Sunday, December 31, 2006

Before it's too late

While it's still 2006, I'd like to reconsider a couple of 2007 goals that I set in a previous post.

One of those goals is yearly mileage. I previously stated 1200 as a goal for 2007. I think that may be a bit too ambitious so I'm setting that goal to 1008, exactly double my 2006 mileage. That should do just fine.

Also, I stated as my "if everything goes perfectly" goal for the Flying Pig marathon in May a 45 second per mile improvement over my Houston goal. I'm backing that down to 30 seconds per mile. That would give me a 5:47:00 if everything goes perfectly. I'll save the 13 minute pace for 2008.

I just want to be real as these are not just pie-in-the-sky goals that I pulled out of a hat. I really want these to be something that I can grab hold of and accomplish.

In other news, I was thinking. I'm an active guy. I've lost a few pounds. I ran yesterday and burned some calories. I think I'll have an oatmeal cream pie. So, I did. Then I was thinking, man-oh-man, that was good. So, I thought why not just have another. For grins before diving in, I checked the nutritional info on the box. OMG!!! EACH pie has 370 calories. 370 CALORIES!!! How in the world do they pack that many calories into that little plastic wrapper. So, instead of having another, I threw the whole box away. Those things are deadly!!! There was a day when I would have had 3 or 4 of those things, sitting down watching TV. No wonder I got up to 375 lbs. Ain't going back there.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Attn: Garmineers!!!

Thanks to some pretty cool software called SportTracks, I have discovered a very interesting phenomenon occurring with my Garmin.

One of the things that people love about the Garmin 205/305 is that it has a more powerful signal antennae than its predecessor, the 201. This is evident when running in wooded areas and around tall buildings, e.g downtown Houston. It doesn't lose signal. However, I found out today that even though the signal stays strong downtown, it's totally whacked out, looking like you're zig-zagging all over the place. And it greatly affects your mileage. Here is a screen capture of the SportTracks software, showing a short portion of my route from this morning along Rusk.

Each red dot represents a single data point recorded by my 305. As you can see, the dot's and calculated route are all over the place when I am between tall buildings. See, the signal is being received strong enough but because it's bouncing all over the buildings, it really confuses the Garmin and you see the result. My total miles for this run were 12.36 but that is from me running all over the place, into buildings, zig-zagging all over the place.

Now, thank to the edit feature in SportTrack, I can move these dots to be in line with the acual route I ran. Here's what the same portion of Rusk looks like after I painstakingly lined all those points up along my actual route.

With the erroneous zigzagging through downtown, the Garmin gave 6.13 miles from the Tennis Center to the corner of GRB. Everyone knows that it's exactly 6 miles. After moving all the points in line with my acutal route, the point at the corner of the GRB was exactly 6.0 miles. I had an extra .13 miles incorrectly added to my run. After I fixed all of the route, the total mileage for the run went from 12.36 miles to a more accurate 12.18, a difference of .18 miles.

What's funny is that my lap pace from where I entered downtown to the GRB was about 11:15 minutes per mile. I remember looking at that and thinking, I'm not going that much faster. What's going on? Well, you see, the time is constant. I mean the clock just ticks. So, if I'm spending the same amount of time zig-zagging all over the place, it looks like I'm going an extra .13 miles, for example, in the same amount of time. So, my minutes/mile is going to be falsely lower. After my corrections, it made more sense and I actually finished mile 6 in 13:08.

Just keep this in mind Garmineers. It's great to not lose signal, but be aware the signal may not be correct when running about tall buildings.


I ran a few goat trails this morning along Buffalo Bayou on the Allen Parkway side as part of my 12 mile run this morning. Is that what you call the trails up and down the bank along the bayou? Well, that's what I call them anyway.

While the SMARTies were cranking out Yasso's, I was treated to an easy 12 this morning. The route of choice was Tennis Center to GRB, of course, covering the last 5 or 6 miles of the Houston marathon. The plan going into this run was to get used to that steady, 13:45 marathon pace that would get me in at 6 hours on Jan 14. But you know what they say about "the best laid plans..."

The beginning of the run found me cruising along at a 13:14 pace, about 30 seconds off my planned pace. I liked it!!! Thank you sir, can I have another? Mile 2, same story, a 13:18. Hey, this feels real good. Once I turned onto Allen Parkway, I just decided since I was feeling my oats, I'd just see how this pace feels all the way to GRB.

Mile 3 - 13:24
Mile 4 - 13:20
Mile 5 - 13:14

I was downtown, turning down the home stretch on Rusk towards GRB and victory. 6 miles exactly to the corner of the Convention center, wrapping up mile 6 in 13:08. I slapped the wall and headed back. I was suppoed to see June out there but I think she passed me real early, when I stopped at Starbucks to take care of some "problems" I was having.

Mile 7 took me to the edge of downtown in 12:52. Water at Sabine and the first of the goat trails along the bayou highlighted Mile 8, clocked in at 13:06. Surprisingly, it wasn't too wet along the bayou, especially considering last night's storms. I would have expected a lot more mud and puddle hoppin'.

More goatin' at mile 9 (13:16), then up out of the muck and back onto Memorial for mile 10 (13:22). I cranked it up a bit for mile 11 and the last 1.18 miles, running 12:47 pace for mile 11 and bringing it home at 12:35 pace. I saw June waiting at her car and I let out a patented WARHOOP!!! BRING IT ON!!! (the marathon that is).

Total time - 2:39:57 for 12.18 miles

Another 13 minute mile and I would have handily beat my half marathon time by 7 or 8 minutes. Not too bad for a training run one week into my taper.

Oh, and I did this run without the fuel belt. I scoped out all the water fountains that Doug mentioned in a comment the other day and stopped for water at each of them. It was good recon for the 14th.

God bless!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Some 2007 goals

I was setting up my 2007 running log, getting ready for Monday and it asked for my distance goal for the year. I put 1250 miles. Considering my total miles for 2006 were 504, that may sound a bit ambitious. I would like to keep a consistent 25 miles per week for the year. So, with a couple of weeks off for whatever reason, 25 miles over 50 weeks is 1250.

I don't know if I would call this my primary goal for 2007 but it is a great springboard for some of my other goals. To keep a consistent running regimen, I will need to continue to drop more lbs. Of course, conversely, dropping more lbs. will certainly improve my running. So, consistent with my mantra, my top goal for 2007 is to live "a healthy lifestyle with running as a key component."

I've been rather self-absorbed this Summer and Fall with my running, trying to accomplish a lot of things and have regretfully not taken enough opportunities to give back. So, in 2007, it is my goal to officially volunteer in some capacity for 5 or more events. Since I don't see myself racing quite as much in the spring as I did this Fall, I would like to avail myself of the opportunities to work CPR/AED at a few of the HARRA races this year, particularly in the Spring.

Another goal is to PR at all my previous race distances. My current records are as follows:

5K - 36:45
6K - 52:04
10K - 1:18:35
half marathon - 2:59:56
25K - 3:38:11
30K - 4:19:15

I guess I need to include as a 2007 goal to finish my first marathon. It's hard to think of the Houston marathon in terms of "next year" but it does take place in 2007 so I'll include it here. I really have 3 goals for the race. I think it's a good practice to come up with 3 goals for any race. Since my main goal is just to finish, I'm not sure what would be the lesser goal. I guess if I had to state one, Goal #1 is to not injur myself. Goal #2 is to finish. And my "if everything goes perfectly" goal is to finish under 6 hours.

For the Flying Pig marathon, my #1 goal is to finish. After that, my goal is to better my Houston marathon time. And my "if everything goes perfectly" goal is to finish in 5:40:00 which is 13 minute pace. That's ~45 seconds off my Houston "if everything goes perfectly" goal pace. I think with the continued weight loss and training that this is a reasonable goal.

Of course, these all hinge and will always be trumped by the single most important goal to me. That is to remain healthy and free from injury. I will continue to train conservatively and to take no chances when it comes to risking injury. That doesn't mean I won't be trying my hand at some speedwork or perhaps tackling some hills here and there. It does mean that I will listen to my body, take care to not overtrain, and continue to train with a humble and thankful mind and attitude. Staying healthy and injury-free overrides any other goal I have set for myself, plain and simple.

There may be more to follow!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sparse turnout at the Hop!

Only 5 Striders turned out at the Hop tonight. I know the holidays are busy and there are a lot of folks out of town. Still, I was expecting to see Steve B out there. Sure missed you, buddy! Still, fun was had.

I took off about 10 minutes early for my warmup and ran into Yong Collins heading back towards the picnic table. She turned right around and ran the remainder of the 2 miles with me. Think she had already done 8 and is tapering off in preparation for the Kingwood marathon on Monday. I guess Yong didn't mind running 13 minute miles with me. :o) I felt like I picked up the pace pretty good for me while we were running together. Yong is super cool. Turns out she knows my new bestest running buddy, Dusty well. Anyway, Yong told me about her training and about running marathons and gave me a few pointers. Interestingly, Yong, a big-time, fast, veteran of Lord knows how many marathons, does not do speed work at all during marathon season. She said she does speedwork in the summer but none at all during marathon season.

I felt really good tonight. The Hop routine, although still very challenging, is coming a bit easier to me than the first time I did it. I completed all the exercises, including the Greyhounds, in good fashion. Of course, the 2 mile warmup was fun and I was feeling good. I just ran about 15 mintues for the cooldown as it was getting late and I'd like to run 4 or 5 in the morning.

A friend of mine today was talking about pace groups for the marathon. I guess I never really considered it but I looked on the web site today and they have a 6:00 hour pace group. I wonder if that would be a good idea to join them. Alternatively, Dusty said he would pace me to a 6:00 hour finish if I wanted him to. His goal is to finish and continue his streak so that's another option. Wonder what others think about this. Any advice?

God Bless!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Momma Matt told me there'd be days like this

Last time I visited the best barber shop in town, I remember Matt telling me about a day in the near future where I would feel pretty good and go out for a run. Then after about a mile, I would just feel like I couldn't take another step. My strength would be zapped and I would just walk back to the car and go home.

Well, Matt, I got 3 miles tonight and felt like that. Completely zapped. And what's wierd is I was kind of pumped up going into tonight's run. I mean my legs felt good. My tummy was feeling good. Stretching was great! I felt strong. Then WHAM!!! I just packed it in. Walked a lot of mile 3 but finished it anyway.

I'm not gonna try and figure out what's going on. It's really no big deal. One thing is that it's real easy after doing longer runs to blow off 16.5 like it's JUST 16.5 miles. But 16.5 miles is a long way. So, I'm probably still feeling the effects of that run on Saturday. Plus, yesterday was Christmas and I ate my share of bad food including more sweets than I've probably eaten the whole month. So, I was draggin a bit tonight.

I've eaten well today, though so we'll see what tomorrow's 8 miler brings. I owed 2 miles anyway so I'll give it back to tonight's run and call it 5. :o)

Report from the doc

I went to see the doctor this morning. What a great office visit. I was signed in, saw the doctor and was out of there in about 1 hour. Guess the day after Christmas is a good time to visit the doctor.

So, NO HERNIA!!! No problem other than a possibly a "strain" or some inflammation. He seems to think some heavy duty doses of motrin would do the trick real quick. I guess this doctor, who I've never seen before, thought he would be funny. I told him that I had this pain in my abdomen that was aggravated when running. He said, "Well, you know what I say. Stop running." Then he laughed uncontrollably at his own sick joke. So I said, "Well, I'd like to see another doctor" with a straight face. He realized quickly that I didn't think that was funny.

Now, it looks like the taper is on. Strangely, after a couple of missed runs from being sick, recovering from the 30K, and trying to shake this abdomen thing, this week's mileage will actually be up from the last few weeks. Some taper, huh? My weekly mileages the last 3 weeks have been 21, 13, and 22, down from 25, 29, and 34 in weeks before that. Now, this week, if I follow Hal's week of taper, I'll log 29 miles plus the 2 extra yesterday. Guess I could give those two back on Wednesday if I had to. So, if the motrin starts to work and I feel 80% or so this week, here's the schedule.

Monday - 2 (done)
Tuesday - 5 miles
Wednesday - 8 miles (may give 2 back)
Thursday - 4 (probably HOP'n)
Friday - rest
Saturday - 12 miles
Sunday - rest

I saw a couple of movies this weekend that have me fired up. First, I saw the new Rocky Balboa movie. AWESOME!!! Then, my son got the movie Rudy for Christmas and we watched that yesterday. Talk about a couple of motivational flicks. I think I'm ready for the marathon RIGHT NOW!!!


Monday, December 25, 2006

Gathering information

About an hour before a house full of family and friends were due to arrive for Christmas dinner, I decided to go on a little fact finding mission. I donned the cold weather running gear and took off out the front door for a little spin.

I figured one of two things would happen. Either I'd end up after a couple of miles with the same pain that cheated me of my 21 miler on Saturday or I'd feel relief. Although I knew it was still there, the pain in my abs didn't bother my run at all. It was a short recover run at an easy pace but it was a good test. If nothing else, it gives me a little more information to take to the doctor when I visit tomorrow (hopefully).

Total distance - 2.0 miles
Splits - 13:25 / 13:28

That brings me to another minor problem. I don't have a doctor!!! Besides Koala and my podiatrist, I don't really have a doctor. I have a physical exam done every year at the Memorial Hermann Wellness Center but as far as a GP or Family Practice doctor, I don't have a clue who to call. And do I go to a GP for this ab problem or to an orthopaedic? I guess I'll figure it out tomorrow.

This week is shaping up to be good and bad. It's bad because the rest of the family is going to DW's house in LA through the New Year's weekend. It's good because the rest of the family is going to DW's parents' house in LA through the New Year's weekend. :o) Yes, I'm gonna miss them big time but I have a lot going on at work this week and I need to concentrate on my nutrition and my running. This is much easier to do by myself. So, a lonely week but hopefully a good week 1 of taper time.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Major shrinkage!!!

First things first. Bessie, what kind of cruel joke was that? How in the world did I let you talk me into a 15-minute ICE BATH?!?!? You made it sound so fun. IT WASN'T!!! I still don't know where "everything" went to!!! All I know is I'd better feel like a million dollars by this time tomorrow and "everything" had better fall back into place real soon or you're gonna owe me a chocolate milk. :o)

And... let me just say, JUNE!!! YOU DID IT!!! When I saw you coming down picnic loop I was like, WOAH!!! June's bookin' it. I think that's the strongest I've ever seen you finish a run. Oh, wait...I've never seen you finish a run. Seriously, congratulations. You are sooooo gonna rock the marathon. And glad to hear you've finally had a come-to-Jesus about the hills. Whatever Bill said or did, WTG!

And Steve Bezner rocked the house today, finishing the longest Longest Long Run distance of 23+ miles in about 7:25 pace. Can you say BQ? Congrats, Steve

Jessica was all smiles too at the finish. I think that was a distance PR for Jessica. Either way, congrats on a great run!!!

Now, I've been sworn to positive thoughts about today by Coach Steeeve. You're not gonna hear me repeat any negative statements or thoughts about today. So, you'd better be sure and listen close the first time (that's an old Hee Haw line in case you don't remember).

Today's run was fabulous (see? postitive thoughts). Seriously, the weather was perfect and I had the honor of running with 18-time veteran of the Houston marathon and overall incredible person, Dusty Cook. Dusty is a wealth of knowledge about marathoning and running and shared some great tips and stories with me. We talked about running, the Lord, kids, business, running...It was a blast. I think I've made a good friend. Thanks for the tour of the course, Dusty. You are awesome!!!

Dusty left me at about mile 16.5, not because he was tired of running slow but because I had to stop. The spot in my lower abdomen that has been nagging me all week really flared up bad starting at around mile 11. I was gutsy for a while but stopped at the water stop at around 16.5 and that was it. Dusty went on and finished in great fashion. I hitched a ride back with Chris and got to hang around and watch everyone come in, Dusty and June included.

So, I don't really know what's going on with my abdomen. A few people I've talked to doubt it's running related. I don't know anything about that area but I'm kind of suspicious that it may be a hernia. I'm going to get it checked out on Tuesday.

I told Steeeve that it may be a hernia and he admonished me that whatever I do, don't watch this video, which happens to be the funniest thing I've ever seen in my entire life. Thanks Steeeve for the laugh. I needed it.

I received a complaint from SB that my posts were getting too long and when they're too long, he just put's "good job, Vic" in the comments and skips reading the post. So, I'm ending here. :|

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Too much, too soon!!!

No, not me. The verdict is still out on me. I'm talking about a world-class athlete, possibly the world's best athlete, who recently decided to have a go at the NYC marathon with less than adequate training. That's right. I'm talking about Lance Armstrong.

I discovered recently a poorly publicized fact that the “shin splint” problem that nagged him during his training and in the marathon is really a stress fracture. He must now avoid impact-related training for 6-12 weeks as it heals.

Lance may have the most well-developed aerobic system in the world but he committed a classic new runner mistake. He did not train to prepare his musculoskeletal system for the pounding it took during marathon training and actually running the marathon. This is why it is almost univerally advised that a new runner run for a year or more before attempting a marathon.

I always say to other noobs, like me, on the RW forums that "just because you can, doesn't mean you should." What I mean is, like Lance, just because you can go out and run 20 miles or do a hard Yasso workout or a tough hill workout, doesn't mean you should. The pounding that you take when you run is immense. And on top of that, like me, many new runners are overweight, increasing the stress on joints, muscles, tendons, cartilage.

If I were reading this post, I'd say, "Well, Vic, you sure don't practice what you preach. YOU just started running in March and YOU're running a marathon. What's up with that?" Well, that would be correct. What I am doing is NOT the smartest thing and probably over-ambitious. Looking back to June/July, I and others would have probably predicted that I would have ended up in as bad a shape as Lance if not worse.

I have, however, done things a lot differently from Lance. I think the one most important thing is that I have not been afraid or ashamed to run slowly. Sure it helps that my aerobic system isn't well-developed and I probably couldn't run fast if I wanted but I always run within myself. Lance probably made a mistake by committing to the sub-3 hour goal. Also, I listen to my body and back off at any sign of trouble. Lance's shin splints were nagging him throughout his training. I know that Lance is a world-class athlete with the whole world watching him. He has sponsors, interviews, magazine covers, and a whole lot of other pressure. Fortunately, I have the luxury of stepping back from the marathon whenever I choose. There's no shame for me in stepping back to the half and living to run a full another day. (No, June, I'm not switching to the half!).

I think Lance, like many new runners, set himself up for this. Was it worth it? Probably!!! Will he heal? I'm sure. Does he have regrets? I doubt it. But I think it's a good lesson for new runners.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Test drive in the jungle

Wow, this morning felt like some scene out of Predator where those guys are traipsing through the jungle, sweating profusely, swatting flies. The mosquitos were back, the humidity was back, and the profuse sweating was back despite temps in the mid-70's.

I was a little disappointed that the doc's at Koala left today's workout up to me. Dr. Doyle, who saw me on Monday, was not in the office yesterday so all I got from the other Dr. Doyle was the standard spiel, "go ahead and run, unless it hurts or affects your gait." So, the plan this morning was left up to me. Although I would have liked to go longer, I decided to do 3 since this was my first run this week after a couple of treatments. BUT!!! Even though I wasn't going long, I needed a little more rigorous test drive than an very easy 3 might give me. So, I kicked it up a notch and boy did it feel GOOD!!!

Splits - 13:25 / 12:57 / 12:19

I felt really good. I knew the abdomen was there as there was still some residual pain but just a little bit. I actually couldn't tell if it was inflammation or just soreness from the hurt that Bre put on me with her deep tissue massage thing. On Tuesday, when Bre "exposed" the area, her eyes got big and her jaw dropped. I'm thinking, well...never mind. I won't tell you what I was thinking. She exclaimed, "Yikes, I bruised you up pretty bad yesterday." At least I have the receipt so I can explain those bruises to the wifey-poo.

June, I don't want to argue about this now but shows 41 degrees at 6 am on Saturday rising only to 57 by noon. Mmmm doggie!!! If that holds, it's gonna be the most awesome day!!! Great day for a distance PR for Vic and June and Bill (I think) and Jessica and ... who else? I'm getting psyched!!! LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!

Oh, and Bill, if you're gonna try to lead me astray, you should know my real weaknesses. KFC, Pizza Hut meat lovers pan pizza with extra cheese, and hot Shipley's donuts. It's making you hungry, isn't it? You're going down!!! I'm going down!!! I will be THE WINNER LOSER!!! Doh!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I can vaguely recall the last time I tried to do the elliptical trainer. I vividly remember how laborious it was. I remember not being able to do it more than 5 or 10 minutes without a break.

Well, this morning's return to the dreaded trainer after a long haitus was nothing like I remember. I had no problem doing 45 minutes and actually got into what felt like a groove once I got going. The purpose today was to just get a workout in while my abdomen heals. I worked up a pretty good sweat. I got to where I could let go and sort of swing my arms like I was running and it was kind of fun. Of course, afterwards, I walked outside to get my clothes out of my car and I was longing to be OUTSIDE, RUNNING!!! I actually ran to my car, maybe 100 feet. Only felt the abs slightly.

I'll be following doctor's orders to the letter and WILL be ready for Saturday's LLR.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Do I have to experience everything?

Well, so far I've experienced long runs, short runs, long races, 5K's, 10K's, a half marathon, a 25K, a 30K, ibuprofen, tempo runs, cold weather, warm weahter, PR's, crashes, group runs, solo runs, hills, Terry Hershey, trail runs, Gu's, fuel belts, night runs, morning runs, Christmas lights runs, epsom salt baths, chafing, hot weather, cold weather, warm weather. Seems like I've done it all in the past 7 months. Guess the journey wouldn't be complete without a mid-marathon-training injury. But I've done the whole injury thing before. In fact, I did it BIG TIME!!! So, I really could have done without this fun experience.

Actually, it's more of a nag than an injury, but enough of a nag to keep me from completing my 14 miler on Sunday. And enough of a nag that I was at Koala this morning when the doors opened. So, where is this nag? Well, you would think I'd have had problems with my ankle or my knees, or my ITB, or shins or PF or achilles. But, NO, it's my lower abdomen. And when I say lower, I mean L-o-w-e-r!!! Like just below my belt but above my...ahem!!!

Don't know how it happened. After the 30K, my whole body pretty much felt like crap. As the week progressed, everything started to feel normal again, except this spot in my abdomen. I really felt it after the Christmas Lighs run. Then again on Friday night. Jamoosh, no, I didn't ditch those miles just for a Christmas party. I think when I posted that, I was in denial. In fact, I've been in denial until yesterday morning when my long run was cut short. It wasn't that I could not have run through the pain. It really wasn't that bad. But I wanted to not do anything to aggravate it more until I could see what the problem was.

So, the kind folks at Koala have agreed to get me back in good form by Saturday's important LLR. After treatment today, I'm confined to the elliptical tomorrow. Another treatment tomorrow and possibly back to running on Wednesday and Thursday. Treatment Thursday and possibly Friday as well. Then the big day on Saturday. Woot!!

I'm down but by no means out. Doubtful I'll be able to brag about my 40 mile week this week like June will but if I can get to the start on Saturday healthy, I'll be satisfied with "just" a distance PR.

What a ride!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Not to worry!

I ran 3 miles on Friday. I was planning on running 6 but needed to get to a Christmas party and was running late. I'm not going to fret about the splits.

Splits - 14:13 / 14:35 / 14:26

My main goal this week is to recover from the 30K and it's been tough. One option is to just stay in bed or stay off my feet at least. The other is to get back out there and try to get my legs moving again. I know one thing. There's no way I was going to be able to run the 33 miles that Hal had scheduled for me this week. With 4 on Wednesday, 3 Friday, and 14 tomorrow, I'll be cutting it back to 21 miles by week's end.

In my opinion, I've made a bit of a mistake in my training and it's too early to tell how it's going to effect my marathon. There is a huge difference between a training run and a race. I think it was a mistake to blow my wad on the 30K like I did and not have enough in the tank to continue proper training this week. I really gave the 30K a goal race effort. I went into that race without any sort of taper and now I'm supposed to jump right back into the meat of the final weeks of marathon training? Not a smart plan. I firmly believe that first timers should approach these warmup series races like a training run. Now, for me, to do that would have put me even further beyond the time limit. So, the best thing for me to have done would have been to do an 18 mile training run on Saturday and work the water station on Sunday.

Still, I'll never forget that 30K and do not regret doing it. If I end up trading that hammered 30K for a successful marathon, sobeit. Don't get me wrong. I'm not resigned to a poor performance come January 14. I'm just saying that this whole journey has been a blast and I wouldn't trade any run or race to date for anything.

So, it's tempting to fret about those 14:30 miles but I'm not. Like I said, if it were the week after the marathon, I wouldn't be running at all. Tomorrow is a 14 miler. It will be a confidence building run for me. I don't plan on trying to hammer sub-14 minute miles. I just want to do my thing and try to get my legs back.

God bless!!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Friendly competition. High stakes!!!

Bill and I have challenged each other to a little friendly competition. No, it's not an ultra marathon or even a hundred yard dash (this makes me happy as I'll never stand a chance against anyone in these events except maybe Barney the Dinosaur). And no, this isn't the something BIG that Bill and I are working on for the Striders. Those details will be coming soon.

Inspired by this week's Biggest Loser finale on NBC, Bill and I are going mano-a-mano with a little weight loss competition of our own. The stakes? Loser buys the winner a registration to the marathon of the winner's choosing. Personally, when I win, I'm choosing the Antarctic Ice Marathon for the low, low cost of $15,000. Not bad, huh? And airfare is included.

The rules are simple. We weighed in today. My starting weight is 295 lbs. The contest runs through the 2nd Tuesday in February. The person (it will be me) with the highest weight loss as a percentage of total starting weight will be the winner.

LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!! Bill, I hate to say this but YOU'RE GOIN' DOWN!!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas lights run

Tonight had to be one of the funnest times I've had since the last time the Striders got together. I don't know what the record is for the annual Christmas Lights run but we had a lot of people turn out. And it seems like a lot of newcomers as well. I think I met 3 or 4 brand new Striders tonight. AWESOME!!!

Our run took us a little over 4 miles through beautiful Tanglewood, between San Felipe and Woodway. Of course the theme tonight was Christmas. Many were adorned with festive items like Santa hats, lighted reindeer antlers, bells and blinkers. John Yoder wore what looked to be an entire string of lights. Not sure where the power pack was. He was a running Christmas tree. Many homes were lighted and decorated. We just ran through the neighborhood, enjoying the decorations and the fellowship. It was an absolute beautiful night. Afterwards, we hung out and talked trash, laughed a lot, and were generally very, very merry!!!

The pace was a little quick for me for my first recovery run after the 30K. Barb, our pacer, punished me pretty well. Actually, I kind of got in a good groove there at the end and felt pretty darn good. And it was just 4 miles so I'm sure no harm done.

Splits - 13:17 / 13:30 / 13:14 / 12:37!!!
Total time - ~53 minutes

I got to talk to coach a little about the rest of the week's training. He stressed that the most important thing right now for me is to stay healthy. The next big run for me is the 23 miler in 10 days. Everything between now and then is secondary. So, for now, I'm supposed to concentrate on recovering from the 30K. I know how to do that. I'll run a little longer tomorrow but not more than 5 or 6. Then, depending on how that goes and depending on which day I'd like to do my long run, I'll either run on Friday or skip it. We'll see.

On the nutrition front, Catherine wants me diligently logging all intake until the first of the year. We're really gonna knuckle down and eat right these last weeks before the marathon.

ok, what's the deal?

Is anyone else having problems with blogger? I'm trying to post commentson some blogs and I keep getting this "Could not log you in. Double check your password or try again later" error. This is only on Joe's, Erin's, Steve's, and a few others' blogs. What is the deal? Is it me or are others having probs? It must be everyone because none of those posts and ANY comments? Anyone know what's up?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What a pleasure

I had the fine pleasure today of visiting the greatest little barber shop in Houston, Bellaire's Original Barber Shop. Master barber and masters runner, Matt Wright, is the proprietor of this fine establishment. Matt's not as cute as Blanca, the girl at Visible Changes that usually does my hair, but he ain't chopped liver either. LOL!!! Seriously, Matt's shop is awesome. Great atmosphere and top quality barberin'. Oh, and this is a REAL barber shop. I mean warm lather neck shave, the whole 9 yards. Just like when my grandpa use to take me to the barber when I was a kid. Why I even had the hair in my ears trimmed. Only a real barber pays that kind of attention to detail. I would highly recommend visiting Matt's shop. It's reasonable, there's great service. Besides, where else you gonna go get a haircut and talk running at the same time?

The soreness from Sunday's 30K is subsiding. I decided to take Monday and Tuesday off. Well, my thighs and hammys kind of made that decision for me. Actually, this evening, I swam some easy laps at the athletic center so put me down for some cross training. I'm looking at doing my full schedule this week starting tomorrow with a very casually paced Christmas Lights run through Tanglewood with the Striders. Then, I'll either run Thursday/Friday/Sunday or Thursday/Saturday. I'll see how it goes. For now, feeling friskier and probably ready to run by tomorrow.

Monday, December 11, 2006

It IS official

I found my official time for the 30K posted this morning and turns out the Garmin was just about correct.


Thanks to the race director for keeping the mat and computers turned on for a few extra minutes. You know, I was pretty much resigned last night to the fact that I may not be scored officially. Actually, I would have been ok with that. I was reminded lately that if I'm doing this just to get my name on a web site next to some numbers, then I'm doing this for the wrong reasons. I should be doing this as part of a healthy lifestyle with running as a key component. I want to live and live better. I want to be a better husband, a better father, a better employee, and a better follower of Christ.

Besides, this will be the last year I'll have to worry about time limits. (I hope!)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

30K in the bag

Put me down for another first today. My first 30K race. This morning, I completed the Methodist Sugarland 30K. The weather was cool, the course was flat, but the concrete was HARD!!! I'm hurting pretty good right about now.

I've been proud of my accomplishments to this point but this one was really special. The funny thing is, going into this race, my expectations were not high and I was frankly a little ho-hum about the distance. I was more excited about seeing Steve B nail his race than I was about my own. But this one turned out in the end to be a race that I'll look back on and say that I really performed to my best potential. I know there will be better races in my future and I hope that I continue to get faster but for now, THIS WAS THE ONE!! The one where it really came together.

I got up around 4 am and had my breakfast, and started drinking water. On the way to the race, I stopped at my Starbuck's and got a coffee to enjoy en route. As I was coming out of the store, a guy pulled beside me. He had just gone through the drive-thru. I guess he saw my bib because he said, "I'm going there, too!!!" That was pretty cool.

I arrived in plenty time to talk trash with the Striders under the Strider tent. All the usual suspects, Bill, Steve, Santos, Stacy, Amber, Hillary, Barry, Lee, Miriam, Chip, Jennie, Andrew, and many more. It was a lot of fun and the energy was definitely there. After making my way over to the Marriott to "take care of some business", I did some stretching and started to make my way over to the start. After a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner and a quick prayer, the horn sounded.

The course took us out about 3.5 miles to a loop in residential Sugar Land, then 3 times around, and about 2 miles back to First Colony mall and Town Square. To me, the 4.2 mile loop added a lot of energy to the race. There were so many runners and friends. Some were passing from behind, some were running the opposite direction on the other side of the median. AND, best of all, the Striders sponsored and manned the most awesome water station at the west end of the loop. It was great to see Jen, June, Erica, Matt, who place 14th overall in yesterday's Sunmart 25K, Barb, oh, who else was there? I can't remember. It was just the best to get to see my friends and the waterstop, and THREE times at that. Thanks for cheering us on Striders.

My goal for this race was to finish. Plain and simple. There was this little thing about at 4:15 time limit which averages out to a 13:40 pace over 18.6 miles. So, with trusty Garmin buckled on my wrist, I just set out to keep that pace. I don't know what the deal was on miles 2 and 3. I was pacing with the Garmin right at 13:40 but when I hit the mile marker, it was 13:56 and 13:50 respectively. The Garmin show 1.02 for both these miles. I suspect that I took the long way (the outside "lane") on some of the long curves through the neighborhood, basically running over by the cones in the middle of the street. So, my bad on the extra .04 there. No worries though.

Mile 1 - 13:39
Mile 2 - 13:56
Mile 3 - 13:50

By mile 4, I was "warmed up" and feeling really good. One new tactic that I employed was walking through the water stops. This is really a no-brainer and I should have been doing this all along. It really turned out well, I did not lose that much time and I left each stop knowing that I had completly drank all my water and feeling refreshed. The short 30 second or so walk really does me good. So, mile 4 was a little quicker AND included a potty break and a water stop. But like I said, I left that water stop feeling quite frisky and the next 4 miles show that.

Mile 4 - 13:59
Mile 5 - 13:27
Mile 6 - 13:38
Mile 7 - 13:39
Mile 8 - 13:24

At this point, I remember saying to myself, "Ok, just an easy 10-miler left, and some change." I'll admit I was tired but not so much that I had to let up at all. I was still running as well as I can run, strong and confident but still patient. About this time, I start playing this little game in my head. One side of me feels good and wants to knock out a couple of 13:10's or maybe a 13 minute mile. The other part of me respects the remaining distance and says, "Easy, big fella!" Good thing my rational side won that debate because I could have really blew it right there at about the halfway point.

Mile 9 - 13:53
15K (Halfway there) - 2:07:52, right on pace
Mile 10 - 13:35

I just beat my 10-mile race PR by about 6 minutes

At this point, I'm patient at the water stops. Each walk break leaves me feeling a little rejuvenated. So, I walk through a stop, resulting in ~14:00+ mile, then the next mile is in the mid-13's.

Mile 11 - 14:00
Mile 12 - 13:35
Mile 13 - 13:53
Mile 14 - 13:52
Mile 15 - 14:18

Somewhere in here, I bettered my 25K race PR. I don't know by exaclty how much because I didn't take a split at the 25K marker. Oh, well.

Mile 16 - 13:40
Mile 17 - 14:16

About a mile and a half to go but I'm hurtin'. Also, it's gotten really lonely out there. No more water stops. No more shout-outs, no more exciting loops with friends passing. At this point, it's just me on that last busy stretch of road. The runners had the right lane as the cars zoomed by. The good thing was that the Town Square was in sight, towering over the mall. I couldn't see the finish but I could see the buildings by the finish. My first and last moment of weakness came as I walked a good 1 minute and 15 seconds. Then, I just decided that I was goign to finish this thing running, even if it was 14:45.

Mile 18 - 15:35 (with the extended walk break)

After turning left into the mall complex, and making a right with just about .2 to go, I'm surprised to see my whole family, screaming and cheering for me there at the end. This is the first race my family has ever seen me finish and it was a total shocker. Fortunately, the course was cleared out so the little one and my oldest ran along with me out in the street and then on the sidewalk. A few seconds after spotting the fam, Coach Steeeve appears on the left side of the street to bring me in with some awesome words of encouragement. Steve said, "There's your fan club!" And sure enough, many friends waited around for me to finish and were hootin' and hollerin'. Bessie's smile shined through the whole group. Steve B was cheering. My bud, June cheered me on at the end of yet another race. James, Matt, Barb, Jess, Erica, it was just AWESOME!!!

Last .6 or so - 9:06

I hobbled over to shirt pickup, hung around a bit talking trash, loved on the fam, and made my way over to the pizza. Then, we went over to Baker Street pub for some lunch.

I don't know yet if my official time will be posted. I came in a few minutes over the 4:15 time limit. They were taking the structure of the finish line down when I crossed but the mats and computers were still on. Thanks to whoever made that happen. You know who you are and I appreciate it. Still, I don't see my time on the results so I'm not sure if it got uploaded to the results page in time. And, in all the excitement, I failed to hit stop at the finish. How about that. I diligently recorded ever single mile split and even hit the lap at the 15K mark but I didn't get the finish. As near as I can tell, after deleting all the points where I wondered around after finishing, my finishing time was 4:19:15!!! I'm very happy with that. Of all the warmup series races so far, that's the closest I've come to getting in under the cutoff.

Thanks and congrats to all the Striders who raced today and volunteered. Special congrats to 2006 Strider Most Improved Runner, Steve B who averaged an incredible 7:27 over the 30K race. Also, my hat's off to Bill who despite some back and hip problems and a lot of pain, turned in a gutsy 3:18:13 and Jessica, that was a distance and race PR for you, right? You were smokin' out there, girl. Nice race. I know there are many other notables and I will not try to name them all. Of course our own Brett Riley took overall winner today in what I believe is his first warmup series appearance. It looks like the Striders brought home some serious hardware.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

So much to say!!

This blog often presents me with a dilemma. Do I ramble on and on with all my thoughts and goals and milestones and roadblocks for the day or week or do I organize my thoughts into separate, well-organized, well thought out posts, each with it's own theme or idea? I mean just the fact that I'm thinking about this may merit it's own separate post. Actually, that I'm thinking about this at all probably means I have too much time on my hands (or mind). I know that can't be the case as this is the first time I've sat still all week. Anyway, let the rambling begin!!!

I have mixed feelings and a few fears about this week. A lot of these fears could very easily be allayed with a good 30K race tomorrow. Nevertheless, I can't help this morning wondering what this week has meant to my marathon training. My head and my coach say not to worry but my heart says that I must have lost a step or two. On Monday evening, I felt a decent head cold coming on. By Tuesday morning, my nose was rotting off my face and my body felt weak. At that point, I had to make a decision. The decision was to not run until I felt better, not wanting to aggravate my condition and prolong it any longer than need be.

Three days later (Thursday), almost fully recovered and starting to feel frisky again, I finally got out and ran 2 easy miles around the neighborhood. The easy effort turned into a 5K effort after a quarter mile and I finished with an average 12:20 pace. It felt good to get the cobwebs out. I felt like I could go another loop at that effort but stopped there as I planned on getting up on Friday and doing 3-5 easy. I got up at 4:00 but got paged a couple of times while I was getting ready. By that time, I needed to get into the office. So, here I sit, with a whopping 2 miles logged this week after an easy and fun 11 mile trail run last Saturday.

However, here I also sit, rested, well fed, hydrated, and feelin' pretty darn frisky. Not a bad place to be less than a day before a 30K race. None of my long races to date have been on the heels of any kind of significant rest or anything like a taper. I know. I know. This week isn't exactly what you would call a taper and with my first full marathon staring me in the face just 32 days from now, it's not the time to take a week off. But I just can't see myself in my mind looking back to this week and saying, "if I'd just not been sick that week, I would have done better." I'm CERTAINLY not going to start looking for excuses before I even toe the line on January 14.

For what it's worth, I know that some of you more experienced runners out there may be worrying about this noob trying to make up for missing some miles this week. Well, just don't worry your pretty little heads. I ain't stupid!!! Where I am today is where I am today. Ain't no makeups!!! I'll pick back up where I left off on Tuesday and finish this thing strong.

Lastly, the scale's reading 293 now, well below the 300 mark and I ain't going back. (that's the 3rd use of the "ain't" word in this post. Sorry, Erica!) I predict my marathon weight will be around 285-289. I believe that's just about all the help I'm getting from physics. Now, Lord, please plan on good running weather in Houston on that Sunday. Please! Please!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I'm in love...

...with trail running!

Well, 2006 continues to be a year of firsts for me. As Steeeve says, "I got my first trail run ticket punched" yesterday at Huntsville with the Striders. We could not have asked for more beautiful weather to run at what must be one of the area's most pristine state parks. Huntsville State Park is the site of the Sunmart 50K/50mile ultra trail race coming up this weekend and the trails were in great shape.

My first inkling was to arrive early, ahead of the group and get a head start so that I would finish with the other faster runners. That idea was quickly squelched and for good reason. Even though our planned run looked simple on the map, there were several opportunities where a wrong turn could turn a 12 mile run into a 24 mile run. Fortunately, I was with some experienced runners, several of whom know Huntsville and the Sunmart route like the back of their hand. Special thanks to master trail runner, Barb, who hung back and guided me to a successful, enjoyable completion to my first trail run.

It was a welcomed escape from a tough month of training in November and I enjoyed not worrying about time and splits and pace and miles and distance. I just enjoyed running and romping through the woods, taking in the sounds and scenery and enjoying His creation.

When we met up for instructions, Steeeve started describing our route. He said stuff about this part being "technical" and that part being "just jeep trail" and some parts being "less technical." What in the world is "technical?" I'm not sure I know yet but I think it means a section of the trail where you need to navigate and plan each step carefully, thoughtfully executing your path down the trail. It really requires some concentration as I was constantly looking down, planning my next move. It's not at all like the thoughtless groove you get into when running in town at the Memorial Park loop. It really takes a lot more out of you than running on the road. Coach predicted that of the 20 or so of us, 4 would take a fall yesterday. Guess how many fell. Exactly 4. No harm done as the ground is for the most part pretty soft.

I may not know what "technical" means but I do know what hills are and I must say that the route took us over some pretty hilly terrain. Not the short, steep kind but the long, gradual kind. Of course, what goes up, must come down and each downhill section was a welcomed sight. I did end up walking a lot of the hills but maintained a good effort.

So, the 10.5 miles left me feeling pretty good. It's nice to cut back and not feel like I've totally destroyed myself. Still, it was a good workout. This morning, I feel it in places I don't normally feel soreness, like in the glutes and lower legs. I think the cutback this week on the long run is setting me up nicely for a good 30K next Sunday. I can't wait.

God Bless!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ramping up!!!

Another month of fairly consistent training was brought to a close this morning with what was supposed to be a 5 mile run. I DID end up giving back 2 miles to Hal. That was the 2 miles I 'borrowed' this last Saturday to complete the full Tour de Memorial. I was nearing the end of the Memorial park loop this morning when I ran into an old friend (not literally) and we just had to stop and catch up a little. Oh how I look forward to the day when I can actually RUN WITH FRIENDS!!! at a pace where I can actually keep up. Patience!!! This was the same friend that kept me from cheering on June at the Turkey Trot 10K finish. We haven't seen each other in 14 years and now we've accidently run into each other twice in less than a week (not literally). Anyway, we talked for 15 minutes and by that time, I didn't feel like doing the last 2 miles so I cut it short after 3.

Now, I can finally post November's totals. Drum roll please!!! This month, I passed the century mark for the first time with 117 miles. I almost got there last month but was 6 short. Here are my monthly totals since July when I started using this log:

If all goes as planned, I should peak in December at around 145-150. Makes for a nice little graph if you ask me.

There may be something wrong with my Garmin. Lord, I hope not!!! It was very disconcerting running without it this morning. I had it on the charger all day yesterday but when I turned it on this morning before my run, the batteries were still dead. I hope I just need to wipe off the contacts on the cradle or something. I'm not too worried about it because I know Garmin will stand behind their product but to go without it is kind of annoying. I've really gotten addicted to it. On the other hand, it was kind of freeing to run this morning without it. I had no idea how "well" I ran but you know what? It really doesn't matter what the pace was. If it makes you breathe hard, it must be good for you.

Lastly, I'm having a hard time getting my "calculated" weight that my spreadsheet figures out to catch up with my acutal daily weight, measured on the scale. My measured weight this morning was 293 but the spreadsheet says 297. Who cares I guess. I'm still headed in the right direction and seem to be well past the 300-305 plateau that I was at for the better part of October. I don't want my energy and nutrition to suffer between now and January 14th but I'd like to lose at least another 10 lbs by then. So, I'll continue to walk that tightrope between taking in the right amount and kind of calories to lose weight and eating enough that my running doesn't suffer.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Quick post

Ran 8 miles.

Venue - Memorial Park
Total distance - 8.0 miles
Total time - 1:49:30
Mile 1 - 13:47
Mile 2 - 13:50
Mile 3 - 13:44
Mile 4 - 13:45
Mile 5 - 13:45
Mile 6 - 13:29
Mile 7 - 13:41
Mile 8 - 13:26
Avg pace - 13:41

Saw Amalia, Felix

It was humid but cool

How do I feel? Like I just ran 8 miles.:o)

46 DAYS!!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Giving Back ... NOT!!!

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I would like the opportunity to give back to the running community. Well, that's not what I refer to when I say...NOT!!!

This morning, I seriously thought about giving back a mile to Hal who gave me 4 to do. But, at this point in the game, I ain't giving back ANY miles. So, 4 it was. Nice and easy. I seem to be recovering faster after these killer long runs. I remember after the half, I was toast for pretty much the whole week. Now, yes, I still feel like I'm in recovery mode from Saturday's 18-miler but I'm not sore and I felt pretty good this morning during the run. Here are the stats:

Venue - Memorial Park
Total distance - 4.0 miles
Total time - 54:50
Mile 1 - 13:53
Mile 2 - 14:05
Mile 3 - 13:40
Mile 4 - 13:10
Average pace - 13:42

God Bless!!!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Well, I have officially entered into the world of overtraining according to Coach Steeeve. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Today was the Houston Striders Tour de Memorial, a training event, with runs of varying distances through West Houston. Runners choose from:

The Lad and Lassie Stroll - 3 miles,
The Brawny Rumble - 8 miles,
The Awesome Studly Run - 14 miles,
or the full Tour de Memorial - 18.4 miles

The highlight of the Tour was the water station contest, where various club members compete for the best water station along the course. The 18.4 mile course was planned to pass by each of these homes with opportunities for shortcuts back to the start along the way for the shorter runs. Then, we all ended up back at the start for fun and frivolity and a little trash talking.

This was a tough week for me to run a new distance PR following last Sunday's 25K race. Hal called for 16 not even knowing that I RACED last week's 15+. With the 30K race in 2 weeks, I'm running the risk today of overtraining a bit. Because of this, I took it very easy today. Not that it matters...18 miles is 18 miles, no matter how easy you take it. But I took my time at the water stops and visited with the peeps. Also, you had to be careful and follow the map or risk getting lost. So, there were frequent, short walks for mapreading.

I didn't even time this run or keep my mile splits like I usually do. I basically used my Garmin just to monitor my pace. It's really easy for me to slip up over 15 - 15:30 min/mile pace so I just used the Garmin for a check. For the most part, when I was running, it was running around 14:00 - 14:45. At around mile 14, Bill caught up with me and I ran a 12:25 minute mile with him to the next water stop. So, one tempo mile, done. If you're sharp, you're wondering "How in the world was BILL catching up to VIC?" Well, to finish with the rest of the runners, I had a 3 mile head start. I started about 45 minutes before everyone else which worked out really well. I ended up finishing just behind June by about 5 minutes. As I came around the last corner, I see Bessie waiting there, clapping her hands and sporting that beautiful smile. Then I hear the cheers of my fellow runners as I come up the sidewalk. I know I've been accused of being a finish line snob and not recognizing cheers from friends there at the end. I wanted to do away with that reputation today so I actually ran hand-in-hand for some yards with Bessie, like Jack and Jill but with no hill. Then I acknowledged the rest of the awesome group by waving my fist in the air and finishing with really cool handshakes for everyone. I hope that was better.

I can't stop thinking about how lucky I am to be a part of the Houston Striders. These people in this club have meant the world to me. My blogger friends as well, some of whom are members of the Striders, have become such a wonderful part of my life. Thank you all for your friendship and your encouragement and your inspiration. Anyhow, let me save the rest of this speech for January 14th. :o) Thanks Striders for such an awesome event.

Friday, November 24, 2006

I think so...

I think I saw Erin out there. In a flash, I saw a very colorful shirt fly by me. Erin, was that you. Sorry we couldn't stop to chat! We MUST catch up and talk some time. After meeting Christy, I think you're the LAST of the awesome blogger-types I haven't had the pleasure of meeting personally. :o)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thousands take wrong turn!!! or It's nice to be a Mid pack 5K'er!

Ok, I have no idea what the correct turnaround for the TXU Turkey Trot 5K was but I know it wasn't Fountainview, where thousands of 5K'ers turned around today. That made the 5K 3.59 miles. I didn't believe my Garmin but when I got home, I mapped it on MapMyRun and it was exacly what the Garmin said, 3.59. What's even more interesting is that the course "map" on the web site says the turnaround is at Bering. Well, that would have made the course ~2.9, way short. MapMyRun puts the most accurate turnaround a few feet before Augusta. Augusta would have made it a close 3.13 or 3.14.

Someone told me once before that sometimes it's fun to just stay at the finish and look at all the people that come in behind you. :o) Well, normally that's not a problem as I am often the LAST person to finish a race but today, I became a middle of the pack 5K'er. There may have been a couple thousand runners finishing after me. LOL!!! I can go on kidding myself but the fact is that this was not a competitive 5K race and was billed as a walk/run/fun run. So, it was a lot of fun dodging and weaving, with people getting in my way as well as trying to get out of the way myself. At one point I got caught in a bit of a groove, just settling into a pace and I hear a SHOUT from behind, "OVER TO THE RIGHT, VIC!!!" It was Steve Schroeder so rightly getting me to move my big arse over for the fast 10K runners to get through. Hey, Steve, seriously. Thanks for the reminder. I really want to be courteous and have good etiquette. Sorry I missed you after the race. Oh, and by the way, the coverlets bandaids work well. Thanks, bud.

Well, I'm dead set on having a full tank going into Saturday's 18-miler, Tour de Memorial so I decided against the 10K and went with the fun, easy 5K training run. It's been a good week as I continue to recover from Sunday's 25K. I felt pretty good this morning after yesterday's 8 mile run. Hal had 4 on the schedule today. I wanted to get a mile warmup in before the 5K began to round out the 4. I ended up running along the boulevard until I got to the feeder. I didn't want to journey down the feeder road so I just headed back to the starting line. This ended up being about .6 miles. Then, as fate would have it, the 5K was long, making it a little over 4 miles. Yipee!!! A full weeks training according to plan. Here's the run:

Total distance - 4.2 miles
Warmup - .63 miles - 8:21 (13:15 pace)
"5K" - 3.58 miles - 43:42 (12:12 pace)
Average pace for total 4.2 - 12:24

Now, looking at that pace, I'm inclined to slap myself on the wrist for pushing a "training run" too hard. How am I supposed to have anything left in the tank? BUT, I really didn't feel like I was hammering this run. It was a little harder effort, sort of like that tempo effort where I'm breathing hard but not gasping for air, but if I ran any harder, I would be gasping. So, the fastest I've ever run a 5K was average 11:51 back pre-ankle surgery and about 35 degrees. I have no doubt that record is gonna fall the next 5K I get to run, probably some time in February.

This was a huge race. I think they ran out of water. I guess if I were really racing, I'd have had a bit higher expectations but my goal this morning was just to have fun and get in a good workout. Mission accomplished!!

Great to meet Marianne and Christine. Also got to chat again with Christy. Manny, I hear you're running faster than Cassie. How can that be? Wow, Manny, all I can say is I'm impressed. And June...what kind of friend am I? After all those times of June cheering me on at the finish, waiting around for hours for me to finish...I finally get a chance to be there at the finish to cheer her on and I blow it. While waiting for June and Erica and company to finish, I see a long lost friend of mine that I haven't seen in 15 years. I leave my post and chase my friend to the finish to say hi. I was surreal seeing my friend after all these years and I got lost for a few minutes talking about another time and place. By the time we said goodbye (again) and I made my way over to the finish, there was June taking her chip off. Trouble!!! Let me just say in front of God and everyone, I'M SORRY!!! I'm such a bad friend. I owe you one...or two.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Late from 8!

These long(er) mid-week runs are getting longer and longer, putting me later and later getting to work. Guess I'll just have to run them faster and faster. No, bad idea.

8 miles at Memorial Park on tap this morning. My legs are still sore from Sunday's race. The pain was subsiding but is back after this morning's run. It's not a bad kind of sore. It just feels like I ran 15.5 miles on Sunday and 8 miles this morning, which I have! So, it's a normal kind of crappy feeling, right? I must be crazy.

Speaking of pain, I did my 3 miles yesterday. Back in the day (what? a month ago?), I would have just skipped the first run after a race like the 25K, but I wanted to get out and just get a little blood flowing. I played it smart and I'm proud of that. Not that I COULD have run any faster. I just jogged very nice and easy and did 3 instead of the 4 that Hal scheduled. I don't think he knew about the 25K or he probably would have given me the day off completely. Here are the stats:

Total distance - 3.0 miles
Venue - Memorial Park
Mile 1 - 14:36
Mile 2 - 14:49
Mile 3 - 14:42
Total time - 44:08
Average pace - 14:43

Mission accomplished on those 3. It may seem strange but I'm quite proud of those 3. My thinking in the past was if I'm sore, I'm not running. But there comes a time when you're going to have to run sore. I'm in the final push of marathon training and it's going to be tough, so I have to be. I still must be smart to meet my primary goal of getting to the starting line, injury-free. But, I don' think a little soreness is justification to skip a workout. If I'm sore, I'll just run easy.

If sore, run easy? Well, that went out the door this morning. This morning's 8 miler was wonderful and just slightly uncomfortable. This may sound strange but one of the things I wanted to work on this morning was water breaks. I didn't really increase the frequency of my breaks but when I did stop, I drank plenty of water, probably the equivalent of one and a half cups at a regular water station. I've mentioned before that I've gotten in the habit in races of getting a cup, taking a sip or 2 and then pouring the rest on my head to cool off. So, I'm concentrating on drinking plenty when I stop. Must've worked because I was sweating considerably by the end of the run. It was sure a beautiful morning. Just PERFECT!!! Here's the run:

Venue - Memorial Park
Total distance - 8.0 miles
Mile 1 - 14:06
Mile 2 - 14:02
Mile 3 - 13:37
Mile 4 - 13:18
Mile 5 - 13:21
Mile 6 - 13:13
Mile 7 - 13:22
Mile 8 - 13:10
Total time - 1:48:12
Average pace - 13:32

For fun, I went back to the last time I ran 8 miles, August 21, and looked at my splits. The run that week was my long run. Here are the splits.

Mile 1 - 15:55
Mile 2 - 15:55
Mile 3 - 16:48
Mile 4 - 16:44
Mile 5 - 15:55
Mile 6 - 16:45
Mile 7 - 17:18
Mile 8 - 15:00

I posted "finished strong" for that last mile. Wow!!! What a difference God and physics have made lately.

Anyway, I know one thing. These tired, sore legs ain't hammerin' out no 10K tomorrow, that's for sure. When I went to packet pickup yesterday for the Turkey Trot, I stood there for a while trying to decide if I was going to do the 10K or the 5K. If I did the 10K, was I going to "really" race it or just mosey? If I chose the 5K, I was definitely going to hammer it. But the 5K isn't timed officially so why waste a PR on a FunRun? So, I took the 10K bib. Now, this morning, after careful thought and waddling back and forth to the coffee pot, FORGET THAT!!! I'm going over to Luke's at lunch to switch to the 5K. And I'm gonna jog it too. Besides, it will be fun to cheer June and Erica on at the finish for a change. I'm open to cheering more friends on (Pony, Jon, Miriam, Chip, David, Andrew, Jennie, or whoever else is going to be there) but the fact is that most will finish 6.2 before I even finish my 5K. It should be fun, though!

Lastly, I was just thinking about something. I've been consistenly averaging 20+ miles per week for the last 6 weeks or so. Now would be a good time to start marathon training. :o)

Monday, November 20, 2006

25K lap splits

I was looking at the results for the 25K and checking out my splits. Assuming the laps were equidistant, the first two thirds were only 5 seconds difference. On the last loop (when my cramps started), I lost about 45 seconds per mile. Here are the splits:

1st loop (~8.3K) - 1:11:34 (13:49 pace)
2nd loop (~8.3K) - 1:11:39 (13:50 pace)
3rd loop (~8.3K) - 1:15:02 (14:33 pace)

I subtracted my chip diff from the time posted for my first lap.

So, I'm not unhappy with that but I'm not thrilled either. I am using the warmup series races to get some inkling about my progress towards a sub-6 hour marathon in January. It's well-known although not often worried about by others but Houston has a 6 hour time limit. That's a 13:45 average pace.

With a 13:45 average pace for the Half marathon and a 14:03 average pace for the 25K, the jury is still out and time is of the essence. To pull off this miracle, I'm going to need help from God and physics (like those two things are different!). I'm going to need God to provide some pretty near perfect weather conditions for the race and I'm going to need to drop 10 or 15 more lbs. before January 14th to get a little help from the Laws of Physics. IF they keep the finish open for 2 or 3 minutes after the 6 hour time limit, and IF I can get across the start in 3 or 4 minutes, that just leaves me with having to make up 2-4 mintues at sub-13:45 pace to even score an official time for the marathon.

Time will tell. 56 days to be exact.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Not nailed but done!!

Well, another long race under my belt and it was a tough one. 25K! Did I just run 15.5 miles? I think I did. How is that possible? I don't know but I did it.

The sub-13:30 miles were in short supply for me today. Not to make any excuses but near the end of the 2nd loop, I started experiencing a pretty wicked cramp in my right calf. I think I got a little dehydrated. I'm going to have to start walking through the water stops and actualy drinking the water. I have been running throught the stop and grabbing a cup. Then I take a swig and pour the rest on my head to cool me off. I've got to get that water IN me I think to avoid what happened today.

The plan was to start out around 13:45 for a few miles, ease on down to 13:30 over the next miles and then see how I felt on the last lap. For the most part, the early part of the race went according to plan:

Mile 1 - 13:44
Mile 2 - 13:42
Mile 3 - 13:35
Mile 4 - 13:36
Mile 5 - 13:42
Mile 6 - 13:27
Mile 7 - 13:39
Mile 8 - 13:35
Mile 9 - 13:46

I was still running pretty well at this point but was starting to feel the twinge every once in a while in the right calf. I walked through that water stop and then made a pit stop at the potty right after. I lost a little over a minute there.

Mile 10 - 14:21
Mile 11 - 13:49

Guess here is where it kind of got bad with the cramping and having to walk. I even stopped completely once for about a half mintue to do some stretching.

Mile 12 - 13:59
Mile 13 - 14:47
Mile 14 - 14:52
Mile 15 - 14:59
Last .5 - 7:06

My finishing time was 3:38:11. If you look at my splits, that doesn't quite add up. Anyway, I had my Garmin set to auto lap at 1 mile and I was consistently short of the acutal mile markers. So, whatever! I'm sure I was all over the street and not running along the tangents where the course was actually measured. Next time, I'm going to turn the auto lap off and do the splits manually. Huh!!! Next time. I don't even want to think about next time today. :o).

Great day for the Striders. I had a great time talking trash with Bill and Steve and others before the race. I think a group of us is thinking about another hobby next year. Perhaps chess or quilting. Bowling may be good but that's pretty stenuous. We'll have to see. Had the awesome privalege of seeing Barbara and talking to her before the race. Great to see you, B, and GREAT LEGS!!!

Lot's of fun out on the course as well. Loop course plus running slow equals seeing friends multiple times. Chatted with my first coach, Andrea, right before the start but when the gun sounded, she was off like a flash. Lisa and Jack were at Waugh Dr. cheering all of us on. I got a glimple of Christy with here precious kiddo on the opposite side of the street. Don's ask me what mile I was on. David, Andrey, Chip, Jennie, Miriam, Lee, Steve, Edwin,.... it seems like they all lapped me 2 or 3 times. Guess that's not possible since it was a 3 loop course. I don't know why I remember this so vividly but David M FLEW past me. He was running fast. I think he won! Then Jennie, David's much better half, FLEW past me. I think she acutally caught David and beat him by a nose. And the amazing Steve B, who ran an amazing, risky, gutsy race and turned in an awesome PR performance. Congrats to good friend and first timer Rebellious Bill who ran a great race. Thanks, June for coming out to cheer us on. June ran her 15 yesterday and despite a very late night out, came to cheer us on. Great to see Lisa F and Felix and Jon and sooooo many others. Sarah, Jessica, Edwin, and Joe, thanks for not only sticking around but running with me the last quarter mile up that bridge and down to the finish. Hugs and kisses to Joe who had water and banana wating for me at the chip return area. Really, Joe, you deserve a hug. I still owe Keith one, too.

I must say, I felt like crap when I got home. I had a bath and went straight to bed. Even now I have a really bad headace. But my legs and feet are feeling better. Drink, drink, drink!!!


Thanks for stopping by. I'll be in bed until Wednesday or Thursday. Later. :o)

p.s. - stop back by this evening.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Recovery, Schmecovery

Here are Hal's instructions for today: Four easy miles. Make this an even easier workout than usual. While I sometimes suggest that runners move a bit further on some of the easy days, today is not one of those days. Consider the fact that you have a 15-miler coming at you this weekend. That's a lot of running. By running easy today and resting tomorrow, you are loading the gun so you are assured of running well on the weekend.

Just reading this right now, I realized something. My run this morning was supposed to be 4 miles. I really did not realize he was upping my Thursday miles. Oh, well, it's all good. Besides, my pager went off at around the 2.85 mark and I would not have been able to do 4 anyway. On-call really interferes with my running. But life happens for all of us, right? I did 3 this morning instead. However, rest and recovery were not the themes of this morning's workout. The weather was beautiful and made me a bit feisty. So, I started out easy for mile 1, picked it up a bit on 2 (unintentional), and tempo'd 3 (on purpose). Here are the stats:

Total distance - 3.0 miles
Venue- Memorial Park
Total time - 38:32
Mile 1 - 13:35
Mile 2 - 12:54
Mile 3 - 12:02
Average pace - 12:51

Now some restin' and some hydratin' and some more restin', preparing for Sunday's BIG 25K!!! LET'S GET IT ON!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

7, the easy way

Great morning, great night, great week! Last night brought the The Houston Striders monthly meeting. Pizza, beverages, fun, and frivolity were had by all the record 120+ attendees. The highlight of the evening for me had to be seeing all the Striders. What a great bunch of people. Our incredibly resourceful president booked extreme athlete and ultrarunner, Marshall Ulrich. Marshall spent a little over an hour talking about his adventures, climbing the tallest peaks on each continent, running Badwater WITHOUT SUPPORT, his Quad Badwater, where he ran 4 legs of the brutal 135 mile ultramarathon fron Death Valley to Mt. Whitney Portals trough 130+ degree heat. What an incredible athlete. I never knew how much was involved in climbing Mt. Everest. Climbers spend weeks and weeks climbing up a few thousand feet, then climbing back down to recover, then up a little higher, then back down. Then they finally get to to point where they can almost make it and they go all the way back down for a few days before starting all over. The purpose of all these weeks of "ups and downs" is simply to acclimate your body to prepare it to make it to the summit. Unbelieveable!! Oh, one more thing. Marsahll is such an extreme athlete and ultra runner that instead of constantly struggling with feet problems, ingrown toenails, busted toenails, he just had all his toenails surgically removed. Anyway, great meeting, Steve!!! Thanks for a great time.

This morning Hal prescribed a mid-week, mid-long run of 7 miles. I must say that this week, I've been feeling really good. The weight is staying below 300 and I think I made it over the 300-305 plateau that I was on for about 4 weeks. My daily weight has been below 300 since 3 Nov. I did peek over 300 for one day on the 9th but it must have just been from digestive contents and hydration because I was back down under the next day.

Anyway, back to the run. I ran pretty good for 3 miles and my pace was right around 14 minutes per mile. After 3 miles, I didn't really stop or rest or get a drink but my average pace just kept getting better and better with the same, easy, converstional effort. I think the temperature dropped a few degrees since arriving at the park. Anyway, my next mile was down around 13:30 and mile 5 came in about 13:00. Well, since I was feeling good with that nice, easy effort, I just tried to maintain it, wondering when the pace was going to catch up with me. It never did. I ran into the Ulrich pod with Steeeve, Bill, James, and extreme athlete, Marshall Ulrich. Coach stopped me (we were going opposite directions) and introduced me to Marshall. We talked for a few minutes and then I ran about a half mile with the pod. Well, all but Bill were out of eyesight and over the horizon in about 1 minute. Hero Bill slowed downa to run with me and we got to chat a bit and that's always a good thing. We ran back to the swimming pool parking lot, chatted a bit more, got some photos (here's one of Marshall and me),

and I was on my way to finish up. After standing around for a few minutes, I'd think I would start to get stiff and start to cool off but when I took off, I was really feeling my oats. I ended up posting sub-13 miles for 6 and 7. Here are the stats:

Total distance - 7.0 miles
Venue - Memorial Park loop
Total time - 1:33:56
Mile 1 - 14:00
Mile 2 - 13:56
Mile 3 - 13:55
Mile 4 - 13:29
Mile 5 - 13:03
Mile 6 - 12:40
Mile 7 - 12:51
Average pace - 13:25

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ok, the gloves are coming off!!

June and I are weather hounds. We check the weather 5, 7, even 10 days before a race or a long run. Sometimes I check the weather 5, 10 times per day. And that's not just today's weather. I mean I'm checking the 10-day forecast sometimes on the hour, every hour while I'm at work.

As obsessed as we both are with the weather, we're always arguing about it online. A typical IM session goes something like this:

Vic: Well, it looks like great weather for the race on Sunday.

June [types a SMILING emoticon]: Yeah, sunny and 40 degrees.

Vic: It's going to be sunny alright but the temps say mid-60's

June [perturbed]: I'm looking at the forecast right now and it says 40 degrees.

Vic [gleefully and cheerfully]: Well, I'm looking at the forecast right now too and it says mid 60's. Where do you see 40 degrees?

June [types an ANGRY emoticon]:!!!

Vic [types a BIG GRIN emoticon]: Oh, I'm on and it says mid-60's for the low on Sunday.

June [types a ROLLING EYES emoticon]: Well, I don't use Anyway, it's going to be 40 degrees. [June closes the conversation window and logs off]

[Vic cheerfully and gleefully goes back to work because he's such a nice guy]

You see who the good guy and the bad girl are in these conversations. Anyway, I had to get to the bottom of this to save our friendship. How can we be looking at the forecast for the same day and be so off? How can I see 60 for the low on Sunday and June sees 40? I mean, I know one thing FOR SURE. June is ALWAYS right!!! So, what's so screwed up about What exactly is the difference between Click2 and So, I conducted my own little investigation.

First, I called meteorologist Anthony Yanez at Channel 2. Nice guy, by the way. He told me that the low and the high for any give day are forecast for a 24-hour period from midnight to midnight. That means given a forecast low on Wednesday of 50 and a high of 80, the low will most likely fall before dawn on Wednesday morning and the high of 80 will occur later that afternoon. So, it's from midnight to midnight which is good. That's how June was interpreting it. She was right. Then what gives with Why is it different?

To find out, I e-mailed the help desk at and here is the prompt reply that I received:

Each day of the 10-day forecast is divided into two forecast periods: 7am - 7pm and 7pm - 7am. The high temperature shown for any given day is the highest expected temperature for that day between 7am and 7pm. The low temperature is the lowest expected temperature later that night, between 7pm and 7am.

For example, if the high/low values shown for a Monday is 80/62, the forecast high temperature during the 7am-7pm period on Monday is 80, and the forecast low temperature for Monday night/Tuesday morning from 7pm-7am is 62.

The Weather Channel Interactive

So, it appears that I was right too. So, if you are reading, to find the low for Sunday morning, you have to look at the forecast low for Saturday, which covers the 12-hour 7pm to 7 am period, Saturday night, early Sunday morning.

The lesson here...not all forecasts are created equal!

[Vic types a HUGS emoticon for June]

3 hot, humid, sweaty, EASY miles

Quick post here. Guess it wasn't hot but it was humid this morning and the air was still. 3 recover miles on tap. Here's how they went:

Total distance - 3.0 miles
Venue - Memorial Park
Total time - 40:35
Mile 1 - 13:41
Mile 2 - 13:27
Mile 3 - 13:27
Average pace - 13:35

That's it. Got a mini-long run tomorrow morning. 7 miles. Then try to find time to do 3 easy on Thursday, while I'm on call...Grrrrr!. Then rest for the 25K.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ho-Hum Loop-dee-Loop or 10-mile best SHATTERED!!! or Oops, I did it again!

I was reminded this weekend of a funny story by an old Navy buddy of mine who was here in Houston on a business trip. We got together on Saturday night and were reminiscing about old times. Matt said, "Remember the time you came back from visiting home [Houston] and you were bragging about the 36 ounce ribeye you ate at that restaraunt [Taste of Texas] that finally put you over 300 lbs.?" As I recall, I had been married for a couple of years. We had our first child and I had begun to put on quite a bit of weight. I remember trying to be funny about putting on the extra weight, joking about being up to a good challenge and shooting for 300+, all the while feeling ashamed inside at it spinning out of control.

It's embarassing to say but my weight got so out of control that I was involuntarily separated from the service, after being given several chances to get my weight under control. Involuntary Separation. It wasn't as bad as it sounds. I mean I still received an honorable discharge. It was not a disciplinary action. It was just a matter of not meeting the minimum weight standards. Even though it worked out for the best, I still would have preferred to exit under my own terms instead of being forced out. I'm proud of my service in the Navy but embarassed at how it ended.

So, that was about 12 years ago when I went over 300 lbs and I've been 300+ ever since...until now. I have consistently weighed below 300 lbs for about a week now and it feels great. My weight chart that calculates sort of a moving average has not showed sub-300 yet but the calculated weight will soon be sub-300 and it feels great. I'll tell you one thing. I spent ~12 years that side of 300 and God willing, I'll never spend another day there again. Even though I don't like to look back at the past with regrets, beating myself up for wasted years, part of me wonders how much better the last 12 years would have been. Would I have been a better father, a better husband? Would I have been better able to serve my God or be a better employee? How much life have I missed? How much life have my children missed by not having a father who was active, who could run and jump and play with them? How much time have I wasted in front of the boob tube instead of living life to the fullest? Runners have to play a lot of mind games to get through workouts, to run when it hurts, to just do what a runner is supposed to do. I'm trying to tell myself that what is in the past is over and that I can make up for lost time. I've got to forgive myself for the heavy years and promise myself that I'm never going back there. I have a long way to go but I am determined to never, ever allow myself to lapse into slothfulness and gluttony. I want to serve my God, my family, my friends, my employer. I want to live!

Here are a few photos I took today that shows a little of my progress:

This morning's run was a lot of fun. A cutback week, 10 miles was scheduled. It's really amazing how the weather affects my running, well, everybody's I guess. Our friends that were visiting from Minnesota kept us up late (voluntarily) and I did not get to bed until around 11:45. I was very worried that my rest would be lacking and that my run would be screwed up. I even considered sleeping in and trying to run in the afternoon but I got up around 5:30 and gave it a whirl. Oh, and unavoidable mistake #2 was eating so late. We ate around 9 pm. This caused a little problem at around mile 9 this morning. I am like a clock. But the biggest mistake of the morning and the source of a big Homer Simpson "DOH!" on my part was my forgetting the band-aids. You know, the ones that prevent my nipples from being rubbed raw, ruining my new long sleeved tech shirt from the USA 10-miler. Yeah, those!! By the end of my run, I looked like I had been shot...TWICE!!!

Enough about what went wrong. So much more went right. Miles 1, 2, and 3 felt a bit stiff. I never felt good early, kind of like I wasn't quite warmed up. Little pains here and there, a little heavy, just not quite in the groove. After a quick gel/water stop at the tennis center and about 10-15 seconds of stretching, I started out again and almost immediately felt like the kinks were finally gone. Ok, I was warmed up.

Finished mile 3 and was in the middle of mile 4 when I came up on Rose Ennis who was walking with a friend. We spoke a few words as I passed. It was great to see Rose who is just one of the most energetic, sweet people I've ever met.

I no sooner say see-ya-later to Rose when here comes Steve Schroeder and running bud, Jacob. High 5's were in order. Steve, an awesome runner, has been a great encouragement to me. He's got some great pointers and is always encouraging and teaching me. One time, he brought me some peppermint Altoids before a race and told me it would help me to breathe better. IT DID!!! Anyway, that's the kind of guy Steve is.

Then I face forward and who do I see at long last? It'sTXRUNNERGIRL!!! Christy!!! We recognized each other immediately. It was so awesome to finally meet Christy. I feel like we've been friends forever but we've never met in person. Christy is awesome and it made my morning to see her. What a smile!!!

I said goodbye to Christy and caught back up with Rose who had walked past me and Christy while we were talking. Rose ran the next mile and a half with me to the golf course parking lot. We talked about marathons and PIM and running and mental games runners must play. It was just a great time. Oh, and I looked down at my watch and I had picked up the pace quite a bit without recognizing any increase in effort at all.

After dropping Rose off, I maintained my pace with ease through another quick water/gel/Tennis Center stop and made my way to my 3rd loop. At around 7.2 miles, I ran into Steve again who was running his last 2 of a 20 mile run. Steve turned around and ran with me for about a mile and a half. Must be tough for Steve to do those 13-minute miles. But, like I said, that's the kind of guy he is. We chatted a while, almost broke our necks a couple of times, and then Steve peeled out for his last mile leaving me running strong and conversational going into the home stretch.

I finished the loop and then went out and back to complete mile 10. Here's where the late supper started talking to me. I purposely eased off a little after a fast(er) mile 9, to coold down going home. I think my bowels got the signal and almost immediately started demanding I stop somewhere. I HAD to finish soon!!! Talk about affecting your gait...there's nothing worse than trying to run when you gotta go. I've never experienced that before and hope to never experience it again.

I finished up "just in time", did my business and was off. Here are the stats:

Total distance - 10 miles
Total time - 2:14:25
Mile 1 - 13:48
Mile 2 - 13:58
Mile 3 - 13:49
Mile 4 - 13:38
Mile 5 - 13:12
Mile 6 - 13:08
Mile 7 - 13:03
Mile 8 - 13:02
Mile 9 - 13:01
Mile 10 - 13:44
Average pace - 13:27

My 10 mile best of 2:22:57 from the USA 10-miler was shattered this morning by about 8.5 minutes. Pretty good for an easy, conversational training run versus the I'm-almost-dead-but-I'm-gonna-finish-this-race performance at the USA. What a difference 30 degrees makes.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Summer Hoppin'

I finally got out last night to TH Park to Hop with the SMARTie's. Summer continues to rear it's ugly head but no matter. Sweat is a good thing. Lee and Chris (proud father) led us through the workout with much skill and ease. Well, light on the ease part.

I was able to arrive early and got a good 15-20 minutes of stretching in. That did me some good as my calves and hips have been feeling tight. I took off a little early on my warmup to time my return with the rest of the group. Standing still, there was a bit of a nice breeze but it mysteriously disappeared as soon as I started running. Still, I can't quite complain about the temps and humidity with July and August still fresh in my mind.

One complaint, though...the TUNES! I don't know if it was the sound track to Dirty Dancing or what but I almost fell asleep. NOT conducive to getting this former couch potato's feet moving. Still, I managed to get a little burn and am sure feeling it this morning.

Workout - SMARTie Hop with warmup and cooldown
Warmup - 1.52 miles (13:26 average pace)
the Hop (included .2 miles Greyhounds)
Cooldown - 2 miles (14:38 pace)
Total miles - 3.7 miles

The rest of the group did 4 miles cooldown at a pretty decent effort. Personally, I was spent after the Hop. My legs were almost mush. BUT, I felt a lot better than I did post-Hop back in mid-September. Here's a recollection on that cooldown from a previous blog entry:

"1.5 mile cooldown - 24:30 (~15:40 pace) - my legs and ankles were spent."

The workout tonight did expose a significant difference in stregth between my right and left leg/ankles. While my left leg feels really strong and stable, I still have a lot of instability in my right leg. I mentioned it to Steeeve and he said not to worry about it. He said balance and strength would come and I need to continue to concentrate on CV fitness and weight loss. Will do!!!

Great time last night. Thanks Striders. See you out there! Oh, by the way, great to Joe Carey out there at TH park. He ran by me and disappeared like a ghost.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Recovery, check!

Barbara, my recovery from this past Sunday's 13 was pretty quick, especially compared to the 4 or 5 day period after the half. Actually, after a good breakfast, a warm epsom salts whirlpool bath, and a 30 minute nap, I was good to go. I was still feeling it but I wasn't limping around looking for a place to slowly sit down. In fact, I got out and mowed the grass which is more activity than I've ever been able to tolerate post-long-run.

Don't remember where I heard this but "marathon training is a marathon." I'm finding this to be true. The training itself is a race and the finish line is the starting line of the Chevron Houston Marathon. Right now, I feel like I'm at about mile 15. But when I look at the next 7 weeks, it looks more like mile 5. Over the next 7 weeks, Hal and company have me going from 25 to 41 miles per week and from 13 to 21 miles for my long runs. So, as they say, now is when the rubber meets the road, the moment of truth. Now is where I need to get out there and walk that tight rope between optimal conditioning and injury. Now is not the time to be skipping workouts. Now is not the time to doubt. Now is not the time to slack off. BUT, now is also not the time to be proving anything. Now is not the time to get stupid. It's tempting as my running improves to want to do my easy runs faster, to run extra miles, to add a running day, to skip my cutback (recovery) weeks, to skip my warmup and cooldown because I'm feeling frisky. DON'T DO ANYTHING STUPID, VIC!!! I really feel like I'm right there. I finally feel like I may possibly be able to do this thing that I started. 6 hours? I don't really know. Frankly, I don't really care anymore. Well, it's not that I don't care. It's just that I'm not thinking about that right now. All I can think about right now is tomorrow's 7-miler. That's my next step. That's the next mile in this marathon. When I get through that mile, I'll think about the next one. I'm psyched!!!

This morning's 3 mile run was good. I felt quick(er), feisty even. The plan for this run is the same as it always is the first run of the week for me. Get some blood flowing. Take it easy. Stay conversational. Finish strong. I did not eat before the run which may have been a small mistake but it ended up not being a big factor, IMO. I did have a couple of glasses of water so I was well hydrated. After some stretching (getting more cobwebs out) I set out, feeling good. Early in the run I ran into Bessie. What a great smile to see so early in the morning. I missed seeing my bud, Amalia. Guess she was resting this morning. I really wasn't trying to do a tempo run or 10K effort or anything like that but I also didn't feel like shuffling (jogging) either. The temps had me feeling good so I picked it up just a little. I'd call it my "easy" effort, a notch above my "recovery jog" effort. I finished strong, mission accomplished. Here are some stats:

Total distance - 3.0 miles
Total time - 38:33
Mile 1 - 13:02
Mile 2 - 12:48
Mile 3 - 12:42
Average pace - 12:51
Temperature - 58 degrees
Humidity - 91% (it WAS muggy)

After the run, I stopped and introduced myself to a fellow big runner, Carl, who had just finished 4 miles. Ex-football player in college, got married, had kids, got sedentary, gained a bunch of weight, started running, lost a bunch of weight... Sound familiar? Anyway, good to meet a new friend. I'm really glad I stopped to talk to him.

God bless all!!! Seeya out there!