Friday, November 27, 2009

Healthy attitudes about food

Although I got through Thanksgiving without ANY damage on the scale, (that's right, holding steady just 3 pounds away from the 270's) reading through some of the content in my next level of Calorie King, really has me thinking about my incorrect attitudes towards food. Yesterday was a good example. To be honest, going into yesterday's Thanksgiving celebration, I was DREADING sitting down to all that food. I played the whole thing out in my mind in the days leading up to it as a "battle". Thanksgiving dinner is the enemy and I was either going to be able to avoid it or I was going to leave and go to Subway. :)

According to Calorie King, these are unhealthy attitudes towards food and actually make weight loss and weight control more difficult. CK suggests several general guidelines for a healthy attitude towards food. One is to "respect my food". Food is there to nourish my body and provide fuel for all the things I want to do in life, like being a good father, and doing a good job at work, and running.

Second, I shouldn't "resent" food or see it as a problem that needs to be overcome. I can enjoy my food and enjoy mealtime. I always thought of my best memories growing up being around food and mealtime and considered this to be problematic and one of the main reason I overeat. Church picnics, family get-togethers, even dinnertime with my mom and dad, big meals on Sunday afternoon followed by a nap...these are NOT bad things. I can still enjoy these times and stay in control of my food. And it won't send me into a tailspin to indulge in a reasonable portion of a special treat now and then. For example, yesterday, I enjoyed a piece of what's known in my family simply of "Nana's chocolate dessert thing." Having a piece of that and in a little way remembering Nana and Thanksgiving's growing up and how I felt loved and how I belonged to a family. How in the world could any of that possibly be a bad thing?

CK also states the obvious. They say to be the "boss" of my food. For so long, food has had control over me instead of the other way around. And finally, be creative. Jan and I did some of this yesterday. We improved on tradition and did something different for our Thanksgiving feast. We had a BIG, beautiful fruit tray to snack on while we were finishing up the final tasks for the main meal. Jan also put some mixed nuts and dried cranberries out which is a great way to get a head start on feeling satiated before the main meal. Instead of indulging in my HIGH fat garlic mashed potatoes, I roasted a simple pan of sweet potatoes with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and a sprinkle of olive oil. It was scrumptious. So, be creative.

So, while I'm working on healthy food, I'm also going to be thinking about having healthy attitudes towards food.

Monday, November 23, 2009

War

I finished my first marathon on Jan 14, 2007 in 6:48:30. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I thought I killed a lot of giants that day. Unfortunately, some of them were just playing possum, living to fight another day. I spent much of the end of 2007 and 2008 giving back all the ground I had gained. It was just a little over a year ago that I realized (again) that I am actually in a WAR. It's a spiritual war, an emotional war, psychological, and physical war. I'll tell you one thing, I'm ready for the war to be over.

I do believe I am at war. I do believe my adversary is as real as they come, more real than any flesh and blood or temporal opponent that we face here. And I believe he wants to destroy me and he'll use everything in his arsenal to accomplish that and to prevent me from becoming the man that God created me to be. One of the strategies the adversary uses is to create strongholds in our mind, incorrect thinking patterns that take hold of us and affect our feelings and emotions as well as how we respond to life. For me, with my health and my personal well-being it's been thinking like, "Overeating is not that bad. After all, you're a good father and husband. You work really hard and give of yourself to your family and your church. You can worry about your health later. It's just that your family enjoys eating and it's really just good family time to go out and eat and enjoy yourself and all the smells and tastes of good food. Your career is worth it. The stress is worth it. You just get this project done and you're going to be respected at work. The stress is worth it. Honoring God means DOING MORE!!! Take on more projects. Volunteer more at church. More, more, more!!! And your education is important, more important than your health. You have to go back to school to be in the vocation God has called you to. Work, study, sleep. When it's all finished, you'll be able to take care of you. Taking time out now to just 'take care of you' would be selfish. God has big plans for you. Hey, you have good blood pressure and good cholesterol numbers. You can't be in that bad a health. Losing weight is HARD. You can't do it alone. Your family won't eat the same things you do. They're happy being heavy. You're just putting them on a guilt trip." See how evident it is once you put it into words that this thinking is so flawed and frankly RIDICULOUS yet the adversary, some 15 years ago, saw this as a chink in my armor. It was a way he could get to me. It was an area of my life, even as a Christian, that I had not and in some respects even now surrendered completely to God.

Surrender. Now that's a word you don't hear too often when speaking of war or battle. Surrender. Give in. Cease all efforts. Seriously? You mean QUIT? Yes, the one thing about the Christian life that I find so hard and yet is the key to victory, is that the war is already won. I can try and strain and push and try and contend and contest and try and exert and labor and try and to the world, it looks like I'm a warrior. I'm a hero. I'm an inspiration. And that makes me feel good...until I realize that I'm not winning. I can't win. I have to surrender...surrender to Christ. It's not until I can completely surrender and just give it over to Him that I can have victory. You see, on the cross, Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for me. And when he rose from the dead, in an instant, he conquered gluttony, and slothfulness, and shame, and every destructive weapon the adversary uses. He conquered DEATH itself. The war is over. Any efforts on my part are in vain, useless. All I have to do is surrender all my ground, all my territory, all my life to HIM. You see, part of me wants to hold on to my own ground. This is my territory. But that's a lie. Holding on to self is nothing more than ceding to the adversary. True victory only comes through Christ. I think I'm finally realizing that, after all this time.

So, victory over obesity, over gluttony isn't just around the corner for me. It isn't something I have to strive for any more. The battle's been won. I just have to surrender and let Him finish this work in me. Man, that was easy. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Goal Setter

I've always used Calorie King in the past as simply a food log. I've never really read the CK "program" or done the "plan". But I figured since I pay for the whole thing, I may as well read their step-by-step program and use some of their other tools besides the food diary.

One of their articles talked about setting goals. Of course I have weight loss goals but CK talks about setting other goals, specific goals about habits and lifestyle that help you get to your weight loss goals. The tool has you describe your goal, then state why the goal is important to you. You spell out the steps it will take to achieve the goal and then comes the good part. You MUST specify a REWARD for achieving your goal. Oh, and, uh, it's not a FOOD reward, people. :) You can set a frequency that you want CK to check in with you where you can record if you are on track or off track. E.g. you can check in daily or weekly, or whatever.

I set two goals using the tool.

Goal 1
To go without fast food for a month. (I'm not talking about Subway. I'm talking about KFC, Popeye's, McD's, pizza, etc. The BAAAAAAD stuff.)

Why is this goal important to you?
This is one of my biggest barriers to consistent weight loss. I think I really lack consistency. I've got to pick one thing and be consistent about it. This will prove (as I have in the past) that I have it in me to be consistent and disciplined.

What steps will you have to take to achieve this goal?
- Leave work every day with a snack.
- Run when I can in the evenings. This will make it less likely to stop for junk food.
- Have snacks in the car for after run.
- Text or call Jan/Catherine/Will when I'm tempted.
- Take water with me everywhere I go and/or keep water in my trunk.

Reward for achieving this goal
Take a day off work and go to the movies.

So, that's how it works. And every day I log into CK, I update my progress on that goal. Pretty cool. I set one other goal and that was to park on the top floor of the parking garage every day and use the stairs exclusively for the rest of the year. If I do that, I'm rewarding myself with some new running shorts. I know these are little things but the point is getting into the routine of setting goals, specific goals, writing them down, holding yourself accountable, and then rewarding yourself when you achieve your goals (with something besides food).

Rockin' the Alamo (Part 2)

Race time!!! The time FLEW by while we were waiting for the start and I was so glad that we got to the start village as early as we did. I have no idea how it went for the rest of the masses trying to get over there but my experience was stellar. I did hear that there were long lines at the shuttles but it's hard to make any judgments about the process since my experience was so good. I understood that last year was a fiasco as shuttles were still arriving 1 hour after the start of the race. I don't think that was the case this year. So if you had to wait in a long line, I think that's just the nature of running in a BIG race. If you want to park a block from the start so you can sleep in, pick another race. Or register as an elite and get escorted to the start. That may be hard.

About the only think I did differently on this run was take Endurolytes before and during the race. I really have no idea how to take these and with what frequency. I figured I'd play around with them. I took two before the race and two caps at two points during the race. More on this later.

I hit the port-a-can shortly after arriving and then again just as the lines were forming. By that time, it was starting to get light out and we were starting to see LOTS more people milling about. Even though I was starting to get excited, I tried to just calm down, relax, stay off my feet, and basically chill up until time to enter the corral. Fortunately, all the corral entrances were from the side and you could enter and exit at will. It's not like some corral starts that I've heard of where you have to enter through barriers from the rear and once you're in, you're in. In no real hurry to get in the corral, we kept our spot on the curb until we just couldn't stand it anymore. Catherine went her way and Amber and I headed over to the UPS bag drop-off trucks. Bag drop-off was very well organized. There was no wait, and it was very clear where to leave your bag. Oh, and another thing. I forgot two very important pieces of equipment, band-aids for the nips. I was really fretting about this and then I had a brilliant idea. Two words...Medical Tent. I walked up. They were eager to help me. I asked for two band-aids and the volunteer obliged. This was turning out to be a perfect day...

...Except for the weather. By 30 minutes before start, it was already in the upper 60's and quite humid. I definitely resigned myself to the fact that today was going to suck weather-wise and that no records were going to be broken. For a number of reasons including my inconsistent training in October as well as the warm and humid conditions, I knew I would get nowhere near my PR. But it is a RACE. And I don't treat races like training runs. I treat them like RACES!!! So, I reviewed in my mind what would be a reasonable expectation for a finishing time. I landed on anything under 3 hours. That's 13:45 pace for 13.1 miles.

Before we got in the corral there was enough time for another potty break. Plus, we heard the Houston Fit Fall folks were over on the baseball diamond so we went over there to wish all those peeps good luck. Elisa was being a good girl and was off her feet, getting ready for her marathon debut. Alan, Doreen, Anna, K, and a bunch of others were chillaxin' so we all did some trash talking and took some pictures and that was that.

We were still strolling around when we heard the gun sound. No hurry!!! It was another 40+ minutes before we would start and the corrals were such that you could go in and out at any time. I got a bottle of water to down my Endurolytes and we jumped in our corral. Luckily as our corral moved up, all along the starting line, there were rows of port-a-cans. Believe it or not, I had to go 3 times over the next 40 minutes before we got to the start line. I can't know for sure if it was possibly the Endurolytes or if I drank too much sitting around before the race or some combination of the two but I've never had to go so many times before a race. I'm so glad they had the potty's along the way to the start. And there were no lines at these potty's so it was a very quick jump out, do your thing, and jump back in.

The start was GREAT. I thought it would be crowded but they let a minute or so lapse between corrals and it spread people out. I never at any time felt crowded or jammed up. Of couse at some of the turns, EVERYONE wants to take the shortest route but I kind of just picked my line got through. Amber and I were running together and had little trouble running side by side. When it was time to pass, we just took turns taking the lead through the gaps.

I took it real easy on miles 1 and 2 and still managed right at my goal pace, 13:42 and 13:41 respectively according to the Garmin. After getting warmed up, 13:13 and 13:26 min/mi pace felt really easy for miles 3 and 4. I lost about a minute and a half on mile 5 due to another required restroom stop. The port-a-potty's on the course ALL had lines so I scoped out an opportune place to duck behind an abandoned building, out of sight of course and took care of business. Also, before finishing mile 5, one of the GREATEST cheering sections of all times was positioned on the sidelines. Evidently, one of the local nursing homes brought out around 20 or so of their residents and they were on the sidelines cheering us on. It was such an inspiration to me that just about EVERY runner stopped their run, came over to the side and for a brief moment, in such a small way, touched the lives of those sweet souls. You should have seen the smiles on their faces. The fact is they touched MY life even more. I fought back a few tears as I crossed the 5 mile mark in 15:07.

Mile 6 was 13:10. There was a pretty nice, gradual hill in mile 7 and I decided to walk up it instead of burning out which resulted in a 14:24. When I got back to level ground, I knocked out a 13:24. I was feeling a little fatigued but stayed strong through mile 9. I ended up seeing Jan and stopped for a smooch and some chit chat and lost a little under a minute on my target pace but no worries. At around mile 10, I started walking some and shortly after that, pretty much lost it. I got nauseated at a water stop and wondered if it was from the Endurolytes back at mile 7 or what.

Once I realized sub-3 was out of reach, I kind of lost it mentally. Don't get me wrong. I was going hard and I DID leave it all out there but it was tough mentally. I have to admit there were a lot of negative thoughts swirling around in there. The last couple of miles, I did play the "I'm running to that stop light" game and I did make it to every waypoint as I promised myself. Miles 11 and 12 were in the 16's but I dug deep and picked up my pace a full minute for mile 13 and ended my finished the last stretch (.1) at around 14:30 pace. My finish time was 3:12:18.

There was a lot to take in at the finish. I almost walked past my medal. My legs were really cramping and my right let was twitching and cramping. I got my medal and a COLD towel and proceeded with the rest of traffic into the finish line area. There was really a ton of food, everything you could possibly want but I was feeling like crap. I managed to smile for our picture but that was it. I walked past ALL the goodies and was just looking for a place to sit down. They didn't want us sitting down until we got through the food area so I kept moving. I did come across what sounded good to me and that was chocolate milk. I grabbed a bottle and it was good. Could have been colder. All I could think about now was walking back to the hotel and how hard that was going to be.

Amber and I got our bags and I cop'd a squat for a few. I got up and headed toward the exit. Unfortunately, we had to go DOWN 2 flights of stairs and then back UP two flights of stairs to get out of the Alamodome complex. My right let was really cramping up. If it wasn't my calf, it was my shin. It really hurt. Good thing is I actually loosened up a little once we got onto Market St. and started the walk back to the hotel. I made it back to the hotel and was never happier to have a place to SIT down than when I got to the room. It was HEAVENLY.

The only thing left in this report is Lessons Learned...stay tuned.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rockin' the Alamo (Part 1)

Jan and I just drove in from a fun-filled weekend of romance in San Antonio (oh, and throw in a little HALF MARATHON for good measure). Yep, between a whole lot of smoochin' which constituted by far the highlight of my weekend, I spent Sunday morning in less than ideal weather conditions, running the San Antonio Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon.

I'm not going to report on all our extracurricular activities. Those are for us to keep to ourselves. But I will give a race report. My goal for this race was frankly to finish and more importantly, I was going to use this as a dry run for Houston. In this respect, I'd say I considered Sunday's effort a success. In the back of my mind, though, I really did want to break 3 hours. And that goal was really a fall-back goal, knowing the weather was going to suck. Still, I wasn't as worried as much about my time as I was just practicing my race weekend routine.

We hit packet pick-up and the Expo on Friday afternoon which ended up being a good call. It took about 3 minutes to pic up my packet, get my shirt, and make it into the expo. It was a lot of fun having Jan with me. It's something I've really missed since I started running and now with Jan's recent interest in health and fitness, she really got into being at the expo. Unfortunately (or fortunately), when Jan gets "into" something, it usually means spending money. :) The FIRST booth we hit at the expo, Jan picked up a really cool, stretchy waistband pouch that can hold a BUNCH of stuff. The guy working the booth pulled out like 5 Gu's his driver's license and a credit card, and his iPod. Anyway, I have to admit, it really was cool. We hit the Rider sandals booth where I was going to pick up a new pair of flip flops to flop around with after workouts and races. I got my pair and then met up with Jan and looked in her bag. She bought TWO pair. O-K!!! Glad you're excited, dear. She ended up with a couple tech shirts, and a 18 month subscription to Women's Running magazine. Anyway, I'm glad we went on Friday because from what we heard, a lot of stuff was gone on Saturday. For example, we got a big stack of Subway coupons at the Subway booth. On Saturday, they were all gone. :) Subway anyone?

Friday night we had a wonderful visit with Jan's cousin and his family who live in San Antonio. They made a runner-friendly dinner for us with baked chicken, salad, and a nice vegetable casserole with potatoes and shrimp. We got back to the hotel and got a GREAT night's sleep.

Saturday morning, Jan slept in while I went on the hunt for the nearest Starbucks which ended up being just 2 blocks from the Westin where we were staying. It was so nice sitting down on the Riverwalk, enjoying my coffee, texting and Facebooking on the cell phone. While I was sitting there, who walks by but Jon Bingham, "The Penguin" himself. We chatted only briefly as I figured he was busy and I failed to get a picture with him. Stupid!!!

The goal the rest of Saturday was to stay off my feet as much as possible so we lounged around the hotel until lunch. We found a Subway on the map just a few blocks from us so we walked on over. On the way, we found a deli that was doing a lot of business. It's called Shilo's and it turned out to be a great find. The split pea soup was to die for. We walked back to the hotel with really nothing else planned for the rest of the day. We did want to hit the expo one more time to see some Houston peeps that came in on Saturday. We headed back for another round and hit pay dirt. Walking in, I ran into a couple friends from work. We saw Felix, Will, Anne, Jill, Laura, Anna, Ralph, Doreen, Catherine, Amber, Chance, and a bunch of others. We met some other folks from Houston. Some people from Clear Lake recognized my USA 10-miler shirt and we chatted for a while. Of course, Jan bought some more stuff.

We met up with Steve and his family for dinner and an average restaurant, not one I'd frequent again, but at least I got a light dinner in me and some good water. I finalized with Amber and Catherine our plans for the morning. Catherine suggested we beat the crowd and I'm glad we did. We left the hotel at 4:30 and were on what was probably the first shuttle over to the start village. We arrived with LOTS of time to rest and relax and talk trash before the start. I'll take that any day over fighting crowds and stressing out wondering if you're going to get there in time. The 3 of us found a curb and cop'd a squat on PRIME real estate. We were just across from the port-a-cans, a hop, skip, and a jump from our starting corral, although Catherine's corral was just a wee bit close to the start than corral 25. We were right next to our own trash can, and front row to what ended up being a very entertaining show. See, we were seated right in front of a speed bump and we were in stitches. As people would walk by, almost without fail, they would stumble over that bump. All these graceful athletes, tall, short, elites, it didn't matter. The hump was no respecter of persons. Suffice it to say, that kept us entertained for the better part of an hour and a half until it was time to start getting serious about getting ready to race.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Process

I read an interesting nugget of sports psychology in December's Runner's World. It was one of those little sidebars that take up space after an article. The recommendation from psychologist Neal Bowes was to be process-focused rather than outcome-focused.

For example, the outcome-focused runner focuses on "a highly ambitious, perhaps unrealistic, time goal. The process-focused runner bases her time goal on "training runs and recent races. She also focuses on mind-set, pacing, fueling, and nutrition." Another example: outcome-focused runners "measure race-day success in terms of times and placing. If you miss a goal time, you feel like a failure." The processed-focused runner "measures race-day success based partly on times and placing, but also on the experience-what you can learn and how you can apply it to future races."

I'm taking this with me this weekend. My main goal for this race is to be a practice run for Houston. I'm going to take note of things like hydration on Saturday, what I eat on Friday AND Saturday, how long I spend on my feet at the expo on Saturday, what time I eat Saturday night, laying out my stuff and packing my bag, did I forget something?, bathroom breaks, getting up early, sleeping late on Saturday, all those details. And during the race, I'm going to concentrate on my effort, not my pace. I have some half marathon experience and I remember the effort it takes to not leave anything out there but still have some for those last couple miles. I want to hit that effort for this race, no matter what the final time is. One unknown I'm using for the first time is Endurolytes. I've never taken them on a run before. I got some on Thursday and I'm going to pop a couple halfway through. It looks to be a warm one so I'm thinking that sodium replacement is going to help. Of course, there's always the chance, trying something new, that it could cause me problems. If it does, I'll learn from that.

Then when it's all over, I want to PARTY. I've never really been around after a race when the middle of the pack is finishing. It's often the case that lots of people have already left by the time I cross the finish. I'm kind of glad I'm doing the half in that respect. At least some halfers will still be around and a good bulk of full marathoners will just be finishing. I'll be there for all the hoopla!!! Man, I hope I see a bunch of Houston peeps. That's going to be great.

So, we're about to get on the road. See you guys at the expo or the race. If you're not on Twitter, GET ON!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I remember when...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bill's account of his amazing 50K run last weekend. It was written very well. I started browsing my blog, randomly reviewing posts from 2006-2008 and I came to the realization that I've lost my writing skills. I actually enjoyed going back and reading some of my old posts. Some were entertaining. Others were informative. A few really expressed what I was thinking and feeling at the time. What happened? I think I must consider that Facebook, texting, cell phones, Twitter, all these modern modes of short, immediate, instantly available forms of communication have somehow dulled my communication skills, at least my skills as a writer. Like any other skill, I'm going to have to practice to get it back. Look for a lot more blog posts in the future.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

It was a LAPSE not a RELAPSE!!!

Back in 2007, after knocking down a PR at the Koala Half Marathon and finding myself well on my way to a sub-6 hour marathon in January, something happened. Work was crazy (and I mean CRAZY), I got busy, the holidays came, blah, blah, blah, . I dropped off the radar. I started gaining back all the weight I had lost. I stopped running. And spent the better part of the next year falling back into all my old habits and gaining just about ALL of the 75 pounds I had lost. I had a major RELAPSE!!!

Disgusted with myself, I got back on the wagon and have worked very hard this past year to FINISH what I started back in 2006, to get healthy and lose all this FAT. After some success, about a month ago, I started getting busy, concentrating on work, stretching myself too much, blah, blah, blah and started down the same destructive road that I traveled in 2007. I can't understand my behavior other than to just say that I'm a food addict. A compulsive eater. A self-destructor. A habitual starter who never finishes anything. I think deep down inside, I don't believe I can do it. I don't believe I can actually accomplish the goals that I've set for myself. With all this STUFF staring me down, the only thing I have going for me is my absolute disgust with where I was and how I felt back in 2007-2008. This time, fear, despair, disgust, anger, all these "Dark Side" emotions made me stop and take inventory of where I was headed. I promised myself, Jan, my kids, and God I wasn't going back there and by golly, I'm NOT!!!

So, I got some help from Catherine who is as much a life coach for me as she is my nutritionist. I got my shoes back on and got out and ran. I CLEARED my calendar of just about EVERYTHING between now and January 17 so that I can focus on my health and fitness. I let some really close friends know exactly what I'm going through. I'm pulling my support system as close to me as possible. And I'm praying. I think by God's grace that I'm back from near disaster. I'm back to HIGHLY motivated and feeling good. Looking back at this last 6 weeks, it's going to look like a blip, just a LAPSE, a temporary setback.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Squirrels like Watermelon

This is kind of a funky week as I am on call all weekend starting today so I wanted to get a nice long run in on Thursday instead of having to carry my pager and my phone with me on Saturday morning for 3+ hours. Since I'm on call on Labor Day, I took my holiday yesterday. And since I was off all day and long runs should be mini-special occasions, I decided to head out to beautiful Huntsville State Park for a little trail running. The plan was to do ~15 miles.

I found the course for the Hog's Hunt 25K on MapMyRun.com and downloaded it to my Garmin. So, no chance of getting lost unless our satellite system all of a sudden was taken over by aliens. I let a lot of friends and family know where I was going in case I came up missing. I packed my amphipod with 4 x 8 oz. bottles of water and plenty Gu. So, I feel like I planned pretty well but there's always a risk going out into the forest by yourself.

I warmed up the road from the parking lot down by the beach (about a mile) and got a good drink of water at the Nature Center. While I was running up there, I felt a little twinge on the top of my left foot but I counted it up to "just warming up". I hit the trailhead and headed south on Chinqapin Trail. Man it was just beautiful out there and the trails are in such excellent condition. Although it was cooler than it has been, I still worked up a pretty good sweat. I love trails because you don't have to worry about pace or mile markers or all the regular "routine" road stuff. You just gotta keep from falling down. I did a really good job at that, at first. :)

I got to the jeep trail and headed east back towards I-45. The trail is nicely overgrown and shaded and it was just beautiful listening to the sounds of the woods, running and walking up and over the very gentle hills. At about 5 miles, I really started to take notice of that left foot. It wasn't excruciating pain but something just did not feel right. The out an back on the jeep trail brought me back to the Chinquapin Trail cutoff and I was faced with a decision. Straight ahead was the HOPE that the pain in the foot would not get any worse as well as some serious water rationing as I was already into my 3rd 8 oz. bottle. To the right was a mile and a half of trail and a mile down the road to the car. I did NOT want to get a couple miles around the lake and have the pain in my foot worsen and be stuck out there, limping 7 or 8 miles back to the car. I could have made the water last I think. I was doing ok on hydration and felt fine, not thirsty at all yet. I decided as I always do to be on safe side and headed back to base.

It wasn't too long before the pain in the foot got even worse and I became very happy that I opted for the safer route. I was walking at this point, briskly walking but walking nonetheless. I grabbed a water bottle and as soon as my head went back to take a swig and I took my eyes off the trail, I stepped on SOMETHING, twisted my ankle, and went down. For a big guy, I landed pretty soft and came to my feet smiling, feeling somewhat proud of myself for falling. You know, like a REAL trail runner. The ankle really did not hurt at all but the foot got worse. I got up to the road and ended up walking the last mile very gingerly down to the car. I decided to take my shoes off about halfway there and strangely, it felt better. By the time I go to the car, I was glad it was over.

When I got home, the ankle was swollen but did not hurt much. The top of my foot was very painful though. Today it feels better but I'm going to take some time off.

Oh, I almost forgot. When I got down to the car, I sort of camped out down there out of the back of my car and just enjoyed the cool morning. A squirrel decided to check me out so I threw him a chunk of watermelon. He really loved that. So, I didn't have any company with me for my run but at least I was able to share some morning fruit with Mr. Squirrel.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Runs with Cranes

In Flight took a road trip yesterday to the Kemah/Seabrook area for our Saturday long run. The only thing bad about running in Kemah is not running in Houston. Being away made me appreciate the energy of running in the city. I haven't run in many big cities. But Houston's gotta be one of the BEST running cities in the nation.

Although I did miss big city running for just a day, I thoroughly enjoyed our trip out to Galveston Bay and I must say the morning was gorgeous. I've only seen the Seabrook trails in pictures taken from friends who ran the Seabrook Marathon. I didn't really appreciate or know what a really great running venue that is. Plenty of sidewalks, miles and miles of crushed granite trails, and some pretty nice back roads with very light traffic, at least on Saturday morning. There were lots of bikers wizzing by and everyone, bikers as well as folks in regular vehicles offered a "Good Morning!" or a wave. It's a really friendly town. Makes me want to put the Seabrook Half on my spring racing schedule. We'll see.

Our course took us south out of the Rex Meador Park and out onto State Hwy 146. We hit the Kemah bridge just perfectly at sunrise. The cold front was really pushing down and the entire bay was just flat. It seemed like the locals down there were either very courteous or they were used to sharing the road with bikers and runners. We all got along pretty well for the 5 or 6 miles out and back on the 146. Once we got off the bridge coming back, we looped back under it and hugged the coast up Toddville Rd back to the park. After a pit stop, it was onto the Seabrook trails, through some nicely shaded areas and back out to Toddville road. Discovered a nice little park and I don't even know the name of it. But it features a VERY nice t-head fishing pier which I'm going to have to visit again. The 14.67 mile route afforded me just a couple of shortcuts and I ended up with 13.75. I was getting real hot by the end of the run but made it in the last mile strong.

Besides the view off the Kemah bridge, there were a lot of interesting sights along the way. I came across some tidal inlets just as the tide was coming in and it was really neat to see the power of the tide rushing in and rising, almost like a flash flood. I imagine that really stirs up the bait fish and gets the big predators to feeding. It made me want to go fishing. I also happened upon a couple of whooping cranes making baby whooping cranes. Oh my goodness, that was quite a sight. They were both flapping around so much, I couldn't tell one from the other. Looked like they were having fun.

Michael met the mayor of Seabrook who offered us a police escort over the bridge next year. Cool, huh?

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Strategy

On Saturday, I employed a new strategy for finishing my long runs strong. Just about the time it started getting tough, you know, like that last mile or mile and a half, I took off my shirt. At that point, my mind was not thinking about how tired I was. I was just thinking about finishing before I saw anyone I know. It worked. I finished strong, and only a few hundred complete strangers were traumatized by the horrid sight.

Saturday's Week #13 route took us out Memorial to Waugh, back up to Dunlavy, out Dunlavy and back Woodhead, then back to the park, in long. 12 miles total. I think this was my favorite route to date. Maybe it's because I've never run that stretch up Dunlavy and back through...well, I don't really know what that part of town is called. You could call if Fourth Ward. I don't really know how else to refer to it. The sunrise was just beautiful and I hit it just right. Heading east into downtown on Memorial provides a much nicer, less obstructed view of the skyline than Allen Parkway. It was nice.

Running down Dunlavy, I took in the sights and smells of Houston. It kind of takes me back to see homes that have been turned into businesses or galleries. The smell of fresh baked bread from a local bakery, the sounds of cars zooming beneath me as I crossed the bridge across 59, the beautiful homes and landscaping up North Ave., all made for a very nice run.

As far as performance, I had a great run. I stayed steady and strong through 10.5. I began to falter a bit once I got in the park but drew on a couple motivating factors to get through it. First was the run topless strategy which I mentioned already. But second, I knew a bunch of In Flight peeps were already at Empire Cafe, basking in the glory of their own long runs. I wanted to get there and join in the frivolity ASAP. So, that's what I did. And we DID have a fun, fun time at breakfast. It was great talking trash and laughing loud with the peeps. And all this before some people even get out of bed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hammer Time!!!

It's GO time, hammer time, giddy-up time!!! Whatever term you use, it's time to get serious about San Antonio which is just 13 weeks away. Man, that's close. I've basically got to go from 11 miles to 21 in just 10 weeks, and from 287 pounds to 257 by race day. Hopefully, the latter will help me reach the former and vice-versa.

Saturday's long run was a good confidence booster for me and capped a solid week of training. I didn't mention it to really anyone but the week of August 2, I just about lost it. Don't ask me why. I have no idea. But I ran a total of 4 miles that week and for a few days there, I ate EVERYTHING bad. And that's all I'm going to say about that. Like I said, I recovered and followed up last week with some good running and got back on the horse with the nutrition thing.

I starting to get the fever. I mean I'm starting to get REALLY excited about my upcoming marathon. Up until this week, I've kind of looked at San Antonio less than seriously. I've always had my eyes on Houston as my real goal and the one I really wanted to nail. But I'm starting to get excited about possibly doing really well at San Antonio. I can't see myself treating a race like as anything but a RACE!!! I want to PR that sucker. And I want a huge PR. And I don't want to wait until Houston to break 6 hours.

So, as I see San Antonio getting closer and closer, it's time for me to knuckle down and get 'er done. I've got a 26 mile week this week with some hill work in the morning and a 12 mile long run on Saturday. Now, to work.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Toughest training week of the year

My 22nd mile for the week came at the end of a 10.2 mile run this morning. This marked my first 20+ mile week since who knows when, probably since October of 2007. Plus, I added a not-for-the-faint-hearted yoga class on Tuesday and hill training on Wednesday making for a tough week. I don't know if it was the tough training week or the weather or what but that last mile this morning was wicked hard. I had little left by the time I was done. But like I said, there are GREAT days and good days. This was a good day.

We ran east out of the park today, up Feagan to Studewood, then down Reisner to White Oak and back. I had some company this morning as my buddy SteveC, who's nursing a strained tendon in his foot or something, decided to take it real easy and run with me. It was as far as Steve's run this year but still 4 or 5 min/mile slower than he's used to running. I had another treat early on. I got a high-five from June who I passed by on Blossom. She was heading west with her KW group. June, you're looking STRONG!!! June, that was Dixie running with you? I didn't think quick enough to say hi. Tell her howdy.

I got back to the soccer field and was DONE!!! I mean DONE!!! I downed a bunch of water and talked some trash with some peeps and headed over to the car. I always put my keys up on top of my towel when I open my trunk. This time my keys fell down into the trunk. I didn't get them out immediately and ended up locking my keys in my car. I called a locksmith who came and busted in the car in about 1 minute. $130. ;( Will came over in case I needed help and he witnessed the robbery first-hand. Anyway, the only nice thing was it really didn't take long for the locksmith to get there and do the job. After that, I headed over to Buffalo Grill for an scrumptious omlette with Will, Anna, and SteveC. We had a great time and laughed a lot. I love Saturday mornings.

Peace.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Fun-filled day

I had a bunch of stuff to do yesterday so I took the day off. Being that I have almost 5 weeks vacation on the books, I figured ONE day off wouldn't hurt me so I just took Thursday off. I scheduled my to-do's on my day off just like any other work day. Everything had an appointment on my Blackberry so I would be where I was supposed to be. It looked something like this.

5:30 - Run with the gang (Memorial Park)
8:40 - Orthotics fitting (Spine & Sports Medicine)
9:15 - Breakfast with Will (Buffalo Grill)
12:00 - Massage (Cosa Bella Day Spa)
1:30 - Dietician (The Houstonian)
3:00 - Haircut (Bellair's Original Barber Shop
7:00 - In Flight Seminar, Top 10 Running Injuries (Fleet Feet Rice Village)

I threw in a visit to My Fit Foods in Uptown Park after my visit with Catherine. I had heard about My Fit Foods from Anna and wanted to check it out. It's really quite interesting. They have a menu of pre-packaged, pre-pared meals that you can basically just take home, pop in the microwave and enjoy. Nothing is frozen. All natural ingredients. For the most part, wheat and gluten free. Most of their lunch meals are "higher" in complex carbs. Dinners are higher in protein. I had the Cran/Strawberry Patty which is "the fourth flavor in the Patty line: strawberries and dried cranberries! This is a steel cut oatmeal pancake. We pack the protein in with five egg whites . Agave nectar is used for a low-glycemic glaze. Eat the whole thing for a regular meal or split in half for two snacks!" It was quite tasty.

After my haircut, I knew I had some time to kill. I got this bright idea that I wanted to run AGAIN!!! I don't know if it was the massage or the Cran/Strawberry Patty or what but I really felt like running. One problem, the only clothes I had with me were the nasty, sweaty clothes from my morning run. I knew by the time I went out to Cypress in afternoon traffic, changed clothes, and hopped back into traffic to get back over to Rice, I would not have time to run before the 7:00 seminar. I called Mom but she was not at home and now answering her cell. I had to get these clothes washed and get over to the track. The quarters in my ash tray got me thinking, "Why don't you just go to the washateria?" So, that's what I did. The only washateria I knew of was over by my parents' house so I drove over, got some change and got to work. About the time the cycle started, Mom called and asked, "Did you call?" I told her why I had called her. She said she was going to be home in a few minutes. I finished the wash and then went over to Mom's to dry. I'm glad I did 'cause I was also able to grab a sandwich and a couple water bottles. I made it over to the park with time to spare and got in another 3.2 miles for a total of just over 6 for the day. I'm glad I got to burn the extra calories. It really showed on the scale this morning. A new low...287.5

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Yoga and Hills

In the course of only 12 hours, I enjoyed not just one but TWO new experiences. First, I attended and actually participated in my first yoga class last night at 6 pm. After a good night's sleep, I met up with In Flight to do some hill work. Running hills isn't completely foriegn to me as I ran hills a few times back in 2006 but this morning was the first time in a very long time I've hit the slopes. Needless to say, my legs feel like jell-o right now.

The yoga was tough, on par with a tough boot camp workout if you ask me. Not with all the cardio but I'll tell you what...I was sweating like a pig about 15 minutes into it. So, the class is billed as Yoga for Runners. We did what they call hip openers. It was kind of interesting in that we did no "hamstring stretches" whatsoever. But pre-class we tested how far we could reach when bent over. I could just about put my fingertips on the floor. By the end of the class, without doing any "hamstring stretches", I could put my palms on the floor. I learned from the instructor that it's the hips and glutes that really release the hamstring, not necessarily just doign hamstring stretches.

The hills were tough too. The hardest drill we did was the last drill, a high-knee walk up the hill, then down, up, then down for 5 minutes. By the time I got to the top of that hill each time, my hip flexors were burning and my legs felt like lead. I should feel good in the morning. Oh, crud. I've got bootcamp in the morning. Yipee!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Slow and steady

Well, it's not biggest loser numbers but I've been losing weight slowly but on a steady glide down since October of last year. I've lost about 41 pounds since the beginning of the year, 60 since October of 2008. That's an average of just over 6 pounds a month. I'm not one to look back but if I had to look back, I know I could have done much better. As you can see below, there are about 5 periods of time this year of 1-2 weeks where I got off track. 5 little humps. But overall, I like the trend that the chart shows. Now, my goal for the next 6 months is to avoid the humps. Consistency is my next giant I need to slay.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

So close to double digits

When I walked out the door this morning, I was pleased at not being hit across the face with the thick, hot air we've had for the last month on Saturday mornings. Don't get me wrong. It was still a hot, Houston, summer morning but just a little closer to bearable.

Michael continues to keep it fresh with new routes every week. This morning, we had a change of venue. We met at Fleet Feet, Rice Village and headed south around Rice, around Hermann Park, and out Braes Bayou. The paved run/bike trails along the bayou are really nice. Not a whole lot of people like around Memorial and Allen Parkway. At one point, I looked down the bank of the bayou and a huge red-tailed hawk was just sitting there on the ground, about 15 feet off the path. I stopped and just looked at it. It looked at me. Bored, the hawk eventually took off down the bank of the bayou and glided along the water, about a foot off the surface, like a fighter jet flying through a canyon. That was a joy to see.

Total, I got about 9.9 miles. It doesn't seem quite right rounding up to double digits. I'm waiting until next week for that. I'm not really getting any faster on my long runs but that's really not the goal right now, right? I'm covering the distance every week but I really can't fathom right now being able to finish in 6 hours come January. I'm running ~14:50 right now on average but with water stops and potty break, it's about 15:30. I know I just need to cover the distance but when is the speed gonna come? With cooler temps? I know the answer to this question and that's why continuing to lose weight is as critical to my marathon training as long runs and weekly mileage. That's where my speed is going to come from. It's just a matter of physics. Catherine wants me to get a big bulk of my goal weight off by middle of September, before my 15, 16, 18, 21 mile runs start and I really start ramping up weekly mileage. It's really hard during that kind of training to be cutting your calories and trying to lose a massive amount of weight. So, I've really gotta kick the weight loss up a notch over then next month, month and a half.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Indecent exposure

After a great visit with Catherine this morning (we got some things straight and set some new goals), I headed over to the park for my run. Today was P day which for In Flight means pick up the pace. It's really flexible. Do a tempo, or some pickups, or a fartlek, whatever, just spend some time in the "next" gear. I opted for a little tempo work.

After a mile warmup, I did some stretching and got some water. Then after another .5, I went right into my tempo gear. For me, the tempo run is as much about pacing and consistency as it is about running at a higher effort. Too fast, and you burn out (which I've done many times). Too slow and you don't get the benefit of training right at threshold. I dropped my pace to ~5K + 30 seconds and gradually eased it on down to finish right around 5K + 10. None of that is too scientific but I held my pace and even picked it up a little over the 2nd mile. I did a half mile cool down and took it on in.

Oh, the indecent exposure...Well, after I was done with my 2 tempo miles, I knew I had a little cooldown left. It was really starting to get hot. I don't know what in the world I was thinking but I just took my shirt off and it was good...and bad...and of course, ugly. The good? Well, it took my mind off of how tired I was and set my running on auto pilot. I wasn't thinking about running. I was thinking about how much I was jiggling and whether or not I should have worn sunscreen and how heavy my sweat drenched shirt was to carry and how I wanted to just throw it to the side and pick it up later. Another good thing is it definitely was cooler. Now, the bad...and the ugly...they kind of all go together. Well, suffice it to say, a man with my physique has no business running without a shirt. PERIOD!!! But Like SteveB always refers to running Memorial Park...it's running SHAMELESS!!!

34 miles for June so far.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Execution of a Long Run

My execution of Saturday's 8.6 miler began on Friday. I woke up drinking water and frankly, by the end of the day, don't think I could have drank another drop. I had a great lunch, snack, and dinner. While I was craving some pizza, I gotta thank Jan for making and AWESOME, healthy dinner with grilled chicken, corn and black bean salad, and INCREDIBLE yellow squash sautee, all topped with a scoop of guac and pico. When I was done with that meal, I felt like a KING!!! Oh, and we topped off the evening with a Skinny Cow Fudge Bar.

I got up right on time for a change, had a good breakfast, picked up where I left off Friday night with more water, water, water and headed out. I actually arrived at the park early so I did not feel rushed at all. After a quick pep talk from Coach Michael, I headed out. I set out at a very easy pace for the first couple miles. Our route took us west out of the park and up Memorial Drive. I didn't dilly-dally much at all at the first water stop. I was feeling pretty good. Of course, by just two miles in, I was already just about soaked from head to toe with sweat and it wasn't even that hot...YET!!! All week, the heat has really been getting to me. Of course, I've been running mostly in the evening so that explains that. My plan yesterday was to RESPECT THE WEATHER!!! I wasn't going to worry about my pace at all. Just go out, keep my effort at LSD effort and just get my miles done and get out of there.

I saw lots of In Flight peeps as they hit their turnarounds and were heading back in. Our routes were great. We had folks doing 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12... all depending on what race and what level they were training at. Four through nine mile routes were pretty much the same, just with different turnaround points. Water stops were all very strategically placed. Great job In Flight and crew on the logistics this morning. You just don't know how much that makes a difference in a long run to know everything is in order, that you don't have to worry about water and bathrooms being where you said they were going to be. First class job. Nannie-nannie-boo-boo all you groups who have to CARRY your own water. :) Sorry, I'm quickly becoming an In Flight snob. Just kidding around so don't get your shorts in a wad.

Anyway, my turnaround point was just a block short of Chimney Rock. The crew not only had water and Gatorade for us but COLD, ICED TOWELS!!! That felt so good. I took a little longer at the truck than at the first water stop. I just kind of cooled down, hydrated and prepared for the return trip. I had just under 4 miles behind me and still felt REALLY good. This surprised me as during the week, I had a couple runs where after mile 2, I was done. But again, I was respecting the heat and just getting it done.

I've already dragged this story out too long. Suffice it to say, I finished the run strong. I really had no need to walk ANY. I took 30 seconds or so after each of the next 3 water stops to walk a little but pretty much I'd have to say that given the conditions, I nailed this run. Good prep, good execution.

Our efforts were rewarded with some trash talking and fun times at Starbucks with a couple of our HFit buds, Doreen and Anna. There was even a Cassie and Manny sighting which MADE MY DAY!!! Congrats to everyone on a great run Saturday. And like coach said, it's that time. 6 months to game time. Let's turn up the heat and get this show on the road. I'm really looking forward to the season and the challenges ahead and sharing them with good friends and my family.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Back on track...

After a mediocre month in June, I'm back on track with my running and weight loss and the scale is showing it. I weighed in this morning at 293.75, the first time I've dipped below 295 since my 2007 Houston Marathon weight and probably the lowest I've been in many a moon, like since 1997. After this afternoon's run, I'll already have 23 miles behind me for July, more than half of what I ran the whole month of June. Working on a good 80+ mile month in July if all goes well.

Right now, I'm walking that fine line between NOT trying to "catch up" for a bad 2 or 3 weeks in June but trying to get to where I need to be so that I don't have to throw away San Antonio. I'm definitely not close to that but I don't want to get any further behind. I'm anxious to see how my 8 miler goes this Saturday.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Not pleased with myself

Let me get one thing straight right out of the gate here. I'm not displeased with my time for this this morning's 5K. Frankly, I had no time goal at all and figured if I just did what I was supposed to do, the time would be what it was. There's really not much I can control as far as the actual time result of my 5K. I can't control the weather which was a huge factor today. But what I can control is my mind and that is where I'm not at all pleased with my performance.

I arrived at the race feeling REAL good, coming off a few good nutrition days and a couple of nice runs on Wednesday and Thursday. My weight was down around 296 and I was well hydrated. I had a good warmup and stretch and was ready to roll. I took off and got in a pretty good groove early. I was running hard but not CRAZY (I thought). Just under halfway, about the time you're supposed to start "hurting" in a 5K, I began to THINK about taking a walk break. I started to THINK about saving some 'till the end. I started to THINK about this 5K really not meaning much since it was so hot. All this THINKING!!! I dropped from a 12:26 pace for mile one to a 13:27 pace for mile 2. I HATE that I didn't ATTACK this race. I'm not pleased with my thoughts at all and my lack of real toughness. Right now, at 300 pounds and as slow as I am, my mental toughness is really all I have going for me. I really feel like it wasn't my body that gave out. It was my mind.

So, on a more positive note, I did finish pretty well the last .75, thanks to Maurice who came back and paced me just off Cedar Creek. I'll tell you what, Maurice knows what he's doing bringing a struggling runner in to the finish. He said all the right things, ran me on the tangents, and was a big motivation for me. Thanks, dude. Also, I felt NO pain in my ankle and knees and besides sheer exhaustion, felt really good. Finally, it was just FANTASTIC to see Amber and meet Mark and to visit with Elisa and Will and Matt...and...oh, I can't possibly name them all. It was just great to see my friends. And congrats on an awesome race, Will. The circle is now complete. When you left me, you were but the learner; now *YOU* are the master.

As for the race, well in my opinion, they get an A+. Great band. It looked like there was some incredible food although I didn't have any. Water stops were well serviced. The course was really nice, shaded even. Oh, and they had runners' showers at the finish in case you needed to cool down and to quote a good friend of mine, "That didn't suck!!!"

I've got some stuff to work on in July. I need a solid, consistent month of weight loss and running. I've got to put it all together and I mean now.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Even for June

I'm not ready to call June a setback or a failure. Some would say if you ain't moving forward, then you're moving backwards. If I did lose ground it wasn't a total retreat and the damage was minimal.

The following is not meant to be a list of excuses. It's just the facts and represents my one last area that I have yet to conquer, how to keep eating healthy and get my exercise, even when life does not go according to plan. As June kicked off, Jan had a planned 2-day work trip to California which had me doing Mr. Mom for a couple days. Unfortunately, when Jan was at the airport, she got a call the he dad had taken very ill and was in the hospital. Jan had to go there to support the family and to see her dad through his ordeal and she ended up being gone about 2 weeks. I missed a bunch of runs and didn't eat very well those weeks. Then, I joined a bunch of Junior High kids for a week as a counselor for our church's Beach Retreat. I basically ate like CRAP the whole week. I promise, if I don't ever see another Oreo cookie as long as I live, that will be fine with me. I wanted to do some running on the beach while I was there but I put it off every day saying I'd do it tomorrow. I never did.

What saved me was I did manage to run ALL of my long runs for the month and did manage to squeeze in 40 miles for the month, down from 61 in May. The scale showed that I had put on a couple of pounds but I think a lot of it was just eating salty food and not exercising. Believe me, had it been a total meltdown, which it wasn't, I could have packed on 10-12 pounds last month.

I'm not going to beat myself up. I've decided that. I'm back on track and had a good week running. My weight is already after eating good for that last week or 10 days, back to what it was June 1. I had an awesome 7.5 miles last week and tomorrow I'm going to tackle what will be my first race since falling completely off the wagon back in October, 2007. So, basically, I missed an opportunity to really progress in June and drop another 10-12 pounds. But it could have been worse. Let's just call it even. Bring on July!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Building Confidence

I got to bed last night nice and early and bolted out of bed ~4:15, ready for my long run. I'm really glad I decided to check the computer for our route this morning. For 5 weeks now, our routes have all been the same every week. I opened our e-mail to confirm that I was running the same as last week but come into the park long for the extra mile. I was very surprised to see that ALL our routes were new so I had to do some studying before I left. Before our run, Michael mentioned that our routes were changing this week. The reason he said was that we were practicing our "Avoid Houston Fit" routes. I laughed out loud. Basically, we left the park out Wescott and stayed off of Blossom. The route brings us back in Memorial all the way from Waugh so I guess the intent was to avoid HFit going OUT of the park. They start in what? 3 weeks? The season is here!!! I say the more people out on the roads the better. I LOVE the energy of all our groups in town running and training for our marathons/half marathons. It's the best.

So, I had 7 on the schedule today. Michael's routes are rarely right-on-the-money with the distance but it's all good. That just means he doesn't have us doing a lot of out and backs which makes it a lot less boring. Anyway, the distance of today's 7 mile route was 7.42!!! Last week's 6 mile route was 5.92 so 7 and a half had me a little worried. The heat was bad. My goal on these runs during the summer is to just get 'er done, get the mileage done. I took full advantage of all of our water stops and did some stretching when I stopped.

By the time I got back to the Memorial Park loop, I had a choice of coming in short for 6.4 or sticking with the plan and coming in long for 7.4. Oh, believe me, I was sooooo ready to be done and seriously considered turning right towards the soccer fields. I kept going long and for a while considered turning around after .3 or .3 and finishing with 7 instead of 7.4. But I kept going. I walked some early in mile 7 but it was not an "I quit" walk. I kept strong and walked briskly and only for a timed 1 minute period at a time. At about the 6.8 mark, I actually got a little burst of energy and made it all the way to the tennis court in pretty good effort. I stopped and spent some time at the runner's shower and then jogged it on in for what acutally turned out according to the Garmin to be 7.7 miles. I think Michaels 7.42 ended at the tennis center.

Anyway, it was one of those runs where I wanted to quit but I didn't and at the end I was soooooo happy I didn't. It really helped my confidence to be able to reach down SOMEWHERE and find SOMETHING to get me to the distance I had committed to. No shortcuts. No quitting early and walking the "quitter's walk" for the last mile. I finished it running. We had some great fun trash talking at Starbuck's after which made it just that much better of a Saturday morning. So much done before 9:30 am, before many even get out of bed.

Now, off to the HARRA Summer Celbration!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

6 Beautiful Miles this morning!!!

I had a great run this morning. It was a definite attitude run. I had to have a good attitude to get it done in this heat and humidity. I seriously had to check my head every few minutes and sort of tell myself that it really wasn't too hot. Mind over temp and I got 'er done.

We had a great group with In Flight this morning. I think the group is growing. The key box was overflowing and there was a short line to check in. I think I was officially a few minutes late. Michael and Duval run a pretty tight ship pre-run in an effort to get us out doing what we came ther to do. I think I'm going to shoot for getting there a little earlier next Saturday.

Prep for this morning's run really started Thursday night. I needed to get a boot camp session in on Friday morning so I had a good dinner and got to bed by 9:30 on Thursday. After a tough boot camp, I knew I really needed to nail my nutrition and recover before Saturday's long run. I had some Endurox after boot camp and then ate flawlessly the rest of the day. I netted a good 2000 calories, all good stuff, for the day and got to be again early at 9:30.

Anyway, it all paid off with a good, consistent 6 miles this morning. My splits were very consistent. 14:34 / 14:39 / 14:35 / 14:48 / 14:33 / 14:40. It's hard not to think that I'm digressing or slowing down but I just gotta remember what I already know, that training through this heat and keeping it at the right effort is going to pay major dividends once this heat breaks. I know it's a long way off but I'm really anticipating that first cool day of Fall when 12-13 minute pace feels effortless. I've just gotta get through these summer months and stay positive.

Now, off to Beach Retreat for a week. I look forward to what God is going to do in the lives of our students and in my life. I hope the food is conducive to healthy eating. I plan on doing my runs in the morning, on the beach before my boys wake up.

Course of Action

I don't want or need to refer to my ankle "issue" as an injury. At this point, it just has potential for turning into something bad as it has in the past. I went to see Dr. H early on so that we could head it off at the pass and have a course of action that would be easy and CHEAP. I think a lot of runners just wait until an issue gets so bad that they can't run or when they do, it's just too painful. So, because I got in EARLY to get this thing nipped in the bud, I have options as to the course of action.

Basically, I have 3 to-do's. First, I have to keep my ankle taped for 2 weeks. This is a single stip just above the ankle, wrapped tight enough to enable my propulsion mechanism (see previous post) but not too tight that venous blood flow is restricted. Second, I need 2 sessions with Dr. H to get a couple of joints in my ankle and in my foot moving again and to release a few trigger points I have in my peroneals and calf. The first session is all it takes to do this. The second session comes later and is just a recheck to make sure I haven't digressed. Third, I need an orthotic. This is just something I'm going to have to have based on my foot and my anatomy. Now, I currently have an orthotic that Doc modified just a little. He said the orthotics I have will do. But I hate them because they are too thick. I feel like I'm running in high heels. So, I think I am going to have Dr. H fit me for a new pair of orthotics.

That's it. That should do the trick.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Functional Hallux Limitus

If anyone is interested, this is my problem...

Hallux limitus, by definition, is a decrease in sagittal plane dorsiflexion of the hallux at the first metatarsophalangeal joint (MPJ) when the foot is in a weightbearing or simulated weightbearing position.

Normal range of dorsiflexion motion of the first MPJ should be 65 to 75 degrees in order to allow for a normal gait. Near the end of the propulsive phase of gait (when you push off your big toe), the leg has a 45-degree position to the floor and the ankle is in about 20 degrees of plantarflexion to the leg. This position requires the hallux to be able to dorsiflex 65 degrees. Anything less requires accommodation or adaptation from the surrounding joints. This compensation can come from gait changes, such as subtalar joint supination and walking on the outside of the foot, subtalar joint pronation with foot abduction, etc.

We often speak of functional versus structural hallux limitus. A decrease in joint motion in the loaded and unloaded foot is structural hallux limitus. In regard to functional hallux limitus, there is limitation only when the foot is weightbearing or loaded.

Believe it or not, after 2 hours now with Dr. Hasenback, I actually understand the above 3 paragraphs in detail and can explain it to someone else. This is what you get with Dr. H. I'm very pleased with the service I got with Spine & Sports and pleased with the prescribed treatment and the fact that they take the time to explain everything they are doing or are proposing to do. Plus, they have a money back, no questions asked, guarantee. Basically, they see what I am paying them to treat me as an investment. Like any investment, the investor (me) expects to get back MORE than they put in. If after the proposed course of action is taken, I do not feel like I received a satisfactory return on my investment, they will give me a no questions asked refund and then refer me to someone they think can help me. That's bold.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I think I made the right move

I just got back from seeing Dr. Hasenback about my ankle. I've been back and forth in my head about going to a podiatrist vs. seeing Dr. Hasenback and pursuing a more non-traditional approach. After spending a solid hour with Dr. H, I definitely feel good about my decision. He poured out a TON of information and looked at not only my ankle but my arches, toes, calves, ITB, posture, the whole 9 yards. He did a very thorough Q & A with me. We looked at my shoes and my orthotics (which I don't normally wear). His goal was to provide me with enough information about the functional aspects of my issue so that I would know for myself what was going on with my body and be able to self-treat and prevent this issue FOR LIFE.

What I paid for on my initial consult was 1 hour with Doctor H where he looked at my issue. Had me stand in a lot of positions, without my orthotics, and with. Then he modified my orthotic a bit and had me stand in certain positions. It was absolutely amazing how different parts of my body, my ITB, my inner calf, my lower back, were all so much less tight, just by putting a tiny piece of foam under my orthotics. So much so that it was VERY noticeable. NO hocus pocus. It was noticeable. He made the point that once we get my feet working (not only with the orthotic modification but with some other very simple courses of action) running will become so much more natural and easier. I can so see how just these little tweaks to the way my foot absorbs shock and then propels me off my big toe will conserve energy and give me a more natural feeling. It's all very interesting.

With the initial consult, I also get another appointment which they refer to as the "Report of Findings". This is where Dr. H provides in great detail with pictures and images what he found during his exam and what our exact course of action is. Again, his whole emphasis is on educating the patient. What a concept in this world of waiting 2 hours to see a doctor for 10 minutes. Like I said, he poured out sooooo much information today that it was kind of hard to digest everything, so I'm looking forward to the full report. I'll update the blog Thursday after my appointment.

Oh, one thing I do know is that I was in the wrong shoe... I wear a Nimbus. Dr. H says I need to get a Nimbus. LOL!!! Evidently, the Nimbus 11 is majorly different than the Nimbus 10 which I wear. I don't know what that part of the shoe is called but it's the part right in the middle, under the arch. The Nimbus 10 is VERY flexible there. You can easily bend the shoe in half. The newer Nimbus 11 is stiffer in that part of the shoe, supporting the arch and providing more lateral support. Now, here's the cool thing. The reason Dr. H knows this is that he went over to Luke's Locker just last week and did his own research on the different types of shoes and came up with his list of recommended shoes. So, hot off the presses from the latest research, I got to choose between 5 of the best shoes for lateral stability (I have a propensity to put my weight "laterally" towards the outside of my foot because of my high arches). I went to Luke's and gave Luis the list of shoes I wanted to try on and my fav was the Nimbus 11. Luis told me that Dr. H was just in last week testing out shoes. LOL. Pretty cool, huh?

Awesome morning

Boot camp was awesome this morning and I had a bonus 25 minute run afterwards at ~13:30 pace. Coach Merlino took it very easy by his standards and ran with me. It was fun to pick his brain, talk about running, about nutrition. Turns out coach and I share something in common, a love for the running community and a passion to see more people get off the couch and get moving.

I haven't run since last Wednesday and it felt great to get the blood pumping this morning. I've got a ton of work to do on my push ups and on my core. I've got to get more consistent. I'm still on my knees with my push ups and for my planks but that allows me to keep good form and get more reps/seconds and that's what it's about right now. I hope coach doesn't wonder, "What's he doing?" when I deviate from his instructions. For instance, he uses a band for lunges and squats. I find that my 300 (298) pound frame offers PLENTY resistance for those moves so I don't use the bands. Also, we did some one-legged hops across the field over about 20 yards. With my ankle problems, I substituted a less stressful "skip". Coach Steeeve used to prohibit one-legged hops and even skipping for me back in the day after my ankle surgery. I think the skips this morning did the trick just fine.

From the onset, I had my doubts about the run. When I started, my legs felt like jello, very weak. But interestingly (to me anyway), after about a half mile, I started to feel pretty good, REALLY good in fact. Don't get me wrong, I probably couldn't have run for an hour+ or done any kind of pace work but a good 25 minute @ normal training pace did me just fine. Not too much but enough that I KNOW I worked out.

My ankle has been "whispering" to me. Not "yelling" just yet but I'm developing that nagging little pain again. I made an appointment with Dr. Hasenbank today to get a plan for really getting this thing knocked out once and for all. Of course, I always struggle with going the non-traditional route (chiropractic, etc) vs. the medical route (podiatry). We'll see how it goes.

See you at the park!!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Lots going on!

Well, the kids are out of school, summer racing season in is full swing, boot camp, marathon training, Beach Retreat, work...WHEW!!! Life is a LONG RUN!!! No sense in going out too fast or I'm sure to peter out.

The first week of marathon training is going well...sorta. I mean, I've gotten all my runs in. I'm just fighting being a slave to the schedule. For instance, the schedule for Monday called for 4 miles. I did 3.7. Is that a big deal? NO, of course not!!! So, why does some crazy, obsessive part of me feel like I cut myself short. Then, Tuesday called for 3 miles or OFF. I opted for OFF and for perfectly good reasons. Basically, I had kid duty in the morning and Little League in the evening. By the time "me" time came around (about 9 pm), I just opted for OFF from running. Wednesday called for 4 miles. I did 3. I'm fine, right? Yes, I'm fine.

I'm kind of excited about The Heights 5K Saturday. It will be the first time I've raced since The Luke's/Koala Half back in 2007. I'm not counting the Rodeo Run 10K as a race and here's why. That was the stupidest thing I've ever done in my running career. I was ill-prepared not only to RACE 6.1 miles but I wasn't even ready to RUN 6.1 miles. I want to forget that day so I'm going to pretend it never happened. :) So, for me, this is my first 5K race in a long time and in some respects, my first ever. It's definitely my first race since getting off the couch back in September of last year after my year-long plunge into gluttony and inactivity. (No, I'm not bitter about LOSING a year of my life) Anyway, because this is effectively my first 5K, I have no idea what to expect. I've been told I should shoot for a PR but right now, I can't fathom that. I just don't know if I have it in me. One thing I do know is how to run a 5K. I know it hurts. I know it sucks. But my plan is to let it all hang out and hold NOTHING back. I wish Bill was there to pace me.

Lots to do. I need to get to it.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Congrats to Will

After my run this morning, Anna and I went over to the Astros Race for the Pennant 5K to cheer our friend Will and his sister on to hopefully a PR. We parked and walked out to about the 2.9 miler spot, just as the runners turn on Congress onto the home stretch. We cheered on lotsa peeps and saw a lot of familiar faces. Will came around the corner EXACTLY on time. It was almost spooky to know exactly, based on his goal time, when he was going to be coming around that corner. I told Anna to start looking for him, he should be coming just about now. And there he and Jill were. I still had my tennis shoes on so I thought I'd follow them in running on the sidewalk. I had to just give up. Will and Jill were bookin' it. I mean they were MOVING. Ok, maybe the cup of coffee and the fact that I just ran 5 miles slowed me down a little but I knew Will was close to his sub-40 goal. I don't want to steal Will's thunder but ... oh, heck I will anyway... 39:11... That's a huge PR from just a month ago. Will's been working hard and it paid off this morning.

CONGRATS!!!

Flying FIRST CLASS with In Flight Training

I don't want to sound too much like a paid advertisement but I just can't say enough about In Flight Running...and we JUST STARTED!!! Planning for this morning's run started Wednesday when Michael e-mailed us our respective routes. Micheal had 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 mile routes available on MapMyRun.com as well as .pdf files if we wanted to print out our route. Sign in, filling out Smart ID tags, and dropping off keys, all took about a minute. We had bug spray, water, gatorade, gels, whatever we needed. No time wasted. Michael intro'd the coaches, reviewed a few instruction, and we were off, right on schedule. Great job, Michael, Duval, Armani, and coaches.

Now, to the run. I had 5 miles on tap for this morning. The route was basically out Memorial Park short to Allen Parkway and back short. The temperature and humidity were atypically low this morning which had me feeling quite frisky. Running with the group, I wasn't paying much attention to the Garmin. I was just running easy, keeping that slow, groovy pace where you can talk with no problem and just enjoy the miles and spend the time on your feet. I really had no idea what my pace was and really didn't care this morning. But when I got home and downloaded the run to SportTracks, it said average pace was 13:45. That really surprised me. 13:45 is a little quick for me. I really dialed it back this morning and was being quite stubborn about keeping it at a slow, easy effort as directed by coach. Guess the temps DID have an effect on my run. No doubt eating PERFECTLY yesterday and this week and staying hydrated, getting good rest last night were major contributing factors to a good run this morning as well.

So, I'm ready. Day 1 down. Let's roll.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Not a fluke and steamy trails

It looks like the sub-300 weight from yesterday was not just a fluctuation but was actual, real weight. This morning when I weighed, I was still under 300. In fact, I was well under 300 (298.5). So, it's definitely official and I'll NEVER go back!!! I mean NEVER. I was this side of 300 before and then fell into darkness. I know what it's like. I've been there twice in my life now. I HATE it. I HATE not being healthy. I HATE not having clothes to wear. I HATE not honoring God and loving my family and serving my employer with a healthy, energetic body. I HATE it! I HATE it! I HATE it! and I'm never going back. Sorry for the negativity there. I just HATE weighing over 300 pounds. Did I tell you I HATED IT? Ok, it's over. That is behind me.

On to better things. I had a couple of options for the run last night. On the one hand, the Striders organized a Pub Run with general fun, food, and frivolity at a number of stops along the way. The other option was an earlier PIM run with the possibility of doing some trails with a few trail running converts. I was quite torn about the whole thing but ended up with option B and boy was it ever a good workout. 3.8 miles from the PIM picnic tables, through Ho Chi Minh, and back. I was wiped but felt great. I had some great company on the run as well. Much fun PIMsters.

We got our In Flight schedule today. Actually, it's just the schedule for the next week, not the full training schedule. That is promised to follow soon. I think for now, Michael's just trying to not overwhelm everyone with information. Michael does provide us with a LOT of information and it looks like this 1st Saturday long run is going to be well organized indeed. Michael has runs mapped out for 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 mile runs, based on the race you are training for and your current running level. Every distance is mapped out on MapMyRun.com plus, Michael has provided .pdf files for each route in case you want to print it out. Sweet, huh? They've got a key drop so you don't have to carry your keys and water stations set up all over the place. I'm anxious to see this all go down.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

sub-300...AGAIN and Hot miles

It's confirmed. The National Department of Weights and Measures has certified that on the 27th day of May, 2009, Vic Kaiser weighed under 300 pounds, 299.75 to be exact (to the nearest .25 pounds). That was my goal by the end of May and it looks like I'm juuuuust going to squeak under that with a few days to spare.

I got out around the hood last night after supper and logged a couple miles, 2.25 actually. The kiddo rode his bike while I ran. The night was clear and the sunset was beautiful. Little tike provided a plethora of observations include moon phase, position of the Big Dipper, the probability that the Little Dipper was there but just could not be seen at that time, and the fact that all the ducks were the same color, white.

I'm sure hoping the weather reports are right and the storms get in and out of here by 3 or 4 this afternoon. That will surely make for a STEAMY 3 or 4 miles tonight with a high possibility of MUD ON THE TRAILS!!! Yipee!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In Flight Starts Saturday

"Flight Training" as Michael and Duval like to call it begins in 5 days. I AM PUMPED about the training season and ready to get rolling. I attended one of In Flight's informational meetings last week with Will and Amber (and a half dozen other folks) and got even MORE excited about this program. I'm definitely sold. Now, I'm anxious to see the whole thing put into action.

I've had a couple of GREAT Saturday runs the last 3 weeks. A small group of PIMstas have sort of formed a group of "regulars" for early Saturday morning and we've been mixing up our routes, venturing out from "the loop", and keeping it fresh. I've gotten through Spring, PIM, and the following weeks and am right where I wanted to be going into marathon training...healthy, right at 300 pounds (1.75 to get below that), and feeling REALLY good. I'm up to 5-6 miles VERY comfortably on my long runs and ready to attack these next 7 and a half months.

I registered for the San Antonio Marathon last week. Yes, that's right. My next marathon is November 15. I know, I know..."Vic that's too soon!" "Vic, why don't you just train for Houston?" Just chill. I have a plan. Yes, Houston is my GOAL RACE!!! Houston is what I'm working towards. My ultimate goal this year is to run Houston 50 pounds lighter and 1 hour faster than 2007. So, where does San Antonio fit in? I wanted to do San Antonio as a practice marathon. I plan on running it easy, even doing some walking if I absolutely have to. I want to do a marathon with NO PRESSURE!!! The 7.5 hour time limit means finishing before the course closes is a non-issue. And if I can knock half of my ultimate goal (running my next marathon 50 pounds lighter than 2007) then I can concentrate at Houston on the 1 hour PR. Either way, I'm NOT letting San Antonio get in the way of Houston. As far as I'm concerned, it's a loooooong training run/walk and I'm just going to have fun.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

6 Miles like I knew what I was doing

There's nothing quite like a good, confidence-building long run and this morning was just that. I started around 7, a lot later than what I had hoped but the sun was still behind a lot of clouds and it wasn't too bad for most of my run. When I woke up this morning, I decided I was looking at 5-6 miles. By the time I got to the park, I had committed to 6, no less. I've run a couple of 5 miler the last few weeks but not continuously. Those runs have all been divided into 2 runs, a couple or 3 miles before meeting up with PIM and then a PIM run. I've been doing a loop and taking a good 5 or 10 minute break and then runing with the Power in Motion crew. So, I didn't quite know what to expect.

Since I was committed, I thought I'd do a commitment run. That's a run where you go OUT half the target distance and then you have run back. There are no shortcuts, no chance when you pass your car to cut the run short. You just must run back the 2nd half. I started at the tennis center and headed east out of the park towards Shepherd. When I got to Shepherd, I cut over to Allen Parkway, up to Waugh, across to the other side, and then back down Memorial to the park.

When I got back to Shepherd, I looked at my Garmin and asked myself, "Do you have 2 more miles in you?" "Yes." "No, I mean do you have 2 more GOOD miles in you." "Fo sho!!!", I answered. I stopped for water at Starbuck's and never looked back. Those last two miles were GREAT. Here are the splits:

Mile 1 - 14:48
Mile 2 - 14:43
Mile 3 - 14:47
Mile 4 - 14:39
Mile 5 - 14:59
Mile 6 - 13:58
Avg. pace - 14:38

It was soooooo great to see a bunch of PIM graduates out there keeping it going. I saw a bunch of familiar faces that looked like they were STILL having fun running. Caught the bug, did y'all? I ran into Will and we enjoyed some breakfast and a beverage at Starbuck, chatted a little, then headed out to get the day started. :)

Monday, May 04, 2009

Steady loss!!!

Since the beginning of the year, the weight has been coming off slowly but surely. I'm looking at the graph above and see that there few weeks where I lost ground but it's very apparent that I recovered and got back on track every time. Here's to FEWER and LESS FREQUENT hiccups and to continued progress.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Ramping up (a bit) in April

The month of April was a good month. I feel like I'm out of a slump and over my ankle injury/pain. I ran a lot more consistently and added in some resistance/boot camp workouts the last half of the month. Motivation remains high and I'm PUMPED about May. I've set some goals for May and am ready to ATTACK!!!

.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Breakfast of Champions Losers

I don't care too much for the word "Loser" unless the connotation is that of "losing" weight but I couldn't think of an appropriate antonym for Champion. I tried to get some breakfast out this morning and discovered what I probably already knew, that basically the deck is stacked against us if our goal is eating healthy.

Running low on groceries, I ventured out of the house this morning without breakfast. I figured that since a lot of these fast food restaurants are going more healthy, I'd surely be able to find something that wouldn't do too much damage. My first stop was McDonalds. One look at the menu and I just walked out. Although my friend at work suggested one possibility that did not occur to me when I was there. An Egg McMuffin with no cheese. Actually that's not a bad choice. Next stop was IHOP where I thought I could get a couple egg beaters and some wheat toast. I was looking forward to that but they were short-staffed due to the weather and there was a 30 minute wait just to be seated. Same story at Denny's. Next stop, Whataburger. Absolutely nothing on their menus that I would choose so I left. I ended up just going to Kroger for an apple, string cheese, and a Kashi bar. It actually turned out good since I was able to pick up some snacks for work.

Anyway, it's so easy in these fast food restaurants to choose poorly. I very easily could have gotten a couple Sausage Biscuits and a couple Hash Browns, putting me well over 1000 calories with about 70g of fat. Can you believe just one Sausage Biscuit has 27g of fat? WOW!!! Glad I got out of there. Tiggs is right. McDonald's is evil!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Will the rain hold off?

The answer MUST be yes. Please, please. What I really mean to ask is will the thunder, lightning, hail, tornadoes hold off? Anything short of that and I'm running this afternoon.

I got through boot camp ok this morning. I was well rested and ready to go. Michael trashed my shoulders and chest this morning and I know I'm going to feel it in the morning. Heck, I feel it now. I would say I chicken'd out just slightly on lunges. I did not go quite so low as I did last week which left me feeling a little like I cheated myself. I have a thought about my lunges. My thought is...I could do lunges if I weighed less, right? I mean when I bend down into a lunge, I've gotta push some serious weight to get back up and then to get back up in good form is just tough when you weigh over 300 pounds. Still, if I can knock out 15 of those at 300+, just thing of how easy it's going to be when I'm 200. :) The good thing about going ~80% on my lunges is that I'm not too trashed to do a good run tonight. Now, I just hope the storms will give me a window to do that.

One thing we did this morning was back peddling for 30 yards then stride back forward back to the start. We did 3 repeats of this and on the third one, I really felt what I was supposed to feel. I felt the burn in my hamstrings. Michael said so much of running uses the quads that most people neglect their hamstrings which leads to back problems and muscle imbalance. So, Michael says when hes "really" training runners, he has them do this for 100 yards and then back again. Glad I'm not "really" training. :)

Now, these storms just gotta hold off. Still a nice run in the rain would be fun. That's why I have two pairs of shoes in the trunk.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Next immeidate goals

I just realized I'm sort of coasting along the past 2 weeks, looking too much at the big picture with no immediate, realistic goal on the near horizon. So, here's what I've come up with for the next 5 weeks. By May 30, the start of In Flight Marathon training I will:

1) Finally crack the 300 pound mark. So, 299.9 by May 30.
2) Be injury free, rested, and ready to start training on May 30.
3) Be at 15-16 mpw with a couple of 6 mile runs under my belt.
4) Be at a point strength-wise where I can do boot camp twice a week and still keep up my running.

Ok, I've got some work to do...starting NOW!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Full body soak!!!

It's definitely getting warm and humid. Not too many days of cool, comfortable days left in Houston so 5:30 or 6 am runs will soon be back in style. I haven't blogged for a while but I'm not going to try to catch up on everything that's happened the last 2 weeks. The short version is I started boot camp a week ago Thursday. I did 2 sessions and got tired of being so sore so I took this last Thursday off. I'm fully recovered and feeling good so back to in Monday morning. Work is work, the family is GREAT, ankle feels good, and summer is here.

I got 5 miles in this morning, about 2.5 on my own and 2.5 with the PIMsters. Everyone did great and kept a nice, consistent pace for the entire run. I love running with the PIMsters but I'm looking forward in a couple of weeks of doing my continuous long runs. For the past weeks, I've pretty much been dividing my Saturday runs up between a short run on my own and a short run with PIM, with a 5+ minute break in between. Yes, I'm getting the miles on my feet and that's what counts for long runs but I'm anxious to see what doing 5 miles straight feels like right now. I want to be up to a 6 or 7 mile long run by the end of May. That seems doable, even if I just do 4, 5, 6 the first 3 weeks of May.

I'm getting VERY excited about the start of marathon training with In Flight commencing May 30. I'm ready. A couple of co-workers are going to join up too and train as well as some PIM folks. I look forward to taking this journey with them.

Later.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Boot Camp

Yesterday was my first day of boot camp with Michael Merlino out at Stude Park in the Heights. By the way, that's a really nice little park just off I-10 and Studewood. The workout was what I expected and my performance, or lack thereof, was no surprise either. Ha! We started off with a short 5 minute jog and some dynamic stretching. Then a series of alternating calisthenics/plyometrics and resistance exercises, keeping the heart rate up for basically the whole hour. The whole thing just confirmed what I already knew, that my running may be improving and I may be losing weight but I am WEAK and very out of shape where my strength and muscles are concerned. This is really going to help me a lot.

I can really feel it today and I mean all over. I can really feel it in the abs and in my sides and chest. Ooo-aah!!! After dinner last night, I put the icing on the cake with a 2 mile jog around the neighborhood. By the end of the day Thursday, I was just about at max stress and today's total rest day is definitely warranted.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wait for me...

All I could think about at work today was getting out of there and getting to the park for some exercise. I've GOTTA knuckle down and focus. :) I got a little extra running in before our PIM-week 6 workout. I felt the best I've felt all year and knocked down 1.2 or so in good fashion. I was a little ahead of schedule so ended up taking a little longer than planned break back at the softball field, waiting for a few PIMster's to show up. The 5 minute rule was in effect so we all headed back out at 6:35.

There were TONS of people there. We had 2 aerobics coaches, 2 Aerobics and 2 Batons participants. I had run with T and T (the two Batons) and we maintained a pretty easy effort (for me). But today, keeping up with them was a challenge. So, what was planned as an easy run turned into 2x10 minutes @ almost tempo effort, which by the way was just what the doctor ordered. I followed it up with about 5 minutes of walking. Total miles 3.2.

Well, I made a HUGE decision today and it was kind of spur of the moment. I signed up to train with In Flight Running for the Houston marathon. Plus, I'm starting boot camp with them on Thursday. I called the owner and founder of In Flight, Michael Merlino, and talked about a half hour on the phone. What a nice guy. I'm really excited. In fact I shouldn't be this excited 9 months from the marathon. What's it going to be like the night before? I'm going to be a basket case.