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.