Monday, October 30, 2006

30K or 50K?

Rather than going round and round the concrete roadways of Sugarland, I wonder if I should tackle the Sun Mart 50K? I see two issues with this.

First, the Sun Mart at $80 is in pretty expensive, like in Marathon territory. But then, it is longer than a marathon.

Secondly, and much more important, can I finish it without having a near death experience? Do I have the endurance to do this with only about 6 weeks to go?

I know what my FIT coach would say, "Run the 30K, don't risk an overuse injury that will ruin your marathon training."

My wife Fran would also disapprove, I'll have to tell her that I'm on my way to the 30K when in reality, I'd be going North to Huntsville..... (I hope she doesn't read this anymore.....)

Your $0.02 is greatly appreciated.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Houston Half Marathon

First, I'd like to mention that my time of 2:02:32 today is a P.R. A big thank you goes out to Jon Walk for remembering what my time was at the 2006 Surfside Half Marathon. So therefore, I join the ranks of many fellow bloggers who P.R.'ed today. My previous best was 2:04:37, besting my last record by 2 minutes and some change.

Second, it was great to see some old faces and some new ones. Meeting old friends once again at this race brings back many nostalgic memories from last year, my first year of marathon training. Once again, it was great to meet again (in the order I met this morning) Vic Kaiser, first attempt at Half Marathon distance and P.R.'ing, Bar-Bar-A, Edwin Quarles (P.R.), Joe Carey (P.R.), Professional Man of Action, Keith Kellerher (P.R.), Jennifer Kim, Jessica Alexander (P.R. - a minute or so faster than me to the finish....just like the 10 miler from 2 weekend's ago) and June Vidrine.

Third, a big shout out to Jon Walk, the energizer bunny of the running circuit for last minute inspiration. Jon was there around mile 12, saw me, looked at his watch and said, "Holden, if you want to beat your time from Surfside, you better get going!" It was a good thing too because I was starting to unravel after 10 miles. Between the severe camber of the road and not being well rested, my mind started to drift and couldn't keep a good running rhythm. After Jon's feedback, I started to count my strides, "right, 2, 3, left, 2, 3..." until I got the rhythm back and was able to manage a good finish.

Fourth, thank you Striders for putting on another great race. For those wanting to belong to a great running club, I highly recommend the Houston Striders.

The weather was great for the first hour and half of the run. It got a little hot for me during the last 3 miles with the hot sun in my eyes. But there was no humidity and a gentle breeze most of the time. The water station volunteers were superb. A special thanks to Steve Bezner who was volunteering and from whom I took a cup of water.

Run Summary:

Mile 1: 9:46
Mile 2: 9:14
Mile 3: 8:59
Mile 4: 8:48
Mile 5: 9:12
Mile 6: 9:03
Mile 7: 9:03
Mile 8: 9:28
Mile 9: 9:22
Mile 10: 9:53
Mile 11: 9:43
Mile 12: 9:35
Mile 13: 9:27
0.1 Mile: 0:52

Total Time: 2:02:32
Pace: 9:21/mile
Shoes: Asics Kayano XI (153.9 miles)

I spent a lot of time dodging slower runners during the first 2 miles and probably spent too much energy. My biggest mistake was staking out what I thought was a good spot for a 9:12/mile pace in the starting area. Unfortunately, there must have been too many first timers who did not know this etiquette. Looks like I started to unravel around mile 8. But overall, I'm very satisfied with today's run.

Next: San Antonio Half Marathon on November 12th.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Running with Rain and Thunder

Wet and wetter. Can you actually get wetter? It looked like the rain was letting up so a quick change into running gear and into the dimming light I went. It was 6:30 PM with night approaching pretty fast. I really wanted to put in one more run before the Half on Sunday and the opportunity presented itself. I only encountered on and off light drizzle during the first mile which went by in 9:01. "Slower..." I tell myself. I hear a boom in the distance. Getting mildly concerned but thinking I can make it back before the thunder gets closer, I press on. Rain gets heavier. Half way through the run, the sky opens up and starts to hammer me pretty good. Second mile marker goes by but I forget to hit the split. The rain is coming down in sheets now. Hard to see, eyes are stinging from all the rain running down my face. Hmmm. Shoes are now wet. Socks are wetter. I'm wet to the bone but it's not really cold so I press on. "Boom!!" OK, the thunder and lightning is getting way to close for comfort. I press on, rain pelts on. I finally reach home, stop the watch and go right into my open garage. I sit on the opening and look into the night sky. Thunder boomers are practically over my house. This one was a little too close for comfort. I promise myself not to ever go for a run under a thunderstorm.

Total elapsed time: 27:10
Pace: 8:45/mile
Shoes: Really wet Kayano XI with 140.8 Miles

Packet Pick-up Day

I made my way over to Luke's for my packet. I said "Hello," to Steeeve's wife Barb Shepard who was volunteering. On my way out, I bought a Race Number Belt by Fuel Belt. This means no more safety pins for this runner. I hope I like it. I'll let you guys know after the Houston Half Marathon.

I'm looking forward to seeing a bunch of you guys & gals at the race. Look for a ruggedly handsome runner with a cool looking Race Number Belt....

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Drinking Coffee on a Rainy Day

I'm sitting in a restaurant (Ibiza ) looking out onto the Riverwalk in San Antonio. I'm drinking coffee. It is raining outside while I'm cozy and dry inside. Not a soul is outside walking about, perhaps no one owns an umbrella in San Antonio.

- typing away on my Blackberry...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Flags of Our Fathers

I've just finished reading the novel, "Flags of Our Fathers" yesterday. It is a story about a Navy Corpsman who finds himself in the middle of the Battle of Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima stands as the deadliest battle ever experienced by American Military. It eclipses even the Landing of Normandy. Battle for Iwo Jima took over 32 days of non stop fighting on an island that is 5 miles long and 2 miles wide. It is a sad sad story really, most of the soldiers on that island was 18 to 22 years old. The Japanese army of 22,000 was ordered to fight to the death, told to kill 10 Americans before getting killed. The story really isn't about the war but how the veterans of World War 2 suffered and coped with the nightmares long after the war ended.

The movie came out yesterday and after my morning run, I went to watch the matinee. The movie does not do justice to the book, but I think Clint Eastwood did a pretty good job. However, please read the book before you go because a lot of the scenes will make more sense.

Next time you see a Veteran of Foreign War, please thank them for their sacrifices.

9.1 Miles and then 3.1 Miles

5:30 AM came too early for me today. Why do I feel compelled to wake up earlier on a Saturday than on a Monday? Why o why o why? My life before running would have found me sound asleep on Saturday mornings.

The Woodlands Fit group met in darkness today, proud of it's achievements at last week's 10 miler and looking forward to the Half Marathon next weekend. Coach asked us to take it easy today. A real slow long run. But the weather was too nice for running. It was dark, I didn't know the course so I followed couple of guys who knew their way. Unfortunately for me, they were faster than normal Yellow groupie.

Run Summary:

Distance: 9.1 Miles
Time: 1:21:17
Pace: 8:55/mile

I ran this "slow" run at a faster pace than my 10 miler. Hmmmm. Amazing what fear of getting lost will do to your motivation.

Then in the best Jon Walk tradition, after finishing and catching my breath, I drove over to Barbara Bush Elementary School to run in Run The Woodlands 5K with a minute to spare. I was looking forward to meeting Joe Carey who was driving all the way up from Clear Lake. I found Joe and two friends of his from On The Run group. Suzie Schreiber saw me and promised to walk s-l-o-w-l-y over to the start area to give me enough time to register and pay $1. "Thanks Suzie!!"

Run Summary:

Distance: 3.1 Miles (5K)
Time: 26:33
Pace: 8:33/mile
Shoes: Kayano XI (137.7 miles)

Total Miles for the Day: 12.2 miles.

I feel pretty good about next week's Half Marathon. If the weather stays cool, I am confident of surpassing 9:12 pace I recorded at the 10 For Texas.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Asics Gel Kayano XII

I just bought a new pair of Kayanos XII size 11, 2E. This despite having only racked up 120 miles on my current Kayano XI. I seem to be spending a lot of money on road racing again. I'm very fond of the XI, the last year's model, but I can no longer find them. Hopefully, the new model will be just as satisfying.

San Antonio Half Marathon

I am now signed up to run the San Antonio Half Marathon. I booked a room at the Hilton Del Rio on the Riverwalk. It should be a nice quick weekend family vacation. My Fall & Spring running schedule is getting pretty busy;

Luke's/Koala's Half Marathon
San Antonio Half Marathon
Sugarland 30K (Not registered)
Houston Marathon
Austin Marathon (Not registered)
Big D Texas Marathon (Not registered)

Que sera sera, what ever will be will be... My Kayanos and me, que sera, sera.

Southwest Airlines Flight 874 Seat 2F

I'm on a Southwest flight at this moment. I'm trying them for the first time in 3 years. So far the experience is a little more relaxing than Continental, my previous favorite airline. A flight attendant just came and asked for a drink order before take off. They are actually smiling!!!! What a refreshing change.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More Rain

Raining again here in the wonderful Woodlands. Somehow, it was warm, muggy and raining when I went for a quick 3.1 miler this evening. Legs were still tired, perhaps from running a little too fast last Saturday. Next run: 8 miler with the Woodlands Fit group this Saturday. Perhaps even a RTW 5K race right after.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Harriers, The Makings of a Championship Cross Country Team

This is a relatively short novel based on a real story of a high school cross country team as told by Joseph and Paul Shivers. It's about a bunch of ordinary high school kids that find themselves in a mediocre cross country team. They all have raw athletic talent, some better than others. The story is really about how a great coach can overcome all obstacles and make you the best athletes possible. Reading this book, I came to the realization that all runners, great and otherwise, go through the same emotional highs and lows, through the same self doubt and despair to triumph like I do. As I wait for the gun to go off, I am always immersed in deep thought, all the training runs and injuries I had to endure, how I might do in this run etc. etc. In running, you really don't know what kind of race you will be having until after the gun goes off. Soon enough, your body will tell you, but until the rubber meets the pavement, you just don't know.

As I anticipate running a half marathon later this month and running the Houston Marathon in January, I will again go through the same doubts before the gun, hoping for a great run yet expecting the worst at the same time. This book reads the same way, bunch of high school runners, hoping for the worst yet expecting the best, a State Championship. Somehow, in sports, a difference between a Champion and a runner-up is so small that on any given race day, fate will mercilessly dole out different end results despite equally gutsy performance by all athletes involved.

Houston Half

Next Race for me is in 2 weeks. I will be at the Houston Strider's/Luke's Locker Half Marathon in Downtown Houston. Come by and say "Hi." I promise not to bite but might jump up and hug you.

p.s. It might be best to say "Hi" to me before the run as hugging business can get a little wet and messy if done post race..... Especially if it's a hot and steamy day.

D'Feet Breast Cancer, Inc. Race in Galveston

There is a certified 5K and 10K race this coming weekend in Galveston, TX. Unfortunately for me, I will need to be a the Woodlands Fit Group training that same day and won't be able to attend. But for those interested in running amongst the Moody Garden Pyramids, check out this LINK. Sounds like a fun race! For any questions regarding this run, please contact: Ellen Adriance at (409-939-0206).

Barbara! Sorry I missed you at Starbucks! That would have been a treat to see you! I passed by the joint several times but did not go in. I left my wallet in the truck and could not buy one anyway. I was wishing that I brought out the Starbucks card with me for the race however but it was too late by then.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

10 For Texas

This inaugural race picked a pretty good day to run a 10 miler in the Woodlands. The starting temperature was in the upper 60's (me thinks) and ended in the mid 70's. The sky was slightly overcast and the sun never really affected too many runners. For a first time race, it was organized extremely well, starting with a good traffic management by the police to an excellent post race party afterwards. Food was the best I've experienced. It included lettuce wraps from Pei Wei, to pizza by Incredible Pizza, to subs from Lenny's to Heineken beer to soft tacos etc.

I met a lot of folks today. David Smart was volunteering at the chip desk, and while I was chatting with him, Powerade Pam Pauling of the Houston Striders came by to pick up her chip. During post race festivities, I met Yong Collins of the Striders (she won her age group!!), Jon and Waverly Walk, Tom Stilwell (past HARRA Prez) and Bill Dwyer (TNT).

Race Summary:

Mile 1: 9:07
Mile 2: 9:11
Mile 3: 9:57
Mile 4: 9:26
Mile 5: 9:27
Mile 6: 9:19
Mile 7: 9:01
Mile 8: 9:41
Mile 9: 9:13
Mile 10: 7:27

Elapsed: 1:31:55
Pace: 9:12/Mile

I thought I ran a very consistent pace through out the race and I was told that the course was certified. Therefore, I must deduce that the last mile was shorter and some of the other miles were longer. Either that or I have a smidgen of Kenyan DNA in me and it showed up during the last mile... :)

Between the food and the goodies we received, this has got to be one of the best values in Houston road racing circuit. Check it out next year!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Final Tune Up for 10 4 TX

Tuesday evening, I ran my final tune up for the 10 Miler. Well, I was going to run a quick 5K on Thursday as the final tune up but that schedule conflicted with a night out at Smith and Wollensky's on Westheimer. So Tuesday it was.

5K Dash

Mile 1: 8:59
Mile 2: 8:20
Mile 3: 8:15
0.1: 0:47

Elapsed: 26:22

Pace: 8:30/Mile

Mellow Yellow coach Cooper sent out an email with pacing information. Told us to try either going all out or trying out our marathon paces. Also subtly hinted that if we cannot maintain 10 minutes/mile pace at this 10 miler, we need to assess our fitness and and fess up to reality. Like getting kicked out of the group.... With that threat looming over my big head, I shall be fully focused.

All joking and seriousness aside, 10 minute pace translates to 4:22 marathon time. I need to concentrate a little harder on this running business if I want to get there.

By the way, I signed up to run the Houston Half at the end of the month. I also signed up to run the Houston Marathon. Waited too long to run the Disney. Shame, shame.

Bar Bar A, sorry for not blogging through the Blackberry as promised. I have no excuse.

Finally, my weight this morning registered at 173.8 lbs. That rocks.

Double finally, I have not had any ITBS issues since starting the lunges with 8 lb weight on each hand. I'm up to 30 lunges per leg. I'm a lunging maniac at the Y now.

Have a great weekend of running everyone, especially Vic Kaiser, may your first 10 miler be a memorable one.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Wow! What a shirt!

Picked up my packet today for the 10 for Texas at Luke's Locker during lunch. This race is such a good value. I got a great looking long sleeve white technical shirt by Brooks with cool looking logo in Orange. (Hmmm, it looked a lot like HRB's white technical shirt with orange logo....) There was also a $15 Luke's coupon (on purchases of $75 and up) and it appears the after running food will be provided by some cool restaurants including Pei Wei and Berryhill. To top it all off, the course winds through the heart of the Woodlands.

We should have great running weather come Saturday. I'm looking forward to a great run and post run celebration.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Jon Walk

Hi Jon,

Before you move on, I wanted to just say, "Thanks!" I say thanks because you became my link to the Houston Running Community. Through you, I learnt about the Houston Striders. I also came to know a lot of Houston area running friends through you. Going to running events and mingling with other running folks I met through you became a ritual of sorts for me last season.

I am going to miss seeing you at running events. I'm sorry things did not work out the way you envisioned them. All things happen for a reason, whether understood or not. I wish you well, wherever you might land. I am certain that a day will come when you will lace up your running shoes again for a "quick" run, just to sweat a little, just to see where it will take you.

Take Care!

Finally, cool running weather

Sorry for not posting for so long. I went to another Dove Hunt and also attended a weekend corporate meeting. In between, I've been out of town a lot lately. Still, I have been keeping up with most of my running. I will be running the 10 for Texas next weekend. I hope to meet a bunch of you there. This morning's 9 miler went very well. I felt very strong at the end of the run, as if I could run another 9 miles. Best of all, I kept up a 9:30 mile pace. Woo hoo!! Amazing what ideal running conditions will do for you.