Sunday, April 27, 2008


Torpid - the word probably best describes my current state - benumbed works, as does phlegmatic (used in the pejorative); but torpid is hard to misunderstand. So, what's the problem?

After my numerous injuries last year, I decided to take some time off, drop all races from my schedule and just run easy for a while ... get back in shape ... and then ..............

Well, to hell with that idea. What was I thinking anyway? I'm a classic hyper-competitive boomer; with no focus, with no deadlines, with no consequences, I'm quickly slipping into my pre-running habits. My weight has ballooned up over 25 lbs, with all the attendant problems and my motivation has hit rock bottom.

So what am I to do?

1) Get off my ass and sign up for some races - The astute reader will note that I signed up for the Arizona Road Racers 5K Summer Series, 5 races for $20 - that's a hard deal to beat (of course they are all run in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area in the middle of the summer - but that only builds character - if you're not sweating, you're not having fun).

2) Get a plan - As much as this pains me to admit, I'm working my way through Cool Running's Couch to 5K plan. Yes, I know, I've run 2 sub-4hr marathons, several 30Ks, 20Ks, 1/2 marathons and more 10Ks than I can remember; but at 195 lbs, it's a brand new world for this body.

3) Cross training - Even though the mid-day temperatures are approaching 100F, I am keeping up my daily commutes to work. It's only 4.5 miles and I get there in around 20 minutes, but it's still 40 minutes of cross training I wasn't getting before. I'm also trying to fit in a 20 to 30 mile ride on the weekend. I'm still riding my mountain bike with beach-cruiser tires - so it takes a bit of work to push it along at 16 to 18 MPH - but that's the point, I think.

4) Stretching - Basic stretching after every run. Nothing too complicated, but it seems to be helping

5) Yoga - Not yet. I'd so very much like to say I'm doing this, but I'm not; just haven't found the time.

6) Improved diet - Good idea; just not happening, still eating like crap. More accurately, I'm eating too much. I don't like "fast food", but I'm eating too much.

7) Learning Spanish - I promised one of my employees in Mexico that I'd learn how to speak Spanish. She is getting tired of me pronouncing every Spanish word in French. I've got to get going on this; give me a month or two. If any of you are somewhat conversant in Spanish, let me know. One of the ways I improved my French was to write to friends in French. Even though I live 200 miles from the Mexican-US border, I don't have any friends that speak Spanish - that's just surreal.

8) Travel less - Yeah, right. I'm going to LA later this week and will be back in Redmond, Washington next week. I also hired another person in our Toronto office and I need to get up there to meet her. I promised her I'd be there in May.

GOOD NEWS (if not old news)

Three friends ran the Boston Marathon last week.

  • Mike (St. Andrews, New Brunswick) - Mike has been one of my heroes for a long while. He is a few months younger than me and I constantly use him for NO EXCUSES motivation. He's my age and my height and lives in a climate that makes running a challenge for 4 to 5 months during the year; but manages to stay in great shape. He also has a wonderful family and seems to be able to balance the demands of family, work and running without going crazy.
  • Jen (San Francisco, California) - Jen is an other inspirational figure in my running life. She writes an excellent blog and is always up beat - regardless of what happens. Never gets down and just gets better and better every year. She's a wonderful person.
  • David (Phoenix, Arizona) - David doesn't have a blog. I know him through my running club. He is the volunteer coordinator for my club and spends more time taking photos during his marathons than anyone I've ever met. His photos from this year's Boston Marathon are located at this LINK.

Not so good news:

My buddy Mike from Tucson left the blog fold. Mike is, by a wide margin, the fastest marathoner I've ever met (2:37:32). Mike was the person who convinced me that I could run longer distances several years ago when I was stuck running 10Ks and worked with me to get me up to 26.2 miles (no small feat). We'll miss him.

Tale care. Thank you all for sticking with me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Checking In

Just checking in. I spent the last couple of days in Redmond, Washington ... got in a good run this morning through a virtual field on new MicroSoft buildings along 520; wet and very cold. Why didn't I bring my gloves? I didn't take a single picture while I was in Redmond. Not much to photograph when you're out running before the sky gets light.

I changed my travel plans last week and skipped Carlsbad on this go around. Instead, I headed back to Phoenix Friday night to spend the weekend. Took the picture below from the balcony off my office. Pretty soon all will be brown again. Got in an early morning run of Sunday through the desert before the heat settled in. Spring has sprung. Phoenix hit 98F (37C) this afternoon.

I got through security so quick in LA that I had plenty of time to work while sitting in one of the bars at LAX. After 10 or 15 minutes, I realized that the same USAIR employee was just standing along the railing staring at the TV monitor somewhere off in the distance. What is about that medium that can transfix people so?

I have a flight back to Phoenix at 5:20AM on Wednesday ... meetings near the Airport in the morning and then back up to the north side of town in the afternoon. I need to get up to Toronto sometime this month ... just don't know when ... and got asked to go back to Toulouse, France in June and Yeovil, England in May ... deep cleansing breaths ... there's no place like home, there's no place like home, ...
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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Road Trip

OK ... I was in Tucson earlier this week (see pictures at the bottom). Didn't get to spend much time there. Sort of the ol' in out in out. I took the next several pictures from my hotel room and 3 mile run in the morning. It was a perfect Arizona morning. Unfortunately, I missed the major cactus blooming by a week. Next week this whole run would have been beautiful.

I flew over to LA on Tuesday night and ran along the coast in Manhattan Beach on Wednesday afternoon. The wind was blowing something fierce directly off the coast.

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Flowers on the coast ... imagine that.

The chump below tried to pass me after a couple of miles. I kept stopping to take pictures and then roared by him. It was fun watching him look over his shoulder as I caught up to him each time I stopped. I took this picture running sub 8/mi.

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I changed my plans a little. I'm not going to Carlsbad on Friday, but will return to Phoenix before heading up to Redmond, Washington. I got asked to go to Yeovil England today (near Stone Henge .. really cool), but I need to balance that with a trip to Toronto this month ... I haven't been to Toronto in 6 months and I'm suffering as a result. Pray for my administrative assistant. Pray that she doesn't kill me when I call her tomorrow.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Road Trip

Starting tomorrow, I'll be out on the road again. Tempe, AZ; Tucson, AZ; Torrance, CA; Carlsbad, CA; and Redmond, WA. 8 days, 5 cities. Should be fun.

It's getting hotter out here on the desert. I took a long slow run across the desert this afternoon. The wild flowers and spring grass I photographed only two weeks ago are dried up and quickly turning brown. Summer is just around the corner.

My black lab was really feeling the heat today. All winter, he'd dart out in front of me and chase after birds and rabbits whenever we ran across the open desert. Today, he just followed behind me. I stopped after 40 minutes and gave him a chance to rest in the shade and gulp down as much water has he'd drink. I think we need to switch to early morning runs.

Take care ... will post a few pictures when I get a chance.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Running in Mexico

Got out for a quick run before heading into our Mexicali office this morning. I ran around through the neighborhoods near the hotel and also found a small park with a dirt track near by. This is where I took the photo to the left. The AVISIO part was understandable, but humor wasn't revealed until I translated the rest.

In addition to the park, I took a few pictures of the houses, bogenvias and ficus trees in the area (see below).

I made it back to Phoenix tonight without incident. The border crossing was uneventful, taking no more than 40 seconds. Our car did get stopped at one of the border patrol checkpoints on I-8 in California where we got asked if we were US citizens. It's only a matter of time before they'll be checking for travel papers (in order to keep us safe).