Sunday, June 29, 2008

GO GO GO

What an incredible week:

1) I pounded out 36 miles; the best single week total of the year
2) Wrapped up the month of June with 87.3 miles; the best monthly total of the year
3) Ran 10.1 miles this afternoon; my longest run since February
4) Dropped below 190 pounds (189.0 this morning)

Most importantly, the first week in as long as I can remember that I actually felt like I was running.

Hope your week is going as well

Non-running comments:

The mortgage crisis has hit my neighborhood. My next-door neighbors defaulted and trashed the place on their way out; taking everything that's wasn't nailed down, and a few things that were.

The pool has turned a lovely shade of dark green and all the vegetation around the house is dead. They took all the doors, except the front door; took all the kitchen appliances (oven, stove, dishwasher, microwave and fridge); ripped all the speakers for the sound system and intercom out of the walls and ceilings; ripped the chair-rails off the walls; tore two ornate chandeliers from the ceiling; removed the banister from the in-side stairs and ripped the railings out of the floor of the upstairs patio They even ripped a sink off the wall. However, the most amazing thing they took out was the fireplace.



So if you're looking for a "fixer-upper" in north Phoenix with great views and nice neighbors, have I got the place for you.



Hope your week is going well, take care

Friday, June 27, 2008

Vanquish the Pretenders

I won’t BS you. This has been a trying day. Got up at 5AM; rode my bicycle to work at 6AM; started a 5 hour meeting to justify increasing my staff (8AM to 1PM); walked across the street to the “sub shop” for lunch but spent 30 minutes sitting in front of the place talking to staff around the planet; finally got a sandwich and walked back to office; started my Q2 financial ritual (don’t ask); called a potential candidate for my group – got told to fxxk off; called HR, contemplated a boat load of numbers until 6PM; road my bike home; roasted a pork-loin on the BBQ; ate dinner at 8PM; contemplated more numbers; issued my Q2 report at 10PM; headed to the gym for a 6 mile jog; over did it; got home at 12PM. It just cracks me up when the fat and slovenly say they don’t have time to exercise.

For all the bitching and moaning, I had a great time at the gym tonight. I’m really starting to scare myself. Last year, I complained every time the high heat forced me to the gym to run on the treadmill. Now, I’m looking forward to it. The difference, of course, was last year I was in shape and was going to run 12 to 20 miles. This year, I’m a member of the “Big Boys Club” and consider 7 miles a “long run.”

Tonight was especially sweet. I got to the gym at 10:30PM, check myself in (no one was at the desk) and walked upstairs to the treadmills. The long row of machines was empty, except for 2, occupied by a couple of 20-somethings. As I walked by them, they certainly looked fit. Wearing legit running attire, the waif on the right was not exactly the illustrated women, but close enough – and she looked like she could kick my butt without to much of a problem.

I selected a machine directly across from the TV running non-stop CNN (Anderson Cooper 24/7 … I can’t really see the screen without my glasses, but it’s entertaining) and started my warm up. The tattooed lady cranked up her speed and started running in earnest. I took up the challenge and increased the pace to 9/mi. 4 minutes later, she was gassed and stopped – YES – another one bites the dust.

My mission tonight was to see if I could get in a simple set of 4 intervals. Nothing too fast, just enough to see if I could stretch out my legs. I ran a nice 3 mile warm up before starting the intervals and then planned to run half mile intervals with quarter mile recoveries; starting at 8/mi and progressing to 7/mi.

Near the end of my first interval (running 7:58/mi) another 20 something (what is it with young women and the gym at this late hour) got on the treadmill a 2 from my right and started running with abandon. Cool – a real runner – this will be fun. I finished the interval, ran the quarter mile recovery and accelerated up to 7:30/mi for the second interval. 2 minutes into my 7:30/mi interval, she conked out and stopped – YES, another one bites the dust. I RULE THE LATE NIGHT GYM

Now as long as none of you show up, I can continue this delusion.

Take care.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Inside Job

OK, I'm a wimp ... it's something like a bazillion degrees outside and I'm heading indoors for my runs. The good news is - I'm running; 7 miles tonight. My heart rate was totally out of control, even at 9:40/mile; but who cares, I was running. 7 miles is about as far as I've run since April 6th. All good

RANDOM OBSERVATIONS:

1) Why would someone ride his motorcycle to the gym smoking a cigarette?
2) Since when does walking slowly on a treadmill while yakking on a cell phone constitute exercise? Somewhere during my run tonight, a gal plopped herself down on the tread mill next to me, set it on a slow walk and got on her phone ...
3) When did we get to the point where we have to open our mail over a paper shredder? Seems like nearly all the mail we get at home is some sort of junk with personal info scattered throughout ... oh, well ... we're getting good at making confetti.

Take care

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mountain Rescue

First, I will admit that I am not a fan of TV news; especially local news. The talking heads just drive me batty. That said, I had to laugh at the breathless tones used by the male/female news readers in Tucson describing a "search & rescue" operation in the Santa Catalina Mountains last week. It was the lead story on 06/11/08.

WATCH THE VIDEO

I wouldn't have known about it if my daughter's boyfriend wasn't on the team that found the "lost hiker" and for some unknown reason one of the local TV news outlets got a reporter on the scene in time to interview him. He shows up on the tape at the 0:51 mark and again at 1:19. The guy is part of the Southern Arizona Rescue Association and goes out on searches all the time. Most are much more difficult than this one, but few have any coverage (thankfully). It's interesting to listen to the calm and matter of fact method he uses to describe the situation in stark contrast to the "anchors" or the on-site reporter.

As for me, my week has been far less exciting:

1) I got to run through down-town Toronto for the first time under lovely conditions
2) I got in a couple of nice treadmill runs at my gym, too much of a wimp to run outside with temperatures north of 110F
3) I proved to myself that I can still bicycle to work when the temperatures reach 110F
4) I got to have dinner with fellow blogger Robin and her husband
5) Got in a delightful drive from Sedona (4,000 ft) to Phoenix (1,100 ft) with the top down.
6) Once I got back to Phoenix from Toronto, I got in two lovely dinners with one of my daughters.
7) Despite over eating while Toronto, my weight is continuing to decrease; still north of 190, but heading in the right direction

All in all, a great week.

Cities visited: 4 (Toronto, Niagara Falls, Sedona, Phoenix)
Runs: 4 runs for 17 miles
Bike: 2 rides for 10 miles
Weight: 191.5

Take care

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's too DAMN HOT

115F.

Let me repeat that in case you missed it: 115F (for those using a rational system of measures ... that's 46C). Here in Arizona, we have our own quirky way of talking about temperature. Rumor has it that Eskimos have numerous was to talk about snow. Those of us on the South Western US deserts have our own ways to talk about heat. Any thing below 105F we call "seasonably warm". From 105 to 110, is just plan hot. 110, 111, 112 ... still HOT, but ok ... 113 ... a little hotter; Red Badge of Courage stuff ... 114, yikes, 115: TOO DAMN HOT. There was no way I'd be running outside today. I got up late and it was already close to 90F. It's 9 PM right now and my temperature gage is reading 109F.

Fortunately I got smart and went to my gym today for an easy 5 miles on the treadmill. Started out nice and slow (what's the rush anyway), something close to 12/mile. Cranked up the speed every 1/4 mile until I was running 9:30/mile comfortably, keeping my HR below 140 ... well within my aerobic range. Nice run ... considering there was no way I was going to try to run outside.

BLOGGER HOOK UP:

Every once in a while you get an opportunity to meet a truly unique individual. I got my chance on Thursday night when I drove up to Sedona to meet Robin and her husband Scott for dinner. They were in in Sedona from South Carolina on vacation. These are really nice people. Robin is a hard core ultra runner and Scott is the hands down winner of the much coveted "spouse of the year" award for all the support he gives her. Just a great couple. The type of people that make you feel good for having the opportunity to meet with them.

 

 


It was nearly 10PM before I left Sedona for the 100 mile trip down the mountain back to Phoenix. I put the top down on my Mustang and enjoyed the cool moutain air rushing over the top of the car on the trip down. It's these sort of nights that remind me why I own a convertible. I almost felt sorry watching the SUVs scream by me on the freeway as they hurtled down the hill .. having no idea what it felt like to feel alive; listening to the crickets, feeling the cool air on your skin, just enjoying life; instead of rushing from point A to point B. Some folks don't have a clue.

Take care.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Running Toronto

Toronto is a hard city to beat in the summer time. I've been there in the winter, and for this dyed-in-the-wool desert dweller, it's just brutal; but what a difference in the summer. I left the down-town Hilton at 5:30AM and headed for Lake Ontario. Of course, the door I exited was 90 deg off where I thought I was and I ended up running due East for a 1/2 mile before I figured it out. But it was all good. People in that part of the planet just can't imagine what I feel when the temperature signs are flashing 11C, 11C, 11C ... OMG 11!!!!!!!!!!!!! in late June. I won't see 52F (11C) at home until November. Not only is the town a great respite from the oppressive heat in central Arizona, but it's also a pretty town. I took the following pics during my short running tour of the city.



The CN Tower. I think this is the tallest structure in North America. Cool place; and just look at that sky. Did I mention that it was only 52F out side!



Took this pic on a little bay off the lake. This isn't a working ship - it's now a restaurant, but I like the way it reflected off the calm water in the morning light.



Lake Ontario from the hotel



Early morning constitutional

I also realized during this trip that life is getting way too complicated. I arranged for my wife to meet me in Toronto. She was on vacation in Southern California, so needed to take a different flight. The weather in Toronto on Sunday night was horrible, so her flight from Santa Ana, CA and my flight from Phoenix, AZ were both divert to Buffalo, NY for refueling. For about an hour, we were both sitting on the tarmac at the airport in Buffalo, but on different planes. She did eventually beat me to Toronto by 30 minutes.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Warning , this post is a shameless travel log. My wife and I spent a rainy afternoon at Niagara Falls this past Monday, staying on the Canadian side of the border. Got in a lot of walking, but absolutely no running. None-the-less, I did take a few snaps that I want to share. Most of the photos are rather dark due to the deeply overcast skis.



You knew I wasn't going to limit my attention to dramatic water falls; not with tourist from all over the planet walking about (as typified above). The fellow in the sleeveless under-shirt could be me. Nice to see that it's not just us North Americans that are woefully out of shape.


Yours truly on the "Maid of the Mist" boat ride. "Mist" my ass. The Horseshoe Falls of the Canadian side pummel you with water. Lots of fun though. The side benefit of the taking the Maid of the Mist ride is the plastic poncho they give you to protect your cloths from the onslaught of water. I brought two of them home. They should really come in handy as I'm waiting for the gun to go off in the dead of winter when the air temperature is hovering just above freezing.



"These shoes are made for walking". Not your typical tourist attire, but who's complaining.



Cool rainbows in the "mist" created over Horseshoe Falls as the sun peaked out late in the afternoon.



The American Falls on the US side of the border



Looking back at Horseshoe Falls

Need to run. Take care.

Monday, June 16, 2008

5K Recap

A buddy of mine took a few pics at the local 5K this weekend. See below:


This is Ishmael. He finished 30 seconds behind me. He must have hung on to my tail until I passed the 2 mile marker and realized how slow I was moving.


It's just amazing how you can get 600+ Arizonans to show up at 6:30 AM for a race.


This is where the trail narrows ... lots of fun



Took this picture this afternoon at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. More pictures to follow

Take care.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The longest 5K

I "ran" the 2nd 5K in the Arizona Road Racer's 5K Summer Series this morning. It wasn't my best effort. In fact, it was the slowest 5K I've ever run; finishing in 25:40 (I think). Gun time was 6:30 AM and I left the house in a rush, forgetting my watch, my iPod and my camera --- so no pictures today.

I got to check-in just before 6, got my bib and timing chip and started jogging around the start area trying to warm-up. I always crack up when the phrase "warm-up" starts rattling around my brain when the air temperature is already well north of 80F, but warm up I did.

I spotted one of the 50-somethings in the club that usually runs about as fast as I run and stalked him in the chute area until the gun went off. I figured I'd just pace along with him for the first two miles, but that plan flew out the window within 10m of the start line. His pace was way too slow, so I took off with the pack of runners surrounding me at the moment.

This race starts out on a paved street for the first 1/2 mile and breaks off onto a narrow desert trail. I didn't want to be in a pack at the trail head, so I scooted ahead and set my sights on a short muscular guy with an enormous tatoo on his right arm. I paced behind Ishmael onto the trail and stayed with him until the first mile marker. Feeling pretty good, I picked up the pace again and got around him; only to have him surge past me within the next 100m. This guy must have figured I was racing him. We traded places until the water station at the half-way point, where I picked up the pace again and continued passing runners.

At the 2 mile marker, the timer yelled out 17:35. 17:35! Hot crap Batman. No wonder I was feeling so good; I'd been jogging for the past 2 miles. I picked up the pace again until I was at least breathing hard and crossed the finish line with 26:26 reading on the race clock. I knew I'd had crossed the start line at least 30 seconds after the gun, so I was sure I was in the 25:xx somewhere, but hadn't recalled that I've only run one other 5K over 25:00. Oh, well. At least I had a good time.

I finished up with another lap around the course to finish out the week with 22.6 miles. Not too bad. I'm on my way to Toronto this afternoon. Will be back in Phoenix on Wednesday.

Take care

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Jed Clampet has nothing on me

Cleaned out my storage unit this weekend; saving $139/month. After cleaning out my garage 3 or 4 weeks ago, we realized we had enough room to neatly fit the entire contents of our 10'x10'storage unit in our garage and still have room for 3 cars. So for 5 hours this weekend, I hauled our boxes and other assorted "keep sakes" back to the house. The last trip was too funny. I still had a bicycle, a large chair and a small sofa to move. I couldn't get the sofa inside my car, so I tossed it on the roof rack:



Training is going so-so. Got out and ran or ran/walked 5 days this past week. I also road my bike to work 4 out of 5 days. The total mileage isn't all that impressive, but I'm up and moving again. More importantly, the weight is coming down; started out at a high of 201.5 on Monday night and clocked in at 193 this morning.

Week in Review

Peak Weight - 201.5 lbs
Running - 13.2 Miles in 5 Runs
Biking - 36.0 Miles in 4 Rides
Cities - 1 (Phoenix, AZ)

I head back to Manhattan Beach, CA tomorrow afternoon for a few days and will need to stay focused on eating healthy. Should be doable.

Have a great week. Take care

Friday, June 06, 2008

Water for Elephants

You've all heard the line of bull that addicts need to "hit the bottom" before they can start the recovery process. I've never bought into that circular argument, since the "lowest" point of any process is, by definition, the bottom; but, I certainly felt like I bottomed out on Monday. I stepped on the scale and nearly fell off when it read: 201.5.

And like any good former addict, I'm off the juice; or more correctly, I'm off my one-man-attempt to consume 1/2 the calories in the known world. I am now on the path to righteousness. Back to sensible eating and water; lots and lots of water. Every time my tiny brain says SNACK, I fill up my 40 oz cup with ice and water (no wasteful bottled water for me) and literally quench the desire. I'm going through 100 ozs a day; nothing dangerous; just a well hydrated runner.

Cheers.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Week in Review

My first 5K in forever took a lot out of my legs this week. I got in a few short runs, but was sluggish and never really got going. I expect that to change next week.

The heat is on here in Phoenix as we officially start the summer season. So what's new! It's late May and I'm living on a desert. Just have to deal with it.

Really awesome people:

Michele - Ran a great half-Iron Man today. Check out her race report
Thomas - Taking on yet another Marathon on Monday. I expect he'll crush the course.
Grellan - Running same race as Thomas. Since Grellan is much closer to my age, I'm pulling for Grellan to win.
German Fernandez - No idea who this kid is, but he ran a 4:00 (as in minutes) 1600m in the California State Track Championships. He also broke the national High School record in the 3200 2 hours later - running an 8:34. And I was wiped out for days after one slow 5K.

Week in Review

Peak Weight - 198 lbs
Running - 19.2 Miles in 5 Runs
Biking - 40.3 Miles in 4 Rides
Cities - 2 (Manhattan Beach, CA; Phoenix, AZ)