Saturday, December 30, 2006

Frosty Final Runs Before Phoenix Marathon

Yes, indeed. The Rose Bowl is in a canyon. This canyon is colder than the surrounding hills. Car windshields are frosted over in this canyon.

In other words, practice was stinking cold. Once we left the canyon and ran up into the hills, it was cold there as well. Frost on the grass with a blinding sun in skies swept clear by recent storms.

Last year, my final practice runs were in similar chilly temperatures. Not as cold as today, but brisk nonetheless. Then I went off to steamy Hawaii and broiled out at mile 19. If I ever run Honolulu again, I'm going to practice starting in August wearing double layers of clothes and a plastic-lined jacket with a built-in heater. Then I'll go home and sit before a fire.

Two weeks to Phoenix. I'm excited, fired up, stoked. I wish it were tomorrow.

Then again, I"m glad it's not. I would have to start packing.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Thanks, LMA

A tip of the old barbarian hat to blogger Little Miss Attila for plugging my upcoming marathon.

I'm inching toward my fund-raising goal and every wee bit helps.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas!!

Last 12 Mile Run

The P.F. Chang runners are all that remain from 2006 Winter Team. Because of Christmas, many people weren't at practice. Four or five others were injured and worked out in the pool. The handful that actually ran were folded in with the Spring Team. This was their first 12 miler and our last.

Cold morning but sunny. I ran a new ratio of six minutes running to one minute walking. Coach(es) Kate think I can finish the marathon in 4 hours and 30 minutes. So I ran at a slightly faster pace.

Cesar ran the last 9 miles with me. His knee is healing well and he should be fine in time for Phoenix. Coach Jimmy will be running the marathon also. He hopes to break three hours.

Lots of Christmas stuff to do.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Now We're Cooking!

Finally got my TNT website updated. A new page look was recently introduced that is incompatible with my web browser. And while the website folk couldn't actually fix the problem, the most noble Luis inputted my changes and tweaks.

I'm now ready to close out the Winter 2006/07 season with a thunderous big sound!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Lonely 20 Mile Run

Honolulu veterans stopped by practice yesterday morning to show off their medals. The Honolulu Marathon is a tough race for first-timers, but they all made it across the finish line.

Meanwhile, a small band of Team members prepared to run 20 miles. There were only about a dozen of us on a chilly, wet morning, split up among different pace groups. I ran the first nine miles with teammate Cesar, who was nursing an injury. He turned back so as not to stress his knee. As the rain picked up, I continued on alone into the hills.

Fortunately, I brought along two key items. Item number one was a plastic garbage bag. Not only did it offer rain protection, but the plastic kept me warm. Item number two were Gummy Bears. I ate them around mile 16 when my energy flagged. I finished on marathon pace: a bit under 3 hours and 40 minutes. Within a half-hour, the sky opened up and it really poured. The coaches, aid station mentors, and other runners must've gotten drenched. I thought of them as I turned up the heat in my car.

Twenty is my longest run in over a year.

Now we taper down our mileage as we prepare for P.F. Chang's Rock 'N Roll Marathon in Phoenix. There is a rock band every mile, giving the whole event a festive air. Plus the course is run on flat level streets in 60 degree weather.

A far cry from steamy, volcano-riddled, Honolulu.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant

Yesterday, Melanie Fastrup's memorial service took place. Among songs and remembrances, there was a photo montage that included her picture as a youngster.

The smile of the child never left the adult.

Diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Melanie spent the last four years on the hard end of life: 15 blood transfusions, spleen removal, chemo, experimental treatments.

Which makes her smile all the more remarkable.

Her life revolved around family, faith and teaching. And even during those last rough years, Melanie still reached out to be of service to others. Now only the glow remains after the light has faded.

Judging from the testimonies and tears, that glow reaches far.

Thanks to Melanie's teaching colleagues who contacted me with stories.

A special salute to TNT Coach Kiley. The memorial service for his father was Saturday night. Yet on Sunday, he showed up to honor Melanie. That's leadership and heart in full measure.

Former TNT Coach Amber and her fiance drove up to Azusa from distant Huntington Beach to support Dan Fastrup and the girls.

And while the Pastor prayed and a soloist sang "How Great Thou Art," my Team in Training comrades struggled in the humidity to finish the Honolulu Marathon, running to fund a cure for the disease that took Melanie Fastrup.

Our lives are raindrop ripples on a vast sea.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

City of Angels Half Marathon

Met two fellow Team mates at the City of Angels Half-Marathon. The start line was near Travel Town in Griffith Park. Predawn temperatures hovered around 38 degrees. It must've taken me 4 miles to warm up.

Much of the Griffith Park course followed my old running routes. Very nostalgic. Leaving the park, we followed the L.A. River to the Hyperion Bridge, then up into Silver Lake, down Sunset Blvd. to Echo Park, and finally into downtown for the finish. Jerry and Caesar kicked it at the end. I loped in, still basking in my Santa Barbara PR from last month.

I felt tired and stiff most of the run. Still, we all finished in the 2:07 range.

This will be my last race before the marathon in January.

Right now I think I'll nap.