A Turkey Decision, Recap and PR

I recently made one of the best decisions of my running career. It may be a simple one, but at the same time one I'm ashamed to admit that took a bit longer than it should have to pull the trigger.

This year I decided to do a local turkey trot in Walnut Creek (Ca). It's a small 5k/10k that benefits local education. Which is great. I've done it once in the past and enjoyed it. I've only run a couple 10ks so it isn't a distance I typically do. That last time I ran a 10k I pushed myself to a 51 min. finish, which at the time was challenging. I'm trained for long distances, not fast paces over smaller distances.

The decision was this:

  1. Register for the 10k and see if my recent increase in pace allows me to push myself even further for a faster time.
  2. Walk the 5k with my mom who has been walking a lot over the past year and is getting excited about improving her health/pace.

Seems like an obvious choice, especially on Thanksgiving. But being competitive with myself and always trying to improve my time over any distance made me think, shamefully, longer than I should have.

I thought about it for a couple days, already knowing which was the right decision to make. But that little devil on my shoulder kept whispering: "Your mom won't mind if you run the 10k." Which is true, Moms rule that way.

Although the devil kept whispering, I didn't let that little red bastard get the better of my judgement and registered my mom and myself to walk the 5k. And I couldn't have been happier.

We made our way to the start line decked out in our running gear, my mom wearing her race day tech shirt, which I think may be her first. We started at the back to avoid becoming jammed in a bottleneck on the course and allowed the speedy folks to start ahead of us. We weaved through other walkers, strollers, dogs and even these guys in turkey capes:

My mom has become pretty fast at the walk. I definitely felt the burn in my calves. Funny, right? But I'm built for running, not speed walking. Different muscles are emphasized.

We walked and talked and grabbed a couple photos together. Laughed at some folks taking short cuts over the sidewalks, easily shaving .1 off the course. Disqualified. We talked about running watches and how my mom could start incorporating some running into her 3 mile walks. I was pretty proud. Yep, son was watching his mom start to get the race bug. This was her third 5k and now that she is seeing the differences in events, starting to discover what she likes and doesn't like.

It was a great way to start Thanksgiving Day and I'm glad that I decided to spend some extra time with my mom. She has done so much for me and I was happy to experience the event with her. I would make that decision 10 out of the next 10 times. Oh ya, and since this was my first 5k, I set a PR!

Thanks mom for a wonderful day and kicking my butt on the 5k. You go girl!


A photographic run

With my this weekend's run, I decided to have some fun and photograph my journey. Sure that meant taking a 1-2 minute break mid-run to dig out my phone, snap a photo, tweet it, then resume running, but my I was willing to make that sacrifice for the sake of twitter-dom.

And I haven't run over 13.1 miles since February, so striving for 16 was going to be a journey on it's own.

I used a hash for those that wanted to follow along, #Sunday16, but I also want to share with my non-twitter readers or those that may have missed it. Here we go. Text below the photo's is what I Tweeted out with the photo.

"If I sit by his running shoes, then he has to take me, right?"

Couldn't resist the pup's face, so I took her for 3 miles, dropped her off, heading for remaining 13

I always see this hill, parallel to my normal route. Today I'll go up it.

Mailbox! How long will we still be using these? Timeless? Something to think about over the next few miles.

Where I married my wife a little over 6 years ago. Heather Farms Rose Garden, Walnut Creek.

Still Thanksgiving on my run. 11.38 miles, home stretch. Gobble Gobble.

Up the hill. Pay attention WC Half Marathoners, this is your future. It goes higher after the bend.

Sometimes you have to listen to the signs and your body. 15.5 miles and done.

There is my photo journey. I fell short, which gives a little humor to my #Sunday16 hashtag, but it was too late to change it to #Sunday15.5 — which looks funny, so forget it. Thank you to everyone that responded along the way. I definitely recommend giving this a try on your next run. Most cell phones have cameras, so it's an easy point and shoot. I found myself looking around a lot more as I ran.


All black everything

In honor, or perhaps protest, of black Friday, I'm going to write about something that has nothing to do with black Friday. So for poops and giggles, here are all the black running items in my closet:

Adidas 3-stripe pants
These are my favorite running pants in the world, better yet, universe. I have 2 pairs, the one shown and a gray pair with orange stripes. They fit well, are light and keep me warm. They also have zippers on the pockets that come in handy when holding shenanigans. The also have reflective piping towards the bottom and slight ventilation as well.

Adidas 3-stripe 1/4 zip Bruce Lee 'thingy'
This is also one of my favorite running tops (not a jacket, not a t-shirt, a 'thingy') in the fall/winter. It totally gets me in ass-kicking mode, Bruce Lee style. Mid-run, I've been known to confront the Korean underworld gangs, fight my way up the levels of a pagoda and kick a seven-foot basketball player in the face. It happens — like I said, one of my favorite tops. (the colors are inverted, but let me have my childhood moment)

Champion running shorts
Clearly Adidas makes super-duper running clothes, but not everything has to be three-stripe gear. Here are a pair of cost-friendly running shorts by Champion. They have reflective piping, light weight and comfortable. Draw string keeps them comfortable and they are (for me) a proper length since I don't rock the 70s jogging shorts. Not pretty.

Asics running socks
My feet are sponsored by Asics. Well, they are sponsored by my paychecks, but they prefer Asics. I have been wearing Asics Kayano's since 2006 and is the only shoe I run long distances in. But those are typically white, so screw them. However, my socks are ALWAYS black Asics socks. I've bounced across a couple styles, but they are always black, low cut Asics. These are hydro.

Road Runner visor, Nike arm sleeves, Nike gloves

Visor: I purchased the visor after seeing them popular in the ultra community. It made perfect sense. When wearing a hat, at some point in the race my head became too warm. Perfect solution: a convertible hat for my head.

Arm Sleeves: I like these because they are made of dri-fit material. They breathe really well and keep me warm. Perfect for the beginning of races and if it becomes too warm, they easily roll down or fit nicely into your pocket. Definitely not bulky, but effective. Downside? The upper arm is too tight. If I flex, it is uncomfortably snug. Luckily I don't make bodybuilder poses mid-race.

Gloves: these rock. I have 2 pairs, both Nike. The ones shown are lighter and all dri-fit material with reflective swoosh. My other pair has a bit more warmth to them, which can help. Not too heavy, but more in comparison. It also has a terry cloth thumb and outer, inner-hand section for wiping sweat. Important especially if it's misty and you have a mustache. Sorry ladies, well some ladies, but that was a boy perk.

Finisher shirts
I have two black finisher shirts. One is a RNRSJ shirt which I wear often and the second I just received from yesterday's Walnut Creek Turkey Trot. It has a fat turkey on the front wearing a race bib and running shoes. Silly turkey.

There you are. That's a peek into my running closet, your black Friday is complete.

Any of you have these also in your closet? I was surprised at the lack of black running gear I have, but I guess brighter colors benefit us in the morning or at night.

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Last Chance to Order

First off, I want to thank all of you for putting up with my tweets and Facebook posts about these shirts. I've had a lot of orders, which is fantastic. To be honest, I'm just real excited about making running shirts. I'm a graphic and web designer, so excuse the inner nerd.

Note: If you would like a cotton version, please let me know. They are not available on the store, but I can order you one for $15 (regular or v-neck).

Because I'm ordering these in bulk it benefits me to obviously have more orders, hence the frequent promotion. If I can get 20+ orders, then I should be able to keep the cost around $20 each. Not bad.

If you are wondering, they are costing me about $17 each, so I'm not in this for the profit, but for the thrill of making something for me (and us) to run in.

For future shirts, here is my plan:

  • I'll design a unique running shirt every 2-3 months
  • I'll take pre-orders during that time frame to (hopefully) get a decent quantity, keeping the price low.
  • If I can consistently get 20+ orders, then I can afford to do this. If it looks like the demand is low, then the order might be cancelled and refunds issued.
  • Luckily with these two, we came pretty close to what we needed. I'm also giving some out to friends as Xmas presents (and maybe a couple runner bloggers out there).
This seems to be the easiest way to help help keep the cost down and allow me to make one giant order and distribute after. If we had to print one at a time when ordered, these would be $30 shirts, and that ain't gonna happen.

That also means, this is your last chance to get these two designs. I'll end the sale Wednesday (11/23) morning, so I'll only print what has been ordered. It takes 2 weeks to print, which gives me a week to ship them to you, arriving just in time for the holidays.

Thanks again and I'll definitely plan on posting some photos of you awesome runners rocking the shirts. Thanks again.

Here is the link to go shopping: http://pavementrunner.bigcartel.com/

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Pavement Runner Shirts

What do runner's need? Running shirts, of course. As if your closet wasn't full enough with finisher shirts and training shirts, here is another one to add.


I've designed a couple shirts that runners, more specifically, twitter users will enjoy. They use hashtags which are common in twitter-verse.

Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

As runners, we use several hashtags daily on twitter, so why not use one on our shirts? "Runner." It says so much about who we are and what we do. We have our own community and speak our own language. How many times are we introduced using that noun. "This is Brian, he's a runner." Which usually results in a conversation about how crazy we are. Guilty as charged.

So here are my two shirt designs and my store. Click here. It currently just has the 2 shirts in men's and women's sizes, and in black, red and navy with white lettering.

The shirts can be ordered and paid for, but will not be shipped until early December, just in time to arrive at your house for the holidays. Since this is a new venture for me, I'm gauging the feedback for the next month. I anticipate taking orders for 30 days at a time initially and shipping all shirts once a month. More designs to come later. The shirts will be printed by Custom Ink which is the same company I used to print our relay shirts the past two times. They make a great product that lasts and their customer service is second to none.

And #running …a long-distance relationship — how cool is that?

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at pavementrunner@gmail.com

Enjoy, feedback greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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US Half - a photo recap

Here are some photos from the US Half last weekend (11/6). Enjoy!

Me at the finish line! (Sorry, start with the good one, right?)

Ok, now we'll go chronologically… The start line (taken by FB friend Claudia)

The back (of the out and back) on the Golden Gate Bridge, somewhere between mile 8 and 9 …apparently there is a plane above me, what else would I be pointing at?

Coming off of the bridge, around mile 10 …that plane must be following me, I'm pointing at it again! Still have the arm sleeves on.

The look of relief crossing the finish line. Shaved off almost a minute and a half off my half marathon time. Sleeves have been rolled down. Think that happened around mile 12-13.

Me, post race with my earth friendly re-usable water bottle. Think of all the plastic water bottles not being used and not being thrown away. Nice job Project Sport. (photo taken again, by Claudia)

And finally, Claudia and I… finish line behind us.

Blogger reader and FB friend, Niko and I, post race.

Ana, Claudia and I with a group photo. As you can see, we don't have finisher medals due to an error with the company making them. Apparently they shipped April 2012's medals… oops. But it's okay, we all ran strong races and look happy! That's what counts.

* * * * * *

Thanks to everyone that wished congratulations on Twitter and Facebook… it was a tough race, but that makes the PR that much sweeter.

And am I the only one that likes making funny faces, opening their mouth and pointing at planes during photos?

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US Half 2012 Recap

Going into races it's always tough to handle expectations. Heading into this race a month after a PR at RNRSJ, I was hoping for a repeat performance. With RNRSJ my first official sub 2 hour finish my legs seem to have realized that they can fly at 9 min. miles for an extended period of time. Bonus.

The other leg realization is that they can fly FASTER than 9 min. miles for an extended period for time. Since Oct. 2, I've been running sub 9 min. miles on my training runs. At first I thought it was just a result of being lower mileage (2-5 mile runs). But then I started building mileage back up for race prep. 8 miles at a 8:36 pace. Then an 11 mile run at 8:50 pace. So, of course my brain starts racing (pun totally intended): "How fast can I go at the US Half Marathon?"

Let's find out!

The morning started with the typical rigamarole. Getting up early, packing my race supplies while the pup watches hoping to join me on a run. Sorry Mika, it's just me this time.

Once I found parking near the start of the race (which can be difficult at any race, more specifically a race in SF), I made my way to the start. A few days before the race, I thought it would be a great idea to organize a meet-up at the start line. It was late notice, so I was hoping a few people would be able to wish each other luck pre-race.

I was able to meet Facebook friends Niko, Brian (and his brother Keith), Claudia and Ana. Also, my training buddy Leo and his fellow running-friend Brian. Unfortunately, we weren't able to all organize for a pre-race photo, but it was great to meet everyone in "real life." I came across another training friend Diana, at Mile 3, we ran together for few seconds and met up post-race as well.

As the race started, I planned on going out with a 8:30-9 minute pace. The elevation climb was going to be an issue at staying within that range, but I figured what slowed me down going "up," I could make up going "down."

It was extremely congested most of the course, but I tried not to expel too much energy weaving in and out early on. It typically thins out as the race goes along, so I was anticipating that. First three miles were right on pace: 8:55, 8:46, 8:48.

Mile 4 had an incline heading up to the Golden Gate Bridge, 9:52. Miles 5 and 6 fell victim to runner-congestion on the Bridge. Due to construction we were restricted to one side of the bridge (going up and back). This segment seemed to have slowed most people down and trying to pass people on a walkway that fit 3, maybe 4 across posed a challenge in passing runners. Miles 5 and 6, 9:57, 9:12. At this point I thought my hopes for a PR were shot. The bottlenecks along the bridge slowed most runners down to a walk, plus we were about to make a 400 foot climb on the Marin Headlands (photo from mile 7 below) side of the bridge. Mile 7, 10:19

As I was heading down the climb, I decided to give it more than my all on the way back and hope not to crash and burn at the finish. I knew I could cruise the remainder of the course and come in around 2:05+ comfortably. OR, I could haul ass and try to see if I could PR this bad boy. The downside to the latter was if I burned out before the end, my finish could end up closer to 2:10. Can you guess what option I went with?

Coming down the mountain, I was able to pick up some time that was quickly lost at a major bottleneck on the bridge. I was slowed to a walk, then to a standstill as runners were funneled into two single lanes (those coming across and those heading back). I could tell based on the faces of other runners, that this was a huge issue. Some tried to make the best of it... the race does not have control over construction, keep that in mind. Mile 8, 9:04.

After that, there were some downhill portions that I tried to quickly take advantage of. Mile 9, 8:35, back on pace. Mile 10 and 11, I kicked it into a gear that I haven't seen in some time, 7:27, 8:01.

At this point, having home-field advantage, I knew exactly where I was and how far I had to go. Looking at my watch, I figured if I could keep sub-9 min miles, I had a chance. Doing math while running is always fun. "Okay, If I'm at 1 hour 36 minutes and have 2 miles to run at a pace of 9 minutes, carry the one, subtract the 5, x is equal to… look, a dog!"

Mile 12 was pretty solid, 8:26. Mile 13 had a minor climb (87 feet), quickly followed by a steep decline. The climb took a lot out of me mentally, but I was able to focus and nailed a 8:56. The final .1 miles, I knew I had the PR, it was just a matter of by how much.

I finished at 1:58:38, shaving almost a minute and a half off my RNRSJ time for a PR at the half distance.

Looking back, miles 4-7 is where my pace fell apart with the congestion and the incline. Coming off the mountain and back across the bridge, it was much easier to maneuver. Looking at my times, I was able to PR only because of miles 10 and 11. If my ideal pace was around 8:30, I shaved a minute off mile 10 (7:27) and 30 seconds off mile 11 (8:01) and that's the minute and half I PR'd by. No other mile split was lower than 8:30 (mile 12 was 8:26, but ya).

After the race, I was able to connect with Claudia and Ana who also ran strong races. This time, we were all about the photos (more to come)! I originally met Claudia a few years ago at this exact race.

I also met up with Niko again and snagged a post-race photo.

As more photos become available, I'll be sure to share them. I'm sure there are some great ones since it turned out to be such a beautiful day. Thank you to everyone that wish us luck on facebook and twitter. You all rock and inspire!

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US Half Meet Up

Hi everyone, this weekend is the US Half and what better way to start an amazing race than with a bunch of runners wishing each other luck and giving high-fives? Okay, I'm a fan of the high-five and am hoping it makes a come-back. It's way better than the fist bump and that exploding hand thing, I don't get the explode… did my hand blow up when it collided with yours? Why would I want that?. I digress.

There are several people I know across the social networks (FB and Twitter) that are running it, so I was hoping we could organize a start line meet up. I know 2 friends coming from Oregon that are planning on meeting up along with 3 others that I train with in San Francisco… I plan on being at the start line around 6 AM (with a race start time of 7 AM.) But, let's plan on meeting here around 6:30.

The meet up spot is really close to the start line. Here is a better shot so that you can see how close it is. It's about a 30 sec. to 1 min. walk away from the start line. Convenient. I'm hoping that we can grab a group photo… hopefully someone has a camera, if not, we can use my iPhone to grab a snap shot of a bunch of runners about to kick some tail across the Golden Gate Bridge! Yea!

It's an easily identifiable spot near the start line. It's essentially at the entry way to a couple docks. I'll plan on being there before 6:30, so if you see me, come over and say hi. This is what I'll be wearing (and here are some photos of what I look like).

Hope to see you all out there. This is a challenging course, so any extra good running mojo from fellow runners will always help. Have a great race!

Feel free to leave a comment if you will be joining us, that way I can keep an eye out for you. Cheers.

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