Thursday, September 29, 2005

Running in the dark

The Woodlands have been experiencing rolling blackouts since the end of the storm. I believe this is due to reduced transmission capacity coupled with record heat for the area causing a severe strain on the electric grid. I’m glad to have electricity so no complaints. It did make last night’s run very interesting though. Due to the heat, I decided to go out for a run around sunset. I finally left the house around 7:45 PM for a 3 mile run. I noticed right away how dark the streets were. I’ve ran many times in the dark but I did not realize what DARK really was until last night. Without streetlights and stray lights from houses, things get REALLY DARK. Fortunately, it was a cloudy night and the Houston city lights illuminated the clouds to the south faintly. With that cloudy illumination, I was able to make out the path I was running on. Unfortunately, it was still very hot and humid.

Mile 1: 9:01
Mile 2: 9:17
Mile 3: 9:26
0.1 Mile: 0:45

Total: 28:30

I was concentrating on not running into solid objects to worry too much about my pace.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Trying for normalcy

As the 10 miler looms, I am getting lazier.... hmm. I attempted a run Sunday late afternoon in that blazing heat and came up short. After posting 9:05 for the 1st mile, I slowed to a walk around mile 1.5 and walked rest of the way home. It was hot, I was tired and apparently very dehydrated. Oh well.

Feeling guilty about this apparent failure to complete a 3 mile run, I went to the Y on Monday evening around 6PM (we were out of power between 2PM and 6PM) to do some weight training. After that, I hit the pool for 30 minutes of lap swimming. I thought maybe I could get out for a run on Tuesday (today) but I was totally pooped. I couldn't get out of bed for the morning run and after work, I had zero energy for any kind of exercise. All this with the 10 miler coming up this Sunday.

I need to snap out of this doldrum. I must run tomorrow.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Back Home

We left Tulsa yesterday morning. We decided to skirt the storm by driving southwest towards Waco. Then looped back to the Woodlands through back roads. The roads were not that crowded. Gas was available at most places. We saw many tanker trucks heading towards Houston. We also saw about 20 electric utility trucks from Toledo Edison of Ohio heading into harms way. We arrived home around 10 PM and found my neighbors having a post hurricane block party. Lots of small branches all over the neighborhood. Other than that, everything looked fine. Thank Goodness. I hope to get back to normalcy as soon as possible. Kid's school is closed through Tuesday. I need to check to see when my work is going to open back up.

I need to get back to my running also. I did sign up to run the Space City 10 Miler next weekend.

I hope everyone else is finding their life getting back to normal.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Evacuation

Well, we made it. After hearing from Montgomery County official's recommendations for evacuation, we packed our Minivan to the hilt with family albums, camcorder tapes, insurance paperwork, 3 days worth of water, 4 days worth of clothing, 3 days worth of dry food, credit cards, $300 cash, full tank of gas, Garmin Street Pilot 2620 GPS unit, 2 State Farm atlases, 2 fully charged cell phones, all contact information, 2 sleeping bags, couple of blankets and my trusty Dell laptop, we took off at 10 AM.

We left through FM 1488 as I-45 was a total parking lot at that hour. This was not any better. From there, we turned north on 1774. We only made 26 miles for the first 6 hours. Temp. gauge in the car read 105 ~ 108 through that ordeal. I was very worried about dwindling gas in our van but also about the car overheating. By the time we passed rt. 105, we only had half tank left. We were seriously debating whether we should head back home and fend for ourselves. Apparently, some folks were making that decision as I saw many cars make a U turn.

We decided to press on and hoped to find gas further north. Well, we passed agonizingly slowly by several gas stations which were all out of gas. We reached Manville or Mansfield, and had to get out to go to the bathroom at a gas station that did not have gas. I struck up a conversation with a local guy who told me that further west from where we were standing, there was a gas station that was rationing gas so we could go over there and get some. We hurried over and sure enough, a gas station owner was pumping the gas himself and rationing folks to 18 gallons. We finally topped off and kept heading north. By the time we reached Corsicana, it was getting dark and then decided to join the folks on I-45. By then, the contraflow had reached beyond this point and traffic was moving slowly. Eventually, by the time we reached the outskirts of Dallas, traffic started to flow normally.

We pressed on to Tulsa, only because that was the only place we could get a hotel room of any kind. We arrived here around 3:30 AM and crashed.

Things I noticed:

There are still a lot of good people in America. We saw churches offering bathrooms along the route. We saw fire stations offering free cold water and bathrooms to us. Mostly, people were very courteous and considerate to fellow drivers and followed the rules of the road very well.

Now, all we can do is watch. I've been glued to Fox News. I hope all of you are safe.

We are contemplating how to get back now as the storm is supposed to linger in the north east quadrant of Texas. We might have to drive far west before we head south and eventually south east to Houston. Dallas is expected to get about 15 to 20 inches of rain. I doubt I can drive through that.

Adventure continues.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

To evacuate or not to evacuate

Half of my neighborhood has decided to stay. No windows are being boarded up. Kids are playing outside like it is Friday afternoon. School has been cancelled for Thursday and Friday. There is no bottled water anywhere in The Woodlands. Gas is scarce, in fact, some places ran out last night. We bought some duct tape and hoarded all the candles we could find in the house. Both cars are gassed up and ready to roll.

I have 2 hotel reservations right now. One in Dallas and one in Tulsa, OK.

The most important question right now is: Would it be appropriate to run 3 miles on Thursday afternoon? Just kidding.... LOL.

We are going to decide Thursday morning after a final check of the storm track to see if we should flee or not. If we flee, we are taking off around 3 AM on Friday. Hopefully, the traffic will be decent at that hour. We are taking our GPS unit with us so if I-45 is too congested, we will take local roads by programming the GPS to avoid interstates. If everything is congested, so be it. We will have our minivan stocked with water bottles and dry food.

Here's hoping that all my blogging friends stay safe and sound. Good luck everyone.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

6 mile afternoon run

This was the hottest run ever for me. The car thermometer read 98 when I got home. Undaunted, I changed, filled the fuel belt with water and took off.

Mile 1: 9:57
Mile 2: 9:23
Mile 3: 9:35
Mile 4: 10:45
Mile 5: 10:05
Mile 6: 9:34

Total: 59:23

I spent most of the run thinking about the hurricane. Our company is thinking hard about closing down on Thursday and Friday to let employees in the evacuation zone time to get out. I guess the decision will be made tomorrow morning.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Space City 10 Miler

I just signed up to run this 10 Miler. I hope I'm not too tired for the Koala 20K 2 weeks later.

Hurricane Rita

I just added a link to Dr. Jeff Masters' Hurricane Blog. It has very in depth data on the current Hurricane that might and might not hit Galveston.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sunday morning run, Sunday afternoon swim

After the fun and festivities of the CCR, what is one to do the following morning? Go running of course. I intended to put in 6 miles but late evening coupled with not getting out of bed in time only allowed me to run a 5K. It was unfortunately very s l o w
g o i n g . . . .

Mile 1: 10:40
Mile 2: 10:23
Mile 3: 9:53
o.1 Mile: 0:55

Overall: 31:51

I finally got around to wearing my fuel belt to get a hang of it. I filled 3 six ounce water bottles up and put a Carb Boom in the front pouch. I first strapped the fuel belt just on top of my pelvic bone. Then at the half way point, I strapped in on the pelvic bone. The latter seemed to work better for me. It was a little awkward running with the belt but not uncomfortable. By the way, how do you wash these things? Even on that short 3 mile run, my belt got pretty wet with sweat. Do I just rinse it in water or do I put this thingie in the washer?

Oh, just one more note on the CCR. Obviously, I'm not used to running up and down hills, or, my normal running routes are just plain FLAT. My butt muscles are sore today.

I was channel surfing this afternoon and caught a half triathlon competition on OLN. Cool. I was watching that for maybe half an hour when I suddenly felt the urge to go swimming. So I quickly packed up the gym bag and went to the Y. I then proceeded to swim a mile. It took me 47:40. I've since been pondering whether I should try for a mini triathlon event. I'm now wondering why my mind's wondering all over the place, blogging this late on a Sunday....

2205 CCR


Photo courtesy of Vic Kaiser

This was my first Strider/HARRA event I have attended. One again, the unfamiliar felt familiar as I met my fellow bloggers (i.e. friends). It's a strange feeling only bloggers understand I think. You meet someone for the very first time (today it was Cassie) but because you've been reading their running blogs for so long, you feel like you know them so well. Except that social rules dictate that since you just really met them, you have to act a little more proper than you really want to. Anyway, Cassie is really cool and I was really glad to have met her finally.

Today's race was a little reunion for us running bloggers. Everyone on our "Blog this, Striders" team except me underpromised and over delivered. Our team captain Jon further handicapped himself by getting up 2 or 3 in the morning to drive over to San Marcos for a 10K race. Our number 2, Jen also decided that a mere 2 mile cross country was not challenging enough so she got up around 4 AM to run a 12 mile morning run with her marathon training team mates. Both turned in exceptional numbers. Jessica was our star runner. She clocked the fasted time for our team. Yours truly was almost 3 minutes over the estimated completion time. Bummer dude.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Another hot run

As soon as I got home, I changed into my running gear and took off for a quick 3.1 miler.

Time: 6:30PM
Temp: 92F
Humidity: Medium
Wind: Light breeze

Mile 1: 8:40
Mile 2: 8:41
Mile 3: 8:47
0.1 Mile: 0:40

Total: 26:49
Pulse: 180 (Yikes! very high. It was 156 during the last 2 runs)

I think I was definitely overheating during the last mile. The high heart beat attests to that I think. Anyway, I feel sufficiently prepared for the relay this coming Saturday as long as that potential "flu" I might have caught at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night does not manifest itself by Saturday.

173 lbs.

I had to weigh myself twice this morning 'cause I didn't believe my eyes the first time. I've dropped another pound. Cool.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Take me out to the ball game...

I took some out of town customers to the Astros game last night. Home town team lost. Bummer. Worst of all, I sat next to these couple who coughed all through the game. I just hope it wasn't anything contagious. because if it was, I'm going to be a goner for the cross country run this Saturday.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Morning 5K

If it is Tuesday, then I must lace on my Asics for a quick run. I got out of the house today at 6:30 AM, the sky was starting to turn lighter as the day was struggling to get started. Twinkling stars fading by the morning light greeted me, the houses around the neighborhood were slowly getting up from their evening slumber. I set the Timex and off I went on my Tuesday morning run.

It felt good to be running after the long 10 mile run on Saturday. The muscles weren't really sore but it felt a little tired. Joints felt good today as did my breathing. There must have been just the ideal amount of humidity in the air also. Overall, a satisfying run.

Mile 1: 8:49
Mile 2: 8:39
Mile 3: 8:44
Mile 0.1: 0:41

Total: 26:55 (This time is only a few seconds off P.R.)

I'm hoping to run the XC Relay this Saturday at around 8 minute per mile pace. I hope, I hope, I hope.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

10 Miles

10 Miles.

I was torn between the RTW 5K race and a 10 mile run. Knowing that I have to run the Koala/Luke’s 20K in October, I opted to run the LSD this morning. Besides, wife wanted to run along for a couple of miles. So, we left the house around 7 AM with some water and a packet of CarbBoom and we took off.

Temp: Around 70 F, moderate to high humidity.

Mile 1: 10:16 (Fran ran with me)
Mile 2: 10:22 (Fran still holding up good)
Mile 3: 10:04 (Fran walks the 3rd mile, I say, “see you later!”
Mile 4: 10:21
Mile 5: 10:02
Mile 6: 10:02
Mile 7: 11:43 (I had to stop to get a small pebble out of the right shoe and stretch pelvic joints)
Mile 8: 10:28
Mile 9: 10:15
Mile 10: 10:45 (stiff right lower back, I had to stop to stretch again)

Overall: 1:44:22

Weather was very pleasant. It was sufficiently cloudy to hide the sun. This was the most pleasant long run I’ve done yet. Despite the cool weather, I still lost 3 lbs of sweat. I guess I’ll be drinking all day today to make it up.

Friday, September 09, 2005

174 lbs.

Good news from scale at home this morning. Having plateaued for a while, my weight has once again started its downward march. Once again, the goal is 170. Almost there....I can feel it.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hot run!

I overslept today... actually, I was sore from last night's weight workout and did not feel like getting out of bed at 5. So anyway, I had to make it up. I got home a little early today and thinking that it would be a good training for the 2 mile cross country, I set off on a 5K run at 4:30 PM.

Temp: 92, Humidity: 35%, Very sunny, VERY VERY hot pavement.

Mile 1: 8:54
Mile 2: 8:57
Mile 3: 8:44
0.1 Mile: 0:43

Total: 27:20.

I definitely seem to run faster in the afternoon. Perhaps it was the low humidity today but my throat was parched by the 1st mile marker.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Early morning run

I've been noticing much more lately that the sun is coming out waaaaay too late for early morning runs. In fact, these early morning runs might as well be midnight runs cause all I see now are stars and more stars.

A somewhat of a chilled and less humid air greeted me this morning around 5:30 AM. Slowly but ever so surely, fall is creeping itself across this great nation. Except for the pitch blackness, it was a great morning. For the first mile or so, the only thing I heard was the "pad, pad, pad.." of my feet and the rhythmic breathing of myself, cutting through the darkness with cheetah like efficiency....(hmmm, well, maybe not like Cheetah, that would be more like Sam Rodriguez.... I would be more like, say, a wiener dog.)

It was still very dark when I finished, maybe with a hint of the morning to come. Just barely a hint mind you.

Stats for today:

Mile 1: 9:35
Mile 2: 8:46
Mile 3: 8:43
0.1 Mile: 0:52

Total: 27:56

Katrina Relief 5K Event

Copied verbatim from Cassie's blog.

Katrina 5K
October 1, 2005 8:00am from the Lake Charles Civic Center.
All proceeds go to the American Red Cross to help victims of Katrina. Appreciation certificates will go to the overall winners and 3 deep in 5 year age categories. All participants will receive a LAR Katrina 5K t-shirt.
We'll have a flat $30 entry fee for all participants. $100 entry available - this level of entry will get your name on the t-shirt!
Sponsors Needed!
Corporate sponsorships available in 4 categories:
$100 - name on t-shirt
$250 - small logo on t-shirt
$500 - large logo on t-shirt
$1000 - large logo central location on t-shirt.
All sponsors will be recognized in the American Press, on the t-shirt, in our e-mail network, and on the the lake area runners website.
Please contact Race Director Jerry Forest at runbluesrun@aol.com for more information about the race, how to help, or how to sponsor.
I'm looking for a lot of sponsors for this race, so please help.
More info: www.lakearearunners.com

Houston Half Marathon

After a refreshing 3.1 mile run this morning, I signed up for the Houston Half Marathon. Strange how you feel so much more committed when you put the money down. Regarding money, the full marathon at $70 is a great bargain compared to $50 fee for the Half. That translates to $2.67 per mile for the full marathon versus $3.82 per mile for the Half. This is more incentive to get to the full marathon fitness soon.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

9 mile LSD

Finally got a long run in. I was able to get out of the house by 6:30 AM. Frannie wanted to run at least the first mile with me so we took off together. The sky was just turning light at that moment. Its the part of the day when I feel most optimistic, as if opportunities are limitless...
Total time: 1:34:44

Mile 1: 11:14 (Running with the wife)
Mile 2: 9:58
Mile 3: 10:15
Mile 4: 10:52
Mile 5: 10:32
Mile 6: 10:30
Mile 7: 11:03
Mile 8: 10:26
Mile 9: 9:51 (Heading home, a little hungry, didn't bring any CarBoom!, kicking up a notch)

Average time: 10:31

Temperature: 73F at start, humid

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Afternoon run

I slept in today. I actually woke up at 4:30 in anticipation for a morning run. However, the Committee United Against Muscle Torture At Early Morning Hours (C.U.A.M.T.A.E.M.H.) got together and decided to picket the scheduled run and convinced the Running Muscle Union (R.M.U.) to not cross the picket line. So I turned the alarm off and slept until 6:30.....

I was actually a little sore from weight workout yesterday morning. So I ran this afternoon after work.

My commute home briefly takes me to I-10. Today, I saw buses as far as my eyes could see headed towards the Astrodome. I couldn't look inside but I'm quite certain it was filled with shell shocked people that has suffered tremendously.

The conditions were a little warm for a run. I saw many people walking their dogs but no runners. I guess most runners are sensible people.

Mile 1: 9:07
Mile 2: 9:23
Mile 3: 9:19

I miss hit the last 0.1 on the Timex.

The quads did protest by the second mile and was very tired by the 3rd mile.

Weight. I have plateaued at 176 lbs. For the Half Marathon, I think I will be much more comfortable running at 170, so I've decided to go back to my weight reduction mode that was so successful during spring and early summer of this year.

I'm going to attempt to go swimming early tomorrow.