Saturday, February 21, 2009

Three Infulential Runners

There was perfection in this morning's run.  The weather could not have been any better than what I had, running as the night faded into a glorious sunrise.  As I set out, I started drifting back to the starting point.  Distance running start point happened around spring of '05.  About 4 years ago.  There were 3 influential runners that kept my newly started habit going.  The first fella was a co-worker of mine at that time.  He was a triathlete who seemed to be perpetually ready to partake in the full triathlon at any givenmoment.  Mike Waldau.  Mike brought structure and goal setting into my running.  After I got up to about 3 miles, he steered me to Run The Woodlands series.  It turned out that RTW had been taking place 2-1/2 miles from my house twice a month.  After my first 5K, Mike asked what my time was.  It told him 31 minutes and something seconds.  His response was, "that's very good for a first timer.  I bet if you worked on it, you can smash the 30 minute barrier."

That got me hooked on running.  Since then, it has always been, what would it take to break the next time barrier and what would it take to run the next distance.  Mike also told me to start keeping notes on my running.  So blogging because my next natural thing to start up.

Then an exponential event took place.  I discovered that running was an active and social event.  There were clubs all over town and running events that until then was invisible to my life, were literally taking place every weekend.  This is when I met Jon Walk and Steeeeve Shepard.    Jon literally introduced me to the great big world of internet runners.  His timely data points and stories kept me interested in the sport of running.  His uncanny ability to remember other runner's data and running events were ever fascinating to read about.  I believe Jon came up to me at one of the RTW races and introduced himself to me.  Since then, I've participated in events that he organized and led.  So you could say Jon helped me with the social aspects of running.

I met Steeeve through Houston Striders.  I was a member of the Striders for 2 years in my early years of running.  It is a fun feeling to belong to a group of like minded individuals.  As the saying goes, misery loves company.  During difficult long runs, I always found comfort in other member's triumphs and pains.  Running isn't easy and it is good to know that others have to also pay their dues to triumph.  Steeeve was the President of the club at that time and despite not knowing him personally, he was always there at the races and on my blog, cheering and encouraging every milestone and miles I was running.

Heading north on Kuykendall, a fire engine red Impala SS slows to my speed and calls out.  It's Dave Smart!  He's already done with his 7 miler for the day and looked like he was headed home from somewhere.  Always good to see familiar faces.  Dave is once again my team mate for 09 TIR.  Hey Dave, "Nice Car!!"

M1:  9:28
M2:  9:29
M3:  9:31
M4:  10:15
M5:  9:09
M6:  9:44
M7:  9:30
M8:  9:35
M9:  9:27
0.8:  7:22

Total:  9.8 Miles
Pace:  9:33

After I returned home, Alex was ready and waiting for his 1.3 miler.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Last TIR taught me to run in the dark.  Before that event, I rarely ran at night.  Darkness was not a comfortable place to be.  But night running has it's own benefits.  There are less distractions so you tend to concentrate on your form and breathing.  There is also comfort in the darkness.   OK, now I'm contradicting myself.  So anyway, Before TIR = no night running, After TIR = night running.  I'd like to thank Jay Hilscher for that discovery.

There are many things I am grateful for in my life.  At this very moment, I am grateful that I am not running the last leg.  It was a great honor and privilege to run the last leg last year.  The feeling of finally finishing the event after 30 odd hours is pretty cool.  You see the monument get closer and closer (although it seemed to taunted me during the entire last leg).  However, the pressure not to fail or slow down is pretty intense.  At this point on the journey, your stamina is shot, you are sleep deprived, haven't eaten properly, haven't slept much, is stinky, is crabby and overdosed on Red Bull.  You feel the surge of euphoria and energy at the on set of the last leg only to crash and burn about mile or two into the run.  I remember calling out for a gel as my van cheered me on for the last time.  What fun memories.

What has any of this got to do with tonight's run?  Not much except that I enjoyed tonight's night run.

M1:  9:08
M2:  9:01
M3:  9:04
M4:  9:08
0.12:  0:59

Distance:  4.12
Pace:  9:05
Shoes:  Asics Gel-Kayano 14 (34.6 miles)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

6 Miler Recovery From Soccer

I'd never thought I needed a recovery run from soccer.  But I did.  Last night was our final game of the winter season and it could not have come sooner for me.  All that sprinting and abrupt vector changes were wreaking a havoc on the joints.  During the last two games, I became increasingly sluggish.  So to shake off my stiff joints, I went for a nice easy 6 miler from the Y.  A course that took me south on Gosling, east on Lake Woodlands, over the bridge (part of 10 for Texas course) all the way to the stop light, turn around and return.  Half way through, I ran out of day light and was pretty much running in the dark.  Best part was running over the bridge, with street lights, lights reflecting off the lake and heaven studded with stars, it was a pretty amazing sight.  Some part of this run was in near complete darkness and I was hoping that no errant debris was laying in wait for me to roll my ankle in.  Turned out to be another great training run for the TIR.

Tonight, I ran in my trusty Asics Kayanos.  Just so it won't get too jealous of my Pearl Izumis...

Distance:  6 Miles
Time:  57:16
Pace:  9:33
Calories:  785 kcal
Shoes:  Asics Gel-Kayano 14 (30.5 miles)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Training for Texas Independence Relay

I told my team captain that I'll maintain 9 minute pace.  So I've been concentrating on tempo runs just under that pace for the past 2 weeks.  From last year's experience, maintaining pace during the first day is not hard.  It is during the night and the following day when fatigue sets in that you have problems.  These are also the self doubting times.  "Why am I running at 3 AM in the middle of southeast Texas with a mace, blinkers and Red Bull?  "This was fun for about 12 hours.  Now?  What are we doing now.  We still have about 90 miles to go and Houston lights are no where to be seen."  But then you see the exchange point and your teammates and your energy level soars.  Content that you finished your leg, glad you did not let your team down.

Normally, I wouldn't run 3 days in a row but I took today off to be with the kids.  So not wanting to let a free day go to waste and not wanting to waste a 40 something temperature, I laced on my new Pearl Izumi's and headed for a nice 4 miler.

M1:  9:12
M2:  8:57
M3:  9:01
M4:  8:49
0.12:  1:00

Pace:  8:59
Distance:  4.12 Miles
Shoes:  Pearl Izumi SyncroInfinity (9.4 miles)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Alex, Allison, Hunter & Me

Day 4 of Alex's 5K training.  He ran easier today than yesterday.  I'm trying to slow him down to concentrate on distance rather than speed.  Plus trying not to burn him out.  Allison couldn't loiter at our speed and so she took off.  The dog tried to run after Allison but alas, the leash would not let him.  Yesterday, he pooped during the run, at one point, I was running with leash in one hand and poop bag on the other.  That must have been pretty interesting.

Winning points from my teenager:  Allison commented today that my Pearl Izumi's looked pretty cool.  Not sure what that means but I'll take any compliments from a teenager as being good.  Unless she was making me feel a little better after having finagled a pair of Under Armour running shoes from me last Friday.

Run Summary:

1.2 miles:  11:26
Pace:  9:33

First Run With Pearl Izumi SyncroInfinity

Alex and I were supposed to do our 1.2 mile run at 7 AM.  I peeked into his room but he was still deep in his dream world.  So I decided to do a slow recovery run from yesterday's 5K race.  Before I could go out though, I fiddled around with the Syncro's laces to get them just right.  The shoe didn't give me a "snug" feel but not wanting to waste too much time, I opened the garage door and ... hesitated.  It was drizzling in the cold grey drizzle kind of way.
5 seconds later, I'm standing outside, waiting for Garmin to synchronize with satellites.  After all, I was all dressed up for a run and didn't want to waste it.  Shoes looked cool.  It doesn't look like anything I've worn before.  Once I got going, the shoes felt fine.  After about half a mile, they felt like they fitted me much more snuggly than the Kayano's.  The cushioning and support felt good also.  Of course, this isn't very hard to do when the shoes is new and you're only running a 4 mile route but never the less, a good start.
The drizzle never let up and on certain directions, I had a full frontal breeze that cut into your bones.  Thank goodness the temps were not that low and I was building up enough body heat.

Run Summary:
Mile 1:  9:29
Mile 2:  9:27
Mile 3:  9:07
Mile 4:  9:00
0.12:  1:01 (8:33 Pace)

Pace:  9:15
Shoes:  Pearl Izumi SyncroInfinity (4.12 miles)

Nice short negative splitting easy run.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pearl Izumi SyncroInfinity

I received a pair of these puppies in the mail the other day.  A gift from folks at Pearl Izumi.  The only thing they want in return is for me to try them out and review it.  So, for tomorrow, I'm going to lace these beauties and go for a run.  If they feel good, I'll take them with me on the Texas Independence Relay.

From appearance perspective, they look radically different from my regular Asics Kayano's.  I'm looking forward to seeing if the cool looks also translate into cool running.
(Wow, 3 posts in one day.... What's up with that?)

RTW 5K - Valentine's Day Edition

After completing the Alex run, I rushed over to RTW 5K for some speed training.  I made it with 5 minutes to spare.  While standing around at the starting area,  said Hi to a runner standing next to me.  He happened to be Mike Lukas, the owner of Luke's Locker.  He introduced me to his whole family.  His wife and his two kids were also running the race.  That was pretty cool.  Running Store owner who's whole family runs.  He was very gracious and approachable.  Dude standing to the other side of me was Evan Guy.  Our blogging and FB regular guy dude.  Evan was there with 2 dogs.  Although, at the end of the race, he only had one dog with him.  I wonder what happened.  I think today was also the first RTW race where I came in before Evan.  But I suspect, that was due to an issue with one of his dogs.  Before the start of the race, I saw our trail pro and regular dirt runner, Mr. Cook.  He looked as healthy as one can be despite running 100 miles the previous weekend in Huntsville.

How was my race?  The excitement at the start caused me to literally "sprint" around the parking lot.  I noticed my pace on the Garmin register 6:04.  I don't think I ever ran that fast...ever.  What the heck was I trying to do?  Crazy.  Anyway, I let off the gas and cruised comfortably in 8 something pace for the rest of the way.
Weather:  Perfection - 50 something with low humidity
Time:  24:44
Pace:  7:59
Mile 1:  7:39
Mile 2:  8:17
Mile 3:  8:16
0.1:  0:32
There was a big group today.  Suzie Schrieber brought her Luke's group with her.  There was also a walking group.  I'm glad this 5K keeps perpetuating itself.  It is so close to home and cheap that I can't believe how lucky I am to be so close to it.
After the run, I saw Jim Braden.  I congratulated him for his recent age group wins.  I told him that I shall call him Master O B Wan for now and if he keeps winning when he turns 80, that I shall change his title to Master Yoda.  Jim started running when he was 39 so I still have hope and aspiration to be like him when I'm 70 something.
Last but not least, The Woodland's other running fixture, Debbie Tripp was there running the course.

Alex & Me (& wife & daughter & dog)

Saturday morning, 6:45 AM, house was quiet as it can be, not even the dog was up.  Well by 7, everyone was up and wanted to go out for a run including the dog.  Today was Alex's 3rd training day and we were going to put 10% increase in his distance.  That came out to 1.2 miles.
Inspired by Alex, the whole family came out to run.
1.2 Miles:  11:55 (9:57 Pace)
Alex's breathing was much better than last week.  His pacing was also more constant.  I think he is warming up to the goals and pacing of running.
Allison said the pacing was too slow so she took off on her own and posted a 6 something pace for 2 miles on her new Under Armour Spectre she convinced me to buy her last night.
Mom did fine.  So did the dog, except it decided to poop half mile into the run and I had to stop, scoop and then sprint to catch up with Alex.

Next Alex Run:  Sunday morning at 7.  Another 1.2 miles.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

31 hours with 11 other sweaty folks

Yup.  Texas Independence Relay is almost upon us.  Which I'm sure would count as some kind of social behavioral experiment since 6 folks share cramped quarters of a van while being sleep deprived, sweaty stinky and eating funky food.  All the while looking for relay exchange points. Why do we pay to do this?  Because we're Americans!  That's what we do.

More TIR training.  Tonight's run almost wasn't but the beauty of blogs and Facebook is that once you say you're going to do something, it is hard to back out less Karen calls you a lazy wimp.

Mile 1:  8:45
Mile 2:  8:39
Mile 3:  9:16
Mile 4:  8:57
Mile 5:  8:58
Mile 6:  8:54
0.1:  0:53

Overall:  8:55 Pace
Calories Burnt:  786
Shoes:  20.2 miles on Asics Kayano 14

Tomorrow night:  Soccer match!

Wow, blogging 2 nights in a row...  Duuuuude!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Training for TIR

Short distance runs are cool because I don't bonk in those.  This year, all I need to do is better than 9 minute pace to satisfy my captain.  With that in mind, last night's run was perfect.

Mile 1:  8:35
Milw 2:  8:58
Mile 3:  9:18
Mile 4:  9:02
0.1 mile:  1:00

8:59 pace - I slacked in the 3rd mile - too deep in some thought.

2 blog posts in one day?  What's up with that?

Running With Alex

Alex, my 11 year old son decided that he didn't much like of any sport offered at Jr. High he will be attending this fall.  So for P.E., he elected Cross Country Running as his choice.  I guess he was thinking, "how hard could it be?  Dad runs and runs..."  He's currently going through allergy shots as he is allergic to various pollen and stuff but he has asked me to get him fit enough to run a 5K distance without walking by the start of next school year.  (Jr. High X-Country is 2 miles?) So this weekend, we officially started his running.

We ran 1.1 mile on Saturday at 9:45 pace and 1.1 on Sunday at 9:58 pace.  Since his mom wouldn't let him run during weekdays (dad comes home too late for day light) we will be running weekend mornings only for a while.  We have set Muddy Trails 5K as his goal and debut race (April something).  But based on 10% increases in his distance weekly, I think we might also make the second RTW 5K in March.  This will be cool.  Once he puts on a bib, I think he'll get hooked.