Sunday, December 7, 2008

Houston Strider Most Improved Runner of the Year

First off I'd like to say thanks to the Houston Striders for selecting me as the recipient of this award. The Striders really have a lot of members and I consider myself pretty fortunate to be recognized for my improvements. Should I be shocked that I was chosen, probably not. I have made some dramatic improvements over the past two years since I started running. But I wasn't expecting any award or any accolades. So this came as a pleasant surprise.

I remember when I ran my first 5k in 3 or 4 years in late 2006. It was the Houston Texans Battle Red Run. I ran hard that day and finished at 20:2x, first in my age group(that started the addiction).


During that time had been training myself for the Houston Marathon (It sold out on me). I had no idea what I was doing as far as running was concerned, but all I knew was I loved running these 5ks. A few months later after I ran the Austin Marathon, I ran another race, The Run for the Rose. For the first time ever, I ran below 20 minutes, at like 19:4x. A month later my brother (former high school and college stud) and I run the Schlerdoma race put on by the Houston Striders. My brother finishes second at like 17:2x behind John Yoder(Strider buddy I didn't know at the time) who finished at 17:0x. I stun myself by finishing 3rd at 18:45. This is the race I joined the Houston Striders. A few months earlier I had conceded that getting under 20 minutes was probably all but impossible. At this point in time I felt that new possibilities were open for me. Eventually at the end of the year I broke 18 minutes pretty regularly.

Early in 2008 my brother and I run the EP5k at the Houston Marathon. My brother is dead to rites during the race and I end up pacing him to a 17 minute finish and I PR to a 17:09. The funny thing about this race is my brother and I were square with each other with about .1 to and he unleashed this wicked kick and passed 3 guys and beat me by 9 seconds in the last .1. But I had scored a low 17 minute 5k so now sub 17 became a possibility. image

At this point in time I was running 8-12 miles per week and pretty much running whatever I felt like at the time. Sometimes I would do one 400m or three 400m repeats. Sometimes I would run a 400 and an 800 both at top speed. Clearly I didn't have any idea what I was doing but I had an idea that I could get a lot better if I did.

That is what led to me joining the Kenyan Way. Here you have a former Olympian who is actually training people. I couldn't resist joining Sean Wade's group. This would be a good decision. Sean gave me good feed back and told me what I was doing wrong. He also gave me indicators of what was in my near future. The week before I broke 17 minutes at the 2008 Bellaire Trolley Run he told me I was in shape to break 17 minutes pretty soon. Eventually I increased my mileage, started his marathon program, and got my 5k time down to 16:15 recently.

Fast forward to now. Miriam Terc, Vice President of the Houston Striders notifies me of the Most Improved Runner of the Year award. I ended up attending the Strider Holiday Party and was presented the award. During the party Miriam was a gracious host. She introduced me to John Hill, the local masters runner (2008 Houston Striders Masters Runner of the Year). John and I chatted it up and exchanged some training info. I also got to meet Peggy Yetman(2008 Houston Striders Female Open Runner of the Year), and Ironman athlete who is also a REALLY good runner as well. I had a great evening. image

So running has been a nice little discovery for me. I have enjoyed this hobby and it really keeps me balanced. All of a sudden I'm even enjoying my easy runs as well! Hopefully I have more improvement in me down the road, but right now I'm just enjoying the ride.

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