Monday, November 19, 2007

Drama Queen

3 miles tonight. Felt good.

I don't want this to be some big dramatic thing.

But here's the deal. I've got some stuff to get done. I love you all and will be cheering for you. See you around. If not, I'll see you at the Bayou City Classic. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I got my life back...

Well, I got my life back but could someone please give me my fitness? And could someone please give me back my endurance?

I know it's probably unrealistic to expect to do 17 miles after a 10 day layoff. But I just wanted to cover the distance. No heroism. No TLT or middle 6 at marathon pace or anything like that. Just cover the distance.

Well, I covered distance alright but it wasn't 17 miles. It was about 12 and it was a struggle. I felt good enough through 10 but faded fast after that. I don't know what the deal was. I was weak and hungry. And I stopped 3 times to "go to the bathroom" with stomach problems. Guess it's going to take more than just a day of eating right to actually make and impact on my long runs. I'll need a good week of hydrating and eating right to really feel up to par I think.

Next weekend, I'll see how it goes. One more long run like today and I'll have to reset my training plan back a few weeks for Austin. It's just too late to not be doing these long runs.

So, the plan for next week is:
Monday - 5 miles
Tuesday - Silly Walks, 5x180/180at 5k race pace, 2 mile CD
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - TXU Turkey Trot 10K (PR!!! You can bet the ranch!!!)
Friday - rest
Saturday - 18 miles (Tour de Memorial)
Sunday - rest

Sorry there wasn't better news to report on the long run today. But not to worry. I still have my life.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What a day for a comeback!

I awoke this morning to temps in the 40's and absolute perfect running weather. More importantly, I woke up not worried about all I had to do at work today. It's a relief.

Today's run
Purpose - To work out a few cobwebs and put some calories in the bank to start my day
Total distance - 3.0 miles
Average pace - 13:15

I'm a bit anxious about tomorrow's run. I'm not looking to break any records tomorrow. I just want to cover the distance and get to the house. 16-17 miles. Happy running tomorrow, everyone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Note to self

"...whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus..."

The Message says, "...let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way."

To the point, I've come to the realization that this verse does not mean that I have to work and work and work and work at a job and work and work and work at a job until it totally consumes me. Surely God doesn't want us, eh, ME to sacrifice my family, my fitness, my health, even my church for the sake of "doing a good job." Well for the past 2 or 3 months, that's exactly what I've done.

On the way home from another 13 hour day... That's right! on the way home and not on the way to Terry Hershey park... I called DW and told her that I was giving up the Houston Marathon. I told her that I just couldn't do what it takes. I tried as best I could to explain that marathon training (for me at least) wasn't just about getting in the runs. It's about preparing mentally, being well rested, eating right, planning your meals, camaraderie, family support, and a concentrated consistency week after week, right up until race day. I told her that I just can't do that right now with this project we are doing at work. I'm working 12 hours a day, bringing work home after work and on the weekends. When I'm not working, I'm worrying about not working and how I'm going to get everything done I have to get done. I'm thinking about deadlines, who I'm going to let down, how I'm going to get more organized, how I need to be doing this and that instead of working... I think my desire to do a good job has evolved into something else. Something not good.

DW has been telling me for weeks that it's not worth it, how in 10 years I'm going to look back and not remember how many hours I put in at work this week or how I helped meet a deadline or how we met budget. I'm going to remember things like my son's last freshman football game, the year we invited 30+ people over to our house for Thanksgiving, the first time I went sub-6 for a marathon, soccer games, the first year DW coached a neighborhood basketball team, and the good times I had with my friends and family. I think tonight I finally heard her.

Note to self, "Would it be too much trouble if I had my life back please?" I hereby reclaim my life. I can do a lot in 8, 9, 10 hours at work. I can do a good job. I can do my job "as unto the Lord." But my job is not my life any more than running is my life. My life is my life and there are important things that need to be tended to and experienced. My health, my goals, my children, my church. so, I hereby reclaim my life, not for myself alone but for Him.

Now, down to business. Here's my situation. There are 59 days left to Houston. I haven't run in about 10 days. My last long run was weekend before last and it was a strong 15 miles, no problem. I'm up about 6 pounds from my low mark at the Fired up 5K. I feel good. I'm staring at about a 16-17 miler on Saturday. I'm looking at doing an easy 3 or 4 miler in the morning. Yes, it's the day before my long run but I think I need to shake out a few cobwebs before Saturday. I'm still confident after my half marathon race just a few weeks ago. No doubt I've lost some fitness but I think Houston is salvageable.

Daily updates to follow. Wish me luck. Oh, and one more note to self...Thanks!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

It takes a village

Friday was a bust. I just could not afford with everything that's going on at work to come in late. I had made arrangements to come in to work around 10 with plenty time to do 15 but I just have sooooooo much work and so much to do before the week ended. No way I could have missed 3 or 4 hours of work.

So, I was really bummed. I'm on call this weekend so a long run was not in the cards. But conversation at lunch turned to why Vic didn't run Friday morning. I shared my sob story with my co-workers. I said that this job and this project makes it really hard to train and that I was going to be behind after this weekend. Then my buddy said, "I'll cover call for you Saturday morning." WOW!!! What a friend. It really is the case that we can't do this alone. It takes a lot of support and sacrifice from family and friends.

.

So, I ran an easy 15 miles this morning with my running group. We had a blast!!! Martina, Faith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W Smith, and a bunch more. We ran to down to Sabine, back to the park and around for 2 more loops to make right at 15 miles. Here's the shakedown:

Total distance - 15 miles
Splits - 13:56 / 13:38 / 13:45 / 13:40 / 13:36 / 13:27 / 13:27 / 13:23 / 13:15 / 13:12 / 13:13 / 13:13 / 13:36 / 13:37 / 13:35
Total time - 3:22:45
Average pace - 13:31

I'm tired. I'm going to bed.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ten weeks

Ten weeks. That's what's left. How am I going to go faster? How am I going to go farther? If I asked ANY Joe on the street, the answer would be obvious. YOU'VE GOT TO DROP SOME WEIGHT.

For the past couple or years, I've wondered why I've been able to remain for the most part injury free, especially at my weight. Yes, I'm disciplined about listening to my body. I know what I can take and what I can't take. But another reason I don't injure myself is that I don't really push myself. I always seem to get to a point where I'm making progress, training hard, ramping up the miles, and then I back off, go into hiding. REST!!! Those seems to be my favorite words. REST! RECOVER!/p>

Don't get me wrong. Rest is good and recovery is the time when all the desired post-stress adaptations take place. But there are most certainly two extremes, overtraining and undertraining. Our job, MY job is to find the fine line between the two. For me, I tend to err on the side of undertraining and if you're going to err, I'd suggest you stay over here with me. But dang it, I want to run better. I want to run faster. And I want it now.

Ok, back to my real topic...It's sooooooo obvious that shedding this weight is going to get me a lot closer to what I so impatiently want. So, why don't I just do it? I know how. I guess it's just a matter of how MUCH I want it. Let me tell you...today, this morning, right now, I want it BAD! But it's not enough to say it. How bad I want it is directly measured by the actions I take to get it. I can't say "I want it BAD!!!" and then eat so much of the wrong stuff. So, maybe it's better to just not say "I want it BAD!!!". Maybe I should just shut up and sing, as they say.

So, I stand right now, on the scale, at 297. That's bascially up 5 pounds from my low mark back in September. Yes, there's good news. I've only gained 5 pounds. But the bad news is that I haven't LOST the 20 pounds I said I wanted to lose by now. Obviously, my goal of running Houston 50 pounds lighter than last year is gone. But running it 25 pounds lighter is not out of reach at this point. And the beauty of this whole thing is that 25 pounds will most certainly shave a lot off of my finish time. I may get more benefit losing 25 pounds than I would from my training. As far as training goes, it's all about the long runs now. That's the key.

Ok, rant over...

4 miles last night at ~13:00 pace. I wasn't fueled properly and ran out of energy early in the run. Luckily, it was just 4 miles and I pushed through and finished decent. I started with the Striders. The plan was to go out 2 and turn around to get back by the time Jen was returning. But Jen must have already turned around and passed me while I was in Starbucks for a potty break. I so wanted to wish her good luck in NY, in person. Good luck, Jen!!! It looks like PERFECT weather. You are gonna rock it. I'm sooooooo proud of you. We'll be watching.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Beautiful morning

More cool temperatures this morning as I got 4 feel-good miles in at Memorial Park.

Total distance - 4 miles
Splits - 13:11 / 12:50 / 12:37 / 12:35
Total time - 51:14
Average pace - 12:51

I'm surprisingly well-recovered from Sunday's pounding at the half marathon. I really felt good this morning and would have run 2 or 3 more had I not run out of time. I'm bummed that I have to miss Kenyan relays tonight but DW is going out with a girlfriend for dinner so I'm "in charge" of the household tonight.

The rest of the week is going to be interesting. I'm on call this weekend so I'm going to try to run long Friday morning before work. I've already told my boss that I won't be in until around 9:30 or 10:00. I'm looking at going 14-15. Don't know where yet. So, the week looks like this:

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 4 miles
Wednesday - 6-8 miles with the Striders
Thursday - rest (NOT Boot Camp C, Awwwww! I'm sad)
Friday - 15 mile long run
Saturday - rest and soccer games (the kids, not me)
Sunday - 3 miles
Total miles for the week - 28-30

So, I'm back to daydreaming at work about running, reading blogs, writing blogs, checking the McMillan running calculator, checking my VDOT, updating my training plan, checking my logs, logging my calories, just generally obsessing. Like Santos said, "Doesn't your boss know you have a running problem?" I've been working my butt off and my butt's been getting bigger. It's time to start running my butt off and see if that works. :)

Lastly, I ran into one of my all-time heroes this morning at the park. Reuben. Ok, get this. Reuben was getting in and easy 18 this morning to get his day started. 18 MILES!!! Not 18 minutes. Reuben is one of the most genuine people I know. The world could use a lot more Reuben's. That's for sure.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Revived!!!

Late last night, I posted my strategy/plan for this morning's Half Marathon, something I've done before a number of races. In some ways, today was either make or break for me. I really needed a good race and some indication that I'm going to be able to get back on track for Houston. To be honest, a poor race today and I may very well have come home and switched from the full to the half for January. I've never finished a long race strong. Never! I needed to finish strong today.

I arrived right on time and made my way over the marble floored bathrooms at the Doubletree like a wily Houston racing veteran. My buddy, Danny, from the Woodlands was impressed with that tip. Then I made my way over to the machine. I'm referring to the machine that is the Koala/Luke's Houston Half marathon, managed and directed by the Houston Striders This race runs like a clock. Every detail in order. Plenty bathrooms, smooth chip pickup, fun/challenging course, perfectly run water stations, fun, fun, fun post-race party, just a wonderful race experience.

I picked up my chip, tied it on and went to the back of the pack and did some stretching. After a wonderful rendition of our Star Spangled Banner, we were off.

Mile 1 was mile 1. I wanted to get through the first couple of miles with plenty left in the bank, just warming up. Still, I didn't want to borrow too much time and blow it early. Mile 1 was 13:28. Now, that's Garmin pace. I don't know if it was the buildings or what but Garmin arrived at 1 mile about 30 yards short of the first marker. I think there was a problem with the Garmin at the start because I arrived at the mile markers consistently about 10 or so seconds late. No worries, though.

Mile 2 - 13:34. I'm still doing my easy, warmup thing here. At this time I'm thinking I'd like to get to 3 miles feeling really, really fresh. Then it's just a 10-miler after that.

Mile 3 - 13:37. I lost about 20 seconds with a bathroom break at the 2.5 mile water stop. Still, no worries. When I came out of the port-a-potty, I found myself in the middle of a leapfrog with a couple of FBF'ers. They were so cute. "Tag! You're it." I must admit it was annoying. I left them at the 45 underpass and never saw them again.

Mile 4. Ok, it's time to get down around that 13:15/13:20 mark that I wanted to run through the halfway point. I ended up with a 13:11. Just right on the mark.

I'm really starting to feel good at mile 5. I had a Gu at the water stop. Mile 5 split was 13:03

After mile 5, I start to think about easing my way just below 13 for 2 or 3 miles.

Mile 6 - 12:52
Mile 7 - 12:41

Got a great shout out over the loudspeaker from Coach at the halfway point. Oh, and I forgot to mention. This race, I sported sunglasses for the trip(s) eastward and if you ask me, it made all the difference.

Not much commentary from here on out. The splits speak for themselves.

Mile 8 - 12:36
Mile 9 - 12:24
Mile 10 - 12:19 (starting to really crank it up with a little over 5K left).

I'm so zoned out that Steeeve starts running with me and it's well over 100 yards before I even notice him there at my side. I notice a shadow and turn to see coach running there with me. I think I said, "Hi! Bye!" It really was good to see you there Steeeve. Oh, that reminds me. Reuben jumped in around mile 7 or 8 and was going to run with me for a few miles but I think I dissed him too. I feel so bad. It was great to see my hero, Reuben, but I think I just wanted to go by myself. Reuben, you rock!!!

Mile 11 - 12:12
Mile 12 - 12:17

With a little over a mile to go, I had managed to get my average pace down in the 12's and I start to thing that I may just finally finish a race strong.

Mile 13 was tough. I was fading and fading fast. I took a couple of short walk breaks but maintained a 12:20 pace nonetheless. I cruised in for an OFFICIAL 2:48:45. That's right!!! 11 minutes and 14 seconds faster than last year.

Here are the splits again so you can see them all together - 13:27 / 13:34 / 13:37 / 13:11 / 13:03 / 12:52 / 12:41 / 12:36 / 12:24 / 12:19 / 12:12 / 12:17 / 12:20 / 11:33 pace for the final .1 miles. Now, by calculations, that's about a 50 mintute per mile negative split for the second half of the race.

I'm excited about the PR. I'm excited about the 2:48 and change which is the official cutoff time for the race and puts me on track for a sub-6 hour marathon at Houston. But I'm stoked at how I finished this race. I have NEVER finished a race strong. I've always faded and faded hard at the end of these long races. Today, I was picking people off left and right the second half of the race. Now THAT was a totally new experience for me and one I could get used to. :) Per my buddy Danny as well as coach Matt, I just set my sights on the next person and just worked away at her. Then, I'd put another in my sights and pick him off. Lordy, I don't know how many runners I passed that last 6 miles but it was a blast. I ran through all the water stops and Gu breaks. I only walked a little going up the underpass at Studemont and for about 10 seconds at mile 13.

I so needed this race. And to think I almost didn't run it for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that my training has sucked the last few weeks. I just registered for this race on Saturday afternoon. Coach suggested that I should be energized after a race like this and I AM!!!

.

Where's the next giant?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Will it every end?

This weather is unbelievable. I think it's going to be like this all the way through January, don't you? I mean when was the last time we ever had a 10-day forecast like this?

I'm really pumped about the half tomorrow. Maybe a little too pumped given I only decided Friday afternoon that I was going to run it. Part of me (a big part) tells me I'm not ready. One day, after January 13th, I'll confess to the world what a scary place I was in at the end of October. I'm definitely not where I should be, but I'm not out of it yet. I'm right at that point where either I start ramping up the mileage, LIKE NOW!!! LIKE TOMORROW!!! or the Houston Marathon is going to quickly turn into the Houston Half Marathon for me.

Goals and strategy for tomorrow's half... Even though my training is not where I thought it would be by the end of October, I still can't fathom not PR'ing tomorrow. The question is only how much of a PR. I can see myself with a 2:55, no problem and that would be a 5 minute PR. But, I'm shooting for sub-2:50. I'm going to have to run hard but I think it's doable, not thanks to any increased fitness I've gained since the 10-miler but thanks in most part to the weather.

Strategy... I'll employ a similar strategy/plan as I did for the 10-miler. Mile 1 is mile 1. Just trying to settle in and get warm. I'll work to settle into that 13:20/13:15 pace for the first 6 or 7 miles. Then, I'm going to gradually ease it down to ~12:50/13:00 pace for miles 8-12. If I've got anything left, I'm just going to let it all out for mile 13 and just try to finish a freaking race strong. I mean it! I'm tired of finishing weak. At this point, I'd rather walk the first half of a race for a chance to finish strong, RUNNING in, not limping in or walking all but the last quarter mile so that at least I can run across the finish line. I'm sick of that. If I finish strong tomorrow, I'll be happy, no matter what the clock says.

Ok, let's go slay some giants!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fun Times

What a glorious, beautiful morning for a race. I had three goals for the race. My oh-my-goodness-I-must-be-dreaming goal was a 2:05 or 12:30 pace. My second goal was to run a 130 minutes, 13:00 pace for the math impaired. :) My last fallback goal was a 10 minute PR. That's right, 10 minutes. Heck, I ran a 5 minute PR during a training run last weekend.

Friday afternoon found me in the barber's chair talking race strategy with coach Matt. We talked about the importance of having a plan going into a race. Of course, the extent of my race plans to date has been "I'm gonna get started and see how I feel after a mile or two..." That's not a plan. So, the plan today that we came up with was to warm up for mile one and get into my goal marathon pace which is 13:20. I was going to hold that pace through mile five. Then for the next 4 miles, the plan was to work my way down towards 12:30 and then just let it all hang out for mile 10.

Mile 1 - 13:23

I started out just right. I chatted with James for a couple hundred yards. We caught up on things and he was off. There were very few people behind me but hey, that's ok.

Mile 2 - 13:17
Mile 3 - 13:21
Mile 4 - 13:19

I walked through the mile 4 water stop but Joltin Joe ran with me for about a half mile and got me back on pace quickly.

Mile 5 - 13:12

I felt strong through 5 miles. Really strong!!! I felt like I had just walked 5 miles. I was ready to start cranking it down. I figured the best way to start doing that was to pick out a person ahead and just work on passing him. Then, pick out another person and pass her. So, that's what I did. I passed several people during mile 6 and fixed my sights on a girl in a pink shirt about a minute ahead of me.

Mile 6 - 12:55

I felt really good going across the bridge and kicked it up a notch for the race photographer before turning onto Space Center Blvd. Pink shirt girl was just ahead.

Mile 7 - 12:31

After the turn onto Space Center Blvd. and going into mile 8, I was right where I wanted to be. I had executed the plan flawlessly and was on track for a 2:10 or better. Just about the time I caught pink shirt girl (actually, I passed her), I just sort of lost it. The sun was beating down pretty hard and there was no breeze to speak of. No, those are just silly excuses!!! The fact is I'm just not tough in these situations, out by myself, on a loooooong stretch of road, starting to fatigue. Just when the going gets a little tough, I just don't know where to reach to find that extra umph!!!

Mile 8 - 13:27

By this time, I was walking quite a bit. But when I was running, I felt like I was still moving at a pretty good clip but I just couldn't hold it, or wouldn't hold it. I took a Gu and walked through the water stop at mile 8, thinking, "OK, you can do ANYTHING for 2 miles. So, I took off. Then I hit the stink!!! Oh my goodness. That smell going over that bridge made the bat bridge at Waugh smell like a rose garden. I couldn't breathe and I walked through the funk.

Mile 9 - 13:51

Mile 9 was the slowest and most disappointing. I walked a lot. Then, from somewhere inside, I started to think about my fallback goal or 2:12:53, a 10-minute PR. I did some calculating and realized it was still possible. With 800m to go, I beared down and said, "I ain't walking, no matter what." I rounded the final turn and saw Pony. She ran me in the last 400m or so and I'll tell you what, if it weren't for her, I don't think I would have finished that last bit as strong as I did.

Mile 10 - 13:02

So, I had a little redemption there at the end and crossed the finish at 2:12:34, a 10:19 PR.

The race today was bittersweet for me. I know with just an ounce of toughness I could have broken 2:10. Still, I did have a plan and I think it was realistic and for a good part of the race, I was executing. This race puts me well off of my marathon goal. Obviously, my training at the longer distances is lacking. I've gotta get with it.

The post-race activites were a blast. It was such a beautiful morning and it was so nice sitting around the tent in the morning breeze visiting with the Striders. On the Run put on a first-class event. The mile markers were right on. The water stops were well services. Thanks to OTR for a memorable race.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Don't laugh!!!

I got out the door tonight and logged 1.6 miles down the block, around the lake, and back. A 20 minute, easy run is just as good as a rest day if you ask me. The fun part was the kiddos tagged along on the bikes and we had a rowdy-good time. Plus, I got to log a couple with my new kicks. Man, you really don't know how bad your old shoes feel until you don a brand new pair.

Now, let's talk 10-miler strategy. Aw, heck, I'm just gonna run. I have no idea how fast. I have no strategy and that is bad. I'm not confident enough at >5K to know what I can do and what pace to start out at. I guess if I had to strategize, I'd say go out very easy for the first 2 or 3 miles, say MP +15-30 seconds. Miles 4-8, gradually crank it up and find a good groove, somewhere between MP and 10K pace. Then, for miles 8-10, just gut it out like it was the last 2 miles of my life. I'll probably walk the water stops, Galloway style, for a periodic recovery. How does that sound?

Quickie

Training AND blogging...

Venue - Memorial Park
3 mile warumup / 3x800m with 400 recovery.
Average pace, warmup 13:05
800s - 5:40 / 5:35 / 5:00
Total distance - ~5 miles

That's all the blogging I have time for this morning. :)

Monday, October 08, 2007

3 miles

3 miles this morning. Nice and easy. Still sore in the thighs from Saturday.

Total distance - 3 miles
Splits - 13:30 / 13:35 / 13:10
Total time - 40:16
Average pace - 13:26

Sorry, that's all I have time for this morning. Unbelieveable goings-on in Chicago. Unbelieveable!!!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Not the best conditions...

...but not my worst run. I'll confess, the last time I ran over 9 miles was over a month ago. Between then and now, I've PR'd for the 5K distance and shaved another 25 seconds off my 1 mile all out time. But, hello, Vic!!!...we're training for a marathon here, right? Right.

Hopefully it's not too late to start ramping up again. I've obviously gained some fitness over the month and I didn't feel like I really needed to start from scratch ramping up the weekly LSD miles. Since the USA race is next weekend and 10 is such a nice, round number, I decided to give the 10-mile course through River Oaks a try.

Yes, the conditions today were horrible, especially compared to the seasonable mornings we've had this week. When I walked out the door this morning, the air hit me across the face like a George Foreman jab and I seriously considered just scrapping the whole thing. But I didn't. I did get a later start than I had intended, arriving at the park around 7:05.

I took water every chance I got. Had 3 gu's over the course of 10 miles. Grabbed water at Starbucks on Post Oak and then took advantage of the water hose behind Pilgrim's cleaners on San Felipe. TNT was serving up cool water over on Willowick and the fountains at Shepard and Allen Pkwy and at the Starbucks provided plenty hydration so I didn't have to carry a fuel belt.

I was a little surprised and am now a lot sore. I really ran well and ran consistently. I still felt a little bit of Thursday's run in my thighs and that's where I hurt the most now. I downed some Endurox and headed back to the house for soccer games and yard work. Here are the splits.

Total distance - 10.0 miles
Mile 1 - 13:52
Mile 2 - 13:37
Mile 3 - 14:07
Mile 4 - 13:29
MIle 5 - 13:40
Mile 6 - 13:32
Mile 7 - 13:40
Mile 8 - 14:37
Mile 9 - 13:46
Mile 10 - 13:15
Total time - 2:17:38
Average pace - 13:46

Oh, and I'll mention that I just let the clock run, even during water breaks. From this run, hopefully, I won't have to worry about a PR next weekend. I beat 2:22:53 today today on just a training run. Anyway, ...one word...REST DAY!!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Broke the Barrier

No, not the sound barrier. I'm talking about the 10 minute barrier. As in 1 mile time trials. That's right. Tonight was mile time trials on the west side with the Striders. It was a beautiful night for a mile PR!!!

I had been thinking/dreaming about sub-10 all day. The last time I ran a mile all out was August 11 at SMARTie's first mile time trial of the season. I ran a 10:19 that day, taking 48 seconds off my mile PR from 2006. So it took almost a year to take 48 seconds off. Would it be possible to take 20 seconds off in just 8 weeks. I had my doubts but couldn't help but daydream all day.

After a 2 mile warmup and some silly walks, it was announced that there would be 2 heats and my heat was first. I felt anxious, a little scared (this was going to hurt) but still positive and optimistic. My fears disappeared when coach stepped up next to me and asked simply, "sub-10 tonight?" as he reset his chronometer to get ready to pace me. "That's the plan," I answered. Coach knew without without even a word from me that I wanted this tonight.

Before we took off, I thought now if I can't trust coach to pace me to this, who can I trust? So, I threw Mr. Garmin down on the ground an placed my goal in the hands of THE MAN. Through the first turn it felt like to me that we were a bit fast. Turns out we were. I got a good smile early in the run as coach checked his watch and said, "Woah!!!" But after that, coach was like a machine with the pace and it turned out good that I ended up with a little time in the bank for the first quarter.

At about the 200m mark, Kay and Barb joined in to pace and lend moral support. That and it's always better to run with hotties. :) I did manage to look at the clock after 1 lap and I was in good shape. If I remember right, I was at about 2:22 or so. 8 seconds in the bank. I don't remember my lap 2 split but I do remember that I had slowed a bit. Just a bit. I think it was right at 5 minutes.

I really did not want to finish. Another half mile at that effort seemed like soooooooo far. Coming around the last 100m of lap 3, I must say, had I not been running with coach and company, I would have just peeled off into the grass. I wanted to so bad. Plus, I was slowing even more. I remember being off pace by about 3 or 4 seconds. I think I hit the clock for lap 3 at 7:33 or so.

One more lap to go. It seemed like I was maintaining my pace through ~1300m but I was fading fast. With a half a lap to go, Barb said something about it just being from Eldridge to the water fountain or something. All I remember thinking was..."DOES NOT COMPUTE!" Then Steeeve said, "One more Kenyan relay left." Now those Kenyan relays are seared into my memory. Thus, I knew how far that was. I kicked it in. I felt like I took it up a small notch and just tried to finish strong. As the clock came into focus, I knew I had it. 9:54!!!

After I was done, I was ecstatic but I could not catch my breath to say anything. Finally, after about a minute, the holler that was building up inside came out. WAHOO!!!!

After a mile cooldown, I went to the car to call wifey-poo and give her the good news. Then we made our way over to Romano's for some scruptious eats and some trash talking. It was good to catch up with the Sheps and to hear about D's Maui marathon. Speaking of D, congrats on your PR tonight. D ran a 5:01 mile. IN-CRED-I-BLE!!!

Thanks coach, Barb, and Kay. No way I'd have been able to do that without you all running with me. And thanks to the Striders for all the cheering. Striders ROCK!!!

Now, one word...Rest day!

One Word!!!

9:54

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Gears

I think of a gear in a car or bicycle as something that transfers energy to the wheels. In a car, you change gears and you gain speed while keeping the RPM's relatively low. Well, this week during my runs, I've felt like I have another gear. What I mean by that is in the middle of a run, something happens either with my mechanics or my stride or my mind or something where even though I'm at the same effort, my pace increases.

Very strange to me...on Tuesday, I planned to do an easy 3. My goal on these easy miles is to stay conversational and really just run easy. So, mile one, I really felt good. I did a 13 minute mile and felt like I was going sooooooo slow. But that's rally fast for me (in my mind at least) for an easy run so I say to myself, "Self, ease it down a notch. Just relax. Drop your arms a bit. Loosen up. Ease your shoulders down. SLOW DOWN!!!" Mile 2....12:42. What the heck? I didn't feel at all like my effort increased. No big jump in RPM's, but a much quicker mile nonetheless. Here are the stats:

Total distance - 3.0 miles
Splits - 12:59 / 12:42 / 12:47
Total time - 38:29
Average pace - 12:50

Then this morning, I did 6 miles. After yesterday's "too fast" 3 miler, I wanted to slow it down to at least 20 or 30 seconds slower than my goal marathon pace. So, I started out at 13:30 - 13:40 pace, very, conversational. I kicked back for 3 miles and kind of shuffled along, finishing in 13:39 / 13:46 / 13:45. Mission accomplished. So, I figured I was just right on my effort so I stopped looking at the Garmin and just ran. I relaxed, got up a bit on my toes, swung my arms a little bit and just tried to maintain my effort. Mile 4...13:10...What the heck? I did not want to speed up. Then, I ease off and BAM!!! 12:58 for mile 5. Still breathing easy. Still relaxed and loose. I finished with a 12:40 mile 6. Now I have an excuse for mile 6. I most likely suffered from back-to-the-barn syndrome. But the only way I can explain miles 4 and 5 is that I must have just switched gears. Again, no big increase in effort. I just settled down, relaxed, moved up onto my toes a little more, extended my stride and voila.

I think the difference is between running back on my heels, just shuffling along and when I move forward just a bit onto my toes and actually run. It kind of reminds me of something coach said at the beginning of the season. He said something changed with me from last year. He said the difference between last year and this year is that this year I'm acutally running. Well, I didn't know at that time what he meant by that but I think I"m starting to understand. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

AM/PM

Well, the Striders were meeting for our TLT on Saturday AM. I mistakenly set my alarm for PM. I failed to get up in time in the AM. So, I decided to do TLT myself in the PM. Especially since we had soccer in the AM and I would have gotten too late a start in the AM since I slept in to 7 AM. After that workout, I think I need some Tylenol PM!

I got to Memorial Park last night around 6:30 (PM, that is). Did some stretching and set out for my warmup. 2 miles easy at around 13:45 pace. I followed that up with some Silly Walks and a Gu. After that the SMART Lite schedule prescribed 2 miles @ 10K effort, 5 miles at LSD effort, and then 2 more miles @ 10K with a mile cooldown.

I'd say I pretty much nailed the first 2 miles. I ran them at average 11:41 pace. Then, I confess, I recovered a minute or two with some water and a walk break before starting out on the LSD portion. I stayed consistent through 3 or 4 miles, maintaining about a 14:20 pace, including water/gu/stretching breaks. However, after 4 miles, I was spent. I finished the 5 miles of the LSD and packed it in. 9 miles total.

I'm not so sure I"m cut out for these hard, quality, TLT long runs. They're a lot harder than a regular old, mind-numbing LSD. But 9 miles is a good workout and I'm not kicking myself for that. And average pace for those 9 was 13:28 according to the Garmin, including a lot of water breaks. I'll take it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Excuses

When I arrived at Memorial park last night, Steeeve asked me how it had been going. I said I had not run since boot camp last Thursday. "Oh, you took at WEEK off, huh?" Now let's just get a few things straight everyone. I ran last Thursday. Friday was already scheduled as a rest day. I missed Saturday's Yasso's and Sunday's long run. Oh, and there was a little Kenyan relay action on Tuesday night that I skipped too. Then, I was back at it on Wednesday. By my count, that's 4 days off, not a whole week. OK? Are we straight? Good?

In all seriousness, Wednesday's run actually felt like I had been off for 2 weeks. Very dead legs. I just could not wake them up. If felt like I just started running, like a total noob. That all ended tonight as the Smartie Hop seemed to awaken the sleeping giant. I didn't know during the workout that I was actually going to feel good after it was over but getting back into a bit of the routing has me feeling good tonight. Don't get me wrong. I'm gonna sleep well and I'm definitely ready for a rest day to get ready for TLT. But I'm feeling my oats again. Hope to be back in that awesome groovy place by next week.

Yikes!!! Next week. That reminds me. Boot camp D. Need I say more? Jen, I'd better see you out there Tuedsay night, ok? Next week's gonna be a bear. I can see it coming.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bypass

A couple of friends of ours had stomach bypass surgery to lose weight. She had the surgery several years ago and he just had it earlier this year. Of course they've lost a lot of weight. Well, we haven't seen our friends for 4 or 5 months but we ran into them at B's season opener soccer game this morning. I saw one of them this morn ing from about 20 yards away and waved at her. No response. Anyway, she went her way over to the soccer fields where their son was playing. Later, we caught up with them and she told DW that she didn't recognize me earlier. She asked if I had "the surgery" too. LOL!!! She said she couldn't believe how much weight I'd lost. She asked Jan how I did it. Jan was like, "Well, goodness, he's been working over a year at it and has just been losing." I guess in their mind, they couldn't fathom losing that much weight on my own. Guess that's why they had to have their stomach cut out.

But speaking of weight, I've been flatlined for a couple weeks now. I've been around 291-293 now for a couple weeks now. Guess it's kind of a mini-plateau. That's to be expected. But, it's time for another BIG push to break through and get to the next level. I hope to be comfortably and consistenly at 285-288 by the Cross Country relay. I'll be logging religiously starting tomorrow and really watching every calorie.

Looks like a wee hour 10 or 11 miler at Memorial park is in order. I'd sure love to run early with the Striders but their route takes me too far away from the car and I need to stay close in case I get paged for work this weekend. Will post the report tomorrow afternoon. Until then, happy waddling.

Bad decision

Last night, just before bed, I had to make a decision. Several things were considered. Friday morning I woke up very sore from Thursday's brutal Boot Camp and through the day, it got worse and worse. By bedtime, I could barely get down the stairs. Also, B had a soccer game at 9 am and I kind of wanted to give the fam a saturday morning. And third, I'm on call this weekend. So I decided to skip the Yasso's this morning.

That turned out to be a bad decision. First off, when I woke up at 7:30 and put my two feet on the floor, the soreness was gone completely. In fact, I felt quite frisky, just the way you'd like to feel when you wake up for an early morning workout. Then, we went to the 9 am soccer game only to find out that the coach gave us the wrong schedule and that the game wasn't until 11. And even though I've had my beeper and laptop with me the whole morning, I haven't been paged even once all weekend.

So, I missed a good opportunity for another needed workout but I got to spend the morning with the family. Guess it wasn't that bad of a decision. At least, it could have been worse. :)

Now that this opportunity has passed, though, I've got to find a way to get a long run or something in this weekend. Whatever I do, it will need to be close to the computer. I guess I'll do 3 or 4 Memorial park loops in the wee hours tomorrow morning. That's gonna be my best bet. Plan two is an evening 10 miler at the same venue. Hope it works out cause I need to keep this train moving.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Grim Determination!

Thanks goes out to Steeeve for this title as he so aptly and succinctly summarized tonight's Boot camp C out at TH park. The last time we arrived at TH park with weather like tonight and Boot Camp C on the schedule, we didn't hesitate to knock it down to the Boot camp A schedule, get it done, and count our blessings and get out of there. Tonight, that was not an option.

We grimly noted about a quarter mile into our warmup that this was not going to be anywhere close to a walk in the park tonight. But the group was determined. Besides the boot camp part (squats, pushups, thrusts, pullups, lunges...) we had 5x800m intervals spread out through the workout. I'll tell you what. Doing those intervals, I thought they would never end. We did 400 out and 400 back and when I turned around at the halfway point and looked back, it may as well had been halfway through a marathon. The finish was so far off.

My goal for tonight was to just hang in there on the boot camp and try to run the intervals as best I could. I think I got through the workout only owing about 20 or so burpies, and about half of the number of reps required for all the other exercises. However, I just got back home here and checked the Garmin and really, really liked what I saw. My splits for the 800's were

5:21
5:21
5:23
5:31
5:21.

No lie. Those were my splits. I was not in any way trying to be consistent and only glanced at the Garmin a couple of times. I like that consistency. The last one sure didn't feel like a 5:21. It felt more like a 6:21 if you ask me. But it looks like I finished strong.

Much fun and trash talking at NY Pizza after the workout. They were nice enough to serve our group right at closing and never made a fuss. They even thanked us for stopping in. AWESOME!!! Congrats to Jen who made here Boot Camp debut tonight. I feel bad. I kind of teased her a bit. She asked me near the end of the workout if it was almost over. She did not look at the description in the SMARTie manual so she really didn't know where we were. I told her we were almost halfway done. I know Jen...NOT FUNNY!!! Great to see you out there.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Christmas in Septemeber

It must be Christmas because this morning, Bill gave me the coolest present anyone could have given me, a 1 minute 41 second PR at the Fired up 5K. Bill volunteered this morning for pacing duties as I set out to see if any of the training I've been doing has paid off.

I've been chasing my 5K PR now for almost 3 years, since the Houston Press 5K, January 2005. About 32 months, major ankle reconstruction, a lot of yo-yo dieting, 30 or 40 lbs. lost, 30 or 40 gained and lost again, and few hundred miles lie between then and now. How sweet it is to finally feel like I'm making just a little bit of progress. I ran the Fired up 5K last year, just about as hard as I did today, and brought it home in 40:51. Today's race was 5 minutes and 47 seconds better than that. What a difference a year makes, huh? I couldn't be more thrilled for myself and for all the other Striders who PR'd.

The conditions this morning were suboptimal to say the least. The sun was behind the clouds but that's the only thing positive I can say. No breeze at all. None!!! The flags at the fire station were limp. Bill and I did a warmup and I was dripping sweat after just a mile. The good part was I warmed up quickly. After a few pickups we got our spot. I was casually waiting of the national anthem, a prayer, or something and bent over to tie my shoes and I heard, "Runners to your mark. Get set. POW!!! So much for patriotism, I guess.

Bill's original plan was to take us out just under 11 minutes. If 34 and change was possible at all, we'd have to hand around just under 11. Things were clicking along pretty well through mile 1. Bill's job was to pace and my job was to keep up. Bill did a perfect job. It would have been nice to have a little more in the bank after mile 1 but 11:14 was right on pace for a sub-35.

Mile 2, I was still steady and felt like crap but in a good way. I logged an 11:22 for mile 2. At the turnaround, I got a cup of water and splashed it on my head. That felt gooooooood!!! "Now, back to the barn," I thought. I didn't realize it but I had picked it up a little bit and according to Bill, dropped it down to 10:30 or so. Well, that didn't last as I slipped into a bad, bad place and had to take a 5 or 6 second walk break. It was just that, 5 or 6 seconds, a chance to catch just a little of my breath. Then off I went.

I settled right back in to that 11:20 pace. I couldn't (or wouldn't) seem to push past that. When I did, I just felt like I was gonna die. I tried to change my stride a bit, maybe bend my knees, lengthen it out a bit but I nothing seemed to help. This was my highest gear. Of course, you think it's your highest gear until the last few hundred yards. Then you realize you had another gear. After an 11:21 mile 3, I finished up the last bit at 9:20 pace for a 35:04!!!

I'll take it!!! If I had any energy left, I'd have done some cartwheels. Just 5 seconds off of sub-35 and in not too favorable conditions.

Lots of Striders took home hardware and all the Striders took home free socks. :)

Bill, this was one for the memory books. You taught me a lot out there about mental toughness. I'll not soon forget the stuff you were telling me about the 5K being less about your legs and more about your mind. Way to go out there today, buddy. I owe you big time. And great to see E, A, and P, too!!! That made the morning even that much more special.

Bring on Run with the Saints!!!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Well, it's Saturday morning. For a good bit of the running community out there, that means long run. Still, others would prefer speedwork to an LSD run any day. The SMARTies had the best of both worlds as we ran two sets of 2 (or 3) 1200m intervals with a long run in between or as it's more affectionately called, TLT (track-long-track).

Of course there was the customary 2 mile warmup which I completed at ~13:25 pace. It was unseasonably NOT HOT out this morning. Overcast skies made for some bearable running. After silly walks we mosied over to the starting line. I cranked out 2x1200 with 400m recovery. The average pace for the 2x1200's was 11:37 m/mile and 10:59 m/mile. Next was 3.6 miles which I covered at around 13:55 pace. Then back to the starting line for 2 more 1200's. Although I was quite tired, I averaged a consistent 11:16 and 11:17 minute pace. Throw in a half mile cooldown and that totals just over 9 miles for the morning.

Now, it's rest and hydration in preparation for Monday's 5K. I'd like to make it over to packet pickup for some free lunch but I'd like more to just go to bed. Think I will...go to bed that is.

Friday, August 31, 2007

August Miles

I was looking at my monthly miles and it looks like I'm down a bit this month. But I beg to differ. I've done some hard running this month and made some good progress on the weight loss.

So, where am I? Well, for August '06, I ran 59 miles so I guess I'm ten miles ahead of what I ran last year. I'm about 25 pounds lighter than this time last year. And last year on Labor Day weekend, I ran a 40:51 at the Fired up 5K. I hope to better that a bit in just a couple days.

It's progress.

Meltdown!

It's getting really hard to find time to blog, especially in a reasonable amount of time after a run. The real problem is probably that my posts are just too long and since I don't have time to write down all my thoughts at night when I get home, I put it off until some time like now when nothing's fresh in my mind anymore.

That's not totally true. I can still remember one thing from last night. I nailed that workout. I've been flexible to tailor the SMART workouts to my ability, doing a few less reps, running a bit shorter warmup, and even walking to cool down instead of running. But tonight, I did the full workout and man did it feel good. I mean it felt good when it was over. :)

The short version is that the schedule called for SMARTie Hop. That's 2 mile warmup, silly walks, and the Hop routine. Then the fun began. The plan called for tacking on a meltdown run out to Dairy Ashford. That was 2 miles out @ 10K effort and then 2 back for the cooldown. I did the first .5 at easy run effort and then kicked it up a notch or 2 and averaged 12:10 pace all the way to the water fountain at Dairy Ashford. Man, did that suck running hard like that on legs that were already fatigued from the Hop. But I guess that's what it's all about, right. Running on tired legs.

So, total running was about 6 miles. Warmup was 13:15 average pace. The pre-meltdown half mile was around 13:35 pace and then the next ~1.5 was 12:10 pace. Then 2 miles cooldown with some walking thrown in for an average 14:15 pace.

I made it over to Charcoal Chicken for some good grub and great company with all the SMARTie's. Sometimes I wish we were ALL together, Memorial, Sugarland, and West side groups. But I guess that's what Saturday mornings are for. Speaking of...let me get to bed.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Getting Fired up for the 5K

Monday will be my first race this Fall and I'm looking for a sign of things to come. I said in January that one of my goal for the year was to PR at every distance and my marathon ambitions are quite lofty so I'm looking for something dramatic to kick this whole thing off. Of course, I still need to manage expectations, chill out a bit, know that this is the sport of running and anything, absolutely anything can happen in a race. But I want to give myself every chance to really nail this 5K.

Of course, since I am training for the Houston Marathon and that is my #1 goal race, training must continue through all of the races between now and then. That means a long run on Saturday, probably a tough Track-Long-Track workout with the SMARTies. I've been concerned that I may not be recovered from that by race time Monday morning. So, I e-mailed Catherine the Great to see what she would suggest nutrition-wise to maximize my recovery and be ready for Monday. Here's what she replied:

Here's the scoop. I would do Endurox within 30 minutes after your long run on Saturday. Have you ever used it before? Then two hours later eat a balanced meal. The rest of the day just eat healthy like you normally would :) On Sunday, eat your typically healthy balanced meals, but it is okay to go over your calories by 250-300 calories. Then Monday, eat what you normally do on race day and you should be great. I think a bigger factor than the food is hydration so make sure to drink a lot of water starting Friday thru Monday.

So, I got some of this Endurox last night at the store for post-long run on Saturday. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

One on One

Tuesday night was a tough workout as SMART Lite scheduled 12x30/30's with WU and CD. I had the special privilege of receiving some major one-on-one coaching from coach Steeeve who led me through the 30/30's. Steeeve pulled me through a tough one, one of those where you just feel like quitting, like you've done enough, but something (or in this case, someONE!) just won't allow you to quit.

The weather was unseasonably comfortable, probably in the high 70's/low 80's. I felt very, very strong during the warmup, comfortably holding right at or slightly below 13:00 min/mile pace for 2 miles. I kept wondering if I should slow down but seriously, my effort was quite easy so I kept it going.

After silly walks, we got a drink, received instructions, synchronized our watches and we were off. I felt real good through 6 repeats. Then Steeeve told me I was halfway done. I don't know if knowing that was too good a thing because things soon got harder. The rolling hills of TH Park made for some interesting speedwork, too. With 3 repeats to go, Steeeve tells me that this is the point where I need to really start covering some distance. WHAT?!?!?!?! I'm really huffin' by that time and in my mind I'm thinking, "I'm getting close to the end. The hard part is over. I deserve to taper off these last 3." But in my heart I'm saying, "I want to nail these last 3!!!" Steeeve said, let's try to get to the bridge. So, as much as it sucked, I was intent on making it to that bridge. I ended up not just making it to the bridge but to the other side at that. :)

I stopped to catch my breath while Steeeve continued to coach. We talked about my effort, how far I got, how far I was going to get the next time we do 30/30's, and how far I'm going to get doing this same workout next year. We talked a little about Monday's 5K coming up on Labor Day.

It's hard to predict based on anything really (e.g. my mile time trial, this workout) what my time is going to be. I'll jump for joy if I go sub-35 but I don't really know if that's possible. I know one thing. It's gonna suck real bad and I know it's gonna hurt but I'm going for it. I have a bit of a different mindset or strategy if you will. In the past, I've pretty much always raced conservatively, always saving something, maybe not consciously but in the back of my mind fearing a DNF or worse. But right now, where I am now, I'm ready to NAIL a race. I'm ready to run hard, as hard as I can and just see what happens.

Boot camp tomorrow!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

First

My memory may be not be correct on this but I don't remember ever running the day after a long run. I do know one thing. I've never run well the day after a long run until tonight.

SMART Lite called for 4 miles. For most SMARTie's, that's a 32-44 minute run so that's what I gave and it was sure a nice one. I started around dusk and it was a beautiful night. Off to the east were clear skies and just about a full moon, lighting my way through the Fairfield greenbelts. To the west, lightning and thunder lit up the night, issuing a jolt of adrenalin every time a bolt cracked the sky.

It was quite hot and extremely humid for that late in the evening but I tolerated it very well. I stayed conversational and kept it between recovery jog and easy effort. Here are the stats:

Total distance - 3 miles
Venue - Fairfield greenbelts and neighborhoods
Splits - 13:39 / 13:47 / 13:40
Total Time - 41:08
Average pace - 13:43 min/mil

I'm happy with this week. 5 days of running, 21 miles, including some Kenyan relays, some quality work on Thursday, a decent long run on Saturday, with some easy miles sprinkled here and there. I'm happy with this week. Now I just gotta keep it going.

Friday, August 24, 2007

LSD'n like I knew what I was doing

It's been about a month since I've done any kind of long run. I did 9 miles on July 15 and a couple of 6 milers here and there since then. That's about it. I've been telling myself that it's ok because I've been getting a lot of quality stuff in and have been working on my core. But sooner rather than later, it's going to be time to start ramping up and LSD'n on the weekends.

Of course the temptation for the first long run in a while is to overdo it, to prove I still have a good 12, 13, 15 mile run in me. But the prudent thing would be to pick a moderate distance, somewhere around 8 to 10, and build on that. I'm nothing if not prudent, you know, so 9 it was.

I ran this one like a pro. The effort was just right. I stayed conversational miles 1-6, cranked it up just a bit for a couple of miles, and cooled down with number 9. Here are the stats.

Total distance - 9 miles
Venue - Memorial park to Allen Parkway (4.5 out and back)
Splits - 14:01 / 13:51 / 13:46 / 14:05 / 13:49 / 14:32 / 13:13 / 13:02 / 13:28
Total time - 2:03:51
Average pace - 13:46

...and by the way, those splits and times include water/gu breaks.

The best part of this morning's run was finishing to the roaring good times of HARRA's party in the park. Great tunes, beverages, breakfast, friends, and frivolity. It don't get much better than that after a tough workout. Lee and company were working the Strider tent, taking inquiries, signing up new members, and showing off our dozen or so HARRA team awards. It was a good morning.

Ok, nap over. Blog done. Let's get on with this day.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sunday?

I knew I hadn't blogged in a while but Sunday??? It's been since Sunday??? That's totally unacceptable.

Let me catch up Current events first.

I arrived at Terry Hershey 10 minutes late for the SMARTie workout. Guess it was really 20 minutes late since I usually start my warmup 10 minutes early. I stretched a bit and took off for an abbreviated warmup, arriving back just a few minutes into the SMARTie Hop workout. I owe some one leg squats and a couple sets of toyotas but jumped right in for the better part of the workout.

Every day seems to bring back more and more memories of last year's journey to my first marathon. I couldn't help but remember tonight as we were strolling over to start greyhounds how 11 months ago, Steeeve had invited me to "one of SMART's easier workouts," the SMARTie Hop. I remember how tough that workout was. I remember how the greyhounds were to that date the hardest training exercise I had ever done. I remember how my legs felt like jelly after we were done and how it was all I could muster just to walk a 1.5 mile cooldown.

Tonight was quite a different story. Don't get me wrong, the Hop is a tough workout and even now as I lay here in bed blogging, my legs still slightly resemble jelly but I did the workout, no problem. I felt strong doing runner's poses. I didn't fall off the bench doing high bench step-ups. The maniacs burned but were kind of fun. I still hate the wall shin raises!!! :) And the greyhounds really surprised me. I did 2 kind of scared! Like, I'd better save a little. Then the 3rd one was tough but I was fine. I remember a year ago at this point wanting to just quit and walk it in. Tonight, I was like LET 'ER RIP. I took off ahead of the entire group, accelerating to a smooth, kickin' all out sprint. Last year I would have worried about being in everybody's way. WIDE LOAD!!! Tonight, I stayed pretty much with the group. It was a great confidence boost for me.

Post-cooldown, a decent sized entourage gathered at Charcoal Chicken for some scrumptious fixins and some timely trash talking. It was a blast, as always when the Striders get together.

The details are fading fast from my memory but Wednesday found me running trails with the Striders. I took it very, very easy as my foot has been hurting lately. It felt really good after the run so I think my easy run was just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday...now what did I do Tuesday? Oh, yeah! Kenyan relays. Oh, no, I'd like to forget that. What a tough thing!!! But fun and novel as the SMART program is keepin' it fresh for all of us. Pamela was a great relay partner and we kept each other moving at a pretty consistent effort for the whole 20 minutes. Steeeve asked me tonight if I lasted the entire 20 minutes. I thought, "You mean I could have cut it short? I didn't know that was an option." :) The thing about the relays is you pretty much gotta keep going or basically your partner is done too. So, that's what I did. But it was a long 20 minutes and the second 10 minutes was definitely longer that the first 10. Fun! Fun! Fun!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Huh?

After Steeeve's comment on my blog, I re-read what I had written and the first words out of my brain were "Huh?"

That was confusing. Here's the down and dirty.

Monday's - easy run in the early dawn (3-5 miles)
Tuesday's - rest
Wednesdays - group run with the Striders (4-6 miles)
Thursday's - SMART workout (hard day)
Friday's - rest
Saturdays - SMART workout (long run) Sunday - rest or 2-4 miles easy

Or.....

Heck, I don't know. Maybe I'm fine. Maybe I don't need any changes. Maybe I need to quit thinking so much and just keep doing what I'm doing. It seems to be working.

Please feel free to shut-up now, Vic.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Beat up!

Going into this week, I frankly was starting to feel pretty beat up. It's been an intense 3 or 4 weeks for me and my joints were starting to feel it. I didn't mention it because I thought it wasn't a big deal but climbing up the side of a tree on Wednesday's trail run, I stepped the wrong way and strained a ligament or tendon or something in my foot. All I could remember was Steeeve saying that he didn't care to do the trails because he'd just end up getting hurt. I do love the trails, though.

I haven't run since Wednesday as that place in my foot continued to nag me Thursday and Friday. To be quite honest, this morning, when I woke up, it felt great. Definitely runnable. I really wanted to get out for the TLT workout with the SMARTie's but I just don't want to get into that cycle where a strain or sprain is aaaaalmost healed and then you go out and do a hard workout and regress back to where you started. So, I skipped it today.

It was kind of a good thing as I got to go with the family to get the 14 y/o all set up for his first week of High School. This morning was get-your-schedule, get-your-books, get-your-locker, join-a-club, see-your-friends day for all the incoming freshmen. DW has been the sole taxi cab driver for the last month or more since I've been SMART'n it on Saturday mornings. It was nice to spend the morning with the family.

That brings up another change that's going to have to take place pretty soon. As school gears up, there's going to be a lot more stuff going on. DS's football games are going to be on Thursday's, the 4 y/o has soccer practice on Friday's. DD's soccer practices are on Tuesday's. Both have games on Saturday's. So, it's gonna get real busy real soon and it's not fair for me to be off training and playing with the Strider's while DW gets all the other duties. So, I'll be doing a lot more early AM running before work. I hope to still make it out on Wednesday's and definitely on Saturday mornings. I'll have to play Tuesdays and Thursdays by ear.

I was telling JM that my body isn't tolerating Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday very well. I've been going real hard on Tuesdays and then Wednesday's, even though they've been easy miles have been tough. By Thursday, I haven't felt recovered and have struggled or just not run on Thursday at all. So, I'm taking a new tack.

I'm going to switch Monday's from a rest day to a running day. I'm going to rest on Tuesdays and do a hard run on either Wednesday or Thursday. Whichever is hard, the other is going to be easy. Even though Wednesdays are easy, recovery runs for the SMARTie's, I could turn it into a good tempo run, then run easy on Thursday. If I run easy on Wednesday before work, I should be good and ready on Thursday night for a hard boot camp or hills or whatever the SMARTies are doing.

So, that's the plan. Again, I sure missed everyone this morning. It sounds like a good group showed up. Can't wait for next week.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Traffic

Let's get some traffic going on this guy's blog. He seems cool enough. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Why I run

I came across this blog entry on Runner's world and it really hit home for me. Check it out if you like. It's quite inspirational.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Uncle!!!

Mother nature had me in a chokehold tonight as I battled to get through tonight's boot camp. I made it through the warmup and just over halfway through the boot camp and then cried, "UNCLE!!!". I was just done. Actually, it was partly the heat and partly that things just didn't feel right. Going into my second set of body weight squats, my knees just felt weak and there was a little pain. That's when I knew I was done.

No excuses or apologies for tonight. I got a GREAT workout in tough conditions. I'm way ahead of where I would have been had I just stayed home tonight. The boot camps have given me a lot of confidence, not to mention the noticeable fitness gains, even over a short period of time. So, no worries about tonight's abbreviated workout. I still got in 3 and a half miles. My pushups are getting a lot better. My crunches are improving. I'm doing more reps then when I started. Who knows? One day I may even be able to do a pullup.

Fun times!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

PR's, celebrity pacers, friends!!!

It don't get any better than this!!!!

I don't know if I let on during the post run trash talking at Starbuck's but I AM PUMPED UP!!! FLYING HIGH!!! EXCITED!!! STOKED!!! FREAKING ON CLOUD NINE!!! This morning, I NAILED my mile time trial. Not having a clue what to expect, I totally surprised myself. If it gets any better than this folks, I'm gonna burst!!! Seriously, I just did a happy dance around the living room couch. My kids are looking at me wondering what's wrong with Dad. Not a thing, kids! Just livin' this wonderful life.

And to think when I woke up, I actually contemplated skipping out on this morning's SMARTie workout. That would have been a big mistake. So, SMART Lite today called for silly walks, 1 mile all out, and 3 mile cool down. In other words, it's MILE TIME TRIAL DAY!!! I got up in plenty time to take in some sustenance and get over to the track a little before 7. After some stretching and a warmup mile we gathered for some silly, silly walks. Coach was giving out booby prizes for anyone who could guess the artist, song, and album that he was playing on the speakers. No one had a clue. So, he offered a prize for just the artist. Blank stares. :| He finally just asked if anyone knew the decade the music was from. Finally a few guesses...70's? No. 80's? BINGO!!! Nice guess, Adam! You win.

Steeeve had already organized our heats by the time silly walks were over. I was in the 3rd heat with Barb, Pamela, K, and Jen. We were about to start and I found out that I had a treat in store. I was assigned a pacer, none other than HARRA top 10 Open Female Runner of the Season, Jennie Minken. What an honor.

5...4...3...2...1 and we're off. Right out of the gate, Jennie was there pulling me along, keeping me steady and strong, not too fast for the first quarter mile. Jenn said all the right things. "C'mon, you big hunk!"..."You run, gorgeous!!!" Ha! Ha! Seriously, Jen paced me perfectly. She knew when I was giving in (lap 3) and she knew exactly when it was time on that back straightaway in lap 4 to kick it up and finish strong. Thanks Jennie!!! You rock!!! I owe you big time.

Ok, so I had not clue what my time was going to be. I've only done one mile time trial in my life and it was last year around October, after a good 3 or 4 months of training. I ran a 11:07 then so I'm thinking, hey, it's just August. I'd be happy with anything under 11 minutes. A 10:something would make for a pretty good blog entry, right? Now, just for grins, when I was surfing the net last night, I made my way over to McMillan Running Calculator to take a gander at what my mile prediction would be for a 5:48:30 marathon. That's my goal time this year for Houston. That's exactly one hour better than last year. Anyway, I didn't really remember this morning what it said but I remembered it was around 10:20 or 10:30. But that was really dreaming to think I could do that. Like I say, I was shooting for ANYTHING with a 10 in it.

I finished lap one in 2:30, a little fast but feeling good, of course. I knew then and there I had gone out too fast but I didn't feel like I was running on too much credit. Lap two showed that I had settled in with a split of 5:13 or something like that. I didn't want to lose ANOTHER 15 seconds on lap 3 so I just concentrated on maintaining my effort and trying not to crash. I was breathing rally hard going into lap 4. Heck, I was breathing pretty hard going into lap 2 and 3 for that matter. I maintained good effort through the turn and then at about the straightaway, Jennie said "Now here it is. Pick it up a bit. Almost there." It's kind of a blur but I remember feeling good coming around that last curve. Not good in a good way but good like "this is almost over". I do remember one thing very vividly. When I came out of the 2nd turn on lap one, I could see the clock very clearly, 100 yards in the distance. Same on lap 2. Lap 3, I didn't care. I didnt' even look at the clock. But on lap 4, I hit 100 yards and looked up at the clock and I couldn't see it. The numbers were all a blur. Oh, well, I thought. It really doesn't matter now. Just push it!!! I picked it up as best I could, legs burning, chest about to explode, and collapsed across the finish line.

I don't know what I saw or what tricks the heat was playing on me but I could have sworn I saw 10:26 when I came across the finish. I was pumping my fist a little, very, very pleased with 10:26, trying to come back from the dead. Once conscious, I checked the Garmin. 10:19??? What the hey? Well, I just figured in the state I was in, I hit stop halfway down the last straightaway, hoping it would be over if I just hit that button. But then it was confirmed. The time that was recoreded from the clock was 10:19. That's official!!!

Talk about all smiles!!! I was very, very surprised and pleased with a 10:19 mile, a PR for me and 48 seconds off last October's attempt, and it's August. It was so encouraging doing this with all the Striders. The morning's most memorable and encouraging words for me came from Steeeve. He told me that the difference between this year and last year, besides the 48 seconds, was that this year "I was running." Now some people might take that wrong but I know exactly what coach meant and that was a HUGE encouragement to me.

If that wasn't fun enough, I got to do a 3 mile cooldown with Jen. Not Jen the pacer, Jen the blogger. I must say we kicked butt on those 3 miles. Even though it was getting hotter and hotter, Jen and I just got faster and faster. We did a big negative split (not much of a cooldown but a good workout) with a 13:38, 13:34, and 13:08 for miles 1, 2, and 3. Way to go, Jen!!! That was fun.

Now, I said I didn't remember what McMillan running calculator said was my mile predictor for a 5:48:30 marathon, right? When I got home, I went back to check, just for fun. I type in the url, get to the calculator and enter 5:48:30, my goal marathon time. The page loads and I scan to find the 1 mile time. I do a doubletake. It's exactly 10:19. Don't believe me? Go there and put in 5:48:30 and choose marathon and look at the mile time. I've done it 5 times now because I don't believe it. No way I planned that this morning when I woke up. I think it's an omen.

Good times!!!

quack! quack!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Knocked out another Boot Camp

This time it was schedule C. Again, I just did my thing, tried to hang in there and work hard and finish strong.

I know I've only been at it for about a week or so but I'm really feeling like I'm getting stronger. I'm not putting in the big weekly miles that I should be but I'm doing good and the weight is melting away. I only logged 17 miles last week but I still feel like I worked hard. I guess I have time still to start ramping up. I want to be good and ready for Space City 10-miler in October. Look for a leaner faster me at the starting line for that one.

So, here are the stats for the boot camp, the running ones at least:
Total distance - 3.8 miles
2 mile warmup - average 13:38 pace
600m splits - 4:05 / 4:04 / 4:04 / 4:10 / 4:08 (average ~11:03 pace)
Average pace for the night - 12:19

I really ran those 600s consistently. My legs felt like mush to start the 3rd one and I was really huffin'. But I kept thos last ones strong all the way to the finish. I'm definitely pleased with my effort for this on.

I can't say enough thanks to our coaches who are strictlyl volunteer. Thanks Miriam, Lee, Chris, Steeeve, and Barbara for your motivation, encouragement, and friendship. YOU ROCK!!! Oh, and Barb, you're a hoot!!!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Oooo!!! Abs a burnin'

You know that silly little 8 minute core workout that the SMARTies do, where you just prop yourself up on your elbows and toes for a few seconds and hold your leg up or hold your arm out or both? Yeah, that one. Well, let me just say I'm feelin' it today, BIG TIME!!! I knew my running was improving a little but I'm still MASSIVELY out of shape. I'll be working hard on my days off and on easy running days to fit this core workout into my schedule, even if it's a few minutes on the floor in front of the TV. Much appreciation to coach Miriam for showing me how to do the workout propped on my knees instead of my toes. I was able to do the workout and reap the benefits.

Another good week on the weight loss front. Here's what the chart looks like.

Moving farther and farther away from 300. The temptation is to try even harder, to eat even less, to exercise even more. But patience will persist. I'll always prefer a moderate, consistent 1.5 - 2 pound loss per week over 5 or 10 pound losses from starving myself and then gains the following week and wondering what went wrong. At this rate, I'm still right on track for my goal of 252 by January 14th.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Much fun and some good runnin' with the SMARTies

This morning marked the first official long run of SMART training. I'm not sure what's happened or where I went astray, but somewhere along the way, I went from "well, I'll see the SMARTies around if I happened to be running the same venue" to "well, I'll join the SMARTies every once in a while for one of their easier workouts but I'm pretty much on my own" to actually wondering (with some slight modifications) if I might be able to actually do this. Getting through next week should tell the tale.

This morning's workout called for 2 mile warmup, silly walks, 4 miles at MP effort, and 2 miles cooldown. Now, normally, if I were running with the Striders (or anybody else for that matter), I'd start early and shoot for finishing up around the same time. But with this morning being opening morning and my wanting to be WITH the group for silly walks and orientation/meet and greet post run, I decided to start with everyone else and just cut my run short to finish in time for the festivities. There are about a hundred more workouts the rest of the season that I can start early and "do my thing" as I like to say. Luckily and as ALWAYS, Steeeve had a plan. A group running at a more relaxed pace got a bit of a head start and timed it perfectly with the speedier folks.

We did silly walks and then took off for our run. The larger group headed east on Clay for a 6 mile romp but I stayed closer to home and did 2x2mile loops with some other Striders in the Park. I had the privilege of running with Jen for the last couple miles. Actually, and I don't know if Jen knew this, we cut our loop short right off the bat by taking a left too soon. But I think we just cut off .3 or .4 miles. No biggie. It was great to catch up and we actually ran a pretty good effort.

Speaking of stats, I did my 2 mile warmup at average 12:47 pace and it felt good. Probably a bit quick for me warming up but two days rest and this horse is ready to run. The next 3 were consisitently right at 13:15 and my effort was just what coach ordered, basically MP effort. The last .6 or so back to the barn was at a brisk 12:45 pace. I definitely felt like I could have easily held that for another loop, no problem.

Then we all convened for a demonstration and then execution of the SMARTie core workout. It's 8 minutes of H-E-double-hockey-sticks. Steeeve said if we do this 4 times a week, it'll help us stay upright the last 6 miles of the marathon. That's enough to convince me. I'm doing it.

We finished up with a fun meet and greet under the Pavillion. We all introduced ourselves and talked about our goals. I guess this was the first time I've really stated my goal for Houston 2008 out loud. Of course, it's a lot less risky when people don't know your goals because then they don't know when you fail. But when it came my turn, I just said it. My goal for Houston is twofold, to run it 50 lbs. lighter and 1 hour faster. There...I really said it now!!! On the WWW!!! Oh well, guess I'll risk it.

All these festivities were followed by breakfast at my favorite breakfast joint, Sandy's with some of my favorite people, the Striders. The food was fantastic and the company was even better. Thanks all for a great start to what is sure to be another memorable season.

Shuffling

Friday, August 03, 2007

Blood Pressure Boiling!!!

Yesterday evening found me in a frantic dash through traffic and the streets of Fairfield, trying to get all the way home from work, get dressed, and get all the way out to TH Park for another round of Boot Camp, Schedule A.

My original plan had me resting today as I was still very sore from Tuesday's round and had a good workout on Wednesday. But after e-mailing coach during the day yesterday, he assured me that there were many others having the same thoughts out there but that after a warmup and silly walks, I would be good to go and ready for round 2. Besides, the sense of accomplishment, enduring two Boot Camp sessions in one week, would be worth the pain, right?

So, I'm thinking I'll just sneak out of work around 4:15 or 4:30 and drive all the way home (to Cypress), change, eat a snack, gather my belongings, and head over to the park. At 5:15, I still had not left work. But, I was determined!!! I was nimble getting out of the garage and onto the Beltway but at right at the Memorial exit, the traffic came to a standstill. It was stop and go all the way to 290 and Hwy 6. But there was still hope. I hopped out of the car at my home at 6:30. Got dressed, gathered my things and booked it out the door. Got in the car. Ooops, forgot socks. Went back in. Ran back out with socks. Oops, I'm starving and need to get something to eat. Got something to take with me and then back to the car. Ooops, I got paged for work. But I'm off...

Thanks to the new wireless card that we got from work, I can be on the internet anywhere. So, I'm flying down 290, logged onto the MH network, trying to troubleshoot an instrument interface problem, calling the customer, logging my comments, just trying to live through the daredevil driving. I'm finally on Barker Cypress because I know there's construction on Hwy 6. It's 6:freakin' 50. I finally accepted the fact that I wasn't going to be close to making it, even if I skipped the warmup and silly walks. Besides, that's an important part of the workout and I didn't want to jump into intervals and boot camp, not warmed up.

So, I went home and spent the evening with the family. I'm looking forward to nailing tomorrow's workout, especially after two day's rest. Later.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Recovery!

I definitely needed an easy run tonight. Delayed onset of PAIN from Tuesday night's boot camp started creeping into my muscles around 3 pm and was in full force by the time 7 o'clock rolled around. In an odd way, I was feeling pretty good and set out at about a 12:30 pace. I proceeded to do about 1.8 trail miles and brought it in with a 13:10 mile.

Excellent turnout tonight and good times were had by all. Lots of new faces like Randi, who's training for her first marathon. I can't wait to hear about it. And my good buddy Jack brought me some singlets leftover from the old PIM days. 2X, you know. I told him those would get me through the next month or two but I'll very soon be in a 1X.

Speaking of weight, I thought I'd give a report. My trend weight has finally gone under 300 as the spreadsheed showed 299.9. My acutal weight this morning was 295 and I've been in under 300 everyday this week. Here's what the past couple months look like:

Gotta like that consistent, gradual downward slope since early July, huh? By the way, my goal is 2 lbs per week, with a final marathon goal weight of 250. I'll end this week right on track, no doubt.

Time to get these tired muscles to bed.

All I get is 3.3 miles?

Last night marked the start of the Striders Marathon Training program. I arrived around 6:30 to engage in cheery talk and general frivolity but was greeted right away by Miram with a very scary "I'm gonna kick your ass tonight, Vic." I realized then and there that this was going to be serious business.

The SMART and the SMART Lite schedule called for Boot Camp Scedule A. Holy crap!!! I think the last time I worked out like that acutally was boot camp back in 1988. It went (was supposed to go) something like this:

  • 2 mile warmup - I guess I started a bit ahead of the actual measured starting line because I did 1.83. I did 12:45 for mile 1 and 12:25 pace for the .83.
  • Silly walks - no problem.
  • 400m interval - 10:33 pace. Hard running. About an 7 or 8 out of 10 on effort.
  • Squat thrusts with burpees, 12 reps - Whoever was standing behind me may have gotten a mid-summer half moon as I don't think my shorts were tied. I knew there was a reason I was on the back row.
  • Chinups, 2 reps - I found out I can't do a chinup so I just kind of hung there for 5 or 10 seconds. Actually, confession time. I already knew I couldn't do a chinup.
  • Ab crunches, 30 - Completed, no problem.
  • Pushups, 12 - I stayed on my knees to try to be able to complete the pushups. I did 8.
  • Body-weight squats, 24 - 24?!?!?! I did as many as I could, I'm losing the ability to count at this point in the workout.
  • (Here's where the fun begins) 400m interval at 8 out of 10 effort. - 10:31 pace. "Ok, workout over, right?" No, we're about 1/4 done.
  • Squats, back extensions, pushups, lunges (OUCH!!!), dips - I'm just trying at this point to hold my form for the few of each exercise I can do. I was pleased with my pushups. I pushed through 8 again, on the knees, and kept good form.
  • 400m interval - 10:51 pace. I'm done at this point. Just trying to hang on but I ran all the way through the end of the 400.
  • Halfway done. Back to the top.
  • 400m interval - 11:13 pace
  • something, something. something... - don't remember much here.
  • Last 400m - 10:34 pace. Happy with this one.

After the last 400, Cassie was trying to say something to me. I said "Huh?" She said it again. I said, "I'm sorry." I don't know what was up but I guess that part of my brain that takes words and assigns meaning to them was without oxygen for too long. I'm just now starting to be able to carry on a conversation with my co-workers.

I have a lot of work to do. No, I didn't do every single rep but I worked hard last night. The toughest part was running the 400s tired. When I finally got to my car and sat down my quads just cramped up. My shins and lower legs were twitching all the way home, thanks to those Silly Walks. By the way, Matt, you looked silly doing those things. :)

It's just not fair that I only got 3.3 miles in the log for this workout. I felt like I ran a hard half marathon. Still, this BEST thing about it was working out with the Striders. It was all good times with good people. And lil' ole' Miriam, you did kick my arse!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Not pushing too hard

I haven't blogged since Monday, as if you didn't notice. :) Tuesday morning, I met some friends from work at Memorial park for 4 or 5 miles. Man, after Monday night's HARD workout, I had nothing in the tank on Tuesday. I started out feeling pretty good but about 1 mile into it, I crashed, no energy at all. I managed some walk/run through mile 2 and then mustered up enough energy to finish mile 3 running.

Wednesday night, after a brief rain, I made my way over to the park to meet up with a very decent turnout of Striders. We all ran up Crestwood to Memorial drive and were given a choice of splashy fun on the Ho Chi Minh trails or a regular old concrete road run. Well, guess which way I went. That's right. This man went t' muddin'. It was kind of funny when the group split apart. I suspected that the group would split up pretty evenly but when Steeeve said go, it was just me, MattW, and Ryan heading into the woods. And in just a few moments, it was just me. No worries though because the gazelles doubled back to get me after a hard run to the end of the trail and the 3 of us finished together. Of couse, when we got to picnic loop, Matt and Ryan went west and I headed east back to the parking lot and cool refreshments, compliments of the Striders.

The plan called for 5 miles on Friday morning but thanks to thunderstorms, I got to sleep in. So, one run missed this week. No biggie. Since my run this morning was easy peezy, I'll probably avail myself of an easy 4 miler tomorrow morning before church.

Speaking of this morning's run, I got up bright and early to meet up with June and the Striders for a long run. The plan was to get there 30 minutes early to get a head start and be back in time for the post run festivities. June wanted to get started early as well. But we forgot one thing. It's pitch black in this neck of the woods at 6 am. So, we ended up waiting on the rest of the Striders and the planned departure time of 6:30. It's a good thing we did because my old buddy George was there and that means I had someone to run with. I was going to do about 8 or 10 but when I saw June on her way back, I thought I might try to run in with her. I asked what she was running and she said about 13-something. I thought 3 miles of tempo to end the day would be great. So, I turned around to catch June. When I caught up with her, I was able to stay with her for about a mile but she wasn't doing no 13+ minute miles. It was closer to 12. So, I posted about 5 and a half 14 minute miles with a 12:15 right in the middle for a kicker.

So, things didn't turn out this week quite like I had planned. It was really supposed to be a tough training week but except for Monday, I didn't push hard at all this week. Still, with the possibility of another 3 miler tonight and possibly 4 or 5 in the morning, I still could end up with ~24 or 25 miles this week. And I'm feeling really good. I'm taking care not to run myself down too far out from the marathon.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Livin' a dream

First of all, Matt and Bessie, I made it home without stopping for a DQ Blizzard. Actually, I made it all the way home, past 3 McDonald's, 2 Wendy's, a KFC, and 3 Jack-in-the-Box's. I made it all the way home to a scruptious bowl of homemade pintos, topped with taco meat and pico de gallo. Mmmmmmm!

As if it wasn't enough that I got to run on the dream team for the Blind Relay, I had the honor and privilege to do some interval training with world class athlete, Matt Wright. I just so happened to be lucky enough to catch Matt after a hard workout so he volunteered to cool down with me and keep me company on tonight's speed work.

Venue - Memorial Park
Total Distance - 3.5 miles
Format - 1 mile warmup, 12x30s/30s, 1 mile cooldown
Warmup - 1 mile (13:09 pace)
12x30s/30s - 9:12/12:57, 9:37/12:03, 9:43/12:36, 9:58/12:41, 10:26/12:20, 9:29/12:35, 9:26/13:39, 9:24/16:23, 9:41/15:14, 8:51/16:39, 8:56/17:10, 9:33/16:34
Cooldown - 1.5 miles (14:00 pace)

I cut the warmup back from 2 miles to 1 mile. I figured a good 13 minute warmup is good. On the 30/30's, I just tried to stay smooth and consistent with the effort on the hard 30's. By about the 6th or 7th rep, I was breathing pretty hard and slowed my recovery 30 down to a brisk walk. Even though I was walking on the recovery I feel my effort was still consistent as I was breathing pretty hard.

After I was done, wiley veteran Matt showed me where the coldest water in the park was. Shhhh! I can't tell. It's a secret. Oh, and btw, there's also an ice machine if you need ice for your water bottle.

A lot of post run trash talking made for a fun end to a terrific evening. Matt, Bessie, Brett, who was I think in the middle of his 15th or 16th mile for the day, and Bessie's friend all took in the night, laughed, and swapped running stories. It doesn't get any better than this.

On track

Well, week one of the 26-week dash to 250 pounds is over and the results are in. Here are the results.

In summary, I'm down 3.3 pounds from the scale and trending down 1.9 for the week. That's more than acceptable for me, especially considering the little mid-week hiccup involving a couple Burrito Supremes. :(

I was thinking last night about the Fired up 5K and what is possible as I shoot for a 5K PR. My current 5K PR is rather anomalous compared to my other distances. I ran a 36:45 on January 15th, 2005 at the Houston Press 5K. The race was run in near perfect conditions around 35 degrees and I remember being very pumped up. I averaged 11:50 pace. My next closest 5K was last year's Fired Up 5K where I ran a 40:51.

Looking forward 6 weeks from now to the Fired up 5K, the plan now is to let physics work for me. I should be at about 286-288, down 12 more pounds, by race day so that should help. I'd completely FREAK OUT if I were able to go sub-35 (11:15 pace) but would be plenty happy with ANY PR. There's a lot of training to do between now and then so let me get off this blog and back to work so I can be free to run some 30/30's this evening.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Running wired!!!

I know I'm not in the throes of the meat of marathon training but I'm doing a cutback week this week. I trained pretty hard the previous two weeks and have an ambitious week ahead so easy does it this week. That meant only 6 miles for my long run this morning.

There was a bit of a sparse crowd this morning as the Striders met at Cullen Park for a long(er) run. I was this close to sleeping in but knew that June was going to be there and since I haven't seen my bud in a while, I drug my big butt out of bed and got going. I arrived a bit late for pre-run trash talking as I saw the pod crossing the street just as I was driving up. No problem thought since I was just doing 6. I figured I'd be back in plenty time for trash talking with the 8, 9, 10+ milers.

I felt pretty well as I should having not run since Wednesday. The temptation for me is to do the shorter distances a little faster than normal long run pace. So, in a way, it kind of defeats the purpose of a cutback week to pick up the pace too much. Nonetheless, I was feeling my oats so I ran a bit harder effort than long run effort. I'd probably categorize it as marathon effort, somewhere in between long run and tempo.

Total distance - 6 miles
Venue - Cullen Park
Splits - 14:13 / 14:07 / 14:34 / 14:05 / 14:16 / 12:52 (manly, huh?)
Total time - 1:24:42
Avg pace - 14:06

The very cool thing is I don't have to worry any more about running while on call. Work gave us a new mobile internet card to use on the road. So, I'm not confined to the house when running. Even though I had to carry my pager and my phone on the run this morning and had to stay close to the car and my computer, running wired sure beat not running at all.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Goals, goals, and more goals!

After much discussion, planning, calculating, and dreaming, Catherine the Great and I have come up with a new weight loss goal to parallel my marathon training. As incredible and unbelieveable as it sounds, it is my goal to lose 52 more pounds by January 13th. (At this time it's actually 50 since I'm already down ~2 lbs from when I set the goal.) That should get me to the starting line at right around 250, down ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY POUNDS from where I was September, 2004 when I e-mailed Steve Shepard who introduced me to the Houston Striders, Power in Motion, and a healthy lifestyle with running as a key component.

I didn't come up with 52 pounds by drawing that number out of a hat. Catherine has me targeting 1000 calorie deficit per day. That's 7000 calories per week. And at 3500 calories per pound of fat, that's 2 pounds per week. I started on Sunday, exatly 26 weeks from January 13th. That's where we came up with the 52 lbs.

Yes, this is ambitious and yes, it may not take into account plateaus, muscle gain, and/or other things that may be going on with my body. But as far as the things that I have control over (e.g. what I put in my mouth), I'm going for it. I've gone 3 weeks now without a single slip up. This is the longest I've gone eating healthy since January and man is it showing, not only on the scale but also in the way my clothes fit, in my running, and most importantly in how I feel and that's great motivation to KEEP IT UP!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hello Mudder, Hello Fadder!!

Remember that song? Well, tonight, this Fadder was a Mudder!!! 2.5 miles of soggy Ho Chi Minh trails for me tonight with a "normal" mile on Memorial Park Loop back to the car.

I met up with the Striders at 7, thinking that after some trash talking I'd go my slow way and everyone else would go their way and then meet back up afterwards for more trash talking, my favorite part. We're getting ready to take off and John ask me if I want to run with him and Christine and that they were going to take it easy, ~12 or 13 minute pace back in the trails. Well I ain't passing up a chance to run with anyone if they're going to volunteer to slow down to my pace. So, a good group of us parted with the "road runners" and headed out for the forest.

Among our group, there was a bit of tiptoeing as the trails were quite soggy but not this dude. Every time I came to a puddle or some mud, I just thought WWMD (What would Matt do?). I think some of the other trekkers got more mud on them from my splashing than they did actually running the trail.

Anyway, much fun was had by all (especially me!) and there was plenty time afterwards for trash talking. I ended up with 3.5 mile total but the last mile on the loop heading back to the parking lot was ~12:51 pace and it felt good.

I really like the variety the trails give me during the week. It seems to be a bit easier on the knees. I don't worry at all about pace. I just try to keep up a bit of hard breathing and to keep from falling. That's just about the only goal out there on the trails for me. It's a nice change of pace, so to speak.