Friday, February 26, 2010

Feeling good, feeling anxious- always a good way to end the week. I am looking forward to a wet 13 miler (with the late hills at mile 11 it will feel like a 16-17 miler). My team is also getting those pre-race LA Marathon jitters. The few weeks leading up to a marathon are so tough, luckily I will be busy. First, practice Saturday, which means leaving at 6 am and getting home at 2, then showering and off to Physics class. Sunday is uniform/shoe pick up for the team, which means leaving at 5 am and getting home around. Needless to say my weekend is packed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

28:30! That was my time yesterday for our 4 mile run. It was my first "harder" effort since being injured months ago. It may not sound too fast but on a normal day I would hit a 25-26. Also this course has an incline for over a mile. Overall, I was happy. It felt good to get out there and move quicker, but I am far from being injury free. My hammy/groin was good for the run but got tight after. Once I went home, iced and rolled on the foam roller, i was feeling good- good enough to wake up at 4:30 this morning and put in another 4 miles ( this time easy). I felt good even though I was stiff from not being warmed up but by the end I felt great. Now my leg feels fine. It is weird, I feel fine but I know that biomechanically something is wrong. Whatever the case may be, I am happy with the last two days of runs.

This Saturday we have 13 miler scheduled. It is a loop course that we will do twice. The first 6 are flat. then the second time around we will add 1 - 1 1/2 miles of hills at the 11 mile mark. This will make us "push through" hills when our legs are tired. This is a great confidence builder and will build mental strength leading up to LA in 23 days. Once again, Chris Schauble will join us for the run. He needs this workout to help build his leg endurance for later in races. Hope the rain that is scheduled to dump that morning won't scare him away (oh yes that is a challenge!).

23 days until the LA Marathon- that means my team only has 9 practices left. We will be ready, will you?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

yesterday was a long day. I left the house at 5:45 and didn't get home until 11 at night. But it was well worth it. Last night, I attended a cross country/track coaches clinic at Nike in Culver City. They have 2 of these a year and they are so worth the time and effort of fighting LA traffic at 5 in the evening to get there. They usually have previews of upcoming shoes and apparel, talk about upcoming events, and then have a quest speaker. Yesterday's speaker was none other than Joe Newton, the legendary cross country coach from York in Illinois. For an 81 year old man he was motivational, inspirational, super informative, and funny as hell. I came away thankful for being able to coach and inspired to be a better coach. Thanks Nike and Mr. Newton.

Today we are doing a 5miler. This will be our first "real" run since the 18.6 miler on Sunday. I am looking forward to it, but my leg is not. It has really been sore since yesterday afternoon. I hope it is just stiff from not getting a therapy/stretching session yesterday. If I feel good, I plan on trying to get in another 4 on Thursday before work at 4:30 am. But let's not get too far ahead of myself.

24 days until LA- are you ready?????

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So busy today writing workouts in between classes, I didn't think I would get a chance to blog. Anyways, yesterday we did a 2 1/2 mile easy, easy recovery jog with 10 minutes of stretching. My left leg which is the one that has been injured felt good, it was the right that hurt. Achilles pain, knee pain, and shin pain all made me struggle with the run. After the light stretching I felt better but choose to ice my knee and calf. Weirdest thing happened, my right foot, the outside back portion fell asleep, and still has not woken up. I am kind of worried I did some nerve damage with the ice. I can still walk and do everything normal, it just has that "tingling" pins-and-needles feeling. So strange. Today is a rest day so it will be weights and therapy.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I ran 18.6 miles yesterday! If you would have asked me how far I could run on February 21st a month ago I would have said a mile maybe. It wasn't easy and it wasn't pain free, but it was tolerable. It gives me confidence leading up to the LA Marathon where I only need to do another 1.5 miles to hit the 20 miles I will be running that day.

As far as the coach in me- I couldn't be happier! My entire team qualified, that is a first. Usually one or two miss it by a few minutes. And the faster runners showed how good we can be. We took first and second in the 12 and under age group and first for 13-14. That was our boys. Our girls took 2nd and 4th in the 13-14 and 2nd and 3rd in the 17-18 age groups. Man I love these kids.

Finally, yesterday was a pleasure to run with my buddy Chris Schauble. Usually we are at different paces but yesterday we stayed together the entire way. I just wish he would talk and not wear head phones!!!!!!!

If you get a chance look at all the great pictures that super, uber-photographer Rich Cruise took at the race

Have a great day

Friday, February 19, 2010

Why Being Fat Was Good For Me!

It’s funny; my students see my blog and think it is weird that it is titled “Thank God I Was Fat”. They know I used to be fat (275 on a 5’10” frame) yet they don’t know why I am thankful, they think I should be grateful I am no longer fat (which of course I am). See what they don’t realize is that being fat made me who I am today.
Being fat made me:
1. Never ever want to be fat again
2. Makes me want to train my butt off 365 days a year
3. Makes me unsatisfied with my body so I am constantly trying to improve it through weight training and running
4. Makes me have a strict diet
5. Makes me not want to drink too much alcohol
6. Makes me understand the plight of those who are struggling with weight even if it looks like I was never fat
7. Makes me the self-deprecating funny guy who would rather poke fun at himself than those around him (if you make them laugh at you first, they can’t make fun of you)
8. A coach of middle/high school long distance runners.
9. Have a ridiculously amazing work ethic
10. And most important- gave me the confidence to know that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.

Now some people might look at these as negatives (What you don’t drink much? How do you enjoy happy hour?) but I really, really like myself; who I have become, what I have accomplished thanks to fighting through all the years of ridicule.

The day I started to lose weight was the day I started running. I hated it at first and only did it because it was the quickest way to lose weight. After months of struggling to run a block or two, I slowly started to enjoy the peace and solitude that running offered. When I was running no one could make fun of me, well they could as they drove by but I couldn’t hear them, so I started to spend more time running.

This lead to the unthinkable for me, trying to run a marathon. I had dropped almost 100 lbs. and had completed three 10 mile runs so I was curious. Three hours and twenty-four minutes later, my first marathon was complete. I was hooked and have since run 29 more marathons which include 5 Boston Marathons. I lowered my PR to a painful 3:00:58 (stupid 58 seconds!!!) and have run a 3:01 at Boston (that one I am really proud of).

I have gone on to really enjoy running and racing (except the 5K to short fast) with fairly decent PR’s.
My half is 1:23
My 10K is 35:34
My 5K is 17:15

Other vitals:
Went from 275 lbs to 170
Went from 34% body fat to 6-8%
Went from a size 46 inch waist to a 32 inch waist

These last few months I have been struggling with an injury which has made me think two thoughts: one- I really want to come back and kick ass, being faster than I was before. Smarter, wiser, more body conscience should lead to better running. Two- my best years are behind me and I am breaking myself down, it is time relax and enjoy the beauty of running without the hard training and racing.

Being fat has lead to almost every great thing in my life. It made me become a teacher so I could educate kids about health. Being a teacher lead to me being a long distance coach for middle/high school kids as a part of Student Run LA which is now one of my greatest joys in life. Being a coach and teacher allowed me the opportunity to meet one of my runner’s sister, which led to the greatest joy in my life, she became my wife. So you can see that being fat, losing the weight, and wanting to help others, had really formed my life and made me who I am today.
I would really like to thank McDonald’s and Jack-In-The-Box for the contributions to my previous, fat filled life.

Enjoy your day

Thursday, February 18, 2010

If you have been following my blog the past few months then you know I have been injured. I have gone to multiple doctors and tried all kinds of treatments. You may also recall that I found a great doctor in Pasadena, Dr. Smith of Smith Chiropractor. He understands runners and works well with us. I highly recommended him in the past. Things changed yesterday. Now I HIGHLY, SUPER ENCOURAGE anyone to use them!!! See yesterday I had another round of therapy scheduled, however my wife is being laid off (anyone know or need a graphic designer???) so we need to cut back on all "extra" expenses. When I called to tell Robin, the receptionist/wife, she said "Oh my GOD! I am so sorry. Come in today and we won't charge you". Are you kidding me???????? What kind of place does such a thing? I was blown away. Like I said they are AWESOME! I recommend everyone to go out there, train hard and get hurt just so you could go see them.

Today, after a 5 miler yesterday I am feeling great. This injury is so weird. I plan on getting in a short 4 miler tomorrow and then rest for Sunday's 15 miles. Things are looking up.

Tomorrow I plan on following @bfrein idea and let people know more about me and who I am. I briefly did it on my second blog, but tomorrow I will go more into depth (time permitting).

Enjoy your day

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My gifts finally arrived. Last week I ordered a muscle stimulator and an ultra-sound machine (very inexpensive) and they arrived last night. Even though I had therapy earlier in the day I was eager to try them out. Once I figured out how to use them I was really happy with the out come. I now have the ability to treat myself when I want. I also have the ability target more than one area. Usually at therapy I get ultra sound on the groin or the hammy, not both. Today, because of both treatment sessions I feel great.

My training is going to be 5 miles on the grass while my team does 4 miles of extreme hills, finished off with 5 short hill sprints. These workouts are making their legs very strong as witnessed by their improved times at the longer distances. For the team, this will be their last madatory run before Sunday's 18.6 LA Marathon qualifying race (Students Run LA requires that all kids run under 4:50 for 18.6 miles). I am letting them rest up and do a mini-taper so they are fresh and ready to race. I am not too worried about them not qualifying as most did this past weekend's 22 miler in under 5 hours (all under 5:30).

Hopefully, I will feel good today running, then do some self-therapy so I can get a few miles in of the treadmill before work tomorrow. Then I will shut it down so my body can rest for the 15 I will be running on Sunday.

31 days until LA- so excited
2 months until I am in Boston for the marathon (even more excited!)

Have a great day

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Today has been all but stellar. I woke to a throbbing pain in my groin. Thus, I feel I am regressing. I hate battling injuries. One day great, the next pain again- just when you think you are turning the corner. Oh well. I will do another round of therapy today and tomorrow and hopefully it will improve for Sunday's 18 miler (I plan on only doing 15).

Today is a rest/recovery day for me as well as the team. I will do weights as a workout and do some light stretching. Other than that not much planned for today.

Enjoy your training

Monday, February 15, 2010

It is amazing what one day can do. My therapy was going great and I was making plans to start resuming training and running on the streets this past weekend. I was also starting to look at the big picture and see about getting in my longer runs so the Boston Marathon would be salvaged and I could possible get a respectable time. Then I had a horrible day. Wednesday night, after therapy, my leg and hip were hurting more than when the injury first happened. I thought it might have been the new area that we focused on with the ultra-sound and muscle stims, but when I went back to therapy the next day, Dr. Smith said that that should not have happened. Well, we continued with the treatment, went to Sports Chalet and bought a neoprene thigh wrap, and I went home. I woke up Friday a new man. I felt great. It was as if I had never been injured. I was now excited for Saturday's 11 miler.

Saturday, I woke up and went through my normal running routine. I ate breakfast and drove out to Sunland to meet the kids for our practice. The only difference was I wrapped my leg with the thigh wrap. I was supposed to pace our leading group at an 8:30 pace for the first 11 miles then I would drop out and and they would do the second half on their own. I was lucky to have my good friend Chris Schauble (@ChrisSchauble) join us because he will be pacing them along the Los Angeles Marathon for the first 6 miles so he needed to be familiar with us and the pace.

I was so "caught up" with getting a chance to run with my kids that I didn't even think about my leg until the first water stop at mile 5. It was fine so I kept going. I didn't feel anything until mile 10. Then it started to get a little tight. At mile 11 I was fine and deep down I wanted to continue but thought better of it. I went back to the finish and waited for the team.

My group was supposed to come in at 3-3:10. They all started trickling in at 3:05-3:08. Great day for them. A 3:40 marathon looks possible for them. I was so happy with them and my own performance, 11 miles, on the street with out pain. I was amped actually. To make the day even better, my entire team finished in under 5:30 for the entire 22 miles.

Yesterday, oh my GOD, I was so sore. It was if I ran a full 22 miles. My quads and calves ached from not being on the streets. I did a lot of stretching and sat in the hot tub after a 60 lap swim to loosen them up. I started feeling better later in the day. Today I tackle a 5 mile run on the track. I need to stay on soft surfaces while I get back into the regular swing of running. I am really looking forward to Sunday's 15 miler for me and my team's 18.6 mile (30K) qualifying run at Hansen Dam.

Have a great day

Friday, February 12, 2010

So I have one day until I test my leg with a run on the roads. My plan is to get in 11 miles. However, if I feel that I am doing more harm than good I can stop at the 5 mile mark or the 8 mile mark. Let's not have that happen. On Wednesday I was sure I would get the distance in. Then on Thursday, I was in so much pain (in a new area go figure) I was re-evaluating Saturday's run. After another round of ultra-sound and muscle stimulators I am feeling better today. I am so anxious and nervous about tomorrow's run that I actually have butterflies in my stomach. It is like the day before a race. So weird, but kind of cool.

Speaking of muscle stims and ultra sound, I decided to purchase my own instead of ponying up money each time I went to therapy. Shockingly, smaller versions of what a PT has are not that much money. They should arrive Saturday or Monday. I will let everyone know how self-therapy goes next week.

Enjoy the weekend and your training.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Three days. That's how many days are left before I test my body on the hard streets of Sunland. I am so anxious, yet so nervous. I have successfully completed 7 miles on a track without too much discomfort. I need to stop babying myself and get out there and see where I stand when it come to hard surfaces. Plus, I really need to get out there and set the pace for my group of runners that wants to run a 3:40 at the LA Marathon. All 14 kids in that group, and the 2 adults, all start too quickly, then everyone else responds by trying to stay with them, which will blow up anyone's hopes for a 3:40. Saturday I will keep them all at an 8:30 pace for 11 miles (if body holds up).

Today is a 45 minute run on our grass field at school before therapy with Dr. Smith. I love going to therapy since I feel so much better leaving then when I first walked in.

The team's run today is a 5 miler on the streets with a good, steady 3/4 mile climb at the half-way point. Just the perfect distance for them in the middle of the week. Don't want them training too long/hard before they run 22 on Saturday.

Have a great day

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It is amazing how fast dreams can be crushed or altered. October of 2008, I qualified for my 6th Boston marathon. I was so excited to once again go to Boston and run, I almost broke down at the finish line. I started all the planning, looking for hotels, airfare, and of course sending in my registration. Then, my plans were altered because of the LA Marathon. When it was scheduled for a May date, it pushed all my other races back. This included my team's 30K qualifying race. The people at Students Run LA didn't know the exact date of the 30 K so I waited and waited to see which date it would fall on. Typically, we have the 30K 1 month before LA, which would have put the race on the last weekend of April. That would have been perfect as that would NOT effect my Boston plans. But when the date of the race was posted, it was scheduled to be run the Sunday I was going to be in Boston. I decided that one of my responsibilities as a coach was to forgo my own pleasure and dreams and be there for my team since they run better when I am present. I felt they needed me to help them focus and qualify for LA. Thus I missed the Boston Marathon in 2009.

Fortunately, my qualifying race at the Long Beach Marathon was in the right time frame to allow me to not have to re-qualify and use my time for the 2010 Boston Marathon. Come hell or high water I was running this race. The LA Marathon was back to a March date and I was going to train great to get there. Well, if you have been following my blogs, my training was side-tracked by an injury. However, I decided early in the injury cycle that my wife and I were going regardless of the severity of the injury. I was going to run a great race since I might be able to recover by then, run a slow race and enjoy the scenery, or use the weekend as a vacation and be a spectator. But yesterday's news might crush 2010's dream.

See, my wife's company was sold and they are moving it to San Mateo. Thus, she is getting laid off. So financially we probably won't be able to make the trip to the Boston Marathon this year. And since my qualifying time ends this year, that means I will have to train and re-qualify again at another race later this year or next. Man, I want to be in Boston in April.

I still plan on training like I am going though. Today I did 45 minutes of aqua jogging and I plan to head back to the gym later to repeat the same workout or do the StairMaster for an hour. This will follow my therapy and back adjustment by my chiropractor.

Hope you have a great day

Monday, February 8, 2010

What a great weekend! First, I got in 1 hour of running which equates to a 7.5 mile run Saturday at the local track. No hip pain and only a tight hamstring at the 45 minute mark. Then on Sunday I got in 2500 meter swim, 20 minutes of aqua jogging, followed by 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer. And then the best of all- the Saints won and Peyton lost. Ahh, what a great weekend.

Today I plan on running 45 minutes on the grass field at our school which is about 5 miles. Then it is another round of PT with Dr. Smith. I hope by Saturday I will be able to run 11 miles on the streets. I am starting to get really excited about returning to training mode. Who doesn't love the feeling of chasing a dream? Can't wait for Boston!!!!

Enjoy your Monday

Friday, February 5, 2010

One week of therapy and I feel like a new man. After some very aggressive sessions of muscle stimulation, ultra sounds, stetching, and specific exercises developed by Dr. Smith to target my weak stabilizer hip muscles, I feel as if my hip/back/groin never was injured. I am getting ansy to get out there and start training again. With my main goal of running the Boston Marathon in April, which is quickly approaching, I need to get back "on the roads". In the past I would jump right back into training like I never missed a day, but as I get older and wiser, I know I need to ease back into it. So today will be a 1000 meter swim followed by 30 minutes of aqua jogging. Tomorrow I will try and do 6 easy miles on the track at Verdugo Hills High while the team does and easy 8 miler (we were going to do our 22 miler but we voted to put it off until next week since it will probably be raining on Saturday)

My plan next week is to do 3 more days of PT and one day of chiropractic adjustments and then hopefully, God-willing, fingers crossed, praying, get in an 11 mile training run on Saturday with the team.

For all those running the Surf City Marathon (full or half) enjoy the race. I would love to be there with all of you, but my thoughts and prayers are with you all-GOOD LUCK!!!!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rehab seems to be working. Yesterday I had my second round of muscle stimulator and ultra sound on my torn hamstring, today it feels great. I got the therapy done at Dr. Smith's ( and I am convinced this is one of the best doctor's offices ever. As soon as you walk in you feel like you are walking into your family's house because everyone is so friendly and caring. On top of that, Dr. Smith really knows his "stuff". He is very knowledgeable and explains things to you in depth but at a level you can understand. if you ever get hurt, check them out, it is well worth the trip and/or money.
Today I will go back for 3rd treatment and if it goes as well as yesterday I plan on trying to run on 6 miles Saturday.

This morning I got in 1000 meters of swimming and 30 minutes of aqua jogging. I plan on returning this afternoon, after therapy to repeat the same workout. It still isn't like running on land but it is keeping me in decent shape. Once this hammy heals I won't be to out of shape to get back into longer runs. Still, I know I need to patient.

Good luck with your training and enjoy your day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I am starting to feel like a professional athlete with a team of doctors. Yesterday I had a chrio appointment. She treated my hamstring with a muscle stimulator (if you never had one done it feels like a 1000 tiny, tiny fingers massaging the area) then hit it with ultra sound. My hip feels great today. Tonight I have my 2nd vistit with Dr. Smith for a therapy session. Hope that goes well. Then Thursday it is Dr. Smith again. That will be 4 doctor appointments in 4 days. The cycle starts again next week with 4 more vistits. I am hoping by next Saturday I can get in 11 miles with my team (they are running 22 buut I want to try and get their pacing down for the LA Marathon).

The team is having a 3 mile time trial today. The weather is good and they have been running so many hills lately they should run pretty well. Most of the kids I have seen are already nervous for today's "race".

Have a great Wednesday

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I finally think I found the problem in my hip/hamstring. Yesterday I went to see a new doctor, Dr. Steven Smith at chiropractor, and he was awesome. My appointment was scheduled for 6 pm, meaning I was one of the last people he would see. I didn't leave there until almost 7:45!!!! And it wasn't because he was seeing other patients, that time was devoted entirely to me.
The meeting started with me talking for 20 minutes about all the prior doctors and their diagnoses, all the time he just listened intently and took copious notes. Then he went through each of the other diagnoses and told me why he didn't think they were those. We then went through a bunch of range of motion exercises, various strength tests, and stretches. He finally told me he thinks it is a micro tear of the hamstring where it connects to the buttocks. He told me, and showed me, that if it was a tear of the hamstring why was the hip and abductor affected. Then he told me some really good news and some bad news. First the bad, he has treated it before and it takes a long, long time to heal. Now the good, he said I could slowly start to run a few days a week as long as I stayed away from hills and speed. Man was I happy!!!!!!!

One other side not, he initially thought it might be a labrum tear of the hip. he said if it was he would send me to a doctor in Burbank that is a hip specialist to get an MRI and see about surgery immediately since hip tears could lead to an arthritic hip. He said it would be expensive since it was an out-of-pocket, non insurance covered expense. Obviously I was nervous because that would be expensive. But he said that he would help me fight with my insurance company since they didn't diagnosis it correctly the first time. What doctor does that?

So today I have another physical therapy session with Dr. Smith, and a few more in the next few weeks. Hopefully I will be in decent shape come Boston.

Today's workout is rest. After 5 on Saturday, 45 minutes of aqua jogging on Sunday, and another 5 miles yesterday, my legs are tired and sore from trying to get back into running shape.

Have a great day

Monday, February 1, 2010

Feeling better after this weekend, that is for sure. On Saturday while the team was running 8 hilly miles I went Verdugo Hills High and tried out the hip/back on the track. Intially, my body was stiff and almost unused to running. But the hip/back were fine. I ran 3 miles without any pain or discomfort. However, my hamstring started to get tight, presumably from the hip injury, so I stopped and stretched for a few minutes. I felt good so I finished with 2 more miles, and I honestly could have done more but didn't want to push it. Throughout the entire run I was well aware of the hip as pain would slowly creep in then quickly disappear. The back felt great. When I was done I went back to meet the team and stretched.

Sunday, I decided to finally try aqua jogging. I had purchased a floatation belt to allow me to float and run in place. What a piece of crap that was! So I took it off and decided to try running in place. I found the right spot in the pool at 4 1/2 feet which allowed me to mimic my running motion and not feel strange doing it. I put in 45 minutes and when I got out of the pool I actually felt taxed and my quads/calves were tired. I haven't felt that in weeks so I was so happy. My initial thought on aqua running was that it would be boring and not a good workout. Now I feel different. At times it can be boring, it is similar to running on a treadmill but without a TV or music, but it is different in the fact that you really need to focus on your form because that can easily go to crap. Also, you have to raise your quads higher and fight the water resistance which made for a great workout. I will now use aqua jogging 3-4 times a week as a way to rehad/recover from my injury and I will definitely use it as a 2nd workout when I am healthy. I loved it and highly recommend it.

Today I will run 3-4 miles on our grass field at school while the team does their 4 miles. I also have a new doctor's appointment at Smith Chiropractic Clinic in Pasadena at 6 tonight. Really excited to see him since he comes highly recommended. I will blog about experience tomorrow.

Enjoy your Monday