Friday, December 23, 2011

Yo Bill. What the heck happened?

Hey guys, a lot has happened since I last posted. It has been unfortunate that I sort of disappeared off of the map. So what happened? Hmm, many things. It mainly has to do with life. I have found it very difficult to train at the level I wanted to. My children are getting older and my wife is such a sweet heart. I love them all with a passion and time with them and time at work has consumed my time on the roads. Also, to tell you the truth, I have been somewhat of a lazy butt the past few months. Although I don't have the time to train at a very high level, I do have time to train and I simply have not been doing that at all. I've also used a couple of injuries to give me an excuse not to run. Many friends around me simply find it unbelievable that I stopped running completely. But it isn't so hard to believe once you really know me. I am an all or nothing guy who is very passionate about the things he cares about. I started running only as a tool for me to get in shape. I used races as a way to keep me inspired to keep training. Then racing became the be all and end all. Once I wasn't able to train the way I wanted to, I simply lost interest.

Now I am ready to start training again. I know I will be limited in what I am able to accomplish but you know what? The running community and the people and friends I have made over the years are much too precious to give up. That is the main reason why I'll be back. Oh, and I don't want to be that buy who gains 40lbs after quitting running. Who wants to be that guy?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chuck Martinez, Cancer Survivor

I don't know Chuck personally but I ADMIRE how he was able to persevere both mentally and physically in his fight against cancer. I know this can be the most stressful thing that a family can go through. I am also proud that he has decided to choose running as an avenue to maintain his health. Good luck Chuck! I will be cheering for you this weekend! His story below:

This Sunday, Houston-resident Chuck Martinez, like many others, will be running in the Houston Half Marathon. However, unlike many others participating, Chuck Martinez is a lung cancer survivor.

His story, from the beginning of his journey through cancer:

In 2007, a year after surviving bladder cancer, 37-year-old Chuck Martinez received devastating news at a follow-up appointment.  A routine chest X-ray revealed a mass in his right lung, which turned out to be stage IIIA non-small-cell lung cancer.

During a second opinion appointment with a team of cancer experts at MD Anderson, Chuck learned about proton therapy and the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center.  His radiation oncologist Dr. Ritsuko Komaki, the director of MD Anderson’s Thoracic Radiation Oncology Program, explained how proton therapy can precisely deliver high doses of powerful radiation directly to his tumor with less damage to nearby healthy organs. 

“Knowing that proton therapy would allow my team to target the radiation directly to the tumor in my lung and protect my esophagus, spine and heart was extremely encouraging and all I needed to hear,” said Chuck, who was concerned about treatment-related side effects and how they might affect his life. “I knew I was going to receive the most advanced radiation treatment technology.”

Dr. Komaki, who has treated many lung cancer patients with proton therapy, agrees that proton therapy can be an excellent option for patients who have tumors located in sensitive areas of the body like the lung or in the chest.

“Chuck was a perfect candidate to receive proton therapy,” she explained. “With the location of his tumor, it was critical to limit the radiation dose to surrounding areas of his body, especially since he was on concurrent chemotherapy. Proton therapy allows us to precisely target the radiation just where the patient needs it.”

Every weekday for about seven weeks, Chuck received chemotherapy at the MD Anderson main campus and proton therapy treatments at the nearby MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center. He tolerated both therapies well and was able to maintain his weight during treatment. Plus, he enjoyed spending time at the Proton Therapy Center, bonding with other patients.

“The Proton Therapy Center is a huge state-of-the-art facility. I liked the fact that I was going to a place where they were experts in cancer and proton therapy,” said Chuck.  “Everyone at the Proton Therapy Center was there for that type of treatment, so we all could immediately connect. Listening to each other’s stories and sharing what we were going through was an everyday occurrence. The camaraderie among patients and their family members is unlike any other – that’s something that I won’t forget.  And the staff and therapists were fantastic to all of us.”

Chuck’s last treatment was on September 24, 2007, making him cancer free for four years.  These days, he is mindful about his health and takes good care of himself, but he still wonders what may have been the cause for his lung cancer.

“I’ve never been a smoker, so it has been one of the big mysteries for me – why did I get lung cancer in my thirties having never smoked?” said Chuck. “Before I was diagnosed in 2007, I was a drummer in a few cover bands, and I spent a lot of time playing in bars. Was it the second-hand smoke? Or was it the air pollution of the big city? I’ll never know for sure.”

Chuck still enjoys getting together with his old band mates and playing every now and then, but he spends most of his time with his family. 

“My wife, Lora, and I both work, so we juggle our careers with raising our daughter, Mia,” said Chuck. “She’s nine years old and keeps us busy. She’s the center of our lives.”

Through Chuck’s cancer journey, he has gone on to live a healthier, more active lifestyle.  He lost 30 pounds and ran his first half marathon in January 2011, raising money for the charity, CanCare, Inc, an organization whose volunteers regularly visit cancer patients. 

“It was one of the hardest and yet most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” said Chuck, who is training with his wife for another half marathon. “It is very meaningful for me to be here and to be able to share such an accomplishment with my wife after all we’ve been through.”

In addition to running in the Houston Half this Sunday, Chuck will also return to run the Aramco Half Marathon in January 2012.

Friday, September 30, 2011

11 Year Old Football Player Taken Out Of Game For Scoring Too Much

I have my own feelings about this. What are yours? Basically this 11 year kid is so physically gifted that he is almost guaranteed to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball. So basically the league has adjusted by not allowing him to get the ball once he scores 3 times and they are up by 14 points. Is this fair to the kid? Does this cause the kid to become embarrassed of his own talent that he limits his own effort so he can just sort of blend in? Trust me, I have known kids that have become so embarrassed by their own talent that you would have never even known it was there. On the one hand we tell kids to go out there and give their best and on the other hand we tell some to tone it down for the good of the team. I would hate for this kid to grow up and have the appearance of someone with great talent but never performing to the best of their abilities, or worse, given the label of a lazy player.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Celebrity Marathoners and Their Times

I've always liked to find out interesting tidbits about a celebrity's athletic prowess. I think it's interesting when you unravel the onion and you find other impressive qualities about a person that you may not be aware of. A person that shows a trait of being good at several different things gives the impression of being well rounded. In that vein I provide the following link for your amusement.

Celebrity Runners

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

6 x 1 Mile (9 Miles Total)

So I went through the week thinking we were going to do 6 x 1 mile with "2" minutes rest. I was pretty amped up because I would be testing my strength and getting a chance to do some quicker pace work. So Sean and I did the workout. The first 3 reps were not difficult but it wasn't comfortable either. Sean and I took turns leading during each rep and it did help that mentally I could fall asleep for a while sitting behind him. The 5th rep was the hardest as I had to lead while being a bit fatigued but we still hit our times. By the 6th rep we were mentally released of any thoughts of future reps so we picked up the pace a little bit. By the end I came to find out that we only had "1" minute rest. During the workout I did think the rest was kind of short but I didn't dwell on it since I was saving all of my energy for the next rep. But Sean and I laughed about it and I told him that I thinking the recovery was 2 minutes definitely made the workout seem less daunting. Whatever you have to do to get you through workout! Here is how the workout turned out.

Goal 5:10 each mile
6 x 1 Mile, 60 secs recovery
5:06, 5:04, 5:05, 5:03, 5:07, 4:59

This will probably be my last workout for quite a while. Things are going to be picking up pretty soon as October will have quite a few races. So it is very likely that my next post will be a race report. So until then I hope your training is going well!

Friday, September 16, 2011

5 x Half Mile (9 Miles Total)

I ran this workout with Sean. The intention was just to get an easy introduction to some quicker pace work as we start to sharpen up for some racing action next month. Mentally I was really up for the workout as I had noticed I had struggled a bit at 5 minute pace during my 3 mile time trial last week. So we ended up doing the workout and after being a bit uncomfortable in the beginning I started to open up a bit by the end of the workout. Hopefully this will prep me for a quicker workout we have planned for next week. So the workout ended up as follows:

Goal 5 reps sub 2:30, 60 second recovery
2:28, 2:29, 2:27, 2:26, 2:23

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Attempted 6 Mile Tempo 9 Miles Total

I met up with Sean to do this workout. The objective was to attempt to do 6 miles at sub 5:20 pace. To be honest, I had very little faith that I could complete this workout. My legs have been pretty dead since before the 3 mile time trial so I had a negative mindset from the outset. I struggled mentally even before the physical hurt started kicking in. Actually the hurt never really kicked in. I stopped right before it started. Mentally I just didn't want to go to that place today. If I hadn't had such a long streak of good workouts I probably would have finished this one out since it's just my style. But I told myself I'll give a good solid effort next week. This is a lesson I'm starting to learn after the years. I'm starting to know when to push and when to bag it. To tell you the truth, these days I'll probably save the extra effort for when I'm gutting it out in a tough race. I trust myself. I trust that when the time comes and pain is around the corner in a crucial time I will answer the bell. I don't have to prove this every single time in every single workout. Well I digressed a bit much. Here are the splits of the attempted 6 mile tempo I cut to 4 miles.

5:18, 5:18, 5:16, 5:21

(5:19 average)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kenyan Way Long Run 9.69 Miles

Nothing special to report here. Met up with Carlos and Luis at the Kenyan Way base and set out for an abbreviated run. I had dead legs today and my purpose was to just get outside and put a few miles in. We ended up running at 6:21 pace. It's funny when your legs are dead and you have a pretty good base. My legs started out fatigued and stayed at the same level of fatigue for the whole run. Weird.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Funny World Championships Pic

Please feel free to provide your own caption below:

Elite Athlete Training Videos

I've been training at something for a good portion of my life and most of it hasn't been in running. So I always find it interesting hearing and seeing how elite athletes train in different sports. The following video is no exception and it shows Georges St. Pierre, a very diverse fighter, training to stay in the best shape of his life. Watch it and enjoy. There are some other videos showing other athletes in different fields getting their bodies ready for the rigors that tomorrow will bring.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Short Survey For My Wife

My wife is in grad school and is creating a business plan for a young gentleman's clothing store. It's basically a clothing store where you can get suits, cardigans, and nice clothes for young boys. If you have a young boy or nephew or frequently buy clothes for young boys then could you take 5 minutes out of your time to complete this really short survey? I appreciate it and thanks in advance!

Gentleman's Clothes For Boys

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

3 Mile Time Trial (7 Miles Total)

This workout didn't end up to well. My legs started dying quickly after the first mile. My first stinker in a long time.

Total: 15:37
Avg Pace: 5:12
Splits: 5:05, 5:12, 5:19

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Long Run: 9.24 Miles

6:41 Pace.

The legs felt a little heavy so I had to cut the run short. I got a good run in with Sam Rodriguez nonetheless as we went through the Heights -> Downtown route. The pacing was pretty laid back as well. I'd like to give a shout out to Jeff, who I met and had a wonderful conversation with. If you are reading, it was great meeting you. I enjoy talking to fellow runners. We all go through a lot of the same training and the same emotions and so its easy to relate. Another fellow runner came up and said hello and mentioned the blog but he was busy trying to complete his long run to strike up a conversation. I didn't get your name but thanks for saying hello!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

6 Mile Tempo (9 Miles)

Just got back from California in time for a 6 mile tempo with Wade and JP. I had missed a couple of running sessions in California so I wasn't really sure what to expect. Well, I ended up running this workout faster than I ever have. The previous best tempo workout was done a few months ago at 5:26 pace. But this was under optimal conditions (for Houston!). I was able to best this and complete it at 5:22 pace this time. Sean really helped out a lot at the end since he ended up pacing the last 2 miles. The first 4.5 miles went by pretty easy but the last 1.5 miles I had to focus a little bit and we ended up hitting 5:18 for the last mile. Here are the splits:

Goal: 5:25 pace
Actual: 5:22 pace
Splits: 5:22, 5:20, 5:26, 5:23, 5:23, 5:18

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Japanese Tsunami From Inside A Car

This is sort of unrelated to running. I saw this and I sort of had to share this with everyone. What would you do? This is kind of bizarre. Any kind of hesitation and you could be dead!

9 Mile Progressive Run (10 Total Miles)

This ended up being a solo effort. I was hoping I could run this workout with a few guys as it is one of the tougher workouts. But I ended up doing this solo.

6:59, 6:43, 6:17, 6:12, 6:00, 5:45, 5:32, 5:20, 5:01

1 mile cool down 8:57 pace

This was an extremely tough workout. I was doing ok until I had to hit 5:15 pace and quicker. That's when I had to really work. This is probably because I have not been doing any workouts quicker than 5:25 pace in a long long time. Hopefully this and other quicker workouts can get me in decent racing shape (5:00 minute pace and under). I was huffing and puffing after the last mile more than I can remember in a long long time.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kenyan Way Long Run 15 Miles

I ended up running much of these miles with JP and Lu. It was a decent low key run. My most important objective was to get 15 miles in and not over do it since I have a 9 mile progressive run next Tuesday. Here's how it shaped out:

7:16, 6:22, 6:13, 6:10, 5:49, 5:51, 6:04, 5:56, 6:09, 6:13, 6:25, 6:23, 6:30, 6:59, 6:44 Total Average Pace: 6:21

Lu ended up injuring his Achilles again which sucks. Hopefully he can get healthy and string a few good weeks together.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Top 10 Excuses Heard Before A Race

I was on and I found a pretty funny thread. I have heard many of these and have even given some of these myself. The funny thing is even after giving some of these LAME excuses the person will often times run GREAT! Here are some of the responses I've noticed

10) "This is only a training run" or "I'm going to tempo this race."

9) "I haven't done any speed work so I'm not expecting much."

8) "I just decided to run this race 11 o'clock last night."

7) "I may not finish the race as I'm having bad shin splints."

6) "I only got 2 hours sleep. I was out drinking last night."

5) "It's too hot/cold/windy/rainy/sunny to run today"

4) "I'm not sure how I'll do today. I'm too well rested."

3) It's an 8am race start and the person says "You don't have to worry about me, I already ran 16 miles this morning."

2) "I had 2 BM's this morning. I wish I had a 3rd one."


1) "I just got out of jail 30 minutes ago, long night. I'm not expecting much."

The thread

Have You Seen My Keys?

Here is a quick summary of my treadmill training so far. I run on the treadmill. I watch a woman who searches for her keys for 20 minutes every day. She walks to each treadmill and asks each person have they seen any keys? She looks under each and every treadmill and cycle. She then leaves. Pretty amusing. It helps the time go by.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

8.62 Miles

This run was made a little tougher due to the fact that I did a really tough hill session yesterday. Ran with the Wade and he felt peppy so I tagged along.

7:01, 6:45, 6:35, 6;34, 6:13, 5:55, 5:59, 5:59, 5:55 for the last .62 miles
6:21 Total Average Pace

Hopefully Sean gets in shape soon. I will be needing someone to do some workouts with in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jogged With Andrew Lemoncello The Other Day

We had a chance to jog with him as was getting himself acclimated to the humidity he will be experiencing at the World Championships in a few weeks. Post is here

The 3 Different Running Energy Systems

I found this interesting article about the different energy systems. I became interested in the different energy systems concept when I kept hearing different people talking about doing different types of training depending on whatever types of energy system they were trying to strenghten. Basically these energy systems are divided into 3 different ways to produce ATP.

  • Fast sprints - 100-200m (3-4 minutes recovery)

  • Middle sprints - 400-800m (2x ratio, so if you sprinted for 60 secs you get 2 minute recovery)

  • Long distance - anything above middle sprints (just run a tempo or an easy run)
The above statements are an oversimplification of the article so I would recommend reading the article if this stuff interests you. I must warn you it can get a little scientific for those of you that shy away from this sort of thing.

Dark Chocolate A PED?

Just some "food" for thought. Could dark chocolate help on race day?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Kenyan Way Long Run 14.34 Miles

Today I had the opportunity of running with a world class runner, Andrew Lemoncello. He is preparing himself for the humidity at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea by training in Houston. He runs for England and is going to run the marathon. He's already run 2:13 but is looking to better that in the future. We were fortunate enough to be able to get a long run in with him. He was amazed at how hot and humid the Houston weather is. It seems training in a sweat suit doesn't adequately prepare oneself for such extreme weather in a place such as Houston. The only advice I could give him was not to overdo the heat acclimation as he may end up wearing himself out before the World Championships. But then I trust he already knows this. He was a pretty grounded and affable dude. The kind of guy you would enjoy doing a long run with. He will be jumping in the "Hottest Half" half marathon in Dallas next weekend for a tempo. I will be wishing him well and will keep a look out for him in the World Champs and the Olympics next year. Here is how the long run turned out. We took it nice and easy as he was still acclimating himself coming down from altitude and the humidity.

7:17, 6:38, 6:36, 6:34, 6:31, 6:34, 6:26, 6:22, 6:11, 6:10, 6:02, 6:20, 6:13, 6:04, 5:43 last .34 miles
Total Average Pace: 6:25

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Few Helpful Running Tips

Just read an article written by Pete Magill, the fine masters runner. He gives a bunch of helpful tips on things we all experience as runners, heavy legs, quad pain, Achilles tendinitis, and colds and race-day sluggishness.

The interesting thing about the article is that a lot of the advice is counter intuitive. For instance if you have dead legs, go do a 2 and a half hour run!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

6 Mile Tempo (10 Miles Total)

Training is still alive and well although I am having motivation issues at the moment. These issues kind of hung with me all of last week which is why I put this 6 mile tempo carrot out there. With so much time between races it is very hard to stay focused.

  • Met J.P. at the park and warmed up for 2 miles and then did the workout.

  • 5:30, 5:31, 5:31, 5:34, 5:33, 5:20 - Avg 5:30 pace (33:02)

  • 2 mile cool down
Afterwards I ran into Jacob Phillips, a really nice guy. He moved down here from Dallas and he is the former head track coach at Dallas Baptist University. He's hooked up with Finish Strong Sports and will be doing some good things over there. I look forward to getting some runs in with him as he is a pretty decent runner.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kenyan Way Long Run 14.08 Miles

Alternate River Oaks Route with an add on of the bayou with Luis, J.P., Carlos, and McKim on the bike.

8:10, 7:10, 6:01, 5:44, 5:38, 5:40, 5:33, 5:38, 5:51, 5:46, 5:54, 6:05, 5:45, 6:37
Total Average Pace: 6:07

There is so much time between now and any significant race that I really don't know what I'm going to do with myself. Any ideas?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kenyan Way Long Run 13.7 Miles

The run started out with Me, Luis, J.P., Andrew, and Jenna. Carlos was too busy winning the Lunar Rendezvous Run to run with us. We started out slow then the real pow wow session started. Andrew and Jenna hung for a mile and then decided the pace was a bit rich and then dropped off to a more reasonable pace. I'd like to call the pace we ran this week suicide pace since we were running pretty hard in nice humid, soupy conditions. Luis, J.P., and I hung together for the bulk of the run and I finished my miles with it looking a little something like this:

8:11, 7:31, 6:40, 5:53, 5:43, 5:43, 5:47, 5:47, 5:46, 6:00, 5:46, 6:49, 7:30, 6:53 for .7 miles
Total Average Pace: 6:25

The middle miles were a lot more intense than last week's long run but we only ended up running 8 quality miles as opposed to 10 last week. It doesn't matter because this run felt a lot harder. I was able to hang on and hold my own though, so I was pleased. Next week should be even more intense as Lu want's to do 15 miles at the same or higher volume and intensity. Lu was a beast during this run as he pushed the pace and I didn't want to antagonize but every time I tried to run along side him he would push harder. Boy am I a glutton for punishment. Great run and I feel it was another physical and mental break through for me. Next week will probably be the last hard long run before we start workouts. This should be very interesting!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Race Post

The Baytown Bud Heat Wave 5 Miler race report can be found here...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

14~ Mile Long Run With Kenyan Way

It's been a while a tell ya. It's been a long time. It's been over half a year since I've done a long run outside. It might have been over a year and a half since I've done a long run with Kenyan Way. In any case that is way too long to stay away from good friends and challenging runs in the Bayou City heat. As you know I've been doing most of my runs indoors on the treadmill and I finally reached a point where I couldn't take any more. I needed a new stimulus and when Luis told me that he and Carlos were doing long runs with the Kenyan Way I couldn't resist. I had reached a point in the last 2 months where I was doing all of my runs indoors since Wade's injury. It gets pretty boring sometimes I tell ya. Not only that I kind of missed the competition and rivalry of training with a group of guys. So here I was at the Kenyan Way base.

I saw many familiar faces and saw many more new faces. It was as crowded as it has always been. For some reason I was pretty nostalgic about the whole thing. I spotted Lu and he told me Carlos would be joining us after 2 miles today. So then around 6am Sean started us off on our long run. It was good seeing familiar faces again. Andrew Sharenson and Sam Rodriguez were with us and it was good getting caught up with Andrew's progress as he starts to win various masters races around the area. After a few miles Carlos caught up with us.

So this was our route. We basically left the Kenyan Way base on Jackson Hill and traveled through the Heights neighborhood. Then we diverted through a trail in the Heights neighborhood and headed downtown. During this time Sam dropped off at the heights and continued on with his own pace. Andrew stuck around in the middle of our downtown run and then dropped off. So it was just me and Carlos with Luis leading the pace for the most part. Carlos held his own and I brought up the rear. Then we headed from downtown to the bayou and then back to the base. From there we started another loop of the bayou and then Lu, dropped off. From here it was just me and Carlos the last 3 miles. We finished up in great fashion as Carlos held his own.

Looking back on the splits on our run I can be nothing but pleased with how it turned out. First of all running outside on pavement and various other surfaces is an acquired skill for a treadmill runner. It isn't the same. So I didn't know what to expect. I kind of expected to be fine cardio-wise but for legs and feet to struggle a bit as it acclimated itself to the new stimuli that it was facing. With all of this being said, I pretty much had the best long run I've EVER had in the middle of the humid Houston summer, outside. That's a good sign. The humidity and heat never really bothered me too much. For the most part I just paid attention to how my legs were feeling and they were doing just fine.

Here are the splits. During the last 2 miles my Garmin died so I can only approximate how fast Carlos and I ran them.

7:15, 6:42, 5:58, 5:53, 5:59, 5:59, 6:02, 5:49, 6:07, 5:52, 5:52, 5:52, 5:25 for .11 miles then Garmin died. I believe Carlos and I were anywhere from 5:30-5:40 pace for the last 2 miles for an overall 6 minute pace long run.

As you can see we were under 6 minute pace for most of the run. Oh and did I mention Carlos is still in high school? I can't wait to run with the guys next Saturday.

Friday, July 8, 2011

How to Structure Workouts Around Important Races To Get Peak Performance

This information may be something that you may already familiar with but it is brand spanking new to me and explains the reason why sometimes I complete these great workouts but I'm unable to even run the same pace over equivalent distances come race time. For example this paragraph makes complete sense to me:

"The goal of each type of workout is to stress a particular physiological system and produce an adaptation that ultimately allows you to run faster. For example, and in admittedly simplified terms, V02 max intervals, such as kilometer repeats at 5K race pace, improve your heart's ability to deliver oxygen to muscles. Tempo runs increase your capacity to process and clear lactate. Short, fast repetitions enable you to run fast yet relaxed by decreasing overall energy expenditure and improving communication between working muscles and the brain. Long runs encourage capillary and mitochondria growth. Over time, these changes produce faster races."
Link To Article

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Tour De France Coverage

You are not a serious runner or cyclist unless you have numerous bulging veins protruding out from your leg. Case in

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thoughtful Question...

Anonymous said...
Since you pretty much have been dominating the 5k scene in Houston, do you ever get formal invites to regional road races or elite racing teams? Just curious, Thanks!

Thank you for using so generous a word such as "dominating" to describe my performances. To tell you the truth I don't think I've been dominating the 5k scene all that much. Guys like Sesar will show up and win whatever 5k he so chooses locally. That guy truly has been dominating. To tell you the truth I have a hard enough time beating my training partner Luis Armenteros, which I have never done when he's been in shape. I do think I've been pretty competitive though and I've won my share of races around town although I am definitely hungry for even more. So once again thank you for your kind remark. Now to finally answer your question! Yes I have been invited to various events (crowning event was Peachtree 2009) but I've had to turn down everything recently since my family has grown. I just can't leave my family for even a short period of time. I guess it's good to be loved. I can live with this. However, I will be working on getting a formal invite to the Houston Half next year. This is one of my low key goals for the year and I will finally make a serious go of it! Now excuse me if I don't talk about this anymore for a while. As far as elite racing teams is concerned, I have been approached a couple of times but for better or for worse I've always felt a bit of loyalty to Sean. He's basically made me who I am as a runner so I guess I'm just a loyal S.O.B. for better or worse. One team had some pretty sweet deals in my opinion which I won't get into, but I decided to stay with my boy, Sean. Thanks for such a thoughtful question that provoked me into answering in such a long-winded reply!



Gained a Few lbs...

Seriously, every serious runner should have a fat version of themselves. I like fat me. Alot.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Baytown Bud Heat Wave 5 Miler 26:39 (1st Overall)

I had to leave the house quite early. The start time was 7am and I was not familiar with the area or course location. Eventually I found the race location and was able to find a parking spot right next to the starting area. I picked up my packet gathered myself and was ready to start my warm up when I saw Rudy Rocha.

Rudy was a fine runner in his day. When I first picked up running he was on the down swing of some of his faster times. But I believe he was still hitting high 15's low 16's for 5k. So he was someone I was always finishing behind for quite a while. Well Rudy and I had never formally met each other until today. He joined me for my long run and gave me some tips for the course. After all, I was in his backyard and he actually worked at the school that was located at the starting line. He was a very gracious host. He gave me some background on some of his running history which did happen to coincide alot with Sean's history. He had run sub 15 for 5k 33 times. Very beastly if you ask me. He mentioned that back in the day at one of the bigger road 5ks he ran 14:17 and ended up finishing something like 13th. Crazy! Back in the day those guys trained like animals. Well anyway we ended up finishing our 2 mile warm up and started to get ready for the race.

It ended up being a little hot and muggy at start time. Jon Walk had just come back from Hawaii and was announcing the race. He did a great job. He added some course history tidbits such as Sean Wade had the course record at something like 24:19. He also mentioned a couple of our names which was a nice touch. As the start time neared all of the contenders started to appear at the front of the starting line. Junior Mitchell, Vaughn Gibbs, Joe Oviedo, and my boy Carlos Arias (young assasin) were the cast of contenders.

Eventually the gun sounded and we were off. We didn't get out too fast as I believe everyone was a bit hesitant because of the heat and because it was 5 miles. So I took my time and was patient the first mile. Eventually Junior Mitchell overtook me but I thought to myself we can do this, let's relax and enjoy the run. We click off 5:16 for the first mile. The 2nd mile was relaxed and Junior let me take the lead. I didn't really mind because I didn't feel like we were moving terribly fast. We clicked off 5:18 the second mile. The 3rd mile is where I believe Junior sort of fell off the pace a bit but something funny happened during the run when the 2nd Corvette pace car got stuck in a narrow lane because the runners were making the course lane too narrow for it to pass. So I stopped for a little bit to see if he could make his way through. The Corvette pace car signaled for me to go around so that's what I did. This allowed the guys behind me to catch up a little. Eventually the pace car figured it out and overtook me. I finished the 3rd mile in 5:19. Somewhere at the beginning of mile 4 Carlos caught me and really worked to stay with me. I just relaxed and decided to save a little something extra if I needed it at the end of the race. Mile 4 was 5:14. It was during the 5th mile that I started to put some distance on Carlos. I looked back and he wasn't there anymore. Last mile 5:17.

5:16, 5:18, 5:19, 5:14, 5:17 (13.5 extra seconds on the Garmin)

Not a terribly fast time but it just shows I can run pretty comfortably at or near 5:15 pace for 5 miles in hot weather.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Running For Time

Running for time is a great way to set up your training. In most recent running literature they will advise you to run based off of feel so as to not compromise your quality days of training. Running for time naturally fits hand in glove with this sort of advice.

For example last week I was able to run an additional 7 miles for the week in the same alotted time as the previous week. This was not planned. I just felt stronger and I was able to do an extra mile each day in the alotted time. Now if I only ran for a set number of miles I probably would not have got as many miles done but maybe I would have ran them a little quicker than the previous week. I would also have ended up running for a shorter period of time. So answer this question. Is it better to run at a slighlty quicker pace for a shorter period of time or is it better to run for a quicker pace for the same amount of time? Obviously the second choice is the correct choice and this is where running for time can bring quicker improvements over time.

Not only does running for time give you the opportunity to make the most of your improved fitness it also gives you the opportunity to tone it down when needed. Let's say I was worn down from the extra miles put in from the previous week. Naturally I would like to slow down a bit so as to not break down. So I will end up running slower paces but for the same amount of time. This means I will end up running less mileage. But fret not, because the time spent is worth something. This will allow you to recover for the following week and get the same effort of work done. If I were to run the same amount of miles as the previous week but take longer doing them you can see how I could end up still being fatigued for the following week. I am fatigued but I am making myself spend longer amounts of time finishing up a set number of miles. You can see how some people can end up with long patches of stale running.

Obviously, running effectively on a set mile plan is definitely possible. But you must know when to follow the set plan or when to adjust it. In essence, if you are running a set number of miles and you want to spice it up with something different running for time can be a great way to train.

By the way training is going well and I'm making strides each month. Hopefully I can stay injury free and get a pretty long patch of training in. I plan on doing some things in the Fall. I've done 2 races recently and I'll blog about each soon when I get a chance.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fair and Balanced Piece on Barefoot Running

This is a very well written piece on barefoot running. I hear one side saying that barefoot running is the key and the answer to all running problems. It prevents injury, it makes you faster, it makes you stronger. Our ancestors ran barefoot, the Kenyans run barefoot and that's why they are so fast... And so on and so forth. After trying it out and reading numerous articles on the subject I have come to my own conclusion and this article kind of embodies the points I have come up with about barefoot running. I myself use it as only a tool to strengthen my lower legs and work on my form which in turn will make me run faster. But I have not totally embraced barefoot running in my "WHOLE" running routine. The reason for this is you may have to totally start from the beginning in order to be totally comfortable running minimalist or barefoot. This is too much to ask for someone who does 50 miles or more. Without further ado here is the link.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

2011 Impact A Hero 5k - 15:41 (1st Overall)

Loose as a goose from the previous bad race, I was ready to go. I wanted to expel the demons from the last race.This race would be a straight out and back course and completely flat. Even though it was in the warmer part of the year I felt that a fast race could be had. I arrived early and did a 3 mile warm up. During my warm up I thought about the 9 mile progressive run that I had done 2 days earlier where my run had gone down to the 5:20's. I thought to myself, I wasted my race right there! Sure enough my legs agreed as I had trouble running faster than 8:30 pace on the warm up. On my way back I ran into J.P. Machemehl. Sugar Land is his hood and so seeing him here was not a surprise. We both talked about how slow we felt and were basically having a contest about who felt the worst. He said he wasn't going to go out any faster than 5 minute pace and I said if there is nobody but me and him in contention then I won't go out any faster as I really didn't feel up to it. On my way to the starting line I saw fellow Kenyan Way Elite runner Carlos Arias. He, like myself, had a bad experience at the Astros 5k and I'm sure he also wanted to exorcise the demons.

Soon enough we lined up and the gun sounded and we were off. We started out pretty slow as no one really wanted to pick up the pace. the first quarter mile a kid, maybe 8 years old, led the charge. Then a master runner who I'll call "Indio" since that's his nickname led for another quarter mile. We must have been running about 5:17 pace at the time and for the first time in a looong time I felt like a crowd of people (20+) were directly behind us. Then J.P. picked it up a touch and we (Carlos, J.P., and I) quickly separated with the rest of the crowd. J.P. finished the mile in the first position, Carlos second, and me third, 5:08 mile.

During the initial part of the 2nd mile I felt like we were jogging, which was fine with me, because I was slightly averse to feeling pain at the moment. We hit the turn around and that is when J.P. started to pick it up pretty good. Carlos started breathing heavily so I ran ahead and placed myself in a better position behind J.P. After a while I started to feel uncomfortable myself. I started to reach that point in the race where I always ask myself "WHY DO I DO THESE RACES?!" J.P. started to pick it up even more. Then I asked myself the second question I always ask during a race, "WHAT IF I STOPPED RIGHT NOW?!". Inevitably my desire to finish always overrides my desire to quit so I kept going. During this time I also thought to myself J.P. is out in front and I know he feels more comfortable running from the front. I hoped to myself that he doesn't turn the dial up even faster. Second mile 4:59.

The third mile was tough but by now mentally I know the race is almost over and I have less than a mile left. Fortunately for me J.P. didn't turn it up even another notch and I was able to hang on during the 3rd mile. Right before the 3 mile mark is where I pull up along side J.P. and I almost expected him to slow down a little bit because I was hoping he wasn't going to make this a hard last .1 miles. Unfortunately he started pushing so I had to push too. And right at the last moment I broke for it and created some slight separation and ended up nipping him at the finish by 1 second. I jokingly chastised him for making the race so hard as I laid sprawled out on the road. The last mile was 5:03 and the last .1 was 31 secs.

It was a great race. The final time was 15:41 which is my fastest time in about a year and a half. Yes, it's been that long since I've raced this fast. The cool thing is that I did it this summer which bodes well for me hitting 15:30 or better sometime this year. I have to thank J.P. for pushing the pace so hard during the race as without him I probably would have run 16:xx.

Once again it was a great race. I was happy to run in front of true heroes who would sacrifice their lives for our country and who have sacrificed their well being for us. They are true bona fide heroes and they have my utmost respect and appreciation.

Monday, May 30, 2011

2011 Astros Race For The Pennant 5k - 16:15

I arrived at the starting line eagerly anticipating the race. In my mind I believed myself to be in pretty good shape. My workouts were going well. I was not peaked for this race but I felt I would be able to put in a good effort. The only 2 ominous things on the horizon to look out for was Sesar Figueroa and of course the hilly course. If Sesar showed up for the race then I felt that I was in good enough shape to try to hang on to him as long as possible and be pulled to an excellent time. But the hills on the Elysian viaduct were pretty extreme I was told. I wasn't too afraid of this since I had incorporated some hill and leg strengthening training. I ended up seeing Sesar at the starting line and exchanged some pleasantries and prepared for the horn.

It went off and we all ran out with Sesar taking a decisive lead ahead of us. I was in the midst of an unexpected crowd of young guys. I did notice young Carlos Arias, our newest Kenyan Way Elite team member in the mix early. I also noticed a tall blond runner who was running pretty strong. About a quarter mile in we hit the viaduct and head up the hill. We are hitting a pretty aggressive pace and there is a pack of us about 2-5 seconds behind Sesar. We hit half a mile, then a mile at a whacked out 4:50, totally uphill! Can you say insane! I can't really say anything because I was the main instigator in the chase pack, chasing Sesar. I just didn't expect to see such a crowd of guys still in the mix. The tall blonde guy was still in the mix, Carlos, and another shirtless kid all right with or directly behind me. I wasn't breathing hard but everyone around me was. In my mind I felt everyone else was going to die BEFORE I was (Boy was I wrong!).

So as we hit the 1.5 mile mark and headed for the turn around I'm still in second but Sesar has started to pull away a bit. He has about 10 seconds on us and we have slowed to around 5 min pace. Then we head up the hill again. Initially I'm good, just aggressively pushing and then somewhere in the next 45 seconds or so I bonk. I feel the strength quickly leave my legs like a gas tank with a hole in it. I watch as the tall blond guy, the shirtless kid and then another guy eventually pulls away from me. There was nothing I could do. There was no response available. The legs were done. The energy drifting away from me. I had to sit through a 5:15 2nd mile and then a 5:32 3rd mile and finally a 40 second .1 for a final time of 16:15. I was speechless. I couldn't fathom how badly I screwed this race up. I finished 5th.

After the race I caught up with Carlos and a couple of other guys that passed me during that 2nd mile. One of them happened to be the tall blond guy. Turns out we had been acquainted with each other from the past. He told me that he was the guy that finished second to me in the 2010 Houston Rockets Run. I didn't recognize him as he was shorter than me the year before. Turns out he was Craig Nowak. He won the state 5A 1600m as a junior this year! An obvious stud. I complimented him on his great strength as he was able to finish in 15:4x on a tough course, as a high school junior. Remember that name!

As for me, I remained disappointed in my own results. I knew what I did wrong and knew that this course was not a good indication of my current fitness, especially with how I ended up running it. The only thing to do was brush the results aside and forget about it. I had another race in 5 days. An opportunity to redeem myself.

As an aside: Sesar easily ran his own race finishing in 15:09. Another high schooler finished ahead of me, the shirtless kid but I didn't get his name. First time I've been schooled by high schoolers in years. Craig obviously is a stud, the other kid BETTER be a stud!!! Good job by the kids.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Look What I Found: 2009 Space City 10 Miler

This is kind of old but I stumbled across it and I'm sure many of you haven't seen it so why not show it? Sean ended up finishing 2nd in the race. You can actually see a lot of the who's who's of the local running scene. Who knows? You may see yourself. Nice footage that we usually don't get around here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How To Go From a 20 Minute 5k Guy to a 15:30 5k Guy

My wife told me I was an idiot for doing this. She said I should charge money for this kind of advice. But I will do it anyway. I will give away the secrets for a 20 minute guy to be a 15:30 guy. Some of you will hate me for giving away these secrets, but only know that I had nothing but good intentions. So you want a to be a 15:30 5k guy huh? Well first you're going to have to do a little bit of work.

But wait, you don't know much about running except running around as fast as you can for 30 minutes. So that is why you start off by getting a beginner guide to running such as the one provided by Hal Higdon. Pretty simple and cookie cutter and you can't go wrong with that. So you go to the site and notice marathon programs in the beginner, intermediate, and advanced modes. So you pick the beginner level. Marathon training can't be that hard, after all, your brother trained for only a week and finished one.

So you start your training. It's best to have a couple of running buddies in the beginning because a 10 mile run by yourself can get pretty darn boring. After about a month you get yourself down to 8:30 minute pace for 10 miles. You're on your way to being a stud baby! You run your first marathon and finish in less than 4:30 hours but you are cramped up and hurting afterward. Who knew a marathon could be so hard? It's ok because you have got by Stage 1, building your aerobic base.

So you rest up and decide to register for a 5k. Your time can't be that fast because after all you haven't been doing much training since the marathon. But you blast a sub 20 5k and you didn't even think this was possible. It must have been the marathon training. Of course it was!

So this spurs you on to train more. After all if you can break 20 minutes without even training hard what can you do if you actually train? So you just do some random stuff like running quarters on a track as fast as you can. Two quarters a day will suffice. Hmm, that's boring, how about throw in an 800 in there every once in a while. There you go. You are well on your way to being a stud. After all, isn't a 5k about running fast? And what better training than doing a couple 400s and an 800 a couple of times a week for a total of 10 miles a week.

So let's see how your training is going by registering for another 5k. Bam! you break 19 minutes for a 5k! Who would have thought you c0uld do that! I mean, you spent a couple of years running for 30 minutes a day as hard as you could for 5 days a week and couldn't break 20 minutes and now you don't run as much and you are breaking 19 minutes. You are well on your way to being a stud. It is true, speed does kill. Now let's get those 400 times down so we speed up our 5k time. Let's run them harder.

So you keep up your training methodology and you can now consistently run in the low 18's for 5k. You are well on your way. Along the way you join a running group to meet more like-minded individuals and participate in relays and other grand activities. Who woulda thunk it? Running is fun! After another year of running you whittle your time down to sub 17:10 off of 10-15 miles of track work. Basically a few 400s and maybe some 800s and a mile thrown in their some days. But something isn't right. You know you can't go too much farther by farting around and experimentation. Also, you are reading all of this info about how to run faster and you don't understand a lot of it and other things that contradict themselves. You want to be one of the top runners but which methodology do you choose?

This is where you have to choose a local Olympian to guide and ensure your success. After all, they have been down that road before and you will be able to pick their brain. But be forewarned, you may think you are a stud and all but they will probably tell you that you are 25 pounds overweight and your primary goal will be to lose that weight. Take their advice and do everything they say. They will take your rudimentary ideas and mold them into a more advanced training philosophy. They will introduce foreign things to you like hills and long runs. You will be told to increase your mileage on a continual basis. You do some 5ks and you break 17 minutes for 5k and you feel good. You are well on your way to being a stud!

You like what you are doing so far. It's simple you just follow what your local Olympian says. He does the thinking and you do the following and whalaaa, the results come! And they are coming fast and furious. Can you keep up with the pace? But he tells you that you will reach a point where improvement will become harder to achieve. You don't care because you just want to continue on the ride you are currently on. You want more and more so you join his marathon program because you figure that if the marathon made you break 20 minutes before, what will it do for you now?

So you do the long runs. You make some buddies on these runs. You see what they are doing. You look forward to the weekend, not to party or lounge around, but to run and run longer. Surprisingly the runs are getting longer and longer but you don't crater. You continually take on the challenges for that week. Your new friends push the pace, a different guy each week, making the runs all that more exciting. During the week you do your mileage like a faithful servant and keep every commandment. Later on in the year you shock yourself and your coach by running a 16 low at a low key 5k. Wow how could this be? You are closer to the goal. It is attainable and you are well on your way to being a stud!

So you run your marathon. It is difficult but it is much easier the second time around. You break 3 hours and you don't feel totally cooked afterward. The marathon was great but now you want to see what you can really run for 5k and you can't wait. You end up waiting the appropriate amount of time to recover and you break 16 minutes for the 5k. Not only do you break it, you break it in style by running a 15:46. You now start to train with your local Olympian. You are training with the big boys now. Kudos you are well on your way to becoming a stud!

Since the marathon training worked before you decide to train for the marathon again. A few months before your 3rd marathon you run a 15:32! Kudos, you accomplished your goal. You are now a 15:30 guy. Mission accomplished, you are forever in your happy place. You can go home. You are finished because you are now a 15:30 guy. No wait, you aren't really finished. Because that was never really your goal to begin with. Your goal was to see how low you could go. Whether that be 18 flat or 15 flat you don't simply pack up and go home. You run now because it makes your body look the way you want it to look. You run because it makes your body feel how you want it to feel. You run because at the end of your hard work you get to see your results come to fruition. You run because you make good friends for life that respect your work ethic and you respect theirs. So you see, you never were looking for a final result or a destination or a great running time. The fun and fulfilment was always in the journey.

But if it is only the time of 15:30 that you are pursuing then the aforementioned plan will work as advertised but only if you follow it exactly as instructed above.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Garmin 610 Review Link

Have you been thinking about purchasing the new Garmin 610? Here is an IN DEPTH review.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Race of the Day

Don't celebrate early. Take care of the business at hand first. Just win baby. Here is a lesson learned from one of the all time greats. Take a look...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Question About Shoes

What type of flats do you wear, also what type of training shoes do you sport for workouts? thanks.

This is an excellent question that I have been struggling with the past few years. Let me start with what I've been doing the last few years and then what I've been doing recently.

The previous few years I went minimal. The thought was if my shoes were lighter I would be able to move quicker. Pretty simplistic I know, but it was something different to try. I also wanted to build up my calves and the rest of my lower legs and feet. This worked initially as my times continued to drop. But was it the shoes or the training? As my times have begun to stagnate the last few years I began to wonder whether I was beating up my legs a little too much in races because after great starts I would fade big time at the end, no matter what shape I was in. I wore adizero PRs (3oz) for my racing flats and some light weight puma flats(5oz) I won in a race for my speed workouts.

Recently I decided to go another route and do something in between. I picked up some 7oz Brooks Green Silences that I won in a race(to use as my racing shoes). I have had improving results since. I've also started to wear my 9oz Adidas Bostons for my speed work and have been having good results.

So the results of my experimentation is to not get something too heavy or you'll be too slow. Don't get something too light or you'll beat up your legs. What is the correct fit for you? You'll only find that out through experimentation.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tip to Ward Off Injury

Here's a free tip to help you avoid injury. They say starting a weight program will help you prevent running injuries. I'll even go a little bit further and say that if you seem to be having a nagging problem that doesn't seem to go away in a few days then start lifting weights near that problem area. I'll use myself as an example.

Recently I had increased my mileage a little bit and I had also increased my intensity as well. During the following weeks I started to get a little tendinitis and my shins were hurting a bit. I also started to feel a few niggles around the groin area. So what did I do? I started to do calf raises, adductor, and abductor workouts. The problems were gone the next day. Granted, I have a history of lifting in the past so I really didn't have to do much, but the lifting helped nonetheless. You see, your problem areas have supporting muscles and when that problem area gets out of whack then your supporting muscles come to the rescue. I would even go so far as saying that strengthening your legs through a weight program can help ward off stress fractures. When your muscles fatigue your bones pay the price and absorb more than their share of punishement.

So remember, if you start having issues that don't go away after a few days, then think about strenghthening that area. It worked for me and maybe it will work for you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Races and Workouts...

For those of you interested in my progress the past few months here are a few posts to get you up to speed...

  1. 6 Mile Tempo

  2. Texas Lonestar Stampede 5k (14:56)

  3. 6 Mile Tempo

  4. Run For the Arts 5k

  5. Conn's Green 10k (32:41)

That's it for now!

These Old Kicks Are Way Cooler Than Your New Kicks

25 years ago we didn't have the Nike Plus or the Garmin to help tell us how many miles and what pace we ran. We had this...

The Great Astros Game Escape

Word on the street is that he got caught and they made him watch the rest of the game.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

6 Mile Tempo

A hot muggy day but I still managed to do well. I ran with the Wade and we didn't quite manage to run as fast today because of the weather. Sean only managed to do about 4.5 miles before he reaggravated his Achilles and had to drop out. I managed to finish the workout in 33:02 which is about a 5:30 pace. If I can do this in this type of weather then things are looking good.

The only unfortunate thing is Sean injuring his Achilles again. I sense his frustration. This has been the only thing holding him back these past months. If he can get any consistent training, any at all, he would be right near the top again. Especially at 10k and above.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Texas Lonestar Stampede 5k 14:56 (2nd Overall)

I had a lot of fun at this race. Some Kenyans came down from out of town and I got to race with them for a mile and a half until they put on the jets. There was a 5k and a 10k and so there was a Kenyan registered for each. Once the horn sounded we took off.

There was the 2 Kenyans and an unfamiliar face (Matt Russell, USA triathlete, ex steepler) at the front. Matt looked confident and took it out to the front. A high schooler who I have been seeing at the last few races Carlos Arias was right behind them and then me. We were all tightly bunched together. The first mile was pedestrian (for Kenyans), about 5 minutes. I was a little shocked it was so slow. I mean, we have local guys here, including myself that take it out faster than that the first mile. Evidently the Kenyans were toying around for about another half a mile and then started to accelerate to about 4:45 pace. By then Matt dropped off, and shortly after that Carlos dropped back. I hung on for a little longer but slowly but surely they put about 15 seconds on me for the second mile.

The third mile I was by myself for a while but I could still see the Kenyans in front of me. I ran as hard as I could but I wasn't hurting too bad which was shocking. I then started to hear some foot steps and hard breathing behind me. I though it was Carlos. As we headed toward the last .1 I had finished my last mile in 4:52 but the guy behind me was gaining on me. I looked back and it was Matt Russell. Somehow he got his second wind and was trying to track me down. I waited and looked back and he had put on the jets sensing weakness. Fortunately I had plenty of sprint left and regained some of the lead I had lost and ended up finishing 3 seconds ahead. The time was awesome as I finished in 14:56. Matt finished in 14:59 and the top Kenyan, Kiplagat finished in 14:31.

The Garmin says it was 3 miles but whatever. It was a road race and these things happen. It was a USATF certified course but it must have been closer to 3 miles than 3.1. Whatever the real length of the course was, it doesn't matter because I'm in pretty good shape.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

6 Mile Tempo (First Workout Outside in 7 months)

It was a great morning. I ran the workout with Sean who is coming back from Achilles issues. He was only supposed to hang for 4 miles but he ended up finishing up with me. It was an amazing workout for me, the fastest ever tempo for 6 miles. We finished up at 5:26 pace with 32:38. It feels good to ace a tempo for once since it's my Achilles heel.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Run For The Arts 16:07 1st Overall

Nothing much to write about here. It was a humid. The temperature was about 75 degrees and the dewpoint was 70 degrees. I ended winning the race by about a minute. The splits were:
5:10, 5:14, 5:03 for the 3 miles. About the only thing encouraging for the race was the negative split on the last mile.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Conn's Green 6.2 (10k) 32:41 (2nd Overall)

I decided to go out for this race because there was a bike on the line. I didn't think there would be any other threats out there but I was wrong. Sesar showed up and so it ended up as a race for second. A high schooler Carlos Arias ran real well for the first 3 miles and then faded a bit. He's got heart. I sort of cruised right along and treated it as a workout. Normally this would be considered my PR but there is some question about the course length. Even though it was a certified course my Garmin and others read it as short. I asked Sesar and he didn't have it as being short. He ended up running 30:3x something. It's just him and then everyone else.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bellaire Trolley 5k 2011 1st Overall 15:53

You'll have to pardon my awful formatting. My normal blog editor is MIA so I'm manually editing my posts in HTML, which is awesome. (sarcasm)

I was definitely looking forward to this race as it is definitely one of the fastest 5k courses in the area. The past few times I had been in the race the weather was perfect and this contributed to some pretty fast times. I was unable to race this event last year due to dead legs from the marathon

This time I brought my family along. We arrived early and I noticed that there was a kids mile race and asked my son if he wanted to do it. Of course he said yes, and proceeded to run 8:03 for the mile. Not bad for 6, but I think we're going to keep him down at the sprints :-)

The weather was a little humid which is something I've never experienced on this course. I was told Colin Carroll was there but I was less concerned about racing and more concerned about getting a fast time in the books. Around 8:00 the gun went off and we took off. The first mile I was all by my lonesome. I went out at 4:59 with the goal of being sub 5. This was accomplished without too much effort. The problem arose at about 1.5 miles in. I noticed my pace was fading pretty badly with the same perceived effort. I tried to increase my effort level a bit but I knew it wasn't going to happen on this day. So I accepted fate and cruised right along until the last .1 when I became aware that I still had a chance at a sub 16 5k. I finished the last .1 in 24 seconds showing that I still had a bit of spring in the legs. The final time was 15:53. Not bad, but nothing special either. About par for the course. I was able to get my 2nd win of the year which is always a good thing and I'll take it. I have plenty of speed in the legs but it seems I need a good old fashioned boost in mileage to keep me going later on in races. I'm in luck because that's what I have planned.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Interesting Article About Early Vs. Late Specialization And Children

I came across an interesting article today that I will be keeping tabs on...

My view is that raw talent plays a HUGE role in determining whether you become elite (World Class) rather than near-elite. Many of us have been taught that putting in the hours and years of training can get you where you need to go. But the truth is when you have raw talent, you get moved to the front of the line. There have been many instances where people had late starts in life but were still able to be world class in a short time. Of course training plays a bigger role in some fields more than others. But I do believe running is one of those sports where the talent rule applies.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ran Into John Salley Today at Lunch

For those unaware, Salley was nicknamed The Spider. He was known for his defense and great sense of humor. He was on the great Detroit Pistons teams of the late 80's early 90's that used to give Michael Jordan fits. Here he was during lunch shopping at Whole Foods. Currently he is a TV and radio personality. He was gracious enough to take a picture with yours truly. He is obviously down here for the NCAA Championship game.

Kind of reminds me of my Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon sighting a while back.The Dream

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hey Guys...

(WARNING: Stream of consciousness post coming)

I'm so so so sorry for not posting for soooo long but I figured the sheer quantity of my posts sort of cheapened my experiences. So I decided to save only the best for the blog. Not really. I just sort of got caught up in my own life and sort of drifted away. Here is a sort of a recap of what has happened.

After I raced the 2010 Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure, everything pretty much went downhill. I had run my fastest times ever in training with Luis and Sean and was expecting some breakthroughs. They never really came. What did come was soreness and fatigue in the legs. During this period my right leg pretty much felt like it was going to fall off. I felt this discomfort at all times and in multiple places in my leg. Looking back on it I realize I had pretty much peaked out before the Komen race but I had still been pushing as if I had fresh legs. After a while came the realization that I needed some rest. So I rested for a couple of weeks. I took several days off and pretty much tried to recharge my batteries. Then the Park to Park 5 miler came calling. So I raced it. I was expecting to be the only guy to show up since everyone I knew was tied up with other obligations on that day. I knew I wasn't in very good shape but figured I had a good chance of winning anyway. But some Rice University kids showed up and pretty much went 1-2 by over 30 seconds on me. I never really challenged or put myself in the race. And that was that. That was my last race for about 4 months. I just decided you know what? I'm going to hang out with the family for a while.

My son started a basketball league and he was pretty good! I ended up assisting with coaching duties and enjoyed watching him do his thing. I had much joy during this time. He had his own time to shine in my eyes.

After about a month of doing nothing I got a little fidgety. I decided I couldn't and I wouldn't lose the fitness I had gained after all of these years. You know what? I'll do swimming! I had heard about all of the cardiovascular benefits of swimming. Perfect. So I became a swimmer. I bought all of the accessories, the goggles, the cap, and I started to swim. I did laps for about an hour. Eventually I became proficient, not necessarily fast. I started to enjoy my time in the water, the different setting, the lack of aches and soreness associated with running. But soon after that, the accumulation started to wear on me. First, I started to get headaches. These headaches would follow me all day and then go away. After a while I would have these headaches all week! I didn't want to stop swimming. So I thought of different things I could do to mitigate or prevent them. But then I started to get eczema from the daily chlorine I was taking in. I researched and I found out that I probably had to put Vaseline or something to that effect before I swam and then shower down pretty hard to get rid of the chlorine. So then I decided I wasn't a swimmer.

So I decided I wanted to rekindle my basketball skills of youth. So I enrolled at the local YMCA and started to go the basketball gym each morning and just shoot the basketball for about an hour. I was usually the only one there. So I would click the Pandora app on my iPhone, hook my speakers to my iPhone, blast some loud techno that you would hear at the NBA games and shoot. It was always a meditative experience. I became pretty good at shooting the ball. I also did some of the drills we did in high school. It was fun. Did I ever play a pickup game? No. I did this for about a month and a half.

During all of this time (about 2 months) I had done no running, but other things started happening in my life. For instance my wife and I won a trip to Cozumel and had our wedding vows renewed on the radio (Sunny 99.1). These were good times. But there was one thing that I couldn't "run" away from.

It was "running". The first month off from running I didn't really gain any weight. But during the second month I managed to gain about 7 pounds. This was mostly due to the fact that I continued to eat as if I had still been running. Each day my desire to just do some leisurely running started to grow a bit. But it was still a little too cold for my taste at this time. Over the years I've grown tired of the rain, heat, and cold weather. It had beaten me down mentally and physically. So I started running on the treadmill at the gym. Believe me when I tell you that this was torture and was something I didn't think I would be able to do over the long haul. But the cold weather just kept me indoors and I slowly but surely built up a mental tolerance to the boredom and the heat generated from treadmill running. Trust me, you "ain't" getting a breeze when you are treadmill running. Eventually I had built up to a small amount of miles, say 40-45. My fitness was somewhat respectable. It wasn't where I'd like it to be, but I felt I wouldn't embarrass myself in a race. So I eventually registered for the Rodeo Run 10k.

I love this race and I figured I needed to get a gauge of where I was at physically so I could construct some workouts. Basically I needed some feedback. This race provided me with that as I exceeded Sean's expectations when I ran 33:59. Not that great a time but I actually felt decent the first 2 miles (around 10 minutes) and eventually the humidity and the gradual hills were too much for me at this time and I cratered pretty hard and finished 7th.

The very next week I ran another 10k (Pearland Lupus Run?). There were plane tickets involved so I felt obliged to make a go at it, even in my questionable state. A local Kenyan whose name escapes me at the moment ended up winning it pretty easily although I helped him a tiny bit by losing my way for 60-90 seconds. The course was also only 6 miles long and I finished in 33 minutes flat. The weather was perfect and I ran most of the miles pretty quickly and I was feeling a lot more confidence in my fitness so I decided to register for the Bayou City Classic.

The Bayou City Classic went pretty well. There were PLENTY of good runners on call for this race. So I would have plenty of guys to pull or push me along. So that's what I did. I tucked in with Luis Armenteros and company for the first 3.5 miles and averaged about 5:09 pace. I faded predictably the rest of the way because of the hills and my questionable endurance. I finished about 4 seconds off of my PR with a 32:52 (5:17 pace) and 8th place. That was 3 10ks in a row! Before I would only run at the most, 2 10ks in a year. For me to have the ability to be able to complete these races in consecutive weeks and actually improve told me that I had actually had gotten stronger, and this off of 45-50 miles on a treadmill. I had gone 4 months without running outside!

I then had a week of training and then just last week I ran the Eickenburg Law Week 8k. Not a very impressive race time-wise but it had turned tactical when I felt early on that I was not feeling like pushing for this race. Jose Lara and Colin Carroll gave me a run for my money but I ended up squeezing out my first win of the year at the wire in 26:45.

So this is where I stand right now. I am a treadmill runner. I run about 50 miles a week. I train indoors. Then I race outdoors. Pretty simple and that's the way it's going to be for a while. Till I get bored and decide to change it up a bit.