Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bye-bye January

Wow!!! What a month. January, 2007 is not a month I'll soon forget. I wish I had more pictures. The month started with some frivolous taper time leading up to the big day. The big day! January 14, 2007. My first marathon. As I've said before, it seems like it was months ago and not just over 2 weeks ago. time is really flying.

I closed out January with an easy peazy 6 this morning at Memorial Park. The weather continues to be perfect. Total miles for the month of Jauary are 90, a good start for the year and on pace early to double 2006's total miles.

I'm a bit worried about the Buffalo Wallow. I haven't run hard and fast(er) in a long, long time. My goal is to beat my previous time of 52:04. That's 13:58 pace. Now, some who've never run the course before may be saying, "oh, no problem for you Vic." But this course is tough, and my legs and lungs are going to be a bit shocked when I turn it up a notch after running easy for over 2 months. We'll see. Whatever the case, PR or no PR, it's gonna be fun.

So, today's run:
Total distance - 6.0 miles
Venue - Memorial Park loop
Format - Easy run
Total time - 1:24:02
Splits - 14:00 / 13:52 / 13:51 / 13:47 / 14:09 / 14:21
Avg. pace - 14:00
Notes - I backed it down a bit after 4. I was leaving the Easy effort and flirting dangerously with harder-than-easy effort. It's all good.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

2 more days...

Conventional wisdom for runners recovering from the Houston marathon says no hard running in January. So, two more days and Katie bar the door!!! Right? Just in time for the Buffalo Wallow 6K on Saturday.

Don't know if 3 or 4 strides in the middle of and easy 3 miler counts as hard running but if it does, I stand condemned. Another beautiful, misty, grey morning at Memorial Park brought out the crazies, including me, for some sloppy waddling. I saw several familiar faces, none of whom weren't already in the "crazy" category before so no surprises there.

Venue - Memorial Park
Total distance - 3 miles
Format - 3 miles easy with 20 sec stride at each mile.
Total time - 41:50
Mile 1 - 13:43
Mile 2 - 14:07
Mile 3 - 14:00
Average pace - 13:57

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Crunching the numbers

They say you're not really ready to start training for the next marathon until you've stopped thinking about the last one. I can't believe that Houston was just 2 weeks ago. It seems like it was 2 months ago. As the excitement of the marathon begins to wane a bit, my thoughts this week have turned more and more towards the spring and training for the Pig.

I like data. I like science. I LOVE numbers. So, the urge to get real scientific with my training is strong. However, I need to accept the fact that even though I have alsmost a year of training under my belt, I'm still far too slow and big to be worrying about numbers. For all intents and purposes, I'm still quite the beginner.

So, I'm holding off on number crunching until I can get to a point where it matters. In my opinion, I can keep doing what I'm doing and continue to see significant improvements to my health and my running. I really am on the steep part of the improvement curve so I ain't worrying about the numbers at this point.

That being said, I am making a few changes to my training. First of all, I'm going to run slower. WHAT??? Yes, that's right, SLOWER!!! This weekend, I ran two 6-7 mile runs at a most enjoyable effort and pace. I think the pressure of Houston and the Fall Warmup series with all the time limits and course closings and trying to get in before the limit and always worrying about the 13:45 pace really wore me out. I think I handled it well but as eveyone knows, your first marathon should be about finishing, not about time. So, now, with my long runs, I'm not worried at all about that. I don't have to worry about building up my distance AND trying to do it fast. Yipee!!!

Secondly, I'd like to add a little variety to my training. By variety, I mean types of workouts, venues, group/solo, types of surfaces. The problem with the slower long runs and easy runs is that I am really susceptible to beind lulled into always running slow. So, I think once a week, I'm going to throw in a tempo run or some beginner speed work like 30/30 intervals that coach talked about or some hill work.

Most of all, I'm going to continue to listen to my body, avoid injury, and have fun. That's my training plan.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Striders and Miriam ROCK!!! Congratulations!!!

Special congratulations are in order to the editor and staff of Stridelines, the newsletter of the Houston Striders, for which yours truly contributed this year, for winning RRCA's coveted best newsletter for a "small/medium-sized" club.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Drawing on marathon experience

We've all heard the saying a million times. "If you can run a marathon, you can do ANYTHING!!!" I've been wondering when the time would come when I would be able to claim that little quip. Well, this week I had one of those situations where I had to draw on my marathon experience to get through it.

In my quest to lose weight, if I had to state one weakness that I have, it's the urge to stop for fast food at the end of the day on the way home from work. At some times in the past, the urge to stop at KFC or McDonald's or Taco Bell has been overwhelming. Yesterday was one of those times.

My first chance to gorge is the McDonald's on Bissonet and the Belway. Then there's a 2-fer at the next exit off the Beltway, a KFC/Taco Bell, all-in-one. McDonald's again at Hwy 6 (I'm really fighting the urge by then). And finally, Spring-Cypress and 290 offers McDonalds, Taco Cabana, Sonic, Chick-fil-A, Whataburger, and Nestle Toll House. To be honest, in the "old" days, you could find me not being able to decide and visiting 2 or more of these fine establishments.

So, yesterday, that urge popped up the very moment I got in my car and shut the door. Afterall, I've been good this week. I've lost about 4 lbs. since the marathon. I deserve it. Right?? Right. When I talk about urge here I mean a strong, strong urge. It's so sick but I really crave that crap at that time of day. So, I'm thinking, "Vic, if you can run a marathon, you can get home without the junk food." The race was on.

Stop 1 - I'm feeling pretty good, pacing myself and getting past McDonald's on Bissonet with no problem.

Stop 2 - KFC is my favorite and Bellaire is a free exit off the tollway so I know this would be and easy, quick on/off and leave me plenty of time to down a bucket of chicken and a Big Beef Burrito and get cleaned up before I get home. Fortunately, my training kicked in here and I refused. I moved from the right lane to the far left and kicked it up a few mph, passing numerous fast food diners.

Stop 3 - The next leg of the race is the longest stretch. You really start to think between stops 2 and 3 how much you want that Fish-fil-A sandwich. The drive at this point is mostly mental. You start to think about how much weight you've lost so far and how these two or three thousand extra calories won't hurt you. You start to imagine how that Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese (add mayonnaise) would taste. This is the hardest part of the drive. But, I ran a marathon!!! If I could run a marathon, I could get through this and I did.!!!

Stop 4 - By the time you get to Spring-Cypress, the adrenaline starts pumping and you know you're almost home. The cheers of family and friends ring loud and you know a good, healthy meal awaits you when you get home. You start to think about how happy the wife will be when she checks the bank account and doesn't see a $10.00 debit to some fast food joint. The last stop was easy and I didn't even look as I drove past it and right to the finish line, uh, I mean, home.

I'm recovering now. I had a good breakfast and have a healthy lunch planned. Hopefully, my 3 o'clock snack will prepare me adequately for the next trip I have coming up this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Own It !

Well, this morning, I went down to City Hall and rented Memorial Park for an hour this afternoon. So, besides a couple of trespassers, I owned the entire park myself for 3 wonderful miles today and IT WAS WONDERFUL!!!

Venue: Memorial Park
Total distance - 3.0 miles
Time - 38:41
Avg pace - 12:54
Splits - 13:06 / 13:11 / 12:23

I don't know why but I love to run in this weather. The cold drizzle makes me feel frisky. Great comments on the Wallow post. Funny!!!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Buffalo Wallow Roll call

The rumblings around the blogosphere say there are a good bunch of folks planning on doing the Buffalo Wallow 6K. If you're planning on running, leave a comment.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Another debut for me!!!

Today was a huge milestone in my running career. It was my first post-marathon, 3.69 mile run. I'll never forget it. Acutally, the run wasn't the best part of the morning although George and I were feeling pretty frisky, bringing it home in 12:52 average pace. Let me tell you about the best part of the morning.

Imagine all the good stuff you see on the shelves at Whole Foods and all the selection of good and healthy food from Central Market. Then take all that good healthy whole food and prepare every imaginable breakfast/brunch food you could possibly eat. Then put it all out on a huge buffet and serve fresh ground organic coffee, hot tea made from a custom blend of fresh tea leaves mixed right at your table. Then add an omlette bar and use fresh EVOO instead of butter to grease the pan and add turkey, fresh veggies, and cheese. Oh, and offer fresh egg whites if your watching your fat and cholesterol. Put all that and more together and you've got my new favorite breakfast restaraunt, Sandy's Produce Market & Vitamins.

That's right. It's a grocery store. I laughed when I waslked in because Catherine is always admonishing that when you shop at the grocery store, stay to the outside aisles, around the perimeter of the store. Well, at Sandy's THAT's where ALL the groceries are and the center of this open-spaced store is taken up by dining tables the food islands. When I tell you that is is the most healthy assortment of fresh foods I've ever seen presented, I'm not kidding. At first, I was watching my choices but it got to where EVERYTHING I chose was completely healthy so I just quit worrying about it and ate. I highly recommend this restaraunt. I don't remember but I think they serve lunch and dinner too. Oh, and get this. $8.50. I still don't believe that.

The run? Well, let me just say it was hard to hold back. After begin off my feet as much as possible and only running 2 miles on Thursday, I was feeling pretty good today. And the weather was absolutely perfect for running. I took it reasonably easy but still managed what felt like an effortless 12:52 pace. But, easy does it now. I'm still recovering so don't look for that kind of running until another week or so has passed.

Venue - Cullen Park (with 20+ Striders aboard)
Total distance - 3.69 miles
Time - 47:43
Average pace - 12:52

May run again tomorrow, very easy. Or, may do a little bike ride. Or, I may just walk. Or, I may do some laps in the pool. We'll see.

Party tonight at Pony's!!! Woohoo!!!

Oh, and welcome new Striders!!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Goals for 2007

A lot of folks, including myself, announced their 2007 goals back at the beginning of the year. I posted some of my 2007 running goals just after Christmas last year. I've been procrastinating, though, responding to Catherine's e-mail which simply asked, "What's next?" And folks, she ain't talking about my next 5K. Catherine's wantin' me to state my next weight loss goal.

I finally responded to Catherine's e-mail yesterday. My mantra, mission statement, overarching theme, whatever you want to call it is to live "a healthy lifestyle with running as a key component for the purpose of being a better husband, a better father, a better friend, and a better servant of God." (mission statements always sound awkward.) So, with a healthy lifestyle with running as a key component as my mantra, it's impossible to separate weight loss from running. For me, right now, they just go together.

But if 2006 was the year of the marathon, 2007 is going to be the year of the weight loss. As I said, no way those two things don't go together. The difference is that in 2006, I concentrated on getting to the finish line of my first marathon and the weight just sort of came off by itself. This year, I'm going to focus on the weight loss, and hopefully a sub-6 at Houston in 2008 will just happen by itself. Of course, I'll train so don't even think I'm just gonna go on a diet and think I can take 48 minutes off this year's marathon time. I just think that the best way for me to get faster and to enjoy running even more than I do now (if that's even possible) is to get the rest of this extra weight off.

So, the goal. Since the Spring of 2004, including a brief lapse back into a sedentary lifestyle (it's called ankle reconstruction), I've lost 75 lbs and ended the year at my goal of sub-300. I believe this year, I can double that. So, I will lose 75 lbs this year, most of it hopefully before August when marathon training starts back up. I think it would be good to have a lot of that weight off by the time marathon training begins. It will just give me more options and increase my chances of staying injury-free. This is my BIG goal for 2007.

My next smaller goal is to have 30 of those 75 lbs off by the time I enter the corral for the Pig in May, May 6 to be exact. I'm not looking at a particular time goal for the Pig so scratch that from my December running goals list. The Pig has a 7 hour time limit and if I'm 30 lbs lighter and train well, I'll PR. If I lose 30 lbs before the Pig and DON'T PR, I'll be surprised but it won't bother me. The weight is the main goal right now.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

ooo, aaaah, ouch, ...

...actually it's not that bad. I hit the road this morning for my first workout since the marathon on Sunday. No rest for the weary, I guess. On the trail, a man passed me asked, "Wonder what all the other sissies are doing this morning?" It was as sparse as I've ever see it at Memorial Park and the weather (to some) was nasty. I, on the other hand, love the cold and misty weather so I was in heaven this morning.

I'd say about 90% of the soreness from Sunday is gone, and about 90% of the tightness remains, despite a 90 minute massage on Tuesday. Hal Higdon has 3 post marathon programs on his web site. All 3 programs follow the same thing the week after the marathon, called week zero. Then, I'll be following the Novice program for the next 4 weeks. Of course, by follow, I mean I'll be using it as a guideline. I'm definitely inserting the Buffalo Wallow 6K in there on February 3. In 2005, that was the last race I ran before my ankle put me down for good. Well, I guess it wasn't for good, huh?

A few weeks ago, I listed as one of my goals for 2007 to PR at all my previous race distances so my first shot will be the Buffalo 6K. I'd better PR because it may be difficult to find another 6K race in town.

So, here are the stats for this morning.

Venue - Memorial Park
Total distance - 2.0 miles
Time - 28:26
Average pace - 14:13
avgHR - 142 (66% HRr)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Still on Cloud 9

I'm still high as a kite from Sunday's "activites." We got a call from my 5 year old's teacher tonight. She wast talking about what he wrote in his journal on Monday. Yes, they journal in kindergarten. I didn't know that. Well, she said he wrote about his daddy running a marathon this weekend. And she was so surprised that he spelled marathon correctly. She said, "Where did you learn how to spell marathon?" He said, "It's on my daddy's medal. He got a medal." So, she said the journal said something like "sunday, I went to the marathon. My daddy ran a marathon. He was tired. He got a medal." And that was it. LOL!! Man, it just keeps getting better and better. I'm luvin' it!!!

I've tried several times since Tuesday to come up with the words to express my appreciation and love for my running family and all those who encouraged me this past year. This past year!! You know, it seems like January 15th was actually the new year for me. I remember when January 1 came along and people around me at work and everywhere were looking back at the past year and thinking about what was accomplished and making new goals and looking forward to new challenges. I remember thinking to myself, "Hey, this year ain't over yet. I'm still working on this marathon thing." I remember not feeling right about closing the book on "last year" when so much of last year was about this thing coming on January 14th.

Well, now that it's done and over, I've been reflecting on this past year and the wonderful friendships that I have made and the good and the tough times we've all gone through together. I'm tempted here to take a stoll down memory lane but I doubt seriously that I'd do it justice so I'm going to keep it here, in my own heart, for me. Thank you all for sharing your lives with me. Thanks for the laughs, the tears, the advice, the encouragment, and the oft needed kick in the pants. Ice baths, IHOP, racing in the rain, Christmas lights, the GRB, trail running, barber shops, Coverlet bandaids, the Westpark bridge, the word "frivolity", Homer Simpson, yahoo im emoticons, bling, parking lots that are too full, restaraunts that are too packed, 205's, 305's, 201's. For the rest of my life, these silly things will have special meaning to me. I'll never forget this year and what the Striders and bloggers and so many other friends have meant to me. I've got to admit, it's been a hard year. A lot of hard work. NO WAY I could have accomplished a small fraction of what I have accomplished for my future and my family without the support of so many.

Ok, my kids just came in and asked my why I'm sobbing uncontrollably. "I'm just happy, I told him. Happy to have some good friends."

I love you!


Monday, January 15, 2007


Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes
to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone

Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor

Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story
The Voice of Truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of Truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth

The giant in front of me on Sunday, January 14, 2007 was the Chevron Houston Marathon. 26.2 miles. The thousands shaking in fear were the years and years of sedentary lifestyle and obesity that kept me from living life the way it should be lived. My weapon, my sling and stone if you will, was the body that showed up at the starting line. A humble weapon but one that has served me well nonetheless.

That song by Casting Crowns was playing on the radio after my first ever race, the Run with the Saints 5K, in the Fall of 2004. I knew at that time that this would be my theme song. Little did I know after ankle reconstruction, a short regress into the sedentary lifestyle after surgery, losing 75 pounds, and enduring hundreds of miles training for the marathon, that today I would need to listen to that Voice of Truth more than ever before.

I had 3 separate goals for success in this race. Goal 1 was to finish the distance, period. Goal 2 was to finish in time to get all the race goodies like the medal and finisher's shirt, and finisher's stein. From talking to the race officials and to previous finishers, I learned that as long as there was still a steady stream of finishers coming across the mats, that they would keep the goodies coming. So, I figured if I just stayed close to a good steady group of runners, I'd get my goodies and I figured that 6:15 or so, 15 minutes after the official close of the race, would get me there. Goal 3, my if-everything-went-perfectly goal, was to finish at 13:45 pace, a 6 hour marathon and a guaranteed official finishing time recorded for posterity.

The Chronicle in Monday's report the next day called the weather "optimal" but to me, the near 100% humidity was a killer. Still, I'm not complaining as it could have been worse. The forecast earlier in the week called for temps in the 70's for race day so at least it was cool and unbearably muggy instead of hot and unbearably muggy.

When I got in the car on race day, I was greeted by a small balloon bouquet left there by Jan and the kids the night before. Jan must have stayed up even later than I did on Saturday night, waiting till the coast was clear so that it would be a surprise. Guess the kids painted my windows too but it all washed off through the night from the rain.

I picked up June, who parked at the Starbuck's on Memorial, and we rode in to the GRB together. We got off our feet for a while, checked our bags, talked with Striders and other friends and generally tried to chill out before the big dance.

It was getting to be about time so I made my way out to the white corral. Here, I have to confess my disgraceful behavior. Thinking about goal 2 and wanting to maybe save 5+ minutes on my gun time, I shamelessly made my way to just about the very front of the corral. I actually lined up next to the 3:50 pace group. To the several thousand runners behind me, I apologize. I've never done that before and never will again. Still, I didn't hear too many complaints as folks passed me and I had a chance to see many Striders and bloggers that I normally wouldn't see in a race so that was awesome. Pam, Amalia, Jamoosh, Cassie, Bessie, John Dimarco, and many others I can't recall. Just before mile 3, a young man passing me said, "Hello, Sir! Remember me?" I recognized him as the banana boy from the 30K, the young spectator that spurred us all on, dressed as a big banana. He was running the full, though not in a banana costume, at least not this time.

I was excited at the start but stubbornly in patience mode. I've been told enough about going out to fast so I was intent on not making that mistake. I'd heard about guys peeing on the side of the road and kind of blew it off as folklore, but IT's TRUE!!! I saw a dozen or so guys relieveing themselves at the bottom of the Elysian bridge and listened to all the ladies around me talking about how nice it would be to be a guy. At the next opportunity to pee in public without getting a citation from the policeman standing 30 feet away, I decided to take in the full experience and pulled over for my last pee break, in front of God and everybody. I was acutally laughing as the hollers echoed from the hundreds of runners behind me. I'm just glad I wasn't standing there alone or I may have been too embarrassed to go.

Mile 1 was on pace for a patient start with 13:57. Mile 2 was 14:00. Then I eased down to my 6 hour goal pace with an average pace around 13:46 through mile 8. At this point, I still seemed to be in the middle of a big group of people but it wasn't too crowded. I'm feeling good that there are a lot of people ahead of me AND behind me. About mile 6, Dusty Cook caught me and we ran a few miles together through the half marathon turnaround and past the Mecon Fountain. After that, I stopped to stretch a little bit and never quite caught back up with Dusty who finished his 19th Houston marathon in perfect veteran form.

On Saturday night, I had set out an awesome plan for my greatest supporters, my wife and kids, to follow me around the course. They ended up leap-frogging me and popping up 9 different times over the course of the race. The only one they missed was the first intercept planned for the corner of Michaux and 11th street. I think from talking to them that they were acutally there but missed me in the sea of runners passing by and I missed them as well. After that they settled into their leapfrogin' groove just as I was settling into my grove because they hit every other waypoint along the way and even one or two unplanned ones. They really moved around the course like veterans and I was so proud of them.

I felt confident and comfortable through the half marathon turnaround. I was thinking, WOW, I'm right here in the middle of a bunch of runners. At least some of these are bound to be with me at the finish. Then, all of a sudden at the turnaround, the half marathoners did just that. They turned around and all of a sudden, I found myself amongst just a handfull of marathoners. I realized then and there that it was going to be a lonely rest of the race.

The crowd support continued to be unbelieveably incredible, even as the back of the pack was coming through. It's crazy but I think my favorite group was the polka band on University. They were awesome, right on tune, professional, just the right beat and that was a good pick me up. The crowds along University Blvd. were the best. I really enjoyed that part of the run. My pace through the halfway mark was pretty much on target at 3:04:56 but I was starting to feel not quite right. Not good to start thinking about struggling at just the halfway point of a marathon.,

Coming down Weslayan, I started exercising my math skills. I figured for every quarter of a minute (15 seconds) off my average pace, I would be off the 6 hour finish by about 6 and a half minutes. So, 14 minute pace would put me in at 6:06:30, 14:15 pace, 6:13:00, and so forth.

It was an awesome sight at the Weslayan intercept where two additional family members showed up to cheer me on. My mom and our dear friend Ruthie showed up with warm wishes, hugs, and WATER!!! I don't think Mom has ever seen me run before and I got the feeling she was proud. Ruthie, one of the most energetic people I know, ran with me up on the median. The whole family was a sight, all out in the middle of the street with their signs, my daughter on her roller shoes, the little one trying as hard as he could to get in my way. That was a huge boost.

After seeing the fam at the Weslayan intercept just past Bissonet, and just before turning on Westpark, I started to slow to around 14:45 pace. I took my first walk breaks at this point but was still putting one foot in front of the other. I think at this point, my struggle was mostly mental. Yes, physically, I was in trouble but at points where I could decide that I was going to get moving, my body responded relatively well.

I walked the entire way up the Westpart Bridge but ran down and to the next water stop. At that point, things were thinning out big time and I started to see and hear murmurings of opening the streets. Although the water stop volunteers were cleaning up and packing it in, they were still serving the stragglers with a smile and much needed encouragement. I really appreciated that.

On Post Oak, I started to see the first vehicles actually on the course. Race official were driving slowly beside the stragglers/strugglers, checking us out, making sure we were ok. The sag wagon moved past me and I must admit that after considering the 10 or so miles ahead, I did actually give it a thought. Even though traffic was allowed to cross the course ahead and behind the runners, the streets remained closed through Post Oak, up San Felipe, and right on Tanglewood. This really surprised me because at this point, I was well off of 6 hour pace. It seems the reports of strict, rolling street closures on 13:45 pace were greatly exaggerated, at least through mile 17 or so.

Between mile 17 and 18, whatever mental problems I was having, if they were only mental, were manifesting big time physically as I struggled up Tanglewood. Halfway to Chimney Rock, having slowed to a 15:00+ pace, I saw a reflection in the stop sign ahead. It's like some kind of strobe light or something and I thought, oh, some spectators have a disco set up for us ahead. Then, I looked behind me and saw that the reflection was actually the flashing lights of the "pace car", not the pace car you would see at the beginning of a race but the car pacing the last runners that were allowed to stay on the course, in the street, and it was gaining fast. Before I got to Chimney Rock, the car had passed me with polite instructions from the officer inside to move to the side.

Fortunately, there was quite an entourage of various official vehicles, trucks, and race officials who crept along behind the pace car and the street was not open to general traffic so I was at least able to stay to the side of the street. I turned on Woodway and a remnant of high-endurance spectators were still cheering on the stragglers there at Chimney Rock and Woodway. I was still able to stay on the street, to the side as crews continued to pick up equipment and clean up the course. I saw the 30K timing mats and computers being pulled up right in front of my eyes, maybe 200 feet in front of me. That's why friends who were tracking me were worried because my 30K update didn't go out. After Sage, Woodway was open to traffic so I moved up on the sidewalk.

The Mile 19 water stop volunteer entourage passed me on the sidewalk, probably heading back to where they parked. I knew water would now be a long way away. I thought now I won't have water until I see Jan and the kids at Crestwood. Still, that concern was only in the back of my mind as other thoughs dominated my thinking. Serious thoughts about jumping in that sag wagon and going to the GRB to see June and others finish. Thoughts about how unprepared I was for this. Thoughts about how my 20-mile training run was cut short 3 weeks earlier due to abdominal pain. Thoughts about how I was now running farther than I had ever run before. Thoughts about my second goal now being history and my last goal of just finishing fading fast.

One foot in front of the other.

Even the belly dancers were packing up as I passed them at 610. I would have liked to see those ladies dance. Many of the experiences and memories that so many veterans talk about, I knew I would not have, not this year. When I crossed under 610 and continued on Woodway, the office instructed me to stay on the sidewalk. I was in survival mode at that time, walking mostly but shuffling every chance I got. I kept watching my overall pace on my Garmin slip by a second, then another, then another. For each second on the overall pace that slipped, that was 26.2 seconds added to my finishing time. Hey, I may have been near exhaustion, but I could still do the math. Dr. DeLaVina would be so proud. At the Arboretum, I noticed that the course was still not open to general traffic so I stepped back down on to the street, on the course, the course I registered for, the marathon course.

I saw the number 20 painted on the street but no flag, no cool miler marker sign. It had already been picked up. At the entrance to the Picnic loop, I saw the beer truck that I had heard gives out an early celebratory beverage to passing runners. There was ice dumped out on the street as the crew had packed up the truck and were getting ready to pull off. I was so thirsty, I actually ate the ice off of the street. Thinking back, I can't believe I did that. I was somewhere in na-na land.

The urge to quit was overwhelming. I had not respected the humidity early on. I went out too fast. I had nothing left. I was thinking, this is not the wall. This is something else. It wasn't anything that came on abruptly. It was more like the sum of a buch of crap that had been going on since that nice policeman in front of the Galleria said, "Just 10 more miles." Grrrr! I thought, ok, Jan's going to be up at Crestwood, I'll just get her to take me back to the GRB. I quit. I wasn't ready for this. My 3rd goal was gone. I had a new goal, to get to Jan.

Jan recognized a lot of the runners that were running ahead of me around Transco Tower and she saw them go by at Crestwood. She was wondering where I was. She walked down to the corner of Memorial Loop and continued to wait. Finally she saw me around the corner and down the hill on Memorial. She said I was doubled over with my hands on my knees and then I was leaning against a light post, stretching. When she and the kids came within my sight, I ran to them, said hello, got some water, hugs, and some love and kept on going. My head was asking my body, "What in the world is going on? I thought we were going to stop." Jan called our friend Danny who finished around 4 hours and told him that I didn't look like I was going to make it.

Just after I saw the family, things got a little better. My body didn't feel better. My energy level didn't go up. I didn't have any sort of surge in adrenaline. I just saw a small glimpse of hope.

I was walking up on the trail, head hung down, when I heard voices calling to me. "There's Vic! Hey, Vic!!! C'mon Vic!!!" I stopped walking and started running. I'll be doggone if it wasn't the remnants of the Strider water stop, packing the truck and cleaning up. My recollection is a bit foggy as to who all I saw so forgive me if I forget to mention anyone here. I remember Carlos coming over to greet me and wish me well. Then my former PIM coach, friend, and Strider, Rose, along with Reuben came up to me with water, with life. Rose said, "Get down here off that trail and onto the street. There's no traffic yet. You're doing great. You're going to finish." Reuben says something I'll never forget or quite understand. He said, "Vic, I've been thinking about you. You are such an inspiration to me." Can you believe that? Reuben, an unbeliveable runner and inspiration to so many. It was humbling and surreal having someone who is such a huge inspiration be inspired by something I was doing.

At mile 21.5, Rose and Reuben ran with me up to Wescott, and hope continued to build. Rose asked me if I needed more water. I told her that, thanks to Doug Spence, I know where all the water fountains were. I almost cracked up as Rose tells all the surrounding stragglers to "STAY WITH VIC!!! He knows where all the water fountains are. OK, everybody? Y'all stay with Vic!" I don't think at that point I really felt like leading the Children of Chevron through the the wilderness for 4 more miles.

A faithful spectator was at the Starbuck's handing out water bottles. I had a drink and a Gu and more hope. I started to really take hold of goal 3 which was to finish. I kept thinking about my promise to SteveB to be there by 2 pm, when he had to leave. Still doing the math the whole way, I figured this was doable.

Turning onto Allen Parkway, which was still closed to general traffic for a while longer, thoughts of quitting started to fade. It wasn't getting any easier to run and my muscles and feet and back were really hurting. Then hope came running across the street. It was Rose again. She had driven over to some apartments on Allen Parkway and was coming across the street to run with me. She said, "Don't worry, Vic. I'm here. I'm gonna get you to the finish." She ran with me for about 10 minutes, ran back to her car and met me up ahead AGAIN to run with me for another 5 or 10 minutes. Rose left me to run back to her car but told me she'd see me up ahead. When she left, I cried because I was so touched. But that's the kind of person Rose is and the kind of people the Striders are.

It's mile 23 or 24 and my tears were just about dried when I saw Christy running towards me, waving her hand, yelling "C'mon Vic!!! You're doing it!!!" Turns out Christy had been parked by herself on Allen Parkway for who knows how long, waiting for me to pass by. Christy had already run a half marathon earlier and drove out to cheer me on after her race. We ran together past her car. Christy encouraged me the entire time, telling me that I was going to finish and what a great accomplishment it will be and how proud she was. Then after 5 or 10 minutes, she said goodbye and ran back to her car. Hope continuted to build.

It was under 2 miles to go and here ca e hope again. I mean Rose. She parked up at Sabine and ran back to get me. Not a lot of hoopla. Not a lot of cheering. She knew what I needed at that point. Just someone to pull me along and keep my feet moving one in front of the other. She stayed in front of me and I just followed. When we got to her car, I thanked her and told her that I loved her and that I was going to make it. I was going to make it!!! That was the first time that thought entered my mind. I said it out loud again as she drove off. Hope began to feel real!

I came up Lamar, into downtown with about 1.2 miles left and Matt Wright was waiting for me in front of the library. Matt Wright, who was voted by the Striders waiting at the finish line as having the freshest legs, met me downtown to run the last mile with me. He phoned the finish line and said, "I've got him. We're coming in." Matt said some other encouraging words but mostly he just talked about how good my hair looked. He just went on and on about my hair. Well, thanks, Matt!!! Seriously, Matt was awesome. He kept me safe and motivated through downtown and I'll never forget it. Oh, and by the way, Matt is my barber.

Matt got me to the train tracks where Coach Steeeve and SteveB, who had just run a full marathon, join us. Coach asked me if I can see the blue finish line "right there." Well, it didn't look "right there" to me but I can see it. SteveB was in his friggin' sandals. Yes, he ran me in the last .3 or so miles IN HIS SANDALS!!! I remember seeing that but not saying anything. I'll never forget that image.

Over those last fractions of a mile, I tried to be tough and gut it out but my effort was relegated to either running or bending over in a dead stop with my hands on my knees trying to recover. You know the drill. The finish line was still standing and the closer I got, I could see that the clock was still ticking. The hope I was holding on to was realized in an instant when I saw and heard the cheers of what sounded like hundreds of fans, but were really my family, my friends, my Striders. No stopping now with the masses watching and just 40 yards to go. I crossed the finish line in 6 hours 48 minutes and 30 seconds. Goal 1 accomplished.

Now, as if it couldn't get any better than the oupouring of support from my family and friends along with finishing my first marathon, the Chevron Houston Marathon had volunteers still waiting at the finish 50 minutes after the official race was closed, handing out finisher's medals. When the beautiful lady put that medal around my neck, the flood gates opened and I balled like a baby, a very BIG baby. My wife came over and held me and I gave her a big ole' wet, salty kiss. The kids were there and I hugged them. Then more high 5's, hugs, tears, smiles, and laughter as the family and Striders shared in my joy. Thinking back, we must have all been a sight, standing out in the middle of Rusk, right under the finish line, just partying and laughing like this was all for us.

Wait, it gets better. After we partied out there on the street, Coach realized the mission was not over yet. If there was a way to collect the rest of my swag, Coach and company were going to find a way. The entrance where the 18,000+ runners entered the GRB Convention Center earlier was locked. Matt knocked on the door so hard it almost fell over. Then he was trying to pry the door open and a face appeared in the window. "This runner needs to get his shirt!!!" exclaimed Matt. The official opened the door and let us ALL in. He said "Runners only!" That's me.

So, moving by adrenaline only, I made my way across to the other side of the Convention center. It was like another race with another finish line but instead of FINISH, the sign said FINISHER'S SHIRTS. Somehow, my walk turned into a bit of a shuffle and I scampered to the counter just before they were about to close. I got my finisher's shirt and my finishers mug. GOAL 2 ACCOMPLISHED!!!

You can keep the tens of thousands of fans, the belly dancers, the bleachers, the cool mile markers, the music, the noise, the fanfare. Just give me my family, my friends, and the Striders there at the end. I'm so glad it turned out the way it did. I doubt very seriously it's going to be like that ever again. If it is, I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing. But this one was so special and I wouldn't have had it any other way. I accomplished my goals. I overcame with the help of some special people the overwhelming urge to quit. I AM A MARATHONER!!!

Special thanks to follow this post.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Vic, marathoner! or Bessie, something's missing again!

Well, I just got out of one of Bessie's patented ice baths and I seem to have lost "something" again. Oh, well, I guess it was worth it. Maybe it'll show up later this week, if I'm lucky.

I'll post a bunch of stuff later but for now, suffice it to say, I AM A MARATHONER!!! I finished!!! I did it.

More later after nap and enchaladas and nachos and ultimate cheesburger.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Fairfield Clydesdale shatters 220m record

Arrrgh!!! Teenage boys!!! I wake my son up this morning on schedule at 5:45. He takes his customary yet forbidingly long 20 minute shower, which he's been told to cut back to 5 minutes. Then, he hollers downstairs for me to throw him up some boxers and a t-shirt. Then he asks me what time it is. This is refreshing to me as he is rarely concerned at all with the time, going at his own groggy pace right up until the last moments before the bus arrives. So, I'm thinking, well done. He's trying to stay on schedule, right?

So, I breathe a sigh of pride and relief that my son is being so unusually thoughtful this morning and I make my way to the computer to check the e-mail. After some period of time passes, I realize, I don't hear anything going on upstairs, like my son getting dressed, like the shhhhhhh sound of deodorant, like the swish-swish of a toothbrush so I call out his name from the computer room. So, what do I hear? I hear the sound of a young man GETTING UP OUT OF BED!!! That's why he wanted to know what time it was. Not so he could stay on schedule and "get cracking" as I like to call it. He wanted to get a NAP!!!

So, he comes downstairs, still in his boxers and t-shirt and makes his way to the laundry room to get his clothes out of the dryer. No breakfast yet, hair not combed, teeth not brushed, can't find his key to the house, doesn't know where he put his homework, and the bus is due to arrive in less than 5 minutes. I GIVE UP!!!

So, I just go on about my business. No sense in causing a big scene while the rest of the house is yet to stir. I start in on some chores that I need to get done, like wash clothes and work on my 20 oz., 100g of carb, high-octane ultra fuel beverage. Next thing I hear is the front door close. Well, good. He got off to school by himself. I'll save the blessing out for this afternoon when he gets home. I'm going about my business and then think, "I wonder if he got his lunch." I go look on the table and there it is.

Now normally I would just leave it or eat it myself but I thought I may be able to catch him before the bus arrives.

I know. I know. This is supposed to be a running blog. WELL...I get out the door, and look down through the fog towards the corner and see the bus. Oh well, too late. But I see the brake lights on the bus stay on and a little girl running back into the house right there at the bus stop. I hear a faint sound of another father through the mist saying sternly, "Hurry up!" Well, that's my cue.

Oh, the running! So, I take off in a barfoot high-tail dash down the dead center of the street. About halfway there, I think, "I'm gonna make it." I see DS in the very back seat, asleep, with his head down on the seat in front of him. I give his luch to the bus driver and they're on their way. Oh, yeah, I beat the little girl who went in to get whatever it is she forgot.

So, I got some sprints in this morning. Here are the stats:

Venue: my street
Warmup: none
Distance: down the block
Pace: Fast!!! (but not as fast as Bill)
Cooldown: walk back home

Overall, a good run!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

3 days to liftoff!

Man, did I have fun with that last post. That was funny. I also posted it on the Runner's World Discussion Forum and got some hilarious responses. Some people thought I was serious and wanted to make the trip to Houston to jack-slap me. Others knew right away it was a joke. Anyway, it was fun.

I had a couple of good runs the last 2 days, 3 on Tuesday and 4 yesterday. No hard breathing, AT ALL!!! Hard to not giddy-up when you're feeling this good. I thought my schedule called for 3 tonight but Hal only gave me 2 easy miles for 3 days out. Man, talk about going crazy. You know how long it's been since I only ran 2 MILES? Still, I look forward to and relish EVERY mile I get to run. It's been such a blessing to my life and has become such a big part of my life.

Pasta tonight with the Striders at Romano's after my li'l two miler. Should be a blast. My family has been awesome and patient with me this week. I've kind of ignored them around supper time, sticking religeously to my own plan. And I've been early to bed every night. I have been getting up to make my son a good lunch this week. By the way, he joined a neighborhood boxing club and is very excited about it. I was happy when he played football this year but that was a short season. He really needs something to keep him active year-round. Turns out the group runs quite a bit too. I think he said they start every workout with an easy 2-miler so that's awesome. They meet 3 times per week and I'm hoping that on the off days, we can get to run some together. This should work out great for the rest of January and on into February before I start ramping up again for Pig training.

Life is good! I'd like to blog more but Steve's put a limit on the length of my posts. 3 days to liftoff!!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Now, I'm ready!!!

Well, yesterday was a high point in my training. I've been worrying a lot about whether I've done enough. I really want to get in top form for Sunday so yesterday, I strayed off my plan a bit and did a super-quality workout.

It all started on Monday night. I stayed up until 2 am going over my running logs, trying to add up all the miles that I missed for whatever reason. I thought this would really motivate me for my run that was going to take place in at 4 am. I was so surprised to know that I missed 10 or so runs since June and cut a couple of long runs short. I was also surprised to see that I walked a little on some of my runs so I really needed to push it hard to make up for that.

So, even though the plan called for 3 easy miles, I decided to do 13. And since that's so close to 13.1, I figured I'd just do a half marathon time trial. Fortunately, the weather was cool so I thought I could push a sub-13 minute pace and PR for the half marathon distance. That would be good practice for Sunday.

The run was great. I felt better than I've felt all year. This taper thing is AWESOME!!! I ran a 2:49:12, a 12:55 pace. WOOHOO!!! I was really hurtin' those last 3 miles but was able to hold on and finish with a big PR. My knee and right ankle are really hurting right now and my quads are still burning. It's a strange feeling. Not like any pain I've experienced before. Must have been an awesome run!! Oh, and to be sure I'm ready for Sunday, I ran the run on concrete. I wanted to really get a feel for what Sunday's going to be like. I'm so gonna rock the marathon.

To celebrate my great workout, I stopped at my favorite mexican restaraunt for some cheesy enchaladas. Since I burned all those calories earlier, I figured a little extra cheese wouldn't hurt. Also, I hear Christy and Steve talking about maragaritas and how good they are. I don't really drink but I was curious so I had a few. Boy, did I feel great after that. Bring on the marathon.

I saw my trainer at the gym last night when I took the kiddo to basketball practice and she said that since I've been concentrating on running so much and not doing any strength training that it would be a good idea to get 2 or 3 good, hard lifting workouts in before Sunday. I went ahead and scheduled 3 sessions with her, since I get a discount for paying for 3 sessions at a time. We're scheduled to pump it up on Wednesday, Thursday, and then Saturday so that I can really be strong going into Sunday's race. I thought I'd do Saturday's session AFTER pasta loading since I'll be full of energy. That should really get me in good shape by Sunday morning.

Well, I've done so well with my diet the past week, I think I'll have McDonald's for lunch today. I deserve it. Mmmmmm...Fil-A-o'Fish sandwiches. How 'bout that, Homer?

Rock on!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hey, we're not thinking!

You know...just because the high for Sunday is forcasted to be in the mid-60's, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Think about it. If the high for the day occurs at 7 am, and temperatures start dropping soon after the start of the race, we could be down in the 40's by mile 15. See? Good news, right? Of course, the bad news with that scenario is that starting the race on the heels of an incoming cold front may mean some nasty winds and thunderstorms. But, hey, at least it would be cold!!!

Monday, January 08, 2007

For Barbara

Barbara, some of us have to work you know. Nevertheless, you are correct. The updated forecast is worthy of delaying my work on this multimillion dollar, enterprise-critical computer system to update my blog.

So, the trend continues. More and more reports are getting on board and agreeing that the cold front that was supposed to come in late, late on Sunday is coming in sooner than previously forecast. June's favorite,, was the first to report the change. The other two networks didn't seem to even have the cajones to post a forecast over 5 days out. This morning, for zip code 77008 is reporting cooler temps for Sunday as well. Forecasted temperatures for Sunday continue to drop through the morning and afternoon (when I'll still be running), with a high in the low 60's. Of course, a front blowing through on Sunday morning means a chance for rain, even thunderstorms. Personally, I don't mind the wet, it's the temps that I watch for.

By the way, great, funny comments on the last weather update!! I was LMBBO!!!

Now, back to saving lives!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

WOAH!!! Look at that!!!

Well, I don't wanna jinx anything but the forecast is sure looking better and better. We're still way out but I'm sure lovin' it. Looks like they're forecasting the cool front coming in a bit sooner than originally predicted. We'll see. Prayers, prayers, prayers!!

edited the very next morning, Sunday, Jan 7

Ok, ix-nay on the better forecast. It just went south real quick. Now, the LOW Sunday morning is around 60. HA!!!

Now, I don't wanna see a bunch of comments about not worrying about the weather and how you don't know what the weather's going to be until you get there, yada, yada, yada. I'm not worrying about the weather. I'm just having fun. This has been a wild roller coaster ride and I want to ride it with my hands in the air, right up to the starting line. Bring it on!!!...all the uncertainty, all the fear, all the miles!!! What a ride!!!

New Rulers of the World

I met up with the Striders this morning for my debut tromp along the famous River Oaks route. The route was ~8-11.4 miles with opportunity to run the full 11+ or take any of several shortcuts for the shorter mileage. My plan was just to do 8 this morning, so I availed myself of each and every shortcut and even added one or two of my own. Total miles - 8.9

Splits - 13:55 / 13:49 / 13:46 / 14:20 (shoe malfunction) / 14:00 / 13:51 / 14:05 / 13:53 / 12:53 pace for the last .91 miles

Average pace - 13:51

It was a beautiful morning, a little warm and humid but the summer weather is fresh enough in my mind that I can still appreciate 65 and muggy. No hard breathing this morning. Just a light pounding to acclimate to the concrete in preparation for the 14th. I played more with average pace on my garmin. Sorry, David!!! I pretty much kept the clock running, even through the shoe malfunction and through water stops. It was fun trying to spot water while running throught the Houston streets. Of course, the fountain at Kirby and Shepherd I knew about. Matt gave me a tip on a popular but obscure water spicket behind the Pilgrim's Cleaners at San Felipe and Willowick. I didn't see the Pilgrim's when I got to the corner but found an outlet behind the gas station there.

Oh, and my vote for the New Co-Rulers of the World goes to Lisa and Jack. With no advanced notice that they were even going to do this, Lisa and Jack spent their Saturday morning serving the Striders water from their own water station that they set up. Then, if that doesn't qualify them for rulers of the world, they packed up and came and found me, about 5 or 10 minutes behind rest of the runners. They pulled over and flagged me down and gave me a bottle of life-sustaining water. They were my angels today. Just goes to show you, you're never alone when the Striders are around. Kudos to Jack and Lisa. You guys blow me away.

Breakfast after was a blast. I talked race strategy with Bessie and Steeve. First timers Hillary and Jessica were at out table too so this is one lucky guy. :o) I'm just trying to soak this all in, all the advice, encouragement, and friendships I've made. I'm frankly overwhelmed with it all. Life is good.

For the most part, that was it. My last long run before the marathon. Just 3 short runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday next week. Then 2 day's rest, carb loading, and expo'ing before the big day.

God Bless!!


I'm assuming since you asked about the Garmin 301, that that is what you have, right? I have a 305 but I downloaded the owner's manual for the 301 and was reading it to figure out how to set average pace.

On page 41, it gives instructions for setting up Custom pages:

1. Press mode to access Menu mode. Then highlight Settings and press Enter.
2. Highlight the sport you want to set up a custom page for. (Are there other sports besides running?)
3. Highlight Set Custom Page and press enter.
4. Press enter to select the Custom 1 field. Select the type of data you want to display. This is where you would select Average pace.
5. Repeat step 4 fore the Custom 2 and Custom 3 fields. Of course, you can select ANY data you want for any of the fields.

When you are training, press the down or up arrow to select the page you want to view.

Hope that helps.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

How do YOU use your Garmin?

Since I got my Garmin 305 earlier this fall, my display of choice has been that I set up that shows average lap pace, lap distance, and total lap time. Then I would set the auto lap feature to 1 mile and pace myself according to lap pace. The problem with "chasing" average lap pace this way is that after every mile, you're starting fresh and the pace that you ended the last mile with is the starting average pace for the new current mile.

Let's say you start out on mile 1 and you're watching your average pace. Let's say you're shooting for 12:00 pace. So, it takes a while for the average pace to "settle down." So, let's say you're a little fast and towards the end of mile 1, you're at about 11:50. So, you slow down, then when the lap hits 1 mile, all of a sudden you see your average pace is 12:15 or 12:20 because you slowed down at the end of mile 1. So, you speed up to try to hit 12:00 for mile 2 so at the end of mile 2, your pace is 11:40 or something. Chasing this average lap pace can get be a problem. That's why I tend to ignore it and often find myself off pace by the end of the run.

Well, yesterday, while visiting the best little barber shop in Texas, Matt suggested something that should have been completely intuitive to me but that I have never thought about. He said set the display to show average pace for the whole race. So, a constant average over the entire run. Well, that makes total sense to me. If I average 13:45 for the whole marathon, that is 6 hours. So, rather than chasing lap splits, I'm chasing a very smooth average pace over the entire distance. And, get this. It's very hard to move the average at later points in the race. Once, you've established a 13:45 pace for 20 miles, that's a lot of data and even drastic changes in pace only effect the average by a second or 2.

I practiced this last night on a short 4 mile run at Memorial park and it worked great. I didn't feel so confused at the end of each mile like I usually do when I'm "chasing" mile splits. I even stopped for water just after mile 2 and kept the clock running. Normally, on a lap average, I'd see myself behind goal pace after a water stop by 10 or 15 seconds. With the average over the whole run, I only lost 3 seconds. With 3 seconds, I didn't panic and try to take off after the stop. I just eased back into it and after a half mile or so, I was down to 13:47 and by a little after mile 3, I was back to 13:45 average.

So, my splits were: 13:40 / 13:43 / 13:48 / 13:45.

After my run, I stopped over by the Aquatic Center for a little trash talking with the Striders who were getting ready for a run up to Jackson Hill. Great to see Bill out giving the wheels a test drive. I offered him a creme pie but he wouldn't bite. I'm not worried. Hey, Bill, the registration fee for the Flying Pig is $60. I'm cutting you a break by registering early so you won't have to pay full price, ok?

So, how do others use your Garmin?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Strange Dreams!!!

I wish I was dreaming of crossing that finish line on January 14th but the theme of my dreams last night was just the opposite. The further I get into my day, the less I remember about the 3 dreams that woke me up through the wee hours this morning.

In one dream, I was at the finish line and there was a race official standing by the entrance to GRB. I had already finished and was waiting around for all my "official" goodies like my medal and t-shirt, etc. I see this guy running. He's about halfway down Rusk but the official yells to the guys at the finish mats, "OK, we gotta shut 'er down!" At that point in the dream, for some strange, dream-like reason, I don't know if I made it under the cutoff or not. I ask the official and he shows me my name printed on the list. Something like 6:02:00. I'm ecstatic. I make my way over to the table to pick up my medal and the lady tells me that the medals cost $800 and I can't have a finisher's shirt, no reason. So, even though I finished the race under the cutoff, I couldn't have a medal or finisher's shirt.

In dream 2, I'm running along the marathon course, not the real marathon course, the one in my dream. I'm making good time and I know for sure that I'm gonna make it under the cutoff. The course takes the runners through a neighborhood and acutally through the living room of one of the houses along the way. I go in there and see some friends. After looking at my watch, I see I have plenty of time so I take my shoes off and visit for a while. After some time, I figure it's time to be on my way. I put my shoes on but they won't tie or I can't tie them. I keep trying and trying and the clock starts to move faster and faster but I can't tie the darn shoes. Then I wake up. What a nightmare!!!

I don't remember the 3rd dream but it was along the lines of the same theme.

It's been good eatin' today, so far. This morning, I had my favorite breakfast, steel cut oats, fresh raspberries, and a little skim milk. I made a yummy sandwich to take for lunch with turkey, whole wheat bread, fresh lettuce, tomato, red onion, black olives, and bell pepper. Lowfat yogurt and an apple rounded out the lunch.

I made a trip over the the best little barber shop in Texas over my lunch break and got to talk race strategy with Matt. I left there felling better about the race and about my hair. ;o)

Looking forward to some easy running tonight if the weather holds and 8 easy miles on Saturday, perhaps with some Striders who are running over in River Oaks.

Good news! I'm able to be off work on Friday, the 12th so I'm planning on doing the Expo with June and SteveB on that day. Anyone else interested in getting that stuff done on Friday, let us know and we'll hook up.

More on race strategy later. God bless!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

I had the pleasure of brining in the New Year this morning with The Houston Striders's at the annual Resolution Run. The turnout was great, so great that we had to rearrange cars to get everybody into the Hwy 6 @ Patterson Parking lot. Good problem to have but beginning to be a common theme with our get togethers (anyone remember the Christmas Party?). Hey, it's just that much more food, fun, and frivolity, right?

The run was very civilized. I did 5.8 miles at an average 13:30 pace. The option to do more was available but as soon as I saw folks on their way back, I turned right around to get back to the party. It was a perfect morning. I think there was a mistake. We should have had the marathon today. I can only hope for weather like this on the BIG DAY!!!

I got to run in the last mile or so with Pony as she's still taking it easy from some tightness still lingering from the 30K. She sure seemed to be feeling better which is a blessing.

Back at the parking lot, we had a great time. Bessie and her bling. David and his "old" jokes. Matt and his drinking while you're running lessons, June and Pony and the bean dip, lotsa laughing and smiles and hugs. It was just the best.

A few of us who were present were recognized with the Striders Iron Head award, a take on HARRA's Iron Foot award. Recipients of the award were recognized for participating in all 5 of the Strider Warmup Series events. I received a way cool gym bag which I really needed. I have a larger bag but the medium sized bag will really come in handy.

Now, really, no more hard running, good nutrition, and lotsa water are the orders for the next 13 days. I'll do a couple of short runs on Wednesday and Thursday, an 8 miler on Saturday, then 2 or 3 a couple days next week and then to the starting line. I'm starting to think I'll make it, to the starting line that is. After that, I'm flying blind. Anything could happen. What a ride this has been!