Saturday, July 28, 2007

Not pushing too hard

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 23, 2007

Livin' a dream

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

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

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

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

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

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

On track

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Running wired!!!

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Goals, goals, and more goals!

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hello Mudder, Hello Fadder!!

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A little pick-me-up!!!

I've got a lot of work to do today so let me get to this while it's still fresh. This morning, I did some 30/30's, 10 of them to be exact. Here are the stats.

Total distance - 4.85 miles
Venue - Memorial Park
Format - 2 mile WU / 10x30/30 / 2 mile CD
Warmup - 2 miles @ avg. 14:03 pace
10x30/30 - 11:28/13:31, 11:21/13:50, 11:10/14:24, 10:29/13:11, 10:19/13:00, 10:26/13:26, 9:58/12:51, 10:12/13:56, 9:57/14:17, 9:22/15:01
Cooldown - 2 miles @ avg. 14:00 pace

Boy, my splits were all over the place but it's all good and it's all a learning experience. I really felt good this morning and was humpin' it on the last 4 repeats and resisted the urge need to stop and walk after the last 30 seconds. I kept it going and eased nicely into my cooldown.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I've made a decison on NY

I've made a final decision on NYC marathon. I definitely doing it...NEXT YEAR!!!

There were a number of factors considered in my decision but the main one is that the NYC Marathon just doesn't fit into my current goals. Plus, DW really wants the whole family to make the trip next year.

So, that brings me back to plan A which I am quite excited about. Hopefully, I'll be knocking down some serious PR's this fall, running the warmup series and the Houston marathon.

Let the fun begin!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


The rain through this morning and the cloud cover gave us a bit of relief today from the heat. I planned on getting up early this morning to do my long run but it had been storming pretty hard through the night and I wasn't ready for a mud bath. So...then I planned on running long this evening but that plan was thwarted as well since DW was going somewhere and I needed to watch the kids. The only choice was a noontime, heat of the day run and I needed 9 miles.

It was warm but not unbearable. I ran pretty well. I ask myself, "Do I really believe what they say about long runs? That you just need to get the mileage in and the most important thing is time on your feet." If I believe that, and I do, then today's run was a success...mission accomplished. But it wasn't pretty and it wasn't speedy.

Total distance - 9 miles
Venue - Memorial Park to the Bayou goat trails and back
Splits - 14:49 / 14:47 / 14:57 / 14:54 / 14:53 / 15:18 / 14:15 / 14:52 / 13:36
Total time - 2:12:25
Average pace - 14:43

OK, the good news:

  • I did 9 at a better pace than I did 8 last week.
  • I can walk (I don't feel like I was run over by a truck.)
  • My last 3 miles were an average 28 seconds faster than the average pace for the entire 9 miles.
  • Next week is a cutback week!

So, I finished another 20+ mile week and the middle of the July finds me at about 45 miles for the month, about 12 miles ahead of this time last month. I consider that progress. Any way you slice it, I'm having a ton of fun.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

This one's for me and Bill

This ad from reminded me of something Bill's always talking about. L-O-L!!!

Blind Relay

If you Google "blind relay" you'll come up with about 700 hits, most of them having to do with HTTP proxy-connections and tunnels, or TTY communications. There was not one running or racing related hit on the Google search, "blind relay" (I looked through all 743) which makes this morning's Strider novelty race a truly NOVEL race!

Striders from the 4 corners converged on Bear Creek Park this morning for the inaugural running the the Blind Relay Novelty Run. What in the world is a blind relay, you ask? Well, the blind part means you don't really know who your team is until the race is over. Actually, by the time the baton is passed to the next to last runner on the 3rd leg, you know who your team is. Confused? Let me try to explain.

Runners arrive randomly and sign in. Each runner is placed in one of 4 legs and their most recent 5K time is recorded. Easy enough, right? The race starts with 8 runners taking off on their 2 mile leg. Now here's where the fun begins. The first runner to complete the first leg hands off to the slowest runner in the 2nd leg (based on 5K time) and part of team 1 is formed. Then 2nd runner to complete leg 1 hands off to the next slowest runner in leg 2 and there you have the genesis of team two. This continues until the last runner in leg 1 hands off to the fastest runner in leg 2. This makes it really interesting because basically the slowest leg 2 runners get a pretty good head start on the fastest leg 2 runners. The first runner to complete leg 2 hands off to the slowest runner in leg 3 and the whole thing just keeps evolving.

The whole thing worked out just as planned as the first 3 teams all finished within just a minute or so of each other and all the teams finished within several minutes of each other. There was even some excitement in the final 100 yards of the last leg. Brett Riley, who started waaaaaay back in last place to start leg 4, picked off 5 other teams to narrowly edge out a very small and fastSteve Bezner in the final few steps of the race. When asked for his comment, future Boston Qualifier Steve Bezner had no comment.

Now the coolest thing about this race for me and the reason it was such a milestone in my running career, not to be repeated in the very near future, was that I had the honor and the privilege to take the handoff from none other than HARRA top 10 open male Runner of the Season for 2006, David Minken. Then if that wasn't enough of an honor, I got to hand off to another top 10 Runner of the Season, Andrew Keller. Patrick rounded off leg 4 of this elite team (well, 3/4 elite) in fast form, flying across the finish to the roar of Strider crowds.

Now where else but in the Strider Nation is a runner like me going to be joined with a team like that for a 4 x 2 mile relay. Actually, we did pretty well, IMHO. Look out X-Country Relay!!! Here we come!!!

Oh, by the way, I threw down two 11:35 miles. Look out Fired Up 5K!!!

Friday, July 13, 2007


I ended my blog entry yesterday morning with the intention of getting out to get my 3 miles in before it got too hot. Well, I got out and did it but not before it was WAY TOO HOT!!!

Mile 1 went quite well. Again, I felt good and loose and went out comfortably but too fast given the conditions. A solid, conversational 13:19. The next half of mile 2, I remained steady but soon started to fade under the intense heat. For a half mile, I played peek-a-boo with the cloud cover, walking when the sun was out, and running when the sun was hidden. It was brutal.

I decided I'd run the last mile but after just a couple hundred yards, I was done and I slowed to a brisk walk. Bad news? Not really. An interesting thing happened. I was watching the Garmin and noticed that I was walking quite a bit faster than I had in the past. I can't remember every being able to walk any faster than around 20 minutes/mile, maybe 19 m/m at the fastest. Well, I hit the lap counter to see how quickly I could walk the remainder of mile 3. Turned out, I quite easily maintained a 17:30 pace. I know, I know. That's very, very slow but for me, it was a pleasant surprise to know that I've picked up my walking that much. I think it has a lot to do with the recent weight loss and working on my flexibility.

So, the question is do I include that last mile 3 in my "running" log? I! Yes. I will. Actually, the effort I put into that last mile was just about what an easy mile would have been, running in normal conditions.

No normal stats. I just did the 3 miles in about 45 minutes. That's about 15:20 pace. I'm definitely going to get smart next week and do some wee hour running. I'm kind of glad it's a cutback week.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


It was not SMART to think I could pull off 5 sub-13 minute miles with ~100 degree heat index last night. But the attempt was followed by food, fun, and frivolity as I joined a very SMART group of Striders after the run at Jax.

Tuesday's run may have been a bit too much of a confidence builder for me as I entertained visions of grandeur last night, setting out with the intention of going 1:05 for 5 miles. Hal describes Wednesdays as "hard days" so I figured I'd run hard, right? But instead of running hard, I hardly ran. :)

Oh, the first two miles were right on plan but then...WHAM!!! Mother nature sucked me dry as I struggled through the remaining 3 miles. Still, overall, when I look at my average pace for the entire run, it wasn't that bad considering the conditions.

Total distance - 4.91 miles
Mile 1 - 12:44
Mile 2 - 13:05
Mile 3 - 14:26 (included 2 water breaks but no walking to this point)
Mile 4 - 15:07 (stopped for a shower and water + a couple of short walk breaks)
.91 miles - 13:13 (14:32 pace)
Total time - 1:08:36
Average pace - 13:58

It was a struggle to finish to be quite honest, especially feeling like I did after 3 miles and being so close to the car. But if Sunday's long run was training smart, last night's run was training hard.

Speaking of training hard, I got to talk to SteveS for a bit last night. Man, Steve's giving us all a run for our money on the weight loss game. He wasn't kidding when he said that he was going to beat me AND Bill in our little shrinking competition. I'm sure glad 2nd place doesn't have to wear a dress too because Steve would be the only one in pants come July 31st. Given my recent "surge" though, I may pass him some time in the next week or two. Of course, I'm starting from a far more advantageous position than the already lean, mean, and speedy SteveS. Great to see you out there my butt-kickin' friend.

There were several new faces at the Strider outing last night. It's great to see the club continue to grow. The more the merrier. That reminds me of something funny from the HARRA banquet several weeks ago. When it came time to had out season awards, the Striders kicked butt. As all of the team awards were announced, it was...The Houston Striders...The Houston Striders...The Houston Striders...another club...The Houston Striders... Then, it came time to announce the individual runners of the season, both male and female, for open, masters, and veteran. It was announced that these awards were there to give the smaller clubs a chance (the club competition is participation based for the most part, I think). Roger said that the runner of the season awards were more about QUALITY and not QUANTITY. I thought, well, ok, whatever. What was funny was that when they started handing out the "quality" awards, it was the same from the Houston from the Houston Striders...and for the women veterans, so-and-so from the Houston Striders...on and on and on. Yes, there were quite a few individual awards for runners from other clubs and it was much more evenly distributed. All the clubs for the most part kicked butt so congratulations to the ENTIRE Houston running community and to HARRA for that. I just thought the "quality, not quantity" comment was a hoot. Looks like the Striders represent on both fronts.

Last night's fun didn't end after our sweltering scamper around Memorial Park. About 20+ SMART Striders met at Jax on Durham for food, fun, and frivolity, Strider-style. Besides the triple-f-play, the purpose of the meeting was to Q&A on the upcoming SMART training season. With the exception of 3 or 4 new faces, most in attendance were SMART veterans so the Q&A was brief. And there was SWAG!!! Bulk Gatorade, Carb-boom, singlets, and these peculiar little electrolyte replacement strips were handed out to all comers. Now where else are you going to get so much for so little ($20.00/individual $25.00/family)? Anyway, I must say I just had a blast last night, as always, where the Striders are gathered.

I'm off now for a zippy 3-miler before it gets too, too hot.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


That was what the scale said this morning as it did yesterday so it's official. For the 3rd and last time in my life I'm back below 300 lbs. Not to put too much of a damper on this news but my "true" weight is still 304.4 according to the funky formula on my weight tracking spreadsheet that doesn't "realize" more than about 10% of your daily weight loss from one day to the next. It's a good thing though. It keeps it real. However, the number don't lie. My total caloric deficit for the past week and a half has been -13700 calories. And I've lost about 5 lbs. So, again Bez's formula for weight loss holds true. Less input + more output = weight loss. Plain and simple. The question is are we honest with our input and our output. I think for much of the Spring, I wasn't honest. Thankfully, though, I didn't baloon over about 307-310 and remained pretty flat from March to June.

Pony, yes, I log everything I eat. I use the website to log everything that passes my lips. And then I work with Catherine the Great as I like to call her who monitors all my inputs and outputs. She works through and sees everything I log. Then she provides input via e-mail or phone as to what I need to work on. She keeps me challenged and provides AWESOME tips for weight loss and sports nutrition. Oh, and I had her test my resting and base metabolic rate so that I have the very best estimate of my how many calories I burn in a day. Then, I just target what deficit I want to be at for the day. She has me aiming for a 1000 calorie deficit every day which is about 2 lbs of fat loss per week. Of course, if I'm gaining muscle mass, the total weight loss won't quite be 2 lbs a week. I'm happy and feel I'm getting what I want out of this if I lose between 1.5 and 2 lbs. per week.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Old man in knots

Hal wanted today's training run to be very low key, a very easy, slow effort. Even though the Garmin doesn't show it, that's exactly what I did.

Now when I say the Garmin doesn't show it, I mean if you look at my splits, it looks more like a tempo run but I was conversational for the entire run. Maybe I slipped into MP effort the last little bit but it really was an easy run.

Total distance - 3 miler
Venue - Memorial Park (WOW!!! were there a lot of people there)
Mile 1 - 13:01
Mile 2 - 13:06
Mile 3 - 12:45
Average pace - 12:58

I had my worries going into tonight's run. It was a pleasant surprise that it turned out as good as it did. I woke up this morning in knots. My ankle hurt. My calves were tight. My butt hurt when I crossed my leg (probable piriformis soreness from the goat hills on Sunday). And my knee was a bit sore. I figured when I arrived that if I had any chance of having a good run and not tying myself up even tighter, I needed to stretch A LOT! So stretch I did. I bent myself every which way I knew how, and multiple times as well. I held most of the stretches a lot longer than usual. Once I was done I jogged over to take a quick potty break before taking off and I thought, "WOW!!! I feel pretty good!" I was not the man that walked from the car to the stretching area. I felt like a new man and had a great run.

So, I'm feeling pretty good right now, kind of in a groove. This past week and a half has been the first consistent, prolonged (longer than 2 or 3 days) period that I've eaten PERFECTLY, watched my calories and fat and maintained consistent 1000+ calorie deficits. And boy does it show on the scale. I'm so flirting with going back sub-300 right now. Maybe it will be tomorrow.

So, wifey is keeping quiet but keeps hinting that she'd like me to defer my NY marathon to next year so that we will have enough money to take the whole family and make it a family vactaion of it. I haven't made a decision in that direction yet. As it stands now, I'm going, but I'll need to decide for sure in the next week or two.

And here is the most ridiculous item of the day.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Train Smart, Work Hard!!! or Truth in Recording

Well, this evening was just downright pleasant as I nailed my long run of 8 miles. I was reading an article in Runners World about mantras and self talk that runners use to get through a tough training session or race. Tonight, on the 4 miles out, I kept hearing Steeeve saying, "Train SMART!!!" The mantra kept me steady and patient for about 6 miles. I was feeling pretty good after 6 but much of the return trip back to Memorial Park is uphill and I was fighting the urge to start walk breaks. So, I started hearing SteveS and June in my ear saying, "Work hard!!!" I actually said it out loud several times on the way back. So, that pretty much describes this awesome workout for me. Train SMART!!! Work HARD!!!

My route took me out of the park from the tennis center and east on Memorial Drive. Then, to the goat trails until I hit 4 miles, then back. I stayed conversational and steady for the whole run and had plenty in the tank to pick it up a bit the last 1.5 miles. Here's what it looked like:

Total distance - 8 miles
Venue - Memorial Park to the Bayou and back
Splits - 14:30 / 14:39 / 14:55 / 14:54 / 15:11 / 15:28 / 15:10 / 14:03
Average pace - 14:52

Yes, those are some slow splits but those times are true. I would have included walk breaks but I didn't take one single walk break. I did however stop briefly for water just about every chance I got but kept the clock running through the water breaks. I believe in truth in recording on these long runs. When I looked at more granular splits like quarter mile splits (you can do that with SportTracks), I could see that for the most part, I kept a pretty consistent 14:25-14:40 pace.

So, tonight really came together for me and so did week one of marathon training. In case anyone misunderstood, I never said I was cutting back to 4 days. I said I was going to be get through the week and see how I felt, then possibly adjust to 4 days if I was too run down. Well, I did my 5 days. I was only short 1.7 miles from my Friday turned Saturday turned 3.3 mile 5-miler. Confused? I must say that after tonight's 8 miler and subsequent ice bath, I don't feel too bad. I'm feeling pretty good about the 5-day a week plan but remain flexible as I continue to listen to my body.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Rained out!!

Speaking of deferring, I'm deferring my long run to tomorrow as Cullen park was a wash this morning. I met the Striders at around 6:30 at Patterson and we set out. Of course the pod was out of sight real soon as I did my thing. I hit a couple of puddles early on and my shoes were soaked. It only got worse. At the first water fountain, I quit trying to tip-toe and just ran through the ankle deep water. Reminded me a lot of Space City last year. :) While I was getting a drink, I saw the pod emerge from the trees. "That was a quick 10 miles," I thought. They said the creek a little further down the trail was impassible and the command decision was to regroup tomorrow morning at Terry Hershey.

It really turned out well for me since my ankle was hurting yesterday and I missed my planned 5 miler. So, I ended up with 3.3 today and will still get in my 8-miler tomorrow. The ankle felt great and I did a good 1.5 of the 3.3 at MP effort. Just a little pickup of pace heading back to the barn.

Total distance - 3.3 miles
Venue - Cullen Park
Mile 1 - 14:54 (with a mosquito swarming potty break)
Mile 2 - 14:30
Mile 3 - 13:43
.3 - 3:56 (13:02 pace)
Average pace - 14:16

There was a cozy contingent of Striders that made it out. Steeeve, K, Jim, Andrew, and super new Strider, Katie. I was a little worried when the breakfast destination was announced as Southern Maid Donuts. Fortunately, my friends looked out for me and made sure I didn't wonder too far off. And, fortunately, there was fruit!!! Whoopee. I had a banana and a plain bagel so no harm done.

The question has come up of whether a runner (take me for instance) is slacking or taking the easy way out or somehow coasting by training 4 days per week instead of 5. Well, I guess I have one question. If 5 is better, why not 6 days a week? Why not just train every day? Guess that's two questions. Training IMHO is all about gaining fitness, obviously. At a macro-level, it's about getting faster, running further and for me, getting thinner. And a physiological level, it's about stressing your energy systems, sometimes aerobic, sometimes anaerobic, and then adapting to that stress by increasing mitochondria, capillary density, stroke volume, and enzyme efficiency. The same applies to the musculoskeletal system. You stress your bones, ligaments, tendons, an muscles and they adapt by growing back stronger than they were pre-exercise. These adaptations DO NOT take place when you are training. They take place when you recover and when you rest. From the perspective of gaining fitness, the actual run is only the stressor. Gains in fitness are made when you rest after the stress. And, if the stress is too great and you turn right around and introduce more stress before you have recovered, you end up just stressing and stressing and running yourself down and you don't optimize you fitness gains.

Bottom line...I currently weigh ~300 lbs. The amount of stress I put on my body when I run is exponentially greater than what a young, trim 115 lb woman puts on her body. There's training hard and then there's training hard and smart. 4 days or 5 days? It's not an issue of taking the easy way out or not wanting to nail NY. It's a matter of being smart and thoughtful in my training and training hard AND smart.

By the way, this post was by no means intended to shut anybody up. Quite the opposite. Please, please. All of your comments are welcome and this is a beneficial discussion, especially for this noob who is still in kindergarten when it comes to this running thing.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Well, I DON'T KNOW!!!

I struggling here a bit. Lately, I'm constantly on the NYC Marathon site looking at hotel prices and travel expenses wondering why in the world I would spend $2000 to go to New York, BY MYSELF, to run a marathon. Yes, yes, I know. It's THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON!!! Well big whoopie! Will Rose be there? Will Bez be there to run me in the last half mile, running in his sandals, with Coach Steeeve talking trash, and Matt talking on the phone reporting in that "We've got him!"? Will Bessie be there to give me her medal in case I don't make the cutoff? Will my wife and kids be there, navigating the course like veterans, cheering me on all along? Will Christy be there parked at mile 23 to run with me for one of those last miles? Will the Striders' water station be set up at mile 21.5, a site for sore eyes and numb feet?

All the things that made Houston one of the most memorable experiences in my life just won't be there. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that I have to have that every time I race but dang it if I'm going to pay $2000 JUST to run a marathon.

So, I'm seriously considering deferring my entry to next year when possibly more people I know will be there. However, I know Cassie will be there and a number of other Striders so I will know some people.

The real reason I'm having second thoughts is honestly the money. I really don't have it right now. My pattern would be to pay for what I want now and worry about the bills later but this would really set me back. DW wants me to do what I want to do but she just admitted to me that she would rather save some money and take the whole family for a family vacation next year.

I guess while I'm deciding, I'll just keep running.

I've been trying some different things with my shoes. I purchased a new pair of Nimbus a couple of weeks ago. Asics really changed the way the new model (Nimbus 9) fits. I hate it when they do that. Anyway, for the first time, the Nimbus rubbed massive blisters on my arches. I've worn the Nimbus V, VI, VII, and VIII and none of them have fit like this. So, the folks at Luke's sold me some really nice inserts. They feel good on the arches but because my arches are so high, and the top of my foot is raised, the shoe feels too tight over the top of my foot. When I loosen the laces too much, I feel like my heel is coming out of the back of the shoe.

So, I've laced the shoes every other hole and done a runner's knot at the top. It seemed to be working well this week but yesterday I woke with a really bad dull pain in my right ankle. I think it's just my feet getting used to the arches. It still hurt this morning so I skipped this morning's 5 miler, not wanting to spoil my long run tomorrow. It's feeling pretty good tonight. I'm feeling good and ready for the morning. Better get to sleep.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Blow it up

Of course it's July 4th. And what does that mean for just about every red-blooded American man on the night of Independence Day? FIREWORKS!!! We paid a visit this afternoon to the Black Cat Warehouse and pretty much blew a fortune on what was the biggest show on the block.

I know I'll hate myself in the morning when I go to balance the checkbook but man was that fun? And the kids faces made it all worth it. Of course it's 10:30 now and the rest of Fairfield is still going strong.

I did end up getting my 3 miles in. It wasn't pretty but I got 'er done. I definitely found myself going into mile 3 with a severe fuel problem. I crashed like I've never crashed before on a 3 miler. Prior to the run, I was at only about 800 calories for the day and that was after being over 1500 calories in the hole on Tuesday. Good for weight loss. Bad for marathon training. Like coach says, maximum weight loss and maximum marathon training do not go together. Oh well, if I can all but crawl across the finish of New York at a lean, mean 270, I'll be very, very happy.

Total distance - 3 miles
Venue - Fairfield 3 mile loop
Mile 1 - 13:53
Mile 2 - 14:36
Mile 3 - 15:09 (numerous walk breaks)
Average pace - 14:37
Total time - 43:40

Not the best choices tonight for dinner. Unfortunately, I was blindsided when I came in the door from my run, famished, thirsty, and on the prowl for sustenance. Well, dinner was served before I had a chance to be strong and come up with another plan. Three pieces of fried chicken later, I exclaim, "That was gross!!!" It really was. No harm done though. I still hit a 1300 calorie deficit today so all is well.

Nite all!! Peace out!

What's with all the negative thoughts?

I woke up this morning feeling G-R-E-A-T!!! I logged on and read what I posted last night. What a downer. Not inspirational at all.

I'm done with that kind of talk. It's time as txrunnergirl says to GET MY MOJO ON!!!

There have been a couple of minor victories lately on the diet front. I came home last night after a tough workout to find that DW had made one of my favorite, most fattening dishes. I don't know what it's called but it's basically a big round croissant ring stuffed with a cheesy, creamy chicken stuffing. No doubt, 90%+ of the calories from the dish are from fat. Anywhooo, I walked right past it and made me the best turkey sandwich I've had in a long time. I had quite a few calories left for the day so I spared no ingredient. I had about 5 slices of turkey, 3 slices of tomato, 2 romaine lettuce leaves and a couple tablespoons of guacamole. Then for dessert, I cut a scrumptious watermelon that a co-worker brought me from the valley. It was by far the best watermelon I've had this season. I was stuffed!!! When I added up the calories and logged everything, it was right around 460 calories. I was more than pleased to feel so satisfied for such a moderate price.

Then, this morning, the fam wanted kolaches. So, they sent dad who's training for a marathon and trying to lose weight to Southern Maid to pick up the scrumptious "fat rolls." I got enough for everyone and returned home, opting for a bowl of crunchy GoLean cereal with skim milk and a few pieces of watermelon.

I'm feeling focused today and motivated. Catherine the Great e-mailed me this morning to see if I needed help planning for today's festivities. Guess she knew after Sunday night's double helping of sausage on a stick that I'm most susceptible to bad decisions during parties, celebrations, and holidays. Especially EATING holidays like July 4th. Fortunately, we don't have a lot of plans for today. I'm on call and DW is working for a few hours. I think my mom and some friends are coming over tonight and they'll probably bring some fried chicken. I can deal with that if I plan ahead. I'm afraid the watermelon that still remains doesn't have a chance past tonight.

I'll be back later to report on my 3 miles. I'll probably get that done when DW returns from work. The rain and clouds have kept things relatively cool so and afternoon run may not be too unbearable. Amazingly, it's only 75 degrees right now here in Fairfield. Can't beat that.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

You think you're safe?

I saw the wildest thing when I was leaving the park today driving west on Memorial Drive. First, I saw a car parked on the side of the road and I was thinking, ok, maybe someone's picking someone up or chatting with someone they know. But the closer I got, I saw that there were 2 other cars sitting ON THE TRAIL. Well, not just sitting on the trail. The two cars crashed into the trees that line the trail. Can you imagine running along and all of a sudden two cars come flying across the trail and crash into the trees in front of you? It didn't look like at first glance that any runners were injured but the cars looked pretty badly beat up. I hope no one was injured.

T minus 17 weeks and 5 days left after today. Today's workout went off without a hitch. I actually ran pretty well, all things considered. Hal called for 5 easy miles with an optional "punch the accelerator" if I'm feeling good, especially at the end of the run. I was feeling pretty good so I punched it a bit. I stayed pretty conversational the last mile and about a quarter of mile 5. Then for the last half mile or so, I cranked it up just a half a notch and went tempo the last few hundred yards.

Total distance - 5 miles
Venue - Memorial Park
Mile 1 - 14:22
Mile 2 - 14:29
MIle 3 - 14:39
Mile 4 - 13:50
Mile 5 - 13:13
Average pace - 14:07
Total time - 1:10:35

I must confess, I've got some bad thoughts creeping in. I'm wondering if I can do this again. Doubts. I'm afraid to train hard for fear I injur myself. Fear. I'm uncertain about my training program. Uncertainty.

Now, last fall, after a good hard run like tonight's, I would have taken a day's rest. But this program calls for 3 miles tomorrow. I must admit, I'm feeling it a little tonght. Not a bad thing but I feel like I worked tonight. I'm going with the 3 tomorrow and see how I feel after this week. This program has me running 5 days per week but I want to say right now that I reserve the right to go to 4 days if I start feeling too run down. For now, though, we'll see how it goes.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Week 18, day 7 and counting down

Today starts the first day of marathon training for New York. This morning, I woke up to thunder and lightning. Fortunately, this evening was beautiful as the rain kept temperatures moderate.

Hal called for 3 easy miles today. Most self-talk was about taking this first 3 miles of the program easy and keeping it comfortable. As I posted last fall, marathon training is like a marathon itself. I've got ~380 miles to get to the starting line of New York so day one's not the time to start hammering out 12:30 tempo miles. This was hard to do tonight as I really felt good. But mission accomplished. I kept it slow and steady with just an ever so slight back to the barn push the last .25 miles. Here are the stats.

Total distance - 3 miles
Venue - Memorial Park
Mile 1 - 13:55
Mile 2 - 14:20
Mile 3 - 13:56
Total time - 42:11
Average pace - 14:04

By the way, I spent some time re-reading my too-long marathon post from January and all the incredible comments. It really inspired remembering what an awesome time that was and how so many of my friends encouraged me and hung in there with me. I really will never forget that day and the months leading up to my first marathon. No way it'll ever be like that first one. But here's to making more great memories nonetheless.