four songs and move on. Sigh. Look for an album with fellow Detroit resident Jack White next year.

Hear Ye: “Spit It Out,” “Cold Hands Warm Heart,” “I Feel Like Myself Again,” “The Alternative to Love,” “What I’m Looking For”

17. Death Cab for Cutie: Plans
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If I were really cool I’d exile these guys from my list for selling out. But gosh darn it, I find this album too appealing to dismiss. “Soul Meets Body” used to annoy me, but now I have to sing along to it using my best /worst falsetto. The album is less ambitious than “Transatlanticism” but it works in its favor even if it doesn’t quite match that album in sheer passion.

Hear Ye: “Marching Bands of Manhattan,” “Soul Meets Body,” “Different Names for the Same Thing,” “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” “Your Heart Is An Empty Room”

16. Kanye West: Late Registration
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I know diddly-squat about hip-hop, and I care little for much of what I hear, but I do know I like this album. Maybe it’s because I can actually understand his rapping and I can delight in his verbal virtuosity or maybe it’s because these songs have great hooks. Whatever reason, it makes my top 20.
Hear Ye: “Heard Em’ Say,” “Gold Digger,” “Drive Slow,” “Crack Music,” “Gone”

15. My Morning Jacket: Z
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Some more good old-fashioned rock from Jim James. The music here sound less like they are being sung in an empty tin drum as they did in “It Still Moves,” and there is no denying that the band knows its way around a song. The reggae-flavored “Off the Record” is one of my favorite songs of the year.

Hear Ye: “Wordless Chorus,” “Gideon,” “Off the Record,” “Into the Woods,” “Anytime”

14. Stars: Set Yourself on Fire
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For a while this was my number one album early in the year. Then the glow faded but not for the whole album. “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” and “Ageless Beauty” are still the epitome of loveliness.

Hear Ye: “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead,” “Ageless Beauty,” “The First Five Times,” “Celebration Guns,” “The Calendar Girl”

13. Franz Ferdinand: You Could Have It So Much Better
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Franz Ferdinand held the number one spot in my list last year, but this year they are way down at number thirteen. Disappointing? Not really. The boys released a worthy follow-up that showed them trying to expand beyond the buoyant sound they perfected last year. There’s more of that here, but also some attempt at “mature” songwriting. I’m not as taken with “Eleanor, Put Your Boots On,” but there is much to love about the album. I do miss the energy and cheekiness of the first album and this one is too front-loaded with the best songs, but at least Franz Ferdinand proved me right in avoiding the dreaded sophomore jinx.

Hear Ye: “The Fallen,” “Do You Want To,” “This Boy, “Walk Away,” “You’re the Reason I’m Leaving”

12. The Decemberists: Picaresque
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In any other year this would be in my top 10. It was a great year for good music, so it will have to settle for top 12. Picaresque finds Colin Meloy further honing his musical chops. The album adopts more baroque flourishes yet does not feel overstuffed. Still, they are at their best when they keep it simple as with “16 Military Wives” and “The Engine Driver.”

Hear Ye: “Eli, the Barrowboy, “The Sporting Life,” “16 Military Wives,” “The Engine Driver,” “Of Angels and Angles”

11. Antony and the Johnsons: I Am A Bird Now
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I wish I could include this in my top 10. It deserves to be on a top 10. A beautiful, at times haunting, collection of songs. I have a feeling I’ll be listening to this for years to come. It’s that timeless.

Hear Ye: “Hope There’s Someone,” “For Today I Am A Boy,” “You Are My Sister,” “Fistful of Love,” “Bird Girl”


Monday, December 26, 2005

12.24.2005: 14 miles

Distance: 14 miles
Time: 2:23
Location: Rose Bowl
Notes: Silly me for thinking that the 14 miler would be easier than my 12 miler. I was slightly slower than my usual pace, but if it wasn't for the fact that I was running with Coach Katie, I probably would have been a great deal slower. The weather was a factor. It was the hottest day of the winter, and by 10:30, the temperature had climbed to about 80. This week is a step-back week, so I should take it easy. I won't, though. I'll try to do six miles on Tuesday, hill training on Wednesday, and another 5 miles on Thursday. I think we're doing 8 miles on Saturday, so that should be piece of cake.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

12 Miles

Distance: 12 miles
Time: 2:19
Location: Rose Bowl
Notes: This marked my first run since last Tuesday (12/6), and it's amazing how quickly your body weakens. I felt horrible for most of the run, especially halfway through. I didn't think I would have enough fuel to complete the full 12 miles. A lot of it may be psychological. With four miles left I must have gotten a second wind because the last few miles were easier than I anticipated.

The 2:19 is the slowest pace I've run in some time. However, that time includes long stays at the aid stations to chat with the good folks manning said stations, so maybe the run wasn't as bad as I'm thinking. I still feel like I've let my training lapse this season. The first time I was diligent about getting my runs in and following the training program. The second time, training for Nike, I was motivated by wanting to improve my time that I made sure I was well-prepared. I gained weight during that training, but I was also a better runner by then. This time, my schedule just can't seem to get organized. School and work take up so much time, and with the shorter days, getting my runs in has been tough. The good news is that there's still three months until the race. I should be OK. I need to remind myself that the goal is to run under 4 hours. I should also stick to a schedule.

After the run, it was a night of socializing. FJ, my running partner from last season, had his annual Christmas party last night. I'm so glad to see him. Hopefully he can make it out to run with us in the future. After FJ's party, I headed out for Nate's birthday celebration. Drinks and curry at Lucky Baldwin's was followed by more drinking and bull riding at Union Cattle.

Today was my niece's 2nd birthday. I ate too much, so it is imperative that I run tomorrow.

Monday, December 12, 2005

running in place

I haven't run in a week. Last Tuesday was the last time I ran. It's hell week at school, so that has been my focus for the last week. I had a paper due today and I have two more, 20 pages each, due on Wednesday. So you get the picture. I haven't been eating or sleeping well, nor have I been exercising. The only run I had scheduled during the week was the Venice 10K on Saturday, but I wound up oversleeping for that. I had intended to run tomorrow and Wednesday, but seeing how I've been doing on the papers and how crappy I've been feeling, I might skip those days as well. One week of no exercise and I feel like crap. My legs have this weird ache as if from disuse. I can imagine it's the pain of atrophy. I doubt that's what it is, but I really need to get back to running. I miss it terribly.

Writing papers really runs a person down. I had a slight fever earlier, probably from lack of rest, so I drove down to Jamba Juice and ingested a wheatgrass shot and ordered a Coldbuster with an energy boost. Let's see if it works.

Back to paper-writing.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Bjork, thanks for bumming me out. I'm sorry I laughed when you were trying to kill Bill. It was just funny how he wouldn't die. You kept shooting him, but he wouldn't let go of your money. He was like one of those serial killers in horror movies that just won't stay dead, like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. I have to confess, however, that I still have a hard time believing that your songs can actually be classified as music. They sound like someone dropped a tray full of utensils over and over again. I also couldn't understand why your son had to have the operation right away. Couldn't it wait until you were out of prison? Oh, and you're right to not want to have Peter Stormare as your boyfriend. He's creepy. Have you seen him in Fargo and "Prison Break"?

Anyway, I was still sad that you had to die--and by hanging, too. They didn't even let you finish your next to last song.

Oh, and I ran over 4 miles today during lunch on a treadmill.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

10 Miles

Distance: 10 miles
Time: 1:50
Location: Rose Bowl
Notes: UCLA lost again to U$C. Damn!

At least it didn't rain during our run this morning. The run went well for me. I wound up taking long aid station breaks to chat with people, so I wound up finishing at a slower pace. Still, it's 10 miles and it felt like a workout. I bought a new waterproof windbreaker yesterday just in case it rained, but it turned out to be unnecessary. It was helpful in keeping out the cold, but I had to shed it at the first aid station. Now I'm disappointed that it didn't rain. I was hoping I could test it out. The damn thing cost me $60. Runnng is turning out to be an expensive hobby, but as someone reminded me, it's not as expensive as skiing. I guess any hobby is going to cost money.

After the run, twenty of us headed to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles in Pasadena. I hadn't had Roscoe's in over a year, and it's better than I remember. I finished my two large waffles and my 1/4 chicken. I felt like a pig, but I earned it. I'm not a big waffle fan, but they have the best waffles there.

I think I need to start worrying about my papers. Why am I not worried? I have three 20 page papers due in two weeks. Come on! Get worried!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Running with the Pope

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 40 minutes
Location: Gym
Notes: Easy run. Watched the Pope movie while running and scoped out the scenery.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Hill Training #1

The first hill training session for the season was last night. We took it easy on the first one to minimize injuries to the participants. Too many folks were getting injured last season. It was a good workout nonetheless, but not hard enough that it helped keep off the cold weather. My hands were ice cold the whole evening. Tonight I'll do an easy four mile run probably at the gym.

As for other things, work is still busy and papers are coming up for my classes. It will get very busy very soon.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I ran some easy Yassos tonight. Not too fast. 4 reps and then I threw in a mile with Coach Katie at a 6:56 pace. It was quite cold tonight which motivated me to run just so I could warm up. Afterwards it was a dinner of chicken taquitos at Baja Fresh. Tomorrow is the first hill training, which I'm not eagerly anticipating. Perhaps it's a good thing I dread it because it means it's good for me. Like veggies.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Back in the saddle again

Distance: 8 miles
Time: 1:22
Location: Rose Bowl
Notes: For the last couple of weeks I've been trying to get back into a regular, diligent running schedule. School and daylight savings time has made it hard to get runs in. I'm hoping that this weekend's 8 miler marked a brand new start. It was my longest run in over a month, the longest since the marathon. I squeezed a couple of six milers, but lately it has been about 4 miles. I felt great. I ran with Gina, who has improved incredibly since she started last year. She even got third for her age division at the Turkey Trot by running it in 24 minutes and change.

Gina struggled a bit with the faster pace, and even with a short bathroom break, we managed to get in a little above 10 minutes per mile. Running with her also made me realize how much I had progressed. I wasn't huffing and puffing at all. The goal now is to be able to run comfortably at a faster clip. I'll talk to Jimmy about training to run a sub 4 hour marathon. This shouldn't be a big problem and competely within reach. I just have to run 21 minutes faster. Yeah, that's it.

I'll definitely get runs in on Tuesday (track training) and Wednesday (hill training #1). Since we'll be running 10 miles on Saturday, I'll squeeze in an easy run on Thursday night.

Tengo hambre.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Turkey Trots

I wound up running two Turkey Trots this week. The one on Sunday at Puente Hills was pre-planned. The entire TNT team ran that one. Then I found out about a Turkey Trot in La Canada-Flintridge on Thanksgiving day. I wasn't planning on running it until late Wednesday night. Here are the results.

Puente Hills 5K - 11.20.2005: 23:10
Run for the Hungry 5K - 11.24.2005: 24:16

Neither one were personal bests. I was much too tired and exhausted for the Puente Hills run, and I don't think it helped that I had been drinking for two nights before the run. The course for the second one was too tough. I really don't like 5K's. I'm not built for speed, and I hate feeling as miserable as I do during a 5K, but I would love to get closer to 21 minutes. I think it's manageable.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


I finally succumbed last night at 3AM. I joined the millions who have preceded me and put up a profile on MySpace. I've had an account for a while I established just so I can look at my friends' pictures and spy on strangers. I don't know what came over me, but now it's up. The remarkable thing about it is that a couple of people found my profile even when I had nothing up but my name. Strange. For a while there it was just Tom and me.

I didn't run today. I maintained the aid station for the six mile run at Griffith Park. I messed that up. I left the cooler at home, so I had to MacGyver it and made the Gatorade by cutting a hole on the water bottle and mixing in the Gatorade powder. It worked out fine. Breakfast at Mimi's Cafe in Glendale. Corned beef hash! Mmm. Not nearly as good as the one served by Canter's or the best yet, the cafe we ate at in Napa. I can't remember the name. But, yes, I love me some hash.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"even in his heart the devil has to know the water level..."

I (finally) ran again tonight. I had plans to run last night at the gym, but I got sidetracked, so I made sure I did it after class today. I'm not sure how far I ran. I basically ran from campus to the entrance of the Claremont Wilderness Park and up the first hill and then back. I was running for time, an hour round trip. I think my pace was about 9 min/mile. The run up to the park is uphill all the way, gradual, but it gets to you. I realized running back how much I had ascended when I was basically looking down on the street on the way back. As it was downhill, I, of course, ran the second half faster than the first. I'll measure the distance next time in my car, but in my estimation it was about 7 miles. I felt out of it the whole run. My shins tightened in the first half, but even the downhill was uncomfortable. I think I just haven't run enough since the marathon. I'll try to get back in the game next week.

Other news...Monday was the Broken Social Scene show. An awesome show that soared from beginning to end. I usually get bored somewhere in the middle of a concert, but I was pretty much entertained and gripped during the whole BSS set. There were some lulls, tuning the guitars and the band chit-chat, but overall it was a terrific show. It's hard to go wrong when you have upwards of 16 band members, 5 guitarists and 2 drummers. I'm also mightily impressed by the quality of gorgeous, indie-rock kids the band drew. I had whiplash craning my neck to check out the scenery.

All this week I've been procrastinating on school projects. I have a prospectus and bibliography due tomorrow for my film class, but I have yet to get started. I'm also presenting on In the Mood for Love but I have yet to organize my thoughts on the matter. I'm a wreck. I'll probably call in absent to work tomorrow to finish up everything.

Even with all the work I have to do, I found time to show my face at the department party. I only intended to stay for a half hour and eat the food, but I wound up staying for two hours. I talked mainly to the people I know. Then again, it's a small program, and I pretty much know everyone. Before I left, I spoke with one of my professors and I think she was a little drunk because she was strangely fascinated by the dancing going on. She asked me if there was a name to the dance the others were doing. I tried my best to explain to her the nature of the dancing, and before she could go on her theory regarding the dancing I switched the conversation to academics. Again I'm attributing it to intoxication, but the professor dogged the class I had with her last semester. She said the discussions were disappointing and felt that the students didn't know a lot, except me, of course. She apparently was stung by our evaluation of the class where we expressed a wish for her to do more teaching. There were only four students in the class and we took turns leading the discussions, and after a while, it felt like we were teaching her more than she was us. She did praise me, but I'm skeptical since I doubt she would disparage me to my face. She told me I should think about pursuing a PhD in film studies. I'm really not that interested right now, but perhaps in the future.

Back to work...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

"liar, liar everything's on fire..."

The spring team ran five miles today, and I ran along with them. I'm still taking it easy and wound up doing it in a very easy 12 minute pace, including frequent stops to chat with others along the way. I think it's six miles next week. I won't be doing that one since I'm in charge of the aid station. I'm still in the mindset that this is still the fall season and that I'm all done with aid stations, but alas, it's a new season and I have three aid stations to operate this time, including the 20 miler in January. I can always make up the six miler easily. I may even try to get up early on Saturday and get the run in before the team does.

Afterwards it was breakfast, and perhaps I was just really hungry, but I don't remember the food being ever so good at Wild Thyme as it was today. Everything was perfect. My eggs-over-easy were not underdone, the potato pancakes were golden brown, and the bacon were the perfect crispiness. Even the toast was perfect.

I'm quite excited about the Turkey Trot coming up on the 20th where I'll be running a 5K. I have it as a goal to finish under 22 minutes. I don't think I give it my all when I run because I hate the exertion. Yes, I'm a wuss. I want everything to be as easy and comfortable as possible. If I maintain a pace just under 7 minutes/mile pace, then a sub-22 minute 5K is possible.

The rest of the day was a bit of a waste. I enjoyed it, mind you, but I didn't quite accomplish all the things I needed to get done today for school. When I got home--around 1:30PM--I took an hour nap. I was so tired that I napped before showering. I then showered and did my laundry.

One of the things I needed to do was watch Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love for my postmodern melodrama class. I'm presenting on it on Thursday. What an excellent, lovely, yet ultimately pessimistic film. It's a film deliriously in love with the feeling of love but in such a way that it negates the possibility of happiness through marriage and monogamy. The key word is "feeling." The film feels--and looks--like the warm, cozy confines of love. It's a paean to old, romantic films and songs of a bygone era. Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung cannot be more glamorous and alluring than in this film. I fell in love with Tony Leung in this film. And Maggie Cheung's cheongsams! Hot damn! I need to watch it again and this time take notes of things I should discuss for the class. I'm glad I signed up for this one.

After the luxurious experience of watching In the Mood for Love I watched some TV, "Most Outrageous Moments on TV 3" on NBC and a Filipino horror movie called Sigaw (The Echo) (Note: The word "sigaw" translates into "scream" or "yell," but they have opted to translate the title to The Echo. They probably did so since "Scream" has already been used, and the title does work with relation to the film's story.) I'm generally not a big fan of Filipino movies, but this one was sufficiently scary and creepy that it kept me watching despite the plot holes and the general unbelievability of the plot. "Outrageous Moments 3" had quite a few good laughs. These cheesy clip shows are a guilty pleasure of mine. I watch them and I am always entertained. News anchors flubbing their lines and uttering double-entendres are always good for a laugh.

With that, I neglected to read deep into Melville's Pierre and to start on my prospectus and bibliography for the film class. I think I'll write on In the Mood for Love. I also have to start reading that Melville biography so I can begin that paper. It's going to be a lot of writing.

Tomorrow: sushi, perhaps a viewing of Saw II, and hopefully, finishing Pierre.

Friday, November 04, 2005



I just won a pair of tickets from KCRW to see Broken Social Scene on Monday at the Henry Fonda Theater! With Feist! Free! Well, I did pledge $150 to them last pledge drive.

WOO HOO! Winning is fun!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

when i thought the islands were under attack you weren't there...

I just finished watching Claire Denis's I Can't Sleep for my postmodern melodrama class. It's the first film we've seen this semester that I can't categorize as a melodrama. If it is, then it's a more subtle one. I liked the film, but it's so subtle and enigmatic that I can't begin to explain what it was all about. I'm sure I'll come up with things to say in the discussion tomorrow. It seems like my best ideas come during class discussions where I surprise myself with some--if I do say so myself--interesting observations.

While we're on the topic, my class discussion on Moby-Dick on Monday went OK. The professor really helped me out. He's a great man. He manages to keep the discussions interesting and there are rarely any slow spots in the discussion. I started off a little shaky. I chose to offer up an idea I had about the book's commentary on masculinity and I thought I spied an eyeroll from someone in class. It's a constant worry of mine. I'm not well-read on criticism, most of which puts me to sleep, so most of my comments and my papers are founded on my own reactions to the work. I often worry that they are too simplistic. Most of the praise I get is for writing "thoughtful" and "sensitive" essays. I suppose those words describe me well.

With about six weeks left in the semester, I need to gear up for the term papers. I also have the language exam I need to take. It's going to be a busy next few weeks. I'm looking forward to the holidays, a time to relax and buy presents. I love presents. Gosh, this year has flown by. I need to assess how the year has been. It's been a great year, building off the momentum from 2004. I think it could have gone even better, but at least it leaves room for improvement in 2006. I'll leave the 2005 year in review for the inevitable end-of-year blog entry.

One of the things that I couldn't have predicted a year ago was that I will have run two marathons in one year. Yet I have, and in about five months I'll be running a third. Less than two weeks after having just run a marathon, I registered myself last night for the 21st Los Angeles Marathon. It's official. I'll be running, that is, if I'm not injured. Last night was the deadline for a $75 registration fee. From now on it's $85 to register.EDIT: I just looked up the website, and they have extended the early registration deadline to until December 1.

I haven't run much since the marathon last weekend. I did an easy three miles with TNT on Saturday, but apart from that, I've been immobile by choice. Today, though, I went out for a sunset/early evening run at the Claremont Wilderness Park. Initially I wanted to just hike it and take some pictures, but I got delayed by a chat with a friend. By the time I got to the trails it was almost sunset. I had to run or else I'll be walking in complete darkness, but even running I got caught in the dark. I almost sprained my ankle running down the hill. I ought to invest in a headlamp for evening runs.

I didn't time the run, but I think it took me about an hour to complete it. Not bad considering I was intentionally running slow and had to take it easy on the downhill. I also took pictures while running, but none of them came out very well. The pictures of the city lights were too blurry and it was too dark to take a picture of the mountains. Next time.

I really should be exhausted right about now, but I'm not. I was up until 3:30AM last night watching Spellbound. What a terrific documentary. It manages to touch on Americana, the immigrant experience, competition, family unity, and the American Dream. The film looks at eight disparate Spelling Bee contestants. Some come from well-to-do families, some from poor, rural homes. Some have parents that drill them to succeed and win, while others were just happy to leave their homes for the first time. Angela, the first contestant we meet, is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her father is a Texas ranchhand and speaks not a word of English. Yet she's a champion speller. Another kid, Neil, is the son of highly-motivated, to say the least, Indian parents. They compare their Spelling Bee training to going to war. They have two spelling coaches for him.

I won't ruin the ending, but it's a feel-good movie. I got choked up knowing the effort and meaning they had placed on the whole thing. It reminded me of running a marathon. Actually, there are very few things lately that don't remind me of marathon-running. It really is a metaphor for life.

Monday, October 31, 2005

it's late and i'm still awake

The pictures from the Nike Marathon are up!

Me and Coach Katie at mile 25

I love the picture above Coach Katie and I. I had just passed the 25th mile and took one, last, short walkbreak for a sip of Gatorade. I just look so exhausted. Katie was a tremendous help. She got me to the finish line faster than I probably would have on my own.


Compared to the first picture, I look fresh and strong on this picture. This was mile 6, ascending the big hill. I wish I was like this the whole race.

Nike Women's Marathon 1

At least I had enough left to sprint to the finish.

I took all of last week off from running. I finally ran again Saturday morning, an easy 3-miler with the spring team. There's no rest for the weary. I'm transitioning from one season to the next training for the LA Marathon in March 2006. I took the run easily. I don't want to injure anything. Jimmy actually told us to walk 3 miles, but I didn't hear it, or at least chose not to hear it. I may hike the Claremont trail this week instead of running it. I'm growing listless not running.

On an unrelated, non-running note, I went to see Jens Lekman at Spaceland on Friday night. Great show, plus I had three pints of Newcastle, something I've had a thirst for a while.

Tomorrow I have to lead class discussion on Moby-Dick. Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Nike Marathon Splits

Per my trusty Timex IronMan watch, here were my split times from this weekend's Nike Women's Marathon:

Mile 1: 10:32.25
Mile 2: 10:34.11
Mile 3: 9:18.91
Mile 4: 10:39.77
Mile 5: 12:44.16*
Mile 6: 5:43.31*
Mile 7: 10:25.07
Mile 8: 8:47.84 fastest mile
Mile 9: 10:01.97
Mile 10: 9:33.33
Mile 11: 9:21.88
Mile 12: 9:25.55
Mile 13: 10:01.68
1st HALF: 2:07:09

Mile 14: 9:09.00
Mile 15: 9:11.42
Mile 16: 9:35.34
Mile 17: 9:21.37
Mile 18: 9:38.65
Mile 19: 10:36.67 the beginning of my slow decline around Lake Merced
Mile 20: 10:20.98
Mile 21: 10:34.47
Mile 22: 10:52.46
Mile 23: 11:23.31 slowest mile
Mile 24: 11:21.41
Mile 25: 10:30.93 Coach Katie was running with me at this point, and she helped me pick up my pace a bit.
Mile 26.2: 11:16.95
2nd HALF: 2:13:51

TOTAL TIME: 4:21:02

*Note: The mile 5 marker was incorrectly placed. As such, I don't have a precise split time for miles 5 and 6. On average, though, it looked like I was running a 9:15 pace, which sounds right.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I am a runner (and I am my father's son)

Some notes from the marathon:

1. Apart from meeting my time goal, I also met my goal of not having to go to the bathroom during the run. That was almost in jeopardy when I did not have a satisfactory movement prior to heading downstairs. Luckily, I had a couple of hours. I drank a cup of coffee and an hour later I had a decent one.


2. I pretty much made up my mind that when I finish up grad school next year, I'm going to move up north. I need a change of pace.

3. I like my Gatorade strong. Nike got that part right.

4. The Starbucks at Union Square served apple fritters. The Starbucks here in SoCal ought to do the same.

5. Marathon euphoria apparently lasts up to four days after a race.

6. After reading other blogs, apparently I'm not the only one who cries after a marathon. It can't be a good marathon without a good cry.

7. I need to strengthen my shins. Kate said so.

8. My bib number at the Nike Run Hit Wonder last month was 1697. My bib number for the Nike Women's Marathon was 1797. Coincidence?

Race report

I think what I like about races is that it feels like a test. I do well in tests. Of course I panic prior to the big event, but once it's here I collect myself and just work in completing the damn thing as best I can.

Sunday's marathon was no different. I was extremely nervous and anxious the night before, so much so that I actually sat down and read Moby Dick before going to bed. That helped settle me down for a good night's sleep.

The following is my account, as best I remember, of the race. Considering I don't run with an iPod, I would expect to remember more of the race than I do. I remember flashes of every mile, but I can't pinpoint what I was thinking for most of the race. Most likely I was focused on the race. Heck, I missed the Golden Gate Bridge and the bison roaming the San Francisco Zoo. I did catch the large waves hurling themselves against the shore.

I placed myself in the back of the 9:00-10:00 min pack. I was going to force myself to slow down the first few miles for fear that I was going to hit the wall if I didn't. I wave at Darin, Anita, and Kate as I cross the start line and head off for a relaxing 26.2 mile run.

The start is always the worst part. It's so crowded and you can't establish a good rhythm. I resisted the urge to weave through the crowds. I maintained a steady pace and waited for others to clear a path before me. The start was slightly downhill and the runners were still giddy and gung-ho about the whole thing, but I was intent on staying calm and conserving my energy for when I needed it. I ran the first mile in about 10:30.

Gosh, I don't remember anything about the second mile. Where was it? I think it was before the Embarcadero. I remember hearing "Hot Hot Hot" but that's about it. It was probably still crowded, and by this time people were taking their walk breaks. I decided to not take a walk break until about four miles into the race, and with my 10 minute pace, I really wasn't going to need it for a while. I hate taking a walk break in crowded races because I worry someone's going to run into me and it takes too much effort to run over to the side and stop. As such, I skipped the first aid station as well. I carried a 20 oz. Gatorade with me, something I've been doing in my training runs, so it was little bother. In fact, I think it worked out perfectly. I only stopped at the aid station three times during the race to replenish my bottle. I took a couple of other breaks to Vaseline my chafed nipples, but I think I kept the breaks to a minimum. In all, I think the breaks only cost me a minute or so.

In mile 3 I run into Coach Katie. She runs with me for the better part of the mile. I tell her that I haven't taken a walk break yet and she suggests that I take one at least every mile just to keep my legs fresh. Following orders I take a break after four miles.

The race organizers messed up the mile 5 marker. At this point in the race I was running sub 10 minute miles, so I was shocked when I crossed the mile marker with a lap time of 12 minutes. There was no way that I ran that slow. As it turned out, I was right. The mile 5 marker was placed too far back. When I crossed the 6 mile marker my watch indicated a lap time of under six minutes. I wasn't slow, but I wasn't that fast neither.

Immediately after the mile 6 marker came the big hill of the course. This was the point where I could have seen the Golden Gate Bridge. I think the fog was too thick to see the bridge because I think I would have seen it otherwise. Oh well. I've seen it before. I'm sure it still looks the same.

The hill itself was challenging, but I think I had expected too much. It wasn't as bad as I expected. It wasn't exceedingly steep, nothing I hadn't done before in hill training. I maintained my pace and chugged the hill at about a 10:30 pace. I ran into Jimmy during the hill and he insisted I take a walk break. I had set my watch for a 3:1 interval, but I wasn't following it. I stuck with Coach Katie's suggestion of every mile, but since I was running up hill, it wouldn't hurt to take an additional walk break.

The best part about running uphill is that at some point you start going downhill. There was an oxygen bar up at the summit, but I didn't need it. That hill wasn't so tough. I recovered quickly from the exertion and ran up the next hill after mile 8 without a problem. Mile 9-11 were probably my favorite of the race. I was cruising at this point, weaving through beautiful neighborhoods, and catching a breathtaking view of the ocean just past mile 10. I grabbed a whole banana at the Jamba Juice stop (the Nike Women's Marathon is, if anything, well supplied) and I ate it as I ran. I was going to avoid the cramps as best I can.

By mile 12 I can feel my nipples starting to get raw. Coach Jimmy didn't have Nip-Gards this time and I didn't put on the Body Glide since I rarely need it, but I needed it then. I resolved to run shirtless should the chafing get worse. The heck with my flabby stomach. At the next medical station, I grab a stickful of Vaseline and lather it onto my sensitive nipples. They'll have to hold at least for a couple of miles until I can reapply.

Miles 12 through 16 are disheartening because you glimpse not only the frontrunners who are miles ahead of you, but you also get a glimpse of the finish at mile 16 only to realize that you have to run 8 more miles before you can properly cross it. By mile 16 my legs are feeling heavy. Then I feel it. A knot on my left calf. Remembering my problems from last time I worry that this will greatly slow me down. But I also learned my lesson. I don't stop. I keep moving. I vary my stride to lessen the impact on the calves. It worked. The cramps stay with me for most of the mile, but it goes away soon enough, not to come back for another 5 miles. It does slow me down, but I found a guy who was moving at a nice, even pace and I run with him for a bit so I don't fall too far behind my pace.

The four miles around Lake Merced are the worst of the race. It's mostly uphill, albeit gradual. In fact, I hated this part more than I did the big hill at mile 6. By this point my legs are dragging. The rest of my body felt fine, and my breathing was perfect. Yet the body was saying no. Lake Merced just felt like it wasn't going to end. My stride gets shorter and choppier and the mile markers felt so far away from each other. I didn't hit the wall during the race, but I came close around Lake Merced.

The run around the lake took so much out of me that the downhill trajectory of mile 23 to the finish did nothing to speed me up. In fact, I slowed down even more. In mile 23 my calf cramp returned and doesn't go away until I had crossed the finish. I take a third salt packet, but it doesn't help. I tried to tell myself that I just had a 5K left to run. One lap around the Rose Bowl. That's it. Much good positive thinking did me. I am hobbling and longed to stop running.

Then an angel came to guide me to the finish. Coach Katie emerged at mile 24 and ran with me. She took my Gatorade bottle from off my hand and paces me for the next two miles. She kept me from surrendering to my weaker senses. I follow her the rest of the way. I take a short walk break at the mile 25 marker and Katie has me moving once more. Kate joined in at this point and runs with me for a bit, pepping me up, telling me how proud she was of me. It was great seeing the support out there, and I felt like a prick that I couldn't say anthing back. I was just too damn tired and in pain to utter a reply. Jimmy met up with me somewhere near the end and tells me how many more stoplights I have to cross. Isn't that a Dylan lyric? How many stoplights must a man have to cross before you can call him a man?. If it's not then it ought to be. Kate pointed at the distance and tells me that the white tent in the distance is the finish. If I had the energy to talk I would have said, "God damn! That's far!" Sometimes people mean well when you're running. So when they tell you that "You're almost there" when there's still 10 miles to go, I'm sure they mean it in a good way. Sometimes, however, hearing "You're almost there" is the worst thing anyone can tell you, especially when you're dead tired. Yes, I may almost be there, but the fact is I'm not there yet. So telling me that I'm almost there isn't going to make me feel better when I'm feeling like crap.

Somehow or another, I make it past the 26 mile marker and fifty feet more I can finally see the finish. Seeing the finish was all the motivation I needed. Coach Katie leaves at this point and runs away with my Gatorade. I almost wanted to yell back at her that I'll need that for after the race. I sprint, or at least I run faster than I had been running. I pick out a couple of people way ahead of me and I start picking them off. As I cross the finish line, I throw my arms up in the air. I stop running. All I wanted to do for the last hour was to stop running and finally I did. I snatch a Tiffany box from a tuxedoed man and I am wrapped in Saran wrap, which I promptly take off when it makes me too hot. I grab a bagel and start eating, two Fig Newtons, and six shots of a green tea concoction from Jamba Juice and I'm good to go. Another marathon down. This one with a time of 4:21:02, 33 minutes faster than my first marathon.

I fully expected to break down after this marathon, but I think I was too tired. I sobbed in LA three different times. I don't know why, but it felt good to do so. It wasn't a couple of hours later, as I'm sitting two hundred yards from the finish taking pictures of fellow TnTers as they were finishing that I finally cried. I was watching Coach Katie and Jimmy run back and forth ushering my teammates to the finish and the magnitude of what I had done and what the coaches were doing hit me. I sobbed. I tried to hold it back, but it came out anyway. Again, there was no better feeling in the world than to let out all that pent up emotion. It's another triumph, and I deserve to let it go if only for a little while.

It's two days later and I'm surprisingly soreness-free. I ache a little, but not more so than after a 14 miler. I can run, even. I'm trying to pamper myself this week, but in the back of my mind I know that I have to turn around and start training for L.A. again.

It's official: I am hooked.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Another marathon down

I wanted to write a long post about the Nike [Women's] Marathon, but now I'm too sleepy to do so. So here's the nitty gritty.

TIME: 4:21:02
Bib number: 1797
PACE: 9:57/mile
PLACEMENT: 814 out of 4688 marathon finishers
GENDER: 124/409 male runners
AGE DIVISION (M 25-29): 28/77

I made my goal of finishing under 4:30, but quite a way from my very optimistic wish of finishing in four hours. I realized that was out of the question early on and concentrated on finishing under 10 min/mile. That almost didn't happen as I started slowing down at about mile 19. Cramps on my calves came on in mile 16 and went away after mile 17 only to come back in mile 22 accompanied by additional cramping on the muscle above my right knee and shot up to the inside of that leg up to my groin. The fact that I kept the pace to under 12 min/mile for the rest of race and ran the last 1.2 miles in 11:15 was a good thing.

A longer post to follow with pictures. I promise.

Friday, October 21, 2005

I Must Sleep Well!

I thought that last post was going to be my last prior to the marathon, but here's one more.

I spent a few minutes tonight looking at the course map of the race on the Nike Marathon website. After studying it for a bit, it seems a little less daunting. The worst hills appear to be early in the race, between miles six and seven and between eight and nine. The first hill is an almost 200-foot climb. I guess I'll find out how hard it is on Sunday. The main thing is to recover on the downhills. I think the fact that I've been running the Claremont Wilderness Park will help me out. I haven't mastered that course yet, but I think I'm smarter and more aggressive because of it.

While driving from work this evening I thought about the race and what significance this second race holds. The first was momentous. The first! I think this one is a race for pride. I want to be able to hold my head up and say I ran a hell of a race. The next race will just be for shits and giggles. I'm still going to give it my all, but it won't have the baggage the first had. However, that is only true if I run a strong race this weekend. If I pull up lame again, then I'll have to pull a Michelle Kwan and try, try again.

Here's to pulling a Tara Lipinski.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

nothing left but the marathon

I ran my last workout before the Nike Marathon yesterday. I ran the Claremont trails one last time, and it felt good. I think I ran it in my fastest time yet, 48:29. I'll have to verify that. On Monday I ran 6.25 miles late at night at the gym, an hour. I felt strangely fine yesterday during my run. Nothing ached. My legs did not feel heavy. It might have been the massage from the day before, or the fact that I've rested up for the last couple of weeks. I hope it translates into a good run for Sunday. I checked the weather for Sunday in SF and it looks to be a good day, high of 67 degrees and partly cloudy. It will probably be in the low 60's during the run. Perfect. Hopefully I haven't jinxed anything.

This will probably be my last post until after the marathon. Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

10.16.2005: Long Beach Marathon

Chad, Margaret, Scott, and Scott's daughter

I have been neglecting this training blog of mine. Just too busy, you know? I haven't talked about my terrific 19 miler two weeks ago, the runs at the wilderness park, the week I took off because of papers and presentations to prepare, and my decision to do (yet) another season of Team in Training as a mentor. I will be a mentor with the spring team, and I will be training again for the LA Marathon. The first practice was yesterday, so right now I'm overlapping with fall. I'll miss their 4-miler next week because I'll be up in San Francisco for the Nike Marathon.

Today was the Long Beach Marathon. I woke up early (albeit later than I had planned) and drove to the I-605 Metro station in Norwalk to catch the Green Line and then the Blue Line to Long Beach. Interesting folks on the train.

Seeing the team do exceedingly well at the race energized me for my own race next weekend, but it also got me nervous. 26.2 miles is quite a long way. Do I really want to put myself through the agony again? Seeing the triumph on the faces of today's participants reminded me of how great a feeling it is to accomplish something that requires a lot of work and discipline. Sure, I'll be in pain for a couple of hours, but the elation will last far longer.

I'll be leaving for SF on Saturday morning. From now until then, I hope to get in a couple of runs, perhaps the wilderness park one more time. Then, rest.

The following week it's back to training for LA. Woo Hoo!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

09.24.2005: Run Hit Wonder

Like They Just Don't Care

Distance: 10 kilometers
Time: 1:15
Location: Los Angeles Coliseum and surrounding areas

Notes: In the above picture, waving their arms like they just don't care, were my lovely companions for the Nike Run Hit Wonder 10K, Gina and Jennie. They were so much fun to run with that it didn't bother me one bit that I was going much slower than normal. I was 25 minutes off my personal record. In fact, Gina and Jennie both finished ahead of me because I spent quality time at the Fountains of Wayne stage.

And more!

It was a very fun race, a huge turnout and incredibly festive, not to mention lots of cute guys. Afterwards, rather than take part in the post-race festivities, we drove back to Jennie's neighborhood and had a terrific dinner at the Good Microbrew in Silver Lake. I celebrated and ordered the juicy prime rib, a steal at $15.95. I also had a pint of the Floating Dog Porter, which was OK, but I wouldn't mind had it been a little stronger and stouter. All in all, a terrific night out.

Today was my nephew's baptism. By the time the baptism was over at 3:00, I was feeling faint and light-headed. I was starving. My brother booked a Chinese restaurant for our party and there was plenty of food. Henry and Tony stopped by and helped minimize the leftovers. Even with their help, though, we came home with too much food.

Now, it's time for me to start my paper. It's 9:03 PM and I have work early in the morning. It may well be a late night for me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

09.21.2005: Claremont

Distance: 5 miles
Time: 50:22
Location: Claremont Wilderness Park
# of Snakes Encountered: Zero
Notes: For the first time in weeks I encountered no snakes out on the trails today. I was warned by a biker that there were "baby snakes" up ahead, but I didn't see them. One of these days I'm going to get bit because I'm not going to see one before it's too late. The run itself was OK. Not as fast as last week. I do think the clockwise route may be the easier route, though, not by much. I believe today was the second-fastest time for me on the course.

After the run, I headed out to Arcadia for the Team in Training info meeting. Not a huge turnout but we managed to sign a few people up. Coach Katie brought her kids, and after the meeting, they attacked me with crayons. They're cute kids, but quite a handful. My new Decemberists shirt was dotted with re and blue crayons. Will it ever be clean?

09.20.2005: Track Training

Distance: 7.5 miles (30 laps)
Location: Arcadia High School
Notes: Good track training tonight. I felt good, and Kiley and I hit our mark almost all the time. This is the penultimate track workout, and in four weeks it's my race. After practice Coach Katie and Sarah Jane were praising my running stride and giving me suggestions that would improve my running style. They said I cross my arms over too much, but according to Coach Katie, that may be a product of my pectorals being better developed than my back muscles. She also said that changing my arm movements probably would have little effect. The main thing is that I already limit my upper body movements and I maintain an upright posture. It's good to hear that I run efficiently. Hopefully it can help me run a stronger race.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

09.14.2005: Claremont Wilderness Park

Distance: 5 miles
Location: Claremont Wilderness Park
Notes: With the start of school, work, and running, I've been neglecting this blog. It's not that I haven't been running. I've just been too busy--and too tired--to update this every time.

I've been running the Claremont Wilderness Park trail every Wednesday after class. The last two weeks had been hot, but today was very mild. That probably had a lot to do with how fast I ran the course. I took the clockwise route this time, and as I was ascending I thought I was runnning it very slow. By the time I got to the halfway mark, I was a half hour into my run. I figured I'd run it in 57 minutes. Perhaps I made up a lot of time running downhill because I wound up running my fastest time. I still haven't figured out which direction is easier. The clockwise course has a slightly shorter uphill but it's more consistently uphill. In any case, it was a good run even though I thought it wouldn't be. My shin still aches a bit, but I don't seem to notice it as I get deep into the run. It's irksome in the early stages of a run. I just hope it doesn't get worse.

On to other news: tonight I attended the mentor meeting for spring. I wasn't planning on mentoring, but I was easily persuaded by Jennie. I'm not the only one who is returning. Others were bitten by the TnT bug as well and are returning as mentors. Besides, it's a good way to mark a full year of running. The plan is to run the half marathon in Austin in February and then run the full marathon in LA. Lots of running in the next few months.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

09.03.2005: 18 miles

Distance: 18 miles
Time: 3:01
Calories Consumed: Several hundred. I had yogurt and a bottle of Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino just before the run. During the run, I had an PowerGel. Afterwards, I celebrated the completion of 18 miles by consuming five or six Jell-O Pudding Pops. I had not had Jell-O Pudding Pops since my high school days. I've forgotten how good those damn things were. I also had a venti caramel Frappuccino in the afternoon, a couple of beers at the barbecue, along with several hot dogs and hamburgers. In other words, I pigged out.
Notes: The run, in retrospect, went well. The legs, of course, felt heavy, but I didn't feel exhausted and weary during the run, but I did have to overcome several obstacles, primarily something that necessitated a trip to the men's room. To my credit, I anticipated the danger and packed a napkin in my pocket just in case I had to visit the woods, which I had to do last year during a 10 mile run. That time I didn't have the foresight to pack a napkin. I didn't have to use the napkin or visit the woods because the attack occurred while I was close by the golf course and its public restrooms. What a relief? I made it through the rest of the run without an emergency, but on the way to the car another attack came. Again, I was nearby a public restroom. I hope it wasn't anything I ate.

After the run, FJ cornered me and asked if I was seeing anyone. He's thinking of setting me up with another writer on his show. Who knew that Team in Training was also a dating service?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

08.30.2005: Track Training #2

Distance: 6 miles
Time: NA
Location: Arcadia High School
Notes: I haven't updated this blog in a while partly out of laziness but mostly because I haven't ran much in the last week or so. The last time I ran was last Wednesday for the first track training. I helped out at the team half marathon on Saturday, taking pictures and cheering on the runners. But no running. It's just as well. I've been feeling some things with my shins. With about two months left, I need to be careful about injuries.

Jimmy gave me a Yasso split of 55 seconds tonight, a second faster than Kiley and FJ, which meant I ran by myself for the most part. Practice was great. I enjoy track training very much.

I'll try to sneak in a run tomorrow at the Claremont Wilderness Park. Hopefully it won't be too hot.

Monday, August 22, 2005

08.22.2005: Nike Run

Distance: 5 miles
Time: 42:19
Location: Pasadena, CA
Notes: I won't be trying on Nike shoes for a while. The pair I tried on tonight were horrible. They felt heavy and my feet felt cramped. There was way too much support. My feet weren't moving comfortably. By the end of the night, my calves were tight and my shins were sore.

I ran with a faster group tonight, and as a result, I ran the five mile course slightly faster than last week. Not bad considering I felt horrible and never got comfortable with the shoes. I have some phlegm issues, but that didn't bother me too much. Tonight might be the last Nike Run I do in a while. Classes start next week, and I have a Monday class that will prevent me from attending the Nike runs. Maybe later in the season.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

08.20.2005: 16 Miles

Distance: 16 miles
Time: 2:33:22
Location: Rose Bowl and surrounding areas
Notes: One of the best runs yet of the season even though at the latter half my legs felt like dead weight. I felt great, and if it wasn't for the legs, I would've pushed myself harder. Regardless, I ran the 16 miles in about a 9:30 pace. The pace was set by running with Sonia, Kate and Yoshi, all fast runners who motivated me, Kiley, and Andy to run as fast. They did 18 miles, but since I haven't done 16 yet, I had to cut it at that. It was nice to know that I was running back while they still had to go a mile farther before they could turn back home. Even with that, Yoshi only finished six minutes behind me.

Next week will be the TnT half marathon. I won't be running, but instead cheering the team on from the sidelines. It's a beach/Hawaiian theme, so I need to pick up beach stuff to decorate my station. I figure I'll wear a Hawaiian shirt and sip a nice, cold beverage from a tall glass.

Runs for this week: five miles, most likely, at the Nike Run in Pasadena; the first track training of the season in Arcadia on Wednesday, and depending on plans, a short run on Thursday.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

08.14.2005: America's Finest City Half Marathon

Distance: 13.1 miles
Time: 1:49:28 ***PERSONAL RECORD***
Location: San Diego, CA
Notes: I haven't updated this training log for a week. There really wasn't anything to update in the past week since I barely did any running. I went to hill training on Tuesday night but my hip and right shin were bothering me, so I called it an early night and just cheered everyone on. I didn't run for the next four days, and I didn't miss it at all. I was feeling a bit burned out by running lately, so I think the break was a good idea. The rest got me in shape for this weekend's America's Finest City Half Marathon in San Diego. After my showing, my enthusiasm for running has been revived.

My goal for the run was to run under 1:50. My previous half marathon was a 1:55, so five minutes was a lot but still manageable amount of time to trim. I felt great throughout. The course started on a downhill for the first three miles. It flattens out for most of the way, and, with about a mile and a half left, a mile long hill towards the finish. The placement of the hill on the course made it a difficult challenge, even though it wasn't steep. I took one unplanned walk break when I felt like I was going to crap my pants as I ran up the hill. I miscalculated my tactic on the hill. I sped up too early, thinking that the peak of the hill was at the turn. However, when I got to the turn, I encountered yet another, steeper, hill. That wasn't fun. Still, my pace early on helped propel me to a strong finish.

To get to the race, I had to get up at 2am on Sunday morning. I ate a bowl of oatmeal and a banana, and I drove down to Coach Katie's house. We picked up Darren in downtown, and by 3:30 am, we were speeding down I-5 towards San Diego. It only took us an hour and a half to get to San Diego. Driving with Coach Katie was fun. She's a great lady.

I worried that the lack of sleep would affect my running, but it didn't. It just wore me out by the time I got home. When I finally got home, I took a shower, checked my e-mail and fell asleep by 7pm. I slept for over 12 hours.

Tonight was the first Nike training run for the Run Hit Wonder on September 24 (Fountains of Wayne are playing!). I was only planning to run 3 miles at a comfortable pace, but when I got there I was itching to do five miles--and it wasn't a relaxed pace. Pushed by Kiley, I wound up running my fast fastest five miles on the Nike course through Pasadena, a sub 8:30 pace. Now I feel the soreness on my calf even more. I may have to take it easy on hills tomorrow.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

08.06.2005: The Hills Are Alive! AHHH!


Distance: 10K (approx. 6.2 miles)
Time: 55:33 (official)
Location: Rolling Hills Estates
Notes: This was an extremely difficult race and not just because of the hills. The trails weren't easy to run. Parts of the race took place on horse trails that were sandy and littered with crap. The course was extremely dusty, too. Oh, and did I mention the incessant hills? I was nowhere near the time I wanted to get. I was hoping to crack the 50 minute barrier, but instead, my time is closer, if not slower, than my very first 10K. Fiesta Days remains my best 10K time even though that course had monstrous hill halfway through. At least that one had great downhills where a runner could pick up speed. The hills on this race were small but they were everywhere and left no time for me to catch my breath. I think I could've gone faster despite the rigor of the course, but I just have a low tolerance for feeling miserable. Instead of running through my exhaustion, I would stop and take a walk break.

Next weekend is the AFC Half Marathon. I hope my time there will be better. I'll try to PR and beat my 1:55 from Pacific Shoreline. If I remember correctly, my pace at the half marathon was faster than my 10K pace in Venice. Hopefully I can repeat that in San Diego.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

08.03.2005: Off by a Mile

7 Miles

Distance: 7 miles
Time: 1:13:25
Location: Walnut
Notes: What was supposed to be an easy, comfortable run turned into a rigorous seven mile challenge. I decided at the last minute, while leaving work, that I would run along the route I used for my 14 miler except I would essentially cut in half by bisecting it at Lemon Ave. I estimated that it would be five miles, six at most. I was off by a mile. Literally. Even though I underestimated the distance, I was proud of the fact that, when I drove the route after my run, it measured seven miles exactly from start to finish, perhaps a smidgen more. Gmaps Pedometer backs up the distance. Man, I ought to design race courses for a living.

The run itself was tough. My shins bothered me right from the start, but I thought it was just tightness that would go away as the run went on. It didn't. I guess I overdid the sprints last night. My time was good, though. Subtract all the time I waited for crosswalk signals, and I probably ran the whole thing under 10 min/mile.

I'll be taking tomorrow and Friday off in preparation for the Hills Are Alive 10K in Rollings Hills Estates.

08.02.2005: Hill Training #5

Distance: approx. 7 miles
Time: N/A
Location: Rose Bowl
Notes: Not as hot as the last couple of weeks, but still tough. FJ and I ran together and he never beat me in the sprint. HA! The Indian Runs were also easier because Jimmy didn't run with us. Funny how that works.

Monday, August 01, 2005

07.31.2005: 14 Miles

14 miles

Distance: approx. 14 miles
Time: 2:10:55
Location: West Covina/Walnut
Dead Animals Encountered: two crows (West Nile? Should I call the CDC?), a flat cat, and one unrecognizable fur-covered roadkill.
Notes: Nothing makes me feel like a badass than knowing I just ran 14 miles before most people have even gotten out of bed. If only it was easy waking up, I would run in the morning instead of at night. I laid out a great course with most of the last five miles either flat or downhill. There were still some uphill portions, but the last five miles was a breeze thanks in part to topography but also to a well-timed rest break at Stater Bros. on the corner of Grand and Amar. In the year that I've been running, this marked the first time I ran around in my home area. There are some dirt trails to minimize the impact, and there was plenty of shade, at least at the time I ran, to lessen the effects of the warm weather. All in all, a terrific run. I felt good. I have to confess that I drove the course afterwards and according to Papa Smurf's odometer, my course only measured 13.7 miles. So I'm short 400 meters? Big deal.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

07.30.2005: JPL Aid Station

I didn't run today, but instead manned the JPL Aid station. While there, I took some pictures of the team.

Team Courage
Rahm and Martini Making it look easy
Pulling in
Kiley and Andy
Off to see Elmer
Jimmy pulls in
Darin, Phi, and Bob

Thursday, July 28, 2005

07.28.2005: A Snake in the Grass

Distance: approx. 5 miles
Time: 55:04
Location: Claremont Wilderness Park
Notes: I took it easy tonight and kept a slower, yet still strong pace up the hill. The time is nowhere near my fastest, but it compares favorably to the other runs I've done at the trails. I just had to go out for a run tonight and clear my head. Work was tiring today, and I've also had a couple of things on my mind that have been bothering me. I don't know if it's the endorphins or it's as simple as running myself until I'm too exhausted to brew over the things that are bothering me, but running--I've said it before--is the best way to relieve stress.

During the run, I thought about this blog and how the title has nothing to do with running. Fact is, I love the title, and I may adopt it for my other blog that I've had for over two years now. However, I've found it easier to write on this blog since the purpose is so direct and simple. Every time I try to write something on the other blog, it just seems so daunting and pointless. I do realize I'm not talking about running any more, so I should stop, but I just had to say that I like this blog a lot. I may just give up the other blog and just use this one.

While I'm on an unrelated tangent, I got hit on last night at Jamba Juice. Unfortunately it was by a group of female nurses. As I was walking in, I heard someone say, "I like your ass," but I took it for granted that it was not intended for me. After I got my drink and headed back outside, one of the girls kept smiling at me and asked how I was doing. I was kind of flattered. I'm never hit upon. Still, it's frustrating that I'm only attractive to heteros. It also pointed out that I'm quite oblivious when someone is flirting with me. I must remember that I am a sexy beast.

The title of this entry refers to my encounter with a rattlesnake near the end of my run. I was going to write it as a suspenseful encounter, but I just don't have the energy right now. Bill Murray is on Letterman and I have to go watch, so I'll be brief and to the point. As I'm running downhill, I pass two young women, and soon after I am passed by a Vietnames bicyclist zooming down the hill. I think he's Vietnamese, but he could easily be Cambodian. About fifty feet ahead of me, the bicyclist stops and turns around, smiling and motioning towards us. I have no idea what it means or if he's communicating with me. I thought he was trying to flirt with the young women, so I keep running. When I get near him he tells me, "I saw a rattlesnake."

"Where?" I say. He points behind me where I just passed and half-hidden by the dried brush at the foot of the hill is a black thing that looks nothing like a snake. Had he not told me, I would not have noticed or paid any attention to it. I can't verify that it was, indeed, a rattler. I'm of the persuasion that most people exagerrate, but I'm sure it was a snake based on the screams from one of the young women behind me. I kept on running after that, but for some distance I could hear one of the women screaming, "I AM NOT COMING ANYWHERE NEAR THAT SNAKE!"

So there it is. After a long, trying day, heck, week, I almost got bit by a (suspected) rattlesnake.

P.S. I ordered Pad Se Ew today for lunch, and I ate the leftovers right after my run inside my car. I ate with my hands. It never tasted so good.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

07.26.2005: Hill Training #4

Distance: approx. 7 miles
Time: N/A
Location: Rose Bowl
Notes: Another hot and challenging run today. The Indian runs were fine until the last two that I had to do. By then I had spent most of what I had and I was gasping for breath as we finished at the clubhouse. In a way it is getting easier, but just not easy enough.

The actual hill training was challenging mostly because I had to do nine repeats tonight. The weather wasn't much of a factor. It turned into a pleasant night once the sun went down. The toll of running, sprinting up and and down the hill nine times wore me down. Next week I do ten.

Needless to say, I am tired and very sleepy. Tomorrow is an optional running day, so I'll most likely skip any running. I also skipped yesterday. I'm becoming very lazy about running now. I blame it on the weather. I could really have used an ice-cold Heineken at the end of the run. The thought of it just makes me thirsty.

MMM, beer!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

07.23.2005: 12 miles and some thoughts on my ass

Distance: 12 miles
Time: 2:02:58
Location: Rose Bowl
Notes: This was yet another struggle. I felt better than the six miler, but the distance and the weather still made it a difficult run. We are also getting into distances I have not run in months. The last time I ran twelve miles was in April, and that was at a slower pace. Kiley and I ran together since FJ decided to drop a pace group because he wasn't feeling 100% and Camille was told to aqua-jog because of a possible stress fracture. I kept up with Kiley until the end, when I faded quickly with about two miles left. I don't think I so much faded as I couldn't maintain Kiley's pace. I told Kiley to run ahead and I'll try to keep up. I never caught up to him. He finished two minutes ahead of me after I took a two minute walk break to summon up as much energy for the final push. My main motivation for the last two miles was to finish so that I can sit down in a shade and catch my breath. As always, finishing a long--and difficult--run like that is incredibly fulfilling. There's nothing like crossing that crosswalk and giving your teammates a high five.

During the run I kicked the cut on my anke again. It hadn't fully healed over, so it bled once again. I need to stop kicking myself.

I won't be running the 14 miler next week with the team since I'm manning the aid station. Right now, it looks like I will be up by JPL handing out Gatorade, but that might change considering how difficult it is to get the supplies to the station. I have to park a long way away and haul the stuff down to the station. I'm also trying to figure out when I'll get my 14 miles in. I'm considering coming in very early on Saturday before practice starts 5 am, to get in my run, but knowing how hard it is to wake up that is unlikely. I may just do it on Sunday morning. I'll map out a course around West Covina/Walnut and run it early on Sunday.

Running and working out has a lot of benefits. Health, of course, but for some reason, nothing gladdens me more than being told I have a nice ass. When I was younger and huskier, I had no ass. Since running, I've been told quite a few times that I have nice ass, and on occasion, a bubble butt. I was looking at my ass this morning as I was getting dressed, and I noticed that I do fill the back of my jeans rather nicely. I don't know what good will come out of having a nice, round ass, but being told I have one makes me happy. It's superficial, I know, but I'll take any compliment I can get.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

07.19.2005: Hill Training #3

Distance: 6+ miles?
Time: N/A
Location: Rose Bowl
Notes: I know it's 2 AM, but I'm having fun with my new laptop.

The third hill training was last night. A bit smaller crowd, still sizable, though, but I can't fault those who didn't show up. It was hot and muggy. It made for miserable running conditions. When I arrived at the Rose Bowl at around 6:30, the temperature was still in the 90's. After the Indian runs I didn't think I would stop sweating. Miserable experience, I tell you. The hill running wasn't any better. This week, being the third hill workout, several of us ran up and down the hills instead of just walking down the hill. It made it much tougher, what with the weather and all. Yet I still did all eight repeats.

I'm going to take it easy the rest of the week. No running today, 7/20, and I doubt I'll get a run in tomorrow, so the next time I run may be Saturday for the twelve miler.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

07.16.2005: 6 Miles

Distance: 6 miles
Time: 59 minutes
Location: Rose Bowl
Notes: This was a grueling run. I just never felt good the entire way. I felt great during last weekend's 10 miler, but this six miler was just a struggle the whole way through. I felt tired and out of breath most of the way. It might be due to lack of sleep. All week I've been averaging about four hours, and the on Friday night, I slept only three hours. I'm going to take Monday off from running and just lift weights during my lunch break. It's a step back week anyway, and it will help the cut on my ankle heal. The cut was kicked about three times on Saturday. It's never going to heal if I keep doing that. Next weekend we'll be doing 12 miles, so I'd like to be healthy for that.

Breakfast was great. I ordered eggs over easy with Italian sausages and potato pancakes. I've been eating eggs a lot recently. I should cut down if I'm serious about losing some weight.

Friday, July 15, 2005

07.14.2005: Bastille Day

Distance: approx. 5 miles
Time: 55:26
Location: Claremont Wilderness Park
Notes: My legs were feeling sore, so I decided to go for an "easy" run. I didn't push myself as hard as usual, but it was tough to force myself to run slow. Stll, even with easier pace, the trail can still take it out of me. I finished the run in 55:26, good but a far cry from my fastest time. This is supposed to be a step-back week, so I have an excuse for taking it easy. Truth is I just felt lazy.

I wore a tank top during my run, something I seldom do. For some reason, my shirts have a tendency of sliding back while I run, and the problem is aggravated when I wear a tank top. The top kept on sliding up my chest towards my back. I think it's because I have too much flesh bouncing up and down on my torso as I run, propelling the fabric up. All I know is that it is distracting.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

07.12.2005: Hill Training #2

Distance: over six miles
Time: NA
Location: Rose Bowl
Notes: Huge turnout. Lots of folks at the hill today, and a big contingent headed to Baja Fresh immediately after. The run itself went well. The Indian run was less of a torture tonight because there were more people in our group, which meant longer time to rest and less sprints. It was still demanding, but more manageable. The hills were a lot of fun with the large group that was there.

I'm still getting to know a few people's names, and there were some whose faces I didn't recognize. Hopefully they weren't regular members or else I'd feel bad.

Also, I kicked myself a couple of times and the cut bled again. Stop kicking myself.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

07.11.2005: Back to Claremont

Distance: approx. 5 miles
Time: 53:15
Location: Claremont Wilderness Park
Notes: The first time back here in over two weeks. Tough, but good run. I began my run a little before 7, so the weather wasn't much of a factor. My legs felt sore in the beginning, but I think it's just stiffness from sitting around at work. What proved most troublesome during the run was the cut I sustained on my inside left ankle from Saturday's run. I'm not really sure how the cut came to be, but today, during the run, I must have kicked the cut at least three times. Twice at the beginning of my run, and once near the end. It hurt like a mother and it started bleeding. I'm sure the dirt I kicked up didn't help any. I didn't realize until today that I kick myself sometimes while running. That's gotta stop.

07.09.2005: 10 Miles

Distance: 10 miles
Time: approx. 1hr, 40 minutes
Location: Rose Bowl and surrounding trails
Notes: This was a most enjoyable run. I felt good throughout and wasn't at all worn out by the run. This marks the longest distance I've run since at least March. It felt great.

I've been moved up a pace group, along with FJ and Camille. We now run with Kiley and a new guy whose name I can't remember right now. Perhaps the reason I didn't feel too tired was that I had these guys to distract me. Running with others really does help alleviate the boredom that sometimes accompanies running.

Afterwards, for breakfast, it was the Farmer Scram. I was starving. I also used my free drink card at the Coffee Bean for a large Vanilla Ultimate. Too many calories to count.

Friday, July 08, 2005

07.07.2005: 4.25 miles

Distance: approx. 4.25 miles
Time: 40 minutes
Location: Office gym
Notes: Nothing much. Ran on the treadmill. Watched CNN.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

07.04.2005: Village Runner 5K

Distance: 5K
Time: 22:44 (Official time: 23:03)*** PERSONAL RECORD
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
Notes: I set a personal record! My goal for this race was to finish under 24 minutes for the first time, and not only did I do that, I also finished under 23 minutes for good measure. I felt good throughout. My fastest mile was the second at 7:10. The last 1.1 miles was ran in approximately 7:55. I'd like to be able to improve that so that I'm not fading at the end. I just didn't have the kick at the end I would have liked. Still, I'm very happy with my performance. This beats my previous personal record of 25:05 at the Puente Hills 5K last November. I ran the time trial around the Rose Bowl in 24:38 at the beginning of this season. The next race is the Rolling Hills 10K. The goal there is to run under 50 minutes for the first time, hopefully closer to 48 minutes. I think it's possible.

After the race some of us cheered Jimmy on as he participated in the infamous Hermosa Beach Iron Man. That was one race Jimmy wasn't going to win, unfortunately.

07.06.2005: Hot Topic

Distance: 3.75 miles
Time: 35 minutes
Location: Hot Topic HQ gym (City of Industry, CA)
Notes: When I was training for the L.A. Marathon, I used the gym at work several times to get my run in during lunch. It works out fine. I run during my lunch hour and then I eat at my desk afterwards. It's quite convenient, and it prevents me from having to wait in line at 24 Hour Fitness to get on a treadmill only to be limited to 20 minutes. Very few people use the gym at work. I don't know why. It's a nice little gym with a plasma screen TV equipped with DirecTV, plus there's bottled water, towels, and a cozy and clean lockerroom with private shower stalls. Whenever I use the gym I pretend that it's my own private gym, and for at least an hour I own a plasma TV.

The run went well. I set the treadmill at 6 mph and increased it to 6.5 mph fifteen minutes into the run. I got bored while running on the treadmill. I think I'm getting spoiled with trail running. Since I'm going with Preeti to watch Pageant of the Masters tomorrow night, I'll get in my run again at the gym.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Mud Run Pictures

Thanks to Astrid for the links to several of these pictures!

Me in the mud pit
Me after the mud crawl.

Winston sloshing through the mud.

Me splashing Winston
Me splashing Winston with mud.

Me splashing Winston 2
More splashing

astrid and winston
Astrid and Winston up from the mud.

astrid winston me and half of susie
Winston in the foreground, Susie, Astrid and Me in the background.

Me smiling as I run to the finish

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

06.28.2005: Hill Training #1

Distance: approx. 5.7 miles (Indian Run and hill running)
Time: N/A
Location: Rose Bowl
Notes: Great turnout and everyone had a great time--well, as great as it could be considering the agony we were putting our bodies through. I felt a slight twinge on my left knee during the hill runs, but I was able to keep it up. No problems with it since. The Indian Runs are killer especially when Jimmy is doing it with us. The burrito after practice was very tasty.

During practice I also got into a great conversation with FJ about music. We have the same appreciation for music and current bands. It's going to be a lot of fun running with him this year. We already share a common interest in television and pop culture, but to find that he's also into the same music is awesome. It's always great to talk to someone about music.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

06.27.2005: 5 Miles

Distance: 5 miles
Time: 42:28
Location: Pasadena, CA
Notes: The last Nike Run for this series. Kiley and I ran together in what was supposed to be the 10-10:30 minute/mile group, but we were overachievers. Our pace wound up to be 8:30/mile. We felt good, though.

Also, I bought a new pair of shoes this weekend. It was time to retire the Brooks I've been wearing for eight months. After practice on Saturday, I swung by Run With Us and bought a pair of Asics Gel Foundation VI. I tried on three pairs, including the same Brooks shoes that have served me well, but the Asics just felt light and comfortable. The others also felt great, but the Asics felt slightly better. Besides, there's nothing wrong with change. The shoes felt fine today, but I'll need to get accustomed to them. I think I offended the Nike people tonight when they asked me to try on their shoes and I declined. I told them I wanted to break in my new shoes. The guy looked down and frowned when he saw the Asics.

Tomorrow: the first hill training!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

06.25.2005: 4 Miles

Distance: 4 miles
Time: approx. 38 minutes
Location: Rose Bowl
Notes: Very easy run. Barely broke a sweat.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

06.22.2005: Loop da loop

Distance: 5 miles
Time: 51:50
Location: Claremont Wilderness Park
Notes: It's been a couple of weeks since I last ran this ass-kicking trail. I decided to run the loop clockwise this time to see if it was easier, but feeling lazy, I set my run/walk intervals at 2:1 expecting to finish slow. Remarkably, I completed the course in record time. On analysis, the improvement may be due to running the course clockwise, implying that clockwise is an easier route. However, I noticed no difference in difficulty or distance of the uphill portion of the trail. It's pretty much equal, roughly 2-2.5 miles uphill. The clockwise route, in fact, is less gradual in its steepness.

I can also attribute the improvement on the run/walk ratio. I think I put out more effort during the two minutes I'm runnin than when I was doing a 3:1 ratio. Or it could just signal an overall improvement in my running. We'll have to study this. Perhaps in a couple of weeks I can complete the trail in under 50 minutes. With hill training coming up, I'm ahead of the game in running hills. With the 5K coming up on 4th of July, I'm hoping to finally crack the 24 minute mark. I'm just not built for speed.

On an unrelated note, they need to empty the Port-a-Potty at the start of the trail. That thing is nasty, especially with the hot weather we've been having.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

06.20.2005: 5 Miles

Distance: 5 miles
Time: approx. 42 minutes
Location: Paseo Colorado
Notes: I did not win the raffle again. However, earlier in the day I won tickets for Tuesday night's Spoon show at the Avalon. All in all, I felt good during the run. I ought to get back to running the hills of Claremont. I felt a little out of breath during the hill portion and somewhat weak. My lack of sleep might have something to do with the lethargy, and staying up late again tonight does not help.

Monday, June 13, 2005

06.12.2005: Mud Run

Distance: 10K (~6.2 miles)
Location: Camp Pendleton
Notes: Hard-bodied, shirtless guys plastered with mud. Marines ordering me to "GET DOWN!" What's not to like?

06.13.2005: Nike Run

Distance: 5 miles
Location: The Yard House in Pasadena
Time: approx. 43 minutes
Notes: I didn't win the raffle again. Damn them!

Friday, June 10, 2005

06.09.2005: About 6 Miles

Distance: roughly 6 miles
Time: roughly an hour
Location: Venice/Santa Monica boardwalk
Sights: Brandon Boyd, lead singer of Incubus, riding his beach cruiser; an odd-looking male model getting rubbed down with oil by a female assistant before posing for a picture; rugby game on the beach; an obviously first-time rollerblader falling on his ass several times; a not-so sweet transvestite.
Sounds: mumblings from the homeless
Smells: Pot

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

06.07.2005: 5 Miles

Distance: 5 miles
Time: 54:28
Location: Claremont Wilderness Park

Good run. I walked the first seven minutes, but still finished the loop in 54 minutes, perhaps the fastest I've run it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

06.06.2005: Nike Run #1

Distance: 5 miles
Time: approx. 44 minutes
Location: Pasadena (Paseo Colorado)
Grub: 1/4 turkey sandwich and sundry fruits

No shirt again. Nike isn't giving out free Dri-Fit shirts again. Damn it! Not only that, but my raffle losing streak continues. I have yet to win a damn thing. This one new girl from the Team came for the first time and was about to leave when I told her there were more prizes. She pulls her ticket from the trash, and wouldn't you know it, she wins the next prize. Damn!

The running went great. I ran with the 10-10:30/mile pace group since from past experience the runners tend to go a minute faster than their publicized pace. One time I ran with the 9-9:30/mile pace group and almost brought up the rear. With the 10-10:30/mile group, I'm one of the faster runners. It's all about the ego.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

3rd place

Below are pictures from the Fiesta Days 10K in La Canada-Flintridge on Memorial Day where I somehow managed to finish 3rd in my age division.

Racing to the finish
Coach Jimmy and I were in the same age division. He won the division and finished 7th overall with a personal record of approx. 37 minutes. My time was 50:51. The guy between us was the second place finisher who was a minute faster than I. I don't know his name, but I do recall he needed some deodorant.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

06.04.2005: Step Back!

Distance: 3 miles
Location: Rose Bowl
Time: approx. 31 minutes
Breakfast: Eggs, Italian sausage, potato pancakes, sourdough toast slathered with blackberry jam, several cups of coffee.

Today was a step back day in training, so we only did three miles. FJ and I are in the same pace group and we passed the time discussing reality television, TV pilots, "Heat Vision and Jack," and other matters of importance.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

06.02.2005: The Loop

Distance: 5 miles
Where: Trails up in Claremont Wilderness Park
Time: approx. 54 minutes

I set my time for a 2:30 to 1 run/walk ratio, slower than usual, but I was still exhausted halfway up the hill. Perhaps I was exerting myself too much running up or it just wasn't a good running day. Regardless, I still managed to run the loop in the fastest time yet thanks to stopping only once during the descent. I'm hoping that the climb up the hill will feel easier very soon. It doesn't seem to get any easier, but it's always a wonderful feeling of triumph once I reach the top of the trail and I know all that follows is a downhill sprint.

The gloomy weather and the drizzle made for good running conditions, but my glasses kept fogging up. Apart from that, the weather was most welcome. Here's hoping for more cloud cover the next few weekends.

Apart from the weather, I wore shorts that were not to my liking. From experience, I realize that I like shorts that are sturdy and do not ride up. I also prefer small pockets in the back that zip closed so that I can put keys in there and they won't bounce against my leg as I run. The ones today were thin, no-nonsense shorts, but they kept riding up between the legs and the keys kept on twisting in the side pocket. Comfort when running is of the utmost importance.

One last thing, whenever I run on trails, I always worry that I'll trip and fall headlong down a ravine. I doubt I'll ever grow out of that fear, but I just hope that it's not a premonition of some sort.