Tuesday, December 13, 2005

December's Starting Line Article in Stridelines

Please check out this month's [PDF] Starting Line article in Stridelines, the newsletter of the Houston Striders.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

New links up on Run4youlife

Just a few new links up on the sidebar. Please check them out.

Road Runners Club of America
2006 RRCA National Convention
HEB Bayou City Classic 10K

Fellow Houston running blogger:
Barbara's blog

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

"Although the time and date of the first American thanksgiving observance may be uncertain, there is no question but that this treasured custom derives from our Judeo-Christian heritage. "Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks," the Psalmist sang, praising God not only for the "wondrous works" of His creation, but for loving guidance and deliverance from dangers.

A band of settlers arriving in Maine in 1607 held a service of thanks for their safe journey, and twelve years later settlers in Virginia set aside a day of thanksgiving for their survival. In 1621 Governor William Bradford created the most famous of all such observances at Plymouth Colony when a bounteous harvest prompted him to proclaim a special day "to render thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings." The Spaniards in California and the Dutch in New Amsterdam also held services to give public thanks to God.

In 1777, during our War of Independence, the Continental Congress set aside a day for thanksgiving and praise for our victory at the battle of Saratoga. It was the first time all the colonies took part in such an event on the same day. The following year, upon news that France was coming to our aid, George Washington at Valley Forge prescribed a special day of thanksgiving. Later, as our first President, he responded to a Congressional petition by declaring Thursday, November 26, 1789, the first Thanksgiving Day of the United States of America.

Although there were many state and national thanksgiving days proclaimed in the ensuing years, it was the tireless crusade of one woman, Sarah Josepha Hale, that finally led to the establishment of this beautiful feast as an annual nationwide observance. Her editorials so touched the heart of Abraham Lincoln that in 1863 - even in the midst of the civil War - he enjoined his countrymen to be mindful of their many blessings, cautioning them not to forget "the source from which they come," that they are "the gracious gifts of the Most High God…" Who ought to be thanked "with one heart and one voice by the whole American People."

It is in that spirit that I now invite all Americans to take part again in this beautiful tradition with its roots deep in our history and deeper still in our hearts. We manifest our gratitude to God for the many blessings he has showered upon our land and upon its people.

In this season of Thanksgiving we are grateful for our abundant harvests and the productivity of our industries; for the discoveries of our laboratories; for the researches of our scientists and scholars; for the achievements of our artists, musicians, writers, clergy, teachers, physicians, businessmen, engineers, public servants, farmers, mechanics, artisans, and workers of every sort whose honest toil of mind and body in a free land rewards them and their families and enriches our entire Nation.

Let us thank God for our families, friends, and neighbors, and for the joy of this very festival we celebrate in His name. Let every house of worship in the land and every home and every heart be filled with the spirit of gratitude and praise and love on this Thanksgiving Day."

-Ronald Reagan, Proclamation, 1985

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

New Article in Stridelines

Please check out this month's [PDF] Starting Line article in Stridelines, the newsletter of the Houston Striders. This is the first installment of a series of articles (by me, humbly) for new runners. Of course, I also highly recommend you scroll to the top and read the entirety of the award-winning Stridelines newletter.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Nutrition, 11/8 - 11/10

Having lost (much to my surprise) about 17 lbs. in the last month and a half, I think I'm going to start recording my meals/snacks again, just to have a record of what I'm doing to lose the weight. As I stated in an earlier post I'm not following any particular diet, per se. I'm just confining my nutrition to Weight Watcher's list of core foods which include lean meats, eggs, lowfat dairy, fruits and vegetables, whole grains. As I mentioned, this is no magic thing. No pills or magic formulas. I'm just trying to choose healthy foods and limit my intake to what satiates me.

Tuesday 11/8

4:00pm (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
1 egg
3 slices of canadian bacon
small bowl of Whole Oat O's (from Whole Foods)
skim milk
Comfort Zone (after): 4

Comfort Zone (before): 3
small ribeye steak
fat free Ranch
Comfort Zone (after): 4
Ribeye's not the best cut of steak for me but that's what I had in the freezer. No harm done

Tuesday 11/8

Comfort Zone (before): 1
chicken parmesan
spinach pasta
Comfort Zone (after): 4

Comfort Zone (before): 2
blueberry parfait with:
Not the best meal but it was the best they served at UHD cafeteria. I'm sure the yogurt was not lowfat and there was probably a lot of sugar in the granola. Still, I'll be ok. It was better than eating nothing at all and gorging when I finally got home.

Comfort Zone (before): 2
Whole Oat O's
Skim milk
3 slices of canadian bacon
Comfort Zone (after): 4

Thursday 11/10

12:30am (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
breadless turkey sandwich
little bit of cole slaw
Comfort Zone (after): 4

7:00am (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
Comfort Zone (after): 3

4:30pm (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
Whole Oat O's cereal
skim milk
Comfort Zone (after): 3

7:00pm (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
   chicken breast
   low-carb ranch (just a little)
2 pieces of fried chicken
OOPS!!! J brought fried chicken home for everyone. That's my weakness. It's so hard to eat right when the rest of your family eats wrong! little bit of cole slaw
Comfort Zone (after): 4

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


I just sprinted to my bus stop. First time in many months that i've been able to do that. Had to text the blog right away.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cross-training day

For really the first time since I got my new bike, I went for an actual training ride today. No kids. No recreation. Just a straght-up cross-training workout. Very nice ride. I did 5.5 miles. That may not seem like a lot but it is not a road bike. Mine is a mountain bike with those knobby tires. Very slow. Not sure how long the ride took. I forgot to time it. Riding this morning frees me up this evening to study for my test tomorrow. Wish me luck!!!

I hate to mention it but my ankle feels great!!! Also, I've lost about 17 lbs. in the last 5 or 7 weeks. I think I deserve a massage. Maybe Friday.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Out of touch for a few!!!

Thanks to my wonderful wife, I've been out of the rat-race for the last few days as we took a weekend away to ourselves, just us, no kids!!! We stayed in a lovely B&B in Fredericksburg and had an awesome time

I've got a lot of catching up to do, not the least of which is all the weekend running activities. New York City Marathon snuck up on me and I'm anxious to read all about how the bloggers did. Also, I'm looking forwart to reading all theRun with the Saints reports.

For now, I'll just post the stats from my workout today. All is well with the ankle and I've been able to follow my training plan so far without a hitch.

Monday 11/7:
Format: 5x(3R/1W)
Distance: 1.3 miles
Time: 20 minutes

Tomorrow is a rest day but I think I'll try to get a bike ride in. Wednesday I 'graduate' to 3x(6R/1W). Looking ahead (maybe not the best thing to do) to 2 weeks from now, I'll be doing my first 2 mile continuous run in 'I-dunno-how-long'. I'm actually right on perfect track for the Houston Running Bloggers/Run the Woodlands 5K. I will have two 3-mile runs under my belt by then. Hope everyone's still there when I finish. LOL!!!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Weekend get-away

So sorry to just throw a photo up with no explanation. J and I got away BY OURSELVES!!! for the weekend. This is an early morning photo from the porch of the B&B that we stayed at in Fredericksburg. The B&B was actually on a little animal farm/game preserve. These little donkeys came by Saturday and Sunday morning to get some bread. We had a wonderful weekend to ourselves but missed the kids a lot. I did a lot of walking and even some bike riding on Saturday morning before J got stirring. It was a fantastic time.

Cassie, J and I were cracking up at your comment. You were the only one brave enough to ask what in the world that was!!! LOL

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Nice Run Today

Memorial park tonight was like the Marine Corps Marathon as described by lisaleese and Doug Spence. Tons of people. No parking. Lotsa weaving. I got lucky and snagged a place right in front of the tennis center.

Not much remarkable on the run tonight. I felt strong and the ankle did fine. I woke up today with this excruciating cramp in the front of my left ankle/foot (the good one). It still hurts tonight. It was like a backwards charlie horse. Wierd. I couldn't get it to stop. I can usually stretch a calf cram out but I just sat there unable to do a thing. I wanted to walk to the kitchen to get some fluids but couldn't. I just laid there in bed till it ran it's course. I hope that doesn't happen again. More fluids at work tonight are in order.

Distance: 1.36 miles, 10x(1R/1W)
Time: 20 min (14:42 pace. Could that be right?)
Temp: ~60 F

Coming soon: www.vickaiser.com or www.kaiserinformatics.com

Sunday, October 30, 2005

This week's workouts

2 great weeks in a row. I ran 3 days this week with Wednesday being the highlight for me. Since getting over this recent post-ankle surgery hump, I have relegated myself to a very light comeback routine that spends several weeks with easy walk/run workouts. I'm following the PIM (Power in Motion) plan for the Aerobics group which is the A group of the ABCDEFGB groups (Never did know why the group above Gu is Backup. Shouldn't it be Hills or something?).

I've been a good boy and have followed my plan patiently but on Wednesday, my PIM group was running 3 miles for the first time. WTG Aerobics!!! I felt really good and wanted to do some continuous running so I set out to do 1 mile running out and walk back that same mile. I was joined along the way by ISS Doub Spence. He graciously listened to the whole ankle story and we talked shop a little. It was a lot of fun and it kept me converstional. I completed the 1 mile run in 15 minutes. That's not bad for me, just starting over and all. I was pleased. The run and the walk back were pain-free, at least where the ankle was concerned. It was nice to feel some fatigue and to feel my body loosen up in other areas instead of all my attention being on that stupid ankle. And it was a great feeling to be a little sore the next day.

Thursday, I did some weights at the gym. I did some leg work which I haven't really been able to do for a long time. I was very sore going into Friday but did a 10x(1R/1W) workout anyway. Saturday was very sore. It was sooooooo nice!!! to finally feel like I've done some exercise.

I ended my week tonight with another 10x(1R/1W) which felt absolutely awesome!!! I'm hesitant to really get excited because every step of improvement along the way has been met with some kind of setback but I'm very optimistic about this one. I really feel like I've topped the hill and provided I don't overdo it, can finally get back on the road.


For those of you that may believe that bloggers are really self-absorbed braggers that just like to see their name in print, let me take this opportunity to totally humilate myself with a situation I'm going through.

Back in September I took interest in a volunteering opportunity providing CPR/AED support for HARRA sponsored races. I attended (and passed) the course and have signed up for a couple of races this fall. Now, here's the humiliating part. After the class was over and each of us were crowned with our certification cards, very nice, bright yellow t-shirts were issued. Well, the largest size available was XL which I pretended at the time would surely fit me. Well, I definitely need a 2X as the XL is way too tight. It's really embarrassing as I sure many would look at me as suggest that I may be the one who would need CPR.

If this story seems like a real downer, it's not at all. Actually, that XL t-shirt has been a real inspiration to me. It's currently sitting on my dresser and every few days I try it on to see how it's going. I can tell a little bit of difference from last month but I still have a long way to go. As extra incentive I went ahead and signed up for a couple of races coming up in November and December and I'm determined to get into that shirt. I'm gonna do it.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Shoe haiku

September's issue of Runner's World announced a haiku contest where contestants were to write a shoe haiku. The winner would win a year's supply of running shoes. Of the 2,000 responses, here's the winner:

I love running shoes
Husband does not understand
Must get new husband
-Janis McDowell, Edmonton, AB

LOL!!! I love it! I must say though that of the other great submissions appearing in the December isssue, none are of the quality of those submitted for the Houston Striders' haiku contest back in December '04. I'll try to find the link to that newsletter where all the Strider's haiku were printed.

New stuff and old stuff

As I've mentioned before, I'm really behind on my blogging. I'm so far behind that I don't think I will be able to catch up. It's often the case that I go to my blog with the intention of writing and end up just going to everyone else's blogs and reading all the great stuff going on like Holden's new 5K PR, Cassie's new Half marathon training program, Lisa carbo loading for the Marine Corps Marathon, Jen, like me, just trying to catch up with her bloggin', Sarah running and working on her portfolio, Jessica running strong at HARRA's Practice for the Tour cross country race and getting FAST!!!, Edwin bloggin' the astros game and getting our awesome forum up and running, Steve logging some serious weekly miles (btw, I'd pay much more than $0.00 for runsteve.blogspot.com), Sam (Day Dreamer), striving to 'hang with those top guys' (we're all trying to hang with you, Sam), Keith battling his subluxed cuboid, getting ready for the New York City Marathon, Joe getting in an awesome 13+ mile training run last week and planning on smoking the RTW 5K course with the rest of the bloggers on 12/10, and of course Jon, keeping us abreast of everything running from race reports to HARRA board meeting minutes to houston bloggers's news and much more. So, you see, by the time I catch up with all my buds, I'm either out of time to post to my own blog or its time to make the rounds again 'cause everyone's so diligent to post even more stuff. I can't keep up with all this. lol!!!

So, going back a few weeks, I'm going to summarily catch up as quickly as possible:

  • A few weeks a go, the new digital scale arrived at my doorstep that I ordered from Amazon.com. I'm not a big scale worshipper but I when I'm dieting, I like to weigh once or twice a week to see where I am. Well, I popped the batteries in the scale and hopped on for a ride. Much to my surprise and delight, I had lost about 13 of the 30 lbs that I gained after my surgery. I had not weighed in a long time and actually did not believe the scale. I was just about ready to return it but went over to my doctor's office to verify and sure enough, it was the same. So, that was very encouraging.
  • I got one last steroid shot in my ankle, a little higher up this time. It really knocked out the last bit of pain that was keeping me from running and doing rehab effecvtively. Last week, if I remember correctly, I ran 5 days with a total mileage for the week of of 6.5 miles. On Wednesday of this week, I was brave and did 1 mile continuous running. I did one mile out running and walked back for a total of 2 miles. I did some weights on Thursday and am very sore. It's been a long time and it feels great.
  • I need to post later about the great time S and I had at marathonkids last weekend. What a great program and I saw a bunch of Striders there volunteering. More on this later

There's so much more but I gotta go to bed now.
God Bless!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

RRCA Convention in the Chronicle

Ha, Ha Jon. I beat you to it. And don't go fudging the time and date when you post this! hehe Actually, Steve beat us all, posting on Stride4Fun.

Striders put Bayou City on national running map
Club will host March convention alongside 10K race
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

Houston's running community is on pace to gain some national exposure next year when the Road Runners Club of America holds its annual convention here.

The March 8-12 event is timed to coincide with the H-E-B Bayou City Classic on March 11, which has been designated the 2006 National 10K Championship.

The Houston Striders running club will host the convention, which will attract several hundred race directors and club administrators.

"We wanted to bring the convention here to show off Houston and Houston's running community and what goes on here," said Doug Spence, a Houston Strider who's helping organize the event.

Convention participants will have several chances to tour the city — on foot, as you'd expect from a group of runners.

In addition to the Bayou City Classic, they will run on the USA National Cross Country Championship course along Allen Parkway, ride Metrorail to run around Rice University and Hermann Park, and take a walk through downtown's tunnel system.

They will also share information on such topics as race management, course certification and how to write a club newsletter. While the workshops will address technical matters, anyone is welcome to register for the convention, and the public is invited to attend the running expo that will be held in conjunction with it.

Keynote speakers will include Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon, and Roger Robinson, the author of Heroes and Sparrows: a Celebration of Running and Running in Literature.

The nonprofit RRCA is the national umbrella organization of more than 700 running clubs with 175,000 members across the country.

For more details, check out www.rrcahouston06.org or e-mail Steve Shepard, the south Texas state representative for RRCA, at rrcahouston@aol.com

Monday, October 24, 2005

Negative Splits and Training???

Since I first started training last year with PIM (Power in Motion) I've heard over and over from PIM coaches and others to aim for a negative split on training runs and races. Of course, a negative split is defined as running the second half of a course faster than the first half. From the little I have read about training, in particular aerobic base building (what every beginner should be doing, IMHO exclusively), negative splits would not be in order for training runs.

If I am maintaining a consistent effort over the course of a run (e.g. 70% maxHR), then my pace would most certainly decrease over the last half of the run as I fatigue. At the very best, it stays the same. I believe it is best to keep a consistent effort through a training run, not a consistent or increasingly faster pace. That being the case, you should see your mile split slow as you get closer to finishing. Otherwise, if you are trying to maintain your pace or run a faster pace you effort is certainly increasing and may begin to go more anaerobic which builds up LA and brings on fatigue even faster.

To me, the purpose of negative splits in racing is not necessarily to ensure you go faster over the 2nd half of the race. Rather it is to ensure you do not go too fast over the 1st half of the race.

I'm really curious about this. Why do negative splits in a training run? This post may be better suited for the forum so that there can be some discussion on this. Feel free to comment here or go on over to the forum. I'll post the question there, too.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sunday morning 10/23

Another 7x(1R/2W), pain-free run. An awesome thing was that my daughter joined me and had a great time. She's kind of getting interested in running for a few reasons. One, she was able to meet Jon's daughter, W, last week at the 20K and found out that she runs and is training for a half-marathon. S thinks that's cool. Also, S participated in a program put on by City of Houston through the HISA Physical Ed programs at the local schools called marathonkids. I'll report on this in anohter post but briefly, it's a program where kids run a marathon a little bit (.25 miles or a bit more) at a time until they've run an entire marathon. It was a cool celebration Saturday morning and I'm looking forward later today to reporting on it.

Also, I'm adding 600m (1.5 laps at the Rice U track) to my weekly mileage. I ran this yesterday with S at marathonkids. I wouldn't mention this little more than a quarter mile but it's significant in that it was a continuous run and the longest continuous run for me in a long, long time. Sad but true.

So the unimpressive but encouraging (for me) and pain-free stats are:

Distance: 1.3 miles
Run: 7x(1R/2W)
Temp: 75 deg
Weekly distance so far: 6.5 miles

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Saturday morning run

So sorry for the inactivity on the blog for the past week or two but I've been a bit contemplative/frustrated/hopeful/anxious lately about my weight/running/ankle/nutrition...yada, yada, yada. More on this later. For now I'm reporting that I had a wonderful time this morning doing one of my favorite things to do in the world. That would be an early Saturday morning run at Memorial Park.

I know 5:45am isn't 'early' for a lot of folks and in the past I, too, have been on the track much earlier. But I only had a 21 minute run/walk planned this morning so I didn't get too zealous about how early I got out there. It was a beautiful, cool morning at Memorial Park (about 55 deg by weather.com, Houston). After stretching and hitting the men's room, I had a GREAT!!, pain-free run. I did 7x(1R/2W) starting at the tennis center, heading clockwise toward the PIM meeting area for a little over a half mile, and back. I definitely could have gone faster/farther but I'm sticking with my philosophy that for a beginner like me, musculoskeletal strength/fitness lags behind aerobic ability/fitness. So, I believe that even though my legs, lungs, and heart may be ready for more, my bones, joints, and especially ankle are probably not. So, I'm sticking with the plan, which, now that I'm able to follow and probably will be able to see through to completion, I will try to post on the blog today or tomorrow.

It was really great to see fellow Strider, Joan O'Connor, out there. Joan was just finishing up her Team in Training 3-miler as I was beginning my run. She gave a fantastic word of encouragement, as any good PIM coach would. Thanks Joan.

So the unimpressive but encouraging (for me)and pain-free stats are:

Distance: 1.2 miles
Run: 7x(1R/2W)
Temp: 55 deg
Weekly distance so far: 4.8 miles

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Could this be the day?

The sun rises on the day that the Astros go to the World Series!!! C'mon guys. Let's get 'em.

RW's Insider's Guide to the Marine Corps Marathon

For Lisa and Chris, Doug and anyone else who might be interested, I found these few tips for the Marine Corps Marathon in the November issue of Runner's World magazine. This may be old news to a lot of you marathon vets but I thought it was interesting and hopefully helpful.

  • Get Support - The Marine Corps Marathon may be the most spectator-friendly course of any large marathon. It's very easy for your friends and family to see you five times with some brief walks across the Potomac and maybe a Metro stop or two. Check the spectator guide on the race web site for the best vantage points.
  • Beware the two starts - For the 30th anniversary this year, registration was expanded to 30K. To accommodate the race's largest field ever, organizers have instituted a two-wave starting system. Teh first wave, denoted "scarlet," starts at 8:15 a.m. The second, "gold," starts at 8:45 a.m. Your wave will be indicated in your e-confirmation card as well as yon your race number.
  • Go out easy - The opening two miles are hilly, so be extra careful not to go out too quickly. Back off on the uphills and you'll make up for it on the downhills. So don't worry if you're a little off-pace those first few miles.
  • Prepare to take the bridge - The 14th Street Bridge at mile 20 is the toughest part of the course. There's no shade, no water, not many people. It's about a a mile and a half of dead space. Take a gel at the 19-mile water stop (you can pick one up at 12.5 miles). That burst of energy-and the knowledge that you've now got only six miles to go-should get you across.
  • Say thank you - All the young men and women who shepherd you through the finish line are lieutenants from the Marine Corp's officer school at neaby Quantico, VA. They're all young and enthusiastic. When they drape the finisher's medal on you, say "Thank you, Lieutenant." They'll be happily surprised you know who they are.
  • Find out more - Check out the Marine Corps Marathon's new virtual map, which enables you to zoom in on any part of the course.

Can't wait to hear all the great race reports.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Friday, October 14, 2005

Additional headlines from last weekend

It has come to my attention that in mentioning all of the great training runs and races brought about by the beautiful weather last weekend that I failed to give kudos to the very fast and highly decorated Edwin Quarles from Angelton, founder and administrator of the newly acclaimed houstonrunningbloggers.com. Edwin enjoyed a 3 hour and 15 minute run in 50-60's temps on Sunday after bringing home hardware from the his awesome performance the day before at the Brazosport Memorial Hospital 5K. WTG, Edwin!!! Sorry I left you out.

10/10 - 10/14 - nutrition

For the most part, I was very good through the week. Most importantly, I stayed away from the sweets and did a decent job not letting myself get too hungry and not eating too much at any single meal/snack.

Monday 10/10

4:30pm (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
1/2 cup of steel cut oats
1/2 cup 2% milk
fresh raspberries
coffee (with artificial sweetener)
Comfort Zone (after): 3
Wish I had some skim milk but no biggie!

8:30pm (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
filet mignon
roasted asparagus
Comfort Zone (after): 4

Tuesday 10/11

12:50am (snack)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
fresh strawberries w/ artificial sweetener
Comfort Zone (after): 4

3:30am (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
roasted asparagus
whole wheat pasta
ground turkey (browned and drained)
low-fat marinara sauce
Comfort Zone (after): 3

7:00pm (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 1
2 eggs (fried in olive oil spray)
canadian bacon
Granny Smith apple
Comfort Zone (after): 3
When I woke up today at 3:00pm, I found that I was out of eggs. I did not eat anything until I was able to get to the store and get some eggs. That's why I got so hungry (comfort zone: 1). Need to plan ahead a little better. No biggie.

11:45pm (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
filet mignon
brown rice
sugar free jell-o (Yummy and only 10 cals!)
Comfort Zone (after): 4

Wednesday 10/12

Comfort Zone (before): 2
whole grain pasta
ground turkey (browned and drained)
low-fat marinara sauce
Comfort Zone (after): 4

red globe grapes
Comfort Zone (after): 3

Comfort Zone (before): 2
steel cut oats
skim milk
Comfot Zone (after): 4

Comfort Zone (before): 2
whole grain pasta
ground turkey (browned and drained)
low-fat marinara sauce
Comfort Zone (after): 4

Thursday 10/13

9:00am (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
3 eggs fried in olive oil spray
coffee (with artificial sweetener)
Comfort Zone (after): 3

1:00pm (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
red globe grapes
Comfort Zone (after): 3

4:50pm (snack)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
roasted pork loin (couple of slices)
Comfort Zone (after): 4

7:30pm (meal)
Comfort Zone: 1
strip steak
beef hot dogs, 2
Comfort Zone: 4
The carnivore in me came out tonight big time. Don't think I did too much damage, though.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sounds like everybody had a great weekend

Man, it was great to read all the posts after this weekend. I know everyone was getting so frustrated with the heat. After so many months, I think it was about to drive just about everyone to the edge. Just in time, before we all ended up in the running looney bin, we had some great weather this weekend. And it was evidenced in runs and races. Here are a few notable quotables:

Lisa wrote 'I have NEVER felt so strong at the end' about her 21-mile training run this weekend. Great confidence builder after her hard gutsy effort at the Space City 10-miler last week.

Joe commented jokingly that he didn't run on Saturday because 'It was too cold!' Very funny, Joe.

Cassie 'almost forgot what cool weather feels like.'

Holden set an awesome 5K PR at the Run the Woodlands 5K on Saturday. Way to go, Holden!!!

Sarah was finally able to get off the dreadmill. She said her run 'was better than in months' and 'I went farther than I've gone since spring.'

Jen's run was 'one of the best I've had in a long time.'

So, I'm really looking forward to the rest of the year and hearing all the great race reports, training runs, cross-training, and how bitterly cold everyone is. :)


By the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Sam!!!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday 10/6

7:00am (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
whole wheat pasta
ground turkey (browned and drained)
tomato sauce (store bought, low/no fat)
Comfort Zone (after):4
notes: since my last meal of beef roast, I wasn't hungry for over 8 hours. Strange!!! Guess that meat really has some serious staying power!!!

10:40am (snack)
Comfort Zone (before): 3
Dill Pickle from Murphy's Deli downtown (Yummy!!!)
Diet Coke
Comfort Zone (after):3

1:00pm (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
2 Roast beef sandwiches:
      roast beef
      regular mayonaise
      4 slices bread
Comfort Zone (after):4
notes: This is definitely a PROBLEM!!! I MUST get it together!!! Still, this is a process and I certainly am not defeated by just one meal. I've been doing well all week. Am I disappointed in myself and embarassed? A little. It it all over? NOT BY A LONG SHOT!!! Note to self...even though everyone in the house likes the fat-full mayonaise, I've got to get it out of the house. What a waste of calories!


It's 61 degrees this morning. It feels soooo good. Now listen up everybody!!! In the morning (Saturday) it's going to be in the 50's. So, I want to hear all the stories of how 'the morning run was the best run of your life.' I've been hearing so much moaning about the hot summer and how everyone hates treadmills and can't wait 'till fall/winter...yada, yada, yada. Well your wishes have come true. So let's go people. RUN HARD! Enjoy. Work hard. And this crippled, wish-I-was-out-there-doin'-a-long-run, runner wannaBe will be standing by to hear all about it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Thursday report

Part of why it's so hard for me to follow an inflexible diet is the fact that my work schedule is so crazy. I work the night shift so I'm usually having breakfast in the afternoon and dinner at about 2 in the morning. So, for simplicity's sake, I'm not going to refer to my meals as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I'll just refer to them as meal or snack.

Also, as my plan does not include measuring, I won't be including portion size for now. I am tracking what Weight Watchers refers to as 'Comfort Zone' before and after meals/snacks. This just a scale from 0-5, with each level defined as follows.

0 1 2 3 4 5
Very Hungry/ Starving Hungry Getting Hungry Satisfied/ Comfortable Full/ Not at all hungry Very Full/Stuffed

So I will be referring to before and after comfort zones as a measure of the amount of food I've eaten. The object is to stay anywhere from 1-4. That's my 'Comfort Zone'.

Thursday 10/5

4:30pm (meal)
Comfort Zone (before): 2
2 eggs (fried in 2 seconds of olive oil spray)
canadian bacon, a few thin slices
coffee (with artificial sweetener)
Comfort Zone (after):3

8:30pm (meal)
Comfort Zone (before):1
Beef chuck roast
Comfort Zone (after:4)
comments: I did not have/take time to make an entire,well-balanced meal. I acutally ate this roast beef while I was preparing my dinner to take to work. I need to plan better although the lean beef didn't hurt me. Also, I let my get too hungry while I was out and about this evening. Gotta watch that.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Not ready for prime time

After 2 rehab sessions, my ankle pain has become a lot worse, pain-wise at least. Last night (Tuesday), I went out to run and was unable go 3 minutes before I had to turn around and pack it in. So, instead of enduring another rehab session this morning, I had a heart-to-heart with the docs at Koala and they seem to think that I may not be ready to rehab. So, were going to do some more passive work and get those stablilizing muscles up to par. They're really in bad shape. Standing on a wobble board, my leg just shakes and I can barely stay up for more than a few seconds without having to brace myself against the wall. So, that's the plan...to get the horse back in front of the cart.

Unfortunately, I missed PIM (Power in Motion) tonight. I don't know who I'm kidding even going at all. At this pace, I'm certainly not even going to be able to walk a 5K by Nov. By the way, Run With the Saints 5K has a cool new logo this year that looks really nice on their new home page. I signed up for PIM, thinking I would be much further along by now. Still, I so enjoy being at the park and feel the need to be around it (running that is). Missed seeing Cassie and Rose, Sandy, Amalia, Rachel, Doug, Steve, Jack, and all the other really cool people. I hope to be a little better off next week and maybe able to do a walk.

Regarding diet, I'm struggling to find my way there, as well. Of course, if one saw me in person, one must know that my first priority must be to lose a bunch of weight. I lost about 65 lbs. last fall/winter. Since my surgery in May, I've gained about 30 of that back. I don't want to dwell on that or I'll get too mad at myself. I just need to move on and that's what I'm doing. I'm just at a strange place now, trying to figure out a good, healty approach to nutrition and still be effective at weight loss. Most of the weight I lost last year was on a no carb/low carb diet. Readers may now want to chime in and tell me how awful low carb diets are, especially for runners, and how it's not a viable, maintainable, lifelong plan for good nutrition. Let me say that I know all this is sooooooo true. However, I can't bring myself to dismiss the low carb diets completely, just because of my experience. I lost the weight. I felt GREAT!!!! My fitness improved. I was able to run without bonking at all (although my long runs were only up to 9.5 miles). However, that all being said, I do not want to do the low carb thing anymore. I want to work on really developing a total plan for nutrition that I can keep for a lifetime... one that includes the right balance of foods, the right kind of healthy carbs and healthy fats and good protein. I've learned a lot about nutrition and physiology over this past year but know I've only scratched the surface and have much more to learn.

So for the past month or so, I've been 'winging it', just trying to eat what I think is healthy, and trying to cut back. I've been unable to lose any weight as I do well for a couple of days, then Jan will bring home pizza or I fail to eat for 12 hours and then gorge because I'm so hungry or yada, yada, yada. My problem at this point is that I need some kind of structure while I'm transitioning to this better lifestyle that I hope one day will just become second nature. I've looked at a lot of diets (I hate that word). I need one that's flexible, easy to follow, and doesn't take a lot of time to prepare just certain foods. Flexibility is the main thing. I've heard so many good things about Weight Watchers so I joined online yesterday. It's kind of funny because after paying my money and reading about the diet, it's just a common sense, healthy diet. No magic forumlas. No tricky pills or drastic measures. Just basically lean meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, good oils, eat till you're satisfied then stop, and every once in a while, indulge a little, just keep it in moderation. Guess I didn't need to pay $65.00 to be told that. Still, it's a good thing. Now that I've dished out the moola, I'm more apt to follow the plan. I know that the structure is going to help me immensely and get me to where I want to be. I'll probably be posting my meals on the blog here for my own benefit, just as a record of what I've been eating, what works, and what doesn't.

Well, I guess with all this bad news (pain being back, rehab being postponed, unable to lose weight, can't run, can't bike, now $65.00 poorer), I should be depressed. Strangely enough, I'm anything but depressed. I'm enjoying this journey. I'm learning a lot about myself and I know that these ups and downs are only going to make me a better runner and dieter and father and husband and employee and mentor. As so many have encouraged me and set the example, I hope to one day help others who are right where I've been. That's what it's all about, I think.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

New Toy

LOOK!!! what I got.

Today ends a good week for me. I was able to run 4 days, I started rehab on Friday, and did a little bike riding on my new mountain bike. Another highlight was the opportunity to complete Dr. Bob's CPR/AED course, a requirement to work CPR/AED for HARRA races. I always wanted to do this and out of the blue a few weeks ago asked Pamela Paling how to get involved. She directed me to Dr. Bob and voila, my first race to work is the Houstonian Lite 30K on Dec. 11.

Total pain-free miles this week: 5.5 miles (Yippee!!)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Couple of things

After my ankle test yesterday (Wed) AND that good run at PIM AND being on my feet all night at work, I decided to put off my rehab session till Friday morning. I got some good rest today. When I woke up, my first steps felt awesome. Ususally I have to walk around the house a while before I can even stop limping. So, I think the combination of therapy, 3 days of running, a pretty intense motrin regimen (800mg 3x/day, Dr's orders. Really!!!), and of course the cortisone shots have me feeling great. This really gives me clarity to think about my course over the next weeks and months and to really concentrate on my patience, my diet, and purpose for every workout. I think when I'm in pain, all I think about is 'What can I do to get rid of this pain? Rest? Try to walk a little? Maybe a little running? Should I lift weights? Should I or Shouldn't I do calf raises? Yada...Yada...Yada' Now, I can really concentrate on my real goals, to lose this weight, to get into good condition, to run a marathon in 2007, to eat better, that kind of stuff. It's kind of liberating to be rid of that pain for a while. Don't know if that makes sense but those are some thoughts of late.

I'm on my way to Dr. Bob's for a CPR/AED course. I wanted to volunteer some with the HARRA CPR/AED team this year and inquired about it just as courses were forming. I'm really looking forward to it. This also means now that I HAVE TO buy a bike. Yipee!!! I've been waiting for a great excuse.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Feelin good at PIM

PIM (Power in Motion) was sure a lot of fun tonight. The Aeorbics group started week 4 of our training program. Tonight's workout was 5x(3walk/1run). However, since I just started back running this week I am relegating myself to week 1 which is 7x(2walk/1run). I'm not going to push myself to 'catch up' with the rest of group. I'm going to stick with the plan and work my way up gradually.

Tomorrow's a rest day. Well, not really. I start day 1 of rehab so should get a pretty intense workout at Koala in the morning. No running though tomorrow. I'm really jealous of the folks running the Space City 10-miler. Good luck to all of you and I hope you have fun. I'm trying to see if it is at all feasible to come out and maybe take a few pictures. I don't know yet, though. I may do a rehab session on Saturday morning. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I'm cheered up

I went to the podiatrist this morning for a follow-up and he said I'm doing just fine. He took x-rays and showed me how the bone density was really pregressing well. Also, for the pain I've been having in a couple of places, he gave me 2 steroid shots. He told me that everything I'm going through is normal. Also, he's all for the sports medicine stuff. He encouraged me to continue therapy/rehab at Koala. I'm going Wednesday morning. I asked him if I should take it easy, he said, NO! Just do what you would normally do. Unsolicited, he even offered that running would be GOOD FOR IT!!! WOW, that's not the report I was expecting. I could not have asked for more encouragement. And now, with the shot, I'm pretty much pain-free.

I did have a bit of trouble with my health insurance. Despite the fact that I've gotten steroid injections without pre-authorization in the past, they insisted that I need pre-authorization. So, at first, the office said I needed to make ANOTHER appointment to come back and get the shot. I really didn't know who to be mad at because this really didn't make sense. To save money and manage my care, it was necessary to pay for 2 doctor's visits? Why not just say 'OK' and let me get it done while I'm in the office? Once I found out that the doctor's hands were tied, I got on the phone with the insurance company and got the ball rolling. After an hour and a half, I was approved and I got the shot. It was worth it.

I'm going out for a walk/jog now (7 pm). I'm anxious to see how it feels.


Monday, September 26, 2005

1.3 to start the week

I was able to go out for 1.3 miles at Memorial Park this evening. I ran out from the stretching area at the tennis courts to the little road that leads into the golf course on the east side and back. I did a lot of stretching before and after which is always a good thing.

My ankle just doesn't seem to be doing well at all. I'm really confused as to what's wrong. I don't know if it's just weakness and atrophy or if there's really something wrong with it. Fortunately, I have a post-op visit with my podiatrist tomorrow. I have a lot of questions for him. Also, I'm going to be getting back on track with treatments/rehab at Koala on Wednesday. I'm fearful that I am continuing to spend $$ at Koala and there may be something really wrong with the ankle. I guess I will get this all sorted out tomorrow. I'm going to insist on much more than a cursory exam and a quick in and out, like some doctors do.

It seems our city is getting back to normal. There were sure tons of people at Memorial park. And the gas station on Washington had gas and no lines, just a few people getting gas (normal). Traffic is still light. Cassie, Sarah, Holden, and Edwin are back in town. Haven't heard anything from Jessica or Jen. Hope all is well with them. Later.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


If anyone out there is thinking about coming back, DO NOT!!! Pres. Bush, Mayor White, and Judge Eckels are urging evacuees from all affected counties to stay put. There is already beginning to be a major traffic jams. Most people do not have power. THERE IS NO GAS!!! in Houston or anywhere surrounding and on the way in. Schools will definitely not be open on Monday. They're thinking about staying closed even later. There have been police cars patroling my neighborhood since dawn so don't worry about your property. Police are out in full force. Just take the weekend and stay where you are at. Most importantly, they need to keep the lanes clear for emergency relief vehicles to get to those areas that need relief. Also, CenterPoint needs to be able to get around. Gas trucks and food trucks need to be able to get through. Nothing is open. Not Kroget or Denny's or anything. We're not even having church this weekend. PLEASE STAY PUT!!!

After Rita

We are so fortunate. We still have power and the only wind damage, if you want to call it that, is a lot of small limbs all over the yard. I know that others are going through a tough time and I certainly sympathize and hope that I can find a way to help. Anyway, God bless those who are making their way back home. Be safe all.

Awakened but all ok

I was awakened at about 2:30 by something. No really any noise. Maybe I just sensed some change in the conditions outside. The wind has really picked up... not so much sustained wind but gusts really whipping the trees around. I'm so lucky not to have lost power. If I get through the night with no loss of power, it will be a miracle. I heard a transformer BOOM!!! a few streets to the north. Still, all in all, I doubt that these gusts are even tropical storm strength. Edwin says he's getting rain now in Lufkin. I hope this storm just moves on through east Texas and on out. That would really be lucky. Hope everyone is safe.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Elderly couple die in bus explosion

Jan just called crying. She said she knew 2 of the elderly folks, a man and his wife, who were on the bus that exploded this morning. The couple had just moved to the Bellaire community from Jan's place. She had cared for them and knew them well. The wife was killed in the accident while the husband was rescued. Sad that this tragedy happened.

50,000 without power already

Of the 1.9 million customers serviced by CenterPoint energy, 50,000 are already without power as early as 7 p.m. Most of those outages are localized in the southern part of CenterPoint's service area. If your power fails, KHOU - Channel 11 is broadcasting audio on 3 FM stations and 1 AM station.


Earlier this afternoon, I put our garbage can into the garage to keep it from blowing down the street. Thus, my garage really stinks!!!


5:30 p.m. - WOW!!! I just looked out my window and there was a significant gust. The chinaberry tree next door was bent over in half and there was about 30 seconds of serious rain. All is calm now though. Very strange!!!


5:45 pm - I know it's early but I just filled the tub up with water for flushing the toilet in case we lose water.


Unfortunately, we have DirectTV so we will probably lose TV a lot sooner than if we had cable.


OMG! There's a bar open in Galveston and there are a bunch of people there partying. How stupid!!!


6:30 pm - Radar shows that light rain bands are beginning to reach Jon's part of town (Spring).


Sophie, our little dog is a nervous wreck. She usually just lays around the house and is pretty mellow. Well, she keeps pacing around the house, just going from room to room. Maybe she knows what's brewing.

Bloggers online with updates

Just wanted to link to some blogs that are still active as Rita approaches. I'll add to this post as the night progresses so check back.

  • Of course, this blog will be active with updates as long as the power is on.
  • As we would expect, Jon's staying connnected and providing info and updates on his family as well as general info on what's going in Spring and the Woodlands.
  • Edwin Quarles is blogging from Lufkin. Edwin is from Angelton and I believe has evacuated to Lufkin to stay with family.
  • As busy as Lisa's been, she's managed to keep us updated on her Run Strong/Run Long blog.
  • Blogger and Houston Strider Holden Choi just updated his Twenty Six Point Two blog. Today's update is worth reading.
  • Check out what's going on with Sarah's blog from Conroe.
  • Channel 11, KHOU-TV's blog features the latest updates from 11 News and KHOU.com on Tropical Storm Rita.
  • Pet lovers and those concerned with animals can go to Animal Attraction for updates on pets and animals affected by Rita and Katrina.

All of these bloggers are working hard to stay online and post updates (actually, it's more fun than work!) so be sure and comment if you visit any of the blogs.

These are just a few blogs that I know of that are active. Thanks all for posting and commenting. Again, I'll edit this post as I find more blogs open. Post a link to your blog in a comment if you want me to add you to the list.

Passing time getting ready for Rita

Ben got out his colors and is working on a couple of pages in case Houston MFA has room for his work after the storm."
Ben coloring
Dalton, keeping us all calm with some soothing sounds.
Dalton's jammin'
Here's a shot out our front door at around 1:30 pm. The calm before the storm.
Calm before the storm
Sophie's suitcase is packed. She suggests we leave town, LIKE NOW!!!
Sophie's packed and ready

Friday morning in Houston

Well, I guess I should give an update on me and mine as Rita approaches. I hesitated to do so as I really didn't think anyone would be cruising the blogs at such a time. Note to self...that's really stupid! Of course the bloggers are still up and cruising!

I guess I'll go back to Wednesday morning to start. First of all, Jan is a GM at an assisted living community in Cy-fair and has been non-stop since word of the storm hit the news. Her company evacuated several facilities from Zones A and B. Jan has been a bit frustrated as her corporate offices, who have 'taken charge', are not as...how should I say this?...as thoughtful in making decisions as those 'closer to the ground' (i.e. the managers at the properties). I told her it's just a fact in any organization (IMHO) that the higher up you go, the less efficient things become. (again, IMHO) I think that was the whole problem in New Orleans. There was poor leadership and inaction at the lowest levels of government (city AND state) and whenever you just defer to the federal government, the highest level of government, for planning and emergency management, it's just not going to be as efficient. Anyway, I digress. So, Jan has been working pretty much non-stop since Tuesday. She was home Tuesday and Wednesday night but has been at her property since then. Many of her employees did not show up, despite Jan's securing gasoline for them. She even told them they could bring their families to the property to stay while the employees worked. They have a kid's area set up. But she is down to less than a bare minimum staff to care for the residents. However, my wife is a special individual and somehow, some way always gets done what has to be done. She loves her staff and employees so much and it really shows in the job that she does.

As for me and the kids, we planned to go to Ft. Worth to stay with my sister and her kids. Hermann Memorial has been great in understanding that some employees need to take care of their families and they let me off Wed and Thurs night. My mom and dad were going to go with us so we planned on leaving Wednesday night. About an hour before we planned on leaving (10 pm), Mom told Dad how long we were going to be on the road in traffic. I think we estimated 10-12 hours or possibly more. Dad said he wasn't going to go. Mind you at that time, the storm was heading straight for Galveston. So, it ended up just being me and the kids. I got a little sleep and headed out around 3:30 am. Jan had spoken to a friend that got out earlier in the day and got a shortcut from her. The route was through NW Houston, onto the beltway feeder and over to 249. From there we could go through Tomball, Magnolia and then backroads over to 45 at about Centerville. She had not problem getting there and after Magnolia was travelling 50-70 mph. GREAT!!! So, we took off. 249 was flying most of the way out and I'm thinking, 'Aren't I smart?' Then we hit the traffic. We went 20 miles total from my house in about 5 hours (keep in mind that 12 of those miles were smooth traveling out past Cypresswood to where 249 ends. The rest of the way was creeping along. As Steve said in a comment on Jon's blog, EXCRUCIATING!!! I decided (early enough into the trip, thank goodness) that this was not going to work. I had a prescient vision of running out of gas, nowhere for the kids to go to the bathroom, just misery. Turns out that this came true for so many people. So we turned back and came home.

So here we are, hunkerin' down. We have plenty of food and water. Not doing too well on batteries But I do have a lantern with 2 or 3 butane canisters so I'm ok on light. My MP3 player receives FM radio so if I want to use that, I will. Channel 11 simulcasts on several FM radio stations. There is also a live WebCast for our out-of-towners to watch through the storm. Man, I wish I had one of those big battery backups for my computer. I'm going to fill the bathtub with water to flush the toilet (if needed). We have plenty water with backup at my parents' home just a few of miles away.

We are a little anxious here. Actully, I am. The kids are just kids and oblivious to anything but the current moment. They've almost eaten all of the chips and junk food that we bought in preparation for the storm. Hopefully, they'll just store thos calories and be able to use them later. :) I hope everyone stays safe. I'll be bloggin this evening as long as the power stays on.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

CCR photo album

I've set up this photo album to share pics from the CC Relay. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

CC Relay pics

Here are a couple of pics from Saturday's Cross Country Relay. The Houston Striders had BOOKOO folks and it was a blast. I wish so much that I could have been out there running. It was a real bummer but getting to see all my fellow bloggers/Striders/coaches/comrades out there made an awesome afternoon for me. More pics to follow (I've got over 100). I need to get them up to a sharing site. Just don't know where yet. I may just send them all to Steve. We'll see.

(Jen, sorry my camera malfunctioned when you sped by. Darn batteries!!! Jen, I found a pic. It's below. Also, Tiggs, sorry your pic is so far away. I blinked and you were already past me.)

Strider Nation Blog This! Striders team Jon Tiggs (Cassie) Jessica Jen Holden

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Podium, lectern, or pulpit?

I know this does not at all fit into the description that I published for this blog but I just have to get this off my chest.

At the front of my biology classroom at UHD, as in most classrooms, there sits a podium where the professor stands to teach the subject at hand. At least that's what simple ol' me calls it. In this particular class, however, the professor refers to the podium by its 'proper name', lectern. I'm so tired of his saying that word. "Please pick up the handout from the lectern. As you pass by the lectern, please ..." It's certainly not that I am averse to the word. It's just that this professor really bugs me. Let me tell why."

This is supposed to be a biology class. Moreover, this is supposed to be a university where students come not just to learn facts but to start to really learn how to learn. It really annoys me, though, when professors use the podium (or lectern) to preach their worldview in a manner that denigrates others. I won't get into the specifics (maybe another time and another blog) but this professor presented a list on a transparancy of 'irrefutable facts.' These are facts that have been 'proven' and 'we can at least agree on these.' Well, one of the irrefutable facts was 'the earth is 4.5 billion years old.' Then this guy starts to talk about how for so many years, Judeo-Christian ideas 'clouded and confused' the truth about life and the universe. I think he even took a couple of less than thoughtful shots at Republicans. I think it does a disservice to students, especially younger ones, to not encourage discourse and thinking and to be so close-minded and dogmatic. Usually, Christians are the ones being accused of this.

I have a new word for his lectern. PULPIT!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Short walk/jog per Drs. R & N

It's Wednesday and tonight was week 2 of PIM (Power in Motion). My plan tonight was to just show up to see some friends and get some free water but I ended up running into the Koala folks. Drs. Nell and Rodriguez were on hand and after a bit of pleading, I talked them into letting me run a little since the ankle has been feeling better. What a great present they gave to this depressed runner. I had to promise if there was any burning or if my gait began to change in any way, I would stop.

I ended up doing 5 x 2walk/1jog. It was just about 3/4 of a mile. Still, it felt really good. I had done weights earlier this afternoon and some very, very light calf work. I think the short jog and the weights were just the right amount of stress at this point. Now, I'll rest and recover. I'm due at Koala on Friday morning for treatment which I think fits perfectly into the plan. I may even be able to repeat my light workout on Saturday morning. It was great tonight to see fellow Striders/bloggers/friends. I talked with Andrea Chan a little about cycling. I told her I wanted to do a tri one day. Andrea is riding a Cannondale R500 currently. She said she did her first tri on a hybrid which made me feel better about not having to drop so much money just to get into it. I ran into Brett Riley who was going out for a 10-miler. I saw him again later, flying by everyone during my run. Also, it was great to talk injuries, stretching, and pets with fellow blogger/Strider/friend Cassie. Cassie will be running in the HARRA Cross Country Team Relay on Saturday along with a ton of other Striders. I'm planning on being on had for moral support and to take some pictures. That's all for now.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Rehab Report

According to Dr. R, my rehab is progressing. Here's a short report from this week and some thoughts.

Since last Friday, I've spent $240.00 at Koala Centers for treatments and consultation. I only mention this to remind myself not to BLOW IT!!! by trying to do something stupid like go out and run 2 miles or something just because I'm feeling better. That would be money down the drain. Dr. R wants to see me two times next week. In the mean time, I'm doing ice and warm soaks along with some exercises on the wobble foam. Maybe a little bit of walking.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Fall '05 PIM underway

Tonight marked the beginning of the 14th (I think) semi-annual session of PIM (Power in Motion), a 10 week, adult, 5K running clinic, for new and intermediate runners put on by the Houston Area Road Runners Association. This will be my second time to attend the PIM program and I must say that I am very proud of all those involved in making this such a quality clinic. I know I haven't participated in many running clinics but PIM must be one of the best around, especially for beginners. The environment is so encourging. The coaches are great and the event tonight went on without a single hitch. It's so obvious that much work and planning went into the program. Kudos to Pam and Lisa for making it all look so easy. I know they have worked hard and it shows.

Certainly the highlight of the evening was getting to meet Cassie, one of my fellow Houston bloggers. Funny thing was that even though we had never met, I felt like we were already good friends. It was awesome to finally meet Cassie. She's really a neat person who's been through a lot this past year with her dual ITB injuries. Looking forward to running and racing a lot with Cassie in the years to come. Cassie recently joined the Houston Striders and it's great to have her on our team.

It was wonderful to see many of my fellow Houston Striders in attendance as coaches, participants, and event workers. It's been a long time but it was great to see my friend, Debbie Rodriguez. Debbie was in the Carbos group with me during the Fall '04 PIM session. Both she and her husband Charlie are runners and members of the Houston Striders. Debbie recently posted an awesome 36:46 at the Fired up 5K this past weekend. WTG, Debbie!!! We both ran the Houston Press 5K last January. In fact, we somehow found each other during the race in the sea of I don't know how many thousand people and we spoke for a bit as she was passing me. Also got to speak to my former PIM coach and all around awesome encourager, Andrea Chan. Andrea did a loop around the park before we even began the festivities. She's awesome!!! Jack Rubalcava was on hand helping with cool refreshments (water and juice) and it was nice to visit with him. Jack has a great attitude about running and is a great down-to-earth guy. Jack, too, ran the Fired up 5K (38:27). Also good to see so many other familiar faces, Steve and Barb, Rose, Doug, Juan, Amalia, Megan (I didn't recognize her at first), Pam, Lisa, and so many others. I really need to learn everybody's name.

Hey, I just realized something. I had so much fun and I didn't even get to run tonight. Dr. R sidelined me while she is working on my ankle. Still, it was a great event and even if I were unable to run at all during the whole 10 weeks, it still would be worth every dime to be around such a fine organization and to be with such good friends, especially my good friend Cassie. More on PIM in the coming weeks so stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Big runner sidelined!!!

At the end of my session this afternoon at Koala, I was informed that I cannot run until they get some more work done on my ankle. I can walk a little for now but not if I have even a moderate amount of pain. Dr. Rodriguez really wants me to avoid a lot of extra stress right now while we're trying to get the swelling down and scar tissue worked out.

That means that running at PIM (Power in Motion) is out of the question. Still, since I'm shooting for perfect attendance, and since I'm looking so forward to meeting Cassie(Tiggs) and seeing some other friends, I'll definitely be there. I will probably do a short walk after things get going. And, hey, Free Water!!! Gotta love that.

I'm still excited that I'm getting this rehab under control and making progress. It sure is good to have a plan and the folks at Koala are the best at getting you back on the road.


Big runner says, "Do this right!"

I really want to do this comeback the right way! It's been a long, tiring, frustrating journey with this ankle and I want so badly to progress and not regress. Unfortunately, it continues to be a learning experience and at times it's two steps forward and one step back.

First of all, the good news. After just 2 sessions at Koala Health and Wellness Centers, I have noticed a huge increase in flexibility and a decrease in pain along the side of the ankle where it has really been hurting. I think they were able to really break up some of the scar tissue and get things moving around in there. Saturday's 2 mile jaunt felt really great, compared to earlier in the week.

Now the bad news. I've got a little bit of what I'm sure is achilles tendonitis in that ankle. I think that the cause of this is jumping into training too fast, especially the long, continuous runs from 25-over 30 minutes. I'm definitely going to go back to a run/walk regimen and stick to 3 times per week. I can always do elliptical 1 or 2 other days. I don't think this puts a damper on PIM (Power in Motion). I will definitely join Aerobics or Batons and start out super easy. Both of those groups start out with a walk/run regimen and build up gradually.

I just have to remember the important addage, "just because you can doesn't mean you should!


Monday, September 05, 2005

RW running blogs article (Oct issue)

My October issue of Runner's World has been sitting on the kitchen counter for a couple of days. I just opened it up on the way to work tonight (on the bus) and found something cool. The Training column for this issue is an article on How using a 'training blog' can help you get fit and focused. It's on p. 33 if any of you have your issue.

Interestingly, they actually included addresses to a couple of blogs. One is Alison Wade's eliterunning.com. Good blog. Former Olympian Joan Nesbit Mabe's blog at runningland.com is maintained to inspire other runners. Australian runner David Bray gets feedback on his blog at davebray.blogspot.com from runners in the US, many of whom are training for the same international races.

So, looks like the running community has really embraced the whole blog thing. I think it's awesome. Just remember, before Runner's World ever reported on runners keeping weblogs, Jon Walk was reporting on it for Stridelines, the monthly newsletter of the Houston Striders. Way to be on the cutting edge, Jon!!!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Visit to Koala

After a day of rest, I went this morning to Memorial Park to run. After stretching, I went to my starting point and started my chronograph. After about .1 miles my ankle really did not feel well at all. About a 5 or 6 out of 10 on the pain meter. So, I just walked back to my truck and went back home.

I've been considering going over to Koala Health and Wellness but my podiatrist has insisted that nothing would speed along my recovery except time. I've just always thought that I should have a more structured rehab program but my doc just said, Fly! be free! Just go and do whatever you can tolerate and I'll seeya later. I trust him. Or, did.

I went over there today, to Koala, and had Dr. Rodriquez look at the ankle. She said that I have a lot of scar tissue and swelling that and I need, of course, to do some strengthening. So, they did their thing and set me up for 4 more appointments during the next 2 weeks. One thing Dr. R said was that I should have come in a long time ago. Then by now, I'd be done. Oh, yippee. LOL Anyway, this should really add to my rehab. I'm going to do a short jaunt in the morning and go for another session at Koala in the morning. Then next Tuesday/Thursday and twice the following week. We'll see then how it goes.

Just wanted to give this little report.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

9/31 Struggle

Today's 1.75 miles were a real struggle. The first real struggle since returning to the track. First of all, the heat and humidity were oppressive. Absolutely no breeze. It was the hottest I've felt all summer. Secondly, these new shoes are really putting some different stresses on my ankle. It really hurt a lot today. Now, lastly, I really wasn't a good boy. One of my training strategies is the hard/easy philosophy. I always follow a hard day with an easy one. Well, yesterday was definitely one of the hardest days I've put in since coming back. I ran 2 miles in new shoes and then lifted weights at the gym. I did some calf work with very light weights and worked out my ankle pretty thoroughly. This was the first time I've done any kind of full range-of-motion resistance on the ankle since the surgery (besides some isometric stuff sitting on the couch). Today definitely should have been a total rest day. Thinking about it now, this is so uncharacteristic of me as I am usually what most would consider overly-cautious (probably just cautious enough!) with my training and especially my ankle rehab. I'll definitely reign in the enthusiasm and go back to my conservative roots.

Stats (not really worth mentioning):
Distance: 1.75 miles
Time: 32:04 (I was barely moving by the end)
Outlook for the future: Positive!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Was today a setback?

Today, I did a couple of things differently. First of all, I dusted off the old heart rate monitor and used it on my run this morning. More on that later. Secondly, I treated myself to a new pair of shoes yesterday afternoon and ran in them for the first time.

As an aside, I kind of cringe every time I say 'I ran' because what I am doing right now, to many, would not be considered 'running'. However, at the risk of sounding pretentious, I must say that I'm really not at all concerned with the vocabulary of other athletes (e.g. 'jogging', 'waddling', 'walking'). Of course, one might say that I must be concerned since I make mention of it here. :) I will admit that there are two sides to this coin for me. On the one side, I'm embarrassed to be out there pretending that I'm a runner...buying $120 shoes...wearing a heart rate monitor...reading Dr. Daniels' running book...joining a running club...and then 'running' 16 minute miles...able to only endure 2 miles for a long run...weighing 320 lbs...being passed by all runners and most walkers. I mean who am I kidding? Then on the other side, I know that I just had surgery. But besides that, I know that everybody has to start somewhere. I remember the progress I made last year and how hard I worked. I know that it's not about how everybody else feels about my running. It's how I live my life, how I can honor God, and how I can live for my family, and grow old with them. All those people passing me and looking so fit and trim and healthy only inspire me to be a better man for my wife, Jan, and a more active and involved father for Dalton, Stephanie, and Benjamin. I'm thankful that for the most part, when I go out and hit that track, I flip that coin, it usually lands on side 2, the good side.

Ok, enough of that. This whole hurricane thing has me feeling contemplative but I'm over it now. On the fun stuff. As I mentioned, I treated myself to a new pair of shoes yesterday. I really didn't have the coin this week to do that but I decided to sell my Biology book back to the UHD bookstore. I appears the professor isn't going to be using it much. Besides, I have a friend who has a previous edition of the same book so if I need it to supplement my notes, I'll just borrow it. So, I've always run in an Asics Nimubs. I've run in Nimbus V and VI. The current model is Nimubus VII so that's what I got. I asked the guy at Luke's Locker if there were any changes to the new model and he said no. After getting the shoe on my foot and subsequently home and out of the box, I must say that there are some major changes. First of all, the mesh that covers the toe box does not have a liner at all. It's just that outer 'mesh' material and you can see your sock through the top of the shoe. It makes for a bit cooler foot. I'll have to see how it does in rain. Secondly, and more importantly, the heel has a lot more cushion. I mean you can easily compress the heel with your finger maybe .5 to .75 inches. This is a major change for me, especially with my ankle tending (pre-surgery) to roll to the outside. I do think, though, that with my ankle repaired, it will tend less to roll out. Performance? Like all the Nimbus models, they're like running/walking on air. I love the cushioning and my foot felt good landing and at toe-off. I did go down a half size since I'm not wearing orthotics anymore after my surgery. Of course with the added cushioning and flexibility, there is less support all around for my ankle and I really felt it during today's run. I think because of the smaller size and the increased cushioing/flexibility of the VII, my ankle had to work a little harder and I hurt more than it has been. I listened good though and I don't think at all that it was a bad stress/pain.

I also dusted off the old heart rate monitor today. It slowed me down considerably as I want all my training runs to be below 75% maxHR. I kept my HR low by slowing my pace well below what I had 'worked up to' through last week. My avg. pace for this past Sunday's run was 15:33. This morning's avg pace at a good, low, aerobic HR was 16:46 with the last mile being at 17:24 pace. Now some may be tempted to call this a setback. Why oh why, Vic, are you 'going backwards' and running slower? You've been really improving your times. Why go slower? Well, I just really believe from what I've read and what I have experienced in my training last year that the beginner MUST train the aerobic sytem almost exclusively the first 6 months to 1 year. This base of aerobic conditioning is the foundation of all other training. And for the distances I'm interested in participating in (5K, 10K, half, marathon), you almost have to run those at a mostly aerobic level, especially a marathon. So, for me, it's all about improving that aerobic system, increasing those mitochondrial counts, increasing capillary saturation around the muscle fibers, increasing red cell counts. Maybe I'll talk more about this in another post.

So, here are the stats of this morning's run:

Memorial Park
Temp: 84*
Distance: 1.5 miles
Time: 25:09
splits - 16:26/8:42(last .5 miles) Avg pace - 16:46
effort - <75% maxHR

Also, I'm starting today counting my calories. Since I've started running again, I haven't lost much weight at all. I think I'm taking in too many calories so I'm going to get a grip on that problem right away.

God bless...vic

Sunday, August 28, 2005

More Houston Bloggers 5K pics

I'm definitely a digital photo newbie. I got these pics up on photobucket.com but I don't really like the viewing page. In the future I think I'll use something else. I think photobucket may be good for photo storage and linking (like for e-bay or for websites and stuff) but not good for sharing and album viewing and stuff like that. I do like the way the pic looks uploaded right to the blog through this WYSIWYG editor. Anyway, suggestions welcome for sharing pics. Free and unlimited is of course best.

Click here to view pics

Sunday's workout (a few 'comeback' PR's for me)

I was off work last night so I got to do a morning run at Memorial Park this morning. It was a beautiful morning and all the beautiful people were out.

After a pretty long stretching session, I completed 2 slow miles at a converstational pace. The ankle pain was about a 2-3 out of 10, a little higher than the last couple of runs. However, I felt very comfortable with today's run. A couple 'comeback' PR's this morning which you can see in the stats to follow:

Total distance: 2 miles
Time: 31:07 (PR for 2 mile run)
Avg. pace: 15:33 (PR for 2 mile training run, PR for any training run)
mile splits: 15:24 (PR for any 1 mile)/15:42
weekly miles: 6.8 (PR)
avg weekly pace: 15:58 (PR by almost 1 minute)

Link to my route

Happy day for me!!!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Striders RRCA National Convention Planning Meeting

On Wednesday night, I was able to make it to the Houston Striders information/planning meeting for the RRCA National Convention that we are hosting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in March 2006. Check out the press release if you haven't already.

We met at Cafe Express which by the way I have never been to. I did not order any food but let me say that the food looked awesome. I really want to go back there and eat. All kinds of salads, pasta, chicken, very fresh. It all looked scrumptious. I haven't been to be involved with the Striders for many months so it was good to some old familiar faces.

Steve Shepard, Barb Shepard, Doug Spence, Brett Riley are heading up our effort and getting everything planned. There are already a lot of things in motion. There are going to be some great speakers at the Convention. Also, the whole thing is the same weekend as the HEB Bayou City Classic 10K so it promised to be an event-filled week.

I'm very proud to be a member of Houston Striders. It's a great club and offers me, as a runner, a lot of support. The club also does so much for the Houston running community. I'M PROUD TO BE A STRIDER!!!

2 miles at Memorial (Distance PR!) - 'the groove'

I love the nights off work because after a good night's sleep, I get to run in the morning, at the beginning of the day. I love mornings so much.

Had breakfast around 5:30, cereal, milk, and a turkey sausage patty. I decided instead of hitting the track early that I would stick around and help Jan get the kids off to school, sweet, thoughtful husband that I am. After helping out with breakfast, getting the kid's clothes together, 'encouraging' them to hurry up, Jan tells me that my being here 'messed her routine up and now she's running late.' She was being funny, not mean, of course. But my being there made her relax a bit, not hustling like she usually does, making herself late getting ready for work. Funny, huh?

So, I dropped my 4th grader (Stephanie) off and headed over to Memorial Park. After a good stretch routine I set out counter-clockwise from the front of the tennis center. The ankle felt slightly painful walking to the start but once I started, the pain subsided to a 1 or 2 out of 10. We think about a lot of wierd things when we run, or at least I do. I began to think about that little groove that is to the far outside of the Memorial trail. I loved running in 'the groove' this morning. It brought back memories of my first running days, about this same time last year. I thought of how heavy I was back then (still am) and how I just had to stay to the right, out of everyone's way. I remember that being ok with me, that if I stuck with it, I'd one day have to leave 'the groove' and actually pass someone. Still, there's something humbling about running in 'the groove'. It makes me thankful to God just to be out and in motion, like He created me to be. When I'm in 'the groove' it's not about the speed or the distance. It's just a peaceful time. There's peace in knowing I don't have to pass anyone. There's inspiration in seeing so many pass me. I had a great time.

So, a new comeback PR for distance, 2 miles. I really think for a while (maybe the next 2 weeks) that 2 miles is just the right amount of stress for the ankle. I really think anymore would be pushing the limits. Also, after 2 miles, I don't think it wise to run the next day. I'm really going to take at least the next day off, maybe the next 2 days. Today's 2 miles helped me, though, as I'm testing my limits, listening to my body, and trying to plan my future training. I think I'm going to take off Friday and Saturday and do another 2 miles on Sunday morning. I'm off work Saturday night so it'll be fun. Then next week, I'll probably do 1.5 Tuesday, 1.5 Wednesday, maybe walk on Friday, and do 2 or 2.5 on Saturday or Sunday. Of course all my runs for the next 6 months or so will be at a conversational pace. Power in Motion (PIM) starts the following Wednesday and I think I'll be ready to join one of the easier groups. I'll have to get with Pam or Lisa and see what group they recommend. I'm running 2 miles continuously but at a very slow pace. They may want me to join one of the run/walk groups and go a little faster. Personally, I think the continuous running, however slow it is, if I can do it, is best. I may be waaaayyyy in the back of the pack but if I've already worked up to 2 miles continuous running, I don't see how walk/run would be better for me. Acutally, come to think about it, this is pretty much where I was last year when I started PIM, able to run continuously for about 25 minutes at about 15:00 - 15:30 pace. I'll just see what they say.

Here are the stats for this morning's run:
Distance: 2 miles (comeback PR!)
Total time: 31:52
Avg. pace: 15:56
Mile 1: 15:36 (comeback PR!)
Mile 2: 16:16
So far this week: 4.8 miles (comeback PR!)
Weekly avg pace: 16:08 (comeback PR!)
Link to my route: 2 miles Memorial Park

Oh, by the way, I re-learned something today. Visit the men's room before you start your run. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

2nd Consecutive Day Run (feels like 99*)

Knowing I would not be able to run on Wednesday, I went out for a 1.2 mile run today, the 2nd consecutive day of running (first time since I started running again).

Here are the stats:
Distance: 1.27 miles
Total time: 20:44 minutes
Avg. pace: 16:17 min/mile
Temp: 90 (FEELS LIKE 99!!!)
Link to my route

Not much else. Just got it done.

Monday, August 22, 2005

1.5 miles (Father and Son)

Great day all around!!! I started school this morning. I was registered for 2 classes but it looks like with all the other things going on this fall, I'm going to end up taking only 1 class. So, I dropped Differential Equations.

Got home from school (after working all night) around 12:40p and was dead tired. Jan (wifeypoo) had left me a note that she would pick up the kids for me since I was probably tired and we had not found anyone to pick them up on the days I go to school. So, I got to sleep until around 7. I woke up surprisingly refreshed. I really had running on the brain and wanted to get out but it was getting dark.

I've been putting off going back to Memorial but wanted to run so badly and needing a lighted track, so I went over there. My son, Dalton, wanted to join me and we set out aroung 8pm. I was thrilled Dalton wanted to come with me, partly because he needs the activity but also because he's at that age (12) where he doesn't really want anything to do with Dad and Dad's always wrong and Dad's always bugging me. We had a great conversation on the way to the park. We talked about music and skateboarding mostly.

I started my slow jog and Dalton wanted to walk. The plan was when he sees me coming back (I ran an out and back route), he can turn around and start walking back. On the return leg, we were together most of the way. He picked up his walking pace and I maintained my jog. We both were conversational and took advantage of that by talking more about a lot of stuff. It was really a great time for me.

So here are the stats:
Distance - 1.5 miles
Total time - 24:23
Avg pace - 16:15 (down 16:53 avg pace last week)
Link to my out and back route.

Oh, I almost forgot, the ankle felt good again. It only hurt after the run. Funny thing was it was a different kind of hurt. It was sort of an exhaused, workout kind of hurt. Not a stiff, atrophied tendon kind. It's testament to the fact that it's getting better as the 'ankle' subject was relegated to this last paragraph.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

News and Sentinal Half (Beat Jon to the Punch)

I'm not sure if this is rude or not but since Jon hasn't been able to report his results for the News and Sentinal Half Marathon which he ran in West Virginia, I thought I'd post a prelim report for those of us anxious to hear about how he fared.

So here are the results:
Time - 2:42:14
Overall finish - 661 out of ??? (I think 708. Jon's so much better at reading race results than I am)
Place in age group - 65 out of ???

This imcomplete and rather sorry formatting attempt shows why Jon is the race-results reporting extraordinaire.

This doesn't quite seem up to par compared to Jon's multiple sub-2:30 half's and some sub-2:20 ones. I'm anxious to hear his report. Maybe a very hilly course. What's impressive and interesting to me is Jon's progress toward running a half-marathon in all 50 states. I think this is state #16 for him. Way to go.

Jon, here's wishing you and Waverly safe travel and some good father/daughter time for the rest of the trip.