7th Annual Santa Barbara Marathon Cancelled by Organizers on October 14th

Organizers of the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon and Half Marathon announced this past Wednesday, October 14th, that the 7th Annual Santa Barbara Marathon has been canceled, but the Half Marathon is still good to go.

I didn't like the way they said it "We have made the difficult decision to consolidate our events into the Half Marathon." That sounds like something a corporate PR department would say about a shutting down some company operations. Why not just say "we cancelled the marathon"  but the half marathon is still running? I don't know.

This is unfortunate to hear. It is too bad that they waited until not even a month before the event to cancel it, but that happens. Last year's full marathon garnered only 859 participants, down from 1092 in 2013 and 1375 in 2012. The year I ran it, 2009, there were 1685 finishers.  (Thank you MarathonGuide.com for making these results so easily accessible!)

My inaugural Santa Barbara International Marathon t-shirt is still around, though getting a bit dingy.

My inaugural Santa Barbara International Marathon t-shirt is still around, though getting a bit dingy.

This is not the first local marathon to call it quits. The Malibu Marathon ditched the full marathon and retained its half marathon in 2014.

2014 Ventura Marathon and Beach Party Celebrate Record Success

In its second year, the Ventura Marathon and Beach Party reached record numbers, drawing over 3,200 participants from 34 states and nine countries.

Overall marathon winners were Dirian Lenin Bonilla who ran a 2:32:34 (5:49 per mile pace) and Bonnie Axman Keating who finished in 2:45:15 (6:18 pace).

The men’s half marathon was won by Westlake Village resident Sean Gildea who ran a 1:08:04 (5:12 pace.) The women’s half-marathon title was won by Allison Maxson in 1:15:57 (5:48 pace).

The 2014 event raised over $25,000 for local schools and charities including Pier Into The Future, the Humane Society of Ventura County, Autism Society Ventura County, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer, Max Cure Foundation, the Rotary Club of Ventura, and over one dozen local school groups and teams.

Race director Josh Spiker was particularly excited about the event's support of local charities and programs and gives thanks to the over 700 volunteers that made the event such a success.

The flat and fast course took runners and walkers through the cities of Ventura, Oxnard and Port Hueneme before culminating at the beachfront finish of the historic Ventura Pier.

The event included a full two-day beach party which featured over 60 vendors, food trucks, a beer garden by Firestone, seven live bands and various kids’ activities.

For more info or to check on updates about next year’s event, go to VenturaMarathon.com.

The event is managed by Vendurance Sports, a Ventura County-based running club and event management company aiming to bring high-quality, well-organized and affordable events to the region.

The Famous CITGO Sign in Boston Tells You There's Just One Mile to Go

Although I haven't run the Boston Marathon for quite some time, I did have a chance to visit the city of Boston recently on a family vacation. In over 13 years of marriage, not once have we, as a complete family unit. been to a local Dodger game. But that didn't stop my wife from convincing me to spend the equivalent of two car payments on outstanding tickets to the Red Sox vs Yankees game at Fenway Park.

The game was a lot of fun, at least the few minute of it that I got to see between trips to the concession stands for my offspring. A growing family requires sustenance at all times.

Before the game we grabbed a snack at a local eatery (pre-game sustenance) and I looked up to see one of the most well known scenes from the Boston Marathon...the CITGO sign on Beacon Street.

Any Boston Marathon participant with eyesight will be able to recall the CITGO sign, because it indicates that you are just about done with the 26.2 mile trip. The sign is situated just about a mile from the finish of the race. I've run over 30 marathons over the years, but this is perhaps the only marathon that has such a distinctive, memorable, historal finish.

According to the CITGO website, CITGO was founded in 1910 as Cities Service Company. In 1965 its name was changed to CITGO for branding purposes, using the first 3 letters of "Cities" and ending with "GO." My wife says local pronounce it "See It Go." I don't know if that's true or not but pretty cool nonetheless.

After a brief stint as a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum in 1982, CITGO was sold to The Southland Corporation in 1983 to provide a steady supply of gasoline to the 7-Eleven store chain. In 1986, Southland sold half of CITGO to Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., (PDVSA), the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the other half in January 1990.

But I digress. We had a great vacation and I managed to get out there and run every single day. Not a lot of mileage, but enough to keep me feeling groovy. I have no race plans at the moment but once I'm feeling it I'll be back in the game, having just turned the BIG 5-0. New age group!


My Little Eight Year Old Kicked My $%^&* On a Hike Up Boney This Weekend

Last Friday night I took my 8 year old and our dog to the Edison Road Trail in Newbury Park when it was becoming overcast. And dark. He wanted to keep going up the hill to walk "into a cloud." We didn't quite make it and had to turn around, lest we get stuck in the dark. That was that.

The next day I got up and ran about 9 miles mid-morning, came home and decided to take take the same kid out for some fun. No dog this time. We stopped at Jamba Juice. While slurping our smoothies, he said, let's go hike up Mount Boney. Huh?? I said, how come? Because I want to hike up to Mount Boney while I am still in one digits. And I want to walk inside a cloud.

Basically, I discovered these were two things he wanted to accomplish on his pre-double digit age "bucket list."

Saturday was a bit overcast (the photo above was taken another day). I said, are you sure? Yep. Are you sure? Yes. I think I must have repeated it 5 times but he didn't back down. We had shorts on and I had jackets, along with a backpack, in the car. I went back into Jamba Juice to buy a couple bottles of water and some snacks. The temps were in the 60s, making it a nice day to hike up there.

As we drove over, in the back of my mind I'm thinking, how I will reward him for making it to the Danielson Monument, quite a hike in and of itself. The really technical, rocky, crazy steep sections of the path to Boney Peak come on an unmarked trail above the Monument, unsupported by the National Park Service. Most people who have been "up Boney" have been to the Monument, not to the very top. Boney Peak stands at over 2,800 feet, making the climb well over 2,000 feet from Newbury Park.

It was a great time. The entire time my son asked questions, starting with, how many miles is it? I estimate about 4 miles. How many feet is it? How many inches? How many centimeters? And so on, the day goes. And we move along, gradually, stopping now and then to observe something of interest. A gigantic red ant, a stink bug, a stick, a bench. Then more questions. What would happen if an asteroid landing here right now? What would happen if three coyotes came and tried to attack us? How many minutes does it take to get to the top? How many seconds?

We made it to the Danielson Monument and had a snack. Then he saw the sign below, that after years of running up here from time to time, somehow I never noticed it among the overgrowth.

So, you wanna keep going, or are you tired? We moved on, through the narrow, jungle-like sections with poison oak surrounding us, the steep, rocky, highly technical sections that he seemed to navigate like a pro, the ups and occasional downs, the twists and turns and occasional pass by some person's discards (quite disheartening to see that someone would make the effort to bring TP yet leave it up there after use). There's always gotta be someone like that out there I guess.

We left the parking lot around 1:45pm and reached the top around 4:45pm. My son got his wish, or wishes, I should say. He had reached the top of Boney Peak. And he enjoyed the feeling of being "inside a cloud."

He was thrilled climbing on large boulders that made me cringe. I had to keep my eyes on close watch on my little adventurer because the drop from Boney Peak would be the end. After 20 minutes of exploring, it was time to head down.

We made it back to the car in about 2 hours and about 100 questions. I was nervous about getting locked into the parking lot as it was getting late. He was starting to peeter out a bit so I grabbed his hand and helped him along a bit. Overall though I was quite impressed at his endurance and stamina. Then again, he managed to eat all the snacks I brought. I had to settle for a handful of BBQ potato chips as he scarfed everything down. Note to self: Bring more snacks next time.

So long story short, here we are 3 days after our little cross training endeavor, and my upper ass cheeks (technical terminology), an area of the body I never think about, are still SORE! Mount Boney is like training on a Stairmaster on steroids. My glutes weren't used to this type of workout. But I'm sure by tomorrow, or maybe the day after, they will be fine.

On the other hand, I've heard no complaints from the 2nd grader. He seems as spunky as ever. It's good to be young, when you can kick your old man's %^&*( and not even know it. Or maybe he did know it. That night, he said to me, you don't have to run tomorrow. You can take a day off, you know.

And so I did. I took a Sunday off. I rarely take Sundays off. But that little kid of mine had the upper hand. He knew dad would stay home on Sunday morning and cook him pancakes while skipping his weekly long run. And that's what he, or I should say I, did.

The Porta-John - One of the Most Welcome Sights to Marathon Runners

As I was picking up my Ventura Marathon race bib before the race a few weeks ago, I came across an awesome sight...this perfectly arranged line of porta-johns. Kudos to local Cal State Site Services for this beautiful line-up.

After 20 years of running and racing, I have no qualms chatting about the use of porta-johns. Well I don't like using the porta-john, they are a welcome sight, particularly when unoccupied.

Having access to porta-johns are a critical aspect of marathons as well as other races, as the lack thereof can cause massive problems and/or messes.

Well organized marathons have an adequate number of porta-johns at both the start of the race and dispersed throughout the course. Every few miles. The Ventura Marathon did a pretty decent job of that. In fact, I visited one of them around Mile 9 of the race.

The time and momentum lost in visiting a porta-john mid-race is not a good thing. But...as they say...when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. Probably my single biggest pre-race stress point is ensuring my innards are empty, yet have enough fuel in me to power me through the full 26.2 miles. I didn't quite achieve that goal in Ventura and that sliced probably two minutes or so from my time.

Perhaps I'll figure the timing one of these days. Perhaps not. After running 30+ marathons you'd think I'd figure that out.

Runners are Sometimes the Inspiration for Chart Topping Hit Songs

I flip through the pages of Runner's World magazing each month and have been doing so for years. In the August 2013 issue, there's a brief mention of Delihah DiCrescenzo, age 30. She has quite an interesting name, first off for the obvious. She was the inspiration for Plain White T's singer Tom Higgenson's chart-topping hit "Hey There Delilah" that was nominated for 2008 Song of the Year (won by Amy Winehouse).

Although there was no "love" interest between the two (well, at least from her), she was treated to a visit to the 2008 Grammy Awards with the band. I don't know Delilah's current status, but my advice to Tom is...start running!

Delilah is now 30 years old and still based out of New York. Earlier this year she ran a personal best time of 15:36.45 in the 5,000 meters and in 2012 ran a 4:32 mile. That's pretty darn speedy. She also came pretty darn close to making the Olympics with a 7th place in the Olympic Trials Steeplechase race in 2012. More recently she won the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run 4-Miler in 21:07 in Manhattan as well as two other road wins in a six-week period, according to Runner's World.

I find her last name, DiCrescenzo, kind of oxymoronic. DiCrescenzo is similar sounding to decrescendo, which basically in music terms to decrease in loudness, become softer. The last thing that comes to mind when I see her running times is a decrescendo.

The Plain White T's performed last month at the Ventura County Fair. I missed it!

Here's "Hey There Delilah" which happens one of my all-time favorite listenable over and over again songs.

And there you have it. Running word association. Though no mention of running in the lyrics:

Hey there Delilah what's it like in New York City
I'm a thousand miles away
But girl tonight you look so pretty, yes you do
Times Square can't shine as bright as you, I swear it's true

Hey there Delilah don't you worry about the distance
I'm right there if you get lonely give this song another listen
Close your eyes, listen to my voice it's my disguise
I'm by your side

Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
What you do to me

Hey there Delilah, I know times are getting hard
But just believe me girl, someday I'll pay the bills with this guitar
We'll have it good, we'll have the life we knew we would
My word is good

Hey there Delilah, I've got so much left to say
If every simple song I wrote to you
Would take your breath away, I'd write it all
Even more in love with me you'd fall, we'd have it all

Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me

A thousand miles seems pretty far
But they've got planes and trains and cars
I walk to you if I had no other way
Our friends would all make fun of us
And we'll just laugh along because we know
That none of them have felt this way

Delilah I can promise you
That by the time that we get through
The world will never ever be the same
And you're to blame

Hey there Delilah
You be good and don't you miss me
Two more years and you'll be done with school
And I'll be making history like I do

You'll know it's all because of you
We can do whatever we want to
Hey there Delilah here's to you
This one's for you

Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
What you do to me

Registration for the 2014 Boston Marathon Began on Monday, September 9th

Registration began began this past Monday, September 9th, for the 2014 Boston Marathon. I hadn't even thought about the Boston Marathon lately, let alone any marathon, other than the marathon I ran this past Sunday.

My 3 hrs, 8 minutes is about 17 minutes than the 3:25 qualifying time for my age group, which gets me into the second group of qualifiers allowed to apply to event. The first group, those that finished at least 20 minutes below their designated qualifying time, were allowed to enter starting on Monday. There's even a Registration Date Calculator for the event on the BAA website:


Qualifying times for the 2014 Boston Marathon are as follows:

Age        Men                                      Women

18-34     3hrs 05min 00sec              3hrs 35min 00sec

35-39     3hrs 10min 00sec              3hrs 40min 00sec

40-44     3hrs 15min 00sec              3hrs 45min 00sec

45-49     3hrs 25min 00sec              3hrs 55min 00sec

50-54     3hrs 30min 00sec              4hrs 00min 00sec

55-59     3hrs 40min 00sec              4hrs 10min 00sec

60-64     3hrs 55min 00sec              4hrs 25min 00sec

65-69     4hrs 10min 00sec              4hrs 40min 00sec

70-74     4hrs 25min 00sec              4hrs 55min 00sec

75-79     4hrs 40min 00sec              5hrs 10min 00sec

80+         4hrs 55min 00sec              5hrs 25min 00sec

Boston Marathon organizers indicate this will be a unique event and that entrants, volunteers may be asked for additional cooperation in certain areas, including transportation, baggage and other logistics.

"Among the changes, it is anticipated participants will be asked to submit to security checks of their personal belongings.  Participants may be asked to significantly reduce, or eliminate, the belongings that they carry with them on the transportation provided by the B.A.A. and into race areas.

Participants should be prepared for the possibility that the checking and pick-up of personal belongings will not be allowed."

BAA organizers are taking a particularly hard look it appears at what the runners can check in at the start of the race. They actually indicate as shown above that there is a possibility that personal belongings will not be allowed.

That would obviously be a drastic, perhaps overly draconian move. Unfortunately due to the 2013 bombing the organizers of the 2014 event have to be particularly cautious as to how to proceed.  I recall for example running the 100th Boston Marathon, quite a cold day, with snow on the ground while we awaited the start of the race in Hopkinton. Luckily I had gloves and warm, layered clothes to keep me marginally warm. But then I placed the items in a bag and retrieved them at the finish. Would entrants basically have to toss away their belongings next year? I guess we'll find out.

Have I registered? No.

Will I register? Haven't decided yet but leaning toward no because I'm likely to have a surgery in the next few months that may take me away from training for several months.

Would I like to register and run the 2014 Boston Marathon? I would for sure if I lived near Boston. But I dread the hassle and cost of travel to an event I've already run several times. That said, this will be a special event in more ways than one.

Seeing the Humor in Running a 200 Mile Relay Race

Many, many years ago, a couple of runner friends at work talked me into running the Hood to Coast Relay, a 12 person, 195 mile relay race in Portland, Oregon. I had never really wanted to run a relay race and have not pondered the joys of running a relay race again since then. Why? For the same reason, I think camping is the equivalent of pretending to be homeless. I don't enjoy it!

It's not that I don't love the outdoors or anything. I love the outdoors. I just don't like sleeping outdoors in a sleeping bag in a tent. I'd rather just sleep in my good ole comfy bed. But that's just me.

Similarly, I love running...trails, roads, varying distances, alone, with friends, casually, competitively. But I don't like running at 3am for 6 miles, finishing, hopping into a van all sweaty, towel off, attempt to sleep and get up 5 hours later to run another 7 miles. Then do it yet again 8 hours later. Especially when I'm sharing the van with 5 other smelly guys who have not showered.

However, a lot of people apparently LOVE running relays, like the popular Ragnar Relay series.  I'd rather run a boring 10K or half marathon, head home, shower up, have a beer and call it a day. However, to each his own. The humorous animation below sums it up for me.

But getting back to Hood to Coast...you know, it was actually kind of fun. Fun enough to be talked into doing it another year. Perhaps you should put a 200 mile relay race on your bucket list.

Ventura County Sheriff Reminder That Pedestrians in Bike Lanes is Prohibited

SharrowToday a press release from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office came out and it was kind of a downer for me. It was a reminder that since 1/1/77, California law prohibits pedestrians (e.g. walkers, joggers, runners) from using bike lanes when sidewalks are available. I do a lot of running facing traffic in bike lanes early in the morning. Uh oh...

Press release from local.nixle.com/alert/5015878:

Jogging and walking in bicycle lanes when sidewalks are available is against California Vehicle Code law.

With the beautiful warmer days ahead, many people will be heading to the roadways and sidewalks throughout the city to enjoy the fresh air and scenery. We want to make sure that everyone enjoys this nice weather safely. It is very important to remember that bicycle lanes are for bicycles and not for jogging or walking.

Violations of this law can result in the violators receiving a citation.

California Vehicle Code---21966. States no pedestrian shall proceed along a bicycle path or lane where there is an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility (Added Ch. 751, Stats. 1976. Effective January 1, 1977.)

Be conscientious of all of those around us enjoying the outdoors and be respectful of the laws designed for our safety so we can all enjoy a great summer.