Novel Approach For Eliminating the Dreaded Nip Chafing Issue While Running a Marathon

A good friend of mine recently finished his first full, official marathon, the Taipei Expressway Marathon in Taiwan. If running an entire marathon on a highway ain't bad enough (sounds dreadful to me), it was over 80 degrees and humid. Call me a wimp but I'm not flying over to Taiwan anytime soon to run a marathon (though truth be told, I signed up to run the Singapore Marathon, which I ended up not going to).

In any case, one of the photos my friend shared was the one below. The dude with his arms in the air while reaching the finish line is wearing a shirt that could (theoretically) be the solution to runners' chafing of the nipples. Simply cut out those sections of the shirt and, wallah!! No more chafing issues, no more bleeding, no need for bandaids on the nips or other strategies for addressing this particular issue!

My thinking is, perhaps women should first try it to see if it catches on. I'm sure at least 3 of the 7 people reading this are women. Try it out and let me know. And send pictures :>

Boston Marathon Organizers Indicate 2012 Race to Occur in "Red Zone" Not Safe for "Unfit and Novice Runners"

Boston Marathon organizer issued another precautionary email today with a more direct recommendation that "anyone entered in the marathon who has not met the qualifying standards for their age and gender strongly consider not running, and that they strongly consider deferring until next year."

That is very strong wording. They are obviously taking this weather very seriously. As mentioned yesterday, I think a deferment of this magnitude is unprecedented. Of course they still will ask those not running this year's race to pay for next year's race, thus giving up the $150 they paid this year. But it gives these runners another chance to run should they decide to take a pass.

Here is today's email from Boston Marathon organizers:

Update to Entrants in Tomorrow's Boston Marathon®

Sunday, April 15, 2012 as of 4:30 p.m.


Running any marathon involves risks

  • The weather conditions that we will be seeing on Monday, April 16 will involve even more risk.  It will involve an increased element of risk to all participants due to the heat.  Only the fittest runners should consider participating.
  • We have put in place a broad array of services and support for our marathon participants, but the risks that will be presented on April 16 will be higher than
Read More

Malibu Marathon Was a Success

Well today I ran the 2nd Annual Malibu Marathon in approximately 3 hours, 5 minutes (still awaiting the "official" time)!

I'm thrilled with this performance taking into account my month-long battle with colds, bronchitis and other ailments, average training mileage of 45 miles a week and course conditions.

It was a BEAUTIFUL day today! But beautiful days don't necessarily translate into good marathon weather! The darn wind was still out there, with some pretty major gusts on PCH near Mugu Rock!

Today was a day that everything seemed to finally go "right" for me. No potty breaks during the race, no logistical fumbles like at my last marathon and no big mistakes!

My race strategy was to start nice and easy and work into it. Easy to say, but not always easy to do if you feel good at the start of a marathon. But given my sparse training, medical trials and trevails and the dry, windy conditions, I didn't want to chance screwing up another marathon!

The strategy worked PERFECTLY!  From mile 1 on, not one person passed me and I passed roughly 20 people, nice and steadily. I did not do stupid things like speed up for no reason (a lot of people do this and it does you no good at mile 9 of a just hurts you).

In my more youthful marathon days, somehow a song would come to mind that carried me through the marathon. Not something planned, but usually just some catchy tune on the radio with a cadence that would help me maintain my pace. This happened today. One of my Facebook friends posted this video of her niece covering Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" and she does such a nice job with it that it became "that" song for me today. The 1-2-3 cadence in my mind helped me maintain my pace even through the brutal 3 hills in the last 6 to 8 miles. Here it is...thanks Julie Lavery!

I was fine until mile 22, when I started getting cramps in my quads. If I have one complaint about the race, there was not enough fluids. We went miles at a time without water and the advertised coconut water seemed sparse. I could have used Gatorade or some other electrolyte drink badly. It was way too dry out there.

I managed to merge into the half marathon right after it started, which was both good and bad. Suddenly there was a massive tide of people in front of me that I had to veer around. But the good thing is that after running completely alone for miles, I got to wrong with people again...until the half marathoners veered right at Leo Carrillo.

At that juncture of the race was a daunting hill, but after having absolutely no idea where the other full marathoners were, suddenly the course was clear and I saw 2 targets up ahead of me. One was "road kill" - he was walking. I waved to him. I've had days like that. The other guy was slowing and I was able to reel him in around mile 21 or so.

Physically I was fine the entire race until mile 22, when my quads started feeling like they were gonna cramp up, mostly on the uphills. I fought them off and made it to 24 mile mark, where most of the rest of the race was downhill.

It wasn't pretty, but I made it. I'm sore, but the beauty of finishing a race at Zuma Beach is that you can cool off your legs in the Pacific Ocean afterwards, which I did. My final smart move of the day.

So while this time is 30 minutes slower than my personal best from 15 years ago, I had an excellent day overall and am thrilled I was able to complete this marathon. Things generally went right for me.

Looking forward to finding out my place! Now off for a beer!!

The Day Before the Malibu Marathon

In the good old days, the day before a marathon I'd stay in a hotel room, lounge around and drink Gatorade and read and watch TV all day, then go out for an early dinner and continue relaxing.

That was then. Today's routine was more like...get kids fed and dressed, go to soccer game to coach the last game of the season, break up fights, go to Jersey Mike's with the kids, break up more fights, go to Roadrunner Sports to buy something last minute only to have to leave because the kid were...fighting, stop by the house, drop off one kid, take the other kid out for multiple errands (went to Future Track Running Store instead), came home, jumped on the trampoline w/the kids, bathe the kids, brush their teeth...the list goes on. Now it is 9:30 pm and I've got an hour til bedtime to myself. Alarm is set for 5:30 am.

I'm relaxed, I'm not taking this marathon too seriously. If I can come close to a 3 hour performance I'll be happy.

On Friday I drove the course from Camarillo Airport to Zuma to pick up my bib number. Boy does 26.2 miles seem FAR when you drive it.

Roughly 2/3rds of the course is along PCH, which means this is probably one of the most scenic marathons in the world and I can't imagine many races with more oceanfront.

The last 6 miles though look pretty challenging, with some pretty significant hills in the Leo Carrillo area. I will make a note to save plenty of energy for that final 10K...meaning don't worry about the first half marathon. Just take it easy and enjoy the ride.

The liquids served on the course include water and Zico Coconut Water. I tried Zico for the first time at the race expo, but since I've not used it at all during training run, it probably isn't a good idea to try it during the race. But it did seem to go down pretty nicely.

My purchase today was a very small waist pack that fits 4 GU gels. I decided to try something other than pinning the gels to my shorts. This pack is so small that it should not cause me any problems tomorrow. Those GUs may come in quite handy.

It has been windy now for a number of days, but they say the wind will die down tomorrow. Wind is my biggest enemy in the marathon as it dries me out.

So on that note, I'm off to relax a bit more so I'm off and running tomorrow morning...

Summer Ended and Autumn Began, but No One Told the Weatherman

The coolest summer I've ever recalled ended last Wednesday and Autumn began on the 23rd. Two days later, we're into not only the hottest weather of the year, but all-time record temperatures on Monday, the 27th (it reached 113 degrees in Downtown Los Angeles before the thermometer apparently broke).

Sandwiched in there, my plans were to do a 20+ miler on Sunday, come hell or high water. And I did. It wasn't pretty though.

My previous 22 milers went without a hitch. Nice and steady, mostly road runs in overcast conditions.

Sunday's run was different. I knew we were in for high temps, so I opted to run to PCH from Newbury Park down Sycamore Canyon. My first foray down there for about 3 months. The most brutal aspect of this run is coming back up the 800 foot ascent from the canyon.

With the help of an alarm, I was out the door at 6 a.m. It was still dark out and thankfully not hot yet. In fact, it was on the cool side. Better yet, it stayed cool pretty much the entire journey down to PCH, where I ran through the campground at Sycamore Canyon.

At PCH I headed west and ran until I reached the entrance of Thornehill Broome Beach, where you see all the RVs lined up enjoying the ocean. From there I turned around and successfully navigated my way back up the canyon, where it continued to stay cool until I reached the steep ascent. From there it was a slow journey in about 80 degree 8:30 a.m. heat. Total distance covered was 21 miles.

I was sore the next day but in a "good" way. Looking forward now to this coming Sunday, where I will get a reprieve from the 20 miler and try my luck at the Camarillo Half Marathon. My goal there is to run about a 1 hour, 20 minute race, which is about 6:06 per mile. That might be a stretch but if I can do that, I'll be comfortable with a 2:50 to 2:55 marathon target.

One rookie move came on my haste to eat on Saturday, I downed a can of Chunky Beef Chili. Mistake. Did not sit well with me on Sunday. I survived. But...note to self...keep the food simple the day before a long run or race.

Cool Summer = Great Long Run Training

It is rare when I have a long run where I feel "perfectly fine" afterwards...not too tired, worn down by the sun, dehydrated, starving, etc. Today was one of those rare days!

Thank you extraordinarily cool summer temperatures here on the west coast this year! According to a Wall Street Journal online article today, Los Angeles area temperatures in July were nearly 5 degrees lower than historical norms. It has been extremely noticeable around here and I LOVE IT!!

Today was an exceptional day for a long run. I awoke without alarm at 6:20 a.m. and was out of the house by 6:35 a.m.  It has been awhile since I described my pre-long run procedures, which goes something like this: eat something very light, band aids on the nips, petroleum jelly on the toes, heels and underside of the feet prior to placing socks on, as well as some where inner thighs meet the running shorts and where shirt meets skin near armpits (chafing is the silent enemy of long'll ruin your run if you don't prepare for it).

Love my handy 4 bottle waist pack. Available at most running stores. Carry up to 4 different liquids if you want!Lightweight shirt on. Watch and shoes on (double-knotted of course). Cap on with some 4-5 tissues folded up underneath just in case needed for whatever reason. Light sunscreen on just in case the sun makes an appearance. Then grab water fluid belt and place 4 bottles of liquid (3 Gatorade, 1 water) in belt, which also holds 3 gel packets. Place belt on. Grab sunglasses (didn't use them...they sat on top of my hat the whole run). And I was off.

One planned pit stop 15 minutes into the run and otherwise I was non-stop today. Ran a loop course around Newbury Park. For whatever reason, I prefer one giant loop course over an "out and back" course and I haven't figured out why.

My goal today was to run at least 2 hours, given my previous long run 2 weeks ago was 1:54.  I ran 2:09. Tonight I mapped out my run using, and discovered I ran a solid 17.5 miles, which equates to about a 7:22 pace. Training seems to be paying off!

The only thing bothering me tonight is my somewhat chronically sore left big toe. Better go ice it...

The Day of the Santa Barbara Marathon

In my last post, I described my day before the marathon on Saturday, December 5th.  The next day was Marathon Day.

Before going to sleep the night before, I did remember to set my watch alarm to 5:30 am. But I realized midway into my first dream that 5:30 am probably wouldn't cut it for a 6:30 am start.  But to no avail, I stayed asleep.  (Note to self: plan better next time.)

Luckily though, even though the Bacara is an expensive, fancy resort, the phone in the room next door went off at 5 am sharp and I heard it clear as a bell like it was a Motel 6 paper thin wall. So I was up and atom.

First thing I did was go outside to grab the Gatorade bottle I placed outside the door to keep it cold (the mini-fridge didn't have room for it).  My Gatorade was gone.  Darn it!  Who took my Gatorade!!??

Another odd thing.  No coffee maker in my fancy schmancy hotel room. What the??  Pretty much every single hotel room these days has one. But not the Bacara.  Well, I later discover that there is complimentary coffee in the main lobby...but would have loved to have it in my own room.

My 2nd chocolate chunk muffin went down nicely at 5:30 am. Probably would have been good to eat more, but that's all I had other than some leftover trail mix.

So after dressing and downing the coffee, my goal was to warm up a bit and get my bodily functions moving, if you know what I mean.  For some, all it takes is a cup of coffee.  For others, ya gotta move around a bit. I ran slowly, for 10 minutes, I came back to the room, bodily functioned. Then repeated this process 2 more times. Huh??  Yes, I believe it was Return of the Quesadilla.

So I suddenly realize that the race STARTS in 20 minutes and I'm 1 1/2 miles away. So I go through all the preparations, change into my singlet with a long sleeve coverup and gloves (it is about 40 degrees outside...pretty cold), pack my bag and jog to the start of the race.  I've already run 3 miles today.  Not exactly a good idea.

With 7 minutes to spare I get there and there is a mass of people at a the local Ellwood School in Goleta.  I'm all warmed up, sucked down a "GU" packet and drank all my water.  Given the race was to start very soon I removed my 2nd layer and gloves, knowing I would not need them during the race.  I dropped off my goody bag and situated myself in the runner corral.

Within a minute, there is an announcement.  Accident on the 101 freeway. Race has been DELAYED by 30 minutes!  Wait a sec!!! I'm ready to run RIGHT NOW!!!  You've got to be kidding me!?  We're not running on the 101 freeway, are we?  So now I'm standing there, freezing, in light singlet, no gloves, no warm pants.  DAMMIT!!!  This sucks!!

This was no fault of the race organizers and they handled it quite well, offering up several heated rooms for runners to congregate in like sardines.  But I was very frustrated, having never experienced such a long race delay in my 16 years of running.  I was fuming but most people took it in stride.  The atmosphere of the race was very laid back. People were having fun.  I was soon over it. But still cold!

Lesson learned...prepare for the worst case scenario.  I should have worn a 2nd layer and throwaway gloves for this unlikely situation.  As it stood, I was freezing, burning calories off just to keep warm.

So 20 minutes later we are lining again, and of course, before the start of the Star Spangled Banner, I've gotta pee.  So I run off, and in the most respectful and quick way possible, I manage to finish as I hear "land of the free" (as I'm thinking, "land of the pee" for me that particular moment).

Kudos to the race announcer.  He did an OUTSTANDING and entertaining job organizing the start of the race and using humor to ensure proper placement of faster runners in front.  Too many local races start dangerously due to slower runners and walkers situating themselves at the front of the pack.  This race had 3,000 runners and got off to a perfect start at 7 am.

The Santa Barbara Marathon course overall is pretty flat with some rolling hills.  I wouldn't call it a fast course but it is a very runner friendly course.  Well organized, decent number of water stops, very clearly marked.  Over half the course takes place in Goleta actually, including an initial 12 1/2 mile loop.  The crowds were supportive and gracious. While the race ends at Leadbetter Beach, only the last 1 1/2 miles of the course provided ocean views.  The weather was perfect for a marathon.  Mostly mid 50s to low 60s.

While I was perfectly happy with my 3 hour, 16 minute performance, there are always lessons to learn from. For starters, I made not one, but TWO porta-john stops in this race, adding about 3 minutes in lost time.  I'm thinking it was the quesadilla but I must figure out how to eliminate this problem for my next marathon.

After the first pit stop (around mile 4) I felt good enough to gradually make up a 1 1/2 minute gap and pass by the pack of runners I'd been running with before the stop.  This took place around mile 8. BIG MISTAKE!  I wasn't really trying that hard to catch them but what I should have done was take my time and reel them in.  I just wasn't thinking.

Tough Going at Mile 23.5 of SB Marathon...Up Cliff Drive (Photo Courtesy of Simon Ibsen**)They caught up with me again around mile 11, then a few miles later, I believe around mile 15 or 16, I made pit stop #2.  Yikes! At that point the wind came out of my sails a bit but I remembered my under 3 1/2 hours and finish with a smile on my face.  Given I had passed the halfway mark in 1 hour, 30 min, I had plenty of leeway to get there.

The last 10 miles took us through residential areas, bike paths and later, a 170 foot climb up Cliff Drive.  My hamstrings were killing me around mile 19/20 and I walked for about 5 minutes. Then I thought, there's no way I'm gonna walk the rest of this course!  I resolve to shuffle my way in, come hell or high water. The 3 or 4 GU packs I took in earlier in the race must have started kicking in, as I picked up a steady pace to the finish.

My friends all did well and we enjoyed sharing stories after the race. None of us have anything to prove. We all went out and gave it our best shot on that particular day with whatever training each of us, given life's challenges and surprises, could muster. 

The beauty of running a marathon is that we all have our own reasons for running...a challenge, competition, a charity, exercise, etc...and all run together on the same course at the same time, cheering each other on. 

At the end of the day, while I didn't quite make the "big" comeback I really was seeking to do when I started this adventure on April 27, 2009, I'm certainly glad I did it.  I'm thrilled that I'm here writing about it, uninjured!

I've now taken 2 days off.  Tomorrow I'll be back at it.  So stay tuned...

**For more of Simon's photos from the race, visit:

Another Marathon Down the Hatch! Completed the Inaugural Santa Barbara Marathon!

Today is Tuesday and I'm still a bit sore from my 29.2 mile day on Sunday. 

Yes, I ran and completed the Inaugural Santa Barbara Marathon two days ago! I think it was my 26th marathon.

Yes, I did run 29.2 miles. 26.2 mile marathon plus 3 miles of running before the race. But more on that later.

On Saturday morning I said that my goal for the race was to finish with a smile on my face.  Goal achieved! I also said that, based on my level of training, my goal was to run something under 3 1/2 hours...I finished this one in 3:16...the other goal achieved.

That's not to say that I wasn't disappointed with a few things.  But hold that thought.

So Saturday morning I ran 2 miles, after 3.5 mile runs on Thursday and Friday.  Yes, for those paying attention, you are correct, I did not heed my own advice and take at least one day completely off.

I stopped by Fresh & Easy in Newbury Park to pick up some stuff to bring for my overnight stay in Santa Barbara....mmmm...chocolate chunk muffins for breakfast (at 5 a.m. I eat whatever will go down), water, Gatorade, snacks, etc. I also opted to grab a pre-made turkey sandwich, chips, fruit, trail mix and ice tea for the lunchtime drive to Santa Barbara.

Ah yes, eating a 4 course meal in the car reminds me of this humorous video spoof on our hands free cell phone law.

Race number pickup was at Santa Barbara City College.  The expo was not particularly large but everyone was really nice and it was fun to walk around.  I met up with my friend Chaz (congrats on your 3:38 dude!).

View of the Pacific right next to the BacaraI splurged and decided to stay at the fancy schmancy Bacara Resort in Goleta, just 1 1/2 miles from the start of the race.  I spent an extra $100 on this place but my rationale was that I could sleep a little longer and walk to the start of the race. Most people took busses leaving by 5:15 am for the start of the 6:30 am race.  I also thought it would be fun to convince my wife to come with, but she opted not to.

So here I am at this fancy hotel all alone with no place to go. Yeah!!! The cell phone didn't work there, nor did the wireless access! But luckily they had "free" high speed internet access (offset by the $24 they charged me to park the car for one measly day).

One thing I DID do right on Saturday was immediately unpack my stuff and arrange it for Sunday morning.  I untied my shoes, I attached the timer chip to the shoes (and tried it on to make sure the chip didn't impede my running), affixed the bib number to my race shirt, laid out my shorts, socks, additional layers and cap. Then I laid out my race bag (used to transport items to the finish line), 2 bandaids (to cover up the nipplage), petroleum jelly (to slather on my toes, heel and chafe-worth body parts), room key and watch.

What to do for dinner?  I started getting hungry at 5 pm and opted to venture out into Goleta. A few miles down the road I found civilization...including a completely packed Costco store (there was a long line at the food stands outside too!).

Most people try to carb up the night before a marathon by eating pasta.  But I wasn't in a pasta mood.  So naturally I, uh, stopped by the Baja Fresh adjacent to Costco and ordered quesadilla with chicken and an order of rice.  Probably not the best choice the night before a marathon.  In fact, in hindsight it was a pretty lame choice as I rarely eat that much cheese at one sitting.

So as I notice as I get in the car that stomach is gurgling and the seat belt feels tighter.  Yes, cheese quesadilla w/chicken probably not the wisest choice for final pre-race meal. But heck, it tasted good!

I spent the rest of the night sending mostly obnoxious (as usual) tweets from my Twitter page and caught many episodes of that great MSNBC documentary "Lockup."

Time passed by and I before I know it my wife is sending me emails telling me what an idiot I am for staying up so late the night before a marathon.  OK, she was right.  So at 11 pm I went to bed.  But not until I had a chocolate chunk muffin for dessert.


Beaten by a 15 Year Old Girl?? I Don't Think So!

Well the good news is that last week I upped my mileage to 50.  The bad news is that I'm running out of training time for the Santa Barbara Marathon, now less than a month away. In fact, I generally plan to have all of my long, hard training done 3 weeks prior to the marathon, so as to taper off the mileage gradually over the final 3 weeks.  I won't be needing much of a taper this time around.

Calabasas Classic goodie bag includes an awesome "technical" running shirt!While I didn't get around (yet again) to doing a long run, I did make it to the Calabasas Classic 10K on Sunday.  I highly recommend this well run local event.  It is HUGE with over 1,900 runners in various events and well organized. The goodie bags have a really nice "technical" shirt made out of a breathable material.  This is the only event I can think of that offers up such a nice non-cotton shirt.

As has been the case on a recurring basis over the last 6 months of training, I encountered some challenges this weekend.  For the umpteenth time, I caught yet another scratchy throat and cold from my little guy on Saturday.  So in my haste I decided to down about 10 chewable 500 mg vitamin C tablets on Saturday. Big mistake I'll later find out.

I get to bed at 11 pm and am awakened by something around 1 am but I can't remember what.  Playing to my favor was the recent time change, which provided an extra hour of sleep and helped me wake up feeling more refreshed. But my throat felt nasty and I would have loved to continue sleeping.

But I got up and out, grabbing a large coffee from 7 Eleven (I hate Starbucks because they don't offer the flavored cream that I like) and a blueberry muffin.  Breakfast of champions.

My goal was to get some mileage in by warming up for a few miles, running the 5K at 8 am at a moderate pace, running the 10K at 9 am a solid pace, then cooling down.  I succeeded in my goal.

Start of Calabasas Classic 5KThe normal pre-race routine consists of the following: park, get race number, get timer chip (for larger races like this), get goodie bag, bring stuff back to car, pin number to race shirt, tie timer chip to shoelaces, drink, eat, visit the porta-potty, warm-up, change shoes, change shirt, chat with fellow runners, then get to the start of the race.  This all pretty much worked out for me.

But after jogging the 5K in about 21 minutes, the 5,000 mg of vitamin C combined with jumbo cup of coffee worked a number on me. Seems I had a bit too much acid in my innards. So with about 5 minutes to spare before the start of the 10K, I would have liked to head right into the head.  But even with 15 beautiful, sky-blue porta-johns sparkling in the sunlight of the Calabasas City Hall parking lot this fine morning, there were 30 other people with the same goal in mind.

Lucky for me there were mostly guys in line. Yes, that sounds bad, but guys take half the time as gals in the bathroom (based on my vast experience).  So the line moved and I found myself quickly entombed in a porta-john, where within seconds my internal combustion vaporized into the scary blue liquid seas below.

But something still didn't feel right, and it wasn't my scratchy throat.  It felt like someone had kicked me in the %^&* and their boot was still lodged in there.

In any case (and without further elaboration), I did make it to the start of the race, felt fine, and actually ran a respectable 38:50, good for 1st place in my age division, and nearly a minute faster than my last 10K time.

The final 2 miles of the race I was running neck and neck with a young kid who I later found out was 17. He ended up beating me by like 9 seconds.  Just couldn't seem to reel him in. But when I saw the race results, somehow a 15 year old girl showed up 3 seconds ahead of me (and right behind the boy).***

Just wait a sec!?  There was no 15 year old girl*** ahead of me!  How the heck did that happen? I contacted the people who did the timing, who reviewed the video and said they did see a female in front of me, though she didn't look 15 and she did not look like someone who could run a sub-39 minute 10K.

This was a double loop 10K. While we were finishing the race, we were passing many of the walkers and slower joggers. What I suspect happened is that she decided to cross the finish line at the end of lap 1. I asked the timers what her 5K "split" was, but they said they weren't tracking splits.

So I KNOW she didn't beat me, THEY know it and I know the other runners in the 10K know it, but anyone else who checks the race results will think this 15 year old girl beat me out*** for 12th place overall in the Calabasas Classic.  At least for now. Darn it!

I'll get over it I guess.

All that said, I feel really good about my performance and more importantly, how I feel.  At this particular moment (Tuesday night 9:30 p.m), I feel GOOD!  And that's what's important :>

*** A post mortem 11/12. Upon further review the race timers determined this young lady, who provided me fuel for the title of this blog posting, was actually in the 5K and was moved from 12th place overall in the 10K to DEAD LAST in the 5K in 1 hour, 38 minutes.  I kid you not! Well I feel kind of sorry for her now but at the same time, I feel vindicated!!

Cloud Cover, In-N-Out Burger and 12 Weeks Until Marathon

Logistics and luck are the recurring themes in my quest for a marathon comeback. In fact, the 2 Ls have been key factors in most all of my prior 2 dozen marathons.  The difference between the two is that Logistics I have some (but not TOTAL) control over. Luck, well, is just that.  Some say you create your own luck by doing the right things at the right time, but that's debatable.

For example, today was my longest planned run to date (and I did do it...more on that later). Logistically I had it all nailed down. All my stuff was ready, bottles filled, hat, sunscreen, watch, bandaids, socks, gels, etc. all in their places.  Got to bed at a "decent" hour.

No alarm planned. I decided to let my internal alarm clock wake me up at 6 a.m. I was up at 6:30 a.m. Not too far off. Since I'm training alone, there's no planned start time to my runs. I got up, ready, and here comes my 3 11/12ths year old down the stairs. Uh oh, in the interest of maintaining my marriage, I got the little guy settled, TV on, breakfast ready, toys and games out. But now we're talking a 7 a.m. start for a 2 1/2 hour planned run. A slight curveball had been thrown at my logistics and planning, but I took it in stride without too much impact. Good logistics, bad luck, good outcome.

Last night I succombed to my kids' request and we drove through In-N-Out Burger for dinner (well, ok, they didn't have much arm twisting to do).  The kids had their standard Meat/Cheese/Bun while I ordered a hamburger with everything, including grilled onions. In so doing, I was veering away from my last positive experience of consuming a plain cheeseburger the night before a long run.  As I was downing the burger on the ride home*, I noticed the onions tasted like they had been sitting on the grill for awhile, somewhat (and uncharacteristically) yucky, but not enough to stop the inhalation as I drove.

So of course this morning my bad decision to eat something that didn't quite taste right caused some gastric distraction.  But thanks to good logistical planning this morning's "In-N-Out" performance did not significantly impact my long run. Bad logistics last night, bad luck, good logistics today, no harm no foul.  That's what a training run's all about.

So on to the run itself. Aside from the multiple pit stops, it was even better than last week's great run. Yet another run to PCH from Newbury Park via Sycamore Canyon, turning left onto PCH until my watch hit 1 hour, 17 minutes, then turned back to finish in 2 hours, 36 minutes. Nearly even splits, even with the severe uphill finish.  Started nice, easy and slow, and finished solidly, with little soreness.

An example of good luck today...CLOUD COVER the entire run!  A distance runner's dream! The weather was only mid-60s the entire run and that made it quite enjoyable to not have to deal with heat for once! And yet again I caught several beautiful deer on my descent to the ocean...they seemed to enjoy watching me huffing and puffing as they nibbled their breakfast.

So my mileage estimate for the day is 21.5 miles and for the week was 57 miles. With exactly 12 weeks until the Santa Barbara Marathon, I'm 100% confident that my body is ready for the 26.2 mile distance. The key now is to get a couple more 20 milers in but also to start tuning up my speed a bit now that I know the distance is a non-issue. To that end, my plan is to run the Point Mugu Half Marathon next Saturday, Thousand Oaks Alliance for the Arts 10K on 9/26, Jason's Race 5K on 10/11, Calabasas Classic 10K on 11/8 and perhaps one more half marathon.

*On a side note, I think it is much more dangerous eating an In-N-Out Burger than driving than holding a cell phone up to my head. Reminded me of this humorous video.