Sunday, July 31, 2005

Orlando, FL

I think I did my final running workout in preparation for the Half. I ran 30 minutes under the Florida sun Saturday morning around 9 AM. It was hot, it was humid and it was hard to run after only getting about 4 hours of sleep two nights ago and about 6 hours the night before. The right edge of the right knee is bothering me on and off with faint pain reminding me that it is not fully healed. Oh well...

Today, I discovered a lap lane built into the resort's massive pool. It appears to be a 25 meter length one so after lunch, I did laps for about 30 minutes.

This afternoon, the sky opened up and rained for about an hour and half. So we watched a Korean movie titled, "Marathon." It was an inspiring story about a 20 years old autistic man who runs a marathon. It was very inspiring and a sad story. Anyway, he ran his first marathon in 2 hours 58 minutes. Yay!

Tomorrow, I think we are going to the MGM Studios. Lots of walking.

Later dudes!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Calm before the run

We're off to Florida for vacation and to meet up with some old friends from college and just hang out. Our itinerary has us going to Orlando, Miami and Key West. I'm going to take the laptop with me but no telling how often I'll be able to update the blog. One of my friend who will be coming down from Milwaukee is a Gulf war veteran, Lt.Col. Kenneth Lee. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star for taking serious car bomb shrapnels. Ironically, he was the commander of the Army medical battalion at the time of the incident. I'll try to get his story during the next few days.

In the meantime, I was able to put in a quick 5K run this morning. 28 minutes. (Amazing how I now think 5K's are a little run. I used to barely finish running this distance just last year...)

Half Marathon is now only 9 days away!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

By Kiran's request, here is the front view of the Alamo. Posted by Picasa

Photo from the Alamo, San Antonio, TX. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 24, 2005

After the long run Saturday morning, Fran surprises the family by baking us Paella for dinner! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 23, 2005

11 Miles

I stumbled out of bed this morning around 6 AM for what else? Running! Yea! Woo Hoo!!!

Here are my stats for today's LSD run:

Mile 1: 9.07
Mile 2: 9.27
Mile 3: 9.43
Mile 4: 10.31
Mile 5: 10:31
Mile 6: 9.44
Mile 7: 11:32
Mile 8 11:04
Mile 9: 9.47
Mile 10: 11:35
Mile 11: 13:46

Average speed: 10:37

Total time: 1 hour 56 minutes.

I walked a lot during the last mile as you can see by the time. I drank 24 oz of water during the run and two gel packs of Carb Boom! After the race, I had a 20 oz Gatorade and 40 oz of water. I think I'm still thirsty. Hydration management is going to be key during my half marathon. I think I can run all the way barring any joint problems. The reason I quit after 11 miles was that my left pelvic socket started to hurt and that must have changed my gait because my left knee started to hurt also. No problem with the right knee. I'm going to run 3 more 5K runs between now and the race and basically take it easy.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Ahhhhh.... Another great picture of cotton clouds floating by ever so peacefully. Posted by Picasa

Ft. Worth, TX

Downtown Ft. Worth, TX

I had to go to Ft. Worth today to check out a manufacturing plant. So boring when I have other very important things to ponder... such as.... a Half Marathon!

Only 2 weeks left before the Chicago Distance Classic. Am I ready? I don't think so. I'm going to try and run 12 miles tomorrow morning. I'll feel better if I complete that run without too much fuss. What if I choke? What if the knee buckles? What if I twist my ankle? What if I just can't finish? What if the flight gets cancelled? What if I'm sick? What if? What if? What if? Is this anxiety normal? This is definitely a little different from running a 5K race.

I am Sam, Sam I am...

About 6:30 AM, on I-45, en route to Ft. Worth with a co-worker.

I didn't realize this before but apparently, this is the biggest statue of a person in the world. Is this true? Can someone else confirm that? If so, is it because everything is just BIGGER in Texas?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

No, no, no, no! I said, look to the LEFT! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

'Cause I'm leaving...on a jet plane...don't know when I'll be back again.... Posted by Picasa

CO 343 TUL - IAH (on a Boeing 737-500)

Boeing 737-500 taxiing in IAH.

Have you ever witnessed couple of passengers having the same seat number on a full flight? I have. It happened to me today. I had seat 23F today which puts it third row from the back of the plane. It is a window seat. Being a "Silver Elite" (which is obviously the lowest ranking "frequent flyer" in the Continental Airline's world) I bolted for the plane as soon as the gate agent opened the doors. This way, I could ensure that my carry on bag would find a space on the overhead compartment. So I was second person on the plane. As I was settling in and reading the USA Today, some dude comes up to me and says, "Sir, is that your seat?" Well, duh my rear end is positioned over it so I guess it is.... Anyway, we both did have 23F. Since I sat down first, I wasn't about to give it up. So we called a flight attendant and asked her to referee our seat. She went to the front of the plane and disappeared. It was probably 5 minutes to departure time, the plane was almost all settled in, there was an announcement over the P.A. stating that this was a full flight. I'm thinking, "Too bad fella." Finally, same flight attendant comes back, looks at me and motions to the front of the plane. At this point, my mind is racing, why does she want me to get off the plane? I was here first. When is the next flight to Houston? I think it is 11 AM. What the heck am I going to do for another 3 hours? I was planning to play hookie all day today but not here in Tulsa! Should I make a scene? Would that get me arrested? "Sir, 1F. I want you to go to 1F!" Huh? Oh, 1F, sure. I'm cool.

So I went to the front of the plane, passed the force field that separates the first and the coach cabin and settled into my sumptuous leather seat and thought, "Leg room, there is leg room up"

Oh yeah, I did go to the gym tonight, worked on strengthening the upper body and stretching. I have become much more flexible than I was a few months ago, meaning that I can now touch my toes... LOL!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK

I got up around 6 AM today and found myself at the Mohawk Park for a morning run. Despite 80 degree temperature and the morning sun bearing down on me, I was able to get in a good relaxing 40 minute run. After not running this weekend, it felt really good to be running. I think I maintained a 10 minute per mile pace and my heart rate at the end of the run was 156. Hopefully, after some glutinous dinner at Spudders the night before, I was able to burn off some needed calories. Tomorrow morning, I need to catch an 8 O'clock morning flight back to Houston. Despite the early arrival time in Houston, I am planning to play hookie for the rest of the day. Yay!

Monday, July 18, 2005

IAH - TUL Chaos and Mayhem at Terminal B

Photo of a COEX (Continental Express) ERJ 145. Check out the yellow air conditioning duct on the belly of the plane that dAVE sometimes mentions in his blog, "Flight Level 390." I was on a similar plane for my flight to Tulsa. Photo taken from seat 8A, CO2329.

Apparently, we had some bad weather around the country on Sunday. I had a 6 PM flight out of IAH (Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston) to go to Tulsa. On the way to the airport, I received an email from Continental informing me that the flight was delayed. Once I got to the airport and passed through the security, I noticed that the terminal resembled a refugee zone. There were folks all over the place. Some sleeping on the floor, some watching DVD's on the floor, some talking on the phone, some eating, some annoyed, I even came across some Asian folks who apparently lost their passport and were talking to the police. After much people watching, my flight eventually left around 9 PM. Due to the delay, I had the opportunity to try Chili's Boneless Buffalo Chicken salad with a cool plastic bottled Bud Light.

BTW, LSD run this morning did not happen. I woke up with a sore throat and decided to sleep in. With 3 weeks to go, I'm now starting to worry about conditioning.

XT Saturday Morning

Got up 6 AM Saturday morning. After checking the weather outside, (it was dry!) Fran and I got on our bikes and pedaled over to the Y. Then I went for a 30 minutes of lap swimming while Fran got on the treadmill for a 30 minute run/walk intervals. After a quick shower, we pedaled home. So that translated to 30 minutes bike, 30 minutes work out at the Y and another 30 minutes of bike. Overall a good cross training exercise. The workout must have been tiring, 'cause I had to take a quicky nap not too long after getting home.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Not much to report today. I've scheduled a day off to rest the weary legs for an LSD run this weekend. Also, I'm feeling a little pain on the right edge of the right knee. The same ligament that gave me problems during the last 10 mile run. We'll see how that problem works itself out.

Weight: Aside from the distances I'm building up, I have also been working on lowering my weight. As of this morning, I am now 176 lbs. This is very good news for me. I started the new year at 198 lbs. My goal for running the half marathon was 175 lbs. I think 175 lbs is a good weight level for a 6 footer with a medium build. My Austrian friend has been instrumental in helping me lose the weight. Eating right and just concentrating on burning more calories than consuming them has been the simple formula that the Austrian taught me.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

79 degrees and HUMID!

Holy cow, was it humid this morning in the Woodlands. It was tough going on my regular 5K run today. Compounding this issue was weight workout last night. On top of that, I had about 10 minutes of extra time left so I went on the elliptical machine and gave my quads a workout. This all sounds like an excuse for a slow time doesn't it? Today's numbers:

Total Distance: 3.1 Miles.
Time: 27:51

Mile 1: 9:27
Mile 2: 8:55
Mile 3: 8:38
O.1 Mile: 0:51

So I'm still negative splitting but slower. The sweat was pouring today.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Wine for runners

Occasionally, Fran will buy interesting food or drink. In this case, it was Korean Rice wine. Since it it made from rice, I'm sure it is just loaded with carbs. So tonight we had Korean style flame broiled ribs (Kalbi) with lettuce wraps and the rice wine you see on the right. Yum!

5K run

Tuesday morning run. I got out of the house at 5:30 this morning. One block into the run, it was so dark that I had to check to see if it was 4:30 or 5:30. I was a nice slightly up tempo run. I clocked in at 27:40 which is 51 seconds behind PR. Here is the break down.

Mile 1: 9:19
Mile 2: 8:52
Mile 3: 8:38
0.1 Mile: 0.52

After positive splitting at the Run The Woodlands race last Saturday, I got my negative splits back. It was a little humid this morning. I noticed window condensation on the houses during the run so I figure it must have been 80% plus maybe.

I didn't get a chance to lace up the new shoes so I ran with my older pair.

Monday, July 11, 2005

My chariot for the Chicago Distance Classic

When I came home tonight, the running shoes I ordered from Kelly's Running Warehouse was waiting for me at the front door. This is the first running shoes I bought through the web. I had bought a pair of 10.5 D Asics GT-2100 from Luke's Locker in the spring. They have been the best shoes I've tried so far. The only problem I have encountered with them have been in LSD runs. During the long runs, my feet seem to swell up enough to bother the pinkie toe. The small toes seem to get squashed enough to cause blisters. So, I ordered 10.5 EE. Hopefully, that little extra width will alleviate that problem. I now have just under a month to break them in. I found Kelly's Running Warehouse on the back of Runner's World magazine. Their website is:

Just another manic Monday

For whatever reason, getting any workout done on Mondays are tough for me. I had the alarm set for 5 AM today, I actually was up at that time but yet, there was no desire to go to the gym. So I packed the gym bag and put it in the trunk. Perhaps I'll go over to the Y after work. In the meantime, here is a nice stress free picture of clouds floating by in their own carefree ways.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Marathon of a different kind

I followed (I think dragged is much more accurate but I digress) Fran to an auction at a model home near my house. I was amazed at the speed in which items were auctioned off. I had a list given to me by my wife with a do not go over figure and off I went bidding. I was sort of nervous and bid on this chair against myself once. He he, the auctioneer told me, "Sir, you're still the highest bidder, are you sure you want to bid again?" Anyway, we got the chair. It kind of looks good in our living room. I don't know whether it was a bargain or not but the process was fun. It was a non-stop marathon auctioning that lasted about 2 and half hours.

An artificial flower in bamboo. Going once, going twice....Sold!

Anyway, this auction had a connection to a running event. Fran woke me up this morning around 6 AM and asked if I wanted to go for a walk. I asked her if she wanted to do a 1/1 (1 minute walk, 1 minute run). She's a non-runner so I figured the 1/1 would not intimidate her. She agreed and off we went. As we were meandering through the neighborhood, we came upon a model home with a sign out front that advertised an auction at 3 PM. So that is how we ended up buying these two items. We ended up run/walking for 30 minutes.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

T-316 Stainless Steel

For me, the coolest part about Star Trek: The Next Generation is the holodeck. How cool would it be to be in any story both written and one made up by you and actually live in it? And when ever the crew wants to leave the holodeck, all they have to say is, "Computer, arch!" Any way, in honor of Star Trek, I thought I'd post a picture of a real Arch.

I've been told that the Gateway Arch is covered with T-316 Stainless Steel plate. I think the current price of that steel is about $2.40/lb.

Run the Woodlands 5K

I met up with Jeff this morning to race in the bi-monthly "Run The Woodlands 5K." (I'm in white shirt, red short, Jeff is running next to me - photo courtesy of RTW) My goal was to set another P.R. Jeff ran with me even though my pace was a little slower than his. Anyway, PR did not happen. I finished it in 27:06. Here is the breakdown:

Mile 1: 7:57
Mile 2: 8:53
Mile 3: 9:17
0.1 M: 0:57

Obviously the splits were going the wrong way. I pushed too hard during mile one and could not hold on to that pace. The weather was hot, in the 80's with high humidity. Legs were also a little heavy from yesterday's run. Regardless, 27:06 is still a PR for race conditions. I will attempt again in 2 weeks to break 26:49. In the meantime, I must get in another LSD run next Saturday.

If you wish to participate in the 5K race, check out the website, the entry fee is $1. Extensive statistical data is compiled by Jon Walk so it is really neat. You can track your progress from race to race. If you are further interested, also check out Jon's blog,, there are a lot of useful running information on his site.

Friday, July 08, 2005

June 2005, visiting my Alma Mater, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Allison and Alex was curious where I attended college. So we stopped by when we were visiting Chicago earlier last month. I graduated in 1988, so that was like 17 years ago. Wow.... Posted by Picasa

First run since the 10 miler

We finally had a decent rainstorm last night. Despite regular watering, the lawn was succumbing to the dry hot weather we experienced in June. So it was great. The other great thing was that the temperature dropped to the 70's in the early evening and stayed there.

This morning, I managed to get up early enough to go for a 5K run at 5:30 AM. This was my first run since the Monday 10 miler and I was anxious to find out whether my ligaments around the knees had healed or not. Well, the knees didn't hurt, but I could still tell that the muscles were still tired. Stretching after the run told me that all of the leg muscles I stretched were a little more tense than usual. The best part? It felt great to be running. I'm supposed to meet Jeff for tomorrow morning's "Run The Woodlands 5K." I hope I can set another PR.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Into the storm. On I-45 northbound to The Woodlands at around 6 PM. Temperature dropped from 100 to 76 in matter of minutes. It was a welcoming rain after 6 weeks of draught. Posted by Picasa

Yet another senseless barbarism. My heart aches for thee, Britannia. Posted by Picasa

Boating and swimming in Lake Conroe with friends and neighbors after running 10 miles on the 4th of July, 2005. BTW, the beer went down really well that day. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ahhh, nice refreshing photo of a waterfall. Again, from the Chicago Botanical Gardens. Wouldn't it be nice to jump in there after a long run in Houston summer? Posted by Picasa

This picture has nothing to do with running. But we should all stop once in a while and take in the beauty that surrounds us. Taken from the Chicago Botanical Gardens, 4th of July weekend, 2005. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

An overuse problem

It appears that I have only been suffering from an overuse problem. The pain has subsided and I only feel it coming down a flight of stairs. I figured there would be swelling if it was a knee joint problem. So, I'm thinking XT with Cybex and lap swim tomorrow evening at the good ole' Y. For a moment there, I thought my ChiRunning was failing me.

10 Miles & counting

Monday morning's attempt at the 10 mile distance ended very well. Hydrating the day before the run seemed to have made a dramatic difference in endurance. Starting the run at 5:30 AM also helped. I tried to maintain a 10 minute per mile pace through the race. Actual results were:

Mile 1: 10:02
Mile 2: 10:28
Mile 3: 10:28
Mile 4: 10:46
Mile 5: 10:27
Mile 6: 10:10
Mile 7: 10:46
Mile 8: 10:31
Mile 9: 11:04
Mile 10: 9:48

During mile 9, I started to notice that the outside rear part of the right knee started to hurt. The pain got progressively worse and I decided to run the last mile a little faster which seemed to alleviate some of the pain. After the run, I did ice the knees for about 15 minutes. I did not notice any swelling in the knees. The pain was most pronounced when I walked down a flight of stairs. When walking down the stairs, I could feel the pain localized to the outer edges of the knee. I'm thinking this is an inflammation of some ligaments. I think I'll take a couple of days off and see what happens.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Trying hard to slow down a bit

Like many runners training for a long distance race, I have a mentor. In fact, I have 2 mentors. Mike is an Austrian Ironman. In fact, he is the only Austrian I know besides Arnold the Terminator. I've only seen Arnold in movie theaters so Mike is it as far as Austrians go. Anyway, Mike talks exactly like Arnold which is way cool. I keep wanting to ask him to say, "I'll be back..." But my adult sensibilities have always intervened to date. Mike has finished about 10 ironman events in the past 10 years, he has ran more marathons than he cares to remember. My other mentor is Jeff. Jeff had led a very sedentary lifestyle for the first 40 years of his life. He was overweight, went to work and then straight to his favorite couch at home. He had a life altering event when his father had a heart attack. He started running to lose weight about 5 years ago. One thing led to another and now, he has finished one marathon, about a dozen half marathons and countless 5K and 10K races.

When I announced to them that I was going to participate in the Chicago Distance Classic this coming August, both were concerned that I was pushing my luck. "Too fast, you should let your body build up much more gradually, perhaps a half marathon in January." Since I am too impatient and goal oriented, I ignored that advise.

Anyway, I have been steadily building my long distance over the past 6 weeks and concurrently lowering my 5K times. Well, after the back to back P.R.'s in the 5K and my continual increase in distance during the weekend, both Mike and Jeff came by my office yesterday to tell me that I am heading straight into a running injury territory. That I should slow down, enjoy the scenery and be content with slower progress. That it will be miserable if I am sidelined by an injury that will prevent me from running. I am sure my mentors are correct. I do need to slow down. Especially now that I've had this slight pain in my lower right back that refuses to go away. I've had it for a week now and it is not that bad except I do need to take an Aleve in the morning to take the edge off the pain. It is the dull kind.

I slept in this morning instead of going to the Y to work out on the Cybex machines. That was my compromise. But just in case I have time this evening, I packed my gym bag.

I will try to take it easy this weekend. It is a holiday weekend afterall. I promise only to do the 10 miler this Sunday morning.