First Day Off Running in Two Months Today

Yes, today, Sunday, September 7, 2014, is the first day I've taken off from running since July 5, 2014. I've been running pretty much every day the entire summer, though my 50th birthday, the longest vacation since my teen years and other summer activities.

My running, however, has been nothing special, just daily 4 to 6 mile runs, mostly on trails, nothing too speedy, no races, speedwork. My fastest runs have been with the local youth cross country running club that my son participates in.

So today my quads are sore as hell. Why? Because yesterday I ran a local 5K cross country race mostly with a bunch of kids (and some adults) who have been training for the last 6 to 8 weeks. I, on the other hand, have not been in race training mode.

You can't fool your body, especially at age 50. Five years ago I could run a 5K on a moment's notice and feel fine the next day. Today I run a 5K and the next day my legs feel like I've run a marathon.

But it's a "good" feeling in that it is just soreness, not pain. No injuries. Just my muscles reminding me that if I want to run fast, I've got to train fast. A pretty basic concept. The soreness is a wake up call.

Getting back to the race, I don't even know my time. I had to bolt out of there to get to my other son's soccer game. The race was at 10am in 80+ degree heat, which is not my idea of fun. But I'm glad I did it and it gave me the excuse today to take a well-needed (and deserved) day off.

Looking forward to a fall/winter season of cool temperatures and rain. Perhaps wishful thinking here in drought-ridden Southern California, but I think we're about due for it.

Top 60 Year Old Runner at 2014 Big Sur Marathon Hails From Newbury Park

A good friend of mine, 60 year old David Louks, finished 42nd overall, 1st in his 60 to 65 age group and 2nd fastest age group performance of all time at the Big Sur Marathon held last Sunday, April 27th. This was Louks' 67th marathon and I'm certain it will not be his last. Big Sur is one of the most challenging, yet most beautiful marathon courses. Congrats Dave!

As for me, a few days ago I signed up for a local 5K, the 2nd Annual Run for Your Health 5K in Camarillo held this morning, along with my son. This was a small 5K, with only about 70 registrants, on a well marked course taking runners from the Camarillo Community Center, up Carmen to Las Posas to Arneill to Ponderosa and back to Carmen. Not the most exciting course in the world but with the help of local police they were able to cone off a lane for us the entire course.

Somehow I managed to win the race in 18 minutes, 22 seconds, slower than I felt I was running, but I was running all alone most of the way. This 49 year old body was followed by a 15 year old about a minute back. Fun stuff. I felt fine other than a bit of a stomach cramp that kept me from "pushing it" in mile three. My strategy with stomach cramping is to periodically breath in and blow out air quickly, though not too much (the last thing I need is to hyperventilate in a 5K). It kinda sorta worked for me, but not completely.

In any case, it was fun going out there on a whim today and my 11 year old ran a solid 22 minute race too.

It was not cool out today after week of hot temperatures but it was somewhat less hot than over the last three days, which was nice.

Another 5K Least I'm Consistent at the 35th Annual Camarillo Kiwanis 5K

Today I ran my first race in about 6 weeks, the 35th Annual Camarillo Kiwanis 5K/10K. According to race organizers, this is the oldest race in Ventura County.

This is one of the most low key, mellow races you'll find. With only 134 total participants in the combined races, parking is not an issue. This year the race took place at a new venue, Pleasant Valley Fields. The course circles around the park onto the Calleguas Bike Path, where most of the running takes place for both races.

I felt fit a week ago but my hamstrings have been sore from sitting too much I think. Maybe I need to sit on ice bags or something. This morning my right hammie was a little sore and stiff before the race and stretching didn't do me any good. But the race started at 7:30am, I was paid for, so I was gonna run, sore buttock or no sore buttock.

First mile was 5:42 behind a youngster who was wall ahead of me. But I knew I would not be able to maintain that pace as my right hamstring at that point had an even more distinct pain. So I plugged onward for an 18:18 5K, good for 2nd overall. It was a disappointment for me because when I signed up I felt I could regain my sub 18 5K time today based on my recent training. But it just wasn't to be today. I believe a day or two off will help me more than anything.

Kudos to the Camarillo Kiwanis for running a nice local event while maintaining registration fees at only $25, including t-shirt and post-race eats. $25 5K races are a dying breed. $30, $35, $40 and even more is what I'm seeing out there. So for that fact alone, do consider the 36th Annual Camarillo Kiwanis 5K/10K in 2014! Visit for updates. The Kiwanis uses all net proceeds from the race for local scholarships. A worthy cause.

Cool Awards at the Local Camarillo Lions Club 5K and 10K Run Today

Two years ago I ran the Camarillo-Somis Pleasant Valley Lions Club 5K in 17:34 without any "speed" training. I managed to win the race that year (well, as I recall, after the guy right ahead of me took a wrong turn lol). Last year I wasn't running in September as a result of my vitrectomy surgery to correct a detached retina. After running 20 miles last Saturday, 18.5 miles a week prior to that preceded by a 17 miler on September 2nd, I figured it would be good to ditch the long run this weekend to work on a little speed with a 5K race.

This course is pretty much pancake flat. A nice, low-key local race run by really nice people at the Lions Club who also put on a pancake breakfast and have in my opinion an enormous number of raffle prizes for such a relatively small race. In fact, I won lunch for two at Ola's Mexican Restaurant in Camarillo in the raffle!

However, I did not treat this race particularly seriously. Yesterday I ran 10 miles around town, which I would not do the day before a "serious" competitive 5K. But I wanted to keep the mileage up.

Additionally, and for the first time ever in my 19 year running career, I worked out at the gym at 7:20 a.m. for 20 minutes, prior to the 8 a.m. start time of the race. My gym was literally across the street from the race and I wanted to get a workout in. I had planned to work out after the race, but figured, ah, what the heck, let's get this done now so I can get home to the kids sooner after the race. The workout was not particularly hard, but no doubt not something you should do immediately before a 5K.

I actually felt pretty solid the entire aches or pains..and ran a solid 18:19 for 3rd place overall. Similar to my last 5K on the 4th of July, the combined ages of the two guys ahead of me were less than my age...ha! I almost ran down the kid in front of me...woulda had him with another quarter of mile...he kept looking behind him, which told me he was starting to hurt).

Decent race conditions. Sunny, maybe 70 degrees, no wind, flat. My only beef is that I felt like I was easily running sub-18 minutes. The wind in my sails deflated slightly when I saw the 18:19 time, but all things considered, I'm happy. I cut 12 seconds off my last 5K time and averaged about 5:55 per mile. Decent enough for someone close to turning 50 who stupidly does a gym workout before a 5K.

As you can see from the unique awards imprinted on tiles above, the race organizers do a really nice jobb. That was a really nice touch.  Thanks again, Pleasant Valley Lions Club, for putting on such a runner-friendly local race! Learn more about the club at

Waking Up My Body Once Again With a Local 5K Race on the 4th of July

With no particular race plans and no real focus to my running these days, I don't have a lot of motivation to run fast. It has been 3 1/2 months since I started back with my running after 5 1/2 week hiatus. I've been running consistently, but not spectacularly.

Part of my problem continues to be lack of adequate sleep...getting to bed too late. I'll have to work on cloning myself. Too tired in the morning, my daily runs have been slow. My long runs in the 8 to 9 mile range over the last 3 to 4 weeks.

In any case, I thought it would be fun to do the local Miller Family YMCA 5K in Newbury Park on the 4th of July to give my body some shock treatment again. When you don't do speedwork on the track or in your training in general, I'm a fan of running a periodic 5K to force a little speed with peer pressure surrounding you in a fun environment.

There were over 400 runners on hand for the 5K. The weather was overcast, the course was semi-challenging. I felt decent. Not speedy, but not bad.

As usual for pretty much any local 5K/10K, there were dozens and dozens of teenagers toeing the line. Although I know most of them will be out of the gate like a sprinter, then fizzle out before the first miler marker, I don't bother trying to squeeze into the front where I know I belong (I did, even at my advanced age of 47, still manage to finish 9th overall). I chose standing in the 2nd/3rd row and relaxing, though slightly annoyed, to jostling with a pimply 16 year old for a spot.

The race starts and, sure enough, 50 people bolt out ahead of me as I work my way into it. But within 1/2 mile most of these folks are behind me as I slowly but surely reel them in. At that point I was pretty much in the spot I'd end up at at the finish line.

While the speed that carried me to 17 1/2 minute 5K times 2 years ago was not there, I felt more competitive than the 10K I ran 2 1/2 months ago. So I was able to keep a couple teenagers on their toes most of the race, trading positions with them a few times. At the end, they were able to accelerate while I stayed in 2nd gear, and they beat me 8 seconds.

The results show me in 9th place in 18:31, roughly 5:59 per mile. The first mile was uphill, which forced me into negative splits, which is a good thing. The two kids in front of me were 14 and 16. The 10th place finisher, 25 seconds behind me, was 15. WTH?? I'm older than the combined ages of these 3 guys. Too much fun!

Running a Local Turkey Trot While Still Feeling Sub-Par

Seems that as I age, I'm "off" more days than I'm on. After my 45 day hiatus I started back up with running. Then all of 18 days later I'm back with what's become my standard early winter cold.

I'm always wondering what I can possibly due to eliminate this issue of catching colds when those around me are sick. Sometimes it just feels impossible. A co-worker had been sick for several weeks and while I steered pretty clear of her, her office is next to mine and many of the documents she touches come to me. So while I diligently washed my hands as much as I could, there was only so much I could do.

Then of course my wife was sick for several weeks. Hard to stay away from her :>

November 14th was my opthamologist visit to check out the eye with the no-longer-detached-retina. The first words out of his mouth as I sat face to face, just a foot away from him, was "I just got over a cold that knocked me out all weekend." CRAP I'm thinking. There's absolutely no way out of this situation. He's literally touching my eye and placing drops in it and I'm thinking, I'm screwed. Sure enough 3 days later the storm in my sinuses and throat came.

T-shirts like this never get worn by yours truly. This color just doesn' do it for me.In any case, the cold made it (as usual) into my lungs and I'm coughing up stuff in large chunks in shapes like Maine, New York and Massachusetts every morning and my chest hurts from all the hacking. And a week later was Thanksgiving and we had no out of town plans, so I figure, why not go run the local Turkey Trot at The Oaks mall.

The race got off to a nasty start for me. With only 20/70 vision in my right eye (more on this situation in a future post), my depth perception is in bad shape and I didn't see the bump in the road 10 steps into the race serves as a walkway towards the mall. After nearly falling flat on my face, both hamstrings immediately were sore. It was bizarre, like they decided to go on strike. They weren't sore before that. All I could think of is that my body simply was telling me it wasn't ready to be speedy again, 25 days into running again and 11 days since my first 5K since coming back.

But this was a "fun run" for me and I kept on running. While running isn't so fun for me when my hams are sore and my chest is full of yucky stuff, I continued onwards to at least break under 20 minutes, several minutes slower than my "typical" 5K time. But hey, I'm still glad I did it.

Tonight, December 1st, I'm still coughing to some degree and have a little bit of stuff left in my chest, but I feel good enough to have my first glass of red wine for about 3 weeks. Yay!

I see Conejo Valley Guide on the back of this shirt. :>

Coming Full Circle in the 5K - What 45 Days Off Does to Your Aerobic Capacity

So on Halloween I was given clearance to start aerobic activity again after a 45 day hiatus due to multiple eye surgeries. 45 days off from running is by far the longest I haven't run since the beginning of my running endeavors in 1993.

While it sure felt great to get out there again, I knew regaining my aerobic conditioning would not be easy.

As mentioned in previous blog posts, I was signed up to run the Malibu Marathon that took place yesterday, but obviously had to bail out due to my eye surgeries. However, I had forgotten that many, many months ago, last March to be exact, I had signed up to run the Calabasas Classic 5K. Yes indeed, I was signed up to do 2 races in 1 day. Kind of lame of me, but hey, I wanted to get the early bird discount way back when.

The Calabasas Classic 5K/10K is one of the biggest local races, with over 2,000 participants in the 2 races (split about 75% 5K and 25% 10K). It is a well orchestrated event and the goodie bag alone, with a nice "technical" shirt and other items, is worth the cost of entry. Not to mention, the medal you see to the right is given to all finishers. What a neat gesture, as people love getting great swag and momentos at local races!

So since I had already paid to run the 5K, I decided, what the heck, it would be fun to actually run the race.

Mind you, I had only been back running for 12 days since my doctor's blessings. Without a day off in those 12 days and Friday/Saturday my legs were pretty darn stiff and non-responsive. While I had felt pretty good the first week back to running, my body was starting to rebel a bit.

So race day, I had very low expectations. I was running to have fun and test myself, not compete. That was certainly the way the race went.

The gun went off at 8 a.m. My legs actually felt o.k., slightly better than the prior 2 days, and my breathing wasn't labored or anything. While I couldn't run "fast" by my standards, I had situated myself in a spot where I was stuck behind slower runners at the start of the race. This allowed me the mental enjoyment of passing dozens and dozens of runners the first mile of the race.

But after the first mile, that was pretty much it. While my legs were moving, I simply was not able to run "fast" (again by my own standards). About a year ago I ran a 17:30 5K in Camarillo without any speed training. Yesterday I had absolutely no gears and ran a 20:11, effectively the slowest 5K I've ever run (my first ever 5K was 19:42). But hey, it got me 45th place overall out of 1,500 participants. Gotta look at the positive side. And 4th in my age group.

NO REGRETS! Given everything I've been through, I was perfectly happy with my time. Heck, that was a 6:31 per mile pace, 11 days and no rest after 2 major eye surgeries and 45 days of zippo running.

Still, I was a little bit exasperated, trying to run down 2 kids, ages 11 and 13 (according to the results) that were directly in front of me. Heck, add them up and double it and I'm still older than them. I'm gonna run down those kids down next time :> (loved seeing those kids doing so well out there).

After the race my chest was so tight and sore I though I might get a stroke or something. But not to worry, my lungs were simply not used to sucking down all that air so quickly. My aerobic capacity had taken a beating and was in shock I think. Within an hour I was back to feeling fine.

The morning after the race most of my lower body was sore, though mainly my shins and hamstrings.

Feels good to get sore again. I'm baaaaccckkkk. Or on my way, at least.

Run local races. It's great motivation for getting aerobically fit.

Ran Another 5K But Back Came My Injury

Encouraged with my performance at a local 5K on July 10th, I decided to sign up for another local 5K in Newbury Park on Saturday, July 16th.

The First Annual Care and Compassion 5K run in support of Mary Health of the Sick Convalescent Hospital in Newbury Park was one of the smallest races I've run, with about 75 participants or so, and not particularly exciting as it looped around Peppertree Park 4 1/2 times, but it was fun and enjoyable and the people were really nice. Plus it always feels good supporting a local race that supports a good cause.

Before the start of the raceRight after the start of the race

But I knew going in I was there more for fun than for competition, as my little psoas muscle soreness was back. Darn it!

Some injuries you can run through, some you can't. My psoas injury causes me pain and thus slows me down quite a bit, but I can still run. So I did the best I could with the obnoxious pain in my left lower navel area. I finished in a pedestrian 19:30 or so, roughly 2 minutes slower than my typical 5K times and a minute slower than the prior weekend's 5K (which was run on tight, sore calves).

Yes indeed, I'm getting old. And feeling it. But the older and (relatively speaking) less competitive I get, the more I enjoy the camaraderie of a local race. Pretty much everybody at these local 5K races are there to have fun and enjoy a nice morning.

This race was so small that there were only 2 age divisions - under 40 and 40 and over. I handily won the 40+ division and was rewarded with a cool water bottle with a freezable center to keep my drink cool. It is now sitting with the 12 other water bottles in my garage, ready for action.

Today it is Wednesday, July 27th. I spent a 5 day long weekend out of town with my family and am back at it. Still sore, but in good spirits. Even though I'm sore I'm signed up for the Bulldog 25K trail run a month from today. We'll see how that goes.

Light at the End of the Tunnel: Two Month Old Injury Disappears Overnight

On Sunday May 8th, I woke up with a pain in my lower abdomen that my chiropractor was eventually able to diagnose as a psoas muscle issue. This damn injury caused me to ditch my marathon plans a month ago and deal with the issue.

I visited my chiropractor regularly (generally 2 or 3 times per week) and he adjusted me and did things that didn't seem like they would have a direct impact on the dull pain. But my years of first-hand experience with injuries told me I had to be patient, not that I didn't need periodic assurances from my chiropractor that this thing would eventually go way. As seasoned as I am with injuries, I still needed to hear that to stay positive.

For 2 months I hadn't been able to run at full speed or for too long of a distance. But the good thing was that I could still run, albeit some days with more discomfort, other days with not-so-bad discomfort. Felt good to just get out there and stay consistent.

After my bone-headed 6.5 mile run in a pair of Vibram FiveFingers on July 2nd, even though my calves were thrashed and sore, I felt some hope in that my turnover started

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