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