Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Well, I've been working on the whole "let me clear my shizz out of the house, and hopefully get some coin for it."  I've been eBaying old magazines (I mean, really, someone wants them?  Who am I to judge?) and books.  I got rid of some stuff on Craigslist as well (talk about a spotty user base).

So, with this new found moola, what would I do?   Buy more stuff, of course!!!

I've been eyeing up a set of weights since about Thanksgiving.. I've been jonesing for a set of Powerblocks.  So, I scored a 15% off coupon and got a pair at Dick's.

Yeah, they're not the latest and greatest, but they were at a good price, and they'll suit my capacity quite well.

Of course, mini-Raul views them as a place to put stickers:

Since I haven't been swimming yet, I've been doing some exercises that will hopefully get me more ready, namely some kickback/curl/press combos.  Cyberpenguin is kind enough to let me beta-test a "100 bicep curl" program she's working on, so I've been doing a bit of that, some bench presses, some squats, some lawnmowers, etc.

The weights are killer.  You can swap out weight levels in seconds, and are adjustable up to 50 pounds per dumbbell.  (There is an expansion pack that will bring them up to 70 each).  If I max these bad boys out, I'll upgrade to the latest and greatest version. (lol, that'll be the day.)

All in all, I think it was a good investment, and I'm really very happy with the product itself.  I'm certainly seeing results with using them on a regular basis, as well.

Keep on rockin'!

Monday, May 28, 2012


So, today I did my first brick.

And, in my normal form, I didn't start out with an easy one.  Noo...

That's the hill loop I took.  A little over 10 miles.

And, this is how fast I went:

Yeah. I completely suck.  That's about a 10 mph ride.  Way to go.

Side note, most interesting item seen while on my ride: what looked like a brand new Backstreet Boys CD.  No jewel case, though.

Afterward, I parked the bike and hit the road running.  Also, not an easy course:

Yeah, I was in a masochistic mood.

Splits went very well here, though:

So, it was a tad over a 5K

All in all, about an hour and a half.

My thoughts are this:

I loved it.  I got a hell of a workout, I did better on the hills than I thought I would on the bike, and I was able to run well afterward.

I'm not sure Mrs. Raul cared for it as much, with me being out of the house for that long, again.  I may need to start getting up at the asscrack of dawn to do shenanigans like this.  Oh, mini-Raul, please get some sleep some day.

I wore my shorts.  They're kind of weird, but it seems like a good idea to get used to them.  No chafing, no serious complaints.  They're a lot tighter and more "form fitting" than what I would normally wear, though.

I also think this is a good baseline to see how much I improve at the end of the summer.

Yeah, it was a serious workout in some serious heat, but I really enjoyed it.

Keep on rockin!

Thoughts from my long run

Well, thoughts from my long run.  I did this Saturday, before I decided to sign up for a marathon.

I had made a deal with myself that if the long run went well, I'd go for it.  I went out at a long slow pace + 30 seconds a mile extra slow, due to the heat.

I went along and got it done.  Most interesting thing I saw while out:  a steak knife.  In the road.
What was its story?  How did it get there?

If I had my phone with me, I could have taken a picture of it, so that we could all gaze at its glory.  Or tragic end.

Anyway, I felt great.  A little tightness in the glutes, but nothing serious.  I kept to the prescribed pace, not more, not less.  Right on. The next day, I felt fine, and so I sent in my registration.

I'm pretty excited.  Nervous, but excited.  I've sketched out a rough training plan, basically listing my long runs. Slowly build up, back off every few weeks, etc.  For June, there's 2 triathlons to throw into the mix, which will force me to get some cycling in.

I was telling my parents about the triathlon schedule, and they were all "oh, wow, how's it going?".  'Well, the running part is fine, and I'm getting a bit of biking in now.'  "What about swimming?"  'Uh, yeah.  That's a bit of an issue.'

Thankfully, the parks opened up the pools/lakes around here today, so hopefully I can get out and do some of that swimming thing soon..

Keep on rockin..

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Caution, meet wind

Ah hell.  I've been pretty conservative for the past year, slowly working up to where I'm at.

Screw it.  I signed up for the Wineglass Marathon today.  9/30.  My date with destiny.

Keep on rockin'.

Monday, May 21, 2012

June plans

So, my half marathon is done.  I did my 5K goal for the year.  What's next?

There's a local race at the end of June/early July.. I was looking to go for it 3 years ago, but Mrs. Raul was put on bed rest before mini-Raul's arrival.  (Who knew, that would be the last rest she'd get?) I wasn't in tip-top shape, but it would have been fun.

When I was up at Fleet Feet, I bought one more thing:

Tri shorts, baby!

Yes, the local race is a sprint tri.  I'm going to dip my toe into the water and see how it is.  I've started biking a couple of times a week.  At the very least, it's some nice cross training.  I'm waiting for the parks and pools to open up this weekend, so that I can get a wee bit of swimming in.

And, as a special bonus, I found out there's a first ever "micro" tri a few weeks before the sprint tri.  I got my application in there, and I made the cut (only 100 racers allowed).  I'm waiting for my check to get cashed for the sprint, and I should be set.

I have no goals for these races, I'm just looking to have a little fun and give the sport a shot.  I figure that I will have minimal swim time before these races, and only moderate bike time.  At my level of fitness, I also figure that I can muddle through the race and survive.

Depending on how these go, I hopefully will get a clue on what race(s) I want to go with for the fall.  My race plan runs out at the end of June.. I seriously am lost where to go next. lol

Keep on rockin!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I couldn't help myself

So, 2 weeks ago was the Bridge Run. I was a good doobie, not doing any much hard training for 2 weeks, one day for every mile ran, blah blah.

One of my resolutions/goals this year was to break 25 minutes in a 5K.  My PR was about 30 seconds shy of that last year, so it was an attainable goal.  I took a look at the race calendar for the summer, and the race that fit best was today.  Sigh.  I couldn't help myself.  I went.

I don't do speedwork. I've slacked on hills lately.  I went in hoping to do 7:45 miles, putting me in just under the wire.

Of course, I didn't sleep well either, and it was hot already at 10:30 am.  Hot, I say. Damn hot.  And, it's only May!

This was the "first annual" of this series, so it was a brand new race.  I've never seen the course, didn't even know where I was going. lol.

It was a small crowd, probably about 100 runners.  I did something I normally never do.  I lined up near the front.  One of the guys kids in front was talking about doing the course in 15 minutes.  He apparently had the other day, but "it was hot today".  OK, so I'm not going to win.  Got it.

This was all clock-timed.. the loose "ready, set, go", and we were off!  Being near the front, there was certainly a lot less weaving and bobbing around.. I kind of liked that.  With such a small field of runners, we fell into place pretty quickly.  I looked down at my watch.. 6:30 pace.  Yikes.  That's not a good thing.. I don't know what I run a mile at any more, but that's getting into the red zone- never mind 3.1 miles.

We were about at the half mile mark, and I looked ahead.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 people.  Wait, what?  I'm in 6th?  Holy shizz. I don't run here.  Ever.

The course was described as "slight rolling hills".  They rolled up, that's for sure.  Right around the 1 mile mark, there was one that went down, thankfully.  I skipped the water stop here and kept plugging.  I passed someone.  Fifth.  Passed a chick. Fourth.  Passed the next guy.  Third.  Are you f'in shitting me?  3rd place?  Granted, we're only half done at this point.

Alas, the course was an out-and-back.  That previously mentioned downhill?  Yeah, that turned into some big time suckage.

That's the elevation chart, allegedly.  It should be a mirror image, but whatever.

This is what I thought the elevation felt like:

So, the chick I had previously passed decided that after we went up that monstrosity that she would cruise on by.  Damn.  Fourth.

I'm majorly sucking wind.  I've gone out entirely too fast, and I am out of my element.  I am just praying for this race to end.  "What the hell have you done to yourself?"  "Are you kidding me?  You paid to torture yourself like that?" and on and on.

I took a cup of water and threw it over myself to cool down a bit, and I just tried to grind it out.

So, I hung on. For dear life.  Kept track of those behind me.  One foot in front of the other.

End splits looked like that.  6:53, 6:51, 7:26, :41.  Holy hell, Batman.  I hung on.  Fourth overall.  3rd male, 1st in age group.  Wow.  21:51.  Wow. That netted me a cool "1st" medal and a pair of socks.. who can't use socks?

An obligatory watch pic:

And, if I don't run another 5K this year, I don't fricken care.  lol.  PR by a mile, blew away my goal for the year.  I'll take it.

Keep on rockin!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fleet Feet

A couple of weeks ago, I took a day off from work and drove up to Syracuse.  The reason being, they had a real running store.  So, I trekked to Fleet Feet.

Disclosure: They did not pay me for this review.  They didn't comp. me.  These are my thoughts.

What a great place.  Right when I walked in, they asked what I was looking for.  I needed a new pair of running shoes, so they set me up with someone to get me set up there.  More on that later.

When evaluating my feet, I was measured, my existing shoes were looked at, my natural walking gate was examined, etc.  I have a wide foot, and rather than the usual "Oh.. Wow.  We only have 2 pairs of wide shoes" that I normally get, all I was told was "I see you have some width there.  Do you normally have to buy bigger shoes than you need?"

The guy fitting me went and got me a pair of shoes, and they felt absolutely spectacular.  I did a quick run in them in the store while he watched.   He went and got 2 more pairs, and we evaluated those too.. In the end, I wound up picking up the first pair.

Apparently, I do pronate, but not a significant amount.  He recommended a neutral shoe, and that's what I bought.  I only bought one pair, just so I can try them, but I am encouraged.

Here are the new kicks:

I haven't tried them yet, but I'm looking forward to doing that soon.  (I didn't want to change too much before the race)

I also got to try out something I've been wanting:

Yep, I bought The Stick.  That's killer.  It was at a better price than I've seen, too!

So, about the guy that fitted my shoes.  Really nice guy.. He was asking what kind of running I was doing, etc.  I told him about the Bridge Run.. he said "Oh, I ran that last year".  Neat.  I asked him about what kind of running he did.. "I generally run marathons".  OK, that's reasonable.

I didn't think anything of it until a couple of weeks later, when I was looking over the race packet.  Photos of the 2011 winners.  There's my guy.  No shit.  "Oh, I ran that last year".  Yeah, you won it man.

OK, let's roll to the great Google... crunch crunch crunch.  Oh.  Wow.  The guy that fitted my shoes banged out a 2:24 marathon in the f'in Olympic trials.


Talk about a humble guy.  A testament to the people that work at this store, too.  Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

...And, if you're reading, Fleet Feet, if you want someone in a completely different athlete class to sponsor, give me a shout. :) lol

Keep on rockin.

Friday, May 11, 2012


So, it's been 5 days since the half.  I feel relatively good.  The muscles feel sore and used, but nothing seems terrible.

I went out on Wednesday for a short bike ride, and that went well.  I also threw in a walk at lunch time to stretch the legs a bit more.  Thursday, I did a slow and easy jog, about 3 miles long.

All in all, nothing seems structurally wrong.  I was thinking about a 5K next weekend, and I suppose it's possible, but I think it's probably off the plate for now.  I could probably run it, but I really want to race it, and I think easing off is probably the way to go.

Tomorrow, I'm looking to get in another bike ride, and hopefully a run on Sunday, if Mrs. Raul consents to that.. it is "her" day, after all.

On another note, I sent in my next two race applications... stay tuned.. :)

Keep on rockin!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bridge Run

I came into this race with two goals:
1)  Come out healthy
2)  Break 2 hours.

The second one was certainly not as important as the first.  However, after my 15K a month an a half ago, the 2 hour mark was certainly within reach..

So, the night before.. I'm nervous.  Lol.  That was a fairly sleepless night.  "How fast should I go?"  "Should I try to do more?  Not as much?"  Meh.

The alarm went off, and I went to the checklists I'd made the night before.  Holy pre-race jitters, Batman.

I worked through my lists, drove the 5 miles to the start line.  Here I was, rockin' out a tank and shorts, and holy shizz, it was damn cold at 7am.  I don't think we were at 50 degrees yet.  I ran into a friend from work, and we agreed to run together.. He was looking for a 2 hour finish as well.  Shortly before the race started, the sun broke out, and I felt a touch of warmth.  Finally.

The first 1.5 miles was congested.  There were a little over 1,000 runners, and it was a tight field.  I was glad when it finally spread out a bit.  My first couple of miles were faster than we had planned for, so we backed off a bit.

The race organizers did a great job providing beverage throughout the race.  Water every 2 miles, like clockwork.  At mile 4 and after, the aid stations also had Gatorade.  They also did a spectacular job keeping cars out of the way.. I was fairly skeptical of the "traffic being restricted", but it really was.  There was only one intersection (and we went through a damn lot) that I even had a hesitation that a car might be going through.

The run is termed the Bridge Run, as the course seems to go over most of the bridges in the area (it's the confluence of 2 major rivers in the area).  So along the way, there were some nice sights, especially early in the morning.

I took my Gu at mile 5.5. I haven't been training with Gatorade, but I did drink it along the way. I wanted to Gu up, just because I didn't know if the Gatorade would be enough to keep me going.  I think it was the right choice.

Not a lot to report about the terrain, the course was pretty flat:

I mean, really, that's a 100 foot swing at the worst of it.

Around mile 9, my buddy told me to go ahead. He wasn't feeling that great, the sun was starting to warm up, and he's not a huge fan of the heat.  Up until this point, we were hitting about an 8:55 pace, on target to hit that 2 hour mark. 

I took off, similar to what happened at my last race.  I'm at the 9 mile mark, on target to hit a 2 hour finish. As long as I didn't blow it, I'd be OK.....

I just ran.  Hard, but not too hard.   What could I sustain for 4 miles?  What should I do?   I didn't want to over-think it.  Just run.

About this point, there was probably the coolest set of fan spectators:  A dad and his kids were out on the front lawn playing the Rocky theme with a violin, saxophone, and trumpet.  I certainly wasn't expecting that.. Nice, original thinking on their part.

I felt pretty good along the way.  I hit the 12 mile mark around 1:45.  At this point, I said to myself.. holy shit, I've got this.   I can walk it in at this point and get my 2 hour mark.  I took 2 cups of gatorade, and went on.

I could hear the finish line at the end of the 12th mile.  The crowd support at that point was great.  Tons of people cheering, even though they don't know you.  The feeling of excitement washed over me.. This distance was finally getting knocked down.

So, I finished.  1:52:33.  Automatic PR, to boot.  62/113 age group, 218/457 males, 309/1020 overall.  I was extremely extremely happy with the result.

Here's my pace chart:

Alas, I didn't spend the rest of the day recovering with my feet up.. I had to mow the lawn, and we took mini-Raul to the hilly zoo..    After finishing up the night with a ginormous bottle of beer, I slept like a rock.  I'm a little sore today.  Not terrible, though..  I'll give it a couple of days and see where I'm at.

Keep on rockin!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I ran cross country in high school.  One season.  I hated it.

I tried track the following spring, and that wasn't for me.

And with that, I gave up high school sports.  The trend continued into college, and onward.

In mid 2007, I picked up running.  I was finally ready.  It was the outlet I needed at the time, and I started finding my way.  I almost ran a half marathon that year, but bowed out due to some family circumstances.  I did more running the following year, and the next half year, until mini-Raul was born.

Then, I got lazy.  I'm not going to blame my son.  It's on me.  And, to make matters worse, I ate and drank like I did when I ran.

Fast forward to May 8th, 2011.  Mother's Day.  Family photos, etc etc.  I looked at those pictures and said.. "Shit.  I need to get myself in order."

May 13th, I had a hot water heater installed.  When the plumber left, I said, "What should I do now?"

The only answer was.. to get out there.  I started the process.  Running.  Again.  Finally.

I had a fleeting thought while I was out there. "OMG, there's a half marathon.. 5 miles away!  It's in 2 days!  I run on some of those roads!  That'd be awesome!"  Until, well, I saw what rough shape I was in.

I started eating a little better.  I kept running.   I started doing Weight Watchers.

I met up with Jillian on DVD.  And Tony Horton.  And I busted hump.  Every. Fricken. Day.

I ran in the rain.  I ran in the snow.  I worked out before work.  I got it done.

...Fast forward to today.  Cinco de Mayo.  The eve of my half marathon.  Almost a year later. I'm down 63 pounds.  30% of Raul, gone.  I'm in the best shape of my life.

I don't have any aches and pains, I've been listening to my body.

I'm ready to go slay this dragon.

Keep on rockin'