Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sof Sole product reviews

Sof Sole is a company dedicated to making feet happy. And I must say, my feet are happy. A couple weeks ago, I received some products to test out and review. After a multiple runs in each of the products, I have come to the conclusion that Sof Sole rocks. I liked some of the products better than others, but overall, I am quite impressed with their products.

Let's start with the socks. I tried out the Cushion and the Lite performance socks. Both pairs of socks were great. The quality of each is by far superior to the cheapos I got from Target and Wal-Mart. I've worn running socks throughout the day before, and I've noticed that after a few hours, my feet start feeling damp and icky, but I didn't have that problem with either of the Sof Sole socks. I preferred the Cushion over the Lite mainly because I like a little more to a sock. The Lites were very thin and, well, light. I also like the fit of the Cushions better. You can't really tell from the picture, the Lites were actually quite a bit bigger than the Cushions. Both were size 7-10.5, but I think the Lites were closer to the 10.5 end of the range (I wear a size 9).

Overall, I give both pairs of socks two thumbs up. Would I buy more? That's a tough question because I am a cheapskate. $10 for two pairs of socks is probably a little more than I'd like to spend. But, I think that price is pretty comparable to other high quality performance socks. Would I like some more? Most definitely.

Next up, the insoles. I received the Adapt and the Athlete insoles. Both were classified and maximum cushioning, which really appealed to me with my recent knee injury and preference for cushy shoes. I was really excited to try the Adapts because, come on, how often do you get to throw something like an insole in the oven? They are heat moldable for a customized fit. Unfortunately, of all the products I tested, I was least pleased with these. I followed the directions exactly, but they didn't seem to mold to my feet very well. There was much more arch support than I needed, and honestly, they weren't very cushy. I think I'll try throwing them in the oven again and give it another go. But, for the $30 price tag, I don't think I would recommend these very highly.

Sorry for the negative review on those Sof Sole, but I really couldn't be happier with the Athlete insoles. These were so nice! From my first steps in them, I felt like I was walking on a cloud. These definitely are maximum cushioning. The arch support was perfect, and the fit couldn't have been better. These are a little heavier than the adapts, but still very light. And that slight difference is so worth it when you factor in the comfort level. After trying out the Adapt, these are back in my shoes, and are likely to stay for a long time. Anyone know how many miles you can go on an insole before needing to replace it? I'd say that these are well worth the $20 price tag if you are looking for a comfy and cushy insole.

One final observation I had about the insoles, both the Adapt and the Athlete, was that they both fit perfectly into my shoes. That was really cool because I didn't need to worry about trimming them. But, I wear a size 9, and the size range is 9-10.5. They must have been trimmed before they were sent to me, but I have not received confirmation that that is the case. So, if you are planning to buy some, be sure to check the size.

I really appreciate Sof Sole for allowing me to review their products. It was really fun trying out something new, and awesome to find some products I am likely to stick with. Sof Sole, if you'd like me to try out more of your products, I'd be more than willing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rain and Reminiscing

It doesn't rain in Phoenix too often, but today it was coming down pretty hard. We were out running some errands (in the car, not on foot), and I started thinking of how much fun it would be to go for a run in the rain. Lani couldn't quite understand that, but I really started running while I lived in Washington state, so running in the rain was a normal occurrence. I have a lot of good memories with the cross country team in Washington.

The whole time we were out, I was hoping it would still be raining when we got home. I was a little disappointed when we walked out of the store and saw patches of blue up in the sky. But by the time we got home, it was sprinkling again. I ran upstairs an threw on some running clothes and headed out. It was now a little more than a sprinkle, and I was already getting pretty wet. But I was loving it. I remembered running the "Bridges" in Bremerton. It was usually pretty windy out on the bridges, and if there was a strong enough headwind, our fronts would be completely drenched, but our backs almost completely dry. Fun times.

I ended up doing a little over 3 miles. I was surprised that I was able to run 7:30 miles too. Not bad for basically taking 2 months off. I walked back in the house to hear "Daddy, you're wet!" Yes I was. Just like old times.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Trim up the tree

Every year, Lani and I have exchanged Christmas ornaments. Some have been store-bought, but most have been homemade. For some reason, most of the ones Lani has given men have been related to running. We try to make our ornaments meaningful in some way. Lani always has very awesome and creative ideas. This year, she did not disappoint. Her ornament for me commemorates two running accomplishments this year. I'm not sure what they're called, but she took some little glass rock-type things, glued some magazine cut-outs to the back, and strung them together on a ribbon for an absolutely incredible finished product. One side commemorates my running the Boston Marathon, and the other side commemorates my running a 4:59.95 mile.I had yet to make Lani a running ornament, simply because she had never done much running. However, this year, Lani really got into it. She'd often get up wicked early to meet her friends for a run. Even now at 5 months pregnant, she is still running. So to commemorate her new life as a runner, I made this:I used the same idea with the glass rock thingys, and used paper clips to sculpt a little pregnant runner (that's a picture of Lani's face and a cartoon picture of a fetus behind the glass). I'm pretty proud of my creation.

On a different Christmas/running note, we recently went to a Christmas party where Santa was on hand, and my oldest asked for--get this--running shoes! How cool is that?!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sof Sole

A couple weeks ago, I was contacted by Rachel from Sof Sole asking if I'd be interested in testing out and reviewing some of there new products. I've always been a little jealous of other bloggers who have gotten free products to review, so I jumped on the chance. This week I got this in the mail:Some sweet moisture-wicking socks and a couple pairs of cushy insoles.

The Adapt insole molds directly to your foot. You actually throw it in the oven for a couple minutes, put it right in your shoes, stand in them for a couple minutes, and you have an insole custom made for your foot. Doesn't that sound cool? I haven't done this yet, but I am totally looking forward to it.

The Athlete insole is super soft. I just put them in my shoes tonight and walked around a little bit. They feel great. I always go for cushioning shoes when buying running shoes, so I think these insoles are right up my alley.

The Cushion and the Lite performance socks are some pretty fancy socks. This is one area where I've never been picky. I have always gone for the cheapo moisture wicking socks. So it will be interesting to see how these socks compare.

This weekend marks the start of my Christmas break (I've got 3 weeks off!). I am planning to start running again since my knee is feeling pretty good. I've also got some hikes planned in the next few weeks. Perfect testing grounds for these products. Expect to see some reviews over the next several weeks.

And thanks again to Sof Sole for letting me test this stuff out!!

UPDATE: Here is my review.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

White elephant gifts!

After the treat I got last year, I just had to get in on this year's Runner's Lounge white elephant gift exchange (this week's Take it and Run theme).

Not many of us like running in the rain, right? Coming home from a run all sweaty is bad enough. Who wants to get completely soaked as a result of a workout in the rain? Here is the perfect solution... The Umbrella Headband!!Not only does this baby feature a comfortable, chic, and uncumbersome large diameter shield from the rain, it comes fully equipped with a state of the art, sweat-absorbing headband! What could be better? Now you can head out for your daily run, rain or shine, and not have to fear the elements.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pregos represent!

By Lani

So my fetal son participated in a women's race last Saturday. Turns out he actually wasn't the only male. But that's not what this post is about. Ax Jr. may not have been the only male, but I am fairly certain I was the only pregnant runner. I looked around me all through the race and afterward and didn't see any other tell-tale baby bumps. (Granted there could have been several ladies with peanut-sized children in their wombs, but how could I know?) Where are all the pregnant runners?

I was flipping through some of our old Runner's World magazines today and saw a little blurb (November 2007) where a pregnant runner complained, "My doctor gave me the green light to run while pregnant, but other people--even runners--look at me like I'm doing something wrong." I've never been the recipient of any dirty looks, but plenty of incredulous comments. When I told my brother-in-law I ran a race, his response was, "In your condition?!" A hardcore female running friend ran through all her pregnancies but thought I was some combination of brave and crazy to do actually run a race. Is it really that strange?

Recent research has demonstrated the benefits of prenatal exercise and health experts now encourage pregnant women to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. Personally, I'm nowhere near that, though I wish I had that kind of motivation. Which is why I signed up for a race... to motivate myself to get out the door.

I've been running off and on throughout this pregnancy, and I do plan to continue as long as I can. You know... I'd really like to see more pregnant race participants. If pregnant runners don't get out there and race with those baby bumps, the concept will continue to seem taboo. Let's show ourselves and the world that we can most definitely run "in [our] condition!"

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My first race report

Posted by Ax junior.

This morning, I participated in my first race. Mommy ran the Tempe Iron Girl 5k (an all women's race), but she sneaked me in. And as far as I could tell, I was the only runner in the "in utero" division. That's gotta be pretty good for a 1st place in my first ever race! It's really no surprise though, considering how much I've been working out. Mom says it feels like I'm kicking her all day long. Little does she know that I'm just getting ready to leave my parents in the dust when I get out.

The race took place at the Tempe Town Lake. Mommy and I cruised along both sides of the lake and across a couple bridges and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise. Daddy and my big sisters waited for us at the finish and cheered us on down the final stretch.

After we finished, my sisters and I were given some annoying little ducks from the race sponsor. All day long I've been hearing "Aflac, Aflac, Aflac!" Hopefully they won't be working anymore by the time I get out of here, if they don't get "lost" before then.

I'm looking forward to my next race with mom. Maybe something with a little less pink.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

An unexpected running partner

Happy Thanksgiving!!

It's definitely not easy to go without running when you have an injury. The knee has been feeling OK, so I was tempted to give it a try this week. Lani and the girls have been out of town :-(, so Boston (our little dog) has been home alone while I go to work. I was feeling sorry for him, so I decided to take him for a long walk just to get him outside. I really needed some fresh air too, and a little bit of exercise. So, out we went. We had only made it around the corner when Boston started trotting along, pulling on the leash. What's a guy to do, especially when he is looking for an excuse to run? Up the road, and down the bike path we went. He was really moving along. Then I got to thinking, "Dude, Boston, you're just a little Shih Tsu. You weren't made for running distances." So, I slowed him down to a walk. Not much longer after that, he wanted to go some more. Who am I to stop a puppy from having a little fun after being so alone all day long? We ended up jogging/walking about a mile and a half. It was great! It felt so good to be moving again. The knee held up just fine, but it still doesn't feel quite right.

The next day, we did it again, and we actually ran most of the way. This time, I noticed my knee a bit more. I've come to the conclusion that it is not my ITB. Feeling around, I was finally able to pinpoint the location of discomfort. Up until now, it has just been general discomfort on the outside of my right knee. It is most sensitive right on the top of the head of my fibula. What could have caused that? The only thing I can think of is over training. I'm kind of wondering if it is a stress fracture, but a stress fracture on the fibula is very rare as it is not really a weight bearing bone. It might also have something to do with my lateral collateral ligament, which connects to the fibula, but damage to this ligament is usually caused by something hitting the inside of the knee, pushing it outward. I'm pretty sure nothing like that happened. So, I'm don't really know what's going on. Any ideas? I should probably go have it checked out, huh?

With Lani out of town, I didn't have to worry about feeling guilty about leaving her home this morning getting Thanksgiving dinner ready (don't worry, I've got a couple brothers and a sister-in-law coming over for dinner, so it won't just be me and Boston). I decided to volunteer at another local race. This was the Thanksgiving Day Classic, a 5k and a 10 mile run. It was raining pretty hard last night, and it was still raining when I got up this morning, so I was a little worried for the runners. But just in time for the start, it had started clearing up and the sun began to peak through the clouds. They had me working the registration table again. I'm getting quite a lot of experience there. I think I'd really like to work a water station sometime. Maybe another time.

Anyways, I hope you all have a nice Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Turkey Trot & Dairy Air Dash Volunteer Report

A few weeks ago, I thought to myself, "Maybe my knee will be well enough by then to run this race." I ended up deciding that I didn't want to risk anything, so I thought to myself, "Maybe I'll volunteer for this race." I was also thinking that this race was going to be on the day of Thanksgiving since it is a "Turkey Trot." As it turned out, it was the weekend before, and I had already made plans to go on a campout with the boy scouts, so the volunteering was out of the question. Well, earlier this week, I found out that the campout had to be canceled. Bummer. I was looking forward to that. Then, with other things going on, I had forgotten about the Turkey Trot until last night as I was getting into bed. Then I thought, "I'm gonna go and volunteer." So I set my alarm and got up early and headed over to the race to offer up my services.

It was a pretty small race (maybe 50-60 runners), so there were already plenty of volunteers. But hey, the more the merrier, right? I was able to help out at the registration table handing out shirts and goodie bags. I was surprised to see how many people from church I saw there for the race. It was pretty cool to see all their friendly faces. After the 5k started, I was given the task of timing the 1 mile fun Runners--all 2 of them. Once they finished, I went over to the 5k finish and cheered everyone on as they crossed the line. I was kind of surprised to see the first place finisher come in just under 23 minutes. I'm used to seeing the winners of 5ks coming in around 15 minutes. Seeing that made me wish I had run the race. Next year, for sure.

This was another great opportunity to help out in the community. This injury has helped me to give a little back to running. I've really enjoyed helping out at these races. I'm planning on another Turkey Trot next week (actually on Thanksgiving Day), and I also signed up to help out at the expo for the Arizona RNR Marathon in January. For those of you running that race, I'll be there Saturday morning. I'm not sure yet what they'll have me doing, but I'll fill you in on the details as it gets closer.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Boy, oh boy!

You may remember this post from a couple months ago. Yesterday, we got this:Looks like our new little runner will be competing in the men's division, and we are stoked! I'm no longer going to be the only male in the house. Boys are a little scarce on my side of the family. In fact, until this last summer when two boys were born, my parents only had one grandson out of the then 11 grandkids. We are all thrilled. I can't wait to get him in some running shoes and give him his very own headband. It's going to be so much fun seeing him run around with his big sisters.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Silver lining?

This knee injury of mine has given me quite the roller coaster ride. I've had this injury for over a month now, but the ups and downs have mostly come today.

I don't even know what is wrong with it. It's not very painful at all, but the discomfort I feel never stays in one place. It started out on the outside of my knee, and since then, I have felt discomfort all the way around the knee cap. But never all at once. At first I thought it was my ITB causing trouble, then I started wondering about a stress fracture, then maybe it was a damaged ligament. I'm just not sure.

This week has been great for running though. The knee had seemed to be getting better, so I tried running on Tuesday, and I had a tremendous run. No pain at all. Getting back to my routine, I went for another run on Thursday. It felt a little sore for the first half mile, but after that it felt totally fine. Later that day, it felt a little sore, though. Today, I went for a really easy jog with Lani and our girls. There wasn't any real pain, but it just doesn't feel right.

While we were running, I started thinking about my running plans. I was thinking about a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving weekend, and the LA Marathon in February. Those are both likely out of the question as I will now be giving myself some more time off. As much as I want to run that marathon, I also want to run a marathon when I'm 80, and I don't want to jeopardize my future running life. I need to take care of this body as it's the only one I've got.

I started feeling a little depressed when I logged my run this morning. I guess it was sinking in that I won't be doing much running for a while. Winter is the best time to run in Arizona, and I will have to miss a good chunk of it.

While Lani and I were cooking dinner tonight, I tried thinking positively about this injury. I've always wanted to do a triathlon, but I love running too much to take time away to ride a bike or swim. Maybe this injury will cause me to pick up these other sports. I'm likely to go crazy if I can't run, so I'll need to have something to focus my energy on. And maybe when I do start running again, I'll be more likely to cross train on my non-running days, which will in turn improve my running.

I got one of those Marathon Pace Bands from the Runner's Lounge in the mail the other day. Turns out the wrong one was sent to me (if you are one of the other winners, let me know if you got the wrong one, and we can make an exchange). However, the quote on it is very relevant, and helped me see the bright side.
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." ~Albert Einstein.
Pretty good timing, huh?

The other night, I was talking to Lani about what I'd like to accomplish next summer. I want to focus on my speed again. I'd like to break 5 minutes in the mile again, and then aim for 2 miles in under 11 minutes. Heck, if I'm doing that, it's just another 6 minute mile for a sub 17 minute 5k. That seems pretty doable when I look at it that way. Maybe this time off and cross training will make this more likely, and then next fall/winter I can kick out my 3 hour marathon.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy run

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting much lately. That's mostly because I haven't been running much. In the last month, I've run maybe 4 or 5 times. My knee has really been frustrating me. I couldn't resist the temptation any longer, so I went for a short run on Saturday. I made it about 2 miles before I started noticing some discomfort. To play it safe, I walked most of the way balk home. I gave in again this morning. I got up planning to just run 2 miles. I headed out to a familiar loop in my neighborhood. I had actually done this loop several weeks ago as part of a tempo run, and I think I must have had that in my head, because I went out pretty quickly. And let me tell you, it felt sooo good to be moving again. I ran those two miles pretty hard, and felt no pain whatsoever. I really wanted to run some more, but thought I'd better stick with two. I ended up doing those 2 miles in 13:09, which eased my worries about how much conditioning I had lost over the last month. I wasn't intending to go so fast, but it just felt so good to be out there like my old self again.

Oh, and it was actually cold enough this morning to wear my long sleeved Boston Marathon race shirt for the first time on a run. It was a happy day. :-)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

YMCA Half Marathon & 5K (Volunteer) Report

I've never written a volunteer report before. This was my first time volunteering for a race. I've wanted to do one for a long time, but never got around to doing it. So, I was excited to have this opportunity, even though I had to get up super early. I was assigned to the race-day registration table. It was kinda fun to be on the other side of the table. I got to meet a lot of people, including fellow RBF, Pat. We didn't have much opportunity to talk because there were a lot of people registering, but he seemed like a real nice guy. After he walked away, I thought, "I should have gotten a picture with him." Maybe next time.

When it was time for the half marathon to begin, I happened to be bringing some supplies over and got to see the unique start. Wyatt Earp, complete with shotgun started the runners. With a BANG, they were off. It was pretty cool to see all those runners fly by! Something I'd never experienced before. I've always been one of those runners.

My next assignment was to keep the 5K runners in order as they crossed the finish line. I really enjoyed seeing the runners cross the finish and be the first to congratulate them. This didn't last too long as I was given a new assignment of running the results over to the results board. After my first run over, I was given the new assignment of official timer. And I spent the rest of my time clicking a button when the participants finished. That doesn't sound too exciting, but I really had a good time seeing everyone as they reached the finish. It was interesting to observe them. Some were completely exhausted, some were as thrilled as can be, some were relieved it was over. There were families running together. I think the youngest finisher (not in a stroller) was 5 years old. And I was surprised to see how many people were running with their dogs! I guess the "Family 5K" includes pets.

Volunteering was so much fun! There really is a lot going on that we don't really see as runners. The amount of work it takes to organize, set up, direct, take down, etc. etc. is incredible. I really respect the race directors and everyone behind the scenes for doing what they do for runners. Race day must be a crazy day for them. This was a great experience, and I can't wait for another opportunity to volunteer again. I highly recommend it!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Non-running running happenings

I haven't done much running in the last few weeks due to my knee. I'm not sure what's wrong, but I'm playing it on the safe side, and I'm starting to get that itch to get back out there. Even though I'm not doing a whole lot of running, I am still doing running related stuff. So, here's what I've been up to.

The cross country season is almost over. Our last meet is on Tuesday. It has been fun for me and for most of the kids, but I think we'll all be glad when the season is over. This season has had different challenges than last year. I had a lot more kids turn out, but a lot of the kids weren't really into it. I don't know how many times I heard "I don't feel like running today." That's a little frustrating, especially coming from some of the faster kids on the team. But for the most part I have enjoyed coaching again.

I got my Stick in the mail on Monday (thanks, Tom!), and I am loving it! I got the Original Body Stick. I have been using it multiple times a day on my legs, shoulders, and back. After every use, my muscles just feel light and energized. I just wish I could go run and see how it's helping. I've been hoping to see some benefit for my knee. We'll see how it goes.

I decided to volunteer at a race this weekend. If I can't run it, I might as well volunteer and get involved somehow, right? I've always wanted to volunteer at a race, so this should be fun. It's the YMCA Half Marathon and 5k at South Mountain, here in Phoenix. I'll be helping with registration and at the finish. I've already talked to Pat, who will be running it, but if anyone else will be there, stop on by the registration table. I'd love to meet some RBFs in real life. I'll post about my experience sometime this weekend.

I'm getting kinda jealous reading all the race reports that my RBFs have been posting the lately. It's a lot of fun reading how your races have gone, but I wish I had my own share of race reports to post. But alas, it is not my time. I'll continue reading, and hopefully get back into running really soon, and have something to report on in the near future. Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Seen any good movies lately?

Hey everyone. I need your help. In order to keep my cross country kids motivated to keep working hard this season, I set up a points system and promised them a movie if they earned enough points. This has worked pretty well. At least once a week I have kids asking how many points they have or how many more they need. The season is winding down, and I still need to pick out a movie for them. I need some help selecting a movie. Here are my criteria:
  • The kids are 6th and 7th graders, so to play it safe, I'd like a PG movie. 
  • It would be cool to have a running-related movie, but not necessary.
  • The movie can only be about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or have some parts we can easily skip.
I'm planning to ask the kids for ideas, but I'd love your help if you have any ideas. Thanks!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Believe and you will achieve

I'm not sure where that line comes from, but that is the theme of my contribution to the Runner's Lounge Take it and Run Thursday. The theme for this week is running quotes and sayings.

Over the last few years, I have really become a believer in the power of believing that I can accomplish something great. Not just in running, but in life as well. Your attitude and the way you view yourself and approach your goals is a strong determining factor in your success.

I've been receiving the Runner's World Quote of the Day emails for a year or two now, and I love it. It's so cool to open my email and read something positive and inspirational. Occasionally, I "star" and email that I especially like. Coincidentally (?), all but two have been along the lines of believing in what you are capable of. I've assembled here some of my favorites.

"Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance."
-Bruce Barton

"Thus I urge you to go on to your greatness if you believe it is in you. Think deeply and separate what you wish from what you are prepared to do."
-Percy Cerutty

"Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success."
-Dr. Joyce Brothers

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."
-Lou Holtz

"I've always taken the philosophy that you have to dream a little in this sport. If you stay in your comfort zone, you're not going to do anything special."
-Deena Kastor

"On Saturday night, I said to myself, 'Are you ready to deal with a victory?' I decided I was."
-Joan Benoit on her thoughts prior to the 1984 Olympic Marathon

"A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory."
-Arthur Golden

"Anything is possible, but you have to believe and you have to fight."
-Lance Armstrong

"Don't listen to negative influences. Believe in yourself, and show others what you can do. Only "you" can find your potential."
-Marla Runyan

"Training is principally an act of faith. The athlete must believe in its efficacy: he must believe that through training he will become fitter and stronger."
-Franz Stampfl

"Obstacles are those frightening things that become visible when we take our eyes off our goals."
-Henry Ford

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ode to my headband

Last night, I was about ready to file a missing person's report. Well, I suppose it would have been more of a missing headband's blogpost. You see, I had been neglecting my headband and one day about a week ago, it just disappeared. I had let it go for sometime without getting it in the washer. I should have realized something was amiss when it ceased to soak up my sweat as efficiently as it used to. I thought everything would be ok when I thoughtlessly tossed it in the hamper. A few days later, I did the laundry, and was excited to pull it out of the dryer on the morning of my run. Quickly shuffling through the clothes, I didn't come across it. No problem. I could manage the run without it. Later on, when I was folding the laundry, I still didn't see it. That's when I started to worry. Not too much though, it couldn't be too far. There were still some clothes in the hamper. Maybe it fell a little lower than I thought. It'll turn up in the next wash. Well, yesterday was the next wash, and it still wasn't there! Where could it be? It couldn't just vanish! Could it? Perhaps there was some foul play? I've had that headband since my junior year in high school. We've been through a lot together...

(Commence sentimental music and black and white flashback sequence.)

I bought you for something like 99 cents plus tax at Fred Meyer. It was mostly out of fun with some of the other guys on the cross country team. Little did I know that I'd be the only one to continue wearing one throughout that season and seasons to come.

You came with me on my mission to Germany, although I wasn't able to get much running in.

You were right there with me when I started running again and entered my first race since high school.

You helped me get through my first marathon and stuck with me as I walked the last 8 miles with a knee injury.

You supported me as I came within 2 minutes of qualifying for Boston in my next marathon.

You eventually accompanied me through the streets from Hopkinton to Boston.

You kept me dry during my summer of training for my sub-5 minute mile and were with me on that memorable day.

You have made many a training run more enjoyable with your many absorbent fibers.

(Jump back across time to last night.)

Oh, headband, how I missed you this last week or two. Something had to be done. So last night, I went on a desperate hunt. I looked through the laundry room, under the washer and dryer, in the hamper again, through my daughters' laundry, and even in their sock drawers. With what hope I had left, I went back to my closet and looked on the floor. No luck. Then, without even realizing what I was doing, I was looking behind the hamper, and what to my wandering eyes should appear, my beautiful, trusty old headband... in desperate need of a wash.

So, into the wash with my kids' socks, underwear and tees it went. And this morning, we were once again reunited. Oh happy day!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Change in Plans

A couple weeks ago, I read that the Los Angeles Marathon was purchased by the owner of the Dodgers and the date changed to President's Day. This was great news for me since I don't run on Sundays. There was another marathon I could do someday. I never thought I'd be doing it next year since I was already planning on one in January. That all changed this afternoon (well, the idea came to me last night).

My brother-in-law recently started his own marketing business, and I thought he might be interested in "sponsoring" me. Turns out he was real excited by the idea--enough to pay my registration fee, and provide a way for me to get paid to run. Sweet! I figured L.A., with it's 17,000+ runners and however many thousand spectators, would be a better location to advertise than along the shore of Lake Mead where there would probably only be a handful of spectators (although I still want to do this one the following year). I'll let you know more of the details as we work them out, and how you may be able to get involved as well.

I've heard read some negative comments about the last couple L.A. Marathons. Hopefully, with the new ownership, the race will change for the better, and maybe change the course. I'm also a little relieved that I'll have an extra month and a half to prepare, which will give my knee more time to recover.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My week

Until last night, I was feeling like my current marathon training was going incredibly well. I was surprised at how easy the transition between mile training and marathon training was. All of my runs so far have been really good. And now, with the weather cooling down, there hasn't been a better time for some quality runs.

I got up Tuesday morning for my usual interval session. I stepped out the door and felt the 75 degree air on my skin. It was only 75 degrees! I actually felt a little cold for my warm-up! I loved it! The temps have slowly been declining, but this is a new low. After my warm-up, I proceeded with my workout. For some reason, I was measuring everything in kilometers. I felt like I was in a different country or something. The schedule called for 5x1K intervals at 3:37. It was kinda weird running 1 kilometer. I'd never done that before, but it was kinda fun. The first 2 were right on pace, but the last 3 were all about 10 seconds faster. I headed home feeling like I could probably do a couple more, but thought I'd better get to work.

Thursday I headed out for a 4 mile tempo run. I was glad it was only 4 miles because I had been really tired the last few days. The goal pace was 6:49, and surprisingly, I had no problem staying well under that. It felt great, in fact. The first 2 were just under 6:40, mile 3 was 6:21, and the last one was 5:58! I didn't realize I had picked it up that much. Things are going pretty well.

Yesterday, I headed over to South Mountain. I really wanted to do some hills. South Mountain is one big hill. I ran up to a viewpoint and back down for a total of 13 miles. The uphill miles averaged about an 8:15 pace, and the downhill miles were all around 7:15. I had slowed a little during mile 11 to chat with another runner. He was really friendly, and when he encouraged me to continue on, I felt totally energized. Mile 12 was done in 6:45, and 13 in 6:33. I guess I found that runner's high. I probably could have gone on for a few more miles, but had to get home before Lani started thinking I was dead.

I was feeling a little sore yesterday afternoon, but nothing too concerning considering I just ran 13 miles. I went to a church meeting in the evening, and when I stood up after it's conclusion, my right knee was feeling really uncomfortable. When I got home, I put some ice on it and did some stretching. It felt a lot better this morning, but still pretty sore. I've stretched a couple times today, and that seems to help a lot. I'm planning to take things real easy this week. It's kind of a bummer because I have the week off from work. Perfect for getting some extra runs in. Oh well.

On a related note, I was lucky enough to be selected for The Stick 21-Day Challenge with the Runner's Lounge. I am so excited to try this thing out. I've actually wanted one for some time now. With this latest little injury, now would be a great time to have one, too. Be sure to check out the forums in the Lounge to read about my experience and those of the other runners selected for the challenge. Here's to hoping for positive results.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Updates

Anybody have any idea what to do about this? The band had been coming loose for a while now, but this week that side came off completely. It was really annoying today on my long run taking my splits. Now, for many runners, this would be the perfect excuse to upgrade to a Garmin. As much as I'd like to do that, I really can't afford it. Is there some kind of adhesive that would work to hold it together? Is it worth it? Any help is much appreciated.

Marathon training is going really well. I've been really surprised at how much endurance I've had. I was really worried after my mile training that it would take a long time to work up my miles, let alone running them at a good pace. I've been following the FIRST plan (except for the long run). My interval and tempo runs have been awesome. I haven't had a problem running the prescribed paces. I've actually been able to keep my times well under that pace on all my runs. The long run is a different story. The program started out with a 13 mile long run. The next week had a 15 mile run, and today was supposed to be a 17 miler. That's still a little to much for me, but I am getting there. Last Saturday, I planned to do an 8 mile run at about an 8 minute pace. I ended up doing 9 with a 7:26 average pace, and still feeling like I could do more. Today I planned for 10, with the option of doing 11 (or maybe even 12). This run was a lot harder than last week's. I could tell within the first half mile that it was going to be tough. I still managed to do 11 at a 7:57 pace, but it definitely took more out of me than I was expecting. Overall though, I'm very pleased with my training so far.

Other Updates:
The cross country season is about half over. The middle schoolers I am coaching have made tons of progress. It has been fun to see the improvements. I've got 18 kids this year. That is a huge team compared to the 3 I had last year. We did, however, just have progress reports which made about half the team ineligible with poor grades. Fortunately, they will only miss one meet before they are allowed to come back (if they've gotten their grades up). So, that's good news.

I now have a 5 year old! My oldest daughter had a birthday this week. She's very excited to be five. We had a birthday party for her today. You gotta love the excitement of little children.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who are you?

About 5 years ago, in the school district where I was working, a district employee was out running one morning, and was hit by a car. She ended up being ok, but she was unconscious for about 6 hours. She was not carrying any form of identification, and the hospital and police were therefore unable to notify her family until she came to or was reported missing. Since then, I've been pretty diligent in carrying some form of ID with me when I run.

Over the years, I have tried various means of identifying myself. I used to carry my driver's license with me, but then one day, it fell out of my pocket and I had to retrace my steps to find it in the middle of the road about 2 miles back. I tried carrying a little notecard in my pocket, but this was easy to misplace or forget. I considered purchasing one of those Road IDs, but I'm a cheapskate and I don't what another tan line on my wrist/ankle (I know they have other options, but I'm still a cheapskate). Then last year, I stumbled across a website for military style dog tags. They were perfect for key identifying information, could easily attach to my shoelace, and they were very inexpensive (only $7 for 2!). There were a lot of websites out there, but this is the one I used. Now, with Lani running, and her birthday coming up, I think I'll be making another purchase (shh, don't say anything ;-)).

So, I am wondering what other people use for ID while running. Below is a poll for you to cast your vote:

Speaking of "Who are you?" I added the Followers gadget to my sidebar, if you'd like to declare yourself a Life Strides reader.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

So it begins

After achieving my goal of the running a sub-5 minute mile, several people have asked what I'll be doing next. Should I keep trying to get faster? Could I do 4:50? I don't know. I'd really like to try, but I think that will wait till next summer. I have really been looking forward to training for another marathon. So that's what I've been up to this week. I'm going to follow the FIRST plan and aim to qualify for Boston again. The Running from an Angel Marathon is in 16 weeks (as of last Monday), so this week was week 1. This is how it went:

Tuesday - On the schedule was 3x1 mile repeats at 6:01 pace with 1 minute recovery. Bring it on! I just trained for and ran a 5 minute mile. Three at a 6 minute pace should be cake. First mile... Oops, wrong turn (I was running through the neighborhood). It only took me 3:47, but that turned out to be a 5:30 pace. See, what did I tell ya? Mile two... One minute sure is short! No problem though. Managed to do a full mile this time in 6:02. Whoa, that was harder than I thought. Mile three... That minute seemed even shorter, and the mile felt even longer. I was only able to run a 6:12. How 'bout a nice recovery meal of humble pie?

Thursday - 2 miles easy, 2 tempo miles at 6:34 pace, 2 miles easy. If this run would have been before Tuesday's run, I'd probably have done those easy miles around 7 minutes each, but as I now have a better idea of how different marathon training is compared to mile training, I was sure to do those easy miles really easy. That turned out to be 8:20 for the first two. I was feeling pretty good when the tempo miles started, but knew it was going to be tough. The first mile was just a few seconds slow, but I made up for that on the second and finished 13 seconds ahead of schedule. Then, the last two miles were again at an easy pace.

Saturday - 13 mile long run. No way was that going to happen. Come on, I'm just coming off of a summer of training for 1 mile. I thought I'd be able to do 7, maybe 8 at an easy pace. But, life happens, and I skipped the first long run of the training plan. Lani and I decided that we wanted to get out of the heat of Phoenix for a day, so we packed up the kids and dog and headed up to Flagstaff with my bro and his wife. We spent the day hiking around (most of the time with my youngest on my back). We had a great time in the 73 degree weather at Buffalo Park and the Arizona Snow Bowl. At the end of the day, I was very glad I didn't do that long run before we left. All that hiking with an almost 3-year-old left me pretty worn out and sore. Hopefully, I'll get my long run in this weekend. Here are some pics of our adventure.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

In other happy news...

We've got another little runner on the way. Expect his or her arrival in early April!

The Virtual Mile Race Results

The results are in. Well, most of them. If you have not gotten me your time, just post a comment and I'll add you in.

I want to thank all of you for supporting me in my crazy goal of running a mile in less than 5 minutes. I had been working on this for a long time, and it was awesome to have done it with all of you out there with me. It was neat to see how many of you were motivated to keep working on your speed. This race idea was mostly a selfish attempt to find some extra motivation to cut off those last few seconds. I am thrilled that the race provided some motivation for a lot of you as well.

Without further ado, here are the results.

The women's race was very close. The top three were within 2 seconds of each other.
Marci - 6:56 Pleased with the sub-7.
Marcy - 6:58 Nearing the puke threshold.
Makita - 6:58 Stagecoach Robbery
Kara - 7:24 Racing solo is just no fun.
Nikemom - 7:42 After 90 minutes of running.
MCM Mama - 7:45 First time ever under 8 minutes.
Linden - 8:19 Great way to start a taper.
Merrymishaps - 8:35 "No new personal record, but I had a good run, anyway!"
Beth - 8:48 First virtual race and a near PR.
S - 9:05 "I ran it surprisingly fast (for me at least)."
Runnin' Ragged - 9:09 "I'm happy with it."
Michelle J - 9:24 "I’m a freakin running machine!!"
Lani - 9:34 Says her run was just an afterthought, but she was an incredible support.
Nancy - 10:07 Harley's, paratroopers, and she is definitely a runner!
J~Mom - 10:08 Post-dinner, pre-tri try.
Crankygirl - 10:12 What's 12 seconds?
Carly - 10:55 Celebrating the first day of school.
Pokey - 11:05 11 minute, 5 second lesson about herself.
(The Happy Runner gets an honorable mention for doing .71 miles in 4:44.)

There weren't any close finishes on the men's side, but exciting nonetheless.
Reid - 4:59 I did it!
Nitmos - 5:35 Garmin (p.b.t.n.) vs. Common sense (sorry Nitmos, had to go with the 4 lap time).
(The other) Reid - 5:50 Great name, great mile.
Maximus - 6:00 6 Minute Mile Man
Rob - 6:17 Fastest mile time so far.
Marci's "Hubs" - 6:23 Not shabby, considering he didn't run all summer.
ShoreTurtle - 6:46 Looking forward to more.
Greg - 7:44 Fast first mile threw off the rest of his 5k.
USJogger - 7:48 "Just shy of 5 minutes."
SuperDave - 8:02 "I'm always a day late and a dollar short!"
Pat - 10:14 "Roger Bannister would have been proud."

Thanks again to everyone for participating. And let me know if I missed anyone!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oh my goodness...

After my last 1 mile attempt 2 weeks ago, I was bound and determined to reach my goal for this virtual race. Each workout over the last 2 weeks has been on the track, and each one was better than the previous one. From these workouts, I gained so much confidence for this attempt at the 5 minute mile. Add to this the incredible support I have received from all of you, there was no way I couldn't do it! Today was going to be the day.

Just after 7:00 AM, I headed over to the track with Lani and the girls for the big event. It was nice to have some company on my warm-up in the form of three beautiful girls. After my regular mile warm-up jog and some stretching, I headed to the starting line. I felt a little awkward with my own personal cheering section, but once I got started, it was all business.

I started out a little faster than planned (what's new?). My quarter mile split was a little faster than usual at 1:09. I knew I wouldn't be able to keep that pace up, but I couldn't afford slowing too much. Lap 2 flew by with a split of 1:17, putting me at 2:26 at the half (this was faster than I have been able to do any of my 800m repeats). With that time, I knew I was in a good position at this point. My third lap was a little slower, with a split of 1:20, but my total time was 3:46. All I had to do for the last lap was a 1:14 or better, and I have been able to do that in all of my recent attempts. However, I have never been anywhere near 3:46 after 1200m. I started picking up the pace, but with each step it became harder and harder to maintain. With a half a lap to go, I was still right on schedule. It was going to be close. I started my final kick and with 100m to go, I was sprinting all out. I could see my family at the finish cheering and ready for a picture. All I could think about was getting to that line. I stopped my watch as I crossed the finish and slowly looked down...











4:59.95!

Almost collapsing to the track, all I could do was smile at Lani and say, "I did it!" [After which he proceeded to throw his long, glistening arms around me for a victory embrace. It was the sweatiest, most marvelous hug I've ever received! -Lani]

I did it. It feels so incredible to have reached this goal. Oh my goodness, it was so hard. It took so much hard work, and focus, and dedication, but I did it! I love seeing that "4" as the first digit. But more than that, I feel so blessed and honored to have so many of you pulling for me and supporting me in this crazy goal. It has been so cool to see and read about your experiences and your commitment and your goals. So, thank you! We did it!

iMovie created by Lani for this historic day...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

Labor Day, for me, was very laborious. I work with the youth organization at church, and we had a service project on the nearby Indian reservation helping clear out tons of weeds from someone's backyard. We had about 5 young men and a few other leaders helping out. We had a good time and got tons done.

In the last couple weeks we've had several storms that have brought a lot of rainfall, which has brought about tons of our own weeds. So when I got home this morning, I headed out to make a dent in our backyard. After a few minutes, I couldn't help but notice how quiet it was working by myself compared to working with the young men. I decided to go back in and grab the iPod to keep me company. That definitely helped make the job easier and the time pass a little more quickly. It also got me thinking about running (even though I don't run with my iPod too often), and, as sick as this sounds, looking forward to doing long runs again. I'm planning for a marathon in early January, and will start training for it next week. It'll be nice to have some different scenery besides the football field and bleachers at the track. I'm looking forward to running up and down South Mountain, along the canals, and on the streets again. Not doing speedwork 3 times a week, and running at an easier pace.

I've really enjoyed training for the mile, but my preferred distance is the marathon. I have grown to love going to the track, something I'd only rarely done in my training for any of my previous races. I'll definitely be returning as I train for the marathon, and hopefully, I'll see some benefits from all the speedwork I've done this summer.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Announcing the 1 Mile Virtual Race

That's right folks. Forget about those looong 8 mile, 9 mile and 10k virtual races that another blogger puts together. It's time for a short virtual race! I have been working on breaking the 5 minute barrier, and I'd love to do it with all of my running blogging buddies.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. So many of you have been such a wonderful source of encouragement in this quest of mine. It only seems fitting that we experience this milestone together. All you have to do is run 1 mile as fast or as slow as you want anytime between September 1st and 7th. You are welcome to write a race report about your own mile. Then just leave a comment once you've finished. You know the drill.

Feel free to snag the logo for your blog or the widget countdown in my sidebar. I'd really appreciate you spreading the word and getting this race out there.

So please let me know if you'd like to participate and kick out this monumental mile with me. This will be so amazing knowing I've got all of you out running with me. Let's break through that barrier together!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mile Attempt #12 slash Race report slash Virtual Mile Challenge

If you haven't noticed already, the countdown to my 1 Mile Race is complete. Lani, the girls, and I drove down to Tucson, the land of Lani's nativity, yesterday afternoon. It was a nice trip. The weather was great (about 15 degrees cooler than Phoenix), and there were beautiful mountains which made us a little homesick for Utah Valley. We got to see the neighborhood and house where Lani spent the first couple years of her life, but the purpose of the trip was the race. I was feeling really good, despite the fact that I helped with a church service project that morning clearing out tons of weeds for a community garden, and then trimming the tree in our own front yard. I was also feeling very confident and rested after an easy week.

We got to the track around 5:30, got registered, changed into my running attire, and started watching the other age group races unfold as I waited for my heat. The youngest group was first, and then they continued from the oldest down to the high school age kids. There were some pretty impressive runners out there. It was fun to watch. As the time passed, and my race grew closer, I started running some laps to warm up and check out my competition. Although my real competition was the clock.

By the time my race was to begin, it had gotten pretty dark. The stadium lights were on, producing a sort of erie green glow from the football field, and leaving the world outside the track in darkness. We were called to the line, and the race began. I jumped right out to the front, and by about 200m I couldn't hear the footsteps behind me. I was hoping there would be someone sticking with me to help push the pace. As I completed the first lap, I saw Lani and the girls on the infield cheering me on, and heard the the time of 1:15 called out. Right on schedule, I thought. Things were looking good. It was during the second lap that I noticed my mouth was really dry. I thought I had been drinking plenty of water throughout the day, but maybe I needed more. I didn't feel like I was slowing down much though. But when I finished lap 2, I was at 2:37. If I was going to beat 5 minutes, I'd need to pick things up a bit. I still wasn't hearing any footsteps behind me, but I could hear people cheering for other people, so I knew they weren't far behind. Lap 3 was another relatively slow one. I crossed the line at about 4:02 realizing that the 5 minute mile was out of reach. I didn't slow down though. But as I turned onto the back straightaway, my lead was diminishing, and I was passed. He seemed to be flying. I turned on the juice, determined not to let him blow me away. With about 150m to go, I was sprinting all out. My fastest finish ever. But it wasn't enough. I crossed the finish line with a time of 5:16. I couldn't believe it. I thought for sure I had been faster than that. I felt like I was definitely going fast enough to at least PR. But, alas. It was not to be. Don't get me wrong, second place is still good, and I had a great time doing it. I was just expecting a little more from myself.

Maybe I had taken too much rest during the week. Maybe I wasn't properly fueled since I'm not accustomed to running in the evening. Maybe it was my altruistic service and yard work out in the sun and heat earlier in the day. Maybe it was that extra 9 meters they added to make it an accurate mile. Who knows? The fact is, I didn't make it, and there will have to be at least one more mile attempt before I start my winter marathon training.

This is where I need your help. I'm going to borrow Nancy's virtual race director's cap (hope you don't mind, Nancy!) and plan a 1 Mile Virtual Race for September 6th, the weekend before I start my marathon program. I suppose you could do "1 on the 1st." That would be Labor Day. Any time that week is cool with me. I know it's pretty short notice, but that 5:16 under my "personal record" heading is a little depressing. I'd love to challenge all of you to a virtual mile to help push me under that 5 minute barrier. So many of you have been a huge support for me and a wonderful source of encouragement. Wouldn't it be awesome to experience it together?! I know I can do it, and I'd love for you to be a part of it. Let me know what you think, and spread the word. I'll try to get a nifty logo made up in the next day or so for you to post on your blogs. Thanks again for your support. I look forward to breaking that barrier with you!

Stay tuned for attempt #13.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I did the hundred!

I didn't really want to post about this because I don't want to sound like I'm bragging or anything, but I've noticed tons of traffic on my sitemeter from the 100 Pushups Challenge website, so I thought I'd better acknowledge it.

Like just about everyone else in Blogland, I jumped on the 100 pushups bandwagon. I've always been pretty good with pushups, and I have a pretty small frame, so I knew I'd be able to get it eventually. When I signed up, I noticed a group of Arizonans doing the challenge, so I joined with them in a sort of virtual support group. I managed 44 on my initial test, and started from there. Weeks 1 and 2 were a challenge, but I made it through pretty easily getting up to 60 by the end of the week. Strangely, I was only able to do 62 on the week 2 exhaustion test. Week 3 was a big jump up, but it wasn't a huge struggle to get the numbers. Then week 4 came along, and I saw huge gains. I ended each workout significantly higher than the previous day. I jumped from 57 to 73 to 87 on the final sets. And the gains I was seeing were not just in the number of pushups I was doing. I noticed that I was starting to get some meat up there in my pecs. That's pretty cool.

Another exhaustion test was scheduled at the end of week 4. I knew I'd was getting close, but I wasn't expecting to be able to do much more than 90. Remember the week 2 exhaustion test? I was only able to do 2 more than my previous max. I was able to make it past 40 without pausing. Then, I started doing 10 at a time. Then 5, then 2. By the time I got to about 70, I could only do one at a time with a short pause and a deep breath between each. I slowly climbed up closer to the magic number. Then past it, all the way to 104 (and about 3/4 of the way to 105). Then I crashed to the floor, and my dog ran over to lick my sweat (he loves it when I get home from a run, too). Once I was able to get myself up off the floor, I went upstairs with a big smile on my face and told my wife.

So now I can proudly display my "I did the hundred" badge. Good luck to the rest of you taking the challenge. You can do it!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mile Attempt #11

Not much to say about today's attempt besides what I need to do to get better. Last time, I was overflowing with confidence. I really believed I'd be able to do it (didn't happen, but I set a new PR), but this week, for some reason, I just wasn't feeling it. My speedwork sessions this week were less than extraordinary. Tuesday's workout was pretty good, but I had to cut it short because I had to get to a meeting before work. I did 6x400m, four of which were at or under 1:15, and I cut my recovery time by about a minute. Thursday, I did 4x800m, and I was really struggling. I wanted to keep them all under 2:30, but was only able to manage one at exactly that time. So, I arrived at the track this morning with much less confidence than I needed. Plus, there were tons of people on the track, including a couple friends from church. Luckily, I didn't have to dodge anybody, but it was worrying me the entire time.

Lap 1 was really good at 1:13, but I wasn't able to keep it up, and slowed to 1:23 for lap 2. I was able to do the third lap only slightly faster at 1:20 and the final lap in a disappointing 1:18. Even though that lap felt faster, it wasn't much of a finishing kick. My final time was 5:14, 5 seconds slower that my last attempt.

So, what do I need to do to get better? First and foremost, I need to believe I can do it. I think my lack of confidence today was my biggest obstacle. If I can see myself achieving my goal, I will be much more likely to do it. A little confidence can go a long way.

I also need to adjust my interval training. I've been doing a lot of 400s at pace, and have gotten pretty comfortable. I've managed to cut my recovery time, but I think I need to do them faster. Maybe around 1:11 or 1:12. The 800s I've done could really use some work. I need to be able to consistently do them in 2:30 or better. Maybe doing some 600s would be a good step up toward the 800s.

I really appreciate the interest many of you have shown in this little quest of mine and the encouragement you have given me along the way. Does anybody have any suggestions for me? I'd love some new ideas!

Say tuned for attempt #12.

Monday, August 11, 2008

8 On The 8th Olympic-sized Race Report

This weekend, I participated in Nancy's Olympic kick-off event, the 8 on the 8th in the 8th month of '08. Like her other virtual races, this was an incredibly fun experience. My run wasn't that great. In fact it was kinda painful. Let's just say that training for a 5 minute mile is not very conducive to running a good 8 miles. I made it through, though, in 1:03:32. Better than the virtual 8 mile race back in December.

Rather than bore you with a report on 8 miles of discomfort, I thought I'd have a little fun with my Mac's iMovie program.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Lifestrides Productions proudly presents a sequential image, stereophonic, multi-media event...

I hope nobody minds that I used your pictures. I wanted to include everyone, but I couldn't find pictures on some of your blogs or you hadn't posted your results before I finished the video, so I apologize if I missed anyone.

If anyone is interested, I uploaded the video to YouTube. Here's a link.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mile Attempt #10

I went to bed last night really believing I could do it this morning. My plan was a little different than my last attempt. Earlier this week, I tried slowing down on my first lap of a 1200m run thinking this would leave me more energy to go faster the following laps. Well, I did slow down for the first lap, but I slowed down even more on the next one. So I scrapped that plan and decided I'd go for a 1:15 first lap, knock the next two down to 1:17, and then if I could run a 1:11 for the last lap, I'd be right at 5 minutes. So simple. It was bound to work.

When I got to the track this morning, I was full of confidence. I had some good carbs for dinner last night, and got to bed relatively early, so I knew today would be a good run. Like usual, though, I started out too fast. My first split was 1:13 (I really need to work on that). I intentionally slowed down for the next lap. Unfortunately, I slowed down more than I wanted. That split was 1:22. I was able to pick up the speed a little on the third lap and cut it down to 1:19. At that point, I knew a 5 minute mile was very unlikely, but I wouldn't give up. I was able to turn in my strongest kick so far and finished with a new PR of 5:09.

Although I didn't make it today, I wasn't disappointed. PRs are always awesome. I was a little surprised that I was only able to go 1 second faster than last time. But improvement is improvement, and I still have time for at least one more attempt before my race on the 23rd.

Stay tuned for attempt #11

6 Word Memoirs

The latest Runner's Lounge Take It and Run Thursday challenge is to create running memoirs using only 6 words. This was a fun challenge. It brought back some good memories, and forced me to get creative. I've put some thought into it and came up with a few. Without further ado, here are some of my running memoirs.

My first marathon:
That really hurt... Gotta do another!
My second marathon (and near BQ):
Forgot my watch. 2 minutes shy.
Boston:
Wow! That was A.Maz.Ing.
My worst running injury:
Don't tease kids by running backwards.
My current quest for a 5 minute mile (see my side bar for more details):
5:09 this morning. I'm nearly there.
Earliest running memory:
My friends call me "Speedy Reidy."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

"Pre"

I guess I'm sort of on a running book kick right now. I've been reading Pre: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine by Tom Jordan, and just finished last night. Like many runners, Steve Prefontaine has been a hero of mine ever since I first learned anything about him. I finally picked up this book about him at the library a couple weeks ago.

I enjoyed reading the book and learning more about this incredible athlete. His ups and downs, his triumphs and disappointments. The author had interviewed many of Pre's friends, acquaintances, and competitors. Much of the book is taken directly from those interviews to provide a unique description of his life and career.

Many people viewed him as cocky and arrogant, but those who knew him described him as very sincere, down to earth, and at times, even lacking confidence. He was a fierce competitor from his high school days, to the Olympics and college, to his last race in 1975.

Although a good book, I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as another book I recently read. It was informative and interesting to read the words of those who knew Pre, but it lacked the excitement I was expecting. If you want to learn more about Pre, this is a great book, but if you're looking for more entertainment, I'd check out the film Without Limits.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Marathon Plans

Over the last week or so, I have really been looking for a winter marathon to train for. Locally, there aren't many possibilities as most are on Sundays, and I don't run on Sundays. I started looking in southern California since my brother lives in LA, and there were a few Saturday marathons, but not really at convenient times of the year. Yesterday, I thought I'd check Nevada since I have a sister near Vegas. A quick search on MarathonGuide.com led me to discover a new racing company called Calico Racing, and they have organized several races around Las Vegas, and most of them are on Saturdays!

They have the perfect marathon for me. It's called the Running From An Angel Marathon, run along the western edge of Lake Mead, and it is on January 3, 2009. Don't ask me where the name comes from. I haven't figured that out yet. This will be the second running of the event. Reasons for me to run this:
1. It's on a Saturday.
2. The drive wouldn't be too bad. Vegas is about 5 hours from PHX.
3. It's got raving reviews on Marathon Guide. All are 4.5-5 stars. The organization, the scenery. It sounds like a great run.
4. January 3 is during my Christmas break. Granted it is the last weekend of the break, but otherwise, it's great timing.
5. It is a Boston Qualifier. That'll have to wait until 2010, though.
6. We'd get to see my sister and her family who are only about 30 minutes from the start. And I'd imagine she'd let us stay with her.
7. Last year's winner finished in 3 hours 22 minutes. I'm thinking I could be ready for a sub-3 hour marathon by then. Hmmm...
All in all, this looks like it will be an awesome race. I am looking forward to training for another marathon. I can't wait to run it!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

What have I done?

And what am I doing?

This week's Take It & Run Thursday at the Runner's Lounge provoked some self-examination of what I have accomplished this year and my goals for the rest of the year.

This last year, I haven't been able to much racing because I had to save my money for our trip to Boston back in April, but that it perfectly fine. I would not have traded that experience for any amount of racing. The Boston Marathon was something I have wanted to do since I first started considering running marathons just over 4 years ago. Running that marathon was such an incredible experience. None of my other marathons can come close to comparing. This was definitely the highlight of my year so far. As of right now, there are no other marathon plans in the very near future, but I am looking for a good one to run this winter. If you know of any good ones run on a Saturday in the southwest, please let me know.

After Boston, I didn't really have any plans or other races in mind, but I wanted to work on my speed in the mile. This idea actually started last September when I watched the film Without Limits for the first time. Inspired by the dedication and drive of Steve Prefontaine, I decided I'd like to break 5 minutes in the mile. This summer I have been seriously working on it, and I am getting very close. You can follow my progress in the sidebar of my blog. Just a couple weeks ago, I came across an organized 1 Mile Race in Tucson, AZ at the end of August. I am really looking forward to testing myself against other runners.

With school starting next week, I am looking forward to coaching the cross-country and track teams at the middle school in the district where I work. Now that I have some coaching experience under my belt, I think this year will be a lot better than last year. Hopefully, I'll be able to pass on some of my knowledge and motivate the kids to have a great season (and hopefully, we'll have more kids come out!).

What to expect for the rest of the year:
- A lot of speed work. I will be breaking that 5 minute barrier in the near future. I hope to build up some more endurance with that speed to then improve my 5k and 10k times.
- Increase my mileage as fall approaches. I would really like to train for a marathon this winter and shoot for a PR. Who knows, maybe with the speed I have built up, a sub-3 hour marathon is possible.

I am really looking forward to my future in running. Working on my speed has been a fun change, and it has been very exciting to see the progress I have made. Achieving goals is extremely motivating. I can't wait to see what else I am capable of.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fun with iMovie

My daughters love to have races around the couches in our living room. As any running father would do, I've properly instructed them in many of the aspects of running and racing. Below, you'll see the product of my training with them, a quality production made on my MacBook's iMovie program.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mile attempt #9

As I was going to bed last night, I was thinking about what I'd like my splits to look like for this morning's attempt. I was planning to run under 5:10, three seconds faster than last time, so I was manipulating the split times in my mind to try to figure out the ideal strategy. I always start out faster than I should, so I was hoping to run the lap in about 1:17. That should allow me to run the second lap in about the same time. I could then allow myself to slow down a second or two for the third lap, and then finish strong with a split of about 1:14. So, when I got up this morning, I was excited to get out to the track and give it a shot.

Remember how I said I always start out to fast? Well, that didn't change today. I ran the first lap in 1:14. I was pretty frustrated with myself because I knew I wouldn't be able to keep that pace up, and had to slow down. Although the second lap was quite a bit slower (1:21), I was only a second off of where I wanted to be at the half. Unfortunately, I was probably a lot more tired that I would have been if I had kept a more even pace, and I did the third lap in 1:22. I'm discovering that I have a decent kick because over my last several attempts, I have been able to consistently, increase the pace. My final split was 1:13. I was definitely pleased that, as fast as the first lap was, my last lap was faster.

So, what do you get when you add up those splits? A new PR, that's what! Final time... 5:10. Exactly what I was aiming for today. Even though I wasn't able to follow my "ideal strategy," I was still able to obtain the desired result.

Stay tuned for attempt #10.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Running talk at church

I think a lot of you already know that I'm a member of the LDS church. For those who are not familiar with this church, we do not have any paid preachers or anything like that. Instead, for every Sunday meeting two or three members of the congregation are asked to prepare a talk beforehand to share with the rest of the ward. Yesterday, Lani and I had a turn to share our thoughts. I figured that since a major part of my talk was about part of my running experience, I'd share it with you. It's kind of long, but I think some of us may be able to relate in one way or another.

We were asked to base our remarks on Matthew 6:24, which says:
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Mammon derives from an Aramaic word for "riches," but I think this could also be translated to worldly possessions and things that often come with them, such as pride, power and prestige. A prophet from the Book of Mormon, named Moroni, describes the effects wealth and pride had on his people:
"... Ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel... For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted... Ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not." (Mormon 8:36-37,38)
God has placed such importance on serving him that he made it his first commandment:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to [graven images], nor serve them..." (Exodus 20:3,5)

We may not overtly worship idols or graven images as many did in Old Testament times, but we can often let things take priority over worshiping and serving God and building his kingdom. Other types of gods include riches, material possessions such as cars, homes, and clothing. There are also intangible things like degrees and titles, or popularity or the "perfect body." Addictions, not just to drugs but to less harmful things like the internet, video games, or sports.

Obviously running is an important part in my life. It wasn't so long ago that it may have held too much importance. I could get up at 4:30 in the morning on a Saturday to go for a run, but I had a hard time getting myself up at 6:30 to read my scriptures before work. I could feel myself drifting farther from God. It was harder to feel his spirit. Admittedly, running had become a god for me. I was serving mammon by following my own self-interests.

When we moved to Arizona last summer, we were coming to a new job with a pretty nice salary, but when I got my first paycheck, we realized that things weren't going to be as comfortable as we thought. It was actually going to be really tight. Through many prayers we received the assurance that God would take care of us if we did our part. We felt our job was to reach out and befriend our neighbors. We were real excited to do this, and we knew that if we did, God would take care of us and provide a way for our temporal need to be met. I knew I needed to change some things about myself and rearrange my priorities in order to be worthy of the promised blessings.

One Sunday morning as I was reading in the book used for the lessons in one of our church meetings, I read the lesson for that afternoon, entitled "Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me." Things started jumping out at me like: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21), and "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33), "these things" referring to food, clothing and basic temporal needs. It wasn't long before I realized what running had become. I knew where my heart was, and I knew I needed to change my priorities, and that if I did so, God would bless me and my family for it. That morning, I made the commitment to myself and to God that I would read my scriptures every day before I went running.

I can tell you that blessings have followed. Personally, I feel more in tune with the spirit of God and much closer to him, and that I am better living up to what he expects of me. We have been able to spend time with our neighbors and get to know them. We have also been tremendously blessed financially. We received checks at very unexpected times (allowing us to make our trip for the Boston Marathon), and I was able to get a very nice raise.

I have truly seen Gods blessings in my life. He has kept his promises. I know I am far from perfect, and that reading in the scriptures every day doesn't make me more righteous than anyone else, but I do feel that it has made a difference in my life.