Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Not a perfect execution but working hard

Today called for a 25 minute tempo run or a 2 mile tempo run, whichever came last. A tempo run should include a warmup and cooldown. So, cooldown, check. 25 minutes at tempo effort, check. Warmup...what's that?

I met a couple of people from work at Memorial Park at 5:30. One was a co-worker and regular MP runner. The other was a consultant visiting from out of town. We got to talking about running and I wanted to give her a taste of the Houston running scene. After chatting, stretching and enjoying the beautiful morning air for a few minutes, we set out. I knew the two of them ran 10-12 minute miles so I told them to feel free to go ahead. Still, not having run with them before, I thought I may be able to hang for a while. It didn't take long to realize they were closer to 11 minute pace or better so I lagged behind, keeping them in view for the first mile.

About 3 minutes into my "warmup", I looked down at the Garmin and saw that I was keeping about 12:40 pace. It felt good so I went with it. Mile 1 was 12:37. Then mile 2 was 12:21 which also put me right at 25 minutes. So, my warmup kind of got skipped altogether. I fought the urge to stop and walk at 2 miles and completed my cooldown in 13:22 pace. 2.9 miles total in a 37 minute workout. I'd say mission accomplished.

I saw lots of peeps out there that I haven't seen in a long time. It was great to see Amalia who almost got a big wet, sweaty hug. Jenny and Heather were bookin' it. And it was good to see my friend Karl who's flirting with joining the Striders.

All in all, a great morning of running. Man, I needed that!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Great comments!!!

Thanks for the thought Holden. Depending on how things go, I may be considering a trail race like Sunmart or something in the Fall. Besides that, my ultimate goal race is the Houston marathon '08. Of course, there are plenty little goals along the way but they are all secondary to Houston.

Thanks for the good words Matt and David. I understand what you are saying. Like I said, my goal race is the Houston marathon 2008. I know from last year that I have time to do that so I'm not worried about the past couple of months and the time I've taken off. I think the thing that I need to come to grips with is that SMART may or may not be the training program for me. No doubt, given continued weight loss from January through present and a proper recovery from the marathon, I would be in good shape to jump right into SMART. But, I'm afraid that my brief lapse may have precluded me from being ready for SMART full time. Coach tells me that I need to be to 25 mpw with a 10 mile long run and one quality workout per week (I guess besides the long run), then I should be dandy for SMART. To be clear, coach never told me I COULDN'T do SMART but I think he's looking out for me and doesn't want me to get into something where I would risk injury. But to be honest, SMART may not be the best program for me right now. For sure, SMART IS THE BEST PROGRAM IN TOWN!!! but I'm not sure my body can take it and stay injury-free.

All this is worry about SMART or not SMART is really a moot point. The goal is to run the marathon, not to participate in any particular training program. There's really no reason to fret. The fact of the matter is that I love running with the Striders and I can do that no matter what program I'm in. The good thing about a program like Houston Fit is that I'm likely to find some runners at about my pace that I can do long runs with. Anyway, I'll see how the next 8 or so weeks go. I've a tempo run planned for tomorrow, an easy 4 miler on Thursday and on Saturday, if I don't get paged, I'm going to do 10, a slow 10 but 10 nonetheless. That should be 20-22 miles for the week. I'll try to get through this week healthy and after that, I should feel better about things.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Another 3 today

There was a pretty decent crowd at the park this morning. Sadly, I was a bit sore from my short 3 miler last night but that didn't stop me. I got in another 3 miler at about 14:13 pace. By the end of the run I was feeling good and loose.

One of my problems now is not having a plan. There are certainly times in my running where I'd rather just run and not be tied to a training plan but now is not that time. I'm kind of wondering what to do. I know there's the Saturday long run and I'll be at 8 miles come next Saturday. But what to do during the week. I think I'll make Monday an easy run, 3-5 miles. Then on Wednesday, I'm going to do some quality work, alternating tempo one week, and 30x30's the next. I'll follow up on Thursday with another 3-5 mile easy run. With Sunday as a rest day, that leaves Tuesday and Friday to get in some weights or some light XT. Any other suggestions?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I got sunshine!!!

The sun finally peeked out from behind the clouds this evening and I decided to go out for a run. I'm sure come July, I'm gonna be beggin' for rain.

Nothing much to report. 3 miles in ~14:24 pace. Lotsa sweat which felt really great.

When I was finished, I was standing at my car, trying to cool off and this guy came up to me and started talking. I asked him how it was going and he said he was just out trying to get into shape and lose some weight. I said, "Well, you're doing the right thing." It turns out John's lost ~70 lbs. He used to weigh 370 and is now down around 300. I told him we were two peas in a pod because I had been about 370 when I started losing. He said he was having a hard time running and that it was very difficult for him. He said he looked at me and said, "Man, that guy is really running." LOL! I told him just to ease into it and be patient and it'll come. Anyway, it was cool meeting another kindred spirit.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Note to self

I'd like to respond to a recent comment from my good friend and reknowned butt-kicker, SteveS, not to be confused with my other good friend and reknowned butt-kicker, Steeeve. Here's the comment:

The actions comment was only put there to remind you that we have heard it before. There is nothing wrong with being a "back of the pack" runner but when you workouts always end with, "I took it easy and cut it short" then you have shorted your other health goals. It is Friday and you have nothing posted. This would lead me to assume another light workout with a side order of bad eating. I refuse to be part of the sheeple to offer congrats on work that is not done or done poorly. I have offered advice before but you have to implement. When I lose more weight than you in the past month, there is a problem. Show me actions.

Let me say first, that SteveS hit the nail right on the head about not posting this week. Like many others, SteveS knows me like a book. Although I wouldn't go so far as to refer to readers of this blog as "sheeple" (by the way, that's hilarious), I do understand what SteveS is referring to. I think for the most part, most bloggers aren't fishing for a butt-kicking when they post their workouts and struggles with weight-loss, nutrition, etc and most commenters respect that and try to give encouragement any way they can. However, in this case, I feel like SteveS's comment was not only appropriate but timely. I'm afraid that were I to go back to read my posts from the last 10 weeks, I'd feel an irresistable urge to kick my butt as well. By the way, I may be wrong but I take some people's relative silence in the comment field as being a reflection of some of the same thoughts that SteveS presented above. I imagine there are others who would have loved to go off on me as well.

I think in a way, I have been "riding on the coat tails" of Marathon Vic, telling myself that I've done the hard work. I've come so far and now it's time for a break. Like I deserve it or something. What a friggin' retarded, perverted way to look at this journey and at my life. How stupid is it for me to think that just because I've lost 70+ lbs. and run a marathon that I deserve a break, that I can indulge in fast food, that I can start watching TV again and sitting around the house eating chips? Actually, the opposite is true. I worked hard last year and rather than deserving all the above things, I deserve more of the good stuff, more energy, more flexibility, strength, long life, a feeling of accomplishment, to be faster, all that stuff.

Yes, these are more words. I'm tempted and inspired to just delete this post right now, put on my shoes, and hit the pavement. I'm also real close to purging the Pappa's baked potato I had for lunch. :) Suffice it to say that I hear what you're saying, SteveS. I'll say nothing more. It's time to get to work. Feel free to kick me in the ar$e any time.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

It's ALL good, July!!!

Thanks for reminding me, July, that I haven't posted since Wednesday. Fortunately, all is well, quite well as a matter of fact.

Sounds like a lot of fun was had in Corpus Christi this weekend. I hope Bill got his fill of Mexican food and sleeping on the beach. Bill, did you look at any sun dresses in come of the cute shops down there on the strip? Oh, I can't wait to see you in that dress.

I hope the weather in Corpus was nice because if you're a runner and you weren't in Houston on Saturday morning, you missed one of the top 2 or 3 days of the year, IMHO. I met my good friend and running buddy Jo at Patterson at 6, right at daybreak. It was a cool 62 degrees and almost no humidity. It was one of those mornings where if you were just standing around, you were a bit chilly but as soon as we got moving, it was just right. I mean it was perfect. Jo joked that that if we could bottle this weather and sell it, we'd be millionaires.

We did a little over 6 miles. I've got the splits on my Garmin but don't feel like bootin it up right now. Our first mile was 14:06, I remember. We stayed pretty consistent the next couple of miles. Our 3 back were at about 13:40. It really didn't feel like we sped up that much. I think I was just getting warmed up. For the first time in what seems like a long time, I felt like I could have done 6 more. I ran continuously the whole way, except for a potty break. I really felt good. I know the weather had a lot to do with it.

On the nutrition front, I've done really, really well since Wednesday. I've logged the entire week for Catherine to scrutinize. This weekend, I've had some drastic fluctuations in my weight. It's been kind of a roller coaster ride. I've fluctuated +/- 7 or 8 lbs Saturday and today. I've had a VERY active weekend doing lots of yardwork, running, more yardwork, bending, shoveling, sweating, hydrating, sweating more, and even a little swimming thrown in there for good measure. I think I've averaged a good 3 or 4 lb weight loss this week, approximately. Keep this up, and Bill's gonna look just lovely in his new dress.

Oh, and anonymous, I've got your actions right HERE, buddy. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Getting back in the groove

Someone reminded me today that it seems like I've been semi-out-of-commission for a long, long time. To be honest, it seems like an eternity to me as well. It seems like forever since I did a Saturday long run, since I did 20+ mpw, since I ran an easy 10+, since I nailed a 12:30 5 miler. But looking back at my logs, I see it ws just 8 weeks ago that I did a 15 miler in a 25+ mile week. So, really, my running hasn't endured much of a hiatus. My nutrition and weight loss, however, have been at a stand-still since the afternoon of the marathon.

I think since January 14th, I've sort of given myself an excuse to go back to eating poorly. Now, dont' take this the wrong way because I totally loved it when Bush landed on that aircraft carrier and announced to our troops, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!! But I kind of feel like that's what I did on January 14th after crossing the finish line. Mission accomplished!!! But like the War on Terror, my fight isn't over until it's over, and I've been stuck in a quagmire of sorts since January. So, since my war hasn't been going well, I'm implementing a little "surge" of my own.

I'm pulling out the big guns, logging EVERYTHING I consume, nailing daily deficits, exercising moderately, watching my fats, cutting out sugars, and getting off caffeine. Really, it's just getting back to basics.

And for added incentive, Bill and I have agreed to a friendly wager. Whoever loses the most weight by July 31st gets his Houston marathon entry fee paid by the loser, well, by the other person. Actually, we're both losers. And to top it all off, the loser must show up to day 1 of SMART training in a dress. I'm thinking a mid-thigh, strapless in a floral design would do just fine for Miss Bill.

Let the games begin!!!

Oh, I ran 2.3 miles tonight at about 14:30 pace. Don't know why but I felt really sluggish tonight. I ate supper before my run so that may have had something to do with it. That and I didn't get started until 8:30. When I think that I JUST ran 2.3, I have to remind myself that for me, that's over 30 minutes and there's nothing wrong with a 30 minute workout. Superwomen Barbara and Christy routinely run ~30 minutes during the week. And Flash June's even been known to keep a workout to just one loop around Memorial Park from time to time. These days, she's doing that in about 30 minute, or sub-30 even. So, I'm not disappointed in 2.3 miles. I'll get there. The focus right now is on the weight loss.

Thanks for the encouragement!

Great comments on that last post and I wanted to just say that I really appreciate it. Call me needy but I get a lot of motivation knowing that friends and fellow journeymen are cheering for me and want to see me succeed.

So far, so good this week. I got in another 40+ minute workout yesterday after work. There were TONS of people at Memorial Park last night, probably the busiest I've ever seen it. I got 3 hot miles in at 13:57 pace. Again, I felt very loose and relaxed. The extra stretching before and after my runs seems to be helping a lot.

Tonight will be a good test of my commitment. I'm on call for the next two days but need to run 5 tonight and 3 tomorrow. That means I'm going to have to stay close to home in case I get beeped. I'm very hesitant to venture out when I'm on call for fear my run will be cut short and my pattern of late has been to simply blow off the run altogether. Inevitably, I end up regretting that decision when the pager never goes off. So, tonight, I"m just gonna DO IT!!! If I get paged, then sobeit. I've got to do this.

My main goal right now to get me to July 31 is to lose as much weight as possible. I've got to stay focused. I'd like to work on my running but I've got to concentrate on my calories right now. 25 pounds of weight loss and building back up to a modest 25 miles per week puts me in a very good position to start marathon training the end of July. In my opinion, the 25 lbs alone is worth 5 minutes off my best 5K and will get me a little closer to "keeping up" with the group come marathon trainin season. Hopefully, come the fall series, I won't be struggling to get in under the cutoff for some of these races. I'm really getting pumped up again and looking forward to the Fall.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Big Fat F!!!

My running log has a Plan tab on it where I can enter my planned training for the week. Then, as I enter my runs in the actual log, it populates my actual miles for each day and tallys what percentage of planned mileage I've actually run through the week. By the end of the week, I'm able to see what percentage of planned miles I actually ran.

I always looked at this page as simply what it is, a percentage of planned miles that I ran for the week. But David pointed out to me that to him, it's kind of like a grade. Now, in the schools I attended, the grade scale was A (93-100), B (86-92), C (78-85), D (70-77), and F (below 70). So, here's the row from last week.

A 38% is a BIG FAT F

I've entered into a whole new level of underachievement. Do I have anything positive to say? NO!!! Man, that's strange, isn't it?

I did 3.3 miles on the beach yesterday at a little over 14 minute pace. I made the mistake of waiting until 9:30 or so to head out. I drove out and planted some water at around the halfway point. My out leg was right into the sun and the breeze was barely noticeable. On the way back, though, I was able to relax a little and stop squinting and get into a groove. I really enjoyed running on the beach. The left to right camber on the out leg was a little tough on my ankle but made for a good workout.

I'm slowly but surely running out of time before marathon training starts. I really wanted to end July at around 270 lbs but that's very quickly becoming out of reach. To get there in 12 weeks, that will be an agressive 2.5 lbs. per week. It's doable, yes but I'm going to have to dig deep. Now is the time. No more putting off what I must do.

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's the shirt

I broke in my new Striders tech shirt tonight at Mem Park. I was running out of day so I decided to just do 3. To make it interesting, though, I kicked it up to tempo effort for mile 2 and then back down for mile 3. Not much time to go into the details but I'll just say it was a fabulous run. I felt really good and relaxed.

The highlight was my son who came with me and did his first ever 3 mile run. I was so proud of him and he was pumped up about his accomplishment. He kept talking on the way home about how his feet hurt and his legs are sore but he feels good, "REALLY GOOD!!" He did great. He said he wants to do the half marathon in January. I told him to go for it. That would be a huge accomplishment for him so we'll see where it goes from here.

My splits:
Mile 1 - 13:52
Mile 2 - 12:33
Mile 3 - 13:54
Average pace - 13:27

This was my first run in a long while where I ran continuously and strong the entire way. I wanted to take a walk break after my tempo mile 2 but resisted the temptation. By 2.25, I was pretty much recovered and back to easy effort. Certainly the beautiful weather and the cool temps contributed greatly to my good run tonight. I'll take it. It was a good confidence builder.

Will be in Galveston this weekend. Hoping to get a run on the seawall in on Sunday. Back on Monday. Later!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

This sounds cool

I found information on this in my neighborhood gazette. It's a Triathlon series for kids put on by the Kiwanis Club of Houston Sunrise. The events are 100M swim, 1 mile bike, and .5 mile run for ages 10-12. A little less for the younger ages. Here's the link if you want to check it out. Kiwanis Kids Triathlon Series


All the cool people in Houston (with a few exceptions) were gathered at Chatter's Bistro near downtown last night for much fun, food, and frivolity, Strider-style. Hats off to our VP, Ted, who hit a homerun with the new venue. There was ample seating for the masses, the food was EXCELLENT, and the weather was absolutely perfect!!!

Catherine the Great was GREAT as our guest speaker, presenting her heralded Peak Performance seminar to those in attendance. In most other venues, this seminar would come at a cost to each attendee but in good Strider fashion, it was FREE for us. An astute communicator, Catherine was able to pack volumes of information into her 30 minute seminar and then opened up the floor to questions from the group. Certainly everyone left last night with some new knowledge about nutrition for athletes. One point that was hammered home that seemed to strike a cord with many Striders was on the nutritional value of beer to an endurance athlete. Evidently, there was some contention on this point and the verdict is still out.

Speaking of freebies, in celebration of the Strider victories in both the HARRA Fall and Spring club championships, each Strider in attendance was given THE COOLEST Asics technical running shirt with the new Strider logo on it. It's a very, very nice shirt and for all who missed the meeting, they will be distributed at any one of the upcoming Strider events through the summer and Fall. There are limited supplies so come on out to an event. If fun, food, and frivolity isn't enough to bring you out, just the shirt is worth the trip.

Thanks to the Striders for another memorable gathering. STRIDERS ROCK!!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

6 tough miles

Make that 5.8. :) It's been a long, long, long time since I actually ran the distance I set out to run. Well, is 7 weeks really that long a time? Seems like FOREVER to me. It wasn't pretty but I got 'er done and had fun doing it.

The crowds were thick at Memorial Park and so was the air. The breeze couldn't quite decide which way to blow. At times it was right in my face and man, did that feel good!!! Other times it was still. I plodded along at >14 min pace but kept fairly consistent through mile 4. I took a couple of walk breaks and finished the last .5 at a bit faster clip. I don't have any splits as the Garmin was powerless. Total time from the watch was 1:26. I'm like SteveB. I wish the Garmin had an auto-off. But I guess that wouldn't make sense. It would be powering down in the middle of a run.

So, I'm on plan through Monday (Day 1). Starting the week off on plan is a good start. hmmm...don't know if that makes sense. Here's what the rest of the week looks like.

More pondering the previous post...

From re-reading the previous post, I don't think I did a very good job conveying the point of my previous post. The point was not about why running is NOT important enough to commit a lot of time to. The point was why, for me, running IS an important part of my life and why I think it is important enough to commit much time and energy to. You see, for me, running for the sake of running frankly does nothing for me. I guess you would say in that respect, I'm not a purist. It's how running affects other aspects of my life, my "real" priorities if you will, that motivates me to put in the time and effort it takes to improve.

For a time, in my younger years, basketball was my priority. I was a purist when it came to basketball. I played every day. I watched as many baskeetball games as I possibly could. And I was good. I could play pretty much with the best of 'em. One time, the Celtics were in town and a few of the players came over to my church to practice. Scott Wedman, Rick Carlisle, and Greg Kite were at the gym and needed one more for a game of 2-on-2. Now, I'm not saying I was NBA material but I actually held my own and had a couple of nice assists to Greg who slammed it home. I could just hear Johnny Most..."Kaiser comes down the court, between the legs, fake. He threads the needle passing to Kite...SLAM!!!!" I got started with basketball a little (the middle of my sophomore year) or I would have definitely played college ball. Basketball was plainly and simply a priority in my life. Maybe #1 or #2.

Then, when I joined the Navy and started working nights at the Naval Hospital in Groton, CT, golf became my "thing." I'd work nights, play golf during the day. In between, I'd sleep a little. I even practiced putting in the lab at work when things were slow during the wee hours. Golf was my #1 priority, I must admit. Really, nothing else mattered to me.

So, my point is that I spent a lot of time playing basketball. I spent a lot of time at golf in the past as well. But the reason I spent that time is that those things were priorities in my life. They were tops. With running, though it's different. No, I'm not saying I spend any less time running. I'm not saying I'm not committed to the sport. I'm not saying I don't want to take the time to do the hard work that it takes to get better. I'm not saying it's not important to me. Quite the opposite. I will put in the time. I will push myself. I will study the sport. I will invest in good equipment. I will get up early or stay late or whatever it takes to get better but not because running in and of itself is a priority in my life. Not because it's #1 or #2 like basketball and golf were. It's because I believe running makes me a better father, a better husband, a better employee, a better friend, and a better disciple of Christ. I make running "a priority" because of how it enhances my "real" priorities.

I hope that explains the previous post. It wasn't a "I'm not running much lately because I'm busy and have other priorities and my kids come first and my job comes first and God comes first" kind of post. I was trying to convey my thoughts on how running fits into MY life and why I think it's important enough to spend Saturday mornings doing long runs, to get up at the butt-crack of dawn for an easy 3 miler before work, to race and try to PR every time, to set goals, to take time off from work the Monday after a long, long training run, to spend money on good equipment, to put in 10 to sometimes 15 hours a week driving to the park, stretching, doing a training run, stretching some more, driving back home. Running is a thread that weaves through so many aspects of my life and improves my relationships and my work. That's why I do it. That's what motivates me. Now, I'm all fired up and may just go out in the hall and do a few laps aroun the 10th floor here.


Monday, May 07, 2007


Saturday night on the way home from my 3 miler, I was thinking about how people find time to run and train. I thought about Christy and Barbara who don't just juggle career, family, school, church, and fitness but excel at them. How do these superwomen do it?

I guess it really comes down to setting priorities. For some, its God, family, career, then running. For others, it's career, education, family, then running. For others, it's running, running, running, and then more running. What a life!!!

For me, I look at running a little differently. I think it goes back to my mantra, a kind of mission statement if you will where running is concerned. I'm most successful when running is woven through ALL my priorities as part of "a healthy lifestyle with running as a key component." Where my spiritual life is concerned, running equips me for His service. Also, I see caring for my body as an act of thanksgiving for the gift that God has given me. Running makes me a better employee. I have more energy and think more clearly. It affects my family as I have more energy when we are together and am setting a good example for my kids. Not to mention the fact that I'll probably live a lot longer as my health improves and running is key there. Socailly, I have created and developed many real and lasting relationships through running and have so many fond memories and shared experiences with friends. Running makes me more patient, more calm, more thoughtful.

This framework seems to work well for me. I'm afraid that if running was an item on a list of priorities, I would end up at one of two extremes. I'd either be obsessed with running or I wouldn't run at all. It's just how I'm wired. Looking at running and a healthy lifestyle as a consistent thread that affects all my priorities works well for me. Now, that's not to say that I'm not goal oriented. I have lofty goals when it comes to running and on any given day, to be able to reach those goals, I'll certainly have to prioritize. But by keeping my eye on the bigger picture, it's been easier for me to find that balance.

Ok, on to business. This last week didn't turn out like I had planned.

I'm not making excuses but I was single parenting last week (wifey was working out of town) and for Thurdsay and Friday was fighting the crud.


This week looks good. I'm going to tackle a 6 miler this evening after work. I'm going to have to slow down and get 'er done. It's hard to run >14 min pace. It feels like such a regression but I've got to start back somewhere. Maybe a manly sub-13, back-to-the-barn mile 6 will make me feel better after 5 at 14:30 or so. Anyway, we'll see. For now, I'm just planning on pulling out the old slow and steady for tonight's run.

Here's what the rest of the week looks like.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Kick in the Butt!!!

I was laid back in the recliner this afternoon reading the new issue of Runners World that's been sitting on my dresser for about a week. Lo and Behold, the cover told the story and was just what I needed. "101 Kicks in the Butt" was right there on the cover. After skimming through 38, when I got to 39, I immediately got my shoes on and took off out the door. :) Well, not quite. I still had some "chores" to do but ended up doing an easy 3 miles late this evening.

I've been sick the last couple of days. GI issues. I actually had to go home from work on Friday because I felt so bad. On the way home, I happened to catch Spiderman 3 on IMAX. :) So, I guess the day was half sick day and half playing hookie. I think God punished me for the hookie part 'cause I spent much of the remainder of the day in the bathroom. I felt better this morning but not well enough to make the planned long run with June. Of course, I really wasn't going to run WITH June but you know what I mean. We were both going to be out there and meet up for breakfast. I was really looking forward to that. Sorry, June!!! Another time, k?

So, I did 3 miles this evening. The main goal tonight was to just not mess my pants. LOL!!! It had been about 12 hours since the last "episode" but I wasn't completely confident that once I got running, my "issue" would rear it's ugly head making for a very uncomfortable and embarassing trip home. So, no problems though as I made my way around. I felt relaxed. It was hot and humid. Wonder how many times in the next few months we'll all be saying that.

I felt good. I've definitely lost some fitness and strength but that's to be expected. I actually felt like a long(er) run tonight but didn't want my first in a week to be a long run so I settled for 3. I think after 3 or 4 good runs during this coming week, I'll be ready for an easy, slow 7 or 8 miler on Saturday.