Saturday, March 31, 2012

Action 261 - Sort Out The Timing.

I have many aspects of organized running sorted out, but "when do I need to be there?" is still hit and miss. I have to balance a need for as much sleep as possible the night before with the advantages of arriving early.

Action 261 - Sort The Timing Out. Being early is great, because I usually get better parking and have plenty of time to square away my gear, stretch out, use the restroom, and queue up. But being too early means I lose that extra hour (or more) of sleep on the night I really need it the most.

Today, for example, I woke up at 3:55am. That's early enough, but since I didn't go to sleep until almost midnight, it's crazy early. Instead of tossing and turning, though, I decided to head on up here to Carlsbad. I figured I could miss the traffic, get a good spot, and chill out in my car for a while.

I did beat traffic. And I got a great parking space between the VIP Lounge (where I'll chill out between races) and O'Sullivan's Pub (where I'm eating afterwards). But I'm not resting now. Instead, I'm Facebooking and Sparking and playing Words With Friends... anything but napping.


So, it's a balance and I need to sort it out. Otherwise, I'll keep running the bigger events half-asleep. And where's the fun in that?

Action 260 - Plan For After.

Tomorrow is a big race day for me. And I'll be ready for it to start, definitely. Over the course of five hours, I'll run five different events for a total of 15.5 miles.

  1. 7:00 AM Masters Men 40 and over

  2. 8:00 AM Masters Women 40 and over

  3. 8:42 AM Men 30-39

  4. 9:23 AM Women 30-39

  5. 11:30 AM Men & Women 29 and under

After all the lead-up time to this event, I'll be rocking and ready to go for the first 5K. And the new experience of turning around and running again will get me through the second 5K. But after that? Yeah, I'll definitely need something to keep me motivated through the next three 5Ks.

Action 260 - Plan For After. And yep, I have a plan. Located just off the start line in Carlsbad is an amazing Irish Pub and Restaurant called O'Sullivan's. (It was my first stop after running the Carlsbad Half Marathon in January, too.)

I'm planning to be at their door at high noon, ready for an amazing Irish Breakfast and washing it down with my celebratory Magner's Cider. Here's a picture of the breakfast from when I had it before. So, so delicious!

Plan for after? Oh, you bet! Bring on the 25K and bring on the post-race celebration noms!

Action 259 - Think About Before.

Tomorrow is a big running day for me. I'll be running the longest distance I have run in an event, with the exception of my marathon. It's a bit different because it's broken down into five separate races, but it's still a total of 15.5 miles in one morning. I need to get my head wrapped around what is ahead of me.

Action 259 - Think About Before. I will stage all of my gear tonight, so tomorrow morning I can just get dressed and head right out the door. My first race goes off at 7am, so I am going to plan to be at the race site by 6am. That way, I can settle in my car and relax a bit before heading over to the start corral.

By the time I cross the start line for the first time, I will already have my head completely in the game and be visualizing the finish line!

Carlsbad All Day 25K? Bring it on!

Action 258 - Be A Running VIP.

I knew that running was good for me, but I didn't know about all of the specific, tangible benefits of choosing to run farther than most other people. Check-in today at the Carlsbad 5000 showed me just how beneficial the extra effort can be.

Action 258 - Be A Running VIP. The line today at check-in was crazy long. And after that, there was another equally long line to pick up race t-shirts. But, that line was for people running the 5K. Those of us who had signed up to do the All Day 25K were directed to the far right of the crowd, where a lonely volunteer was waiting for someone, anyone, to come and check in. And at the t-shirt booth, another single volunteer was assigned to the All Day runners.

This is what it felt like. The crowd was on one side and I was on the other.

So, because I chose to run farther than the majority of the other runners, I was treated to a VIP experience today. I was in and out of the expo in just a few minutes, and I walked away with a sweet new long-sleeve tech t-shirt. Being a VIP Runner has its perks!

Action 257 - Put On My Walking Shoes.

It's Saturday morning, and that means I have another date with my new running group, the Frontrunners. But I also have a big running event tomorrow, so today's cardio isn't going to be a run.

Action 257 - Put On My Walking Shoes. Yep, my exercise today is going to be a nice long walk around the park. I get a chance to stretch out my legs, burn a few calories, and spend an hour getting to know some of the other members of the club.

Left. Right. Left. And off I go!


Action 256 - Get Fresh At The Weekend.

I find it interesting, the ripple effect that a small change can have. Give up fast food for lunch during the week and have more energy each afternoon. Meet a new group of active people and discover a renewed love of running. Be mindful of negative statements about yourself and develop an increased sense of self-worth. Small changes all, but they spark big results. And sometimes, the action and the ripple effect go almost unnoticed.

Action 256 - Get Fresh For The Weekend. It used to be a big hassle for me to get ready to go out. And it didn't matter if my destination was the library, the office or a nightclub. I spent a lot of time trying to find the right thing to wear. Some of it was vanity, sure. But most of it was an underlying dislike of how my body looked and endless efforts to hide it.

But I've changed. Now that I've lost weight and I don't feel so hateful about my own body, I find that I'm not nearly as obsessed with hiding it. I don't need to try on fifteen different outfits to see which one best cloaks me without looking like a tent. I don't need to stare at a mirror for minutes at a time, self-consciously picking apart everything I see staring back at me.

Last night, I went out with a friend and knew that we would be hitting at least two different bars. I walked into the bedroom to change my shirt, decided on a fun new long-sleeve t-shirt, and put it on. I asked my husband, "what do you think?" He said, "you look great." And that was that. And all night, I felt confident and I know I looked good. My clothes were casual and they fit well. What more can a guy ask for?

And this morning, I'm off to meet up with my running group and then head to Carlsbad to pick up tomorrow's running packet. Instead of stressing out about what to wear, I just grabbed sweatpants and a sweatshirt. I'm not worried about being in a big hall later with thousands of in-shape runners. I know that I look just fine, fit and healthy, and I can't be bothered with worrying about it any more than that.

Get fresh at the weekend? Mel & Kim were on to something when they sang about that in their 80's song. But these days, it's so much easier for me to do. I look good, I feel good, and I worry less. Simple.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Action 255 - People Watch.

What's a guy supposed to do when he wants to go out on the town and have fun, but isn't going out to drink?

Action 255 - People Watch. From our first stop at Gossip Grill to our second stop at Ye Olde Sod, tonight's entertainment came in the form of people watching. I didn't need to drink anything to still have fun. The cast of characters included a surprising number of celebrity lookalikes (Freddy Kruger, Nick Nolte, Robert Blake and Vince Vaugn), a gaggle of your dancing tells me you are way, way drunk girls, and more than a few hipsters and retro-mods. It was every bit as fun as being hammered without the lighter wallet and the heavier head in the morning.

Hey, being the designated driver doesn't have to be a bad thing. Sometimes, it means I can people watch with both eyes wide open.

(The view up the bar at Ye Olde Sod.)

Action 254 - Dream A Little Dream.

The entire nation was swept up into lotto fever, as the MegaMillions jackpot rose over half a billion dollars. And though I didn't buy a ticket, I did allow myself a little flight of fancy.

Action 254 - Dream A Little Dream. What would I do if I won the lottery? I thought of all the wonderful ways I would spend the money. I imagined travel and home renovations and new vehicles and long days spent enjoying hobbies. It's silly, sure, but it was a fun little diversion.

(Photo courtesy of Andrea, who did buy tickets but, alas, did not win.)

Action 253 - Spend Time With A Friend.

After a busy week and my transition from part-time to full-time worker, I was really looking forward to a little bit of fun. But with my big run on Sunday, I don't have the luxury of a wild night of partying. So I had to find a way to do both, enjoy the night and prepare for the 25K.

Action 253 - Spend Time With A Friend. Andrea came down from LA and we had a great night hanging out. It was just the ticket for a fun night!


Action 252 - Work Harder.

My new job is working out. And my boss is a pretty savvy businessman with a keen head on his shoulders. So far, I'm making a good impression, but I can tell that I need to keep on my toes to keep my stock high.

Action 252 - Work Harder. That's what it's going to take. I need to be smart, stay focused, and do what it takes to deliver more than expected. And all of that... I can do.

(Photo courtesy of the five city workers standing around watching one other guy driving a backhoe. This is an example of NOT working harder, and I will use them as an example of what not to do.)

Action 251 - Bridge The Gap.

It's official. I've worked at my new job for three days now, and I absolutely love it. It's a great opportunity to make a difference at a brand new company, and so far, so great. But that doesn't mean I am forgetting my fun job at SparkPeople.

Action 251 - Bridge The Gap. Today, I found a way to do my work for one company while still promoting the other. And all I had to do was wear my fabulous SparkPeople shirt.


Divergent professional lives? No problem. I'll just bridge the gap.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Action 250 - Meet Me Halfway.

Fifty days in. Fifty days to go. Hello, wake-up call!

Action 250 - Meet Me Halfway.

I can't believe I'm already halfway through this project. I am confident that it's doing what I hoped it would do, since I am down nearly ten pounds and I feel absolutely capable of running and finishing the marathon.

But I still have another fifty days to go, and I am not going to slide and lose any of the progress I have made. In fact, I'm going to focus even more intently on my training and my healthy eating. When this is over, I will have no regrets about things I could have done or should I have. Instead, I will be proud and satisfied with all the things that I have done.

Meet me halfway. And let's step it up from here!

Action 249 - Honor Heroes (Mile 8).

I am dedicating each mile that I run in the Pasadena Marathon to another Marine Corps hero who has made the ultimate sacrifice, so that in my own small way, they may be honored, acknowledged, and remembered.

Action 249 - Honor Heroes (Mile 8). I will run mile two in honor of 1st Lt Oscar Jimenez. He is a local San Diego hero who grew up in the same neighborhood as my husband. His family still calls this town home, and Oscar will always be a part of their lives here. I will run this mile in honor of this fallen son, brother, husband and father.

Marine 1st Lt. Oscar Jimenez, 34, of San Diego, California. Jimenez died due to enemy fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, California.

(Photo and summary courtesy of

Action 248 - Get Busy With It.

I'll admit, I'm a guy who enjoys his downtime. But these days, and for the foreseeable future, I'm not really going to have a lot of time to relax. Between my full-time job, my part-time job, training for the marathon, and preparing four new courses for my instructor gig at Mira Costa College this June, my dance card is full.

Action 248 - Get Busy With It. And that's what it's going to take. I need to plan my schedule out and stick to it. Otherwise, one of the things I need to do will begin to suffer, and that is not okay.

Starting next week, my typical day will look like this:

  • 4:30am - wake up, get dressed, pack up my lunch

  • 4:50am - leave for gym

  • 5:00am - workout, shower

  • 6:30am - leave gym, drive to work

  • 7:00am - full time job

  • 3:30pm - leave work, drive home

  • 4:30pm - part time job with SparkPeople

  • 7:30pm - personal time, surf, Facebook, emails, etc

  • 9:00pm - bed time

It's going to be busy, busy, busy, but it's worth it. I'll be mindful of the signs of burnout, wind down when I need to, and keep my eye on the bigger prizes ahead. Oh, yeah. I can do this.

(Image courtesy of

Action 247 - Laugh At Something Inappropriate.

Ok, so I can't work out today. My body needs a little recovery time before my big race on Sunday. But I can still work out my funny bone.

Action 247 - Laugh At Something Inappropriate. And here it is.

I have no idea why, but this cracks me up. Like, actually laugh out loud, chuckle every single time I see it laugh.

Laughing at something inappropriate. I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Action 246 - Don't Run.

I can't believe I am now "that guy" who is unhappy because I can't workout, but it's true. I am running a 25K on Sunday and I need to make sure I am rested, but the idea of skipping a day is stressing me out. Still, it is what I need it to be.

Action 246 - Don't Run. Not today, at least. I need a full day of rest in preparation for Sunday's 15.5 miles of running.

I don't have to like it, though.


Action 245 - Go Global.

When I started Project One Five, I hoped it would motivate me to get into shape for the Pasadena Marathon. I didn't really think much about it beyond that. I certainly had no idea that my writing would make its way all the way around the world.

Action 245 - Go Global. And I have. I was reviewing the stats on the WordPress dashboard, and I was shocked to see how many different countries are represented in my "Views" list.

The image below indicates where readers are located. The darker the area, the more activity.

And these are the nations that have checked out my little blog.



United States








United Kingdom






New Zealand












Puerto Rico




Viet Nam
















Trinidad and Tobago










I'll be honest, this is pretty darn cool to me. Greece? Iceland? Romania? Wow, talk about putting the "World Wide" in worldwide web!

Action 244 - Soak Up The Sun.

Living in San Diego, it's easy to take the beautiful scenery for granted. It just becomes a backdrop and I stop noticing. But some days... well... some days, the amazing California coast demands attention.

I am working in Del Mar and arrived a bit early. (I wasn't sure about traffic and gave myself more time than I needed.) Instead of sitting in my car and puttering around on my iPad, I decided to walk the block from my office and enjoy the view.

Action 244 - Soak Up The Sun. This morning, I did just that. And the view from the Del Mar bluff was truly spectacular.

I didn't know until I was standing on the bank of the cliff, staring out into the ocean, but I really needed a burst of nature this morning. Standing in the warm morning sun, I felt so completely alive. It was the perfect start to a great day.

Soak up the sun? Don't mind if I do!


Action 243 - Lighten Up.

People ask, "what is your weight goal?" I answer, "I don't really have one. I do the right things and the weight comes off, and that's enough for me right now."

That's mostly true. I mean, I really don't have a specific number in mind. But I do know that I want to drop out of the 190s and start working my way down to the low 180s. And today's weigh-in is encouraging.

Action 243 - Lighten Up. And I am. I weighed in this morning at 190 pounds. That's down from 198 on Feb 7th. I like it.

Eat healthy, be active, repeat consistently. That's what it takes to get results.

Action 242 - Be Better Prepared.

It's been nearly a dozen years since I have had to deal with work-day traffic. I have either worked close to my house and been able to use surface streets, had a short reverse commute, had my company in my home, or telecommuted. Traffic is nothing something I'm used to. But it's going to be a consideration now.

Today, I worked from 9am-5:30pm. Tomorrow (and for the next month or so, at least), I'll be working 7am-3:30pm. That will make a big difference for traffic, but I will still have some. And even with no traffic, I still have seventeen miles to drive each way. So I need to do something about that.

Action 242 - Be Better Prepared. I need to download audio books or classroom lectures from iTunes University. Either way, I'll have something worth listening to for the drive to and from work. Top 40 Radio or idiot talk show chatter boxes are definitely not going to do it for this guy.

So, bring on the smart stuff. I want to make the most of my travel time.

Action 241 - Make No Excuses.

I started a new job today. In Del Mar, seventeen miles away. And I had to be there at 9am, through traffic on the 805. And I was tired from not going to bed last night until after midnight. And blah blah blah.

Action 241 - Make No Excuses. I had a six mile run scheduled for today, so that's exactly what I did. It felt cold at 6:30am when I started running, but no matter. The gym was well-lit, comfy warm and just sitting there waiting for me to arrive.

And did I run my six mile run? Yep, and then some. I ran 6.34 miles in 60 minutes. My choices were either run as scheduled or weasel out of it. And I chose to make no excuses, to get to the gym, and to run. And all day long, I have felt better because of it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Action 240 - Buy Into It.

I started this project on a whim, not sure exactly where it would lead but hopeful that it would help me prepare for my upcoming marathon. Nearly fifty days ago, I couldn't imagine that it would develop and evolve as it has. It's become more than just a blog for me, and it's time to acknowledge that with more than words.

Action 240 - Buy Into It. And I have. I started out here at WordPress blogging on a free domain: And that was fine when I planned to close the blog out after my five hundred items. But now, I don't see myself doing that. Instead, I'm thinking I may choose a brand new project and five hundred new actions to help me see it to fruition.

So, I decided to put my money where my mind is. Sure, it wasn't much. But I registered a new domain for the blog. The old web address will still work, but from now on, you can find me and my current project at:

Action 239 - Inspire Someone Else.

This may be a bit meta. It's certainly self-referential. But I think it's fantastic and worth sharing. I get so much inspiration from everyone around me, and I can now look to something specific and feel like I am returning the favor.

Action 239 - Inspire Someone Else. And I have. A buddy of mine from SparkPeople has been following along with this blog, and she has been inspired to kickstart her own project.

Her blog is also called "Project One Five," and this is her description:
This project belongs to another person, a person who wanted to prepare himself in every possible way for his upcoming marathon. I want to become a healthier individual in every possible way. 100 Days, 500 Actions. I am a firm believer that there are four strands of life that make up each of us: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual. Each of these must be nurtured in order to be a well-rounded and satisfied human being.

I encourage everyone to pop over and wish her well. Starting a new project, especially one that reaches out for one hundred days, can be a little overwhelming. Let's push her out of the gate with some momentum, shall we?

Action 238 - Honor Heroes (Mile 7).

I am dedicating each mile that I run in the Pasadena Marathon to another Marine Corps hero who has made the ultimate sacrifice, so that in my own small way, they may be honored, acknowledged, and remembered.

Action 238 - Honor Heroes (Mile 7). I will run mile seven in honor of LCpl Curtis Swenson. He is remembered as a proud Marine, a loving husband, son and brother.I will run as a tribute to this fallen Marine Corps Brother.

Marine Lance Cpl. Curtis M. Swenson died April 2, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom; 20, of Rochester, Minn.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; died April 2 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

(Photo and summary courtesy of Military Times)

Action 237 - Be More Like Andrea.

Shocking revelation time. I'm not perfect. "What?!" you ask, stunned at my candor. I know, I know. It's almost impossible to process, but you must. It's true. I'm a great guy, a good person, and a wonderful friend. But I'm not perfect. I'm working on it, though. Specifically, I need to be a better friend to the people I care about.

Action 237 - Be More Like Andrea. Yep, it really is as simple as that. If I want to be a better friend, I just need to watch how Andrea does it.

This is Andrea.

So, what qualifies her to teach Friendship 101? Because she gets it. She knows what it means to be a friend. She knows that it isn't just the big actions and dramatic gestures. She knows that being a friend means paying attention to the little things. It means remembering that your friend is interviewing for a job and calling them the day before to wish them well. It means hearing that a friend's relative is seriously ill and calling to ask, "is there anything I can do to help?"

And it's more than that. It's caring about your friend enough to fly all the way across the country to be there cheering when he crosses the most important finish line of his life. It's reading a friend's blog at 2am and reaching out immediately to say, "I am glad for our friendship." It's about driving three hours through traffic to be there in person and ask, "are you okay?"

Andrea makes being a friend seem almost automatic. She knows what to do and when and, more importantly, she follows through. And that is the difference between Andrea and most people I know... myself absolutely included. We all think of things we can do to help those around us, and many times, we do. We reach out and we are the friends we hope to be. But too often, we allow the craziness of our lives to push friendships to the side. Somehow, despite a very busy life, near-constant travel, and friendships from coast to coast and continent to continent, Andrea still manages to make each of us, her friends, feel valuable and necessary and important.

That's the sort of friend I want to be. And I think that's an action worth taking.

Action 236 - Time Shift.

I'm a morning person, no doubt. I'm up before the sun, ready to go the moment my eyes open, and at my best in the early hours of the day. That's why I prefer to workout in the beginning of my day. Unfortunately, the real world doesn't always operate on my schedule. And if I want to continue to play well with others, I need to be flexible.

Action 236 - Time Shift. Monday and Wednesday evenings, the Frontrunners meet at Balboa Park for a run. I'm enjoying the company, so I need to adjust my schedule to accommodate running at the end of the day. And that means more than just my work hours. It also means sorting out nutrition. I mean, normally, I wake up, grab a banana, and go workout. No problem. But with late afternoon runs, I need to eat enough to get me through the day but no so much that I feel too full to run.

Time shift. I think it will be good for my body to shake it up a bit. Let's see if I still feel that way in a couple of weeks.

(Image courtesy of Sierra Games.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Action 235 - Think Small, Run Big.

In October 2011, I participated in one of the Top 10 Largest Marathons in the world, The Marine Corps Marathon. More than twenty-two thousand runners participated. And in May 2012, I will run in the Pasadena Marathon, with 1500 runners participating. I can't imagine how different that experience will be with less than ten percent of the runners that my first marathon had. But what about a marathon with fewer than ten percent of Pasadena?

Action 235 - Think Small, Run Big. I have decided to run a third marathon, and it will be one of the smallest marathons available. It's the 2nd Annual Hercules Marathon in Long Beach, and there will likely be fewer than twenty marathoners. Seriously, fewer than twenty. There will be no place for me to hide in the crowd, that's for sure.

But I'm up for the challenge. It may be a small marathon, but I'm going to run big!

(Image courtesy of Rocket Racing, sponsors of the Hercules Marathon.)

Action 234 - Drive It Like I Stole It.

In October, I was planning to run the Capitol to Coast Relay from Austin to Corpus Christi, Texas. But, it turns out we are a runner extra for the relay, so I've decided to give my assigned position to someone else. But that doesn't mean I'll be sitting it out. I won't be running, but I'll still be a part of the team.

Action 234 - Drive It Like I Stole It. I am still the Team Captain and will also be driving the first van. With a designated driver, the runners are free to focus exclusively on their assigned distances and running preparations. Having been lucky enough to have a driver on my first Ragnar Relay, I know what a difference that can make.

Yes, I would like to run. And if there is any situation that arises and a runner can't complete a leg, I'll be ready to suit up. But even without running a step, I'll take part in the Relay and I'll have an amazing time.

Action 233 - Stop For Lunch.

Working from home is great. No dress code, no long commute, and no distracting meetings. I can sit down at my desk, log in, and get my work done. But there's a drawback. I eat lunch alone. Which means I sit at my desk and eat while I continue to putter about on the computer. In fact, right this minute, I'm typing while I'm eating. Not good.

Action 233 - Stop For Lunch. I will make more of an effort to separate my lunchtime from my computer time. It doesn't take much, just time set aside to eat my lunch. No computer, no iPad, nothing electronic at all. Just a few minutes each day to eat.

Let's see if I can do it.

Action 232 - Trust My Training.

The Couch to 5K. The Marathon Rookie's Guide. Becoming a Runner. There are an endless amount of resources out there that will help me train for whatever event I want to run. But I need to remember that each of these are only guides, not required manuals, and that there is one thing more important than any of them.

Action 232 - Trust My Training. While it's a good idea to listen to the advice of experts, that advice should not be confused with a checklist of you must do this or you will fail items. Yes, it's good to run longer distances as you prepare for a marathon. But not having 12, 14 and 18 mile long runs but skipping the 16 mile long run doesn't mean you have failed. It means that real life can make full-time devotion to a training plan an impossibility. And yes, healthy eating is important, but a single fast-food lunch won't mean you can't go the distance.

I share this today for a friend who is concerned that she doesn't have the time to do all of the long runs between now and the date of her first marathon. I want her to remember that the long runs are just one part of her larger, overall health and fitness training program, and that a single run doesn't mean failure. I share it for myself so I don't get too focused on any one element of training - nutrition, warmups, distance, breathing, heart rate, etc - and lose sight of my own bigger goal.

I will trust in my training and know that I am ready for my marathon.

(Image courtesy of

Action 231 - Rap, Boy. Rap!

Okay, so the line is from a song by the Thompson Twins, but I couldn't resist the title. I've been kicking around different ideas for my marathon playlist, and I realized that there is one genre of music that has been missing. It certainly isn't my go-to choice, but I'll admit that a few of the tracks might be just what I need for the long miles ahead.

Action 231 - Rap, Boy. Rap!

I'll give credit to Why I Suck At Running for talking about these two songs on her blog. I'm adding them to my own playlist now and will no doubt be chanting and (white boy) rapping them out loud as I run the streets of Pasadena.

Fort Minor's Remember The Name:
This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill
Fifteen percent concentrated power of will
Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain
And a hundred percent reason to remember the name

And Eminem's Lose Yourself:
You better lose yourself in the music
The moment, you own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Action 230 - Dress For Success.

I've participated in twenty-four separate events in the last two years, and seeing the photos from each of them on one webpage made one thing very clear. I really do have my favorite running shirts.

Action 230 - Dress For Success. I have two long-sleeved Marine Corps shirts, one black and one red. I have an orange sleeveless shirt. And I have a white short-sleeve shirt. And judging by the photos of me at the events, these are the only shirts I like to wear when I compete.

I don't think that's a bad thing. One, these shirts feel comfortable over hours of running. Two, they fit well and look good on me. And three, they have been part of my training and running since the beginning, and choosing them for a race is automatic.

I have been successful wearing them, so I will continue to do so. And when the shirts are finally worn out and no longer serviceable, I'll find others. But until then, you can expect to see them for many events to come.


Action 229 - Rack Up The Miles.

It's been a few days since my shoulder problem (see Learn Something New), but I'm still not feeling like I'm at full strength. So there was no strength training today. That doesn't mean I was idle, though.

Action 229 - Rack Up The Miles. I decided to double up on the cardio today. I started with a twenty mile ride on the recumbent bike, then followed that with a fifteen mile ride on the regular stationary bike. I was able to get two hours of exercise with minimal stress on my shins and no strain at all on my shoulder.

It's not a replacement for a long run or a full-body weight training workout, but it's a good substitute on a day when I'm still recovering from injury. I'll take that.



Action 228 - Collect The Set.

It's a rather surreal situation I find myself in, but I have now completed so many different events that I am having trouble keeping them in order in my mind. I've been crossing finish lines since August 2010, and I need to find a way to track them all so I don't forget a single moment.

Action 228 - Collect The Set. I decided to create a separate page here on this blog and post a photo from each of the events I've finished. Click here and enjoy a walk back through the last nineteen months of goofy smiles and sweaty finish line moments.


Action 227 - Honor Heroes (Mile 6).

I am dedicating each mile that I run in the Pasadena Marathon to another Marine Corps hero who has made the ultimate sacrifice, so that in my own small way, they may be honored, acknowledged, and remembered.

Action 227 - Honor Heroes (Mile 6). I will run mile six in honor of SSgt Jerome Bell, Jr. He is remembered as a devoted husband, father, brother and son. I will run for this Marine out of respect for his own outstanding service and devotion, evidenced by his return to active duty to return to the fight.

Marine Sgt. Jerome C. Bell Jr died September 19, 2008 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

29, of Auburn, N.Y.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died Sept. 19 while supporting combat operations in Bawka, Afghanistan.

(Photo courtesy of; summary courtesy of Military Times.)

Action 226 - Show Up.

Sunday morning. Husband still asleep. Bedroom cool and dark and me warm and comfy under the covers. So why am I not still there? Because I made a decision last night to come to the gym for a cardio workout.

Action 226 - Show Up. It's that tough and that easy. Tough because it means sacrificing things I want to do (sleeping in) with things I feel I need to do (workout). Easy because it gives me the results I want in the long run.

Show up. It's the reason I'm heading to the gym early on a Sunday morning, my eyes still full of sleep. Because I want the rewards that follow the effort.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Action 225 - Let Go.

I'll be honest. Had I known forty-four days ago where this project would take me, I'm not sure that I would have started it. I was fully prepared for a journey of long runs, road fuel, and recovery days. But I wasn't thinking just how deep this introspection would take me. There really is no turning back now. And I'm finally understanding something that has eluded me all of my life.

Action 225 - Let Go. Before I started this, I had a warped idea of letting something go. I thought I just churned on it awhile, took whatever action I could to fix it, then stuffed it back into my sack of crap. Out of sight, out of mind. Supposedly. But that's not how it works at all, is it?

By connecting my physical journey with my mental and emotional growth, I've somehow magnified both. And I'm seeing progress as successive steps on a path, not one-off quick fixes. And for the first time in my adult life, I am clear on not only what I need to do but how to do it.

I've shared with the world... well, my extended world of friends and family, at least... that my early days were dark and just how close I came to ending my own life. I've told those same people about something horrible and painful that happened to me as a child. Both of these things have weighed heavy on my heart my entire life. I carried them like scars I felt I had to hide from everyone else. Rather than being a moment in my past, they had become full-time burdens.

Now, though, they have no power over me. I'm not expending an ounce of energy to hide them away from the world. I no longer need to fear losing control and letting my dark truth slip out. More than that, I understand now that they were never my shame to bear. And I am ready to live a life without that weight.

Let go. It's every bit as scary as it seems, but twice as rewarding. And now it's time for me to get back to my amazing life already in progress.


Action 224 - Start A Chain Reaction.

Toss a pebble into a pond and the initial splash gives way to a series of ripples. One action creates a series of separate actions. Like that pebble and the pond, actions each of us take have a ripple effect, too. Unfortunately, we don't always get to see it all play out. But sometimes....

Action 224 - Start A Chain Reaction. Today, I honored a promise I made to someone else and showed up to run with him. I blogged about it, and my blog entry motivated another friend to go to her yoga workout instead of blowing it off. One action forced another one.

Last night, I blogged about being a survivor of sexual assault. In response to that blog, a teacher friend wrote me and said that my story was a catalyst for her to reach out to her students and make sure none of them are currently suffering silently for fear of speaking up.

It's not magic. And it's not something unique to me. It's something that each and every one of us does each day. An action of ours sparks reactions from others, which spark further reactions, and on and on. So the question isn't if you will start a chain reaction, but rather WHAT are you starting?

As I continue on this journey, I will try to remember that what I put out into this world will magnify across all those in my path and even beyond. Hopefully, that will spur me to be kind instead of mean, compassionate instead of hateful, and forgiving instead of resentful.

(Photo courtesy of

Action 223 - Spin It Again.

I own a lot of music. I mean, I own tens of thousands of songs. I've ripped all of it and finally uploaded it to my iTunes account, but it's a lot of music. And one thing I found is that I have many, many albums that I have never really played. Oh, sure, I have played a song or two, but the whole album? Nope. At least not often enough to recognize the tracks by title alone.

Action 223 - Spin It Again. Rather than purchase any new music for a while, I'm going to revisit some of my earlier music. I'll pick an album and put it on repeat for a while and really give it a listen. With all the music I own and don't know, I can be at this for a very long time.

First up last night was Fleetwood Mac's Behind The Mask. I was familiar with the lead single, Save Me, but I couldn't have hummed another track if I was paid to do it. Turns out, the whole CD is pretty fantastic. I've owned it for twenty-two years and I'm just now hearing some of the songs. That's just sad.


Here's Save Me. Enjoy.

Action 222 - Play Well With Others.

Had a good run today at Balboa Park. Did a loop around the park and up through Hillcrest. And the best part? I ran new trails that I didn't know existed and got a chance to get to know three new people.

Action 222 - Play Well With Others. The Front Runners group today was bigger than Wednesday's gathering, and it was also a more organized start. There were official group activities - birthdays, updates, upcoming group events, recognizing new members and first time visitors. It felt much more welcoming to me as someone new to the group.

Towards the end of our group stretching, we went around the circle and each person said their name and announced what course/distance they would be running. That way, everyone would know who else was planning to run that course and pace and they could partner up accordingly.

I ran with two ladies, Alice and Tiffany. And then, along our way, we picked up another woman name Ina, and she was out on her own for a run but didn't really know her way around town since she was from Nebraska.

We had a great run, Tiffany led us through new trails that were unknown to me, and ended up running about 4.5 miles in 45 minutes. It was the right pace for me today and I really enjoyed it.

Running with others was a new thing for me, but I like it. Heck, I've even decided to join the group.


Action 221 - Be Dependable.

It's 7:15 in the morning and I'm sitting at Balboa Park, waiting to go for a run. Why? Because I told someone I would.

Action 221 - Be Dependable. After running with the Front Runners group on Wednesday, I told my running partner, Jim, that I would be back to join them again on Saturday. Today. So here I am.

I didn't really want to come. I was up late last night writing, it's a gray overcast day, and I would rather have slept in. Plus, Ric is home sick and I want to be there and lounge around all day with him.

But, I gave my word to someone. Granted, I doubt he would notice if I didn't show. I just met him for the first time on Wednesday. Plus, there's supposed to be a bigger group today and I'm sure my absence would be no big deal.

It would be a big deal to me, though. I made a commitment and I don't want to be that guy who just blows something like that off. I said I would be here, and I am. And as a reward for being a man of my word, I'm sure I'll have a great run, meet more cool runner types, and feel better all day.

More of the win/win thing I have going on, right?

That's why I'm smiling, even though it feels crazy early.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Action 220 - Be Unbreakable.

I am a person who willingly shares a lot of my life in a public forum. But some things are harder to say than others. This, now, is one of the most difficult things I have ever written.

Several weeks ago, I came across a website devoted to survivors of sexual assault and abuse. It's called Project Unbreakable. The site is a series of photos of survivors holding up signs, and the words on each sign are the words they still associate with their assaults.

This is my sign.

I was eleven years old. My attacker was a family friend my parents' age. We were staying overnight in their home and my mother was gone for the weekend.

His wife and children and my older brother were already asleep in other rooms and he and I were still awake watching television. He moved close to me and put his arm around me, pulling me closer still. He said things like, "this is nice, staying up late and watching TV, isn't it?"

It wasn't nice. It made me uncomfortable. But at eleven years of age, it wasn't easy to find the words to explain, let alone to say them out loud to an older person who is practically a family member himself.

He became more aggressive, pulling my hand down into his crotch and grabbing my own. "It's okay," he said. "It feels good. See what you're doing to me."

He actually said those words to me, as if his arousal was my fault. And at that age, I didn't understand that I wasn't the one to blame. I felt embarrassed and ashamed, my mind racing to figure out what I had said or done to make it all happen.

He pressed on. He was using my hand to rub against himself through the fabric of his shorts. Then he was pulling me over onto his lap while trying to yank his own shorts down. I was so afraid I could barely breathe, let alone do anything to stop what was happening. He was an adult, big and strong, and I was completely terrified.

He was fumbling with his shorts, trying to undress himself without letting go of me. He lost his grip on me and I slid from his lap and towards the floor, and that was the break that snapped me into action. It was happening in a blur, but I knew I needed to move.

I remember jumping to my feet and running into the dining room. I ran around to the backside of the table, putting it between him and me.

He came in right away and started to talk to me. "It's okay, John. Why are you standing back over there?" To this day, I remember the tone of his voice being almost one of surprise, as if he couldn't fathom the reality that he was trying to attack me and I was doing anything to escape.

He kept talking and walking slowly around the table, and I kept moving around it, staying on the opposite side as far away from him as I could. After several minutes of threats ("I'll whip your ass if I have to come get you."), coercion ("You want me to tell your Mom that you were being a brat?"), and denial ("I don't know why you are acting like this."), he finally gave up and went to his bedroom.

I remember sitting at the table for a very long time. I was afraid that if I went to my own room, he would come and find me there. So I sat with my back against the wall, looking through the living room and staring down the long hallway to make sure that he didn't come back. I stayed there until the sunlight came through the dining room window.

I finally ran down the hall to where my brother was sleeping. I shook him awake and said, "we have to go." Barely awake, he was having trouble understanding why I was so upset. I got the words out, ugly as they passed my lips, and I felt ashamed as I told him everything.

His first call was to an adult we trusted, someone we thought would know what to do. He called and they came right over. I explained everything that happened, and the first words out of their mouth were, "what do you want me to do about it?"

I was stunned. I was shocked. And I felt sick to my stomach. What did I want? I wanted to hear, "it wasn't your fault." I needed to hear, "we're leaving right now." I was desperate for, "you're safe now and I'll protect you."

What I got was, "what do you want me to do about it?"

I sat there in silence for a long moment, then I replied, "nothing." And I got up, walked down the hall back to the phone, and I called my Grandparents. When my Grandmother answered, I said, "I need Grandpa to come get me," and then I broke down in tears.

My Grandmother immediately said, "he's on his way, now you stay on the phone with me until he gets there, okay?"

And that was the end of that. I left and never looked back. And for the next ten years, I was estranged from the adult I turned to for help. I couldn't get over the feeling of betrayal.

Finally, when I was twenty-two, we had our long overdue conversation. I explained why we had grown so far apart, reminding this person that the one time I needed them, they had failed me. And it was finally in that moment that I was able to forgive them for those words.

I am still not willing to forgive the man who molested me. I won't ever forgive him, nor do I feel I need to in order to move on with my life. He has long since passed away and is of no concern to me or anyone else, anymore.

I share my story now for three reasons. One, because I have alluded to it in passing to different friends over the years but I have never explained it in detail. And I feel like holding it all inside makes it seem like it's something I should be ashamed of. But it isn't my secret. It isn't my sin. And it isn't a reason for me to feel guilty.

I also share it because I hope it can be a lesson for anyone out there who may one day be on the receiving end of those words from a child and not know how to respond. It's very simple. Make sure the child knows they are safe, they are believed, and they are not to blame.

Finally, I share this story now and in the context of Project One Five because I am truly cleaning house of the garbage and pain of my past. I am determined to live the rest of my life looking forward, and that means no longer carrying this around in my head. This is not my burden to carry. It never should have been.

I am not the bad thing that happened to me. I am not the shame of someone else's behavior. And I am not the inaction of an adult who left a wounded child twisting in the wind.

Action 218 - Be Unbreakable. And I am.

Action 219 - Take A Deep Breath.

Ever had one of those Before and After moments? You know, that moment that creates a clear divide of your life, separating it into Before the Moment and After the Moment. I feel like I'm in that place right now, and I'm about to create one of those moments for myself.

Action 219 - Take A Deep Breath. I need to be sure that I am ready for whatever might come next, because there is no going back.

Okay. I can do this.

(Photo courtesy of

Action 218 - Take A Nap.

I can hear you snickering already. You're reading this in disbelief and wondering why I would include it.
Really, John? You're counting this as an action that helps you prepare for the marathon?

But at least one friend will completely understand why this is significant. (I'm looking at you, Coach Nancy.)

Action 218 - Take A Nap. I stay up too late and I get up very early. After doing that for several days back-to-back, I really feel like I'm dragging. But a quick nap serves as the perfect pick-me-up.

Today, I napped. Not long, thirty minutes or so. But I woke up feeling completely recharged. I feel like I'm firing on all cylinders again, and I'll get quite a bit of work done this evening.

I need to remember that a quick nap is better than forcing my way through hours of work when I'm really tired. And as long as I have the flexibility in my schedule, I'm going to take advantage of it.

Oh, look at me. I'm like an angel. *laughing*

Action 217 - Be Impulsive.

I doubt this surprises many people, but I can be a pretty spur-of-the-moment kind of guy. As soon as an idea pops into my head, I want to act on it. So today, I did.

Action 217 - Be Impulsive. My interview today ran much longer than I expected, so it was nearly 12:00 by the time I finished. I knew that my husband was having a potluck at the office at noon, so on a whim, I decided to pop in and surprise him at work.

And there he was, looking handsome in his scrubs.


Being impulsive paid off. Not only did I get to visit with Ric for a while, I also got to enjoy a bit of the food from the potluck. Win/Win!

Action 216 - Enter Confidently.

I haven't shared this with many people, but I am actively seeking full time employment. (Yes, I work for SparkPeople, but it is a part time position that I plan to keep working!)

This morning, I had an interview with a start-up company. I arrived a few minutes early, of course, so I had a bit of time to relax in my car and get my head focused on the interview ahead. And rather unexpectedly, I found myself smiling and thinking, "yep, I'm ready for this."

Action 216 - Enter Confidently. And I did. I was prepared, because I had done my research on the company and would be able to discuss the work intelligently and ask relevant questions. I was qualified for the position and was ready to give specific examples of how my qualifications made me the best candidate to hire. And I felt comfortable in my own skin, knowing that I looked confident, fit and healthy.

Yes, I am aware that being physically fit is not a prerequisite for being qualified for most jobs. But feeling good physically translates to standing taller and presenting myself more assertively.


I probably won't know until next week if I got the job or not, but either way, I feel good about myself and how I interviewed. I know my confidence showed.