Thursday, December 28, 2006

Honorable Mentions

That time again. List time! Still working on the big list, but here are the honorable mentions, the ones that didn't make the final cut. A different day and a different mood and these albums may just have made the list. So rather than ignore them, here they are:

Honorable Mentions

Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit

The Boy Least Likely To - The Best Party Ever

Solomon Burke - Nashville

Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country

The Dears - Gang of Losers

Guillemots - Through the Windowpane

Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Post-Christmas Post

Yet another Christmas gone by and another year is about to end. 2007 is just around the corner. It's around this time that I--like most folks--look back at the year that was and determine whether it was indeed a good year worth fondly remembering or one that is best left behind. I think it's a mix of both for me. We'll do more analyzing later in the week and I will post my picks for the best albums and movies of the year, too. I know that's something to get excited about.

The Christmas haul this year was quite good and useful. Not a clothes-dominated year this year. The one piece of clothing I got so far was a nifty Puma jacket I got from Marisela for our TNT Secret Santa gift exchange. I also got basketball shorts from my aunt, but as basketball shorts go, they're a bit too long. And I don't play basketball.

My parents gave me a comforter and a towel. I didn't really need a towel (I air dry), but the comforter will be useful. My brother and sister-in-law bought me running shoes. They're not the type I typically wear and they're a little tight on me, so I will exchange them for the Saucony I usually wear. My sister gave me a gift card to Barnes and Noble, a U.S. road trip guide book, and a magazine subscription. I also got a quesadilla maker and an iPod sport carrying case from friends. Not too shabby! What is shabby is my belly. I ate so much the last few days.

Since this is a running blog I ought to talk about my training for the LA Marathon. It was going well up until I suffered an illness a week and a half ago that has slowed me down. I didn't run for over a week. I'm still getting over the chest congestion, but I'm able to run again. I ran six miles with FJ on Friday and I wheezed and coughed my way through that, but two days later I fared better running 12 miles with FJ and Coach Katie. I still had coughing fits, but I felt better and managed to finish comfortably. Tonight I ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill easily. It was tougher trying to peel my ass off the sofa than it was to run it.

The next major landmark on the road to the marathon is the Pacific Shoreline Half Marathon in six weeks. I'm hoping I can PR again. It's a good course, but this year I'm hoping I won't have parking problems like I did the last time I ran it. That was such a big headache.

If I can lose 10 pounds before the marathon, that ought to help with my time. All that jiggling has got to be slowing me down.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Inaugural City of Angels Half Marathon Race Report

Time: 1:45:46 ***PERSONAL BEST***
Pace: 8:05/mile
Overall: 474 out of 3,648
Gender: 399 out of 1,839
Division: 73 out of 293

On Hyperion Bridge (Runner's High)

For its first race, I would say the organizers of the City of Angels Half Marathon did a spectacular job. Parking was easy, not a traffic jam in sight. The shuttles were quick and efficient, and everything ran very smoothly. The only glaring problem I could see was the lack of mile markers. Not every mile was identified, and even those that were, the signs were not readily visible. This was an issue for me since I was going to use the mile markers to determine when to take a walk break. It also made it difficult to pace myself. Since I wasn't sure where the miles were, I couldn't quite gauge what my pace was. Fortunately it all worked out for the best for me, but I hope they addres the issue next year. Other than that, the race was terrific and I look forward to doing it again.

In terms of a race report, this was my best experience running a half marathon thus far. I didn't run out of gas and managed to run a negative split for the first time. In fact, my pace was faster than my personal best in the 10K, meaning that now my best 10K time is the second half of the half marathon. Certainly the mostly downhill course helped, but there were a couple of tough hills thrown in, too. I also didn't get as much rest the days leading up to the race as I would have liked. Still, by the time I reached Silver Lake at around mile 7-8, I knew I was in for a good race. Being able to speed up in the final 5K made me feel even better. Considering I was only able to run up to 10 miles in training and have yet to train consistently, the results were welcome news.

The course was pretty well-designed, and it had the added virtue of cutting a path--through Griffith Park, Silver Lake, Echo Park, and downtown--that reflected the city's diverse personality. To run down the middle of Silver Lake Boulevard like I owned it was a treat only eclipsed later on when I ran through the 2nd Street tunnel.

I don't think I'll be running the 10K in Irvine later this month, but I will be running the Pacific Shoreline Half in February, so hopefully I can PR there. The goal will be closer to 1:40. For now, though, I'll relish the good run I had and the fun experience of running through my favorite LA neighborhoods.