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.


Priscilla said...

Glad you are back. I started on the treadmill and always had the best results with speed when I trained indoors and raced on the road. It does get boring but it is great for mental toughness and makes racing outside seem easier. Best of luck with your training.

JunieB said...

THANK God you posted something!!! :O)

Interesting...veeeeeeeeeerrrry interesting! I love all the different things you did along the way.

I wonder tho...will I ever see that face in person again??? :O( I sure hope so!!!

Bill Blancett said...


I think I have to agree with you on the speed part. It seems to be pretty easy to get the turnover going on the treadmill. I'm also having an easier time recovering from the workouts as well. Only time will tell as far as racing goes. I hope you're right.


You'll definitely see me. I'm racing the Bellaire Trolley this Saturday.