Thursday, August 31, 2006

My first adventure

A fun thing happened tonight as a hard choice turned into a fun adventure. As evening approached, I was face with either going to watch 2 hours of kids' soccer practice or go for a run. I really wanted to go to soccer practice but I really wanted to run. Torn between two love's. So, I had a wild idea. I actually ran to soccer practice. DW was already there and I told her I would be over when I got home and changes. Then about 48 minutes later, I pulled into the parking lot, not in my car, but under the power of my own two feet.

I didn't know which route to take. Nothing was planned ahead of time. I just thought I'd run to practice. Simple as that. Had a great time and made it for the last 40 minutes of practice.

All I'll say is it was about 3.2 miles. I averaged under 15:00 min/mile. Very easy effort. It was actually cooler than it has been. Had a blast.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

3 miles 'cause the training plan is a guideline!

The Katy Fit training plan called for 35 minutes easy yesterday and 45 minute hill workout tonight. I had every intention to run yesterday but life got in the way (DW had to work late, like really late). I also had every intention of doing hills tonight at the Hwy. 6 levee but just did not feel like doing that in this heat. Since the training plan is a guideline, I had no problem doing 3 easy miles this afternoon at Memorial Park. I sure hope this "the training plan is a guideline" doesn't come back to bite me in the rear. :)

Well, it was hot! But I really ran well, IMO! Here are the splits:

Mile 1 - 14:26
Mile 2 - 14:53 (I ran a little through the inner dirt trail and through the woods)
Mile 3 - 14:24
Total time - 43:44
Avg HR - ~85%

Around the 2.2 mark, I heard a voice say, "Vic Kaiser?" It was Steve Schroeder. I met Steve briefly before but did not recognize him. He said his name was Steve Schroeder and the bells went off. Anyway, Steve is recovering from an injury and volunteered to run with me slowly the last .8 or so. What a nice guy. We talked about running, a little bit about family, dieting, smoothies, and racing. It makes all the differenc in the world when I run with someone. I really felt good the last mile as I would have surely bonked in the heat had I gone it alone. Steve, I sure appreciate your running a little with me and it was great to talk to you.

The other pleasant surprise was seeing Sam as he zoomed past me. I forgot that Sam had grown his hair a little and I would not have recognized him had Steve not said, "Here comes Sam Rodriguez." Anyway, great to see Sam in a blur. Look forward to sitting down and talking to you soon, Sam.

So, for right now, I'm just taking what my body will give me. I'm talking more and more to friends about putting the full off and just doing some shorter races through the Fall. I haven't made my decision. I'm still going to wait for the 10-miler and half and cooler weather to see how it goes. But I'm going to be patient and enjoy this ride for a very long time, hopefully.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Started weight training

I started some beginner weight training yesterday. I found a web site that I like called The Training Station, Inc. I'm going to follow the beginner's workout plan. I like it because it starts out slow, with 1 set x 15 reps and 12 exercises the first week. Just the basics. There are printouts for each week (6 weeks for the beginner program). From week to week, the exercised are changed up a bit, too.

Bill was talking about running on a treadmill the other day. For my warmup and cooldown, I did some treadmill running. I actually enjoyed it. Like Bill, I'm not sure if the thing is calibrated correctly. I think Bill was feeling like he was faster than the computer was saying. I felt like I was slower than what the computer was saying. I was running at about 14:30 pace according to the computer but felt like I was running well over 15:00. The effort really felt easy. Another thought is that the temp in the gym was set to 67 degrees. If that's what a little cooler temp and a controlled humidity does for me, well bring on the cooler temps. That's going to be awesome.

This leads me to a question. Should I record my warmup and cooldown in my running log when I lift weights? I ended up running 1.35 miles in the total of 20 minutes warmup + cooldown. I guess I defintely want these miles recorded for my shoes. But should they be recorded as training miles? What does everyone else do? I know, I know. Who really cares, right? Just do what I want to do, right? I'm just curious what others do.

So, the plan for the week:
Mon - 35 minute easy run
Tuesday - 45 minute hill workout (3 McKeown's) at the Hwy. 6 levee
Wednesday - weights in the am
Thursday - 30 minute tempo run
Friday - rest
Saturday - 9 miles

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Your career!

Have you gotten to this point in your career? If so, YOU NEED HELP!!!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

What a difference a few weeks make!

This week's long run venue was Cullen Park with the Katy Fit'ers. On tap today was 6 miles. This week was a bit of a recovery from last week's 8 miles but we're forging forward strong this coming week.


Total distance - 6 miles
Total time - 1:31:43
Average pace - 15:17
Mile 1 - 14:54
Mile 2 - 15:29
Mile 3 - 15:26
Mile 4 - 15:23
Mile 5 - 15:20
Mile 6 - 15:09

I had a few more calories for breakfast than in the past. Had a gel at 30 minutes and at 30 minutes. Flavor of the morning was Carb Boom Strawberry Kiwi and I must say I think I found my gel. It tasted just fine and my stomach tolerated it well. I definitely like the fruity gels rather than the creamy, vanilla, chocholate ones.

The only other comment is that, against my better judgement, I went back 3 weeks to compare the last 6 miler I did. The average pace for that 6 miles on August 5th was 16:15. This week's 6 was 15:16 average pace.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. I experimented some (well, a lot) with 5/1 run/walk intervals. I really liked it and was able to keep a pretty consistent and faster pace over the last half of the race and finished strong. I'm going to do some more of that during next week's 9-miler. I may consider the 5/1 as a race strategy for the USA 10-miler and/or the Houston Half. If it gets me closer to 13:45 pace over those long distances, I'll definetly be doing that for Houston (if I get there).

I posted before Bar-bar-a!!!

This is just a post before Bar-ba-ra. I really feel like I've accomplised something now. Off to Cullen Park for an easy 6 miles. What's so easy about 6 miles?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Plan B

Last night found me shuttling my son from Cypress to our church for a youth Fall kickoff celebration taking place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The event started at 7 pm last night. Plan A was to drop him off early enough to be able to drive out to TH park for the SMARTie Hop workout. This is an easier workout and Coach suggested that I would be able to do it (minus the ). Unfortunately, plan A fell apart as there was a wreck on 290 which caused such a delay that DS was 10 minutes late for his event. So, after dropping him off at Wooday and Voss at 7:10, there's was no way to make it to Memorial and Eldridge by 7:00 without a time machine.

Not to worry, plan B was activated and worked out really well. Plan B was to complete workout at Memorial Park. So, which workout? What to do? I really didn't decide until I got there. I had a lot on my mind thanks to Coaches Steeeve and Bill's talk about "the big picture", having fun, using a training progam as a "guideline", and other things. Also, I had not run since Monday and was concerned about doing a hard run after being "down" a little this past week. So, it that spirit, I decided to do a 30 minute run at easy effort. My schedule called for a 30 minute tempo run. I missed my 20 minute easy run yesterday so I combined the two workouts this way. I took the 30 minutes from the tempo run and the "easy" from the 20 minute easy run to come up with a 30 minute easy run. Like that thought process? Guess I could have had a 20 minute tempo run but with a 10 minute warmup and 10 minute cooldown, where's the tempo? :-)

I had not really eaten since lunch and I figured this was going to be a problem. I did have a Clif bar in the afternoon but that was just supposed to get me through until supper. I was feeling a little hungry. I figured now would be a great time to try a different gel flavor. I picked up a Triple Berry flavored Gu inside the tennis center before heading over to stretch. I liked the flavor a lot better than the Vanilla Bean I took on my 8-miler. Still, to me things taste a little different when you're running so I'm going to have to try this flavor during an actual long run. I'll pick a couple up for tomorrow's 6-miler. I won't need more than 2. Anyway, that really seemed to do the trick, energy-wise.

I did some extra stretching before taking off. I don't talk about it much but my ankle is still stiff and weak. I'm sure the SMARTie Hop and Silly Walks-type exercises are just what the doctor would order for strengthening and engaging those accessory muscles in the foot and lower leg. I need to take a look at the Silly Walk routine and start doing that on my own before workouts or on my days off. Anyway, the stretching felt good. I put away the HRM and just decided to run. I even took that little pod thing (actually called an accelerometer or something) from my shoe. I felt naked. Scary thought! The only stats I recorded were mile splits on my stopwatch. During the run, I did a few very brief pickups. They were maybe 30-50 yards. Just accelerating for a very brief distance to about 85% of an all out sprint. I don't know if you call this a strider or a mini-strider. I don't think that's called a pickup. Heck, I don't know. I just wanted to give my body and especially my ankle a small hint of what it feels like to move a little faster. I think I did 3 of these, two during my first mile and 1 on the second mile. Once, I stretched out my stride a longer. The other two, I exaggerated a faster, shorter turnover. I was just sort of playing around with different strides and seeing how it felt. It was all good.

Overall, for an easy run, it was a bit quicker than usual. Stats:

Total time: 30:03
Total distance: ~2.15 miles
Mile 1 - 13:46
Mile 2 - 14:08
the change(~.15 miles) - 2:07 (~14:00 m/mile pace)

I had fun last night. Didn't feel like I killed myself but didn't walk either. Overall, a pretty good workout. 6 miles on Saturday.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fit Houston Coach reads my mind

Since my Katy Fit group is still getting organized and a bit light on the communication front, I subscribed to the Houston Fit newsletter and lurk around their discussion boards as well. That gives me a good idea of what's going on over there, what their venues are. I read their newsletter for the Red group and 5/1's and kind of freaked out. Coach Gay must have been reading my mind. Actually, I don't believe in extrasensory perception so I figured she got these thoughts from experience and from trainin many, many first-timers. So, if I'm feeling this, I figure others are and may benefit from the advice. Here's what she said:

"Right now, the marathon may seem a bit like the City of Oz, shining in the distance, so near and yet so far. You may find that you hit a bit of a mental slump at this point-bogged down in that beautiful field of poppies leading up to the Emerald City. While your body is responding to the work you have been doing, your brain may be telling you that the marathon is so far away that you don’t need to work so hard. That inner voice may try to convince you to roll over on Saturday morning and sleep in, rather than coming out to the Park to run. “It’s only 6 miles, we’ve already done that,” it will say. It may tell you “it’s really hot; I think I’ll skip the tempo run on Thursday, it’s only 30 minutes.” Sometimes it is hard to focus when your goal is so big and so far in the future. One trick is to break the big goal (running the marathon) down into smaller goals that are closer in time. Our first big collective goal is the Half Marathon Race (13.1 miles), on Sunday, October 29th, the first race in the marathon warm-up series. (For more information on the warm-up series, check out the Houston marathon website,", Event Information, Warm-up Series. Mark it on your calendar. That goal is about 8 weeks from now. Maybe even that is too far off for you to grasp. In just a little over two weeks, we will run our first 10 miler, on Saturday, September 9th. Going into “double digits” for the first time for many of you is a big deal, so that is a great interim goal.

When the voice starts to work on you, remind yourself of these interim goals. It will be a lot harder to run that 10 miler if you let yourself be talked out of that “little” 30 minute run during the week. Our schedule is made up of building blocks. All of the blocks are important-the short, easy runs, the hills or speedwork, the tempo runs and of course, the long runs. Right now, we are still at work on the foundation. If our foundation is strong, the rest of our building will stand tall. If our foundation is weak, we may have some issues with things crumbling down the road. Don’t think that the temptation happens only to you-we all wrestle with it along the way. The one who gets out of bed every Saturday morning is the one who finishes the marathon in January.

I appreciate what Coach Gay says. I have been feeling exacly this way. In fact, I wanted to do my 20 minute easy run yesterday but when life got hectic, I thought, well, it's just 20 minutes. I'll just miss it.

On the other hand, besides feeling confident at times after Monday's 8 miler, I've also felt a ton of doubt. Something is telling me that running the marathon is ridiculous. Something is telling me that it is soooooo far out of reach that it's more of a pipe dream than reality. Seriously, I really should just do the Aramco Half in January and shoot for Marine Corps, 2007 or Houston, 2007. But, I'm not going to make that decision yet. Besides running at the speed of a faster-than-average slug, nothing has happened yet that has caused me to give up or to reconsider a January, sub-6 hour marathon. Is running at the speed of a faster-than-average slug in August enough to make me reconsider? I honestly do not know. So many doubts. I'm still holding on to a couple of blog comments from back in July. Steve wrote:

"Way too early to think about whether a 6 hour marathon is a realistic goal. Not a lot of data for your demographic - big guy pretty much starting from scratch after an injury but with a running/racing background. The race equivalent charts suggest a 1 mile race of 11 minutes and a 5k race of 39 minutes indicate 6 hour marathon potential. You've done that before, so that's a very good sign. You need to do longer races, however, before you have a high confidence indication of your marathon capability. That's still a couple of months away, so you need to hang tough until then. We're all suffering right now in the heat. The only advantage the experienced marathoner has over you is that they KNOW they're going to feel great when the first cool snap hits, and you have to take it on faith."

Doug wrote:

" is not the time to wonder if the ditch you're digging is big enough. Just dig and stay tuned."

So, I think I'm going to go hardcore now. By that, I don't mean running more than recommended or faster than the plan dictates or starving myself to lose more weight or anything else that the word "hardcore" may imply. I mean I'm going to make this a priority. The time is now. I can't do this halfway. I will find time in my week to complete every workout, on schedule. I will eat properly. I will get adequate sleep. I will continue to eat right EVERY DAY. Now is not the time to put my training at the back of the line behind fishing or working or taking it easy. This is supposed to be a sacrifice. Nothing worth doing or having comes without sacrifice. I will continue to maintain balance in my life (church, family, work, exercise, recreation, fun) but I recommit today to making marathon training a priority, not for the sake of self but for my family's, my God's, my employer's sake.

This has been a PRA brought to you by me. A prize to the first person who guesses what a PRA is. :)

Monday, August 21, 2006

It's lonely out there with all those people

This morning was experiment with gels, walking throug water breaks, and post run meals. Oh, and I did 8 miles, too. :)

3:15 am - Alarm goes off (need to leave by 3:45)
3:45 - actually get out of bed after 3 snooze procedures
4:15 - depart for Memorial Park
4:45 - arrive at park and change shoes
5:00 - begin 8 mile run
7:08 - complete run and depart

This turned out to be a pretty good schedule only I was 30 minutes behind from the very beginning. Darn snooze!

So, 8 miles, a season distance PR and 1 mile off lifetime distance PR. Splits:
Total distance: 8 miles Total time: - 2:10:23
Avg pace - 16:17 min/mile
Avg HR - 153 (75% HRreserve)
Mile 1 - 15:55
Mile 2 - 15:55
Mile 3 - 16:48 (bathroom break, Gel break, water/gatorade stop)
Mile 4 - 16:44 (overran the 3 mile mark and turned around, shower break, water break)
Mile 5 - 15:55 (water break)
Mile 6 - 16:45 (water break, gel break. water/gatorade stop)
Mile 7 - 17:18 (shower stop, 3x1 minute walk breaks, water stop)
Mile 8 - 15:00 (finished strong)

Not very tough mentally this morning, IMO. I think I really could have benefited from running with someone today. So many runners passing by but I felt a little lonely out there this morning. It was a long 2+ hours. Still, it gave me some time to think. Mentally, mile 7 was the toughest. I think I was saving something for the last mile or something. I took 3, 1-minute walk breaks. I wasn't really out of breath and my HR was low, about 75% HRreserve. I was just tired. Not making excuses because I'm happy with my run but The 4 and a half hours' sleep and the poor nutrition on the Saturday fishing trip probably played a factor.

On a good note, I think the run could have been worse if it weren't for the experimental substances that I partook of during the run. I had my first gel about 45 minutes into my run. At that time, I was feeling kind of tired, almost like a mini-bonk! Not long after the gel and some gatorade/water that I stashed on the hood of my car, I felt rejuvenated. Mile 4 had it's minor problems just after taking the gel. I actually missed my turnaroud so that added about 15 seconds to the split. Also, I stopped at the shower and cooled off and then stopped at the waterfountain just at the end of the mile 4. But mile 5 felt really good. I could tell the gel was helping. In fact, I walked through a water break on mile 5 at the Memorial Dr. crosswalk and still had a 15:55. The intent of the remainder was to just finish and get to my easy recovery week. I finished the last mile pretty strong. It felt good but it hurt. Not the lungs som much. I was just tired.

All in all it was a great morning. I learned a little about carb supplements. I think I'll take my first at about 30 minutes next time. I had lowfat chocolate milk for a post run meal. I chafed in some places I haven't chafed before. So, that's one for the logs

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Patience pays off for Houston fisherman!

Saturday's fishing trip went about the same as my running schedule has been lately, not as planned. Still, we had a blast. We didnt' catch as many fish as we had liked and did not fish where and when we had originally planned. Nevertheless, it was a great time for daddy to just get away for the day with the guys for a little down time.

The plan was to go offshore. A friend of a co-worker of mine owns a 34' sportfish and offered to take 5 of us out for the day if we would pay for gas and clean the boat when we got back. So, basically, it was a free trip. When we arrived at the marina, on schedule for our 6 am departure, we found Ron sitting on the dock with grease up to his elbows, holding some sort of contraption. Adrian, another friend from work who is mechanically inclines, quickly recognized the contaption as a water pump. Turns out that the part was not in tolerance when Ron started up the boat earlier. Oh, and it was pouring down rain as well. It didn't seem to concern Ron too much as he said we would just have to wait until the marina opened and we could get a new part. That would be 8 am.

So, that brings me to the first of several poor eating choices for the day. Actually, there really wasn't much of a choice. We decided to go eat breakfast at a little joint in surfside. There were only 5 menu choices, the #1, the #2, the #3, get the message. I ordered the #2. I guess in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't too bad. Just quite a bit more fat than I've become accustomed to eating. I'm not going to post any more about food. Suffice it to say the day's nutrition was not at all conducive to healthy eating and weight loss. :)

After breakfast we killed some time as the downpour continued. We visited, drank coffee, told fishing stories, and bonded. Everyone of us work in IT so we had a lot to talk about. Oh, so here's who was on the trip. The trip was set up by my good friend, Dan, an analyst that works with down the hall from me. He invited me and another co-worker, Adrian, a project manager. We were joined by Travis, Dan's brother-in-law and his son, Eric. Eric is a progammer and Travis is a project manager for a large computer firm.

We headed back to the dock around 9:15 after some more delays in finding the part for the boat. Ron and his wife had not returned yet. When they did return, it was a good news, bad news thing. The good news...they found a part. The bad news...the part was in Houston. So, the mission was scrubbed and rescheduling plans began and are still underweigh. As the weather cleared we began to consider our options at this point. We considered wade fishing the surf as the water was quite calm. We decided instead to take Dan's 18' john boat out to Christmas Bay and to do some bay fishing. Travis and Eric have a boat also but decided to just call it a day, leaving Dan, Adrian, and myself.

Then, it was back to the beach house to unload all the offshore gear and get rigged up for bay fishing. We then drove "into town" to retrieve Dan's boat from his mother's garage. Then back to the beach house to load up. Oh, we stopped to get ice, too. By this time, it was aroun 11:00 am. It was getting late but the prospect of actually getting a line wet kept me interested and excited. As we drove to the spot where we were going to put in, we noticed that all the bait shops were out of bait. You have to buy bait near where you are putting in because a longer drive can stress the shrimp and they can die by the time you get there. There's a bait shop at the boat ramp so the plan was to get shrimp there.

When we arrived, guess what! No shrimp. But this shop has their own boat and the guy was expecting more shrimp to arrive any minute . We put the boad it and parked it behind the shop, thinking the shrimp would arrive any minute. So, we hung around and talked about where we were going to go and what we were going to catch. Long story, short, the axle broke on the trailer that was bring the shrimp to us, they fixed the trailer and finally got the shrimp to us. This was one and a half hours, one cheeseburger and an order of fries later. So, about the time we were supposed to be returning from offshore, we were finally filled up with bait and off into the bay. Whew!!!

Just the highlights now. My friend, Dan, who grew up in the area knows the Bay like the back of his hand. You and I look out and just see a big body of water. He knows and sees all the reefs, all the areas where it's just 1 foot of water or less, all the guts and dropoffs. It was great being with someone so knowledgeable. Of course it was the heat of the day. We caught 3 keeper trout, 2 nice sheepshead, a black drum and a couple of croaker that we kept just because the meat is so sweet. Not quite the day it could have been. Seems like we would come up on a spot and catch one, then nothing. We caught a few hardheads which I HATE. One stuck me right in the knuckle. Adrian caught a ribbonfish. It was cool-looking.

Towards the end of our trip, as evening began to fall, we turned the aerator off and fished in silence. It was so peaceful. The bay was calm as the breeze pushed us along a gentle drift. We talked a little about work, a lot about fishing, and some about family and friends and life. We threw out the last cast just as the sun was setting. It was a spectacular, beautiful, red, orange sunset. Tiny sparkels of light jumping out of the water. I was going to take a picture but I thought, no. I'm just saving this one for myself. I just enjoyed it. I was totally exhausted yet at peace. Not worried about water pumps or not catching many fish or missing my 8-miler that morning or how many calories that cheeseburger had. For those moments I just relished in God's majesty and his creation, cherished the friendships that were made that day and thanked God for my life. It is good.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Plan for the next 7 days

Here's my plan for the following 7 days, a la Barbara:

See this has already changed.

Friday (today) - off
Saturday - 40 minute easy run before fishing off
Sunday - off
Monday - 8 mile long run
Tuesday - off
Wednesday - 25 min. easy
Thursday - SMARTie Hop workout (am I crazy?)
Friday - off
Saturday - 6 mile long run (back on schedule)
Sunday - off

Disclaimer:This schedule and all future plans for my life are subject to change without notice.

Off schedule but on track, I hope!

Since last weekend, I've been a little off schedule with my Katy Fit red schedule. It began with my running the RTW 5K last Saturday (Aug. 12). That meant I did not do my scheduled long run (7 miles). Well I didn't want to do my long run the day after a 5K so I didn't do in on Sunday. I did my long run on Monday, before work, the day I was supposed to do a 35-minute easy run. I didn't want to do the 35-minute run the day after my 7-miler so I ran on Wednesday, a scheduled rest day. The hill workout scheduled for Tuesday, the day I took off because it was after my long run, changed to a Thursday night tempo run because it was late and I did not want to run on the Hwy. 6 levee at night. Now that I have the opportunity to get back on schedule with a rest day today (Friday) and my long run tomorrow, instead, I'm going deep see fishing with some friends from work. It's a free trip and I couldn't pass it up. So, now I need to decide am I going to run before or after fishing (it won't be my long run) or take an extra rest day and do my long run early Sunday. I could wait and do my long run on Monday again. I don't know.

I know that was all soooooo confusing but I'm actually in control of this situation (I think) and am trying to follow a few basic guidelines. One, I am following the hard/easy rule. My hards are tempo runs, hill workouts, and long runs. My easy's are rest days and easy runs. Two, I'm running basically 4 times per week. Three, I'm trying to follow the runs and keep total mileage/time to what is prescribed on the Katy Fit red schedule, staying as close to the reservation as my schedule will allow. In these regards, I feel I am right on track. The only significan deviation from my training plan is that I have not included hill workouts into my schedule for the past two weeks. I'm not going to concern myself with that right now. I'll do some hills this week and next and am going to start incorporating some resistance training and lunges into my routine in the coming weeks.

On to last night's run! I was unable to get out early yesterday for a run because I got paged and had to get into work. After I got home, I waited for things to cool off a bit...and waited...and waited...and waited. About 7:15, I set out for Memorial park. I made a stop at Academy for some fishing supplies which put me at the park around 8:15. I don't often bring it up as I'd just rather ignore it but it was still pretty hot. When I got home at 10:15, the heat index was 95. Still, I felt good trotting from the car to the benches and stretching. By the time I put my shoes on, trot over, stretch, and stroll over to the start, my HR is usually up around 95-97. Last night, right before I started, it was 111. Another thing worried me going into this run. I was all out of fresh running shirts at home so I had just grabbed an old cotton t-shirt that I work in the yard with. I've run in this shirt many times but in the back of my mind, I had concerns about tonight.

The plan was to do a 40 minute tempo run. That's a 10 minute warmup, 20 minutes at tempo pace, and a 10 minute cool down. I felt great during the warmup, running my 10 minutes at about 14:50 pace. That's a little quicker than my usual warmup but it really felt like a very easy effort. After the 10 minutes, I eased into my tempo effort and maintained it for 20 minutes. I'm really starting to feel like I'm running lately. I'm not sure how to explain it. My knees are flexed a bit more. I feel more like I'm pushing off with my hamstrings and feet and calves, instead of just sort of leaning forward and just trying to get under my body to keep from falling forward on my face, like a survival shuffle. It really feels good. I say it feels good but at ~14:30 on my watch, I seriously entertained the idea of cutting my tempo portion back to 15:00 minutes. But I didn't!! I did the 20 minutes. All the way!!! And averaged about a 13:20 pace. My HR got up a little higher than previous runs of this nature but I really did not feel like I pressed my effort too far beyond not "sucking wind but if I went any faster I would be." That's how I try to feel for my tempo runs.

I walked most of my cooldown. I felt a little nauseous and slightly light-headed. I was hot and the cotton shirt along with the heat and humidity was not facilitating evaporation of my sweat. I think I was cooking. Mmmmm! Stewed Vic! I took my shirt off for a while and it felt better. Apologies to the Houston running community for that sight but it was a medical emergency. :) Guess after 9 pm, there's no telling what you'll see at the park. Anyway, I made it to the water fountain and the shower and soaked my head for a minute or so. The water coming out of that outdoor shower was soooooo cool! It brought me back to life. I'm glad I experienced this minor heat incident. I think I learned from it and it wasn't severe enough that I was in danger at any time. Were I the Rambo type and tried to run the rest of the way in (cooldown), it may have been worse. I listened to what my body was telling me and got through it. And more importantly, I didn't try to chase some calculated pace or some target heart rate. I just ran by feel and got a great workout despite the heat. It's really important to me right now to just get the workouts done, not worry about pace or how I ran last week, to learn how my body is reacting, and to run how I feel. That's what this noobee is working on right now.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Alternatives to Gu (for Lisa and anyone else)

Bumping this up from a 2005 post. I got this out of the September issue of Runners World. It's just a list of suggested energizing foods for runs lasting longer than an hour.

Food Carbs(g)/cals
8 ounce Gatorade 14/50
1 packet GU gel 25/100
1 PowerBar 45/240
4 Fig Newtons 44/220
5 saltines 10/65
4 graham crackers 20/120
1 small plain bagel 30/157
2 tablespoons honey 34/128
1 ounce jelly beans 26/105
1 ounce dried fruit 17/65
3 har candies 18/72
1 orange, sliced 15/62
1 ounce Gummi Bears 30/120

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

For the minimalist...

This post is for all the minimalists out there...Jon, you're not going to like this. James, you probably will.

Ran this morning for about 35 minutes.
Felt good.

...Why are you still reading? That's it!

Really, that's it. Have a nice day!


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Weight fluctuations and tracking

I found out early on in the weight loss adventure that one day I can be excited because of a 2 lb. loss and the next day I'm depressed because of a 3 lb. gain. Since I'm only concerned with fat loss and 1 lb of fat is 3500 calories, I figured there's no way a 2 or 3 lb gain in one day was due to a caloric intake surplus of 7,000-10,500 calories in just one day. Obviously, this is due to normal fluctuations in water and digestive contents. So, I really was faced with just 1 choice. Throw the scale away. It doesn't mean anything.

Then I found this cool spreadsheet that was part of my running log that tracks your weight according to a 5 or 7 day moving average. So, now, I report only my moving average. A lb or two lost or gained does not really effect the average. In fact, I have to maintain a loss for several days in order for it to show up in the average. Here are some sample data so you can see what I mean. Please excuse the poorly formatted html. I didn't take time to do it right. :)

DateDayDaily weightAvg weightBMI
18-Jul Tue 320.0 320.0 42.21
19-Jul Wed 319.0 319.9 42.20
20-Jul Thu 320.0 319.9 42.20
21-Jul Fri 319.0 319.8 42.19
22-Jul Sat 317.0 319.5 42.15
23-Jul Sun 319.0 319.5 42.14
24-Jul Mon 320.0 319.5 42.15
25-Jul Tue 319.0 319.5 42.14
26-Jul Wed 317.0 319.2 42.11
27-Jul Thu 317.0 319.0 42.08
28-Jul Fri 315.0 318.6 42.03
29-Jul Sat 314.0 318.1 41.97
30-Jul Sun 317.0 318.0 41.95
31-Jul Mon 318.0 318.0 41.95
1-Aug Tue 318.0 318.0 41.95
2-Aug Wed 313.0 317.5 41.88
3-Aug Thu 313.0 317.1 41.82
4-Aug Fri 314.0 316.8 41.78
5-Aug Sat 317.0 316.8 41.79
6-Aug Sun 317.0 316.8 41.79
7-Aug Mon 315.0 316.6 41.77
8-Aug Tue 311.0 316.1 41.69
9-Aug Wed 311.0 315.6 41.63
10-Aug Thu 310.0 315.0 41.55
11-Aug Fri 312.0 314.7 41.51
12-Aug Sat 312.0 314.4 41.48
13-Aug Sun 312.0 314.2 41.44
14-Aug Mon 312.0 314.0 41.42
15-Aug Tue 312.8 313.9 41.40

So, you see that the average sort of lags behind the actual weight. On some days, my actual daily weight went up but my average went down. That's nice! And that's how I keep from falling into the weight fluctuation trap.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Awesome fun 7-miler

Wish I had more time and was as excited now as I was this morning after this run. Maybe this post would be longer and give more details. But even though I just giving the down and dirty, this was by far in my opinion my best long run to date.

Total distance - 7 miles
Total time - 1:49:07
Avg pace - 15:35 min/mile
Avg HR - 153 bpm Mile 1 - 15:50 (139 bpm)
Mile 2 - 15:58 (147 bpm)
Mile 3 - 15:58 (151 bpm)
Mile 4 - 15:43 (155 bpm)
Mile 5/6 - 30:37 (15:18 avg) (158 bpm)
Mile 7 - 14:59 (160 bpm)

The highlight of the run was running into Doug on one of his walking days. So, he walked while I ran. I've been hearing so many of you running with friends and it really made a difference having someone to talk to. Kind of kept me steady. I really enjoyed talking to Doug for the last 4+ miles. Remember, Doug, it's all about the shortcuts.:)


Sorry to disappoint but this is nowhere near as exciting a report as Bill's sub-7:00 time trial, or Keith's delivery on his guaranteed PR, in August even. No, for the most part, this was just a training run for me.

As I stated in an earlier post, my intention for this race was to treat it as a training run. Furthermore, I intended to run the course twice plus one mile to complete my scheduled 7 mile long run per theFit schedule. Well, I ended up taking it a little more seriously than a training run and it was sure too hot to do the course twice.

So, there's really nothing exciting about the race to report. I ran a respectable (for me) 45:22. That's an average pace of 14:36. I stayed pretty even on the effort. Never really pushed it too hard. It felt like a little bit easer than my tempo effort and a little bit harder than easy effort. Pretty much just a good hard 3.1.

It was so awesome to finally meet Barbara. Also, the wives made a killer showing with Donna, Gerlinde, and Fran running great races. Good to see my old pal, Cassie and her fiance, Manny. Sarah drove up from Clear Lake and really ran well. Of course Keith delivered on his PR promise. Jon was Mr. Jonny on the spot, organizing, announcing, passing out ice cream, timing the race, and all the things Jon does. Waverly was just in my sights the whole race but decided to start running the last mile and I never saw her again. LOL!!! Finally met Coach Bill and that was a treat. I'd really like to sit down and talk to him one day. Wish my pals Bill and Christy were there. That would have made the trip complete.

Here's a photo after about .25 miles. Sweating already:

Besides that, one final interesting thing that happened. Being way behind the back of the pack, I always appreciate those who linger around the finish and give a little word of encouragement to the laggers. On Saturday, I was in for a real treat. A kind older gentleman suddenly appeared on the course, well into mile 2 and was telling everybody around (I was the only race participant withing earshot of his voice), "Five more minutes. It's just right up here, just 5 more minutes." Well I guess he realized I was the only one running the 5K so he decided he was going to run me in. Well, I thought, ok. Well, he proceeded to tell me that if I would just do this every week, just get out there an run every week, "that weight would come right off." He offered a lot of other advice like "what you need to do is get you a pair of sweatpants and run with them on. Then I could sweat some of that weight off my lower body." He even suggested I get a heart rate monitor and proceeded to tell me to keep it around 80% maxHR. Oh, he did tell me my maxHR was 180 after asking my age. The best advice he offered was when he said, "now when you get home, you need to do some of these exercises right here," motioning like he was doing a pushup. I thought, well, that would be good. Then he said, "You know, the exercise where you push the food away! You just push it away and you'll lose that weight." Finally toward the end he did say something that made me feel good. I was pretty strong there at the finish, not a sprint, just strong. He was saying, "man, you can run a 5K, a big man like you. You're doing pretty good. Big guy like you able to run a 5K. you're way ahead of a lot of people your size. Good job!!!" All in all, I was not offended by any of his comments. He was a sweet man and was sincerely trying to help me.

Friday, August 11, 2006

No offense intended!!!

A couple of days ago, I wrote in an entry entitled "Ramblings..."

So many times I hear runners say they had a bad easy run because they averaged 10:00 min/mile pace instead of the 9:30 average pace they ran the same distance at last week. They say this was a bad workout because "I had to walk the last mile." Well, boo hoo!!! IMHO, runners who think this way just haven't been humbled enough by this sport to realize what a complex, beautiful, adaptable, intricate system the human body is. And then you throw in the mind and the spirit and all the external factors. How dare we say we've had a bad run just because we were a few seconds off or had to walk a little. How arrogant to think we have it all figured out to that degree. I'm really preaching to myself so readers, don't take offense.

I just wanted to say that this comment was not directed at anyone in particular. When I wrote this, it was mainly directed at myself (as stated) and was precipitated by a couple of runs lately that have not gone as planned. In particular, I remember a 5 mile long run a couple of weeks ago where I bonked at the end and had to walk/run the last mile. Then on Tuesday, I had to walk the entire last mile cooldown of a tempo run. So, I'm saying to me, don't be so arrogant as to think that you should be able to look at a hr monitor or a previous run and know everything about running and performance. So, that's where I was coming from. So, please, if anyone took offense to this comment, I apologize. It was wholly and completely directed at myself.

Good plan, good execution, grade...A

Well, everything went right last night and this is a run I will remember. It would be ill-advised to try to duplicate this run or to compare any other run to this one. So, I won't.

Everything just came together. To start, I had a great massage yesterday. My therapist worked on my legs and calves and on that ankle and today, I woke up feeling great. My nutrition for the day included some egg whites, skillet potatoes, and watermelon for breakfast, a grilled chicken sandwich and fruit for lunch and a clif bar in the afternoon. Nutrition, check! I also drank plenty of water during the day. Hydration, check! This run also followed a full day's rest. Rest and recovery, check! Due to the late afternoon rain, I put off the run until after 7:30pm so the sun was on the way down and it was almost cool. Of course, cool compared to what? Anyway, it was cool-ER. Weather conditions, check!

Thursday's schedule called for a 40 minute tempo run. My tempo run last week was a measured distance, 1 mile warmup, 1 mile tempo, and 1 mile cooldown. This week I decided to do the workout according to Fit's instructions. Yes, James, I ran for time and not distance. Even though I wore my HRM, I did not set any zones or alarms or any kind of beeper. I just started the timer. Of course, retrospectively, I have the data to look at but I didn't really pay attention to the gadgets for this run. I just thought one thought, "you should never be sucking wind but feel if you went any faster you would be." (Trivia question for readers of this blog: Who said this when describing tempo effort?)

10 minute warmup (Pace doesn't matter. It's a warmup!)
20 minute tempo run:
    Distance - 1.50 miles
    Avg pace - 13:20 min/mile
    avgHR - 161 bpm(82% HRreserve)
    maxHR - 168 bpm(89% HRreserve)
10 minute cooldown (No stats. It doesn't matter. I did run the entire cooldown)

The run felt really good. I was able to hold the effort described above for 1.5 miles. WOW!!! I really concentrated on easing into the effort after the warmup. I didn't just take off after 10 minutes like I did on Tuesday. In fact, it took me a good 5 or so minutes to settle into the increased effort. So, that was good. I really listented to my body on this one and feel like I learned a lot.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


There has been some talk "around town" about runners' use of HR monitors, pacing, zones, and other data that some runners use for different purposes. June asks, "Does that mean I am not a runner" if I don't use all these tools. James says wisely, "When you start worrying about times and distances and heart rates and zones and everything else that measures your performance, you start missing what your body is telling you." I'm certainly not going to settle the issue here but I did want to ramble a little about it, so bear with me.

First of all, I think there are 2 reasons why runners use tools like HR monitors, paces, mile markers, splits, zones, blah, blah, blah. One reason, and I would take issue with this reason, is to measure compare how fast I went today to how fast I went look at the data and try to push harder and faster and go further each and evey time you run. This is ridiculous, IMHO!! So many times I hear runners say they had a bad easy run because they averaged 10:00 min/mile pace instead of the 9:30 average pace they ran the same distance at last week. They say this was a bad workout because "I had to walk the last mile." Well, boo hoo!!! IMHO, runners who think this way just haven't been humbled enough by this sport to realize what a complex, beautiful, adaptable, intricate system the human body is. And then you throw in the mind and the spirit and all the external factors. How dare we say we've had a bad run just because we were a few seconds off or had to walk a little. How arrogant to think we have it all figured out to that degree. I'm really preaching to myself so readers, don't take offense. :)

Secondly, I think runners use these tools (as I do) to learn more about myself and about this sport. I use these data, together with how I feel, to help focus my workouts, to help slow me down, to help me recover when I need to recover and to push when I need to push. Many times the objective data helps validate how I felt during a training session and in tandem helps me draw conclusions about how to better train in the future.

Now to the question of "correctness." Does not worrying about these things make me a less sophisticated runner? Does worrying too much about these data make me a nerd? :) At the risk of sounding too much like a liberal, I don't think there is a right answer. Both sides are correct. In fact I think the nerd would be well-served to put down his monitor and pen and paper and run more like my friend, June. And I think, the runner who just goes out there and runs would find that focusing his/her training a little more would result in improvements as well. I just think that it's a matter of personality. I think there is a little bit, or a lot, or too much of the artist and the scientist in each of us. The artist just goes out every day and runs. If it feels like it was easy, it must have been easy. If it feels like it was hard, it must have been hard. The scientist records splits and HR and enjoys leaning on more emperical data to determine if the run was at the correct effort. IMHO, if the scientist could learn to be a little more artsy and the artist could be a little more scientific, they would probably both be better runners.

Sorry for the rambling. I have more thoughts but will reserver them for a later post. Sure wish Coach Steeve and Coach Bill would chime in on this discussion.

God bless!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Good plan, bad execution, grade - A

The plan yesterday was to do a mile tempo run. So, that's 1 mile warmup, 1 mile at tempo effort, and 1 mile cooldown. According to the Fit schedule, I was to do hills yesterday but trying to juggle that around kids, my wife's work schedule, and the Striders meeting, I switched Tuesday's and Thursday's workouts. So, the plan of attack...mile 1 was to be a warmup, <70% HRr. Then towards the very end of mile 1 and into mile 2, I was going to pick it up to tempo effort. The tempo mile would end and I would continue running but bring it back down to ~75% effort for the cooldown. Textbook

The execution - Very easy warmup mile, probably around 15:45 - 16:00. Even if the split was important, I did not have "auto split" enabled on my watch so the split time was not recorded. Now is where the mistakes began. Unlike my tempo run last week where I just ran by "feel", yesterday I was watching my HR like a hawk. I had set the HR zone to a range for this mile of 164-170. So, big mistake. As soon as I hit the mile 1 marker, the thing started beeping. So, I took off. It kept beeping so I ran a little faster. I wasn't feeling taxed early on so I thought, well, I'll just get it up to my range and then try to hold it there. Oh, I didnt' mention one thing. This was around 4:45 in the afternoon. Temp was 94 with heat index of 102. Poor execution! So, I chased the little beep until I got up to my range. This took about .25 miles. On a bright note, I kept it in that zone for the duration of the tempo mile. On a bad note, I was wiped out by the end and could not run/jog my cooldown.

So, my grade on this run - an A. I refuse to beat myself up because I didn't execute a training run as fast or as slow and I had planned. I had a good plan. I gave a very good effort. All I lacked was the experience, in this case, to know that 1) The heat can zap me, even if I'm staying aerobic. 2)Run in the cooler part of the day. If I have to run in the heat, take it easy, slow it down, and 3)Don't chase that little beeper thing on the HR monitor and don't be so quick to bring my HR up to whatever zone it's supposed to be in. Take my time getting up to target zone. Concentrate on feel and maintaining a consistent stride and pace.

The Strider meeting was a blast. I met a few new folks and caught up with some familiar faces. Fellow bloggers Steve and Bill were in attendance. Also, it was great to see my old friend and blogger Jessica. I sat next to a fine gentleman by the name of David. Very nice man. I got a lot of information on the upcoming Houston Half. There are a lot of volunteer opportunities at this event so run to the site, click on the Volunteers tab and sign up. NOW!!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

3, easy

My easy runs on Monday have to date been timed. The Katy Fit schedule called for a 35 minute run today, an increase of 5 minutes over last Monday. I favor distance runs over timed runs, mostly for recording purposes, so I decided to just make this a 3 mile run. My 30 minute runs so far have been a little over 2 miles so my run tonight was less than a mile increase from previous Monday runs. It's an easy effort so I don't think the extra mile per week is going to kill me.

So, my goal for this run was to run easy. I wanted to follow McMillan's description of the easy run. Here it is:

The final true Endurance workout is the easy run. The majority of your training is likely to be comprised of easy runs and the purpose is to fully develop your aerobic fitness and then maintain it. The pace for easy runs can be as fast as 30 seconds slower than marathon race pace and as slow as one minute slower than marathon pace. Your heart rate is around 75% of maximum though it can reach 80 to 85% near the end of the run. Easy runs last anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour and a half. Again, one of the common mistakes we make is running our easy runs too fast. Keep them steady but don't get into a pace where your breathing becomes noticeably faster.

Here are my splits:
Mile 1 - 14:32
Mile 2 - 15:05
Mile 3 - 15:25

HR splits:
Mile 1 - 147 bpm (~70% HRr)
Mile 2 - 157 bpm (~76% HRr)
Mile 3 - 161 bpm (~81% HRr)

I'm happy with this workout. I still need to even out my pace a little. I think holding back just 15-25 seconds on mile 1 will produce more even pacing. I'd like to negative split without going over 80-85% HRreserve. Of course I'm totally ok with my effort as it was very hot and humid. A south breeze in my face on the mile 1 leg really pumped me up but it disappeared as soon as I turned the southeast corner of the loop. It was brutally hot and humid. Regardless, I like the effort that I maintained.

Looks like some of the SMARTies were out doing a boot-camp-like workout at the west end of the quarter-mile track. I walked by there on the way to the car to see if there was anybody I knew. Someone waved at me but without my glasses, I couldn't make out who it was. I didn't want to go over and interrupt the workout so I just waved back and went on to the house.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

6 miles and I didn't BONK!!!

I changed strategies a little today with my long run. Decided to start out easier. The goal today was simple. To get through the 6 miles without bonking near the end. Pace was not going to be an issue but I said ahead of time that if I get halfway and feel pretty good, I'll pick up the pace a little at the end.

Mile 1 - 16:51
Mile 2 - 17:09
Mile 3 - 16:31
Mile 4 - 16:22
Mile 5 - 15:51
Mile 6 - 14:50
Average HR (miles 1-6) - 140/145/151/155/158/162

My target HR for the run was 148 (~70% max). I kept that pertty well until I decided to pick up the pace around mile 4. Doesn't really matter. I was conversational the whole way. Well that last .3 or .4, I did a little mini tempo pace. Wanted to finish strong. From the looks of the splits and from how I felt throught the run, I DIDN'T BONK!!!

I have to keep telling myself that these long runs are not a race. I think I has this fixation that if I don't run my long run as fast as I want to run my marathon, I'm never going to get there. Coach said not to worry about all that. Just get through the rest of the summer and we'll know more about my potential to finish in 6 hours after a few longer races. I went ahead and registered for the USA 10 miler on October 15. I'm already registerd for the Houston Half two weeks later. After these two races, I'll have a better idea of how I am progressing and will be in a better position to decide on Houston or Austin.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

For all that thought the treadmill is boring

The dreadmill is not boring!!!

Am I maried???

Doug, you ask if I'm married to my HRM. Well, actually you asked if I'm a slave to it. Is that the same thing? I ain't going there. :) I don't feel a "slave" to it. I use it for informational purposes. But I also use it as a general guide on long runs. I'm finding out with this training that I'm just learning right now. I'm starting to realize that this sport is not a sport where you read a book, follow the instructions, and execute the workout/race. It's kind of exciting. So, to answer your question, my HRM is something I use for information and somewhat as a guide. I think the more I learn as a runner, the more useful my HR monitor will be. I figure to know about running and more importantly to know about Vic, running, I need information from training runs, HR monitor, racing at various distances, and experts/coaches/experienced runners for any of this to be consistent and to make sense. Right now, I have 2 or 3 races under my belt, a little bit of aerobic base training, some HR monitor numbers that don't make a lot of sense to me right now, and a bunch of information from web sites and "experts". What I lack is extensive racing experience at various distances, any racing experienct at distances > 5K, training experience. I have a lot to learn. :) I like that.

I think I nailed it???

This morning I ran my first tempo run. Well, first one on purpose anyway. I'm sure I've run hard before but not really in this structured format.

So, the Katy Fit schedule called for a 35 minute tempo run this morning. I'd rather run by distance so I decided, with Coach's approval, to do a 1 mile warmup/1 mile tempo/1 mile cooldown. Here are the stats and comments to follow:

Mile 1 - 16:16 (avg HR: 141)
Mile 2 - 13:30 (avg HR unknown, for some reason my monitor was malfunctioning
Mile 3 - 15:37 (avg HR: 159)

I had a hard time with my HR monitor during the tempo leg. That was actually, to me, a blessing. I kind of wanted to do this mile by feel and since my monitor wasn't working, I had to. I did record a max during mile 2 of 169 bpm. Coach told me that I should "be about as hard as you can go without going anerobic i.e., you should never be sucking wind but feel if you went any faster you would be (that's what the first 3/4 of a 10k feel like)." Well, I've never done a 10K so now I know what the first 3/4 will feel like. Anyway, I felt good, just like coach described. It was really challenging toward the end. Still not gasping for breath, I felt like I was going pretty hard. Certainly harder than any mile to date (since comeback). The last 1/4 mile, I just pictured the kids' faces and DW and how much I love them and how much I want to really live for and with them, and my spirit soared through that last effort. I was tempted to stop and walk to recover but didn't. I slowed down to my easy pace, and ran through the entire mile 3.

One other thing. I'm not sure if it was just mental or if it was just cooler or if I was particularly rested this morning but I really felt stronger on my feet this morning. I doubt it's possible that the hill workout on Tuesday and the rest day yesterday would have made such a difference but I really felt good, strong.

Ready for 6 on Saturday!!!

God bless!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Just what the Doctor (Steeve) ordered

Being a bit overly-cautious and horrified of risking injury, I turned to Coach Steeve for advice on the prescribed hill workout from the Katy Fit marathon schedule. I've never done a hill workout before and Steeve was sooooo helpful with his instruction. I won't do this with every workout but I want to describe this one in detail so that I'll remember what I did and so that others who want to can comment.

The venue was the access ramp at the Hwy 6 about a mile South of I-10. Before the access ramp, there are stairs leading up to the top of the levee. I started on the levee with about a 10 minute warmup. Then I went down the stairs and continued the short jog over the the bottom of the access ramp. Then I ran up the ramp at a target pace of 15:00 min/mile. That's about the pace I do my easy runs at. The distance of the ramp is ~.1239 miles (according to gmaps-pedometer). This is where Steeve's advice was GREAT in my opinion. Instead of running back down the ramp which is really where your legs and ankles take a pounding, I ran on top of the levee, back to the stairs and down, then continued my recovery over to the base of the ramp. I repeate this two more times and then ended with about a 6 minute cool down and walk back to the car.

Here is some info from each hill repeat. I'm not sure if this is right but I started out a little easy and tried to get a little faster with each repeat. I wasn't really watching my watch but rather going on feel. All I did with my watch was press the lap button.

Repeat   MaxHR   Pace
1   168   17:05
2   169   15:27
3   173   14:55

Other Stats
Total miles - 2.13 miles
Calories burned - 586

By the way, Steeve, sorry I didn't stop by SMARTie training to say hi. I started and finished early (around 7:30) and headed home. I did drive by and shout at y'all out the window. SMARTIES!!! Got some confused looks. LOL!!!

Clemens 2nd in ERA with 2.09...record 2-4

I just realized that Clemens is 2nd among active pitchers with an ERA of 2.09. Now granted he's just started 8 games this year and he actually does not show up on the ERA stats on But if the Astros hitters can't find inspiration in The Rocket, where they gonna get it from? C'mon guys. Let's get it together while there's still a chance. That's all I have to say about that."