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!

Monday, November 06, 2006

A bit sore but in good shape

As was indicated on Friday's 6-miler, I continue to recover nicely from last Sunday's half marathon. Sunday's 13-mile training run went off as planned and was for the most part a blast.

It wasn't your typical "group" run. Well, I guess for me it wasn't a group run at all. Still, the plan was for June, Sarah, Erica, and me to run 13 miles from the tennis center to the George R. Brown Convention center. Well, actually, June and I were going to run 13 and Erica and Sarah were going to do 10. And since I run slower, June and I weren't really going to run togehter, I was going to leave early and we would finish together. Oh, and Cassie joined us too. So, as it turned out. Cassie and June did their run together, Erica and Sarah did their thing and finished a little before Cassied and June and I brought up the rear, meeting them at the tennis center. So, our 5-member running group still needs to get it together. :o) Just kidding!! Seriously, it's very, very hard to find people with your pace and your distance and your goals to train with. I think the way we do it is the next best thing. We all just kind of do our own thing and plan to meet up at or near the end for trash talking and eats!!!

If I'm learning anything at all, I think I'm getting better at planning my training runs and I'm able to take more and more things into account, setting realistic expectations while still pushing and staying motivated. I did this distance last week at the Koala/Luke's Half Marathon at 13:45 pace with temps in the upper 50's to upper 60's and no noticeable humidity. So, I figured with yesterday's conditions and it being a training run, not a race, I would shoot for 45-60 seconds slower than my race pace. As much good as it would have done to do some of the hills along the asphalt portion of Allen Parkway along the bayou, I pretty much stayed "up top" and avoided the hills. I don't care too much for the terrain, though, up top. The trail is uneven and rough. It almost felt like a trail run at times.

At about mile 5 or a little past, I could see all the way to the east side of downtown to the GRB Convention Center. I unintentionally got a little psyched up and did an unusually quick 13:05 mile 6 down Rusk to what will be the finish line for the Houston Marathon. I stopped there briefly for a Gu and some water and then was off. I don't want to sound narcissistic but sometimes people (not runners) look at me. :o) I think they're just waiting on me to keel over dead at any moment. Either that or they're in disbelief that someone as big as me is out there at all. Well, I caught the eye of a couple of ladies going to a convention or something, crossing the street at the corner or GRB. They had that look as they passed by me. I just took a swig from my water bottle and said, "Well, back to Memorial Park," nonchalantly. That must have really got them wondering about the whole "what's someone going to do when they find this large man passed out in the street over on Bagby?" thing. I just smiled and went on my merry way

Thanks to that miracle 13:05 mile, I averaged 14:35 for the 13 miles. Here are the stats:

Total distance - 13.0 miles
Total time - 3:09:32
Mile 1 - 14:40
Mile 2 - 14:45
Mile 3 - 14:50
Mile 4 - 14:34
Mile 5 - 14:52
Mile 6 - 13:05
Mile 7 - 14:20
Mile 8 - 14:36
Mile 9 - 14:34
Mile 10 - 14:54
Mile 11 - 14:38
Mile 12 - 15:04
Mile 13 - 14:34
Average pace - 14:34
Temperature - 67 degrees
Humididty - 89%

So, overall, I'm pleased with the run. I did not crash. I had to be patient at the beginning and tough at the end. Seems to be a recurring theme here.

Congrats to all the Striders who kicked it up a notch at the Run with the Saints 5K on Saturday. Lotsa hardware and a smashing PR for Steve B, a PR and hardware for Pony, and a first in age group award for COACH STEEEVE!!! Some Strider-pippin' going on as well but it's all good

God Bless!!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Not much else to say!!! The picture speaks for itself!!! Party!!!

Now, that's better

Well, it took me until Friday to begin to feel just a little better after Sunday's half marathon. Actully, I started to feel feisty again on Thursday afternoon after a massage but put off getting back to running until Friday morning.

Hal's plan for Friday (originally Wednesday) - 6 easy miles. Vic's plan for Friday - 3 easy, 2 somewhere between easy and 10K effort, and 1 easy (cooldown). I wanted to run just a couple of miles at a little faster pace, hopefully to shake out any remaining cobwebs. The stats for the run:

Total distance - 6.0 miles Total time - 1:21:37
Mile 1 - 13:56
Mile 2 - 13:47
Mile 3 - 13:48
Mile 4 - 13:10
Mile 5 - 12:59
Mile 6 - 13:54
Average pace - 13:36
Temperature - 47 degrees
Humidity - 63%

The weather was so nice. Very cool and crisp. Running is never boring, is it? This morning I was reminded that when the temps drop, it takes a lot longer to warm up. In my opinion, that makes the warmup and cool down even more important.

So, I'm feeling pretty good. Although I mised a 3-mile run this week, I'm not fretting. I could do it today, no problem, but I want to be fresh for tomorrow's 13-miler. I'm concentrating today on eating properly and resting. Besides, our family has a soccer tournament (at least 2 games), another soccer game for the little one, and 2 basketball games (1 for the youngest and middle child). Fun-filled day!!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


That's the most succint way to describe tonight's easy 3 miles that were anything but easy. I have some thoughts on this but first, I want to describe how I've been feeling since Sunday's Half marathon.

Intuitively (not speaking from experience), there are two ways to run a long distance race. For one, you can treat it like a training run, taking the opportunity to practice your pre-race routine, experience the race environment, but not running as hard as you would were it your target race. Or, your can run it like a "real race", going for it, leaving nothing on the course. Sunday, for me, was more like the latter. Even though I am training for the full marathon in Janurary, I still ran the half on Sunday like it was a target race. I gave it all I had.

Now, before atta-boy's are handed out, let me just say that Sunday's race took a lot out of me. It was the furthest distance I have ever run before and at an average pace at least 1 minute faster than ANY 8+ mile training run I have done to date. I'm very proud of my effort but it has left me feeling very flat and sore for 3 days now. AND HUNGRY!!! Catherine would not be happy with how I've eaten since Sunday at 10:05 am, about the time I made it over to the post race food table.

I was supposed to start back runnning on Tuesday but did not feel like it at all. By tonight (Wednesday) night, I thought I'd better get back out there and resume training so I started out for 3 easy miles. Man, did I feel like you-know-what!!! It was not a fun run. My thigh hurt, I was tired, sluggish, could not get it going at all. Here are the stats:

Total distance - 3.12 miles
Total time - 45:10
Mile 1 - 14:21
Mile 2 - 14:50
Mile 3 - 14:11
da change (.12) - 1:46
Avg pace - 14:28
Temperature - 63.2
Humidity - 66.6

Well, looking at those splits, not too bad, all things considered. However, I really struggled on this run. I wonder if the way I ran my half is going to put me out of commission for an entire week or two, even. I don't know. I just know I'm tired. I'm getting a massage tomorrow. My next scheduled run on Hal's training program is 6 miles. I don't think I'll do that tomorrow. I think I'll rest tomorrow, let Mary Lee get some of the cobwebs out, and do 6 on Friday morning.

Faithfull readers, is this how I'm supposed to feel? Should I repeat this effort, treating each race like a "real race", for the 25K and the 30K or is that going to DESTROY me before I even toe the line in January? Running easier for these races at a training run pace would put me in well beyond the time limit. Also, should I just continue my training and run feeling the way I do or listen to my body and just wait until I can run comfortably?

Did you hear about this?

Marine Corps Marathon satellite race.