Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Happy to see my wife and daughter in law on the Marine Corps Marathon Route
When I completed the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2013, I was very over trained and dealing with an injury that popped up 2 weeks before the Marathon. The worst over training issues affecting me were large bumps on both of my Achilles tendons. I was definitely ready for a break. At that point I figured I would need to take it easy for 3-6 months and then I would be ready to run again. I was in great shape and wanted to stay that way. I really felt like I could run for hours… in fact I had been running for hours at a time for the months leading up to the marathon. I wasn’t running fast, my training log for the Marine Corps Marathon shows that my longer runs (15-20 miles) averaging just over 10 minute mile pace and my shorter runs (5-6 miles) averaging around a 9 minute mile pace. Unfortunately the injury a couple of weeks before the Marine Corps Marathon, during a shorter run, brought my pace down to 12 minute mile pace for the marathon (very disappointing). I really felt that pace was well below my potential. In fact I did not feel stressed by the pace during the race. It was just that I started the race limping and was not able to run smoothly until about the 10 mile marker. Now that the marathon was over I was hoping that if I could heal from the injury and get rid of the nagging over training issues I would be able to quickly get back to running. My goal was to be able to run some more half marathons and maybe take another shot at a marathon if it felt right.

So I took a few months off and went back out for a shorter 5-6 mile run by the beach. It was definitely not time yet. My leg injury still nagged my if I pushed off at full strength and my Achilles tendons were also still sore and swollen. I took another shot in 3 more months. The leg was feeling much better but the tendons were still sore and swollen. I did not just want to go back to training hard again and have these persistent issues continue indefinitely, so I decided it might be a year or so before I could get back to running longer distances. I continued going out a couple of times a month during 2014 but not as regularly as I had been running.

I was training for a hike across the Grand Canyon at this point and decided the hiking was more important than the running, so I decided not to try to do too much running until after the big hike.. I intended to get back to running once the hike was finished.

The 2014 Grand Canyon hike was great, but I could tell I was not in the same shape I was in the first time I did the hike. I felt it especially on the way up Bright Angel trail. To be fair I had pretty serious cold and laryngitis, but that was not the only issue. I had let my overall conditioning go down hill significantly. I was hiking, but not in the gym and not running and I was feeling the effects of that.

I continued to run occasionally through 2015, with some occasional burst in activity to train for a 5K run I do every year in March. By September 2015, the Achilles tendons were completely better. By this time I had lost all my conditioning. I was still able to go out and run 3-6 miles with no problem, but it did not feel as good as it had. I definitely didn’t feel like I would be able to run longer without significant training. Then I started to have knee issues. I’m not sure why this started. I had knee surgery in high school, but I had never had issues with that knee since. Now it was giving my significant issues. After September, I let running go again, except for an occasional once or twice a month 3 mile run.

In 2016, I decided to set a goal to hike more often, but let running go almost completely. We hiked a lot in 2016, but almost no running. I also started to have serious issues with my right foot. I had foot surgery in 2009 and I thought the initial problem was coming back. But when I finally went to the doctor in the summer of 2016, he found that the metal plate put in for the surgery in 2009 had shifted and was now about an 1/8 of an inch above the bone. It was irritating the flesh and causing quite a bit of pain. So I decided to have a surgery to remove the metal plate. This was a very good idea and the surgery in January 2017 went well and the recovery was very quick. My foot quickly felt better than it had in years. Unfortunately the lack of exercise during 2016 had left me in pretty bad shape and the surgery kept me from doing any training before my annual 5k in March 2017. I was in such bad shape I did the family fun walk instead of running for the first time in 8 years.

I realized during my recovery from the surgery that I had let myself get in the worst shape of my life over the last couple years. I was overweight by at least 20 pounds, and had not been in the gym regularly for well over 18 months, probably longer. I decided to do something about it, starting with a 30 day diet and exercise challenge my nephew suggested. No alcohol, bread, sweets, white rice, potatoes (etc) for 30 days. Nothing from a can or package. No sugar and no artificial sweetener. Only fresh meat, fresh vegetables, and fruit. In addition, some sort of physical activity every day, a hike, walk, run, or the gym. I started the diet and exercise on 20 March and as of 21 April I’ve lost 15 pounds and I’m no longer in the worst shape of my life. I have no intention of going backward from here. I will continue the diet, with a few modifications, and I will continue to exercise at least 5 days a week.

I’m still not able to run “pain-free” after my foot surgery.  In addition to removing a plate the surgeon shaved a bump off the top of the bone my big toe moves on.  This bump was preventing full flexibility in the toe and might be to blame for some of my Achilles tendon and knee issues.  It was definitely affecting my walking and running gait.  I will have to take it easy on running until that joint is fully healed.

Running Goals:

  • Continue to let my foot heal while I diet and exercise in the gym.
  • Run no more than 3 mile distance until I’m under 200 lbs. I don’t lose weight when I run long distances I just eat more.
  • Prepare to run a local half marathon in San Diego in early 2018.
  • Run the Monterey Bay Half Marathon (formerly the Big Sur Half Marathon) in November 2018 (has been on my Bucket List for a few years).
  • Then reevaluate my goals after that.

This will be my 5th consecutive Race for Autism and the 10th Anniversary of the Race itself. This event offers a chip timed 5K race, a fun 5K walk/run, and/or a 1 mile family walk. The location could not be better, the course cuts through the heart of Balboa Park.

My first Race for Autism was in 2010, I was injured, arrived at the race alone, knew no one, but I still had a great time! Not long after this race I received some information about the National Foundation for Autism Research (NFAR) Mens’s Group. I decided to check it out and have been attending meetings ever since. This group is a great resource for Dad’s of children with autism. NFAR has also started a Women’s Group for Moms.

In 2011 I was joined by family and friends for the race and in 2012 we had an even larger turnout.

Our team for the NFAR Race for Autism 24 March 2012

We had a terrific time, unfortunately we were on our way out of town right after the race, so we were unable to fully enjoy the day. Last year our team had a great turn out and lots of fun. I ran with both my sons, one of my daughters and her boyfriend (now fiancée!). We did the family walk with an even larger group. We made up for the quick exit in 2012 by inviting all our friends and family over to our house for brunch following the race in 2013. This was also the first year that my son Sean ran the 5K race. He ran with me and his older brother (putting on a burst at the end to beat us by a hair).

His older sister and her boyfriend also ran the 5K.

Monica and Ricky at the finish

We had an even larger group for the family walk. This is just some of the group.

2013 NFAR Race for Autism Team Running with Sean

In 2014 we are still putting together a team. We’re looking forward to the race and the get together afterwards.

Autism affects each child differently. But with effective therapy and quality education there is an opportunity to improve the lives of every child with autism. NFAR is focused on providing support to the people most focused on making a difference like teachers. From personal experience I know that teachers can make a tremendous difference in the life of a child with autism. This race is our chance to help them make that difference.

Sign up for the Race for Autism at San Diego Race for Autism, and invite your friends and family.

Update 22 March 2014: We had a great turnout for the race/walk and support folks and an even bigger group for brunch after at our house. This year just adds to the fun we’ve had through the years with everyone who has supported us in raising money for NFAR.

Here are a few pictures:

This is the whole 2014 early morning group of runners, walkers, and support folks. More terrific supporters came to the brunch.

Our early morning group at the race/walk

Randy turned in a good time well ahead of the rest of us… we have some more training to do for next year!

Randy turning in the fastest time for the team

Kirsten and Austin finishing up strong!

Kirsten and Austin finishing the 5K race

All of the runners (Trisha, Randy, Sean, Kirsten, Austin, and me) on team “Running with Sean Again” – 2014!

All the runners on the team

We had a great time again and will definitely be out again next year. It was a very rewarding day!

2013 Collage

Last year, 2013, was a very good year for me. Although it will be hard to beat I’m hoping for an even better 2014!

In 2013 I checked a major accomplishment off on my Bucket List, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon and had a great time in Washington DC that weekend! In order to make that happen I ran over 500 training miles including two half marathons, the San Diego Half Marathon in March 2013, and the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in San Diego in June.

We had a great time camping near Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park with family. Although I’ve been many times, this was my first trip to Idaho with Jenny. We spent our first anniversary enjoying downtown Boise, went white water rafting, and biked the Boise green belt on the 4th of July, then headed north for a couple days in beautiful Stanley Idaho. For my birthday we had a terrific weekend on Santa Catalina Island. the trip started out fast with my first zipline experience, and we also had a terrific time hiking in the hills around Avalon and just relaxing in our hotel and at the Descanso Beach club.

We enjoyed our third year of Green Flash Concerts at Birch Aquarium and lots of other live music including a few of my favorites Sara Barelles and One Republic at the SDSU Open Air Theater, John Mayer and Phillip Phillips at Sleep Train Amphitheater, Steve Miller at the fair, and Fleetwood Mac at one of my favorite venues – the Hollywood Bowl.

We closed on our new house on 31 December 2012, so we had all of 2013 to get settled in. This inspired me to start a new category for my blog: Weekend Project. Although I got a good start on the house, there are plenty more projects to tackle over the next few years.

For 2014 I will do this a little differently than last year with a top 10 count down of predictions for 2014!

10. Week-end project – install surround sound speakers!

9. Develop an Android App and publish it to Google Play.

8. Weekend Project – Improve the storage in our garage so we can park 2 cars in the garage at once (novel idea)!

7. Our 4th consecutive season of Green Flash Concerts at the Birch Aquarium.

6. Bucket List (progress) – Complete at least 35 new (never been on hikes) in San Diego County.

5. Bucket List – Walk across the Grand Canyon not once but twice on a rim to rim to rim hike!

4. Check at least one item off my Bucket List in the travel section. Need to coordinate this with a few people so I’m not picking one now…

3. Visit family and friends in Iowa, Nebraska, Idaho, and even here in California!

2. One of my daughters will get engaged! (OK cheating on the prediction side of things as it happened on January 2nd.)

1. Bucket List – rock a grandchild to sleep in my arms!

I hope your 2013 was unbelievable, and your 2014 is unstoppable! Happy New Year!

I started very early planning to run the Marine Corps Marathon in 2013 in March 2012 after putting this on my Bucket List. This would be my first and possibly my only marathon. If there would only be one, I wanted it to be the Marine Corps Marathon. I ran 3 half marathons in 2012 and 2013 to get my training started, and to see what it felt like to run a long run/race. So the morning of 27 October was the culminating event, but the experience really lasted for more than a year and a half. During that time I ran hundreds of miles in some beautiful places. Most of my training was alone, but my son, who ran the marathon with me, ran a couple shorter training runs and most of the long training runs with me. All in all this was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done!

I have mixed feelings now that I’ve run and completed the marathon. I’m completely satisfied with “the accomplishment” part of it, the memories will be with me for the rest of my life, but I’ll miss having the goal in front of me. I’m glad I can just rest and relax for a few weeks or more without worry, but there is a surreal feeling of something not being right. Does this mean I will have to run another marathon? I don’t think “I have to”, but I may decide I want to at some point. I know I will run more half marathons, but I may or may not do another full marathon. If I chose to never run another one, it will not be because I didn’t love the experience, or because it was so brutal that I never want to do another one, it will be because the training takes a commitment of time that can turn you in to a one trick pony. There are so many other things I want to do.

We arrived in Washington DC on Friday in the late afternoon. This gave us a full day on Saturday to get past the jet lag and to do a few things in DC. We didn’t leave until late in the day on Monday, so there was a little more time Monday to check out some memorials and stretch the legs out. For Saturday we had a short list of things “we had to do”. First was getting our bibs and packets at the DC Armory, this was very organized, but also very busy. The line was long for the bibs, but moved quickly. The line was a bit of a bottle neck even though it was moving quickly. Once we got inside the tent, there were very few runners inside the tent. Many of the volunteers had no one in front of them. They could have pushed people into the tent more quickly. We spent about 45 minutes in line and once inside the tent it took about 2 minutes to get our bib. Since I’m a retired Marine we were able to take advantage of a shorter “Military only” line into the Expo. Security was pretty thorough or the lines would have been shorter going into the Expo. Inside we got our race shirt and a clear gear bag we could use to check stuff before the race. Since my wife planned to go with us to the start of the race, we would be able to avoid checking gear. We got out of the Expo quite a bit later than we expected, so we just had time for a quick visit to the Smithsonian and then headed out for an early pasta dinner.

The instructions for the race said we should try to arrive 2 hours early. That seemed excessive since we would be riding the Metro, so we planned to leave about 90 minutes before the race. I expected it would take about 20 minutes to get there. In fact it was much longer. Luckily we were not trying to get on the Metro at a really busy station. I think a lot of people trying to get on the train at the Rosslyn Station were unable to get to the race on time. By the time we arrived at the Porta Potties near the start of the race, the start was in 20 minutes!

Me and my son preparing for the Start of the Marine Corps Marathon 2013

The lines were very long and only some scrambling to find better lines got all the pre-race business done in time! But we managed to watch the pre-race parachute show, take off our warm clothes, and get to the starting line before the cannon fired.

About 15 minutes before the start of the Marine Corps Marathon 2013

There was a mass of discarded clothing at the start in the center median of the road. I suppose they will pick this stuff up for donating after the race. Our corral walked slowly up to the starting point, then we were off. I had expected that my right hip would still be stiff. I had injured it on a training run about 3 weeks before the race and had not run without pain and stiffness since then. It was stiff and painful at the start, but I was able to limp out to a reasonable 10:30 minute/mile pace that I would manage to hold on to for about the first 15 kilometers. The course was mostly flat, but there was a fairly decent climb near the start on Lee Highway into Rosslyn. Then the course turned back toward DC with a long downhill stretch to the Key Bridge. The crowds in Georgetown were very supportive. Then we turned on to Potomac Parkway for a long out and back stretch. This was one of two very “park-like” stretches of the run.

Running near the start of the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon

My 26.2 Miles of Music playlist was working like a charm! Even though my hip was bothering me, the miles seemed to melt away one song at a time. The Kennedy Center, just before the 10 mile mark was the first DC landmark that I recognized. Then came the back of the Lincoln Memorial. This was where I thought I might see my wife and daughter-in-law in the crowd. I didn’t see them, but they saw me. Although I was starting to feel a bit looser, I was still limping fairly noticeably. My wife told me later she was really worried when she saw me that I would not finish. Somewhere around mile 11 the hip pain finally faded – probably just went numb. The course then passed the Jefferson Memorial, as it would a total of 3 times. I also thought my wife might be there, but she wasn’t. We entered a second “park like” stretch, in this case it was an actual park – West Potomac Park. I passed a couple of porta potties with terrible lines, but finally gave in to “the need” and stopped at a bathroom in the park. The women’s lines were really long, but the men’s line was reasonable. A couple of women must have noticed that because they decided they could endure the use of the men’s room. This little stop cost me 8-10 minutes, but the next 14 miles of the run were much more comfortable! Definitely worth the stop.

Before we got to the half-way point they had what I’ll call the “simulated finish line” painted on the ground. It makes for a good picture, and I’m sure I looked better around mile 12 than I did at mile 26.2!

Eric Rial running the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon

The part of the race between 12 and 20 miles was the most enjoyable to me. The course was beautiful, and I felt pretty good. My pace was slow, but I wasn’t worried about that anymore. When the route swung back by the Mall near the Lincoln Memorial, at about mile 16, I finally saw my wife and daughter-in-law. The limp was gone and I was feeling much better.

Happy to see my wife and daughter in law on the Marine Corps Marathon Route

I was very happy to see them. I gave my wife a hug, then back to running! My wife told me later she was very relieved to see me smiling and running more smoothly.

The Mall in Washington DC is one of my favorite places, and I rarely visit DC without taking a run on the Mall. So the course between mile 15 and mile 20 was familiar and motivating! I even got a bit emotional as I turned the corner in front of the Capitol building. The first few times I ran on the Mall you could run up those stairs. I also remember a very rainy day with the family many years ago when we sheltered in an alcove on the side of the Capitol building. Now you can’t come close to the building, but it is still a familiar, yet awe-inspiring sight. As the course turned away from the Capitol we had to run through a gauntlet of photographers. I had a ton of pictures from that part of the course to choose from. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC

Running past the US Capitol during the 38th Marine Corps Marathon 2013

After the Capitol we past the 18 mile marker. I still felt pretty good. I remembered my long training runs and the thought on those runs at 18 miles… “will I be able to run 8 more miles”. Today that question would be answered. The miles did seem to get longer after this point. The 20 mile marker was just before the 14th Street Bridge and the crossing back into Virginia. At that point not only did the miles seem longer, but the pavement seemed harder! I didn’t even think about stopping, but I did start thinking about and hoping for the finish!

Feeling it on the 14th Street Bridge between 20 and 21 miles

The run through Crystal City was a long blur. Although I usually stay there when I visit DC, most of it did not seem familiar. I did recognize some of it though and I was very happy when I realized we were getting closer to the Pentagon. I didn’t see any mile markers between the 20 and the 25 mile point. This may have just been inattention, but it was actually a good thing. I just ran with no sense of how far I had to go until it was just about over. By the time I got to the hill up to the Marine Corps Memorial I was feeling every step. I ran as hard as I could about two-thirds of the way up the hill, then put my hands on my hips and walked up the rest.

Feeling it on the last part of the climb up the Marine Corps Memorial Access road

At the top of the hill I turned right toward the finish line and started to run again. I wasn’t going fast, but I wanted to run across the finish. It was a long tenth of a mile! At that point the race organization kicked in again. They pushed us into multiple chutes to get our finisher medal, a picture with our finisher medal, and all the other goodies. An optional picture was available by the Marine Corps Memorial… but this picture was one of the reasons I chose this race.

MCM Finisher Photo with Marine Corps Memorial in the background

After the race I was sore, the walk through Rosslyn to get a ride back to the hotel was torture. Although we had planned to ride the Metro back to the hotel, there was a very long line just to get into the station, so we decided to get away from the crowd and try to get a taxi. The first taxi we saw seemed uninterested in working, not sure what his deal was, so my son used his Uber app to get us a ride. The driver showed up in about 5 minutes and we were much more comfortable riding in the large Lincoln Navigator than we would have been in a small taxi anyway!

Running the Marine Corps marathon was an amazing experience from the first training run to crossing the finish line! I’m so glad I decided to run a marathon despite being past the age to “do those kind of things”. I’m also glad I chose the Marine Corps Marathon. Although signing up was a nightmare (thankfully they are going to a lottery for 2014), the rest of the marathon operated like a well oiled machine! I can’t imagine a more motivating course and the weather was PERFECT! If I run another marathon it will likely be something closer to home, but I will never forget this experience. It was worth every mile of training, every hour of commitment, and every ache and pain.

All my Marine Corp Marathon Posts are listed on my  Marine Corps Marathon 2013 Posts (Including training half marathons)page.

Mission Beach Sunset Run
This started as a page to log my training for the Marine Corps Marathon 2013. Now that I’ve completed that marathon I’m transitioning that page to a post.

Prior to the Marine Corps Marathon I completed 3 half marathons as an initial preparation for this training. This log captures the results of all my training runs as I increased the length of my long runs to prepare for a full Marathon. I had a little over 4 months, but I started half-way ready!

I went through several different iterations of a training plan because I was in an over trained state at the beginning of my training, but some training gaps at the beginning resolved this so I settled on a more traditional training plan. I was concerned about my failure to lose weight as part of my half marathon training so I decided to start including my weight. I hadn’t lost a pound running 20 miles a week training for the half marathons. I wanted to lose 20 pounds before getting to the real long training runs. I had hoped that putting my “morning” weight here with my run performance would motivate me to focus on dropping the weight I need to lose to meet my goal, 195 pounds, for the Marine Corps Marathon. However, I failed to lose and keep off any weight during this training either.

Here is a log of my training runs for the Marine Corps Marathon 2013.

Date Miles Conditions Time Mile Pace Weight
14 Jun 2013 4.29 Flat beach run 39:39 9:15 212.8
28 Jun 2013 5.4 Flat beach run, much hotter day – after a couple weeks off running 52.44 9:46 214.6
30 Jun 2013 8.0 Flat beach morning run to avoid the heat – felt pretty warm anyway! 1:16:28 9:33 212.8
10 Ju1y 2013 4.81 Back from vacation. Hilly neighborhood run to get back at it. 50:46 10:33 215
14 July 2013 9.07 Week ONE – 15 weeks to goFlat beach morning run to avoid the heat – felt pretty warm anyway, again! 1:34:56 10:28 215
19 July 2013 6.01 Flat lake run. Planned about 3 but it felt really good. The vacations helped with the over training. Back on track. 55:39 9:15 213.8
21 July 2013 11.63 Week TWO – 14 weeks to goFlat beach run with my son. He is running the MCM with me. His training is going better and he is 18 years younger… Planned to run 10, but he convinced me to run 13. Didn’t quite finish, but felt good to go longer than I planned. 1:58:34 10:12 214
24 July 2013 3.77 Hilly neighborhood run. Felt good. 39:00 10:20 214.2
26 July 2013 5.95 Flat lake run, a little faster. Still feeling good. 53:46 9:02 213.2
28 July 2013 14.0 Week THREE – 13 weeks to goFlat coastal run with my son. Felt good, lost a little steam at the end. 2:20:02 10:00 215.2- a day at the Del Mar races cost me…
30 July 2013 4.78 Hilly neighborhood run. Hotter than usual. Spent 20 minutes on the eliptical after the run to work out some soreness. 52:52 11:03 215.8
1 Aug 2013 6.0 Flat lake run. A little sore… OK pace, pushed it up the small inclines. 55:27 9:14 210.6 – progress…finally
4 Aug 2013 15.02 Week FOUR – 12 weeks to goFlat coastal run. Felt loose for the first 13 miles, then I started to tighten up a little. Need to work on staying loose. 2:34:49 10:19 213 before, and 208 after… but it’s the before that matters.
6 Aug 2013 7.07 Hilly run to the lake. A few really long street lights affected my time. My phone case filled with sweat and I couldn’t pause the run. Much faster pace than it looks like. Really starting to push it up most hills again. 1:17:24 10:56 213
9 Aug 2013 8.0 Little run at the beach after work. Felt good. This is my first 30+ mile training week. Not going to win with those miles, but I hope to achieve my MCM time goal… 1:14:2 9:18 212.8
10 Aug 2013 2.01 Short run with my youngest son. Trying to work the soreness out of my calves. 18:53 9:24 209.2
11 Aug 2013 16.0 Week FIVE – 11 weeks to goLong run on the coast. Flat. A later start, so it was hotter than usual. 2:45:12 10:33 213
14 Aug 2013 3.84 Hilly neighborhood run. Better pace than the last few weeks. Best mile pace was mile 3 at 8:26 minutes (mostly flat). 38:20 9:59 211.8
18 Aug 2013 17.0 Week SIX – 10 weeks to goHilly run from the beach on an inland course. One big hill and then lots of dips. Too slow on the pace pace and sore legs, but it felt OK. 17 mile run course 3:10:22 11:12 211.2
20 Aug 2013 5.37 Mostly flat lake run after dark… the pace felt faster than 9 minute miles. 47:47 8:54 211.6
22 Aug 2013 6.04 Flat run on the harbor. Warmer than usual, but it felt OK. 1:15:45 9:25 214.2
25 Aug 2013 18.0 Week SEVEN – 9 weeks to go
Flat run on the bay. Early start, but it got hot. The Bike the Bay ride was going on so lots of bike traffic. I ended up on a narrow trail for part of the run, and on the side of the road for most of it.Coronado Run 20130825 - 18 Miles
3:12:40 10:42 212.6
27 Aug 2013 6.04 Hilly neighborhood run. Muggy evening weather. 48:07 10:08 210.6
Starting a 10 day vacation. I will run less and shorter long runs. Hopefully I will be less sore and able to train hard for the last 7 weeks.
2 Sep 2013 13.12 Week Eight – 8 weeks to goMidwest Trail Run, Lincoln Nebraska. Muggy morning weather. Nice trail – old train track with lots of shade. 2:16:51 10:26 Unknown
8 Sep 2013 3.0 Reason to Run 5K, in my hometown 25:34 8:32 Unknown
9 Sep 2013 5.95 Lake run. Kept up a good pace 51:26 8:39 213.6
11 Sep 2013 6.20 Beach run. Slower pace, picked it up at the end. The plan was 8 but the feet were sore… 57:30 9:16 212.4
14 Sep 2013 17.01 Week ten – 6 weeks to goHarbor trail run. Early morning, foggy, cool weather 2:57:25 10:26 211.2
16 Sep 2013 7.94 Harbor run after work. Started out a little sore, but worked it out. 1:17:27 9:45 206.6
19 Sep 2013 5.87 Hilly neighborhood run just after sunset. 58:17 9:56 209.6
22 Sep 2013 17.98 Week eleven – 5 weeks to goLong coastal run with a few big hills. 3:18:49 11.04 211.0
24 Sep 2013 5.27 Short beach run. Felt great, but a little sore afterward. 44:45 8.29 211.0
26 Sep 2013 20.04 Week twelve – 4 weeks to goLong harbor run, flat, started early – not too hot at the end. 3:23:07 10:08 209.8
2 Oct 2013 5.53 Short lake run, flat. Wanted to go fast. Under 8 minutes/mile first two miles, but caused hamstring problems. Slowed down. 48:32 8:47 205.4
6 Oct 2013 20.14 Week thirteen – 3 weeks to goLong harbor run, flat, started early – not too hot at the end. I was sore at the beginning, it got worse, but i finished. I’ll need the longer taper to heal, very sore now 3 hours after the run. 3:27:38 10:19 214.6
Week fourteen – 2 weeks to goNo run, in fact I didn’t run all week. Somewhere between my last two runs I injured my right hip. It has been hard to walk. Today I felt quite a bit better, so I went to the gym and did the eliptical. I expect I will run this week, but I will stop if the injury flairs up. My most important run is in 2 weeks and I don’t want to be hurting then. 0 0 0
16 Oct 2013 2.87 Short beach run. Got there just after the sunset…I was very sore at the beginning, in my right hip. The pain slowly went away after the first mile, but the right thigh stayed tight. Felt worse after I stopped. I’ll be stretching more, but gently, and not running much. 11 days until the Marathon. I’m a bit worried. 26:05 9:05 211.6
18 Oct 2013 3.67 Short run at the lake. My hip hurt from the start of the run. I was hoping the pain would fade, but it did not. I think I’ll be able to run the marathon, even with this pain, but I hope it gets better. I could have run further, even with the pain. I could have run faster, but I was trying to take it easy. Unfortunately if this pain doesn’t get better I will not be able to run at my best pace for the marathon, I’ll be worried that it will get worse. 34:40 9:26 212.3
20 Oct 2013 Week fifteen – 1 week to goI decided not to run again until the Marathon. I’m walking with a limp, and it hurts to run. I’m hoping rest and regular ibuprofen will work. The short runs I’ve tried over the last 2 weeks were doing more harm than good. Besides the pain in my right hip I’m in great running shape. So I hope the rest works and the hip heals! Next entry in this log will be for 26.2 miles!
27 Oct 2013 26.2 38th Marine Corps Marathon. I finished! My time was the best I could do on this day. It was an amazing day, the weather was perfect, and it was a terrific marathon to run for a first timer! I love running in Washington DC. 5:13:13 11:56 Approximately 215


I plan to do a post on lessons learned from this training and how I will do this differently next time. Although I am very happy that I finished the marathon and think I did my best on the day of the race, I don’t think this is the best I can do, so I will likely do another marathon…

One thing this log doesn’t show is that the marathon was more than just miles of running. I ran in some beautiful places and had a great time on many of my runs, even when I wasn’t feeling my best. Here are just a few pictures from my training runs. The process of preparing for the race was as rewarding as the race itself. Overall this was an unbelievable, irreplaceable experience that was worth every minute of time it took!

Coronado is a good place for long morning runs. I run buy this marina – Fiddler’s Cove. Also a fun place to sail out of…

Fiddlers Cove on long morning run

This picture does not do the August 2013 Blue Moon justice. I did a full moon run around Lake Murray on 20 August 2013, the moon was spectacular. Really glad there were no wolves howling though. I guess I’ll only do a run like that every once in a “blue moon”… ugh!
Blue Moon over Lake Murray 20130820

Running along the San Diego harbor was one of my favorite medium length running routes. I will be running here more in the future, and it is one my way home so it is convenient! Here is a nice view of the moon rising over the city taken during a run on Harbor Island.

Running on San Diego Harbor Island Sep 2013

A little further into this run as I got to the Northeast corner of the harbor.

Running San Diego Harbor area Sep 2013

I decided to turn around at the bronze statue of a returning sailor near the Midway Museum.

A great place to turn around on a run near the Midway on San Diego harbor

On another run at the harbor that started later in the day.

Running at dusk in San Diego near Spanish Landing
Earlier training efforts:

San Diego Half Marathon 10 March 2013 – Training Log

Rock and Roll San Diego Half Marathon 2013 – Training Log

This week signaled the end of summer for 2013 in San Diego. I can’t count the number of places I’ve lived in the world on both hands, so I know summer ended a bit earlier in some of those places (Iowa and Minnesota) and seems to never ends in at least one of them (Hawaii). Even though San Diego is blessed with wonderful weather it is not the same weather all year. This week we had a couple of cold rainy days… this doesn’t happen in the summer in San Diego! So the end of summer has arrived. We’ll be keeping the windows closed… or open less, putting the thicker blanket on, and maybe a thermal blanket too. It will be harder to get up and out from under the covers. Another summer has come and gone.

Eric Rial sailing September 27th 2013I love summer. I love doing the things that are best done in the summer like going to the beach, seeing a baseball game, going to an outdoor concert, sailing, early morning runs, and late evening runs. This was my 53th summer and it went by too fast! It almost slipped right by without doing a couple summer things like going to the beach, and sailing. However the week before last was one of the best weeks we’ve had in San Diego all year, we had friends in town so off we went to the beach and sailing. We will still have nice weather in San Diego on non-summer days, but it won’t be “the summer”.

Jenny and Eric hiking in Mission Trails Park North Fortuna Trail.jpg.08The winter in San Diego is different than most other places. There are much fewer people at the beach, but the weather can still be really nice. It’s unpredictable though. If you plan a vacation here in the winter, it may be beautiful and it may not. That means fewer tourists. However, if you live here you will almost certainly get to enjoy a few weeks of Faux Summer . Then there will be a few cold and rainy weeks… time to get some projects done around the house. But most of the winter will be cool butnot cold. This is perfect weather for hiking, biking, walks around neighborhoods, and if you miss the heat you can just drive inland for a couple hours and you’ll find plenty of sunshine most of the time. One of my favorite things about the winter in San Diego is that I can go for a run right after work at the beach and see a terrific sunset almost every time.

Running at Sunset at Pacific Beach

The end of summer is more than about a change in the weather. It’s about the passage of time. Everyone has a limited number of summers to enjoy, so each one is precious. When you are young you take this for granted… it seems there will always be another summer, and you’ll be happy, healthy, and ready to enjoy it. As you get older, and I’m definitely getting there, you realize that in 10-15 summers you will not be doing the same things you have loved to do all your life. You are likely to be less energetic, might have health issues, and even if you can still do it, who wants to see a wrinkly old man yank his shirt over his head and run into the water! So each of the passing summers becomes more important and the passing of a summer means you have one less summer to enjoy! All the more reason to take your life by the horns not the tail. Plan a full life, then live it!

Three Sisters FallsIt rarely rains in San Diego in the summer, so by late May anything that is not being watered is likely to be brown. But the winter rains bring new growth on the inland hills and small mountains. Winter and early spring are a great time to hike in eastern San Diego county and there are several trails that are near water or lead to water or waterfalls. My favorite is Three Sisters Falls. I’ve hiked there a couple of times, it’s really just a big kids playground with huge boulders to climb on and around. I plan to hike a lot this winter as we prepare for a rim to rim (to rim – hopefully) hike at the Grand Canyon late next spring.

The summer of 2013 is over, but it was not wasted. We had a terrific time, created some great memories, and spent a lot of time with some of our favorite people. The summer of 2014 is not far away, and I have high expectations! Hope you had a terrific summer this year and next years is even better! Until then enjoy the fall, winter, and spring.

PS: One other nice thing about the winter is there is less marine layer in San Diego so the views are clearer. We have a great view from our house and we’ll get to enjoy a clear view much more often in the winter.

View from our balcony Nov 2012 - views are clearer in the winter

San Diego Rock and Roll Half Marathon - MCM Bound
I’ve put in a lot of miles (hundreds), since I had the thought of creating a playlist to motivate me during the Marine Corps Marathon. This Saturday my run will put me over 500 running miles in the last 8 months. All of those miles have given me some additional perspective on what type of music works to get me going, to help me keep rolling along, and to keep going when I feel like stopping. With the long runs I’ve done in the last month or so, I’ve also got a better idea of when I’ll be at those different points. At this point I expect everything past 18 miles to be in the “keep me going” part of the playlist!

So what “gets me going”? If I’m running 5-6 miles, I can throw on some Aerosmith and AC/DC and that will get me moving, but when I’m facing a 26.2 mile run, I’ll need some of that, but I’ll also need some much more subtle “get going music”. The rolling along stuff is all about the rhythm and the beat of the music. The keep me going music has to touch the part of me that motivates me to run in the first place, and the part of me that seek challenges and just refuses to give up.

I hope to finish in under 4:30, but I better give myself some cushion. I figure that an hour should be plenty. I started by sorting through my digital music and picking upbeat, inspirational, or meaningful music. After the first cut I was up to 9 hours and 40 minutes of music… way too much. Cutting was actually harder than adding the songs to begin with. This was partly because I love all these songs, and partly because I’m not sure what will keep me going past 18 miles yet.

Anyway here’s the 5 hour and 22 minute playlist:

Name – Artist
Sex On Fire – Kings Of Leon
Heartbeat –  The Fray
Everybody Learns From Disaster – Dashboard Confessional
Home Is Where The Heart Is – John Butler Trio
If It’s Love – Train
Pickapart – John Butler Trio
Black Horse & The Cherry Tree – KT Tunstall
Hey, Soul Sister – Train
Here We Are – The Fray
Beautiful Disaster – American Hi-Fi  Wild Fire – John Mayer
Close To You – John Butler Trio
(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To – Weezer
Semi Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind
Better Than – John Butler Trio
Kryptonite – 3 Doors Down
Sweet Child Of Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Good People – Jack Johnson
The Mountains Win Again – Blues Traveler
Save Me San Francisco – Train
Treat Yo Mama – John Butler Trio
The Outsiders – Needtobreathe
Ugly American – Blues Traveler
Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall
King of Anything – Sara Bareilles
But Anyway – Blues Traveler
Walk On the Ocean (The OC) – John Mayer
Sitting, Waiting, Wishing – Jack Johnson
Be Ok – Ingrid Michaelson
Come On Get Higher – Matt Nathanson
48 to Go – The Fray
Wrong Way Down A One Way Road – John Butler Trio
Canadian Rose – Blues Traveler
(I’ve Got To) Stop Thinkin’ ’bout That J- ames Taylor
Girl I wanna make you sweat – UB40
Hole In My Soul (Live) – Aerosmith
I’ve Seen Better Days – Barenaked Ladies
Zebra – John Butler Trio
Taylor – Jack Johnson
Island in the sun – Weezer
Revelry – Kings Of Leon
This Is How A Heart Breaks – Rob Thomas
Head on Collision – A New Found Glory
Follow Me – Uncle Kracker
Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson
Jumper – Third Eye Blind
Flavor Of The Week – American Hi-Fi
Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
Run for Your Life – The Fray
Won’t Turn Back – Needtobreathe
Be Still – The Fray
Where The Story Ends – The Fray
This Ain’t Goodbye – Train
Sk8er Boi – Avril Lavigne
All For You – Blues Traveler
Everyday – Dave Matthews Band
Help! –  Beatles
Wicked Game – Phillip Phillips
One Life Stand – Damon Castillo Band
Accidentally in Love – Counting Crows
Better Together – Jack Johnson
Something Beautiful – Needtobreathe
A Sunday Kind of Love – Etta James
Brick By Brick – Train
More Time – Needtobreathe
Surround Me – Ben Taylor
Calling All Angels – Train
Lay ‘Em Down – Needtobreathe
Smile – Uncle Kracker
Every Breath You Take – UB40
Turn Me On – The Fray
At Last – Etta James  (Hope to finish on this one…)
Waiting on the Day – John Mayer
These small hours – Rob Thomas
Marry Me – Train
1961 – The Fray
Clarity- John Mayer
I Won’t Look Back – Needtobreathe
Love Me Do – Beatles
Holiday in the Sun – Weezer
Somethings Gotta Give -John Butler Trio
Someday – Rob Thomas
Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
Daughters – John Mayer
Someone Like You (One Fine Day Soundtrack) – Shawn Colvin  – Update:  I actually finished around here, but only because I listened to some songs twice!
21 Things – Alanis Morissette
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight – James Taylor
The Fighter – The Fray
Better Days – Goo Goo Dolls

Now I just have to hope that me and my IPOD battery last this long! I’ll be trying this playlist out on the next two long runs to see how well it works. If there are any changes I’ll post an update. When I’m running with my son I don’t usually listen to music until after the halfway point, but I think we need to run our own pace for the next couple runs to get the most out of the training and work out what pace we want to run. We each need to try out our own strategies and we are running out of time.

Update:  See my post on running the Marathon…Marine Corps Marathon 2013 (Washington DC – 27 Oct 2013)

Running San Diego Harbor area Sep 2013
There are 5 more training weekends before the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon. I’m a little behind on my training, due to vacation not injury. which I guess is better. I had planned to have 3 long runs over 20 miles, in my previous post on my training plan – Marine Corps Marathon Training Plan (Over 50, Over Trained, and “A Little” Over Weight. Now, if I push my progressive increases to 2 miles more each weekend instead of 1, I will have just 2 runs over 20 miles before starting my taper. However, I have been able to run about 44 more total miles than the original plan up to this point, even with a two weekend vacation from progressive long runs. This is mostly because I also took about 4 weeks off long runs before starting training, allowing myself to heal and lose most of the soreness. It also helps that there are so many terrific places to run in San Diego! The three pictures here were taken on an eight mile run this week along the San Diego Harbor. I love that the moon was there in all three pictures!

Running on San Diego Harbor Island Sep 2013

I’m feeling terrific at this point, unfortunately I’m not completely confident I’ll achieve my goal pace of 10 minute per mile. The last long training run that I was able to keep at the 10 minute per mile pace was a 14 mile run at the end of July. I’ve been faster again after the vacation break, but still closer to 10:30 minute miles on my last long run of 17 miles. My shorter runs have been much better, and I’ve been pushing myself on these runs to improve my speed. However, at this point I’m concerned I will run out of training time and not be where I need to be on time.

Running at dusk in San Diego near Spanish Landing

Since this is my first and probably my last marathon I’m really pushing to achieve all my goals. If I don’t finish I will definitely be running another marathon, but I don’t think I will run again if I have a respectable time, but miss my original time goal. My plan for the next 5 weeks of training is to make that decision unnecessary. So I will be pushing myself on every run. I’ll be doing everything possible to lose another 10 pounds. I’ll be sitting in the jetted tub every night to ease the sore knees and Achilles tendons. I’ll take ibuprofen and gluocosamine on a regular schedule too. Regardless of what happens, I want to know that I did everything possible in this final push to get ready for this race.

Here is my final push – updated plan for the remaining 6 training weeks.

Week Tuesday Thursday Sunday Total
Eleven 8 Miles 6 Miles 19 Miles 33 Miles
Twelve 9 Miles 6 miles 21 Miles 36 Miles
Thirteen 10 Miles 6 Miles 22 Miles 38 Miles
Thirteen 6 Miles 4 Miles 13 Miles 23 Miles
Fourteen 6 Miles 4 Miles 10 Miles 20 Miles
Fifteen 5 Miles 3 Miles Race Day on Saturday – 26.2 34.2 Miles

Me and Chris and the finish of the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon 2013

13 Mar 2013 – 2 June 2013 (After 2nd Half Marathon)
Preparing for: Rock and Roll Half Marathon – San Diego 2 June 2013. Goal time: 1 hour 57 minutes (9 minute miles)
Challenge/Risk to achieving goal: Injury from continuous long training runs. Have to lose some weight early! Goal 195 lbs.

Highlight of this race… running with my oldest son.

Date Miles Conditions Time Mile Pace
13 Mar 2013 5.32 Flat, beach run, calm, cool, foggy. Started slow, then picked it up. Knee puffy for the first time afterward…no pain. 47:39 8:57
16 Mar 2013 4.73 Hilly neighborhood, slow easy pace. 50:39 10:42
18 Mar 2013 4.05 Flat run by the beach, legs felt better. 35:25 8:44
21 Mar 2013 3.75 Hilly neighborhood, felt good, picked it up a bit. 37:46 10:04
22 Mar 2013 11.23 To the lake and almost back. This one hurt, lots of cramps during and after. 1:58:04 10:31
30 Mar 2013 3.1 Race for Autism, Balboa Park. Ran with my sons. 31:26 10:29
31 Mar 2013 2.5 Attempting 6 mile run at lake. Calf injury near the 2 mile mark…it will be a while before I can run again. N/A N/A
19 Apr 2013 4.2 Felt good to be back out running, leg is loose and feels healthy. Stayed at a relaxed and easy pace at the lake again. Only 5 weeks until the San Diego Rock and Roll Half Marathon. 37:45 8:59
23 Apr 2013 1.87 Nope, not good. Hilly run, when I turned by down the hill my calf bunched up again. I stopped and walked right away, but I have to take more time off. The MCM training plan is going to have to take priority over the Rock and Roll half. 21:06 11:34 (slow all up hill)
27 Apr 2013 about 8 Took it very easy. Focused on relaxing my right foot and calf and a comfortable stride. New phone app didn’t work. reported 235 miles and 14 second per mile pace!. Took a tour of the parks in my hometown. I enjoyed the run! about 1:28:00 11:00
29 Apr 2013 5.04 Still running tentatively. Great course through neighborhoods, parks, and along an old railroad line in my hometown. 51:04 10:08
3 May 2013 6.25 Favorite beach run… first normal feeling run in over 2 months. A little tired, but the legs felt really good. Not much time left before the Rock and Roll Half 58:24 9:20
5 May 2013 8.02 My son took me to his favorite lake run… we held a good pace for a little bit longer run. Miramar Lake Run 1:15:38 9:26
7 May 2013 5.63 A run at the beach after work. Nice weather! Felt a little sore. 52:43 9:22
12 May 2013 5.19 Run at the lake with my son. Legs felt good, but it got way too hot. Got to start earlier on hot days! 47:52 9:13
14 May 2013 10.01 Run at the beach after work. Felt good, good stress relief. 1:36:51 9:40
16 May 2013 4.62 Run at Point Loma. A little hilly. Sore shins slowed me down. Almost ready for my taper for the San Diego Rock and Roll Half Marathon. 47:45 10:20
21 May 2013 10.01 Run at the beach and bay. Last long run before the taper. 1:38:45 9:52
23 May 2013 3.81 Hilly neighborhood, easy pace 40:25 10:36
25 May 2013 4.22 First morning beach run in a long time. Beautiful day. Felt a little sore and sluggish, but a decent pace. 38:01 9:01

(Update May 25 2013: With the Half Marathon in 8 days, it doesn’t look like I’m set to achieve my goal. No weight lost (not one pound), an injury to my calf cut out several weeks of training and changed my training plan altogether. Lesson learned… take it easy after a race for a week or two. I tried to jump right into my next training cycle after the last half. After the Rock and Roll half I’m going to cross train in the gym and focus on weight loss for at least 2 weeks with only short easy runs. Then I’ll ease into an initial training cycle for the MCM.

Date Miles Conditions Time Mile Pace
27 May 2013 4.13 Memorial Day run at Santa Monica Beach boardwalk. Fun run. 37:01 8:58
30 May 2013 4.62 Hilly neighborhood run. Last run before the half marathon so I took it easy. Walked quickly up the hills, no injuries today… 54:15 11:44
2 June 2013 13.1 Rock and Roll San Diego Half Marathon. Did not meet my goal, but I know what went wrong. Time to start training for the full marathon in October. 2:06:04 9:38

Some of the scenery during my training runs:

Had a good time running in my home town through parks and along an old railroad line converted to a recreation trail.

Running along old railroad trail in Fort Dodge Iowa

A creek meandered under the trail several times. There were some old railroad bridges, and some new lighter weight bridges.

Creek Meandered under old railroad trail several times in Fort Dodge Iowa

Memorial Day 2013 run on Santa Monica Beach boardwalk.

Santa Monica Memorial Day

Leaving the Finish Line area of the San Diego Half Marathon 2013

This training log covers preparation for the San Diego Half Marathon on 10 March 2013. This was my second half marathon. After the disappointment of not achieving my goals for my first half marathon – Americas Finest City Half Marathon (Aug 19, 2012), I updated my training plan to include more hills and I planned to run more long runs before tapering off.

28 Jan 2013 – 10 March 2013
Preparing for: San Diego Half Marathon 10 March 2013. Goal time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Challenge/Risk to achieving goal: One big hill in the middle of the course

Date Miles Conditions Time Mile Pace
28 Jan 2013 4.26 Flat, beach run, sunset 39:23 9:15
31 Jan 2013 6.41 Flat, beach run, sunset 59:15 9:14
2 Feb 2013 6.76 Hilly neighborhood 1:20:46 12:14
4 Feb 2013 4.00 Cool cloudy evening beach run, no sunset 35:43 8:56
7 Feb 2013 6.15 Cold and stormy evening beach run 59:25 9:39
9 Feb 2013 9.05 Flat around lake finish uphill 1:31:00 10:03
12 Feb 2013 5:47 Flat, beach run, sunset 50:10 9:10
14 Feb 2013 4.81 Hilly neighborhood run 55.27 11:32
17 Feb 2013 10.03 Hills, Lake, Hills – To Lake Murray and back with hills 1:45:30 10.31
20 Feb 2013 4.78 Hilly Neighborhood – a little faster! 46:53 9:48
22 Feb 2013 4.78 Hilly Neighborhood (same course) – starting to go faster uphill! 48:03 10:03
24 Feb 2013 10.28 Ocean Beach to City Heights – One big Hill – OB to City Heights 10 miles 1:41:48 9:54
Start of 2 weeks of reduced training before the SD Half Marathon on 10 March 2013. I think I’m on track for my goal time of 2:10 or less.
26 Feb 2013 3.05 Mission Beach to Pacific Beach – Flat course, cool weather 26:02 8:32
28 Feb 2013 3.87 Up the hill to Hillcrest and around the neighborhood 36.31 9:31
4 Mar 2013 4.01 Beach run with a sunset… 34:34 8:36
6 Mar 2013 5.27 Beach run with a sunset and got my feet wet after… 47:11 8:57
10 Mar 2013 13.1 San Diego Half Marathon – Goal 2:10 2:03:19 9:25

Love running at the beach after work in the winter, I get to see some great sunsets! Here are a few that I’ve caught with my phone/camera during these training runs.

Mission Beach Sunset Run Picture

Pacific Beach Pier in the middle of a warm winter sunset run.

On the Pacific Beach Peir at Sunset

Another view of the Pacific Beach Pier at sunset.

Pacific Beach Pier at Sunset

The sunset on Mission Beach during a winter run after work.

Mission Beach Sunset on a run

I was running a little faster this night to try to catch up with this kite surfer before the sunset was over. He was headed the same way, so I had to pick up the pace. Just before this picture he pulled up to the beach and started running back toward me. I had to stop, pause the run, and pull up the camera quickly to get this shot.

Mission Beach Kit Surfer at Sunset

On 10 March, I ran through a head cold and exceeded my San Diego Half Marathon goal of 2:10 by nearly 7 minutes. My best pace in a long run, with or without hills, and 2 minutes per mile faster than my last half marathon. The conditions were nearly perfect and I was pretty happy with my run.