Sunday, December 31, 2006

State #4 is California

On the 28th I ran the Bumble Bee 5k at the Big Balloon Parade. It is the race right before the Holiday Bowl Parade in San Diego, CA. We got to start our run in front of the grandstands, run the entire parade route in front of thousands of supportive on lookers. The race was very congested in the beginning. It took about 25 seconds to get to the start and then we walked for a bit before it thinned out and I could take off. My family was watching around the 3/4 mile mark and got to take my picture. I did have to circle around so that my wife could take it adding 20 seconds or so to my time, but it was worth it. We raced downtown San Diego passed the Padres Baseball stadium. Looped around the convention stadium and ran along the bay. Thru Seaport Village to the finish. From start to finish I timed myself at 33:16, another PR for me.

The official time was higher, but in my defense, several people passed me in the shoot and they collected my bib tag about 100 yards away from the finish. It could not be a very accurate way to get a finish time.

Vacation: We had a great time. My daughter got to see the set for Gilmore Girls. She's a fanatic. The whole Warner Brothers tour was great. We got to go to an aquirium, museum and the San Diego Zoo too. I didn't get to run as much as I'd like, but oh well.

Weekly running: On Christmas day I ran 3.88 miles in 47:10.
On Wednesday I ran on the treadmill at the Holiday Inn, San Diego. 1.77 miles in 23:05 and then I ran another 10 minutes, but didn't keep any records.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I got tagged.

Stefano, The Black Knight from Italy tagged me. He has a great blog you should check it out, if you haven't already. Now I feel like I belong. I guess this is like a new age chain letter. Here's my answers. I guess I can't pass this along, since it's Christmas related. Consider my not tagging you as another Christmas present.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Egg Nog when you’re decorating, hot chocolate whenever it’s cold
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrapped, and put out on christmas eve. My wife still thinks our teenage kids have no clue.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored lights. But, I do love the all white look too.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, but that doesn’t stop me.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Early december
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Turkey and dressing.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Christmas at Grandma’s.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I learned the spirit of santa can be in everyone at a very early age.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes, as a kid. Now we wait, per wife’s orders.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Fake tree, tangled lights, too many ornaments and family. We have a good time.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? No snow in this part of Arizona. But, I do get a sick joy out of watching blizzards back east.
12. Can you ice skate? Only forward. The real question is, “Can the Phoenix Coyotes skate?”
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? No, but I remember the gift givers.
14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Family.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pumpkin Pie w/ homemade whip cream
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas morning
17. What tops your tree? An angel.
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Shhh. I do like to receive. I don’t really like shopping, but when I find a great gift it’s cool to give it.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Anything from my dad’s era. Bing Crosby is the best.
20. Candy canes? Grandma’s Mince Meat Cookies. See post below.
21. Favorite Christmas movie? It’s a Wonderful Life.
22. What do you leave for Santa? I think we should leave Santa a Garmin 305, lots of gatorade mix and entry fees to about a dozen different races. But, hey if you just want to leave cookies and milk that’s ok.
Running: Christmas day run of 3.88 miles in 47.10. I kind of felt sluggish, but I was happy with a 12.08 pace.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

My Christmas Gift to all my readers

My Christmas Gift to you.

Grandma Monahan’s Mince Meat Cookies
Cook 1 jar of mince meat in ½ cup water, set a side to cool
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup Crisco
1 egg
cream sugar, Crisco and egg

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda (not the drinking kind)
1 teaspoon salt
add this to the sugar
Then add the mince meat. Put a small amount on the cookie sheet about an inch a part. Flatten real thin. Bake 8-10 minutes.

When she says flatten real thin, she means it. Dollar bill thin. We use the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in dry flour to smash our cookies. We then will add nuts or candy sprinkles to the top of the cookie before baking.

We miss grandma Monahan, but remember her every Christmas with her mince meat cookies. We also, cherish every meal we eat on her dining room table. Christmas is extra special when you have great memories of Christmas past, thank you grandma.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Kiwanis Park Run

I got to run in Kiwanis Park today. It's a beautiful park with a lake, softball fields, picnic areas and other things you'd see in a park. Today, my daughter had another party to attend. This time a birthday party at Kiwanis. The beauty of Arizona is that you can have picnics and outdoor parties during the winter months. So, I dropped her off and went for a run in the park.

One hour and 46 minutes later I was done with a 8+ mile workout and she was ready for her next party. Yes, she had another party to go to at a friends house.

Not many runners out on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I only passed one other group. Two women with jogging strollers running around the lake. There was a party setting up for a wedding that looks like it will take place tonight. Hopefully, it won't be too cold. Arizonians get cold easily.

I'm up to 77 miles for the month with one week to go. Looks like I might have my first 100 mile month. The day after Christmas we will be going to California. First, we'll go to Burbank and take a tour of Warner Brothers Studios. My daughter is a big Gilmore Girls fan and she's sooooo excited about going to see the set. Then we'll drive down the coast to San Diego to go to the world famous zoo. In between I will hopefully run in the Bumble Bee 5k. It's cool cause the race starts right before there Big Balloon Parade and you get to run past 100,000 people. I'll have to get my mileage done in California if I want to get over the 100 mile mark.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Birthday, Amy

Just wanted to say it's my wife's birthday. And she doesn't look a day over 29.

Amazing story on ESPN's website

New York City Marathon Photo

Just finished a 1 hour run. Got in 5.11 miles at under a 12 minute pace.

So, my daughter got us some free premiere tickets to see Dreamgirls at the Harkins Theatre in Scottsdales mall. It's a showing one day before the official release. We get there early because they said they gave out extra tickets and they expected it to be filled to capacity. We waited in line and only about 50 people came. The theater was practically empty. Before the movie they told us if we had an kind of recording devices, including camera phones we were to take them to our car, because we would not be admitted with them. They had a guy check purses at the door and throughout the entire movie two people used night vision binoculars (or something) to check each row. In the middle of the movie they escorted one young man out. I, literally felt like I was in an occupied country and if I even sneezed the secret police would take me away and I'd never see my family again. It was very strange.

But, the movie was great. Jennifer Hudson, from American Idol stole the show and Eddie Murphy was super too.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Recovery Run

After running a PB 12 miles on Saturday, do I take the day off on Sunday or do a slow recovery run? I decided to do a recovery run. I had to take my daughter to a christmas party a bit aways from our home. So, instead of making two trips, I ran while she partied.

I ran in Cooper Commons, a nice community of homes built mostly 4-5 years ago. My plan was to run slow and walk often. Which I did. I still had a pace of 13:04 and ran 2.61 miles. And my legs feel much better.

50 States: I would like to run in all 50 states. It doesn't have to be a formal race, just one mile or more. It would be nice if it was in a scenic location, a trail, big city or along a beach. Here's my total so far:

1) Ohio. As a youth. I probably did my first mile in high school on the Aiken HS track in Cincinnati. I, also ran my fathers treadmill earlier this year.
2) Indiana. In college I would run to the high school and back to my dorm. I went to Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. It was between 1-2 miles. Not real consistent. This year I ran in West Lafayette and on the campus of Purdue University. I even did the stairs at their football stadium.
3) Arizona. I've run a lot this year.

Not, many states, but it's a beginning. I will be running in California after Christmas and I will probably run the Vegas strip sometime in 2007.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Japanese Marathon

So, I'm looking for a runner's blog in Japan. I'm half Japanese, so I'm always into anything from the land of the rising sun. Which is funny, because I live in the 'Valley of the (incredibly hot) Sun'.

Anyway, I come across these two websites:

Marathon Day In Japan, please note that any long run in Japan is called a marathon. It looks like all kids do an appropriate distance for their age. We should do this in the states.

Folding a Shirt In Japan, I learned this and now my wife expects me to fold all our shirts.

If anyone knows of a runner's blog from Japan, please let me know. I'd like to follow it.


My Legs are Aching

Today was a scheduled long run along the Arizona Canal with Team In Training. 10-12 miles for the half marathoners. I got there a couple minutes after 6:30 am. The team was already stretching, so I signed in and started doing my leg swings. I really like leg swings, they really loosen up my hips and get me ready to run. But, I need a tree to keep from falling over. Someone said to hold your opposite ear and you can keep your balance. I need a tree.

As soon as we started to head on over to the canal, I realized I didn't have my gatorade. So my first 1/2 mile was running to the car and then to the canal. Last on the canal I started passing the walkers, dog walkers and other hearty soles that were out this early. There's 2-3 different marathon training groups that train here, so the canal was quite active. This time we headed east, a new loop for me. I planned on running to 56th street which would put me a bit over 6 miles out. The ground was terrific. West on the canal is a gravel road in places with some concrete and asphalt paths. The gravel part has some larger rocks. Going east the path was smooth crushed stone that was very powdery. I passed by the Arizona Biltmore, one of our luxury resorts. I started running with my sweat shirt on. Quickly, I decided the weather was too nice and I left it at a water station. The sun was coming up, so for part of the run I had to look into the sun. On the way back, no sun and it was wonderful. My legs started aching and haven't let up yet (6.5 hours later), but I'm sure I'll feel fine tomorrow and hopefully will get in a short run.

I finished the 12 miles in 2:34;10. I believe this is the longest I've run by about 23 minutes and the furthest by 2 miles. I hope to do another 10+ run before the RnR Half Marathon in January.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My Year In Review, 2006

The first half of last year I never, ever thought about going for a run. Not a jog, not anything faster than a leisurely hike and not any distance further than a mile or two. Then I went for a short one mile run in June. It was around 100 degrees out, but I went after sunset.

Since that first run I’ve run over 300 miles and have competed in 4 races. The longest of these races was a 10 kilometer or 6.2 miles on Thanksgiving Day morning. I have plans to run a 5k race in San Diego on the 28th of this month and then to run a half marathon (13.1 miles) in January.

Runs this week:

Wednesday – 5 miles in 1:00:22 at a 12:05 pace.
Thursday – 5 miles in 1:02:05 at a 12:20 pace.

Monthly mileage:

December: 42.5
November: 78.4
October: 70.9
September: 75.2
August: 60.8


9/2 “Run for Brooke” 5k 42:15
10/29 “Ghouls & Goblins” 5k 34:35
11/12 “New Times” 5k 34:00
11/23 “Turkey Trot 10k 1:11:05
12/28 "Bumble Bee-SD" 5k ????

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday night TV

It's the only night I watch tv with a plan. How I Meet Your Mother, The Class, Two and a Half Men, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Studio 60. Just don't tell anyone that I'm not watching Monday Night Football.

Today's Running: I ran in the neighborhood for 1 hour, 12 minutes and 43 seconds. I covered 6.23 miles and my pace was 11:40. I only walked three times. Just think in June my first venture out running was about 6-8 houses. I finished walking around the block for almost an entire mile.

Fellow Bloggers: I get a lot of inspiration from my fellow bloggers. Almost every other day I click on my favorites which you can too. Look down the right side of my blog and you'll see my favorites by location. Lately, I've been really motivated by the Texas gang. These runners in the Houston area are special. If you're into running, check them out.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I got my confirmation and final instructions from the Rock N' Roll Half Marathon. I'm number

and I'm starting in corral 19. Which I'm sure is near the back, but that's ok. There's no rush.

Looks like instead of going thru downtown Tempe, the half marathon route will go along the Rio Salado (Salt River) Parkway just north of Sun Devil Stadium. I've shown you some of the photos from the half marathon course. Now you can see them all by visiting my RNR Half Marathon Photo Album.

My training is going well. The slight detour for my vasectomy hasn't slown me down too much. Yesterday I ran 5 miles with only three walk breaks and I did 8 miles last Thursday. I'd like to do a 10-12 mile run sometime within the next week and do 30 miles for the week.

Amy and the kids are going to see me somewhere in the middle of the race and at the finish. I need to start thinking about strategy for race day. I think I can predict when I'll arrive at each mile (give or take 20 minutes), so I think I'll have them wait for me at the Chinese Cultural Center near mile 8 (10:15 am). What I'm not sure about is how many minutes will it take for corral 19 to get to the start line? There will be over 19,000 runners in front of me.

I plan on carrying my phone, some gu and maybe a camera. I'll also have my Ipod to keep track of my pace, not to listen to music. There will be a dozen or more bands lining the course and just as many cheer squads. I should be suffiently entertained.

Any experienced marathoners that have any words of wisdom for me, please leave a comment.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Bumble Bee 5k

My next race is going to be in San Diego. It's the Bumble Bee 5k at the Big Bay Balloon Parade. This is a really neat 5k run in downtown San Diego the day of the Holiday Bowl. Right before the balloon parade, the runners will take off in front of 100,000 spectators. We'll run south with views of the Pacific Ocean and downtown. Then we'll loop back north and finish near the parade route. I figure my family can watch the parade and see me at the finish line.

Thursday run: My plan was to do a late morning run of 10 miles. Work kept me from leaving my home until 11 am. I used my ipod nike + to determine mileage. I went west past my daughter's school to Gila Springs subdivision. They have a nice dirt trail that leads north and thru another community past parks and homes. At the half way point I turned back east past my son's high school and back home. It turned out to be a bit over 8 miles total, but I was pretty tired at that point and was walking more than I wanted too. I finished at 1:45:53, a 13:07 pace. The weather was great. Maybe a bit to warm at 71 f. But, I was able to run in shorts and a tee. I'm sure a lot of you up north would love to do that in December.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Meep Meep

I frequent Runner's World website and converse with a lot of other runners from all over the country. My screen name is Meep Meep. Taken from the cartoon roadrunner. Anyway, I found this postcard at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Papago Park. It says the roadrunner is from the Cuckoo family, which is kind of appropriate for me. The bottom paragraph says the "When the Roadrunner senses danger or is traveling downhill, it flies, but cannot keep its large body airborne for more than a few seconds". I know how he feels.


I enjoy the anticipation that comes from knowing that I have a run to do later in the day. Throughout the day I will occasionally think about the run and where I am going to run and how far. There’s a feeling inside you that builds.

It reminded me of when I played football in high school. On game days we’d wear our game jersey’s to class and everyone knew you were a football player and you had a game that night. Before the game we’d go into the cold musty locker room and sit on the bench in front of our locker. I’d open my locker and see my equipment just as I left it the day before. The shoulder pads taking the majority of space, sitting vertical because that’s the only way they’d fit in the locker at all. It was a ritual. I’d put on the pads the same way everytime and the anticipation would build. I’d help take the team through stretching drills, individual position drills and then we’d practice a few plays before we headed back in the locker for the coach’s pep talk. Finally, we played the game.

Today, I remember the pregame stuff more than the games themselves. It was the anticipation of something important.

And so it is with running too. I couldn’t run if I didn’t enjoy the anticipation, the run itself and the euphoria after I ran. I plan to run for the rest of my life. Some people say that they just want to do this one marathon and then they’ll stop and that they don’t really like running. I couldn’t do that. There’s not enough in a single event that makes it worthwhile.

But, there is something about knowing that at the end of the year I will have run so many miles and I will have improved my stamina and health. And there’s something about the anticipation of my next run (whether it’s a race or just me).

This week’s running:

Sunday: 4 Miles in the neighborhood at a 12:09 pace. Time, 48:52.
Monday: 5 miles in the neighborhood at a 11:41 pace. Time, 58:55
Tuesday: 2 miles in the neighborhood at a 12:20 pace. Time 24:41. I ran the first mile with my daughter Emily. We finished in 13:30.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Terry Fox

I got my copy of Runner's World. It's really good this month. In it is an article about Terry Fox, the Canadian who attempted to run across his country on one leg battling cancer. He is amazing. If you haven't read the article, buy a copy, go to the library or find a doctor's office that has Runner's World.

You can also click on his name above to learn more. On September 17th of each year there are Terry Fox runs all across Canada. I can't believe there's not much going on here to honor Terry Fox.

Today I ran. After 4 days rest from my vasectomy, I couldn't stand it any longer and I went out for any easy 2 miler. I had to put the garbage out at one of my vacant listings, so I ended up running on the canal that goes by this property. It's a part of the canal that is not landscaped for the public. Just a gravel drive for SRP trucks, but it worked for me. I ran at a 12:37 pace, which was faster than I thought I was running. It was just great to get out in the cold (54 F) and enjoy a run. The good news; I ran pain free.

The Scale: I thought I would gain weight this week, since I wasn't running. I, actually lost about 1/2 pound and weigh 233.5 (a low for this year).