Monday, October 31, 2005

Surfside Beach Half Marathon

In lieu of the Freescale Half Marathon, I have decided to run the Surfside Beach Half Marathon. I think it will be pretty cool to be running on a beach. Also, based on the reviews posted to the, it should also be easy on the joints.

Burning calories

One of the side benefits of running gazillion miles is burnt calories. According to the cool running website, I burnt 2062 calories during yesterday's 15 mile run. How awesome is that? All the food I ate yesterday added up to net zero caloric gain.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

15 miles: Longest run to date

We fell back today. However, just to compensate, I went to bed an hour later so I feel I didn't really sleep an extra hour. No matter. As soon as it was light, I prepared 3 - 6 oz water bottles, 2 - 6 oz Powerade/water mixture and a Powergel I got from the Space City 10 miler. (Sidebar note on the Powergel: Yuck! On the positive side, it did not upset my stomach or made me sick. It just tasted bad. I didn't realize how well my CarBoom! tasted until I tried this thing.)

Anyway, ankle pain or not, I was determined to go 15 miles today in preparation for the HMSA 25K. The ankle hurt yesterday so I was a little worried. It wasn't painful today but it let me know that it wasn't 100% all through the run. Weather was great, a little warmer than I would have liked but with not too much humidity and a gentle breeze, the conditions were pretty good for an LSD run.

Timex Time:

Mile 1: 9:38
Mile 2: 9:43
Mile 3: 9:43
Mile 4: 10:25
Mile 5: 10:10
Mile 6: 10:54
Mile 7: 11:44
Mile 8: 10:35
Mile 9: 10:20
Mile 10: 11:01
Mile 11: 10:44
Mile 12: 10:30
Mile 13: 11:09
Mile 14: 10:32
Mile 15: 12:38

Total: 2:39:52 (Can you believe this? I actually ran for over 2 and half hours! Holy cow!)

I walked twice during the last mile. I was sooooo hungry at the last mile, I could only think about food. I ran a 3 mile loop 5 times and put all my provisions at the start point and alternated between water and Powerade. I should have brought more food. I was craving a chocolate chip cookie, a peanut butter sandwich and anything else sweet. I had to take 2 walking breaks during the last mile because I was having hyperventilating symptoms. I was trying to breath in air but couldn't. I had to deep breath through the nose to keep air in the lungs. Weird.

From this run, I am deducing that I am getting fitter. Despite the long distance, I did not feel too bad afterwards. I felt good enough to go on a 8 mile bike ride with the family for lunch (which was 2 hours after I was done with the run.) In the past, I would be passed out on the bed or a couch right after the shower.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


1908. The last year the Cubs won the World Series. They beat Detroit Tigers that year. Henry was busy that year and probably did not notice that his beloved Tigers lost. Henry was busy launching Model T Ford that Fall. (Actually I don't know if Henry actually liked baseball but who doesn't, baseball is as American as apple pie and Chevrolet....except Chevrolet did not exist when the Cubs last won the World Series... Sigh)

I arrived in Chicago on 8/1/1982. I was 16 years old and waiting for school to start in late August. I had no American friends that summer as I just came over from the UK, so during those hot summer afternoons, I watched baseball games. It was the Cubbies playing day ball at Wrigley Field on WGN. So I became a Cubs fan that summer. I had no idea about their curse or their losing streak.

Perhaps tonight, the 'Stros can put a W up on the board.

Tuesday evening run

Another glorious running day. After work Tuesday evening, I went for an easy 3 mile run. Then again, all runs at cooler temperatures seem easy now.

Mile 1: 8:55
Mile 2: 8:47
Mile 3: 8:24
0.1 Mile: 0:41

Total: 26:51

I played foot volleyball at our church picnic last Sunday. For those not familiar with this game, it is played on a volleyball size court with the net lowered to tennis’ level and instead of using your hands, you are allowed to use soccer’s rules on ball handling. Also, you are allowed one bounce per kick on your end as you set the ball for a spike. Anyway, I had a lot of fun playing 2 games but since, I have been feeling something in my right ankle. I wouldn’t say it is any kind of pain, more like it’s tight, a little uncomfortable. It didn’t bother me enough for the run last night but I’m wondering if this is something I should be worried about. I have never had an ankle injury in my life so I don’t really know what to expect. I still feel it this morning.

Tonight’s plan calls for weight training at the Y. I should take my swimwear and take a dip in the Jacuzzi.

This Saturday, I am shooting for a 15 mile LSD run. I have a 3-mile loop in my neighborhood mapped out. I’ll take 2 gels, 3 – 6 oz water bottles and 2 – 6 oz Gatorade bottles ready at one location and pick one up for every loop. The good part of this set up is that whenever I feel I can’t go on any further, I can stop at the end of any given loop and be close to home. The bad part is, I want to quite so badly at the end of each loop.

Monday, October 24, 2005

2006 Houston Marathon

My bib number for the Houston Marathon is 5949. After much pondering and despite my better judgment and the counsel of other wiser, much more experienced runners, I have decided to run the Full Marathon rather than the Half. I don’t know whether I will succeed or not, whether injuries will come knocking or not. I am throwing caution to the wind and going all out. I’m going with Teddy Roosevelt’s style. I just hope I don’t look back to this post next February and regret it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Number 24! 24th finisher receives a Teva visor, courtesy of Luke's Locker. (Photo courtesy of RTW #140)

Running my heart out at RTW #140 on my way to a new P.R. I'm about 10 steps away from the finish line. (Photo courtesy of RTW #140)

Saturday, October 22, 2005


RTW 5K 10/22/05 Race Report

Today was another glorious day. The weather at the start of the 5K was hovering in the low 60's. (maybe even upper 50's) Anyway, I once again employed the, "Go as fast as you can all the way." strategy and was handsomely rewarded by breaking another personal record. To make the morning even more perfect, I won a Teva sun visor during the post run raffle sponsored by Luke's Locker.

Mile 1: 7:53
Mile 2: 8:17
Mile 3: 8:27
0.1 Mile: 0:41

Total: 25:20

Official Race Time: 25:19

The official race time recorded by Luke's Locker was a second faster than my stopwatch time. So, I am going to consider the official time as my record.

My previous record set at the last RTW even was 26:00. My goal for this race was to break into 25 minute territory and I set my goal at 25:59. I am thrilled to have broken the record by 41 seconds. Those long distance runs must help your aerobic capacity tremendously.

Friday, October 21, 2005


HMSA Classical 25K

I decided to go for my longest distance race to date. I just signed up for the HMSA 25K. I think Vic Kaiser is going to work as a biker CPR/AED so I know I'm in good hands should my body decide to keel over and crash. I hope to see some of you there! If you are a HARRA member, you get $3 discount. Way cool!

Post 20K Recovery Run

Wednesday morning run

After letting our new puppy Hunter go potty outside, I went out for a “check up” run. This was my first run post-20K race and I wanted to see if there was any lingering bodily pain. The morning was crisp and cool, very conducive for running. (I love Houston Fall weather)

Mile 1: 8:59
Mile 2: 8:51
Mile 3: 8:38
0.1 Mile: 0:39

Total: 27:08

I was not trying for any speed or negative splits. I started out slow to make sure I was warming up my muscles properly and just ran with no cares in the world. Dawn was breaking and it just felt super good. I am quite pleased with the negative splits and the sub 9 minutes miles. For some reason, I felt I was going much slower than what the stopwatch was telling me. No ill effects. No pain anywhere. This is a very good sign.

Off to Indianapolis.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

2005 Luke's Locker 20K

For whatever reason, I was not very motivated to run the Luke’s 20K race. In fact, I was contemplating not going. Perhaps it was the puppy distraction. We brought home a cockapoo puppy on Saturday and the whole family spent Saturday afternoon and evening vying for puppy’s attention. This was our family’s first ever puppy. Kids were super excited. After much deliberation, Hunter became his name even though he is far removed from ever being a hunting dog or a tracker dog and despite the fact that our neighbor across the street calls their dog Hunter.

Back to the race, I got up at 4:30AM and found my way downtown. The weather looked to be almost perfect for running. The temps weren’t going to go over 80 for the duration of the race. I think the starting temperature was in the upper 60’s. It was still relatively dark at the start time and this prevented me from finding my running friends who I knew were there somewhere in the start area.

Here are the stats from the website. All are chip times:

Overall: 2:09:20 10:26/M pace.
1st 10K: 1:05:16 10:19/M pace.
2nd 10K: 1:05:21 10:32/M pace

I felt aerobically, I was ready for this distance and with weather cooperating, I felt I could run this race very comfortably. However, I was still worried about my right knee’s ITB and wasn’t sure if it was going to be an issue or not. Since the Space City 10 miler, I have only ran 3 mile distances in an effort to rest the legs up as much as possible. During those runs, it did not bother me except for that run in Milwaukee (previous posting).

Mile 1: 10:23 Traffic!
Mile 2: 10:02 Traffic thinning out, now able to run my 10/mile pace.
Mile 3: 9:59 Still doing great with pace.
Mile 4: 10:46 Not good. Right knee ITBS, pull over for a quick 30 second stretching.
Mile 5: 10:03 Cruising…
Mile 6: 10:37 Pull over again for another 30 second stretch. Change gait from ball strike to heel strike.
Mile 7: 9:50 Doing OK. Modified gait seems to help with pain.
Mile 8: 10:53 Pull over for more 30 second stretching.
Mile 9: 11:22 Stretch again, lose another 30 seconds.
Mile 10: 10:44 No more pain, but a little slow.
Mile 11: 10:50 No pain, this is cool and I feel great.
Mile 12: 9:56 I can hear the music at the finish. Pick up some speed and finish strong!
0.5 miles: 3:52 Keep on running, keep on running….

As I’m running loop 2, all of the elite running group pass me by as if I’m standing still. I’m on a 10 something pace and they are on a 5 something pace. I think about drafting behind them for a split second and only a split second. Sigh.

Just before the elite runners go by, Jon Walk calls my name from the back seat of a Houston Police cruiser. He yells encouragements. I think about getting arrested so that I can ride with Jon in the backseat of the cruiser.

During the last loop, while I was stretching against a tree, I hear someone yell “Holden!” It was Sarah the rocket scientist, freshly back from California and Saturday’s baseball game. What an energy boost to see a familiar face! (Even though I only met her once.) After quickly finishing my stretching, I sprint to catch up to Sarah. I almost run out of breath but I catch up to her. I’m not sure if I was coherent by then but I do remember making some small talk by saying, “Hi” and “When did you get back from California?” She got back Saturday morning (I think) and then went to the Astros game that late afternoon and her throat was still hurting from all the screaming she did at the game. As small talk died away, I pull ahead. I forget to say “Bye!” (Sorry for being rude Sarah!) I soon set my sites on an older runner wearing a white headband, white shirt and red shorts. I try to close in but cannot. I try real hard but nothing. I approach the last 2 miles and still have him on my sites. I slowly feel the energy level draining away and almost give up. I pass by Houston Strider’s water station (I think it was a water station). Someone is yelling encouragements at me. Who is that? Oh, Steve Shepard! I must look dazed. He comes out and runs with me for about 30 seconds and encourages me to press on! “Almost done!” He says. I feel renewed again and feel a surge of energy. I look for my white head banded pacer and find him. I press on, I get closer and closer. I can now hear his breathing. The last mile marker goes by and I can now hear the music from the post run area. I kick up another notch and finally pass the white head band. He stays right behind me for a while but I am now relentless and was determined to not let him pass me. His breathing fades away and I am now running as fast as I can. I see Vic Kaiser for the last time as he directs me into the finisher’s shoot. I did it! I finished a 20K race strong!

Words of encouragement from Jon, Sarah and Steve during the run helped me tremendously. I am really thankful for that. “Thanks guys!”

At the post race area, I meet Cassie, Mannie, Jessica, Waverly and Jon..

Friday, October 14, 2005


The plane finally takes off from Rochester around 7:20pm. Flight time is estimated to be around 45 minutes so I still feel good about my chances. We land in Cleveland and pull up to the gate. Time now is 8:10. There is no jet bridge available so we park and wait for the stairs. The stairs come but the door remains closed until our luggage can be unloaded. Door finally opens. It is now 8:17PM. I have 13 minutes to make it to the other gate assuming the doors don't close a little early. I run with my dress shoes, towing a carry on luggage bag and a laptop bag. I finally make it to the other terminal. Time: 8:27PM. I run again to my gate C7. Time: 8:29PM. Did I make it? I check to gate area. There are still a bunch of people at the gate. I look at the display by the gate. The flight is delayed until 8:55PM. All that running for nothing. Oh well.

For whatever reason, the right knee swells up during the flight. By the time I get home, it is pretty swollen. I iced it for about half an hour last night, worried about the 20K run this coming Sunday.

Even as I type this, Friday lunch hour, the swelling is still there. I'm having trouble bending it. I guess I'll have to ice it again tonight and take some more Aleve. Hopefully, it will fully recover by the Sunday morning race.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

6:27PM hopefully the last update

My flight to Cleveland just landed and is taxiing to the gate. Hopefully we can deplane and replane (is that a word?) in 15 minutes and take off. If not, at least by 6:50PM. Wishing myself luck....

6PM update from Rochester airport

Now the estimated departure time is 6:50PM. Arrival time at Cleveland is 7:53PM. I will have 37 minutes to connect.

Despite being a weather related delay, the gate agents here at gate B2 are issuing a $6 snack voucher and a Continental customer care kit which is a Continental coupon book with a few freebies.

Still in Rochester.....5:31PM update

Still hanging around Rochester, NY. My 3 PM flight will not leave until 6:45 PM. It is currently taxiing out to the runway at Newark (EWR). Gate agent promises firm update as soon as inbound aircraft (Embraer 145) is airborne. If it is on time to the latest revised schedule, it will get me to Cleveland (CLE) by 7:45 ish, arriving in Terminal D, gate D28. I need to run like I'm running a 5K race and get over to Terminal C, gate C7. If I make it to that connecting flight, seat 1F in the first class cabin awaits me. So there is definitely a carrot at the end of this stick. I wonder if I should take out my running shoes from the carry on luggage and really run.... I could pin a fake race number to my shirt to make it look like a real racing condition. LOL - How wondering minds wonder.

Beer report for Jennifer, part 2

Location: Erie, PA
Date: October 12th, 2005

Beer: LaBatt's Blue Pilsner

Taste like: beer
Temp: Cold
Drank: 2 bottles
Comment: Refreshing.... yea.

TAG! I tag Cassie!!!

TAG! I tag Cassie!!!!!!!!

Delayed in ROC (Rochester, NY)

I'm waiting for my flight to Cleveland to come in. Due to inclement weather in the east coast, the regional jet out of Newark is currently 2 & half hours delayed. I am now going to miss my connecting flight in Cleveland but Continental made it up by upgrading me to first class for a later flight out of Cleveland to Houston. Now I just need to hope that the flight from Newark is not cancelled.

Photo above is of Northwest Airlink's BAe 146 taxiing to its gate at Rochester, NY airport.

There is free wi-fi at this airport so it should make the time go fast.

O'Hare airport & International Terminal E from above


Looking out from Terminal E, IAH

Watching the busy airport activity while waiting for my flight to O'Hare (on my way to Milwaukee), sipping a Starbucks coffee.

Miller Park

Taken during last week's visit to Milwaukee. It was a gorgeous October day and the roof of the park was opened (probably to let the grass grow)

Cool morning run

I was going out of town Tuesday afternoon so I made a point of getting in a run before work. It was nice and cool and wanted to end the run at my son's bus stop.

Mile 1: 10:02
Mile 2: 9:16
Mile 3: 9:00

I have been thinking about how I became a runner (in regards to EQ's post) and it was not too far in my distant past when I considered 3 miles a "long" hard run. Now, 3 miles seem like a quick refreshing run, just to get the blood flowing etc.

I left with 30 minutes to my son's bus time (as I was not going to see him for the next 3 days) and took off. Easy at first, to make sure I was loosening the joints and muscles to avoid any kind of injury prior to this weekend's 20K. As I felt looser and looser, I picked up the pace a little by little and achieved a nice negative splitting. With all the parents and kids standing at the bus stop, it almost felt like a race day with spectators. :)

I've been tagged!

"Boating and swimming in Lake Conroe with friends and neighbors after running 10 miles on 4th of July, 2005."

That was my 23rd post from achive dated July 7th, 2005. Glad to see that I was able to run 10 miles in the middle of Houston summer without too much ill effects.

Looks like everyone I know in the running blogosphere has gotten tagged already so I can't really tag anyone else... Happy fall running everyone!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

5K PR!

I did it! The weather was perfect. After that painful Space City 10 miler, I needed a rebound race for a morale boost. Today, I out ran my ITB pain. Here are the stats:

Mile 1: 8:09
Mile 2: 8:27
Mile 3: 8:36
0.1 Mile: 0:48

Elapsed time: 26:00. (I broke my record by 53 seconds!)

Today's strategy was to let it all hang out and run as fast as I could without worrying about negative splitting. In other words, I ran as fast as I could for 26 minutes.

I drove home listening to Queen's "We are the champions" and "Another one bites the dust!"

Brewtown Milwaukee

The weather in Milwaukee on Wednesday was not much different from Houston. Temperature in the upper 80's. A bonafide heat wave for that part of our Empire in October. Unfortunately, the temp was scheduled to dip into the 40's by Thursday morning. My running gear does not include a long sleeve coolmax so I had to go shopping. I found a nice Nike long sleeve shirt. I almost bought the running gloves too but decided against it. "How cold could it be in October?"

After sharing several glasses of beer (side bar note: Jennifer will be proud. I drank "Spotted Cow" beer which is apparently a local sensation in this part of Wisconsin.) with an old college friend of mine who recently returned from Iraq the night before, I stepped outside of my hotel ready to experience the great marathon temps... The temps were there with an unfortunate breezy winds that sliced right through my coolmax long sleeve shirt and shorts. Brrrr!!! After charting a course with the help of the gmaps pedometer, I set off on a 3.48 mile run. 1 minute into the run, I curse myself for not buying the gloves. 2 minutes into the run, I curse myself for not wearing something under or over the long sleeve shirt. 3 minutes into the run, I experience brain freeze. 4 minutes into the run, the fingers are definately numb and I wonder if I'll ever warm up.

It was an out and back course. The winds were with me on the way back so it was not so bad as soon as I turned back towards the hotel. I'm not sure if it was the weather or not but within site of the hotel, the right IT band struck hard. No amount of stretching helped. I was forced to walk the last half mile back.

Total distance: 3.48 miles
Elapsed tume: 37:52

The hot shower afterwards was divine. Ahhhh.

Friday, October 07, 2005


IT Band pain or no IT band pain, I'm gunning for a 5K PR tomorrow morning.

More update to come later. Enjoy this beautiful weather Houston runners!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Space City 10 Miler Race Report

First of all, it was great meeting you guys today. I got to meet fellow bloggers Ed, Sarah, Lisa and Gabriel. (Met Jon too but we've met before.) It was a very humid day today and conditions were very challenging. I might have to re-evaluate the 20K race should the weather conditions stay similar. I also had a surprise visit from my right IT band. Mr. IT band pain showed up during mile 8 of the Chicago Distance Classic back in October and hadn't been felt since....until today. It showed up at mile 3 and it showed up with a vengeance. It was excruciatingly painful. I seriously considered giving up since there was no way I could continue another 7 miles. After contemplating with my overheated brain for a few minutes, I decided to pull over and stretch the IT band (trick I picked up on LisaLeese's site a while back) as often as possible and continue the race. The stretching did help and allowed me to run for about half a mile at a pop. So every half mile or so, I stretched. The only bad side effect from stopping like that was that my body heated up even more during these stops because the puny wind effect you get from running has been removed. So I would go from unbearably hot to "can it be hotter in hell?" hot. So for 7 miles, I ran in this fashion. How embarrassing.

My Timex stats:

Mile 1: 10:22
Mile 2: 9:47
Mile 3: 10:10
Mile 4: 11:23
Mile 5: 11:04
Mile 6: 11:39
Mile 7: 11:42
Mile 8: 12:25
Mile 9: 13:20
Mile 10: 13:00

Average: 11:29

By mile 8, walking became part of the run as heat exhaustion started to hurt just as bad as the IT band. By the 9th and the 10th mile, I was also having difficulty breathing. It felt as if I was hyper ventilating which I could control by deep breathing through the nose but the effects didn't last long. Any way, I started to walk a lot during those last miles because I wasn't sure what was happening and I did not want to pass out.

The right knee pain stayed with me most of the afternoon. So, to relieve some of that pain, I thought a nice lap swimming would help it. So, I went to the Y and swam 1200 meters in 31:14. The knee definitely felt a lot better afterwards, meaning, I could walk without a limp.

Finally, please excuse this rambling entry.