Naughty Runner

So I’ve been bad, I didn’t run once last week. I know that I will pay for my lackadaisical behavior when I run this week. What I have been doing is work, building the walk-in closet (still) and of course training (swimming.)

Completed my second and third swim lessons last week and my coach sent me a video telling me that I have made amazing progress.  My biggest issues right now is breathing and keeping my hips up. Her drill’s, beside wearing me out, are really helping me understand this whole triathlon swim and the techniques you need to learn to be successful. For instance; how important strong stoke techniques that maximizes energy and my movement thought the water, reducing leg use during the race so that my legs are still strong foe the bike and run events.

I don’t know about the “amazing” part but I do know that I have made lots of progress but am also aware I still have allot to learn and a long way to go in my training.  You can see in the video my breathing still sucks.. I’ll get it. and yes the first time I made it to the other side;  “Hello from the other side”


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Race Report: Heartbreak Ridge Half-Marathon

Sorry its taken to long to get this up. I’ve been busy doing some home improvements my loving wife has requested and work has just clobbered me. I ran the  Heartbreak Ridge Half-Marathon at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California on Saturday and the bad news, well maybe good depending on how you look at it, is the hills were not the Reaper or Old Smokey, it was not muddy and it didn’t rain! score!

HeartBreak_579910That’s not to say this race didn’t just kick my but; the hill’s were murder but the course was not technical at all; outside of the elevation/incline. It was a waste of time to have worn my trail running shoes, my Brooks would have been way more comfortable.

The run was an out and back so the first and last 3/4 mile was on pavement the rest on some gravel but mostly dirt roads that were heavily traveled by military equipment so the dirt was mostly uneven but packed. I was surprised that the road was not muddy since it had rained all week and the day before. But it was a nice surprise.

The elevations going in had a rise from under 200ft to 500ft in less than a 2 miles, on the way out it was mostly a gradual up and down climb with some flats until you got to the 10 mile point and you had to dig in to get over that last extreme rise to the peak.


I made a couple real amateurish mistakes during the run, the first was wearing shoes I hadn’t even tried on before the race and the other was my in race nutrition, but I’ll get into in just a bit.

It was my fathers birthday the day before the race and as I predicted his passing 3 years ago hit me again on the evening of April 8, the eve of this run. I sat and talked to my Dad and decided that I would run this race for him (as long as he came for the ride; that was the deal) I told him that if he hung out with me in the race I wouldn’t walk the hills.

If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time you will have noted that I have a problem with processing sugar, I’m “Insulin Resistant,” which means that I have to be extremely careful so I really had to dial in the gel packs I was using for my run. I was able to get it down to two gels for a half-marathon taking the first at 6 and the second at 10. I also battled finding gels that didn’t have processed sugars. Then I found out that almost all of the gel packs contain Maltodextrin which is highly processed and even worse then processed sugars; to make things worse its exempt from labeling as a sugar and allowed to be listed as a carbohydrate. Maltodextrin has a glycemic index of 130, while table sugar is 65.

Because of this ‘revelation’ I decided that I would roll back the use of Cliff Gel Packs to ONE for the entire race.(mistake two)

I was up at 4:30AM so that I could get to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton at 6:00am. I was out the door a little after 5:00am I arrived at the base gate around 6:10am and drove from the gate to the race area some 5 miles further.  Since I was early I was ushered to the furthest point in the parking lot away from the race area; which wouldn’t have been so bad had I not had to walk back and forth to my car three times pre-race for such things as leaving my ID in the car not knowing I needed it to pick up my bib and to drop my warm cloths off at the car before the race. I didn’t notice the bag check until after the race LOL. What it did do is give me a great warm up 🙂

The Kids 1K stated at 7:30AM followed by the Military Running corral for the Half-Marathon at 8:30 and Civilians at 8:40. I was in the 8:40 corral time and while waiting for the corral I met three gentlemen, two were in the 50-54  and one was in the 60 – 64 age groups, I was in the 55-59 group. Seems all three of us came to the race alone. Tony was the person I seemed to gel with the most and ending up talking to him prior to and in the corral.

My plan was to start at the back of the pack but some how, because I wasn’t paying attention and talking too much we all ended up 12 feet back from the start line right in the thick of things.

At the horn we took off at about a half mile I looked at my watch and noticed that we were running a 8 minute mile pace. I told Tony and the others that I was rolling back my pace and I watched as they ran off into the abyss, lost to me in the masses that followed behind them. I wanted to roll back to a pace between 9.30 and 10.00 because I knew that I would need to worry about the hills coming up.

Mile 2_5

Mile 2/3

I caught the first one of our group at about the 2 mile point on the first hill, his pace had slowed substantially. The hill was steep and I could feel the burn in my legs as I worked my way up the hill. Although I was not the only person running a number of the people on the hill were already walking. At the peak there was an aid station, there were actually allot of aid stations along the routes; more than I think I’ve ever seen in a race. I carried my own water so I didn’t stop at any of the aid stations until I ran low on water and that wasn’t until after mile 10. I caught the second of our group as I came down the hill in the 3 to 4 mile stretch.

I dropped in to “the zone” I figure just around mile four; ear phones/buds use was not allowed on this run so I was inside my head and totally oblivious to the heavy breathing of runners near or passing me or even the fact I was running. It was not until Tony shouted “Hey Bill!” as he passed me some where in my mile 5/6, his mile 7. It took awhile for Hey Bill to register and he was at least 20 feet passed me by the time I yelled Hey Tony! back to him. Mile 6 I downed my one and only gel.

Somewhere around mile 6.6 I hit the turn around point and head back toward not only the race stating point/finish line but into the 500ft climb.  I was still feeling good at this point my legs felt good as well, but I knew I was in for a long gradual ascent. The trail would be a series of small rises, some sharp, a few ‘short’ flats and a lot of dips.

Mile 10.5 Hilltop

About 10.5 Miles – Top of the hill

Mile 8 and 9 I stated to feel the onset of fatigue in my legs. In the distance I could see the sharp incline at mile 10 and I was dreading it; as I neared it I stated to question if I had the energy and legs to make it up; almost no one was running up that hill; I’d have to say maybe 1 in every 10 at best ran up it. At its base I decided I was gonna power up the sucker and mustered up the will and dug deep. As I was going up I noticed Tony in front of me and said, though huffs and puffs…. HaHAY Tatony.. Tony was shocked to see that I had caught him.  Making it to the top of that last big hill was exhilarating, I had conquered the worst of the run. I grabbed a cup of water at the aid station slowed down just enough to gulp down half and poured the rest over my head.


Then like a bird in flight raced down the back side of the hill, my feet pitter paddering as fast as my legs could take me; I was in the moment and enjoying my accomplishment and then as the trail flattened and I was using my legs again it started to hit me. Mile 11.43 I bonked bad it was if my legs weighed an extra 20 pounds each, the energizer bunny in me was blinking “LOW BATT.”. I was at that point I knew that I had taken another gel I would not be having this problem, but it was too late taking one now, even if I had one would have been pointless.



I struggled to mile 12 and that’s where it turned into a mental run; everything in me wanted to stop and rest, I had tingling in my arms and top of my head but I couldn’t bring my self to take a rest. I knew if I did, I would be for the worse. I kept repeating to myself just a mile and some change. I had to dig deep.. Then a Marine yelled  1/2 mile more…EASY DIG! When I had the finish in sight I rallied what little energy reserves I had left and tried to finish strong.

I was never so happy to cross a finish line.  If I had taken that 2nd gel I’m sure I would have PR’ed  but I finish so I ll take it. 10:35/avg. mile





My corral at the starting line


Active Duty Military Corral


Kids Returning from the Kid 1K




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Broken Taper

I’ve touched on this a little in some of my posts but have never really come out and told you. I suffer from severe anxiety and mild PTSD both feed on each other. As I’ve aged it seems to have gotten worse. If you met me you wouldn’t know it as I’ve for the most part trained myself to mask it from all except the people closest people. The doctors at urgent care once knew me by first name because I was in nearly every month sometimes twice. I refuse to take medication.

The only thing that has helped me cope with it I found totally by mistake, running. When I started running I started to notice that I not only was much happier, I was not visiting the doctor as much as a matter of fact last year was a hallmark. I think I was only in urgent care three times for anxiety.

You see if I keep on a regular schedule of at least 2 or 3 runs a week it seems to keep my anxiety in check. The PTSD has always been sort of bearable and controllable unless I’m pulled over the edge. ‘Front Toward Enemy’  When I do go there which thank GOD is almost never, I hate myself afterwords.

Yesterday was a hard day I was/am in taper for my run on Saturday; all day at work I was anxious, irritable and couldn’t concentrate; I had the urge to go to the doctors. It got so bad I took off at lunch and drove over to Ross and bought running shorts, shirt and underwear then next door to Dicks Sporting Goods to buy running socks. $60.00 later I was back at work. My intention was to run on the treadmill at 3PM, its been raining here. But as things would go I couldn’t get to the gym until 5:30pm when there I was told the gym was closing. So with $60.00 wasted went back to my desk, finish out my work day and went home. I changed in to my old running cloths and headed out and was lucky to catch a break in the rain and ran in the drizzle.

Only did 3.23 miles with good hills and felt so much better; I’m okay today. Running is my drug and helps keep me; me.  I’m so thankful I have it and so scared of the day when I can’t run.

Tomorrow is my Half-Marathon at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. The race is going to be tougher than planed as its been raining here, and I expect it to rain during the race SO THERE WILL BE MUD.. lots and lots of mud running up the hills is going to be hell.

PS: Today is my Dad’s birthday he would have been 84, he’s been gone 3 years. It will hit me later tonight i’m sure. I’ll run for him tomorrow.. OohRah Dad, I miss you.

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5 to Half

I didn’t post on Sunday or Monday, I was beat down tired. Janet and I drove up to San Francisco Friday after work; my grand uncle passed and we went to see him off home. It was good to see and be with family.

Five days before the Heartbreak Ridge Half-Marathon at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. I just took a look at the course map and I’m not sure what hill we will be running up. The race however is an out and back and I’m going to have to deal with a 300ft and then a 500ft rise in elevation, looks like its going to be one of the harder half marathon I’ve run, I feel ready though.hcrs_heartbreak_coursemap1

I’m not running this week, letting my body rest up for this race so the only thing I have going on is swim lessons on Wednesday.

The only thing I hate about races is not having anyone at the finish line. I don’t know why its been bothering me these last few races because I’ve always been a sort of solitary person.


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Running Juan

My running hasn’t gone as planned at all this week, as a matter of fact it looks like I’ll only have yesterdays run unless I can sneak in a run tomorrow sometime as family business has come up I need to attend to.

Yesterday I started our on my normal 6 mile lunch time run and at the last minute decided that I would change my route and run to a section of the city called Old Town. I thought since I’m not going to get all my running in this week that I would do a few hills.

You know how when you haven’t been someplace in a long time, you kind of forget some of the major details of it? Well this was one of those times.

I ran from work north for about .30 miles where I got to the trolley and train station; I elected to run down the stairs rather then the access ramps just for the shear joy and added exertion, I was full of energy this afternoon and was really enjoying my run. The stairs leads to a tunnel that goes under the train and trolley tracks at the end of the tunnel I elected to run up the stairs – feel the burn OohRah! well sort of anyhow, legs were just a little annoyed with me.

From here I crossed the street and took a direct path into Old Town; yet another missed photo run opportunity but never fear Richard’s Here! if you want to see pictures of Old Town check our Richards Blog Cool San Diego Sights  he does way more justice to Old Town then I could ever do. Ahh but back on task…

Crossing though Old Town placed me firmly on Wallace and Juan St…. JUAN ST! (Mile 1) turning south on to JUAN ST. I looked up and my legs yelled to my brain WHAT-THE-HECK-ARE-YOU-THINKING! of course like the rest of my body my brain ignored the pleading of my legs “please don’t go up that!” and happy directed my legs and body forward.

The ascent started; at about .20 mile in to the hill my brain started agreeing with my legs that perhaps this was not the greatest of idea. But mind, body and soul had committed and up..uP..UP we whet. Unrelenting was our determination the conqueror this hill, crushing ever though of lets rests, lets walk, let just turn around and go back to work!image1 (3)

I don’t know exactly how far or long that hill was but I can tell you that it was a killer and even after the steepest part I was still running up just not on a grade as insane as Juan St.  The rest of the run was beautiful! Passing old craftsman style homes in upscale neighborhoods. Most of the time I could see out to the ocean.

So beautiful was the view that at about 3.30 miles I was not paying attention and slipped off a soft shoulder of the street and went tumbling to the ground; seemed like slow motion as I yelled, ouch as my ankle rolled and shit just before hitting the pavement. Luckily for me, my body broke my fall and I was able to get back up and continue my run.

I made it back to my office huffed, puffed and tired but had a feeling of accomplishment and happy. Total run 5.13 miles 10.38/mile avg pace total run time 54:37  not quite the 6 miles planed but I think the hills made up for it.



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Hey Coach!

UYBGbI’ve not had a coach since high school when I ran Cross Country but here I am some 40 years later in the hands of an expert. Yesterday was my first swimming lesson with Tara my swimming coach. “Swimming Lessons” that still sounds so foreign and strange since I have been swimming since I was young or what I thought was swimming.

Tara’s evaluation of my swimming ‘skilz boyyyyy‘ uncovered a number of areas that I need to work on, she was kind in her evaluation, but I knew that other then not fearing the water, holding my breath and the ability to propel forward; I didn’t know how to really swim.

This became evident as we embarked on  leaning the basics of stroke, kick, body rotation and breathing.  Over 48 years of even using my hands wrong! who knew…

swim-300x225Relax hands, elbow up, reach far, S shape draw(?), rotate, and kick from hips; LOL So much to try and remember. Tara ran me though various techniques and drills and I even got to use a floattie pull buoy between my thighs and a really small boogie board kick board.

Now I have to balance swimming and running so that I don’t over train. Another thing I learned, rather quickly, is that I’ll be using muscle I’ve not exercised in sometime and that soreness is going to be inevitable, I’m feeling it this morning and its going to be interesting to see how my body feels in my 6 miles short run today.

I only made it about 45 or 50 minutes and I was pretty much done. So here is my take away from my first lesson;

  • First and foremost I found a great coach. I get along with her and and am confident in her skills; shes no pretender.
  • I don’t know how to swim but Tara will fix this.
  • I learned quite allot on my first lesson which surprised me (now just to remember it all.)
  • I’ve got a long journey ahead.
  • I need to ware goggles; swimming in the pool is nothing like in the ocean. Chlorine is the burn that keeps on burning.
  • Swimming is hard work.

PS: Tara seems to think that by this time next year she will have me doing 1000 meter ‘training’ swims and clobbering the triathlon. 1000 meter? I can’t even imagine it.

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Weekly Roll Up

My running week started out with a thud because of the DNF but because of it I’ve changed my MS Excel worksheet to include swimming and cycling.  So my journey begins. I’m going to start doing what I should have done before even attempting the TRI, train. Monday I start working with a swim coach and will meet with her every Monday and Wednesday working first in the pool and then eventually in the open water.  That’s the plan anyhow.

I’ve not figured out how I will measure the swimming,so I’ll have to figure that out once I see what the training is going to look like.RunStatmar20

Twenty one running miles this week; The bike rides were actually both on Sunday; to and from the triathlon. I just didn’t feel like combining them onto one day.  Since I have a half marathon coming up on April 9 I’m going in the a training spike for the next week. I’ve got to get allot of hill’s in because I’m sure that this run at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton will include a run up a mountain we joyfully called Mt. MotherF@#&er  when I was stationed as a young SEABEE on  Camp Pendleton. Although I’m excited to see the hill’s, yes plural,  again; I would be lying if I told you I was excited to run up them; at 19 with a full pack and a M60 it about killed me. I’m pretty sure you you can imagine how they got their names Old Smokey and The Reaper.

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