Saturday, January 31, 2009

Houston Rockets 5k - 1st overall + PR

pewter_trophy_lrg I went into this race with very little preconceptions and fuzzy expectations. The only thing I knew was that I really wanted to race a short race. I had been showing signs of real improvement in my easy runs. Sean initially told me to skip this race, but I finally talked him into saying it would be ok, :) So here I was at the race this morning. I arrived a little later than I usually like, but I had pre-registered so that saved me a ton of time waiting in line. There were quite a few people at this race, close to 1700. After I received my bib and chip I did a short 15 minute warm up and ran into Geoff, a fellow Kenyan Way member, and new blogger. His goal was to run a 16:15. So I knew he was really confident and he was definitely someone to look out for in the race. The race delayed for a few minutes because of all the late registrations and sheer number of people. The weather was perfect, low 50's with practically no wind.

We lined up and the gun sounded. Initially for the first .5 mile I was probably in 20th position and was surprised at how long everyone maintained the blistering pace. Some guys were flat out sprinting. I eased in to a 5:10 pace and focused on maintaining this pace the first mile. Eventually about 10 of the guys fell back and there were a group of about 10 of us. I noticed that Geoff was about a second in front of me to my right. Rudy Rocha, a very good experienced runner, was also slightly ahead of me. I believe Wilmer Bustillos, the phenomenal masters runner was in 3rd position. The rest of the runners were probably high school runners? There was a guy who was about a good 5 to 10 seconds ahead of the pack and was looking pretty strong. I hit the first mile marker at about 5:12 by my Garmin and 5:11 by the course clock. I was probably in 2nd or 3rd position by now.

After I hit the first mile marker I decided to pick up the pace a little harder. I eased in to a 5:05 pace and eventually this propelled me past the leader at about the 1.5 mile marker. As I passed him I could hear him breathing heavily so I suspected he wouldn't be able to maintain a sub 5:10 pace for the rest of the race. I was now in 1st place but I really didn't focus on that. I just focused on maintaining pace. I could still hear heavy breathing when I hit mile 2. This confused me a little because I didn't think that the guy I passed would be able to hang with the pace that long. I later found out from Geoff that it was another runner and the initial leader had faded away. I hit the 2 mile marker at 10:17 by my Garmin.

During miles 1 and 2 I felt really great. By the start of mile 2 I was feeling pretty confident because I had almost two thirds of the race completed and I hadn't felt any duress yet. I started feeling the duress during 2.5 and the pressure increased slightly over the next .6 miles. The good thing was that I was still able to run extremely fast. I ran much of the third mile at 4:59 pace according to my Garmin. By the end of the 3rd mile I clicked off a 5 minute mile and I could hear no more heavy breathing behind me. The course clock said 15:30

The last .1 of the race was pretty confusing because we entered the Rockets tunnel through the Tundra garage and at times the tunnel seemed very narrow and like it was about to finish. So I was very unsure and at times was wondering whether I was running past the finish line. I probably slowed 4 to 5 seconds here. I finally hit the Toyota Center basketball court and saw the 15:58 tick off and I was totally confused. Remembering my previous splits I thought for sure I gave myself enough cushion to get under 16 minutes. Evidently that wasn't the case. I officially ended up finishing at 16:04 16:01. Shortly after my finish, Geoff came in at 16:12. Great, a Kenyan Way 1-2 finish!


Above: Photo with my college buddy Van Garrett

A couple of things here. I PRed today and I am quite happy. It's great that I was able to run a time like this with little to no speed work. Spring racing season is here and that will include lots of speed work. But we must not forget the long runs because that is what got us here. So I'll keep that on the agenda as well. Here are my splits:

  1. 5:12
  2. 5:05
  3. 5:00
  4. 51 44 secs last .1 ???

The last split is very peculiar. I suspect that the course ended up a little long(maybe I didn't take the correct tangents?) or the last mile ended up getting skewed because of the buildings, etc. This is ok, the main thing to take away from this race is that I'm getting better. CORRECTION: I checked the results page and it said I ran a 16:01.

Friday, January 30, 2009

3 mile run

I ran 3 miles today at a really easy pace, 8 minutes. I came to the park with the intention of doing my regular 45 minute easy run, but I was about 30 minutes late. So I made myself an excuse that since I'm racing tomorrow, cutting my run to 3 miles from 45 minutes was more likely to help me than hurt me. So that is what I did. Mark, a guy I know from the park, said that it would be warmer tomorrow. I'm glad, because I don't do cold very well anymore. I also did my core work and other exercises. I had skipped it for the last 3 days under the guise that I'm taking it slow between training seasons. But I hate to miss too many core sessions so it felt good to get back on track today. I'm feeling pretty good and I'm ready to go for the race. I just need to make sure I eat an early dinner and get to bed early. For those of you racing this weekend,

Have Fun!

Saturday Houston 5k and 10k events

Spring racing season is here, and with that comes many opportunities to get some shorter races in. I know many of you will not be racing for a while because of your marathon activities. But for those of you who feel fit, fine and ready to go here are a few races to choose from.

  1. Houston Rockets 5k - (Downtown Houston, Toyota Center)
  2. Texas Med Center 5k (Medical Center Houston)
  3. Bill Crews Remission Run 5k (Conroe)
  4. Spectacle Spectacular 10K/5K (Angleton)

Thanks to the Houston Tornados running club's running event's calendar.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

45 minutes easy...brrrr...cold

It was in the 30's today but it was calm not windy. Therefore it was more tolerable than usual. So I guess I over exaggerated the title a bit. Today I ran 45 minutes and managed to average a 7:28 pace for the run. The run felt really good and my legs felt pretty strong. During my run I came across Sean and Luis who were doing a warm up. Great, this would be a good time to see if I could get approval to run the Rockets 5k :) So I ask Sean, "Are you sure I haven't recovered from the marathon, because I feel strong and I have been running great." He tells me I might have recovered and if I want to do it, then go ahead. He tells me I can use this race as a starting point. Awesome, I have Sean's blessing. So I guess I'll be at the race. Sheesh, I've gone back and forth like a see saw on this thing. Check back tomorrow to see if I've changed my mind again!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This is the "THE GUY" that looks like Obama, not me!

I get approached at least once a day about how I look like Obama. Finally, I get to point to someone who looks more like Obama than I do!


Thanks to my wife for sending me this picture and making my day a whole lot better :)

45 minutes easy...again

Well, my streak of running fast came to an end this morning. When I looked at the temperature this morning I knew I would be slogging it along. At 38 degrees this morning all I could manage was a 7:45 pace. The park was pretty empty. It seems people are going to run if the weather is right but are going to skip it otherwise. Looking ahead for the week, it doesn't look too good temperature-wise. Temperatures look like they will be in the 30's in the morning, and so say good bye to fast runnin!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

45 minutes easy

I ran for 45 minutes today and my legs felt like they had rockets on the end of them. It all started when my first mile hit 7:15. When I saw this first split I knew it would be a fast run. During the next mile I hit 6:33 pace. After seeing this time, I said "Oh my God" out loud because I was running by feel and had no idea I would hit the split that fast. Running a 6:30 had never felt so easy. The next miles were more of the same. We'll have to wait and see if this run is a true indicator of anything. Tomorrow I could end up slogging a 7:30. These things come and go and what you have to do is look for a trend. So we'll have to see how my future runs feel to really gauge any differences. I usually don't like to put up my splits on easy runs, but this one was peculiarly different from most, so here goes:

  1. 7:15
  2. 6:33
  3. 6:40
  4. 6:43
  5. 6:40
  6. 6:34
  7. 6:42 (.68 miles)

Even though this run may indicate a full recovery from the marathon, I'll take Sean Wade's advice and skip the Houston Rockets 5k run this Saturday. Like he said, I need to give my body a full opportunity to recover.

Monday, January 26, 2009

45 minutes easy

I ran for 45 minutes at a pretty good rate of speed this morning. I averaged about 7:13, but I ran several miles below 7 minutes. I felt a lot of power in my legs this morning and no soreness. I saw Sean and Luis today and asked Sean if it would be a good idea to do the Rockets race at the end of the week and he said no. So I'll listen to him and forego the race. That's a bitter pill to swallow because I really wanted to do that race, but I trust his opinion and so I'll skip it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Running with my running partner

Today I went out to the dirt track at the local middle school and did 45 minutes easy running with my partner. His pace was a wee bit slower than mine but he definitely was up to the task today. My partner happened to be my 4 year old son William. I brought him out to the track along with his bike. He got quite the workout on that bike. Huffing and puffing trying to keep up with me. Eventually he got tired of the bike and just started running with me every time I came up on him. It was so interesting, with him running along side me telling me, "I won't give up Daddy". I could hear him huffing and puffing and finally his physical shortcomings would give way. That would tug at my heart, seeing my son trying to keep up with his Daddy and realizing that no matter how hard he tried, his little legs just could not keep up with his Daddy. He was quite impressive though, keeping up with an 8:30 pace for about 10 seconds at a time. Wow, the age of innocence. At the end of my run my son told me "I enjoyed our time together Daddy!"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

40 minute run

Today I went out to the local middle school, Labay middle school, for a run around their dirt track. The track is only about 400m but it's the closest dirt trail I know of(about 5 minutes away). I have a strict aversion to concrete these days and a strong inclination towards dirt. I didn't do anything special pace-wise or workout-wise, just run for 40 minutes. I saw some young kids getting in some off season football practice and I started thinking about football. Football is a funny sport. It takes some of the best athletic specimens the world has to offer and smashes them together till they break. Rinse and repeat the process over and over again. I love football.

Friday, January 23, 2009

More recovery

Things are feeling and looking better for me over the past 2 days. Thursday during lunch I went for a 30 minute foot shuffle, slog, at Memorial. This helped me out a bunch because afterward my legs felt better. I have also been taking ice baths which is extremely uncomfortable, but boy does it help! I did some self massaging on my quads, which is where the soreness has been, and this has helped as well. This morning I ran 7 miles. Yesterday and the day before, I didn't think this would be an option. This morning I felt much different about the possibility. I woke up and the soreness had almost disappeared. I saw Sean Wade and Luis Armenteros out there a little earlier than usual, I almost didn't recognize them. After 1 loop around the park I met up with Andrew who had a 2:55 PR at the marathon. He still felt a little sore but started to feel better as we finished my second loop. After knocking out this run, I believe I should be back to normal very soon. As long as I don't try to do anything stupid like run 5:xx over the next few days I should be fine in no time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

3 days after the marathon

Thanks for the encouraging words and thoughtful comments. I believe I probably described the last 3 miles in vivid detail, thereby giving the impression that I was disappointed in my result. I am happy with my result, but I also appreciate interesting perspectives you guys gave. I didn't realize that I finished the last half faster than the first half. I also didn't realize I passed 8 people at the end without being passed myself. So while I was happy with my effort before, I am even more pleased with the results. I had a good time training and preparing for the race and I can't wait to hear everyone's race stories and results.

As far as post recovery goes, I walked for 20 minutes outside my place of work. I was still sore all day and I had problems putting any weight on my quads such as sitting down or getting out of a chair. I also need to mention that I only got 2 hours sleep the night before, so that didn't help matters either. This morning I woke up early and went to the park and walked around the track for 30 minutes. It was cold, about 30 degrees. I feel a little better than yesterday but the quads are still sore. Sitting down at work doesn't help things either.

One last note. Pictures for the marathon have already come in. Here are a few that I like:

image image

Oops! Forgot to mention about the finish line videos. They can be found here:

Monday, January 19, 2009

1st day recovery and post analysis

This morning I just did a 20 minute walk. I'm still pretty beat up but I feel better than yesterday. I did a few things that should help the recovery process. Right after the race I ate my recovery bars, then had a massage. I took an ice bath, then a cold shower. Then I took a nap and elevated the legs. I also rubbed an ice pack along the legs last night. I will take it easy and see how my body feels. Based off of past experiences, I should feel significantly better by Wednesday.

As far as the race was concerned I feel I did pretty well. But looking back I realized what played a major factor in my lack of fuel at mile 23. During my lunch with my family I noticed that I had salt on my face. Many of you know that this is salt that is lost from the body and a clear sign of dehydration. This usually NEVER happens on my runs and if it is there it is a BAD sign. Well I had it at the end of the race and I definitely know how to fix this for next time. My long visit in the port 'o potty didn't help in the dehydration area either.

The run was fun and planning for the future, I believe I will do marathon training once a year in the fall as part of periodization(See Arthur Lydiard) training. In the Spring I will participate in the HARRA series and run the shorter events. These races fit my temperament and the marathon training will only help me for the season. In the Fall I will go back to marathon training and working on my base again. Somewhere in there I'll take some time off and enjoy being an average Joe again. Then it will be back to work again and so on and so forth...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

2:51 Chevron Houston Marathon 2008

First off, I believe the organizers got what they had hoped for when the marathon records were broken today. Merga ,who finished fourth in Beijing, tore it up. Unfortunately since I was racing I was unable see any of the top performances. Oh well, I was in for more than I could handle in my own race. Where to start?

My brother, wife, and son arrived at George R. Brown around 5:15 a.m. which was perfect because there wasn't much of a crowd. I ran into Lance Collins, Steve Schroeder, and Brian King. Lance Collins was ribbing me about my brand spanking new shoes that I never wore on any of my runs. I think my shoes worked out great today. So I arrived and did my pre race routine and then turned my baggage in. Now I was ready to make a trip to the Port o potty. To tell you the truth I was in there for 30 minutes. Unfortunately I had some sort of diarrhea. This was unfortunate because it was now 6:40 and the marathon was starting soon. Now I worried about being hydrated for the big task at hand today. After I got out I did a warm up jog straight to the starting line with only a bottle of water. I just hoped for the best. I ended up directly at the front of the race with no problems at all. I chatted with Brett Riley, said hi to fellow Kenyan Way member Geoff Steit. I had a chance to take a good look at some of the elites, with the more notable being the Ethiopian, Merga.

My plan was pretty simple. Start off a little slower and then ease myself into race pace and go for negative splits for as long as I could. The absolute optimal goal I was targeting was 2:49 and the secondary goal was 2:55. Also, I planned to do this without killing myself, just medium effort.

The gun goes off and everybody takes off hard. I had to do my BEST to not take off too fast. I was barely moving with any effort and my Garmin was reading low 5 minute pace in the first part of the mile. So I forcefully moved to a crawl and looked down and the Garmin said 5:50. I slowed down even more and finally I was at 6:39. The first mile clicked off at 6:36. We made our way up the Elysian Viaduct and the second mile clicked off at 6:37. Right now I'm just jogging and holding back. Miles 3, 4, 5, and 6 were run through the Heights. Right now there were quite a few people in front of me and they were moving pretty good. I still kept a low profile and was jogging. Eventually I was edging closer and closer to 6:30. Mile 7 my brother gave me my first bottle of Gatorade along Allen Parkway and Montrose. Currently I was using 0%(figuratively speaking) effort. This was good because I would need all of the energy I could muster at the end of the race.

I ran through Montrose and I was having a lot of fun. Lots of people were cheering us on and I was making peace signs, waving, giving the thumbs up sign, just eating it all up. There were a few people I knew along Montrose cheering me on and providing me a lot of motivation. I did notice that I had a tendency to speed up a little bit after seeing my friends. As I ran through Montrose we started entering the Rice village and University area. It was at this time I ran behind a couple of interesting guys. One of the guys was being called "Bird Dog" by all of the spectators. The guy was like in his 40's and everyone was saying, "Wussup, Bird Dog", "Hey Bird Dog". The guy he was running with was a white guy who kept telling everyone he was running for TSU. Miles 7-11 I ran in the low 6:30's. At mile 12 I received my second bottle from my brother and carried it with me for a couple of miles.

Mile 12 was the first time I dipped below 6:30, 6:28. At this time I ran by "Bird Dog" and TSU runner, but they did make a good effort to stay on my tail for another mile. Mile 13 I dropped a 6:24 and lost them. Mile 14 I hit the big Westpark hill. It had 0 effect on my split though because I ended up doing a 6:25. Miles 15, 16, 17, 18 I ended up doing low 6:20's through the Galleria. By this time I caught 3 or 4 really good masters marathoners. Most of them just let me run by. One kept with me for about half a mile before he let me go. There was a 30 something-ish runner named Jose that ran with me for a while through Tanglewood but he let me go as well. Right about now everything was coming to me easily. I felt a little bit of tightness here and there but otherwise I was able to put up whatever pace I wanted.

Eventually we made the turn to Woodway which turns into Memorial. Here is where things were looking great before they started falling apart. Mile 19, I passed a couple more guys as I clicked off a 6:19. Mile 20 I ran another 6:19 and a 2:49 seemed like it was just a matter of choice. My brother also gave me my last bottle of Gatorade. Mile 21 I clicked off a 6:20 as I ran up slight elevations on Memorial. At mile 22 everything came crashing down. If I remember correctly, it started with a slight elevation. As I was going up hill I was planning to respond at the top with another strong surge to finish the mile strong. But there was nothing left to respond with. At that point in time reality set in and I was ready to settle for not worrying about pace and just try to survive the rest of the mile. I finished that mile with a 6:34.

Mile 23 was probably the worst mile of the race. Now instead of thinking about just surviving each mile, I was going through some physical and mental pain. The realization came to my mind that at this point in time I had no choice but overcome the pain I was going through. Pre race I told myself if things were getting too difficult I would back off and not suffer too much, finish the race feeling good. The reality was, I was out of fuel, and no matter what speed I would run at, I would be doing much damage these last 3 miles. So I grimaced and winced and just took the race a half mile at a time. You would think with only 3 miles left, you wouldn't feel any mental torture. You would always have "There's only 3 miles left" in your back pocket. But at that point in time 3 miles might as well have been 8. Thoughts went through my mind about whether or not I would finish the race. These thoughts were fleeting, because logically I realized I could finish, but the thoughts entered anyway.

Mile 24 I had a brief resurgence as I refueled with Gatorade and water. Now I believed the worst was behind me. I wasn't going to be able to do 6:20's or lower for the rest of the race, but I felt like I could still do low 6:30's and I finished that mile at 6:33. When my Garmin clicked off at mile 25 I was going through mental torture because 2 miles and change seemed sooooooo long. I grinded through it at 6:38. Now I had 1 mile and change left and even this seemed so long. Now here is where the real mystery started. For some reason as we entered downtown with all of the buildings, it said I was running at over 7 minutes per mile! I knew I was tired, but I was not running this slow! No way. So I sped up and ran as hard as I could but the mile clicked off at 7:15. I'm still not sure about this mile. Maybe I did run a 7:15, maybe I didn't. But it felt like I ran another 6:30 something. The last .60 was torture. Absolute mental torture. Each tenth of a mile seemed like a half mile long. .60 left, .50 left, .40 left, .30 left. As I was running down the last straight, a friend(I didn't see who it was), said Go Bill! Immediately I tried to pick it up and finish strong but my hamstring tightened up and I leaned back and grabbed it. Not a pretty sight. My friend probably thinks they caused me to pull my hamstring. So I slowed it down and decided to just jog it in. At this point in time I just told myself, if anyone passes me just let them go. An older guy passes me and I was going to let him go. But he didn't pass me convincingly enough. He hung around just in front of me to give me thoughts of passing him again. So I did a very mild kick at the end and I passed him. I looked back to see if he was coming again. If he had responded then I would have to make some tough choices. But he couldn't respond and I finished at 2:51 and change.

My legs were hurting and the realization was evident that I might not be running the Rockets 5k January 31st. I did damage those last 3 miles so I'll have to wait and see how my body recovers from this marathon. My brother asked me how I felt about running a 2:51. I told him I'm pretty happy, but I feel the same. I don't feel the same gratification and sense of accomplishment as when I ran my first marathon. The marathon felt like I put in my work, accomplished my goals, and that was that. Maybe in the coming days it will all sink in. We'll see.

Here are my splits:

  1. Mile 1: 6:36
  2. Mile 2: 6:37
  3. Mile 3: 6:36
  4. Mile 4: 6:35
  5. Mile 5: 6:33
  6. Mile 6: 6:33
  7. Mile 7: 6:32
  8. Mile 8: 6:31
  9. Mile 9: 6:30
  10. Mile 10: 6:30
  11. Mile 11: 6:32
  12. Mile 12: 6:28
  13. Mile 13: 6:24
  14. Mile 14: 6:24
  15. Mile 15: 6:25
  16. Mile 16: 6:23
  17. Mile 17: 6:21
  18. Mile 18: 6:24
  19. Mile 19: 6:19
  20. Mile 20: 6:19
  21. Mile 21: 6:21
  22. Mile 22: 6:34
  23. Mile 23: 6:41
  24. Mile 24: 6:33
  25. Mile 25: 6:38
  26. Mile 26: 7:15
  27. .22 Mile: 6:39

Splits on Marathon web site:

  1. 0 - 6.2 miles 6:38 pace
  2. 6.2 - 13.1 miles 6:31 pace
  3. 13.1 - 18.6 miles 6:22 pace
  4. 18.6 - 26.22 miles 6:37 pace

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The night before marathon

Relaxing Well I'm sitting here and waiting. I'm coming down to the final tasks to complete before tomorrow. I've eaten my last complete meal. I've bought what I needed to buy. By this time tomorrow I'll probably be playing back the marathon in my mind. I'm real excited right now. I will be running the Houston marathon for the first time. I think I will be making this an annual event. To all of you running to tomorrow,

Good speed and good night,


Friday, January 16, 2009

2 miles easy

In case you were worried about the weather, as of Friday morning, it looks like it isn't going to be so bad. The latest news available has it in the 50's with a slight chance of rain, nothing heavy. If it is actually 50 degrees and less than 60 then I will have a pleasant day Sunday. I suppose a lot of people will. Today I'll go and pick up my packet. Tomorrow I will start planning my race which will be based partially off of the weather and partially off of the course elevations. My brother, Ron, is going to be in town to support me and fuel me along the course. Look, there he is below at last year's EP5k where he kicked my butt at the end. image

My wife and my son will be there as well. It is such a big event these days. I remember watching the finish last year and feeling kind of left out that I didn't run the marathon. This year I'll be a part of it. My favorite part will be the end when the crowd cheers us to the finish line. Hopefully I'll be in pretty good shape afterwards. I don't plan on being hobbled after the race.

Today I did 2 miles easy. I didn't bring my Garmin but if I had to guess, I'd say I did it at 7:30 pace. The park was pretty empty today. I guess a lot of people decided to skip today and tomorrow and then just race Sunday. I feel pretty healthy right now. If anything physically happens to me Sunday, I won't have any regrets. I feel like I trained responsibly. I put all of my work in. When there were times I could have ended up injured I took time off, massaged, iced, and went back to running. I'm ready to go. All I have to do is rest and plan for the race.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

3 miles easy and...


Two more days till the marathon. I'm so guilty(not really) that my legs don't have any soreness and feel so fresh. I was told a couple of times that it is usually hard during the final week before the marathon because you get restless and want to get it over with. That's not the case for me. I am enjoying the tapering and I am so happy to be able to run and finish before I get too cold. I also enjoy the lack of soreness that comes with tapering.

On the training front, I did 3 miles today which amounts to 1 loop around Memorial Park. It was in the 30's again today, but like yesterday I was prepared and I bundled up appropriately. I did some jump roping, 1 set of 55 reps on each leg, then started my run. I forgot to start my watch after my stretching on mile 2(I usually stretch after mile 1) so I can only guess my pace during the run. It probably was 7:10-7:20ish pace. My body was definitely ready to go faster but I had to tell it "Whoa, easy there buddy, save it for Sunday".

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

5 Miles Easy Again

Last night the weather channel said that the temperature would 30 degrees this morning. That made me a little nervous. So when I woke up this morning I checked the current temperature and it said 39 degrees which is still pretty chilly but I'll take the extra 9 degrees of warmth. I put on more layers than usual this morning. I had on my tights and also sweat pants, along with 2 long sleeve tops. I also had on leather gloves and my polartec gloves over them. I might have been a tad bit too warm but I'll take that over being too cold any day. My run went by quickly and I was able to get warmed up by the middle of the run. My average pace was 7:40.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

5 miles easy

This morning I woke up and my legs didn't feel normal. There was no soreness in my legs. My legs just felt great with no tightness, soreness, or even the slightest twinge of discomfort. It's strange not to have these feelings in my legs after so many many months. When you start putting in a lot of miles consistently with fewer days off it is common to feel soreness and so you just become used to it. So when you wake up one day and your legs feel fresh, you just feel like you have been given a brand new set of legs. Hopefully the massage I gave myself last night helped. Well, anyway, I went to the park and did 5 miles easy at about 7:30 pace. I started out with a little jump roping and then I did my run. I felt good during the run, but after 3 miles I was ready to be done because of the temperature. I still have some preparations to do for the marathon and I'll start knocking them off the list one by one.

Monday, January 12, 2009

8 miles easy

As expected it was cold this morning, 30 something degrees. But also, as usual, I was there to put my work in. I got it done. It was impossible for me to get warmed up so I didn't force it. I averaged about 8 minute miles. I could have done a minor workout this morning but I'm glad I skipped it and jogged easy. I have more to lose than to gain by doing anything fast these days. I'm starting to piece my race plan together and gather the materials needed for Sunday. I'm also excited for my friends who will also be participating in the half and full marathons. I'm probably more excited about how they are going to do than I am for myself. It will be interesting to see who makes that clear break-through and puts it on another level than we are used to seeing them at. It also will be good to see and talk to all of these guys again.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Last Kenyan Way long run

image Yesterday we ran our last long run before the marathon. Basically a group of us: Andrew, Geoff, Chris, and Dana did about 10 miles at an easy pace. Nothing of note worth mentioning about the run. I ended up running at about a 7:20 pace and I believe we all made a concentrated effort not to go below 7 minutes per mile. No issues with my hamstring or any other part of my legs. The run felt smooth again and hopefully my body will only get even stronger and fresher throughout the taper week. I couldn't reach Connie or Gralin for a massage so it looks like I will be left to give myself massages. It's no big deal though because I'm not really injured and it was probably more of a precaution. The rest will also do me good.

Today is Sunday and I have a day off and it feels great. Especially since I know it's in the low 40's today. Tomorrow will be a different story though because it is forecasted to be in the low 30's and I HATE cold weather. I just have to remember to go to Walmart to get those heat sticks that you put in your gloves to keep your hands warm. I think I'll wear my thin gloves plus the thick ones and stick the heat pack in gloves. I just have to do 8 miles tomorrow. I was supposed to do 3 x 1 mile at marathon pace but I'll skip that workout and just run 8 easy. I don't think the workout will help me all that much and I don't want to risk anything this week.

Just because this week is a taper week does not mean I can just lay back and just wait for the marathon. I will need monitor what I eat and make sure I get all of the nutrition I have already been getting and get a higher percentage of carbs. I will also need to map out points on the route where my brother can be stationed to get me my Gatorade bottles during the race. I will need to solidify a good race plan. I need to get my core and other exercises done to maintain my strength. I need to make sure I get plenty of rest throughout the week. So you as you can see there are plenty of other things besides just running the miles that will go into this race. I know I'll get my miles in but I will also need to get the other items I mentioned done so I will give myself a good chance to have a smooth race.

Friday, January 9, 2009

7 easy miles again

My 7 miles today was almost the same as yesterday except that the weather today was PERFECT. I wish every running day could feel like today. My run was easy, smooth and over before any fatigue could set in. My legs are starting feel stronger even though the tapering has just started. My hamstring felt fine but I still feel I'll be giving Graylin a call for a massage. I wasn't able to reach the famous Connie. I was halfway expecting not too because it is so close to the marathon and she is always booked, even more so before the marathon. My average pace was 7:10 and I ran the last 2 miles in the low 6:40s. I'm already looking forward to my first day off in a long time this Sunday(Can't remember how that feels).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

7 miles easy

There is not much to report today. I had to do 7 miles and I did them at an easy pace. I ended up averaging about a 7:14 pace. I felt really healthy during this run. My legs felt the freshest they have felt in a couple of weeks. The time just flew by and then I was done. Memorial park was packed this morning. It got my blood pumping seeing all of these people doing their last preparations for the marathon just like me. Hamstring felt fine.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

11 Miles easy: Longest run before marathon

I started off the morning on the wrong foot because I woke 30 minutes later than usual. That was bad because I need to wake up at least 30 minutes earlier than usual because I was supposed to be doing 11 easy. So I rushed out to the park this morning and it was in the mid 40's. That's ok because I was armed with my new thick gloves I got from Luke's Locker yesterday. I ended up doing my 11 miles a little more aggressive than I probably would have because I definitely did not want to be late to work. I did them at about 7:14 pace. I picked it up the last 4 miles and ran anywhere from 6:4x - 6:5x pace because I was definitely in a hurry to leave. No issues with the hamstring. As far as the gloves were concerned I still froze my hands off!!

Seinfeld moment

I had a funny experience last night when I went to Whole Foods for dinner after work. I basically live there these days. It's about a minute from where I work and many people there know me by name and I know them as well. The reason I go there is that I have a lot of food allergies and Whole Foods gives me the most choices of what types of foods I can eat. Well anyway, I was sitting down eating dinner and I thought I recognized the guy sitting across from me talking on the phone. I sort of glanced at first but I couldn't be sure it was the guy I thought it was. The guy I was thinking of worked at Massage Envy and gave me a massage that was the best one I've had so far. He was experienced and schooled in sports related massages. He said he worked with the Houston Dynamo and did work with the team. His name was Graylin and we spent the whole session talking about soccer which was pretty interesting because I know very little about soccer. Well anyway back to the scene I'm trying to set. I spent about 15 minutes trying to figure out whether this guy was Graylin or not. I didn't want to stare and have a weird moment. So he got off the phone and was about to leave and I still wasn't sure if it was him or not but I wanted to know. After all I had been having some tightness in my hamstring area and Sean recommended that I get a massage soon. So let me paint this picture because here is where my funny experience begins. So the Graylin looking guy is getting up and getting ready to leave and there is another guy waiting by the microwave within earshot. So here is the conversation:

Me: "Excuse me...Excuse me...EXCUSE ME!"

Graylin looking guy turns around

Guy by microwave turns around

Me: "Is your name Graylin?"

Graylin: "Yes." He doesn't recognize me.

Guy by microwave turns back around

Me: "You gave me a massage a few months ago. It was the best massage I've ever had. I was a runner..."

Guy by microwave turns around

Graylin: "Oh yeah...I remember you." Graylin comes and sits down across from me.

We start talking and I tell him what I need and so he gives me his card and tells me to call him and then leaves.

I can only wonder what the guy by the microwave was thinking. Or anyone else that was within earshot. Now when I go to Whole Foods there will be at least one guy thinking, "There goes the gay version of Obama again".

"Not that there is anything wrong with that."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cold and empty park

This morning I went out early to the park in hopes of being able to get to work early. I looked at the temperature on the Weather channel and it said 45 degrees. So I knew it would be cold. What I didn't know is that it would be soggy too. I used to be able to tolerate the cold. Not only did I tolerate it, I thrived in it. I preferred it. Now as a runner I find myself on the other side of the coin. The park was pretty empty and dark. Pretty depressing, but I would rather get my run in than miss my run(By the way I have a free day this Sunday). I went ahead and got my 9 miles in. It wasn't pretty but I got it done. I went to Luke's Locker at lunch and bought some pretty thick gloves. Hopefully this will start minimizing the amount of times I freeze my hands off!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Speedwork 1/5/2008

All I had to do this morning was 7 miles. Yipee! That's a good start already. It was a little chilly this morning but I was ready to go. Basically I was going to do a fartlek where I would start with 5 minutes of medium effort and then 5 minutes jogging, 4 minutes medium and 4 minutes easy and so on and so forth. I warmed up for 2 miles and then changed my shoes and got ready to go.

I started my run and was shooting between 5:45-5:55. So I was running and in the middle of my run I looked down and I noticed the display was not showing how fast I was going. I quickly realized that since lap 1 would be shorter than a mile that my Garmin would not be showing my speed. Darn! Well anyway this would be my opportunity to run by feel. Man, I hate that. I get the "Speed Up" beep so I sped up and I end up running a 5:54 pace for the first split. The second fartlek was 4 minutes long and I ended up running a 5:53. Not bad, for listening for beeps and not looking at my rate of speed. My concern is not really about running too slow. My concern is about running too fast and expending too much energy. So I finish fartlek 4 and start on fartlek 3 and by the time I finish this fartlek I whip off a 5:44. My legs are warming up now but I just need to watch for going too fast unintentionally. The 2 minute fartlek was just too too easy, I just whipped out 5:49. The 1 minute fartlek was a 5:46.

  • 5 minutes - 5:54 pace
  • 4 minutes - 5:53 pace
  • 3 minutes - 5:44 pace
  • 2 minutes - 5:49 pace
  • 1 minute - 5:46 pace

At the end of my run the top part of my hamstring, the part close to the gluteus was tight(I'll let the anatomy expert correct me if they can). I have been getting this feeling for the past few weeks sporadically. Sometimes I would even get this when I was running slowly! I was thinking about this issue this evening and the only thing I could come up with is maybe there is an imbalance of strength in my legs. I think my quads and gluteus might be too strong for my hamstrings. So tonight I put a 20 pound dumbbell in my gym bag and started doing leg extensions. I did 3 sets of 10 to start out. I'll probably build on this in the days to come.

Looking back on my workout, I pretty much completed the workout with very little effort at all. It was just an opportunity to run a little faster than usual. But since I didn't have my rate of speed on the display, I felt I might have expended a tad bit more energy than I would have liked(I would have liked to run all 5:5x's). I will have to wait and see if I choose to do a workout Wednesday. Hopefully this hamstring issue will be resolved with the new leg extension exercises.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tapering down begins

Just a little update for ya. Friday I took it easy and ran 7 miles. The effort level was minimal, just enough to get the blood pumping. On Saturday I did a long run with the Kenyan Way group. Sean immediately told me to go slow during the run so I decided to take this advice to heart. The usual cast of characters were here, Andrew, Jeff, Chris, along with Dana, Rob, and Nick. Dana has been a guy that has been running with us the last month and a half. He has a goal of qualifying for Boston. Rob is an older guy who has run Kenyan Way for a few years who has dreams of running a 2:57. Nick is another masters runner who I believe runs a sub 3 hour marathon. I ran with Jeff and Andrew for all of my long run and we pretty much ran 7:30's the entire long run. After the 1st stop Nick and Rob asked what was going on, since they were used to us leading the group. We just told them we were just going to take it easy today and then let them go about 15-20 seconds in front of us. By the middle of the run Nick finished and said his goodbye. He is going to run the Disney marathon on the 8th. I only ran 14 miles while Jeff and Andrew ran more. During the end of our run Chris sort of took off. I believe he has been having the itch to lead one of our long runs for quite a while. That was the last I saw of him. As I completed my long run and was stretching by a tree, Dana asked what happened, as somehow we got separated because he took the correct route and we made a diversion in the opposite direction at one point. I think he had aspirations of leading the run and finishing first. He noticed everyone was running slower. I told him people were tapering and were not really concerned about running fast or finishing first. He said he was tired of training and wanted to go back to racing people at the park. I laughed and we said our goodbyes.

Sunday I did 9 miles really easy. My legs felt a little stronger than it has in a while and allowed me to run pretty effortless and strong, although I didn't really waste any extra energy. I ended up averaging in the mid 7:30's and ran progressively faster till I finished in the low 7's. The cool front came in right in as I was finishing my last miles which felt quite nice. Before my run I did a little mini jump rope session. I did 1 repetition of 15 jumps on each leg. Next week I'll add another session and add another 10 jumps for each leg. The idea is to strengthen each leg and to sort of simulate running and develop a spring type of lift on each foot while running. We'll see how this works out in the coming weeks and months.

This week I will be doing about 51 miles total. The lowest number of miles since September. I will also be getting my first rest day in probably a month. Woohoo! Things are looking good this week. Monday I will probably do some speed work depending on how I feel. I only have 7 miles on the schedule. Wednesday I also have speed work as well. We'll see what I decide to do. I prefer to try to have both speed sessions and see how I do in both sessions. That's it for now. I must get ready for bed.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Recent conversation with my mom

Mom: Hey Bill.

Me: Hey mom.

Mom: Bill , have you had a checkup recently?

Me: As a matter of fact yes mom.

Mom: What were the results?

Me: Excellent health.

Mom: Great, because I was a little concerned about your weight.

Me: Don't worry about it Mom, I'm at 120 right now but I'm aiming to be at 105 in a few months.

Mom: What !?!?

Me: Yes, I need to get rid of this excess fat, this dead weight I have on me.

Mom: No! you are kidding Bill, what is this ?!?

Me: ...

Mom: You are kidding right !?!?!

Me: ...


Me: Yeah, mom I was kidding, I'm not 120 and I am well within my BMI range and life is good.

Mom: Don't lose any more weight Bill.

Me: I don't plan on it mom.

Mom: Great, I need for you to do something for me.

Me: What mom?

Mom: I need for you to help ME LOSE WEIGHT!!!