Sunday, December 27, 2009

Closing out the year

Hail my running brothers and sisters! As a post-script to my last post, I realized that I was close to 1200 miles for the year, so I dug in deep and got those last miles in to reach 1203.1. That's about 100 miles a month on average! By dig deep, I mean that I had to dig past the piles of pigs-in-a-blanket, mini-crab cakes, holiday cookies, pound cake and other food that I love but generally eschew during the year, so that I could shake that lard off my gut and tie my shoelaces to get those miles. It is truly sad that I can battle all year to control my appetite, but lose the war against fat and lethargy in only a few days.

I thought with only a few days left in the year, I would treat myself to some well-earned rest and let my body recover from the years punishment. Of course, I would do some cross-training thanks to my brand-new 20 lb. kettleball that my lovely and patient wife got me this year for Christmas. But when I got on the scale and saw that I had gained 5 more pounds this week, I realized that I can't turn my back on running yet.

Two and half of the miles that I ran were billy-goat miles...i.e. trail miles in Edwin Warner Park. I have done some cross-country mileage in my training for the marathon, but this was the first time that I actually ran a trail route. When I had considered running the trails earlier in the year, everyone had told me that it was more dangerous than road running, because I was likely to twist my ankle or fall flat on my face. Well, I didn't twist an ankle, but I did slip twice. I only fell on my face once, but I quickly recovered and finished my run. Overall it was fun to bolt through the woods, because it reminded me of being a kid and playing tags in the woods near my house. It was hard too. The ascents were steep and the footing unstable enough that I found myself walking to keep my balance and catch my breath. Occasionally I would have to stop and figure out where the heck I was and where the hell was I going, but generally the trails were pretty well marked and easy to follow. Sadly it took more effort to maintain a 10+ minute/mile pace on the trail than it took to run an 8:30 minute/mile pace on the road. Will I do it again? You know it baby! Every chance I get, I intend to get in some trail miles, but realistically, it looks like it would be once a week at best due to my schedule.

This weekend I'll be posting my goals for the New Year, and I'll probably be making some changes to the blog. I'm a firm believer in the idea that you have to shake things up sometimes to keep your training from getting stale. Maybe it's just me but "Run Monkey Boy Run" seems a bit cliched, doesn't it? If anyone has any ideas for a new title, let me know. Thanks for a great year and I'll look for y'all on the starting line next year. Have fun and run hard kids!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Year in review

Hail my running brothers and sisters! This seems like as good of time as any to get in my Year-in-Review. Thanks to the handy-dandy training log at, it appears that I've clocked 1192.1 miles to date with an average pace of 9:22/mile. Not bad for a guy that last year wouldn't have run further than the couch to the kitchen to get a slice of pie or bacon (or both if I was feeling froggy. Hmmm....pie and bacon). I've run 16 races of various distances. My best times being: 21:38-5k, 7:15-10k, 7:11-5 miles, 1:45:31-13.1 miles, and 3:52:31-26.2 miles. I now have 8 pairs of running shoes (2 are trail shoes), and of those 8, I suspect that I will be retiring 2 pairs by the end of spring. As of today, I'm 162 lbs, 14.3% body fat, and 23.4 bmi.

Did I meet my goals for the year?
-Weigh 170 lbs. - Got it. Holding steady.
-Take health more seriously - uh, yeah. Check.
-Run a 25:00 5k - Bingo!
-Run a half-marathon - Bam!

Overall, I've got to say that health and training-wise, my year has been spectacular (despite my recent lag in training). I've exceeded the goals that I set for myself, and I even managed to convert a few people over to my health kick insanity. Maybe the biggest surprise for me is that I ran a marathon this year. I truly believed that I would not be ready to run a marathon until 2010, and honestly I still can't believe that I did it at times.

Looking back, I've learned that if I focus on my goals and work hard, I can reach them. But I've also learned that maintaining those goals takes patience and diligence. It would be easy for me to slide back into those size 40 waist pants if I let myself, but honestly I don't want to be that guy anymore. I hope in some small way that I can serve as an example to my kids that they should take their health seriously also, so that they can be healthy and happy with who they are.

For those of you who were wondering, this is not the end of my journey. A quick glance at the races that I have planned for next year will give you an idea of what I have planned. However, I'll leave next year's goals for my New Year's blog. I hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday! Run hard and have fun kids!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

'Tis the Season

Hail my running brothers and sisters! Ho, ho, ho! Isn't that Tiger's line? That was my cheap shot of the day, but now I'm moving on. 'Tis the Season of giving, yuletide cheer and dammit...little to no running. I will let all those other guys talk about how the holidays are a time of cheer and giving. At Run Monkey Boy Run, I will whine like a spoiled child that I haven't been able to keep up with my training. While this winter has been fairly mild so far, I've found that I'm not very fond of running in the cold. Maybe it has to do with all those layers of clothes weighing me down, but it's usually the cold air burning in my lungs that's the worst. Throw in the short days and lack of sunshine, and that leaves me a very short window of time to get a decent run in during the day. I keep toying with the idea of going to the gym, but the-powers-that-be just closed the YMCA next door to my building! I could run down the street to the newly remodeled Y, but I haven't finished mourning my old standby. Plus the thought of wasting an hour on the dreadmill is...well, just dreadful. So I've decided not to beat myself up for not running everyday this month. I've decided to ignore the fact that I've gained 5 lbs back in unflattering places. And I've decided to just try and enjoy being with my family as I recover and rest up for next year. That way, when January rolls around, I'll be ready to hit the bricks and throw up some iron again. Here's to next year. Cheers. Run hard and have fun!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rudolph 5K Re-cap

Hail my running brothers and sisters! They say that those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. Clearly this wise person was thinking of me when they said it. Despite my belief that I'm the disciple of Pre, I cannot gut out a race at the start and expect to finish it strong. Case in point, this year's Rudolph Red-Nose Run 5k. I ran it in 23:24, 7:33/mile. My splits worked out to 6:21, 7:47, 8:18 and 0:57 (7:00/mile equivalent). My strategy was to start out strong, then coast and surge, coast and surge to the finish. What actually happened was, I started out strong, and then basically did everything I could to hold it together to the finish. By mile 2, my guts were on fire, my lungs and throat were raw, and I was positive that I was going to vomit before I saw the end of mile 2. Suprisingly, I did make it to the end without losing my guts and curling up on the ground with the remains of my lunch. Still I was relatively happy. I ran an expected time around 7:30/mile, nearly 2 minutes off my time last year. Also I learned that I can probably run a 6:10-6:15 mile, maybe even a 6:00 mile in the right conditions. Plus, I know that I did not leave anything in the tank at the end of the race. Clearly I should have paced myself better to achieve negative splits, but there is something romantic about running a race hard. Next time, I just need to be smart too! That is very hard for me to do if you're me according to my wife. Next year I'll have to aim for 6:50 splits, and maybe then my wife won't remind me that I'm a dumbass! Run hard and have fun kids!

Race Shirt Slogans

Hail my running brothers and sisters! Many of you know that my lovely and supportive wife ordered a custom, designed tech shirt for my first marathon. On the front, it sported our Team Vallejo logo, and on the back it said "Wicked Fast." Since then, Julie and I have debated what the next shirt should say. I think a good slogan should be funny with a touch of attitude. Here's a list of our ideas so far:

-Team Vallejo. We're not p#$$!es! (But spelled out. This was actually Julie's idea, but she said that I can't use it. Something about being rude. Yeah, I don't get it either.)

-If you're reading this, you're running for fun. (I like it, but is it too long?)

-It's Vallejo, not Vajayjay. (Julie thinks that only my friend Albert and I would get this and think it's funny. I told her Oprah would get it. She told me that I'm a dumbass.)

-Leaders lead from the front. (I keep telling this to my colleague, Frank Ziegler, because I'm trying to get him to return to racing. But he tells me that I have a better chance of seeing Kentucky beat UT at football.)

-My daughter thinks that I RAN to the grocery store. (She really does. 5 year olds can be very literal.)

-Get your Chip on!

-It's Go Time!

-I have a weird relationship with pain; it makes me go faster! (My wife thinks I'm a dumbass.)

-My wife thinks I'm a dumbass. ('Nuff said!)

Let me know which ones you liked, if any. Or if you have a better one that I can steal, let me know that too! Run hard and have fun, kids!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2 days to Rudolph Red-Nose Run 5K

Hail my running brothers and sisters! It is 2 days to the 2009 Rudolph Red-Nose Run 5K, and I'm feeling somewhat nostalgic. The 2008 Rudolph Red-Nose Run 5K was the first race that set me on this road of fitness, running, and awesomeness. Last year, I hoped to finish at just under 10:00/mile, and I ended up running 9:27/mile. This year, I hope to do better. Much better. So much better that my awesomeness will be forever cemented in the annals of Christmas racing! Realistically though the best that I can hope for is about 2:00/mile off of last year's time. Now a lot of you are saying, what asshat doesn't think that 2:00/mile improvement isn't good. Don't get me wrong, a 7:27/mile in one year's time is pretty damn good. But sadly for me, I live in my head, where unrealistic expectations are par for course. For example, at the beginning of the race last year, I actually believed that I might actually be able to keep my secretary in sight and pace her to the end. Not beat her, but at least keep up with her. Less than a tenth of a mile into the race, the cold rush of truth slapped me harder than the wind coming down the Woodland Street bridge, and before I knew it, she was gone. This year, my near-constant state of delusion has me believing that I should easily finish this race with 6:30/miles. Like I said, de-lu-sion-al! But why not? After all, hasn't my (super-patient and tolerant) wife allowed me to purchase every gizmo, gadget and piece of tech clothing and gear that should catapult me up to elite status? Why would I buy all that stuff if they didn't make me Flash-fast? And don't tell me, it's because I'm a sucker. Clearly I am, but I KNOW this stuff makes me faster. All those commercial advertisements can't be wrong. So come 6:30 PM on Friday evening, I will be lining at the front of the race, wearing my stabilizing tights, thermal compression shirt, GPS, and lightweight, neutral Nike TriD III's ready to whoop some Rudolph 5K ass! If you come out, looking for me, I'll be the guy at the finish line smacked with the cold, hard slap of reality (I call her Sweetie) with my 7:30/mile time. Run hard and have fun, kids!

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