Saturday, November 17, 2007

Run

I started driving our kids to their respective activities starting at 7:30 AM this morning. By 11 AM, I finally got an hour and half of free time. So, lacing up my Kayanos and wrapping the Garmin on my left wrist, I went for an hour of running.

Mile 1: 9:15
Mile 2: 9:34
Mile 3: 9:46
Mile 4: 10:02
Mile 5: 9:48
Mile 5.81: 9:13

Total: 5.81 Miles
Elapsed: 55:56
Pace: 9:37/mile
Calories Burned: 797
Temp: 75 deg. F

So much info......and I haven't even loaded the CD onto my laptop yet.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Does it play in Peoria?



Another camera phone shot from a recent trip to Peoria, IL. Corn, corn every where but not a single sweet corn to eat.

Fall Colors!


Taken with a Camera Phone on a recent trip to Charlotte, NC. Fall colors were in full bloom! The scenery was breath taking. Wow! I wished I had a proper camera on me but alas, the camera phone had to do from behind the windshield as I drove.
First run with my Garmin.
Well, I kept looking at it to check my pace. It was too dark to see and I hadn't figured out where the back lighting button was so every time I ran by a street light, I caught myself checking my pace. Hmmm. Well, it was telling me that I ran 3 miles at 26:19 and that my pace was 8:46. After the run, I figured out how to work the autolap feature so next time, I'll get you a mile by mile breakdown. Surprisingly, it does not feel bulky once you get going.
Has anyone tried to wear this onto an airplane? I wonder if the Garmin will freak out if you turned it on during flight with one mile autolap? It'd be beeping a lot and your pace would be pretty wacked out as you'd be "running" at 500 miles per hour. I'm quite sure it will acquire the satellites if you put it next to a window.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

2007 HMSA 25K

3:03:47

Exhaustion. My weekend race schedule has been pretty ambitious since October and I finally paid the price for it today. The body just gave up after a few miles. Live and learn I suppose.

Mile 1: 8:58
Mile 2: 8:54
Mile 3: 9:30
Mile 4: 8:59
Mile 5: 12:04
Mile 6: 10:12
Mile 7: 9:56
Mile 8: 12:11
Mile 9: 12:30
Mile 10: 11:50
Mile 11: 13:16
Mile 12: 14:04
Mile 13: 15:36
Mile 14: 15:07
Mile 15 & 15.5: 20:34

I thought very hard about quitting after each lap by the Wortham center but resisted both times. Not sure why.

It is always great to see familiar faces at these events. First person I ran into was Coach Bill Dwyer of Woodlands Fit who was talking to Jim Braden when I walked up to him. Then Coach Cooper of Woodlands Fit came by. Waverly was there in the Woodlands Running Club tent also. Then Ed Quarles came by. I hadn't seen Ed since Yuri's Night 5K. Then a few miles into the race, I saw Jen on a bike. She was volunteering as an AED/EMT. I forgot to congratulate her on her NYC Marathon P.R. But such is the case when you meet someone so suddenly. Then Jessica ran by, I think she might have been after another P.R. She was gone after a few words. I also saw Mr. & Mrs. Jamoosh. I wonder if she OK'ed his tattoo. Finally, there was Jon Walk by the turn at downtown, encouraging all the runners as they went by.

Special thanks to Jen who gave me a handful (all I could carry) of ice during the last loop. I put some on my head and ate the rest. It was refreshing and very much appreciated.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Garmin Forerunner 205

The geeky part of me is winning out. I'm now a proud owner of a Forerunner 205.
I think Jen ran a 40 minute marathon P.R. after training with a Garmin. If that's not a vote of confidence for this product, I don't know what is.
Looking long term, I need all the help I can get to do my part to defeat Coach Dwyer's team at TIR. (gosh, I think I forgot their team name....)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Biking with Fran and Alex. Daughter was watching the Bee movie with friends.

I watched the Marathon trials last night. I was glued to the laptop for the entire race. Being able to watch the whole thing without commercial interruption was pretty cool! I was most impressed with Brian Sell. Not with his speed or his supreme athletic talents but I was impressed with his desire to qualify. To come charging in from where he was to 3rd place finish was absolutely amazing.

I wonder how Ryan runs in the heat? Besides from dirty and dusty air, it is going to be pretty hot in Beijing.

By the way, why does it look like these elite guys don't look like they're out of breath or breathing remotely hard while cruising at sub 5 minute miles? And when they cross the finish line, they just stop and wave and don't even appear to be sweating? I swear Paula was sprinting the last half mile but when she crossed the finish line, she just stopped, smiled and waved. How do they do that?

All that marathon coverage from NYC is making me want to put my name in the lottery for next year's race. Is there a 2008 ING NYCM in Holden's future?

p.s. My right achilles is bothering me a little. It's not painful or anything but it has been reminding me all day that it's there.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

2007 Rocky Raccoon 25K

2:55:53
11:19/mile Pace

Beautiful pleasant day for trail running for sure. This is my second Huntsville race. The first was Sunmart 50K last December. As noted before, trail running is very different from road racing. You are never properly "balanced," there is no "rhythm" to your run and you are constantly turning and going up or down. Ground is uneven, there are roots, ruts and loose gravel to trip you over if you're not careful. You are always looking down watching out for anything that can trip you over or roll your ankle.

Despite all that, you are one with nature, away from civilization and sometimes, can have long stretches of the forest all to your self. I ran 12th and better part of the 13th mile on my own, sometimes wondering if I was lost.

My legs are very tired at this moment but none of the joints hurt. One of the bonuses of running on soft surface.

Today, I was very grateful for running the 25K. As I saw the 50K folks head out for their second loop, I was having flashbacks to last year's Sunmart.

This is a new trail running distance for me so it's a "P.R." I'm glad to have broken 3 hours.

Next Race: HMSA 25K - Back to road racing!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rocky Raccoon 25K

I think I'm deranged. This afternoon, I signed up to run the RR 25K up in Huntsville State Park this Saturday.

Crazy.

I hear it's a really good tune-up run for Sunmart 50K. Not that I'm going to run that crazy race anytime soon.

Most probably not.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Official Houston Half Result

Chip Time: 2:00:38 (missed breaking 2 hours by 39 seconds!!!)
Pace: 9:15/mile
First Split: 1:00:04 (9:06/mile pace)
Second Split: 1:01:08 (9:16/mile pace)

Again, perfect weather and perfect execution equals a great road race.

2007 Houston Half Marathon

Houston Striders know how to organize a road race. They are always so well organized. Here's a shout out to Steve Shepard and crew. Great job y'all!

51 degrees greeted me this morning. I seem to perform the best when the temp is in the 50's. It never feels too hot or cold. A sleeveless tech shirt and tech shorts is all you need. You don't even need to drink too much water/Gatorade. Despite the favorable weather, I only got to run an average race. I think I missed breaking 2 hour mark. (Still waiting for official race time as I forgot to turn on the stop watch at the start) Just didn't push hard enough. I could tell right away when the race was over, my ending heart rate was only 150. That is just normal running exertion. Oh well.

Mile 1: Forgot to start the stopwatch
Mile 2: 9:09
Mile 3: 9:00
Mile 4: 8:58
Mile 5: 8:49
Mile 6: 9:08
Mile 7: 9:03
Mile 8: 9:10
Mile 9: 9:19
Mile 10: 9:24
Mile 11: 9:29
Mile 12: 9:21
Mile 13: 9:31
Mile 13.1: 0:54

Total: 1:51:20 plus Mile 1 = 2 hours and 1 minute?

I started to fade somewhere after mile 8. Hmm, was that possibly because I was distracted by a really pretty time caller at mile 8? Or was it because the lady with a bullhorn who's name comes after May forgot my name?!?! (Apparently, this was not June. Sorry! - HC)

Saw a lot of familiar faces today. Steeeve Shepard at the relay exchange, Vic Kaiser on the course, Jamoosh with his St. Arnold singlet at the finish area (I think he passed me around mile 9), Pony Peterson, Coach Dwyer, Steve Bezner, Sarah Graybeal (from far away), Joe Carey, Humble Runner, Felix Lugo with a bullhorn, Beth Whitehead, the Woodlands Fit Coach, Jennifer Kim in the back seat of a Houston Police Cruiser (Lead Pace Vehicle) and many others I'm not able to remember at this moment. All that gives this a home town race feel.

I wasn't able to hang around after the race so regrettably, I was gone after eating that delicious lettuce wrap in the finish area. We all got a pretty cool looking medal.

Again, one great road race, here in Houston. Try it out next year, you won't be disappointed.

Next Race: HMSA 25K

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tempo Run

Normally, there is always a rest day between running days. But when Houston weather beckons with a 57 degree temperature at 6:30 PM, who can resist? I celebrated cooler weather with a long sleeve tech shirt. It's glorious to be alive and fit enough to run.

Mile 1: 8:39
Mile 2: 8:21
Mile 3: 7:55
0.1: 0:42

Total: 25:38
Pace: 8:16/mile

On another note: Shoe washing. Namely running shoes. I do wash my running shoes. But only after it's useful life has been spent. I wash "dead" shoes in the washing machine on delicate cycle. I wash it with the laces and insoles taken out. These items are washed together but separately. Then I let them air dry in the garage. I wash them because the upper mesh of the running shoes really don't wear out during running. So when they come out of the wash, the shoes look new, except for the soles being worn out and not bouncy. I use these for casual wear and for gym workout.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Morning Long Run

Shoe Update:

The new Kayano 13's only have 3 miles in them but the retired pair is in the washing machine and so I had no choice but to wear the new pair. I'm having some heel slippage issue with the new Kayanos and so after researching multiple lacing methods on the net, I decided to use the last set of eyelets on the shoe for the first time in my life. It seems to have done the trick. No issues what so ever with the shoes today, other than tying my left one too tight but it wasn't bothersome enough to stop running to loosen it. I even drank on the run. So, no walk breaks today.

Weather was nice this morning. I think it was in the low 60's at the start. I love starting my long runs in the dark. Stars were out in full view when I started. Sun had just peaked over the tree line when I finished. Perfect way to start the day.

Run Summary:

Distance: 10.2 miles
Time: 1:36:15
Pace: 9:26/mile
Shoes: Asics Gel Kayano 13 (13.3 miles)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Recovery Run

Recovery and new shoes.

I suppose technically, I'm still recovering from the near marathon (which is kind of like near beer.....and both are very lacking in satisfaction) but since that was really like a long run, I really don't have to worry about recovery. That explains why my 10 miler time was so good this past weekend.

After work weather conditions weren't too bad. 83 with medium to high humidity. I have finally retired my Asics Gel Kayano 12's and introduced my feet to Kayano 13's. First impressions. They feel lighter but also less cushiony. It also felt a little stiffer than the 12's. Perhaps they need to be broken in even though I don't remember 11's and 12's needing to be broken in. Having tired legs didn't help matters either.

My legs felt pretty flat, no spring in it at all. Perhaps they need a little more rest. The 3rd mile was a little trying and I was glad it was over when the end came.

Mile 1: 9:00
Mile 2: 8:42
Mile 3: 8:14
0.1: 0:47

Total: 26:44
Pace: 8:37/mile

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lesson Learned

I made a small change to my long distance race routine. On today's 10 for Texas, I carried a $10 bill with me for the first time in my racing career. This is my new emergency measure to take away any possibility of not being able to buy a drink should such a need arises. Knowing I had the bill gave me an extra measure of confidence.

It also allowed me to celebrate my P.R. by buying myself a Grande Coffee at Market Place Starbucks right after the run. :)

10 For Texas

Cool and slightly breezy. Just before leaving the house, the Weather Channel reported local temperature to be 60. Nice.

I love home town races. You can get up later, drive a short distance and be in the middle of it without much effort of getting "there." Perhaps that's why I enjoyed this year's 10 For Texas just as much as last year's version.

Run stats according to my Timex:

Mile 1: 9:20
Mile 2: 8:56
Mile 3: 9:11
Mile 4: 9:09
Mile 5: 9:11
Mile 6: 9:05
Mile 7: 9:08
Mile 8: 9:00
Mile 9: 9:16
Mile 10: 9:32

Total: 1:31:53 (P.R. by 2 seconds!)
Pace: 9:11/mile

Rock solid pacing. I guess I ran out of gas on the last mile. Cool weather, uncrowded water stations, plenty of fluids well spaced runners after mile 2. Perfect kind of racing to grab a P.R.

Official Race Result:

485th runner out of 1112 finishers to finish.
First 5 Miles: 45:50.2 Pace: 9:10/M
2nd 5 Miles: 46:02.0 Pace: 9:12/M
Chip Time: 1:31:52.2
Gun Time: 1:32:25.2

Below is my last year's time:

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

Pretty amazing how close it is. Although I think I ran it better this year because last year had a short last mile as you can see.

Bill Dwyer was Mile 1 pace caller and then later chip remover. I said hi to Bill at mile one and when I finished, he shouted out, "I'm removing Holden's timing chip!!" What a guy. Always so upbeat and energetic. Thanks for volunteering Coach Bill!

Major shout out to "K" whom I spoke to before the race.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Beating the Dead Horse Deader - Final Comment

Jay Mariotti is a sports columnist for Chicago Sun-Times. His article seem to sum up the marathon very well and what it means to Chicago and their Olympic hope for 2016.

I still hear the ambulance sirens too!

Marathon Expo

Please excuse the poor quality of this camera phone image. I was impressed at how big Chicago Marathon Expo was. Wow! This picture does not do justice but it was huge!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Next Race: 10 For Texas

Looking back on last weekend's adventure, I can say it was well worth the experience. In fact, I wouldn't trade it for any other marathon experience. Here's my lessons learned. Carry a $20 bill. It doesn't weigh that much and it can come in handy during emergencies. Runners with cash made out OK. Since Chicago Marathon ran through the city, there was plenty of opportunity to buy water from convenience stores. I personally do not like to carry my own water during an organized race so I won't recommend that. Other than that, there will be other races, so always asses your condition before and during the race based on how you feel and what the weather is.

Next Race: 10 For Texas. The weather for Saturday is looking mighty good for a nice run in the Woodlands. Hope to see a bunch of you there.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Houston Race Organizers and Volunteers ROCK!

I didn't realize how spoiled I was before. Houston knows how to organize races. Houston also knows how to feed the runners. Recovery food at the Chicago Marathon consisted of, banana, apple, fig newtons, bagels and bottled water. That was it!

So here it is:

THANK YOU HOUSTON RACE ORGANIZERS AND VOLUNTEERS. YOU GUYS ARE TRULY THE BEST.

Did Chicago Marathon Have Enough Water? NOT!

There has been a lot of talk about whether there was enough water on the course or not. Here is my take. As I understand, only about 35,000 runners showed up. So, if you were geared towards 45,000 runners and 10,000 was a no show, there should have been enough water. The math does not add up.

Another point. Weather forecasters have been predicting since Monday that it was going to be unusually hot this weekend. That would have given the organizers enough time to get more water. Apparently, this did not happen in time.

There was not enough water. Marathoners are a hardy lot. We can withstand any hot weather conditions. But without water, that is not possible, no matter how tough you are.

Shame on Chicago Marathon officials. They've been spinning this water issue as soon as they called off the race. Hydration supply was inadequate. I know. I was there.

O.K. Off the soap box.

Chicago Marathon 2007 Edition Minus a Few Miles

What would Jon do? Run it of course. With me on board my Southwest flight to Chicago Saturday morning was a sleeveless tech shirt (white), a pair of running socks, running shorts and my Asics. I was planning to run somewhere in Chicago so I needed all that. But what would my runner friend Jon do? Run the marathon of course. I reviewed the course map again and decided that I could quit at halfway point and walk back to the finish. So I went to the Expo to pick up my packet. Bonus! I got to see John Bingham giving a speech when I was there at McCormick Place.

Race Morning:

Thinking that 45,000 runners would cause mass chaos and mayhem with traffic, I elected to take the "EL" to downtown. Apparently, a lot of smart folks like me thought the same. The train I was in was jammed packed with runners. That was a cool site. The nervous energy and anticipation was pretty cool. At every stop, there was more runners that got on. There I was, on a train bound for downtown Chicago at 6 AM, filled to the gills with runners. Pretty cool indeed!

I got off the train around 7 AM, the sky is turning red with the rising sun. I find my way to the gear check location. I take off my long sleeve and stuff it into my bag. I count out 3 Gu packs and a packet of Clif blocks. I put my bib on and check my gear. Off to the port-a-johns. I finally get out of the toilets around 7:40 AM. Now hurrying to the start area. Oh the mass of humanity at this point. There was runners everywhere trying to position themselves in the start area. I nudge forward until I can nudge no more. I am standing in the 11 minute mile zone. The 4:45 pacer is slightly ahead of me and the 5:00 pacer is behind me. From my vantage point, the starting line seem to be in a different zip code. Holy Cow. Soon the starting gun goes off.....and nothing happens.....

Slowly but surely, the mass of runners started to move. We are now walking in fits and stops. Almost 20 minute passes before I cross the starting line. And we are off! First few miles weave through some famous downtown streets. The crowds are deafening. This is truly an international event. Cheering contingents from Germany, Holland, Mexico, Belgium, Korea, Swiss and countless other flags I cannot make out are waving from the crowd. I hear many many different languages spoken by runners from all over the world. I am impressed. What a great Marathon event I'm thinking. A downtown bank display indicates a temperature of 77. I'm a little concerned but I'm from Houston, as long as I hydrate well, I should be OK.

First aid station comes just before mile 2. We are still running in tight packs. I wonder with so many runners, does it really thin out? The first aid station is mobbed. The mass quantities of runners totally overwhelm the volunteers. But it is still orderly at this time. The volunteers line the tables and are handing out drinks. You just have to crawl to a very slow walk to get a drink. I end up with a half cup of Gatorade. I expected this. All marathons and half marathons I've participated in has problems with the first stop because of the density of runners hitting the spot at the same time. I think nothing of this and continue to enjoy the race. While running through downtown, we were also running through shades created by the tall buildings.

2nd aid station comes up between mile 3 and 4, still in downtown. But there is a problem. The right side of the street is totally out of Gatorade and water. Volunteers tell us to go the the left side to get some water. I look over. There is a mass of runners about 5 deep clamoring for water. They are not moving. The volunteers are not lined up in the street. The runners are on both sides of the aide tables. Glancing at my watch, I decide it is not worth it. We are still early and hopefully it will thin out by the next aid station. Still not alarmed, I continue to enjoy running in the shade and absorbing in the crowd's energy and enthusiasm. Soon we leave downtown and enter Lincoln Park. I see a runner carrying an American flag. It's Felix Lugo and his entourage. I'm on the other side of the street and don't make an attempt to cross over to say hi. As I passed him, I hear Felix calling for a walk break. What a great guy. The flag looks overly heavy on him today. We lost the shade at Lincoln Park and the sun starts to beat down hard.

3rd aid station is in Lincoln Park. We are getting close to mile 6 and I had only had a half cup of Gatorade to this point. I have never gone this far with so little water ever. I don't feel bad yet but I know I've been sweating profusely. By now, I've passed the 4:45 pace group. There is mass chaos and confusion at the aid station. Again, I see no lines of volunteers. It has degenerated down to desperate runners like me looking for any kind of fluid. I don't see any cups on the table. I've decided that going without water at this point is dangerous. So I started to scavenge. I see a guy drinking out of a big 5 gallon plastic jug. I recognize the jug as the ones volunteers were using to fill the cups in station one. I ask if I can get a drink. We share. We both drink 3 large gulps of it thinking that is as much as we can drink without the water sloshing in our stomach. We part ways. Off I go. That whole episode lasts about 4 minutes.

We keep pushing north until Addison avenue. There the run takes a turn to the west and quickly back south towards downtown. I elect to run on the left hand side of the street to get some shielding from the sun. A lot of runners do the same. The crowd energy is unbelievable. How can so many people line the streets? This level of support goes on almost uninterrupted through the whole race. Amazing! Fourth aid station comes up right after 8 mile marker. Same scene unfolds. This aid station is run by a pretty sharp station captain. They are also over run and under supplied. But they kept furiously lining the tables with empty cups. Once you pick that up, a volunteer pour the water into your cup. Bunch of runners surround every volunteer with water jugs. When one runs out, you have to find another one and get in line. I don't see many volunteers however. What the hell is going on? I later learn on local news that a lot of the volunteers are dispatched into the neighborhood homes to fill their jugs with tap water. The fluid had run out! Shit! I am able to get a cup of water and a cup of Gatorade. Time spent in the aid station: 4 minutes. Can this be real? I am now starting to re-strategize my efforts. Even if I keep a ten minute pace, I'm going to get killed by the aid station fiasco.

By now, the mood of the runners change. The jubilant happy go lucky attitude slowly changes over to one of despair. Talking subsides. Everyone is grumbling about water. Runners who brought along cash dashes into convenience stores to buy water. I start to see a lot of runners carrying disposable water bottles. Ones carrying cell phones are calling their loved ones to meet them with water bottles. And we have yet to cross mile 10.

Aid station 5 comes and goes around mile 10 and a half. We are about to enter downtown again. The tall buildings offer some shade. This helps a lot. The crowd in deafening. They are so totally enthusiastic that it is hard not to get energized. Everyone around me seemed to collectively pickup speed. Aid station 6 comes up. This one is totally stocked and volunteers are disciplined. They are lined up with water and Gatorade on both sides of the street. Perhaps they were the first ones to be re-stocked. Or they had the best aid station captain. Either way, I now feel pretty good. I hope that the water situation is now OK going forward. By now we're at mile 12 and I decide I feel good enough to continue. I tell myself that as long as there is water and Gatorade I can make it. I pop my second Gu at this point and press on to check out Greek town and Little Italy.

Shortly after passing Greek town, aid station 7 comes up. We are now close to mile 14 and I feel good as this is now the farthest I've run since August. Nothing hurts and no cramps. Good. Except the aid station is again chaotic. Water is hard to find again. I search and finally find a cup. Now I search frantically for water. I spot a few clustered runners and make may way to one of them. There, an aid worker is pouring water from the jug to cups lined up in front of her. Before she gets to me, she runs out of water. Crap! SHIT. These are thoughts going through my mind. I find another cluster of runners. This time, I get a pour, the last one from her jug. Other runners that did not get water starts to groan. The volunteer is sincerely sorry and apologizes. It is not her fault. No one takes out their frustration on her. A bunch of us thank her for helping the best she could. Others search for water. I gulp down and press on. It is getting incredibly hot. Most roads are blacktop. The road is getting hot too! At this point, I decide to conserve energy by running a block and walking a block. I see United Center and briefly think about a time when I went to see Michael Jordan play. It is hot. Did I mention it was hot? I'm starting to not think straight. I start to hear the wail of ambulances. This was a non stop event from this point on. Soon I come across runners sitting by the road side, some lying down, being attended by medical personnel and spectators. Wow. Sobering. We make another turn at mile 15 and now head east.

Aid Station 8, just short of mile 16 was not fun. I manage to get a half cup of water. Runners are in despair. It is no longer fun. More runners are lying by the roadside being attended. I see some runners in stretchers going into ambulances. I see some neighbors going into their houses and bringing out every bottled water they had. I miss out on every one of these occasions. About a 3rd of mile past aid station 8 we come close to downtown again for the last time. Do I quit or do I go on? I debate and debate. We are halfway to mile 17. At mile 17, I only have 9 miles to go. 9! It is less than 10 I tell myself. How can you quit now? This is the 30th running, a historic event!

Mile 17 comes and goes. Less than a mile to go to the next aid station. It is getting very hot. A bank thermometer displays 92. 92! Ambulance sirens continue to wail away. Now fire trucks join in on the melee. I wondered why so many fire trucks were out with sirens blazing. Later I find out. They are opening fire hydrants and spraying runners with water from their hoses. Aid Station 9 comes up. Again, disorganization. I find a cup. I find a runner pouring water. I stick my cup out and get a half a cup filled. Again, I luck out.

Mile 18 comes up. Shortly thereafter, a band comes on their loud speaker to say, "The race has been cancelled. Please stop running. There is no water beyond this point. You must walk. Please start walking." I'm not sure if I should believe that. Half of us shrug it off. Others ask, "Will we still get medals?" Who the hell knows. Who cares? I'm thinking, "I'm at the 18th mile. What the heck?" Soon, police officers start the same announcement. "Please stop running. The race has been called off. There is no more water through the rest of the course." Some runners ask, "What are we supposed to do? Is there a bus picking us up?" There is no bus. Then again, how would you pick up around 20,000 runners? We walk, and walk and walk. Spectators are still shouting words of encouragement. I see a lot of people with garden hoses spraying and a lot of runners grateful for it. I see more spectators handing out bottled water and runners saying, "God bless you!" Very heart warming. Yet again, I'm not fast enough to get one before it's gone. At this point, I also see low flying helicopters with initials CFD (Chicago Fire Department? )on the belly with a loud speaker announcing, "The race has been called off. Do not run. Please walk. There is no more water on the course."

At 30K point, the timing mat does not chirp. I hear that the timing mats have been turned off to discourage runners from...well, running. What the heck. I turn off my watch in disgust. Mile 19, 20 an 21 goes by.....still walking and no water. A bunch of us decide to take a short cut around 21.5 mile and rejoin the course a few hundred yards short of the 25th mile. Basically, we bypassed Chinatown. As we're walking, cars roll down their windows and passengers start clapping at us. They are still encouraging us to press forward! We must have looked totally defeated. I take a look back and forth. There is a line of runners as far as the eye can see, trudging along. Few more hours of this and I think I'd understand how the hero's of the Bataan death march must have felt. Maybe not. At least there's no one here to beat the crap out of you or shoot you if you stopped to sit down, which a lot of runners were doing. Now back on course, soon I see "1 mile to go" sign. Crowd has not let up. They are energetic and encouraging us on. They all knew the race was cancelled by now but no matter. Some of us start running again. With half mile to go, I cannot resist further. Water or no water. If the finish area was out of water, I figured I can drink out of Buckingham fountain. I run. It feels good to be running again. Soon, I see the final straight-a-way. 400 meters, 300, 200, 100 meters to go. I am now soaring as best I could. Finally, I cross the line. A volunteer hands me a bottle of water. As I'm drinking it down, I see 3 people on stretchers, getting put into ambulances. Apparently, some of the runners collapsed after finally making it back to the finish line. What a day.

Official Chip Time:

5K: 0:33:40
10K: 1:08:05
15K: 1:43:20
20K: 2:22:29
HALF: 2:31:13
25K: 3:03:13
30K and beyond: Timing mats are turned off! What the heck! Oh well, no more recorded time.
Chicago Marathon site records my finish time as 5:12:21 but this cannot be accurate.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Running

How about a running post for a change? Humidity seems to have disappeared for now. It was even cool enough for an enjoyable evening run. So, after work, there I was, running my very familiar 5K course around the neighborhood.

Mile 1: 9:16
Mile 2: 8:57
Mile 3.1: 9:31

Total: 27:45
Pace: 8:57/mile

I'm glad for the seasonal change. Although it is hard to tell in general, I can tell the weather is turning. The humidity is no longer oppressive. The nights are a little cooler. These are all good signs for runners.

Life has been a little monotonous lately. It will be good to be taking a break and going to Chicago. Have a great weekend.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Flying on 9-11-07


I'm kind of way behind on a bunch of posts. I flew to Cleveland on 9-11 this year. There was only about 30 passengers flying with me that day. In fact, I had the whole exit row to myself. A B737 with only 30 folks pretty much guarantees a row of seats to every passenger. I don't think I've been on such an empty flight since Reagan was President. I suppose there still is some stigma attached to 9-11 and flying. As I was pondering the meaning of that dreadful event, I saw the rising sun's reflection coming off these cloud formation. It was really beautiful to watch as the high bypass CFM 56 turbofan engines powered our jet towards Cleveland.

Mr. Magoo


One weekend morning, I come home after walking the dog and I find this turtle on our front porch. My first thought is that it is a decoration my wife picked up from Garden Ridge or something. But the dog starts going wild and I can see his head moving in and out of his shell. Neat-o! Soon the whole family is awake and the kids want to know if they can adopt this thing. I think it lives close to my house. I haven't seen it since but I named it, Mr. Magoo.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

12.5 Miles

I ran 12.5 miles this morning. It was tough hard run. Took me 2 hours and 16 minutes. It is now pretty much pitch dark at 6:30 in the morning. I saw the sun pop up over the tree line then not too long after that, started to rain. Not that I minded. After all, running is an all weather sport, kind of like being a postman, but faster. (Unless you're a running postperson and then you're really fast...) Either I'm totally unfit or my lungs are becoming much more inefficient. I wonder if my boyhood asthma is trying to make a comeback.

Brenham, TX


Alex wins again! This time, 3rd place for combat and 2nd place for forms. We had to be in Brenham by 9:30 AM yesterday. We watched him get his ass kicked by the eventual winner and then watched Alex kick his opponents ass for the 3rd place match. Then, after a quick photo on the camera phone and a quick goodbye, we hustled all the way to the Hobby center. Thank goodness for his coach/Master Alexander who brought him home.

Grande Coffee Eh?

I found myself in Niagara Falls, Ontario on September 13th on business. I was early to a meeting and and so went on a little walk. While wondering around the theme parkish town I found a familiar slice of Americana. In Canada, "The Way I See it" is printed in both English and French.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mama Mia!

Hobby Center, Main Lobby. Mama Mia! is in town and I thought it would be great to go see that with my Frannie. Being 41, I do recollect ABBA music blasting from all sorts of radios back in the 70's. I mostly lived in Spain during that decade and them Swedes used to be really BIG in Europe back then. Brought back lots of early childhood memory. I don't do too many musicals so I don't really know how this one rates but we had a blast. It's happy, people around you are dressed well and polite and there is a cash bar in the lobby. Cultured Americana at it's best.

Not running too much. I should really go see someone about that. I am slowly getting back though. 7.5 miles last weekend. 3 miles twice during the week. Coughing is still there however. So Chicago is now out of the question. What a waste of money, factoring in airfare. I'm still going, my parents still live there so I'll drop by for the weekend. As a consolation prize, I'll run to my high school again as I did a few years back.
Looking beyond next weekend, I have the Woodlands 10 miler coming up weekend after that. I think I can finish that one. Then hopefully, I'll be fit enough to run the Houston Half.
Getting out of the house to walk the dog this morning, the dry cool air hinted at a coming fall weather. This is the beginning of the best Houston running weather. Run well my runner friends. Run well.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

O~~~~~~~~~~~~~klahoma! Where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain


A Day in the Life of Holden:
4:00 AM: Wake up
4:40 AM: Cereal with soy milk
5:00 AM: Drive to IAH
5:45 AM: Through security at Terminal B, on skylink to Terminal C, buy Starbucks grande coffee with room for cream
6:00 AM: Back to Terminal B
6:30 AM: Board Continental Express ERJ to OKC
8:25 AM: Touch Down! OKC
Work
1:40 PM Back in the airport
2:10 PM Board return flight, another Continental Express jet (Canadair 200)
2:30 PM Push back from the gate
3:00 PM Waiting for clearance from ATC by the runway
3:30 PM Still waiting (all 50 seats full and it's kinda hot)
4:00 PM "Folks, this is your captain speaking, we've been idling and burning jetfuel for so long that we need to go back to the gate and top off our fuel tanks...."
4:15 PM Gunning for the runway, we take off! Apparently, weather in Houston was not so good.
7:30 PM Home, drinking Shiner Bock.

Murrah Memorial







First time visit to Oklahoma city on yet another day tripper. Went to Murrah Memorial to pay my respects. Such a sad place.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Chicago Distance Classic 2007

This Summer's half marathon came up at a bad time for me. I was still suffering from upper respiratory problems when this race came due. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to run though down town Chicago I ran it, coughing and hacking part of the way. The good news is, I enjoyed this run. Meandering through the downtown streets during the first few miles and then running by the brilliant blue lake shore with the skyline in the back ground was extremely breath taking. Sure it was hot, but if your motivation is to site see on your own feet, this race is probably much better than the main event, the Chicago Marathon in October.

Mile 1: 8:58
Mile 2: 9:13
Mile 3: 9:13
Mile 4: 9:29
Mile 5: 9:27
Mile 6: 9:22
Mile 7: 10:01
Mile 8: 9:53
Mile 9: 10:15
Mile 10: 9:45
Mile 11: 10:29
Mile 12: 10:06
Mile 13: 10:37
0.1: 1:04

Total: 2:07:58
Pace: 9:46/mile

Official Chip Time: 2:08:01

This was no where close to my Official Chip Time P.R. of 1:56:32 (8:54/mile pace) established at last year's San Antonio Half Marathon but that was under perfect weather conditions and this was not.

Reading bunch of posts from last fall, I have realized that groups such as the Woodlands Fit does help make you a better runner. In hindsight, I believe I was fittest and fasted when I trained with them last year.

Running this Half has exacerbated my condition. I am sicker now that I was on August 12th. I have forsaken all running activity since then, hoping to become cured from my Summer cold. I think I'm making progress, but it seems very slow. Desperation is now seeping in. It has been 2 whole weeks since my last run. As I wait, date for the Chicago Marathon marches ever so closer. When will I be able to fit in a 15 miler? 18 miler? I don't know. The Marathon that was to be a smashing P.R. is slowly morphing into a race of survival.

Looking back now, I marvel at my fitness level. Despite suffereing from a cold, I was able to maintain a sub 10 mile pace. To think that I could not even run 3 miles under the best of physical conditions prior to me taking up running is indeed a miracle.

"To Old Times," A toast to American troops, then and now. By Peggy Noonan

Once I went hot-air ballooning in Normandy. It was the summer of 1991. It was exciting to float over the beautiful French hills and the farms with crisp crops in the fields. It was dusk, and we amused ourselves calling out "Bonsoir!" to cows and people in little cars. We had been up for an hour or so when we had a problem and had to land. We looked for an open field, aimed toward it, and came down a little hard. The gondola dragged, tipped and spilled us out. A half dozen of us emerged scrambling and laughing with relief.

Suddenly before us stood an old man with a cracked and weathered face. He was about 80, in rough work clothes. He was like a Life magazine photo from 1938: "French farmer hoes his field." He'd seen us coming from his farmhouse and stood before us with a look of astonishment as the huge bright balloon deflated and tumbled about.

One of us spoke French and explained our situation. The farmer said, or asked, "You are American." We nodded, and he made a gesture--I'll be back!--and ran to the house. He came back with an ancient bottle of Calvados, the local brandy. It was literally covered in dust and dry dirt, as if someone had saved it a long time.

He told us--this will seem unlikely, and it amazed us--that he had not seen an American in many, many years, and we asked when. "The invasion," he said. The Normandy invasion.
Then he poured the Calvados and made a toast. I wish I had notes on what he said. Our French speaker translated it into something like, "To old times." And we raised our glasses knowing we were having a moment of unearned tenderness. Lucky Yanks, that a wind had blown us to it.

That was 16 years ago, and I haven't seen some of the people with me since that day, but I know every one of us remembers it and keeps it in his good-memory horde.

He didn't welcome us because he knew us. He didn't treat us like royalty because we had done anything for him. He honored us because we were related to, were the sons and daughters of, the men of the Normandy Invasion. The men who had fought their way through France hedgerow by hedgerow, who'd jumped from planes in the dark and climbed the cliffs and given France back to the French. He thought we were of their sort. And he knew they were good. He'd seen them, when he was young.

I've been thinking of the old man because of Iraq and the coming debate on our future there. Whatever we do or should do, there is one fact that is going to be left on the ground there when we're gone. That is the impression made by, and the future memories left by, American troops in their dealings with the Iraqi people.

I don't mean the impression left by the power and strength of our military. I mean the impression left by the character of our troops-- by their nature and generosity, by their kindness. By their tradition of these things.

The American troops in Iraq, our men and women, are inspiring, and we all know it. But whenever you say it, you sound like a greasy pol: "I support our valiant troops, though I oppose the war," or "If you oppose the war, you are ignoring the safety and imperiling the sacrifice of our gallant troops."

I suspect that in their sophistication--and they are sophisticated--our troops are grimly amused by this. Soldiers are used to being used. They just do their job.
We know of the broad humanitarian aspects of the occupation--the hospitals being built, the schools restored, the services administered, the kids treated by armed forces doctors. But then there are all the stories that don't quite make it to the top of the heap, and that in a way tell you more. The lieutenant in the First Cavalry who was concerned about Iraqi kids in the countryside who didn't have shoes, so he wrote home, started a drive, and got 3,000 pairs sent over. The lieutenant colonel from California who spent his off-hours emailing hospitals back home to get a wheelchair for a girl with cerebral palsy.

The Internet is littered with these stories. So is Iraq. I always notice the pictures from the wire services, pictures that have nothing to do with government propaganda. The Marine on patrol laughing with the local street kids; the nurse treating the sick mother.
A funny thing. We're so used to thinking of American troops as good guys that we forget: They're good guys! They have American class.

And it is not possible that the good people of Iraq are not noticing, and that in some way down the road the sum of these acts will not come to have some special meaning, some special weight of its own. The actor Gary Sinise helps run Operation Iraqi Children, which delivers school supplies with the help of U.S. forces. When he visits Baghdad grade schools, the kids yell, "Lieutenant Dan!"--his role in "Forrest Gump," the story of another good man.

Some say we're the Roman Empire, but I don't think the soldiers of Rome were known for their kindness, nor the people of Rome for their decency. Some speak of Abu Ghraib, but the humiliation of prisoners there was news because it was American troops acting in a way that was out of the order of things, and apart from tradition. It was weird. And they were busted by other American troops.

You could say soldiers of every country do some good in war beyond fighting, and that is true enough. But this makes me think of the statue I saw once in Vienna, a heroic casting of a Red Army soldier. Quite stirring. The man who showed it to me pleasantly said it had a local nickname, "The Unknown Rapist." There are similar memorials in Estonia and Berlin; they all have the same nickname. My point is not to insult Russian soldiers, who had been born into a world of communism, atheism, and Stalin's institutionalization of brutish ways of being. I only mean to note the stellar reputation of American troops in the same war at the same time. They were good guys.

They're still good.

We should ponder, some day when this is over, what it is we do to grow such men, and women, what exactly goes into the making of them.

Whatever is decided in Washington I hope our soldiers know what we really think of them, and what millions in Iraq must, also. I hope some day they get some earned tenderness, and wind up over the hills of Iraq, and land, and an old guy comes out and says, "Are you an American?" And they say yes and he says, "A toast, to old times."

Copyright © 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Exit Row!


Return flight from Tulsa this evening. Seat 14C. Smidgen more leg room. Yea! My work phone got upgraded to at&t's model 8525 smart phone. It's supposed to be comparable to iPhone in terms of capabilities although it is no where near as hip as the iPhone like the one Sarah has. But then, she is one hip Rocketeer out of NASA and I'm ...... not.
I'm taking all these pictures with the tiny camera built into the phone. Very small lens, view these pictures in full and you can see all kinds of distortion.
It's been kind of hectic since returning from my vacation.

Back of the Bus


Flight to Tulsa this morning, sitting right in front of the toilet. Seat 19B (positively the last row) on a 50 seater Embraer Regional Jet.

First Class


Close but no cigar. Returning from Pittsburgh last Friday evening, sitting in 5C. First row behind the first class folks. I can smell their food...... Sigh.
This must be one of the most expensive cities you can fly to from Houston. Cheapest fair was over $1,000. Not a single empty seat however.
As it turns out, Jon was hanging out in front of gate C25 and I deplaned at gate C36. I probably walked (no pun!) passed right by him Friday night as Jon waited or was on board for his flight to Philly.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vacationing....

Will return to regularly scheduled postings by this weekend. Chicago was a lot of fun. Am I obsessed to be planning vacations around road running events?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Mile 1: 9:38
Mile 2: 8:43
Mile 3.1: 9:11

Total: 27:32
Pace: 8:52/mile
Shoes: Kayano XII (260.1 miles)

Hot and muggy. Then off to work.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Long Run

5:30 AM
12.1 miles.
2:05:49
10:23/mile pace
1 Gu pack

A slight improvement from last Saturday's run. Saw Woodlands Fit's water station on Flint Ridge and Sterling Ridge. TNT had one at Alden Bridge and Research Forest. Saw some runners. Bunch of bikers. It's great to be running so early Saturday morning and watching the sun come up. Lost 3 lbs in sweat despite drinking 40 oz of water. Big breakfast and now drinking strong coffee. Life is good.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Thunderstorms Forming Off the Gulf of Mexico


Weaving left and right to avoid thunderheads in a Continental 757 on my way to another day trip to New Orleans.

Corrections and Clarifications

Last Monday's real stats.

Mile 1: 9:42
Mile 2: 8:54
Mile 3: 8:39
0.1: 0:52

Time: 28:09
Pace: 9:04/mile

Monday, July 30, 2007

Would you like soup with that sir?

Soupy. 79 deg. F. Recovery run. Nice easy pace. Full Moon. 5:15 AM. Monday Morning. 3.1 miles. Nuff said.

Mile 1: 12:42
Mile 2: 11:54
Mile 3: 11:39
0.1: 2:52
Elapsed: 39:09
Pace: Too ugly to mention
Shoes: Kayano (244.9 miles)

Spent more money today. I am going back to Chicago to run the Chicago Distance Classic. This was my very first half marathon I ever entered and finished. Nostalgia and the fact that I'm going to kick ass was a strong motivator. That and it will give me a feel for the downtown area in the wee hours of the morning in preparation for my Chicago Marathon debut in a few months.

Closer to home, I also bought an entry into 10 For Texas. It should serve well as a recovery run a week after the Chicago Marathon. My fall race calendar is looking pretty crowded.

All this racing is for one purpose only. The TIR race next year. Just to throw Bill Dwyer off, I might be posting some fake running times on this blog and emailing actual times to Jon Walk.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

12.1 Miles

Saturday. All alarm clocks were turned off last night in the spirit of, "I'll get up when I get up." The bed side clock read 4:30. My attempts to get back to sleep was futile. By 5:35, I was staring out into the dark and steamy street from my opened garage door. Armed with a 20 oz water bottle, $5 and a solitary Gu pack, I set off, hoping to get back in 2 hours.

Time: 2:12
Pace: 10:56/mile

I managed to lose 3 lbs worth of sweat in the soupy mix. Glad to have had the cloud cover through out the run. Around mile 6, I came across the Woodlands Fit Yellow group on their morning run. A few even recognized me and called out my name. I still run with their yellow tag. A few minutes later, I came across the red group and then a little later still, the walkers. Thinking about all the fun time I had with them last year took my mind off the run for about 2 miles. But by the 9th mile, fatigue and hunger set in and I was forced to take several walking breaks.

Throat and lungs are still not 100%. There were many occasions today I flat out ran out of breath. It was a weird feeling, almost like I was experiencing an asthma attack. Maybe I was. Overall, I'm glad I ran, Dirt Runner was right. You just have to run it off.

p.s. If I'm not in intensive care, I should be blogging about my recovery run on Monday. See you then.

Friday, July 27, 2007

10 For Texas 2007



Registration Opens on Monday, July 30th. Click here.
Race Information:
Race Day: Saturday, October 13, 2007
Start time: 7:30 am

Registration Information

*Early Registration (July30-Aug.31) $35
*Registration (Sept. 1-September30) $40
*Late Registration (Oct. 1- Oct.12) $45
Race Day registration $55
*Walk in registration adds $5 to race fee.
Race entry fee includes:
Saucony Tech Shirt, Hit-Dri Finishers Hat, Nylon Race Bag, Post Race Party Food and Beverage


Minute Maid 7/25/07



I redeemed mine & Fran's Astro's run for the pennant 5K ticket vouchers for Wednesday night game against the Dodgers. Astros won 2-1. We were in the Mezzanine section 255. They were pretty good seats. (I've been told that there really isn't any bad seats at the Juice Box).

Due to the baseball game, Wednesday ended pretty late. Thus, getting up early Thursday morning was not to be. But I was able to get out there around 7:30 PM after work and get in a run. I rank this run worse that Tuesday's.

Mile 1: 8:56
Mile : 8:34
Mile 3: 8:23
0.1: 0:49

Total: 26:43
Pace: 8:37/mile

Legs and joints were screaming for a walk after the first mile. Lungs were threatening to walk out on me. The throat sucked the most but I was able to hold off on the coughs until after the run.

Dirt Runner sez I should run off the cold with a nice 12 miler this weekend. I think I'm going to do that. I just need to decide if that is Saturday or Sunday. I'll set the alarm for 5 tomorrow morning and if I feel relatively good, I'll run.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Some Running

Wow! Who turned off the heat and humidity this morning? I think I actually felt some shiver! Running Gods must like me. It welcomed me back this morning with cool dry air. Nice! Too bad the old body wasn't up to par.

Run Summary:

Time: 5:00 AM

Mile 1: 9:42
Mile 2: 8:55
Mile 3.1: 9:18

Total: 27:55
Pace: 9:00/mile
Shoes: Kayano (226.6 miles)

Still coughing a little but much more under control. I might try a 12 miler this weekend or just hang with Jon and the RHP at the RTW 5K.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Still No Running

Nope.
Zilch.
Nada.
Zero.

Still coughing up phlegm. Tire easily too. So I used this weekend to rest some more. Good thing we had "Deathly Hallows" lying around the house. I was a little surprised to see the word "Bitch" in the book. Don't worry, it only occurs once. I wish I was a wizard......

I hope to resurrect my running this week. Perhaps Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hand Written on Moleskine Notebook

CO 1623

Flying over to New Orleans for a day trip to Houma. Visiting one of our biggest customer's facility who is experiencing quality issues. Captain just came on and said that we're just east of Beaumont, scheduled to land just about on time despite leaving almost 30 minutes behind schedule. Or should I say, departed the gate on time but hung around the taxiway for about half an hour.

I have not had a chance to go back to running yet. I find that had to do when you cough up phlegm. This "mild" cold is lasting longer than I expected. But what is one to do when confronted with these situations? In the past, I did not take these situations well. Angst and uneasiness about falling behind in training schedule brought stress. Now, I look upon these downtimes as a time to let my joints and muscles to recover, to rejuvenate, to be ready for the next phase.....like the TIR. LOL.

As I look at my training schedule now, I am going to be a week behind target. I was to have run a 20K distance last weekend. I did not. But so what?

Sleep. Yes, I need to figure out how to get more of it. 2007 is turning out to be a sleep deprived year. Most years, I was able ot average 7-8 hours of sleep. This year, especially since I decided to do weekday runs in the morning, I have been averaging about 6 hours of sleep. I am not getting used to this change in habit. I am constantly tired during the day. Bad thing is, even on non-running days, I cannot seem to sleep in. Apparently, I cannot get used to 6 hours of sleep but can get used to waking up early. Sheesh. The only way to solve this dilemma is to go to bed around 9 PM. Well, having been a night owl all my life, this is one habit I am having supreme difficulty in breaking.

Looks like we're decending now fo a landing at MSY. Holden out.

P.S. Damned hard landing. Ouch!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Under the Weather

Sore throat, dull headache and just flat out tired. I think I've come down with something. No running since Friday. Oh well. Still, it didn't stop me from biking to the Y yesterday for weight training and biking back.

For txrunnergirl and her kiddo, Flix Technology on my Timex is an auto illuminating feature useful when running in the dark. With a flick of a wrist, the night light on the watch illuminates for 3 seconds. Here is a brief description from Timex.

"It incorporates the Timex Flix system, which activates the Indiglo night-light with a simple flick of your wrist. To activate FLIX, put the watch into Night-Mode by pressing and holding the Indiglo night-light button 3 seconds until it beeps. With the watch in Night-Mode, a forward "flick" of the wrist with a sharp "stop" will activate the Indiglo night-light for three seconds."

Stay cool!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Timex




Impulse buy for the month of July:

Timex Ironman with 100 Lap Memory and Flix Technology.













I walked into a Walmart the other day and saw this baby on sale for $35. Thought it was a good deal. Now I have 3 stop watches. Sigh.

Back to regularly scheduled programming. My new Timex woke me up at 4:50 AM. Time for a quick 5K. Temp: 78F, Humidity: 89%. Nice.

Mile 1: 9:21
Mile 2: 8:31
Mile 3: 8:13
0.1: 0:46

Total: 26:53
Pace: 8:40/mile
Heart Rate: 150/minute
Shoes: Kayano XII (223.5 miles)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Run

How times change. Before my running days, holidays like today was welcomed as a chance to sleep in and eat a lot of food. Nowadays, I still sleep in and eat a lot of food. Relatively. I turned the alarm off last night so that I could sleep in. I woke up at 6 AM, putzed around the house for a while then by 6:45 AM, I was outside, all dressed up in my running attire. An hour and eleven minutes later, I feel great, sweathy and am ready for the rest of the day. Most of my neighbors are still sleeping I think.

Temp: 73F
Humidity: 88%
Distance: 7.5 miles
Time: 1:11:09
Pace: 9:29/mile
Shoes: Kayano XII (220.4 miles)

Monday, July 02, 2007

An Accidental P.R.

I had to go all the way back to April, 2006 to dig out my official 5K P.R. With the help from Dirt Runner, I was able to post 24:44 at that RTW 5K. Today's run was scheduled to be an easy 5K run after this weekend's 10 miler. I wasn't able to get up this morning, after hearing the rain and rumbles of thunder, it was an easy decision to hit the snooze bar. Even so, one should always try to run in the mornings. Your races are almost always in the morning and you get to go out before the events of the day can ruin a late afternoon run. So was the case today. I was positively P.O.'ed coming home from work and my ride home only exacerbated the situation. So, after walking the dog, I went for an "easy" run.

Mile 1: 8:20
Mile 2: 7:53
Mile 3: 7:44
0.1: 0:41

Time: 24:40 P.R! Unofficial however.
Pace: 7:57/mile

Sitting here, typing this entry, with a Shiner Blonde on one side and left over California Pizza Kitchen Pizza on the other, I feel soooo much better. Once again, I am grateful for my running abilities. I am able to use this skill to relieve myself of some serious stress. Keep running friends.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

10 Miler

5 AM alarm. Why o why do I insist on getting up this early on a Saturday? Does anyone else have debates with yourselves about this? This morning, ID kept arguing for more bed time. 20 minutes into the debate, EGO decides enough is enough and beats the crap out of ID. Super Ego just watches....... ID regains consciousness by the 3rd mile and is having a great time with the endorphins. Woo hoo!

At 5:45 AM, the run begins. This 10 miler is a new course mapped out yesterday with the help of gmap-pedometer that takes me to Cochran's Crossing shopping center. This gives me flashbacks from last year's Woodlands Fit group as we sometimes met at this place in front of Alamo Joe's restaurant before the long runs. How quickly a year goes by.

Run Summary:

Distance: 10.0167 miles
Time: 1:39:54
Pace: 9:58/mile
Shoes: Kayano XII (209.8 miles)

Yesterday, I followed a friend to Luke's Locker on West Gray. She had bought a pair of Asics Gel-Nimbus couple of weeks ago from Luke's and had been having all sorts of blister problems with it. This was her 3rd pair of Nimbus and was lost for answers as to why this pair gave her so much trouble. Luke's staff didn't have the right answer either but fit her into a new pair of Nike Vomero's. Luke's gave her a full refund for the Nimbus. LUKE'S LOCKER ROCKS!

Live Long and Prosper.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Not Sleeping In

Back to normal weekday running schedule. Alarm goes off at 4:50, snooze until 5:05, out the door by 5:15 and cool down by 5:45.

As is the norm these days, I slept ran the first mile.

Mile 1: 9:41
Mile 2: 8:29
Mile 3: 8:11
0.1: 0:43

Time: 27:05
Pace: 8:44/mile
Shoes: Kayano XII (199.7 miles)

Next up: 10 ~ 11 miler long run Saturday morning.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sleeping In

Slept in this morning. The alarm was set to 4:50 AM. No matter. Once I came around, it was 6:2o AM, 10 minutes before my normal departure time for work. Darn.

So this meant running after work. Not as palatable in the summer months but what else to do?

Time: 7:30 PM
Temp: 85 F
Humidity: 73%
Heat Index: 95 F
Distance: 3.1 Miles

Mile 1: 8:42
Mile 2: 8:36
Mile 3: 8:14
0.1: 0:43

Time: 26:16
Pace: 8:28
Shoes: Kayano XII (196.6 miles)

Intent was to do a slow recovery run from Sunday's long run, but once the mile one time came in at 8:42, I thought I could maintain a nice tempo run pace despite the heat. I managed to keep pace however, the body was struggling, my finishing heart rate was 180, substantially higher than my normal 150 range. The run was a struggle but sitting here after a cool shower and a nice cold bottle of St. Arnold's Amber, I am feeling pretty content. Now I feel much better about keeping pace with "weak ankle" Barb.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

8.9 Miles

Time to start stretching the long run distance. October is not too far away.

The alarm went off at 5 AM. The snooze button was hit about 6 times. Body was still feeling the effects of Friday evening workout and the abusive powers of a 12 gauge shotgun from Saturday's Pigeon shoot. Plus it was cloudy and drizzly. Perfect recipe for sleeping in.

Or not.

Time: 6:30 AM
Temp: 74F
Humidity: 86%
Distance: 8.9 Miles
Time: 1:28:11
Pace: 9:54/mile
Shoes: Kayano XII (193.5 miles)

Timing was impeccable. I did not get rained on. The streets were wet and puddles were everywhere.

I came back just drenching in sweat. Sunday is starting out pretty good.

Friday, June 22, 2007

ZZZZZ

Tough run. One of those days where every step feels out of sync. Just didn't have it today. Glad it was over when it was over. Oh well. Take good with the bad I suppose. Shooting for 9 miles this Sunday.

Mile 1: 9:38
Mile 2: 8:48
Mile 3: 8:27
0.1: 0:46

Time: 27:41
Pace: 8:55
Shoes: Kayano XII (184.6 miles)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

5:15 AM. I'm standing on the edge of my garage, burst of bright light indicate lightning somewhere over the tree line. Do I stay or do I go? I have my technical shirt, shorts, socks and Kayanos on me. I can see the bursts of lightning but I cannot hear it. Is it coming towards me or away from me? Hard to tell. If I die, I'll die while doing something I like. So I go.

Mile 1: 9:04
Mile 2: 8:24
Mile 3: 8:03
0.1: 0:40

Time: 26:12
Pace: 8:27/mile

No sleep running today. Boy was I wide awake. Lightning has a tendency of doing that. Incidentally, the lightning storm was heading my way. It got closer and closer. That was motivation enough to run well. Amazing how alive you feel.

Monday, June 18, 2007

3.1 Miles

Why does 5 AM roll around so quickly?

Run Summary:

Mile 1: 9:47
Mile 2: 8:45
Mile 3: 8:14
0.1: 0:44

Total: 27:31
Pace: 8:52/mile

Sleep running mile 1, awake by mile 2 and off to the races by mile 3. Thought about a lot of things during mile 2. I am sleeping in tomorrow morning....at least until 5:30 anyway.

Even more F1 Race

Humanity, humanity.

Even more humanity!

More F1 pictures

The famous Indy Tower...
I was amazed at the sea of humanity after the race. There were lots of European, Japanese and Brazilian fans. This is probably the largest gathering of foreigners in Indiana.
This is Massa's car. Italian fans went crazy every time he passed by, which was about once every 1 minute 14 seconds.
Ferrari has the largest following or Ferrari Fans just likes to carry their flags everywhere.

F1 Race Indianapolis


I got very lucky and got to go watch the Formula 1 race in Indy. Sorry for the lack of cropping but these raw images will have to do. This was my first F1 race and it was pretty cool!
The trip included a round trip flight on this Gulfstream jet. Our seats were at Grandstand C and this was where the cars were coming down the straigt-a-way to a turn. The cars were zipping by at 200 + MPH.








This BMW car caught fire right in front of us with about 7 laps to go. I think the driver was in 5th place when this happened.


Ferrari fans were out in great numbers cheering on their driver, Mr. Massa.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

7 and Half Miler

Clarification on the last post. The beer was spilt while typing my last entry which occurred around 8:30 PM Thursday night. It would be really cool if I could drink a bottle of beer and go out for a run and not throw up or something.

Now back to regularly scheduled programming...

This morning's plan was to get out of bed at 4:30 AM. That would have allowed me to finish a new 9 miler course I mapped out. This would have allowed me to get to work by 8:30, at which time a training class would have started. But silly me, I didn't get out of bed until 5:15 and didn't really get out of the house until 5:30 and that only allowed me to run my 7.5 mile loop around Alden Bridge.

Legs were tired, not sure why but at least the heat doesn't seem to bother me too much anymore.

Distance: 7.5 miles
Time: 1:13:00
Pace: 9:44/mile
Shoes: Kayano XII (175.3 miles)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

5 AM

Another ho-hum run. I think even the mosquitoes are still asleep at this hour.
................................................................................................................................
I just spilled some Shiner Bock on the carpet. I cleaned it best I could. Hope the wife unit doesn't notice.

Anyway, back to running. At that hour, only slightly strange people roam the streets. There are runner who I come across. Sometimes, these folks scare the crap out of me. Running in woodsy area in the dark does not give you ample warning that someone is approaching. When they come across you, they seem to pop right out of darkness...... I suppose that might be good for aerobic conditioning since your heart beats like crazy when this happens.

Other than runners, you come across workaholics driving out of their driveways who claim they are "trying" to beat traffic into work when in reality, they just wanted to get to their work at 5:30 AM and get a head start on everyone. Trouble is, these workaholics are also at work until 8 PM at night because the rationale is, why wait until tomorrow what you can do tonight?

Boy am I tired. I'm practically falling asleep typing this. This whole entry is becoming quite irrational.

Once again, I had trouble staying awake. I think I sleep ran the first mile.

Mile 1: 9:44
Mile 2: 8:50
Mile 3: 8:17
0.1: 0:40 (wide awake now, sprinted home)

Time: 27:32
Pace: 8:53/mile
Shoes: Kayano XII (167.8 miles)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another quick run around the neighborhood. It was really really hard getting out of bed today. I think I sleep ran the first half mile. Body was also pretty stiff. Side effect from spreading mulch over the weekend.

Start Time: 5:15 AM

Mile 1: 9:40
Mile 2: 8:29
Mile 3: 8:08
0.1 Mile: 0:44

Time: 27:03
Pace: 8:43/mile

I know I didn't exert enough effort today. Heart rate at the end of the run was 144. I need to be in the 150's for a normal run and above 160 for serious effort. Today's 3 miler classifies as junk miles. Legs were super tired and the body stiff but it was one of those great to be alive runs.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Run around the neighborhood.

Time: 6:30 AM
Weather: 72 deg. F., 91% humidity
Distance: 3.1 miles
Mile 1: 9:26
Mile 2: 8:34
Mile 3: 7:45
0.1: 0:44
Total: 26:30
Pace: 8:32/mile

By the way, official race time for yesterday's RTW race was: 25:59. What a difference 30 seconds make. Yesterday, I thought I was going to die, today, the whole thing felt "what a great morning to be running" pleasant.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

RTW 5K

Another death defying act brought to you by yours truly.

I'm glad I discovered RTW racing when I did. It was my first certified race and it was where I picked up my running bug. Usually it is a low key affair. Today was an exception as the 7 Hills running club came down to challenge the Woodlands running club to a 5K race. The Woodlands club won.

But anyway, recently I've been training to lower my pace to Barbara Boone's pace, and wanted to see how much faster I've become. So RTW 5K in this blistering heat was it.

Mile 1: 7:49
Mile 2: 8:27
Mile 3: 8:56
0.1: 0:46

Total: 26:00:23
Pace: 8:23/mile

Today's race strategy was to go out as fast as I can and hold on. (Stupid is as stupid does) I was really close to hyperventilating after the first mile. This just shows that I need to further boost my aerobic capacity if I want to drop my times to the 25 minute range again.

So why do I run as fast as I can on a hot and humid Houston summer morning? A question I get asked frequently by my non-running friends and family from up North. I'm not sure myself, but I know I can so I run.

Have a great rest of Saturday! I'll be spreading 4 yards of mulch.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

79F 74%

Yikes! 5AM and the temperature is 79 degrees F with 74% humidity. Hottest morning run yet for this year I think. At least the muscles don't need to warm up for too long since it is so warm. It felt good to be running and sweating. Slow and steady today.

Distance: 3.1 miles

Mile 1: 9:45
Mile 2: 9:00
Mile 3: 8:25
0.1: 0:44

Time: 27:56
Pace: 9:00/mile
Shoes: Asics Kayano XII (155.4 miles)

Nice negative splitting.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

June 1 - 1 Holden

A rematch of Sunday's crappy run. Same course, same runner, one hour earlier.

Distance: 7.5 miles
Time: 1:10:52
Pace: 9:26/mile
Shoes: Kayano XII (152.3 miles)

Late morning business trip to Tulsa afforded me an opportunity for vengeance. I ran the same route again just to wipe off the smirk from the 7.5 mile loop course I've been running lately. On Sunday, it beat me up pretty good affording me only a 10:55/mile pace. This morning's 71 deg. F with 87% humidity was just as bad as Sunday's weather but I got out at 6 rather than 6:45. This morning's pace of 9:36 pace felt good. Really good. Some days, I just love running.

Now I gotta scoot and get to IAH pronto.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

June. June used to be my favorite month when I lived in Chicago. That was the first month of the year where you were pretty much guaranteed that snow flurries wouldn't occur. The day was long, neighbors you haven't seen since previous September were once again tending to the lawn, planting flowers and washing their cars.

From a runner's perspective, June in Houston is a great training month. Miserable though it may be, summer running in Houston will get you fitter and faster in the fall. You just need to slog through heat, humidity and slow times.

Since the average low temperature is in the 70's, it is important to get up and run before the sun comes up. When that happens, the temperature quickly shoots above 80. At that point, exercise turns into a survival training as you need to watch for symptoms of overheating and dehydration.

Run Summary:

Start Time: 6:45 AM
Distance: 7.5 Miles
Time: 1:21:55
Pace: 10:55/mile
Shoes: Kayano (144.8 Miles)

Yes, there was a lot of walking today. Legs were also dead from yesterday's work out at the Y.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Full Moon at 5 AM

There was a full moon at 5 AM today. Nice and easy 3 miler under the moon light. It's great to be alive and fit.

Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: 28:23
Pace: 9:09/mile

Shoes: Asics Gel-Kayano XII (137.3 miles)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lunges...with 8 lb weights

My Sunday visit to the Y was relatively uneventful. Thus no posting regarding the visit until now. I found 8 lb weights by the stretching area and being a curious dude, I grabbed them for my lunging routine. 30 sets per each leg. Today, I can feel my glutes.

Can you feel your glutes today?

Monday, May 28, 2007

84% Humidity

Ahh, summer running in Houston. Anyway you slice 84% humidity, you come away with a sweat drenched shirt, short, socks and sometimes, if you run long enough, shoes. Today was one of those days, running my 7.5 miles Alden Bridge Loop, I was soaking wet by the second mile. By the third mile, I wasn't able to cool off and started to over heat. What's a Houston runner to do? Slow down and if that isn't enough, walk some. At least I got my run in before the sky opened up and decided to rain again. I have yet to turn on my lawn sprinklers this year. So I guess the Houston drought we experienced the last few years have finally come to an end.

Distance: 7.5 miles
Time: 1:15:58
Pace: 10:07/Mile
Shoes: Kayano XII (134.2 miles)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Official Times for Astros Race for the Pennant

Official Chip Times from ITR.

Holden Choi 27:10
Francesca Choi 29:46

Our very own HRB'er Christy Gonzalez finished right before my wife. In fact, Christy's gun time was 30:29:00 and my wife's was 30:29:80 meaning that Christy was right in front of Francesca. How funky is that? Christy's chip time was 29:57.