Sunday, August 29, 2010

For Some, A New Beginning

(Wow! It actually looks like I'm running instead of just shuffling my feet! Thanks for the nice action shot, Dave K.)

I don’t remember if I mentioned this last year, but waking up in the early morning and hearing a rooster crow in the middle of the city seems strange, but I’ve heard this sound in the past year when I was getting ready for AREC marathon training on Saturday mornings and I don’t know where it’s coming from. Does one of my neighbors have this chicken as a pet? Incidentally, one of the sounds of my talking alarm clock has is the cock a doodle do of a rooster but I don’t think what I’ve been hearing is a clock but rather a real cock.
After getting anxious last Friday thinking about how I was going to perform Saturday morning, I decided that I had to change my mindset to - just show up and run. I was worrying too much about what pace, how far, how am I going to feel, I hope it won’t be a repeat of last week, and so on and so forth. It’s terrible when what is supposed to relieve stress is causing me to become anxious. I believe it was just a matter of a lack of confidence having been absent from the activity for so many weeks and having a bad run the previous week. When I stopped overthinking the process, I felt so much better. I actually showed up at the start with a smile on my face.
I was planning on starting out early, ahead of the training group because I was going to do the Galloway run/walk method and I didn’t want to be the last person out on the course. Sometimes one has to make some adjustments after being in the middle of the pack in past years to the present time where I am now at the back of the pack. No matter. The same distance still had to be covered only taking longer. Well I changed my mind at the last minute and started with everyone else anyway. Off I go running the slowest pace I could possibly do, so as not to get winded right way like I did the previous weekend. I was slow enough that I skipped the first walk break, and the next, and the next. Well let me just say that I skipped all the walk breaks until past 6 miles. I was lucky enough to have been able to run with this Puerto Rican lady from about 4 miles on (I think she’s Boricua, but I’m not sure). Her name escapes me since the last time we introduced ourselves was around last November, and I’m not good at remembering names. She was also coming back from an injury and was game enough to tackle 10 miles on her first day back. I told her we were both crazy and she concurred. We mutually agreed that we were going to do the 4 minute run with 1 minute walk break after 6 miles since she was getting tired and I had to preserve my ankles. It was at 6 miles that we paused at Steve’s water stop where he offered some honey sticks. Honey stick? President Todd was hanging out at that water station and I told him that I could think of something inappropriate regarding the words “honey stick”. Todd said, maybe I should just keep that remark to myself. With that advice and a fist bump, Boricua and I proceeded down the Peninsula on Ocean Boulevard. Around 7 miles I could feel a cramp developing on my right calf but I managed to hold on. However, hours later as I write this, it’s still stinging. Well, to make a long story short, my unnamed friend and I made it all the way to 10 miles, even skipping the last walk break with about ¾ miles to go. Compared to my sallow look after last weeks’ unfortunate run, I was grinning from ear to ear again.
On a side note, I couldn’t help but feel joyous upon seeing Dona running again when I saw her climbing 6th Street hill. She had been having a piriformis problem in recent weeks and had to stop running too. With Dona, Boricua, and me back into running, all is well in the world again. New beginnings indeed.
Putting on a happy face :)
Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!
Back to Main Page:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Working Out In A Dizzy Tizzy

Due to the sudden return of my dizziness problems in the past week and the heat finally scorching Southern California, I have been conservative with my outdoor workouts especially after my terrible run/walk last Saturday. I already mentioned the 1 ½ hour stationary bike ride last Sunday. This was followed by an hour run on the treadmill on Monday which a surprise by itself because I usually don’t have the patience and concentration to last that long on the machine. The very slow pace which allowed me to read the newspaper, helped pass the time and still gave me a good workout. On Tuesday, it was back to the stationary bike in the form of the recumbent this time. It was so hot that I trained the electric fan towards me and cranked it up to the highest level. That workout lasted an hour and twenty minutes which consisted of intervals. This brings us to Wednesday which is normally not a running day for me but I was feeling pretty good and despite the high heat at 1 P.M. I ventured outside with hopes of completing at least 30 minutes. I could feel a slight breeze in the beginning which was definitely better than the dead air indoors. When I approached 30 minutes, I extended my goal to 40. Having to do some detours to avoid street constructions in my neighborhood (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 at work), I hit 50 minutes by the time I reached home. How hot was it? Well I lost 3 ½ pounds of sweat in just 50 minutes or very slow running and had to rehydrate quickly. I hope to show up at AREC marathon training on Saturday feeling better than last weekend. Know what? Very slow running or jogging has not been a problem for me. At least I can still do it and taste the sweet nectar of endorphins J
At the start of the month, my job offered a website ( where employees can track their fitness and health goals, and after putting off signing up for several weeks, I finally joined a few days ago. Just for signing up they gave away an exercise kit which included elastic bands and a walking kit which included a pedometer. Upon logging 12 workouts, they will also send you a water bottle as a reward. Since I already reached that level, I was expecting three items in the mail, which arrived today. Unfortunately, I didn’t see them because I was asleep when the mailman tried to deliver. Maybe when they redeliver tomorrow… By the way, they also have reward for reaching 36 and 72 workouts: a towel for the first and a t-shirt for the next. Since I work out every day, getting the free stuff would not be a problem. It’s just too bad that they stop giving rewards after 72 workouts :P

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me! Back to Main Page:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Riding To Nowhere

Feeling a little bit better on Sunday, I had to make up for the aborted workout on Saturday and did an hour and half stationary bike ride while reading the newspaper. In the past couple of weeks I have done two 1 ½ hour rides on the upright stationary bike. The longest I can remember doing that was in 1980 when I was still working at the CDCP employees’ gym in Makati, Manila where I was the fitness trainer. While rehabilitating from my first running injury (I just started running that year), I had done a couple of two hour rides. You wouldn’t believe what reading materials I had that enabled me to ride that long: Playboy and Penthouse magazines that clients left for the gym staff!
I wore the new Louis Garneau cycling shoes and they felt okay other than because of the shape of the sole, your center of gravity shifts slightly backwards. I would liken the feeling to those rocker Skecher shoes with the concave shaped soles which are supposed to burn more calories when you walk on them because they engage more muscles.
It appears that the malaise I was feeling on Saturday can be attributed to a slight increase in blood pressure. I didn’t check it Saturday morning but did so on Sunday and noticed the difference from the usual norm, although it wasn’t abnormally high. Time to cut back a bit on the 32 oz. a day coffee habit.
This has nothing to do with the workout, but later on Sunday, I watched an English movie which was dubbed in Chinese and in turn came with English subtitles. That was weird. Can you imagine John Cusack speaking Chinese?

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!
Back to Main Page:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

With A Yuck Yuck Here and a Yuck Yuck There

Here, there, everywhere, yuck yuck.
In other words, what a yucky and miserable day of running it was for me. I woke up feeling out of sorts and it didn’t get any better later. Maybe it was the self imposed stress of performing well in addition to having a hard time deciding whether to wear the new shoes or the older ones. In the end I wore the old ones because as I was on my way to the car to meet with the AREC group, my left Achilles tendon started to hurt while wearing the new shoes. This made me more tense and hurried and when that happens, my lingering dizziness gets worse. I didn’t get much of a warm up due to getting there almost late, but my legs and ankles felt pretty good and bouncy at the outset. Maybe I would be able to do 8 to 12 miles after all. But it was too soon to be presumptuous because by the time I passed 2 miles I was already feeling lightheaded. I made it to the first water stop at 3 miles, turned around to retrace my steps to the finish area, doing more walking than running. It took so much effort trying to stay conscious due to the lightheadedness. Did I start out too fast on a warmer day? Maybe I did, based on my current level of conditioning. Last weeks’ 9 miles must have just been a fluke, with assistance from over enthusiasm and adrenaline. As I write this several hours later, I don’t feel any much better. I thought it was dehydration or the decreased food intake the last few days, but I’m not sure anymore. During Thursdays’ bike ride and on Friday I felt ok, but it sucked waking up Saturday morning feeling crummy, especially when I was eagerly anticipating running with the AREC training group again. Even my hellos to my friends Linda, Cyndi, and Sophie were so unenthusiastic because of the way I felt. Sorry about that ladies. When I feel this way you can see it through my crestfallen face and the absence of my smile, and believe me, I hate that feeling. Whatever endorphins my body managed to manufacture in those 6 miles of running and walking wasn’t enough to offset the low serotonin level I had. I hope tomorrow is a better day. In fact, I insist on it.

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!
Back to Main Page:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday Ride, Flugtag, Garneau Shoes

I haven’t ridden my bike in a week and a half and on Thursday morning I headed back on my usual L.A. River Bike Path to Shoreline Village to Belmont Shore ride. While in Shoreline Village, I saw a lot of workers setting up for Saturday’s Red Bull Flugtag on Rainbow Harbor. You can find info on that here: .
Did my speed suffer from my lack of riding? Wait a minute, what speed? As they say in the American vernacular, “I ain’t got none! Dad gump it!” I appreciated the slightly cool air generated by the ride, although on the way back home going North, there was a definite change of temperature once I got past Pacific Coast Highway. It felt considerably warmer the farther away I got from the coast. Having not ridden since last week as previously mentioned, I expected my derriere to have lost some conditioning and start being sore again. To my surprise, that wasn’t the case and there was no soreness at all. Another thing missing from Thursday’s ride was horse poo. There was barely any on the path. Either it was cleaned earlier, or the horses got the day off, or they learned to use the litter.
I received the new Garneau cycling shoes in the mail on Friday, a day too late for Thursday’s ride. They’re fairly comfortable for walking but it sounds like the clippety-clop of a horse cantering, as most cycling shoes do when you walk on them. Those sounds might blend pretty well with the horse doo doo I encounter sometimes.

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!
Back to Main Page:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Heat + No Company = Bad Run

What happens when it has been cool all summer and the body hasn’t had the time to acclimate to sudden heat? The heat that we have been waiting for all summer finally hit us on Tuesday and increased further on Wednesday. Thursday’s newspaper said the high was 88 degrees on Tuesday and jumped to 96 degrees on Wednesday.  I can’t say that it drained me, but I felt dizzier than usual so maybe that‘s just the way the heat affected me. As a follow up run to last Saturday, I did a 6 mile run/walk on Tuesday, which I thought I should have stopped when I reached 5 miles because I felt so sluggish. Even though the pace was exactly the same as the 9 mile run/walk I did last Saturday, it felt much harder. 6 miles much harder than 9 miles? Doesn’t make sense, right? I don’t think it was so much the heat as it was the lack of company. Last Saturday, even though I wasn’t pacing with anybody, I was still surrounded by runners of different paces. On Tuesday, I had to do it all by my lonesome. It’s so much more motivating to be around people trying to achieve the same thing. Same pace, harder effort alone, but easier perceived effort with others. The company is what I missed for the 6 weeks that I stopped running.
 On Wednesday, I picked up a new pair of running shoes at a store in Cerritos and even though I wasn’t scheduled to run, I just had to try it out. I ran for 15 minutes going out, and walked for 25 minutes coming back. In that short span of time at 2 p.m. in 96 degree heat, I thought I might faint because I got dizzy off and on. It was probably a combination of the heat, lack of sleep, and dehydration. That experience was scary and getting anxious about it made things feel worse, but I survived by reducing the walk by 20 minutes. Drinking 32 oz. of water afterwards revived me. Oh, by the way, the shoes feel ok, but then again new shoes always feel that way.
                There is a different story about these shoes altogether. They are the Asics Gel Foundation 8 which first came out in 2008. The newest model which is the Foundation 9 was just released last month so it’s no surprise that the model 8’s are now mostly on closeout sale. Well, Big 5 Sporting Goods must have bought a lot of these shoes at a bargain from Asics because they are selling it for about 50% off regular price. There is just one problem with this. Although the shoes came in several sizes, they were all in 4E width, meaning they are really, really wide! That leaves out a lot of shoppers with narrow feet. Not a problem for me because I usually wear 2E to 4E, although I would have preferred the 2E. In absence of that, I bought the 4E because the price was right.

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!
Back to Main Page:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Shopping For Cycling Shoes

On my way home from Saturday’s attempted running comeback (, I stopped by Jax Bicycle Store to check out cycling shoes. I had been wearing my 1980’s era Nike Velo touring shoes and while the sturdy soles are still intact, I’ve had to patch holes on its top with Shoe Goo. An old pair of Sidi racing shoes that I had years ago is long gone. I don’t even remember if I threw them away when I stopped cycling, or if I donated it to charity. I mentioned to the new, young salesperson that my shoes were probably older than he was, and indeed, they were :-D. The store had several models from Shimano, Bontrager, and Garneau. Oh boy, did I get sticker shock when I saw the prices of these shoes. The cheapest was $79 and it went all the way to $200 + for the ultralight carbon fiber type. But none of them felt as comfortable for walking as my old shoes did. After trying several pairs for comfort and size with the new employee, an older employee finally showed me a hybrid shoe, the Garneau Multi, which can be used with or without cleats. The previous ones I tried were either mountain biking shoes or racing shoes. Well, I don’t plan on mountain biking, racing, or doing triathlons. I just use the bike for fitness riding. Since they didn’t have any in my size of the hybrid shoes, we exchanged contact information in case I want to special order them or if a shipment with my size came in. A couple of hours after I got home, I looked up my choice of shoes online and most of the prices were the same as it was at Jax’s, except for two online stores. One offered it for 67.95 plus 11.50 shipping, while the other had it for 69.95 with 6.50 shipping. It turns out, the second option was the same store that I bought my padded cycling shorts from, where I got free shipping. However, this time the website didn’t indicate the same free shipping offer. Next, I looked up any promotional codes for that particular store and found a free shipping coupon code. I applied it to my purchase and voila, I had myself another bargain! If I bought those shoes at Jax’s, it would have been 79.99 plus 9.75% state tax. At the online store, it was a flat 69.95 without tax and included free shipping. Having paid off my bike just moments before and since my credit card entered a new billing period, I went ahead with the shoe purchase. It was too sweet a deal to pass up. Anybody interested in reasonably priced cycling gear? Try I hope the new shoes will give me a similar number of years of service like the old one is still doing.

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me! Back to Main Page:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Return To Running

The first part of this post is a precursor to what happened Saturday morning.
So I sorta jogged on the treadmill on Thursday morning. After a 20 minute warm up on the elliptical machine, I got up on the treadmill and set the speed to 4 MPH because I read Amby Burfoot’s blog in last week about his return to running from knee surgery. In it, he mentioned that it was indeed possible to run that slow on the treadmill. I’ve mentioned in another post before that I thought that treadmill speed does not seem to dictate what you are able to run on pavement. Like for example the 15 minutes per mile that I did on the treadmill Thursday felt like 11 minutes per mile on the street. However, the pace was so slow that I was even able to read the newspaper while jogging, which was okay with me because it kept me distracted from the amount of time I was doing it. In the end, I was able to complete 45 minutes which was indeed a pleasant surprise.
 Another thing I tried was eliminating the use of orthotics and just use my shoes which are already built for motion control. It didn’t seem to make any difference in the ankle pains that I’ve been having. It doesn’t hurt any more or any less, so that was also a surprise because I thought my feet would have lesser support.
 If I keep the pace steady and resist the temptation to run hard when my breathing feels good, there might be a possibility that I could run short distances once or twice a week. It would be a good break from my usual stationary exercises and bike rides. After all, one of the tricks to make your body to burn more calories by revving up metabolism is by varying your exercise routine. If I can do that, then I should learn to accept that it should be enough and not do long or hard runs any more. Running a little is after all better than not being able to run at all.
After the treadmill run, I walked barefoot indoors all day in hopes that it might help strengthen my foot muscles and tendons. I even ventured outside to the garage and the mailbox but the pavement was so hot, my feet felt like they were on fire. I hope I don’t develop blisters.
This brings us to Saturday morning. Until this past week I had not run for six weeks due to my ankle tendon pains and I thought I may never run again if the left ankle didn’t heal. The right ankle? Well I’ve given that up as permanently damaged. I wanted so badly to join my running club in their training the past two weekends even just to walk but I got so used to sleeping till 7 a.m. that I’ve gotten lazy and didn’t want to set my alarm to 5 a.m. But I did anyway and showed up for the Saturday morning run. The half marathoners were doing 9 miles and the full marathoners were doing 16 miles. No way was I going to be able to do those distances, so my plan was to run/walk for 6 miles since I was just starting over. Before we started running, I was able to catch up with a few friends about the goings on of the past several weeks that I’ve missed. There were no expectations on my part on this day, so if I ended up at the back of the pack or even dead last, I didn’t mind. So off we go and I started out as slowly as I can, resisted skipping the one minute walk break after each four minute run, went past the six mile turnaround point without complications, reached Donna’s water station at the corner of 6th and Orlena Streets, went up the hill and didn’t come tumbling down to break my crown, and kept going because I always had the option of cutting the course or walking to the finish. I did neither and when I reached Deb’s water station, I figured I might be able to finish at least 8 miles if not the full 9. My legs felt heavy in the last mile but somehow my long-dormant muscle memory kicked in and propelled me to the finish. Even though my ankles were sore afterwards, it felt like a manageable type of pain. What a heady feeling it was to be back in the game! And I wasn’t even the last runner to finish! Nine miles may have been too much after a six week layoff, but such is the advantage of being in the company of like-minded people. You just can’t help but join them in their journey to the finish line.
Back in the grind and back in the pictures.

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!
Back to Main Page:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Artsy Farts With Fiber One

Okay, I want to make a preemptive apology for this post because this might fall under the category of TMI (Too Much Information).
Last week there was a 50% off sale on Fiber One Cereal Bars at Ralph’s Supermarket and I bought a few boxes. The product claims it contains 35% daily value of fiber. I could always use some fiber so I ate a couple of bars for dessert after lunch and it had the consistency of rice krispy treats. In other words, very yummy. About 4 hours later, I started to feel rumblings within myself and it didn’t have anything to do with hunger pangs. I must say that these cereal bars should come with a warning label on the box in addition to the ingredients and calories: Eating this may cause you to lose friends and loved ones to avoid you. In short, GAS. More than you can imagine. More than what you thought your body is capable of producing in 4 short hours. If that amount wasn’t bad enough, the aroma was so toxic that you wouldn’t even want to be on the same room with yourself. I could have put a sign on my door to warn passers by: Noxious Fumes Within, Stay At Least 50 Feet Away.
So I got curious. Was it just me or has it happened to others too? I just had to look it up on the internet to find out if other people had similar experiences. I found out that I’m not unique (darn! For not being unique, and thank goodness for not being unique!). Here are just 3 websites that I found addressing the issue: , , . It appears that chicory root extract, the bar’s main ingredient is the culprit. But as far as the efficiency of the amount of fiber? Well, let me just say that it moves things along very nicely, but I’ll try to limit myself to one bar a day because I think I might have OD’d when I had 2 of them the first time.
If you have excellent sphincter control, you can probably shape the sound of what is emanating from your body in such a way that you can consider it art or music, maybe in the form of The William Tell Overture. 

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!
Back to Main Page:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Random Thoughts For August

After skipping the month of July, here are more uncategorized ideas filed under random thoughts.
One of the judges on SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance) last week mentioned that a performance reminded him of the movie Last Tango in Paris because it was so sexy. I have never watched that movie because at the time they showed it in our town, I was still underage. It was such a big deal at the time because of the sex scenes which was supposed to be very explicit. Out of curiosity, I found it on the web and got the opportunity to watch it. It had an interesting storyline to say the least and I didn’t know that Marlon Brando spoke French. Bernardo Bertolucci delivered his usual excellent direction. What didn’t really shock me were the nudity and sex scenes. Maybe it would have if I watched it in 1972, but compared to today’s overexposure to more explicit scenes, I found it rather mild.
What a summer we’ve been having so far. Most days have been cool and overcast in the mornings. Thursday night, I even had to use a regular blanket at night instead of the usual sheet I use in the summer. Friday morning, I went out for a bike ride in a long sleeved shirt and jacket and still felt chilly. Pardon me as I update this. The whole weekend I had to use a thermal blanket to sleep because of the cool nights.
Running is no longer in my vocabulary because it has disappeared from the repertoire of my physical activities. I seem to hear about a few injured runners lately and one of them whose friends are probably non-runners suggested that he buy an elliptical trainer to save his knees. Well speaking from experience, you may find other exercises that can mimic the energy expenditure of running by working out at the same intensity, but the heady feeling that you get from running will never be duplicated. I saw a picture of him running last weekend contrary to his doctors’ and friends’ advice.
The hits on the blog post about the evolution of Virgin Mobile Phones have kept coming and I reached a new high on Monday of 135 hits which is 105 more than usual. Whoever you are out there who made this possible, thank you very much.

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!
Back to Main Page:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Life Unencumbered

What has it been like to be single for so many years? As a bachelor and someone who likes to keep his life as simple as possible, I find it very convenient and uncomplicated. Having said that, I meant to write this as soon as I got an inkling that a female co-worker seemed to like me. I don’t know why she would. I’m not exactly a very nice person when I’m seriously busy with my job. Of course when there are lulls at work, we joke around. My sarcastic and dry humor seems to amuse her, or at least she pretends to be amused. Maybe it’s because we are the same age and both without relationships that we are getting along well. It didn’t use to be that way when she first started working with us a few months ago. I thought she talked too much and when I was doing an admission one night, she kept on interrupting, which didn’t exactly sit well with me. We also had differences of opinion on whether to give patients food in the middle of the night depending on what supplies we had available.
She has more life experiences than I do and she probably has been around the block a couple of times more than I have. If I’m not mistaken, she had been married and she has a daughter and a son. She also seems more the outgoing type while I’m a homebody. She is not into physical fitness as I am obsessed with it, but she is working on getting in shape and has asked me questions on how that can be achieved. She is also a smoker which may be a deal breaker for me.
Although there have been some minor flirtations, they have been more of the joking kind. Tonight she took the first initiative and asked me to enter my phone number on her cellphone, and in turn she gave me hers. I don’t know where that’s going to lead. I know how complicated things get when you go out with people you work with. In the past it was me doing the asking but this time the roles seem to be reversed and I don’t really know how to handle it. It’s a question of what is appropriate and what’s not and what happens when things don’t work well in the future and you still have to work together. Maybe I’m looking too far forward with this and it is causing some apprehension on my part after being enencumbered for so long. Will it be que sera sera and just deal with the consequences when they come? Or just nip it in the bud now, not proceed with anything, and just keep the status quo? That being: we enjoy working with each other and leave well enough alone. Would I want to encumber my life with this? I have to admit that I could use some company now and then because there are times when my life gets boring. Maybe she has the same idea about companionship. If we don’t proceed, how will I know what she has in mind? As of now, we haven’t had any in depth conversations about our lives and being the private person that I am, I am usually reluctant to open up to other people. Other than my blog, I keep things very close to the vest.
I may have to leave you hanging with this post because I don’t know which direction I’m going yet. It’s not like running. I used to run for time or for distance, meaning I there was direction in what I did. This recent development in my life has no direction yet. Have you heard of the saying “nothing ventured, nothing gained”? I ask myself, do I even want to venture? Also, remember the saying – “it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”? Please allow me to use this, thankfully hardly spoken phrase any more, plus the way I feel about things – “been there, done that, and not ready to do it again”.

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!
Back to Main Page:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Let’s Talk About Cheap Wine

First, a disclaimer: I don’t know anything about what I’m about to talk about. I’m no wine expert and I don’t know the difference between fine wine and so-so wine. However, I occasionally drink cheap wine to aid digestion and to maintain healthy arteries (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!). Or maybe I drink wine as a night cap, or day cap. It gets me confused sometimes because of my work schedule. In fact, I’m not really sure why I drink wine. Here is an example of my lack of knowledge. I’ve always heard of rosé wine but I never knew what it was all about. After trying a cheap one, all I can say is that it tastes like blush wine, you know, the ones that usually come in a box.
These are some of the cheap wines I’ve tried: there is the Charles Shaw (two buck Chuck) from Trader Joe’s, Big Kahuna from Fresh and Easy, and more recently some Spanish wines called Saludas, also from Fresh and Easy Market. Since I don’t know good from terrible, let me just give you my impressions of the aforementioned wines. Charles Shaw seems decent and I think the best one that they have is the Pinot Grigio, while the other reds and whites, I barely tolerate. The Big Kahuna whites and reds taste downright nasty. The latest ones I’ve tried are the Saludas and I like the red, white and rosé because they appear to have lower alcohol content than the other two brands I mentioned. By the way, does it make a difference whether the bottles come with a cork or a twist off cap? Well, so far that is the extent of my wine drinking so I don’t know how more expensive wines taste compared to the ones above. At least it’s not Thunderbird or Carlo Rossi.
A hint of oak with raspberry (or insert any other fruit here), puleeze! Excuse me but I don’t have that kind of palate! Gargle and spit? Forget it! Why would I want to waste cheap wine?!
Need to know about fine wines? Go ask my friend Nancy. Visit her blog:

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!
Back to Main Page:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

L.A. River to Long Beach Shoreline

In case someone accidentally or randomly finds this “Thoughts About Life And Running” blog and wonders why I’m not writing about running, well, it’s because I have stopped running six weeks ago due to unrecoverable injuries to my ankles. I have turned to cycling to try to get my endorphin fix so most of the entries nowadays would be about my cycling misadventures.
Last Tuesday morning I almost fell with my bike on the street after not finding any space between a parked bus and cars coming from behind. I had to turn into a gas station and practically jumped off the bike because I was losing my balance. Well, I survived that near miss and proceeded to the Los Angeles River bike path. What a difference a few days made. On a recent weekend ride at the same location, there were a few cyclists and people running or walking. On Tuesday, there was hardly anyone and I was alone for most of the ride except for someone on a recumbent bike passing me.
On this day, I finally found the connection from the Los Angeles River path to the Long Beach shoreline bike path. You have weave around Shoreline Village and ride behind the delivery alley of The Yard House restaurant and cross over the parking lot to get on it. That extended the ride another three miles out to the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Bayshore Avenue. While on the Shoreline path, I witnessed a children’s lifeguard competition going on where they had to run 4 miles, then swim 2 miles. Very admirable! Otherwise the only remarkable thing that happened on this ride was that I had a few near swallows of flying bugs and insects. Oh, and also did my longest ride so far which was 25 miles. Perhaps when I can finally summon the courage to ride on the street, I could go much farther. What surprised me was that I didn’t bump into anyone I knew who were cycling, running, or walking. Maybe since it was a weekday, they had done it much earlier. If you had gotten this far, thanks for reading J.

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!
Back to Main Page:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why So Many Hits On This Blog?

A quick post about something strange happening to my blog. To borrow a phrase from the venerable Casey Kasem, “The hits just keep on coming”. I wonder why there were at least 82 hits on my blog on Sunday as of 6 P.M. Were there a lot of bored people clicking around the internet because they had nothing better to do on a nice summer day? I rarely check those stats any more so I was surprised that there was that many, when I usually get maybe 30 hits a day. I think my previous high was 51. Most of the hits were random but there was an unusually high count on the one I wrote about the evolution of Virgin Mobile phones and they were coming from different states. That was a curious development. The final count was for Sunday was 107 hits.
                Ok, on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, it is still going around the country. People are hitting this blog post for whatever reason: . Maybe someone installed a code in website to hit this page automatically when someone does a search for Virgin Mobile. If only those readers can click on the ads, maybe I can earn a little money. No complaints here.

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!
Back to Main Page:

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Walk On The Mild Side

I haven’t done brisk walking as a workout in about three weeks since I got my bike, and the last time was with trekking poles. That lasted slightly more than an hour and a half and covered six miles. On Saturday morning, I decided to do another walk to test how my ankles would respond, but this time without the trekking poles. Since the AREC half marathon trainers were doing 7 miles, I thought I might try to do the same thing or something similar by myself. The initial aim was to go out for an hour and return an hour and see how many miles I can cover. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea do so much after not having done it in awhile but I hoped that it was worth trying.
My GPS watch was acting up last week and it wouldn’t power up. After looking on the internet for similar problems, I followed the advice of pressing three of the four buttons to reset the device. After having to try it twice, the watch started working again so I was able to use it on this attempted long walk.
I started from home and headed towards Signal Hill. The course was initially flat until I passed Wardlow Road and it became undulating. The one hour turnaround point was reached about a block past Willow Street on Cherry Avenue which was the border of Long Beach and Signal Hill, so it was time to turn around. My pace for the first mile was about 16 ½ minutes but it went steadily faster until it became an average of 15 minutes per mile when I reached 5 miles. I’m sorry to say that when I hit 7 miles my on again off again good left ankle began to hurt because it was supporting my bad right ankle so much. I managed to hang on because I didn’t have any choice but to keep on walking to get back home. When my watch hit the 2 hour mark, I had covered 8.09 miles at an average pace of 14:50.
Though my ankles were suffering, it was not a bad pace for someone who hadn’t done a walking workout in a while. You see, you have to get in shape for the specific activity you are doing and can’t just go and give it the old college try. Otherwise you would have suffered similarly as I did. By Sunday afternoon, aside from the sore ankles, I also had sore shins. I’ve overdone it again. Ya think?! It feels good to be able to walk below 15 minutes per mile but it doesn’t feel good to have sore ankles.
During the first hour of my walk I had visions of myself walking a marathon. When my ankles started hurting, reality set in and I wasn’t even sure if I could walk a half marathon. Time to give up endurance sports and just do this for fitness? You would think that being a former runner would help making walking easy. While it might feel easy cardiovascularly, it still strains already compromised joints. Yuck! Another unexciting blog, and this one was about walking, something people do every day even just from the TV to the fridge to get a beer and back. Apologies to whoever reads this. Tata…

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!
Back to Main Page: