Friday, September 30, 2005

Another one down

It was a beautiful evening last night.
Too bad I wasted it running.
6.5 miles, home to 34th and back.  (yea, I know I said "always 1 step farther", but it was dark and I had dinner waiting.)
"split" times:
Home to 43rd:  18:00
43rd to tracks:  15:00 (33:00)
Tracks to 34th:   5:00 (38:00)
34th to tracks:   5:00 (43:00)
Tracks to 43rd:  16:00 (59:00)
43rd to home:  23:00 (1:22:40)
Serious knee pain right around the mid point, but I was able to keep the splits pretty close.  I lost 1 minute on the way to 43rd, and 5 more on the way home, so it was bothering me.  I think it's just the muscle fatigue that I'm pretty familiar with.  We'll have to see how it feels on this evening's short run.
If I stick to my schedule I'll hit 20 miles sometime Saturday morning or evening.  If I stick to my schedule.
One last thing...
WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE WHO RUN/RIDE ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PATH?!?!  This is America.  We function on the right side of the road.  Stay the hell out of everyone's way.
And yes, lady, your little kid on his bike with the training wheels who is looking right at me running right at him, then walking right at him, then standing perfectly still, then calling to him to watch where he's going and ride on the right side of the path, is a stupid little brat who doesn't have sense enough to be riding a bike, especially without a helmet.
When I was a kid I'd have been pushed down and my dad would have checked me for cuts then said "Serves you right for riding against traffic.  Bet you won't do it again."
He'd been right, except I was smart enough to never do it in the first place.  Don't say "he's just a kid."  Stupid kids grow up to be stupid grownups, who raise stupid kids.    (I know he'd say that because when a firecracker went off in my hand when I was 10 I went running inside for comfort and got...  "serves you right for not throwing it fast enough.  Bet you won't do it again.  Have a cookie."  He was right, it never happened again.  I'm a fast learner.)

Oh yea, we still haven't gotten that statement from Regions Bank, but at least they haven't called again.  We were apparently the subject of a "meeting" that a couple of days ago.  I've only just begun to fight.  Tonight I make 9 calls just to bug the crap out of them.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Running tonite

I'm almost 85% certain that I WILL run today.  I didn't burst into flames when I stepped outside my house, AND it drizzled a little, so I just might run.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Got a problem, call the CEO

So due to my issues with Regions Bank, I put in a call to customer service and asked to speak to the CEO, Charles Jones, Jr.  The CS rep, Lekesha Johnson, passed me to her supervisor, Veronica Thompson, who took a message to give to the secretary of the CEO, Mr. Charles Jones, Jr.  I'll be calling back tomorrow if I don't hear from them this evening.
Oh yea, I may run tonight.
I may sprout wings, too, but I may run.

Den of thieves! Stupid, stupid, stupid thieves!

Ok, so I was planning on running last night and 2 things conspired against me.  First off, it was, like, 1,000,000,000 degrees outside when I got home.  101 according to the TV.  At 6:30pm.  101 FREAKIN' DEGREES!  AT 6 FREAKIN 30 IN THE EVENING!  What is up with that crap.  Sure, I've done stupider things (like attempt a 6.5 mile run after a week long layoff that included a trip to the emergency room, but who's keeping track, really?) but this fact alone brought me 75% of the way to calling the workout.
The second thing that pushed me over the edge (litteraly and figuratively) was the morons and thieves at Regions Bank.  Let me give you some back story:
About a year ago my lovely wife and I bought a house.  Union Planters Bank holds a portion of our note.  No problem.  We make a few payments and then get a late payment notice.  My lovely wife calls them and it turns out they have the wrong initiation date for our loan.  They think we bought the house 25 days before we really did, so all of our payments have been late.  We didn't know this because they hadn't sent us any kind of statement, we had been working off of the original loan documents.  UPB gets bought by Regions.  Good.  Maybe they'll get some people who aren't stupid to work there.  Boy how wrong we were.
My lovely wife works on them over the summer and we find out that they not only correct our initiation date, but also pay us forward 3 months.  "Good!" you say?  Oh, no.  Still no statement.  I tell my lovely wife that she needs to tell them to apply the alleged pre-payment to our balance and send us a statement.  This is back in June.  Still no statement.  I tell these fine sub-primates that if they want any payment from me, they will send me a statement and they can apply this alleged pre-payment to our payments.  When the credit runs out, they can either send me a statement or screw off.
Flash forward 3 months to August and we get a call from a knuckle dragging collections agent.  In fact, we get 9 calls from a knuckle dragging collections agent.  When I finally get the idiot on the phone (you know, it's an automated caller to confirm you're really there) I calmly explain that if they were as persistent in providing proper documentation and customer service as they were in collecting money then we wouldn't have this problem and that our conversation was over until I saw a statement.  He says "We'll mail it right out [this is last month, mind you].  Is you address (blah blah blah)?"  I tell him "Um, no. My address is (bleh bleh bleh).  You're off by 2, dummy.  If ya'll wanted to foreclose our neighbors would be pretty pissed.  How do you write a loan for a house AND SEND MAIL TO THE WRONG *(&$&^(@*#&^ ADDRESS!?!?!?"  I was no longer calm at this point.
He said to quit yelling.  I said to quit being an idiot.  Send me my statement.  Then I hung up on him.
2 weeks later, no statement, 9 more calls.  I finally catch the mouth breather on the other line and tell him I don't have a statement and have nothing else to say to him.  I give the address again and tell him not to call again until I get a statement or some documentation proving that we have a loan, showing our principle, and what interest we're being charged.  Until then he can politely screw off.
Flash forward to yesterday.  My lovely wife calls me on the way home from work bawling.  This isn't good.
The knuckle dragging sub-primates at Regions called again.  Still no statement, mind you.  He threatens my wife with foreclosure (can't happen for several reasons I don't have space to get into) and trashing her credit and other nastiness.  She says "send me a statement" he says "only customer service can do that, and they'll just send you back to me, so wire the money already".  She politely says "no", and if you know my wife you know the only way she says anything is politely.  He insists, she resists.  Finally he gives in and transfers her to "customer service".
He transferred her to a phone sex line.
I'll let that sink in for a sec...
That's right, A PHONE SEX LINE!!!!!
That's what I said.
So, I call them back and pull off the gloves.  Regions Bank is officially my hobby.  This Neanderthal is going to lose his job if I have any say in the matter.  Those bastards are going to pay.  You don't make my wife cry and get away with it.
So, I didn't run last night.  If the weather persists as it is now, I won't be running tonight.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe I'll get a statement.

More about why I run

Yes, I hate running.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I'm getting to the point where it's not an agonizing grind and occasionally I even look forward to it, but at the core of it all it's something I can do, and I feel compelled to do something.  I don't have the patience or temperament to be an advocate.  I can't afford to give much more than time (I work non-profit, for cryin' out loud!).  But I don't have to sit by and do nothing.  I can run, so I will.
But there's more.  I'm not running for myself.  I'm running for the fine folks who are out there every day making a difference.  I'm running for the folks who run a never ending marathon fighting child abuse.  It's not a sprint.  It's a life long process of breaking a perpetual cycle of abuse handed down from generation to generation like the worst heirloom imaginable.
I'm running for the kids who didn't ask to be abused, don't know that it's not "normal", and don't know where to go to get away.  I'm running for those who can't and for those who say "enough, it ends here".
Here are the words of one of our volunteers, Mike Grove.  Thank you, Mike.

What's the Difference?


From time to time, volunteer Child Advocates are asked to respond to the question: "How has making a difference in the lives of children made a difference in your own life?"  Before answering that question in writing for others to read, I first attempted to answer it honestly in my own heart.  The answer didn't come easily.


I have been a Child Advocate on behalf of eight children over the last three years.  Each one of them is very special to me.  I am different now, from the way I was before becoming a volunteer Child Advocate.  I realize, like never before, the truth of a couple of old adages:  "Success is a journey and not a destination," and "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."  The difference I have made in some of my children's lives equates only to an early step in their journey of success.  Things like faith, hope, trust, enthusiasm, security, peace of mind, and realization of their potential will be restored to these children little-by-little, over a long period of time.  I am different, now, because I've witnessed the courage that each of these children has.  Every minute of the several hundred hours I've spent working as a Child Advocate is memorable to me.  When a little boy gave me a picture that he drew for me, and when a little girl told me, "You're sweet.  I love you," I knew then that I had made at least a brief positive difference for them.  They probably didn't know then that they made a life-long positive difference for me.


With respect to child abuse, I've learned that to really make a difference, we each need to count on one another.  The multitude of abused kids who need us, need all of us.  One person can make a difference, but honestly, only a little difference.  To break the cycle of child abuse, it will take all of us.  Each of us can do something.  So far, I've made only a little difference in eight children's lives.  Those eight children have made a great difference in mine.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Blogroll Complete

I just completed the blogroll (I really need to update my sidebar) and see that just about everybody is back and doing well.
That's good to see.  It seems the most dangerous place in Houston this past weekend was the freeways during the exodus.
Welcome back.
Now get back to work.


Shows what I know.  The 20k is scheduled for the 16th.  I guess I'm not ready after all.

FEMA, you owe me a hurricane.

Yes, we evacuated.  No, I don't think this was a rash or panicked decision.  Here's why.
When we left the storm was tracked to make a direct hit on Galveston.  We've got trees and the house was VERY likely to be damaged.  That plus the power outages and I didn't really feel like messing with all that.  We didn't have boards for the windows.  It could have been a mess.
Plus my lovely wife has never been in a hurricane.
Also, category 5 hurricanes are nothing to mess with, even if you live across town like me.
But after 16 hours on the road (2 of them in Livingston looking for gas, 4 stuck in traffic in Livingston) the radio guy said the storm turned toward Beaumont and Lake Charles.  So, being on the north west side of town, we decided to cut it back home and relax for the weekend.  16 hours out, 1.5 hours back.
And we didn't even lose a branch.  Storm passed 100 miles to our east and was downgraded to a cat-3 by the time it hit land.
Of course, we can say it was a dud all we want.  The fact is that the folks in Beaumont and points east who got socked pretty hard don't think it was a dud.  They're hurting, and we're there for them.  If you're sitting without electricity or water, it's a pretty bad hurricane. 
The fact is, though, it could have been worse.  Much, much worse.
All in all, I think it was a pretty good job for the first ever mass evacuation of the city of Houston and surrounding parts.  That's a lot of people to put on the road.  Good job.  And next time, LEAVE THE SECOND CAR AT HOME YOU FREAKIN MORONS!  IT'S A CAR!  IT'S JUST A FREAKIN' CAR!  You and your 5 SUVs for 6 people are part of the problem, not the solution.  And enough of the topping off every 5 miles.
The good news is that I got a ready made excuse from God not to run!  Whoohoo!!!!
A friend e-mailed me and asked if I was worried that I wouldn't be able to run this weekend.  I replied that I wasn't exactly "worried"...  more like jubilant.
20k coming up this weekend.  Am I ready?  I'll tell you Sunday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

One step further

Forgot to mention the run last night.
Duh, the whole point of this blog:
September 19, evening run.
Start time:  6:27 according to the clock on my oven.
8 miles.
1:34:05 (11:52 pace)
*Equals my second longest run ever.  #1 was last year's marathon.  #2 was 8 miles at Memorial earlier this year.
Splits (unscientific landmark points):
43rd and TC Jester  (roughly 2 miles):  19 minutes (down from 21:00 on Friday, generally around 20:00)
Railroad tracks just north of 34th at TC Jester:  31:00 (down from 35:00 on Friday, generally around 33:00;  5.85 mile turnaround, 2.9 miles)
34th at TC Jester (Friday's turnaround, 3.25 miles):  38:00  (down from 45:00 Friday.  Only the second time hitting this point.)
I-610 at TC Jester (4 miles):  45:00 (first time hitting this point).
On the return:
34th at TC Jester--didn't check.
Railroad tracks--Didn't check.
43rd at TC Jester:  1:10:00--pretty close to right on pace.
Home:  1:34:05.
The last couple was a little slower than the first couple, but that's ok.  I was on cruise control about then.  I felt pretty strong on the last couple and wasn't praying for a car to hit me.
There was considerable muscle fatigue around my left knee.  That's annoying.  Not bad, just annoying. 

I thought a lot about fighting through the pain and just enduring.  I thought about the kids I'm running for and how they don't get the option to quit.  The pain comes.  They endure.  It goes away.  They endure.  Then it comes back.  They endure. 
Eventually they just go numb...  then we've lost them.
We've lost them, that is, unless someone steps into the chasm and teaches them to go one step further than numb and teaches them that grown ups aren't all scary.  Some actually care.  Most, in fact, care.  That there is such a thing as a comfort in the hands of grownups, not merely pain.  One step further.  That's what the marathon's all about really...  one step further.  That's what life's all about.
One step further.

Something new

I've been reading.  Yes, I know I said there wasn't much about running to read on your down time.  I was wrong.  There's plenty.  The problem is if you don't think like a runner, you don't know where to look for runner stuff.  So, I put my head in the oven and didn't drink anything for 36 hours.  That left me pretty much suffering from heat stroke and dehydration so I found it very possible to...    just kidding.
I discovered that I had been going at all of this training stuff all wrong.  I had been approaching it like a cyclist, not an endurance "athlete".  Let me explain.
When I ride I take the same routes and the same courses.  I tweak little things here and there and try to grind out the ride 1 second faster, 1 mile and hour faster, a faster sprint, a longer sprint, and generally never, ever, ever, give up any ground to the previous performance marks.  16 mile rides at full speed from the chutes, 24 mile rides with intermediate sprints, or "long" 30 to 50 mile rides with a consistently high average (18-20mph) was always the goal.  If I couldn't hit 1 mark, I'd aim for another.
But that doesn't work with endurance running.
The goal isn't FASTER, it's FARTHER.
Until I get competitive, I'm not trying to beat anyone except myself.  It's me versus the road.  The road wants to be driven on.  I want to run it.  It will try to beat me.  I will overcome it.  The miles are laid out before me.  I will run them.  I don't have to run them quickly.  I just have to maintain 13:45 or better for each mile in order to finish.  I just have to place my left foot 36 inches past my right foot, and then my right foot 36 inches past that...  47,000 times.
I hate running.
I hate failure more than I hate running.
I will complete this.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Back in the saddle

"I'm back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again

Ridin' the range once more
Totin' my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again

Rockin' to and fro
Back in the saddle again
I go my way
Back in the saddle again

I'm back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again

Ridin' the range once more
Totin' my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again

Rockin' to and fro
Back in the saddle again
I go my way
Back in the saddle again"

Thank you Mr. Autry.

profile update

Added my e-mail addy to the profile now that people are actually reading this thing.
We'll see how long that lasts.


I woke up Saturday with an aching knee.  It's a familiar ache from over work--muscle fatigue.  I must have been sicker than I thought.
Add to that the fact that it was a late wake up--9:30--unheard of in my house.  The alarm went off, then ran for 2 hours, then timed out.  My lovely wife wasn't even stirred by its ranting.
I wobbled around in the late morning and early afternoon on legs that felt more like rubber than bone.  Also a familiar feeling.
I feel broken.
But I will pick up, go out, and run tonight.  I will plod through.  Not on my own strength....  certainly not because I want to...   absolutely not because it feels good.
Steve Prefontain said "Most people run a race to see who is fastest.  I run a race to see who has the most guts."
6 miles tonight.  All night, if I have to.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Something foolish

I said I might do something foolish.
Today, after work, I ran for the first time since last Saturday and just this side of some kind of stomach issue.

6.25 miles. Somewhere near 1:45. I quit timing at 1:30. This run sucked. It was about 1000 degrees outside. Blazing sun-no shade. My legs were tired. I felt real muscle fatigue for the first time in ages. A few hours after the run, and a few beers later, I still didn't like it.
But I'm glad I did it all the same. I needed to get out there. I just might do something foolish again tomorrow... maybe.


I stumbled across this article:
So what, you ask?
Is there any part of running that you don't like?
Actually, I think my deep, dark secret is that I kind of hate running itself!

Random thought

An old axiom in baseball is that you can't run off of the Dominican Republic.
It's because it's an island.  This is how they explained all the hitters that came from Dominican and so few base stealers.
I've thought about this during this marathon training season.
You can't read your way to the finish of a marathon.  You have to run.
The thing about training for a marathon--much like training on the bike--is that it's not something that can be done purely in an intellectual setting, but it has to be physically done.  "Duh", you say.  Right.  It's a bit of a no brainer, especially to runners.  But for cycling you can shop for gear, better bikes, techniques that racers use, shifting strategies, team strategies, how to attack hills, how to attack other riders, how to attack groups, how to defend attacks, and all kinds of other things that you can read, research, examine, and internalize.  You can examine these things on your down time between rides.
When I first started dabbling with the guitar there were chords, scales, fret board charts, strumming techniques, music to read, and all kinds of other resources you could examine and read and research while you weren't playing.  Then you could go home and just let what you've read flow into the strings.
There's not really a lot of that kind of stuff for running--at least none that I've found.
I suppose there's only so many ways to write "left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right...".  That's a little annoying.  ALL of the processes of getting better at running--longer, faster, stronger--must happen in the gym or on the road.  You can't read yourself into a marathon.  You have to run.
I think I read somewhere that the most sure fire way to identify people at the starting line who wouldn't finish the marathon was to see who had the clean shoes. 
Or maybe I made that one up.  I can't remember.
The challenge, of course, is not just knowing that you have to run, but actually acting on that knowledge.  But I guess that's the challenge in most everything we do.  You know the crap you pour down your throat makes you a disgusting blob of fat, yet in order for that knowledge to actually improve your health you have to quit pouring crap down your throat.

2 days later

Ok, so I'm 2 days past the emergency room and I'm mostly feeling better.  Here's what happened.
I wake up Monday feeling a little ill.  The ankle hurts, but that's nothing major.  My stomach hurts, and that's unusual, but not major...  yet.
Tuesday, as I mentioned in this forum, I was having "wicked bad" stomach cramps.  The ankle felt fine, but the cramps sucked.  Bloating, cramps, nausea, I thought "maybe it's menstrual", but then remembered I'm a guy.  Throw in the fact that I was simultaneously ravenous AND nauseous and I was all mixed up.  I behaved, had 2 eggs instead of 1 for breakfast, toast, peanut butter (normal breakfast except for the double dose of eggs) and I was off to work.  Off and on the cramps continue pretty much all day.  They settle down right after lunch, but come back a few hours later.
Tuesday night I take some generic gas-x and get all of 2 or 3 hours of sleep thanks to the cramps and general discomfort.  The gas-x didn't really work.
Wednesday morning I oversleep, head to the office, soldier through for awhile.  The cramps settle after lunch again, but come back in force around 3.  I call the 24 hour nurse at the insurance company and she asks a ton of questions, then says "You might want to go to the emergency room".  I say "Might?"  She says "Go.  Now."  Apparently she was worried about some kind of blockage or rupture or the early stages of appendicitis.  The diagnosis of "this guy's just a big sissy" didn't come across the screen.  I said "maybe a laxative and call the doc in the morning?"  She said "absolutely not" and implied that the next words out of her mouth were going to be "Quit arguing, you stupid boy!"
Of course, the primary doctor doesn't have hours on Wednesday (golf, you know) so I couldn't call the Doc and ask what she thinks.  No, I have to go to the ER.
So, I shut down and head out.  On the way to the ER I call the nurse line again for a second opinion--I hate ERs.  Similar run of questions and this guy says "get to an urgent care facility in the next 2 to 8 hours."  No "might", no "if you can"s...  just simply, "get there".  Ok, so I'm already at the ER, that'll do just fine.
4:20 I arrive.  Around 5:30 with the bloating and cramping and general symptoms of "this sucks" I see the intake nurse, describe what's up, and pay the fundage.  Then I sit back down...  slowly.
Pee in a cup...  sit some more.  Take some blood...  sit some more.
6:45 the lovely wife calls and says her car broke down.  I say "deal with it, I'm in the ER".  7:30 she shows up at the ER.  8:30...  9:30... 10:30...  now I'm getting hungry and tired... but at least the cramps have dissipated and the bloating is going away.  Brilliant treatment...  let him sit until he dies or it goes away.
11:30...   and now I go to the back.  Doc asks a bunch of questions.  I give graphic examples of what it feels like and what's been going on.  He says the labs look pretty normal except for a slightly increased level of pancreatic something-or-other.  He pokes around, then pokes some more, then asks some more questions, then I go off for x-rays.  Picture, picture, picture...  then back to the room.
Around 12:30 doc comes back and says the x-rays are negative.  I think he meant he didn't find anything unusual...  the x-rays should have at least shown bones.
Doc said he thinks I was suffering from "gastrointeritis"...  basically diarrhea...  combined with constipation, since I wasn't...  well, you know...  which makes for a very, very, very uncomfortable 3 days.  Probably not ER worthy, but if 2 nurses say "git goin'", I'm not one to argue. 
Really unusual since I've been eating a lot more fiber lately with my new found appreciation for broccoli and other goodies.  Regardless, I'm mostly "normal" again. 
Thank you all for your concern. 
I still haven't gotten a normal night's sleep this week.  Still don't quite feel "right", but we'll see.
Stupid stomach.  I will punish it with beer and pizza this weekend.
I'm calling the 20 mile week a pipe dream at this point...  but I may do something very foolish tomorrow.  We'll see.
UH plays UTEP tonight..  UH by 4.  80 points scored.  Close to 1000 yards passing combined.  Should be a humdinger!  Guess where my butt will be.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I'm going to take a couple of days...

8 hours in the emergency room means I don't have to run if I don't want to.  20 mile week be damned.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

In case you were wondering...

Assuming a 36" average stride length the marathon is 46,112 steps from start to finish.
Yes, I'm apparently a dork.

Party in the park

Went, stood, left.  I already signed up for the marathon and my charity of choice...  Child Advocates...  so there was no real reason for me to go to the marathon kick off party.  The short time I did spend there, though, got me fired up enough to set my alarm for 5:00am and plan on getting up and getting in a morning run.  Carolyn says "Why don't you run in the morning?"  Because I like to sleep.  But I figured I'd take a stab at it since I wasn't going to get a Monday run in.
Well, I didn't run, but I did discover a new low of dodging a workout.
I woke up at 5:04 to the sound of my wife's alarm clock, looked at my alarm clock, said to myself "my alarm didn't go off, that'll do", and I promptly went back to sleep.  5 minutes later I actually reached over and reset my clock to go off at 6:00, flipped the little on/off switch from on (the clock was actually properly set, I'm taking the lack of going off as a sign from God that I was allowed to not run this morning) to off and back to on, and woke up at 6:00. 
My clock's old.  It went to college with me.  Sometimes it sleeps in.
In all fairness I am having wicked bad stomach cramps--still.  I almost didn't even bother coming to work. 
I'm going to try and get in at least 30 minutes this evening.  A sense of urgency is settling in.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Pain. A bit annoying

Yea, the pain hasn't gone away.  Plus I have a meeting after work up at church.  If not for the pain, I might have run late this evening.  But with the pain, I'm going to whip out the old "ah, screw it" and pass on running tonight.  So, as of right now, 2:00 ish, I'm not running.
Believe it or not, I'm not exactly happy with the decision.  It's going to put my much proclaimed and ballyhooed "20 mile week" in question.  And I'm a little worried about what this type of pain means.
Plus, I'm a little worried about the fact that I'm not really worried about the marathon. 
I simply HAVE to get charged up about this. 
Failure is simply not an option this year.

Hmm, that's odd

I have a nagging tightness/pain in the front part of my lower leg...  not the shins, but right next to them.  It's EXTREMELY painful to squat down on my toes.  I think it's a stretching thing.  I've been trying to work it out.
My ankle is also giving me nagging pain.  Not bad, but not good, either.  I know I'm scheduled for 6 today, but I may knock it back to only 3 depending on the pain situation.
My "coach" Tom has informed me that excuses of rain, bleeding, and a torn muscle in my hip are not adequate excuses to skip runs.  You see, I figure 'the sun isn't up yet" is a perfectly good excuse.  Or, "I was supposed to get started 1 minute ago" is a perfectly good excuse.  Rain I can probably run through, but waking up 1 minute late?  That's just a deal breaker.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Photographic proof

I now have photographic proof that I actually run here.
Saturday I grudgingly dragged myself out of bed--twice--to head to the Woodlands and participate in the Run the Woodlands #137. I finished #47 out of 82 with a time of 30:26. I don't know the splits, because I didn't carry anything with me except my sunglasses. It was a good run... well, as good as runs get. I really miss riding my bike. Only 4 more months of running to go.

Sunday was a day of rest. Monday starts my first ever 20 mile week. I head out for a 6 mile run when I get home from work, Tuesday is the day off, Wednesday and Thursday will be 6 and 3 miles, or 3 and 6 miles, then Friday is rest day and Saturday is another 6 miles. That adds up to 21 miles according to my fingers and toes (I used one thumb twice).

If I get ambitious I'll make Wednesday and Thursday 6 and 9 miles.

I know I had intended to get on some kind of plan that included speed work, but I really, really hate speed work. It'll take awhile before I get around to running interval sprints. Yuck.

Friday, September 09, 2005


Last night I busted out 5.9 miles in 1:08.  Roughly a 11 minute pace, which I'm not too distressed about.  2 totally cool things about yesterday's run:
1.  It was a back-to-back run of 3 miles on Wednesday and 6 on Thursday.  That's probably my biggest 2 day total this season.
2.  My split time was something like 33 minutes.  That means the front 3 was roughly identical to the back 3 with no significant fade in performance. 
You know what they say, it's not the first mile that gets you, it's the last 25.2 that do you in.
So, today is a rest day.  My ankle hurt like crazy this morning.  The same ankle that I rolled on the first outing of the year.  3 hours after I woke up it's feeling better and there's almost no pain, but I'm going to rest it today so I can bust off the 3 miler in the Woodlands tomorrow.  If I cram in a second 3 mile run in the evening I'll be in striking distance of a 20 mile week.  Take that!
A quick observation before I go.  I ran along TC Jester and White Oak Bayou.  In the TC Jester park, there's one of those Frisbee Golf courses.  You know, the stupid little baskets that people chuck frisbees into and they think they're actually doing something athletic.  What's the deal with the "golf carts" these people drag around behind them?  I can fit a frisbee in a little grocery bag.  How many freakin' frisbees do you need to chuck into these stupid little baskets?  I couldn't help but shake my head as I RAN past some frisbee chucker who was lining up her shot, taking practice "swings", and then flinging her stupid dog toy somewhere not even close to the vicinity of the basket.
Just how much pot do you have to smoke for that to be a sport?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The next big thing

Ok, so I gave one of my fellow runners, Jessica, some crap for slacking off while I was in the midst of my 11 day hiatus.  She comes back with a 20 mile week.  I think I barely ran 50 miles all of last year total in training and I've only just now hit the 30 mile mark total.  So, now I'm going to raise my own bar.  This week will probably be something like a 10 or 12 mile week.  Next week, because I flapped my damn jaw, I'll be raising my own bar to a 20 mile week.  Besides, it'll be a good test as to whether or not I can get serious about this marathon thing and it'll bring me one step closer to hitting the 1/2 marathon mark by the end of September.
See, you running people are actually inspiring me.


So, it occured to me yesterday on the way home that I'm still averaging 10 minute miles over 3 mile stretches and that was probably a good thing.
Then it also occurred to me that I only have to do that 8 more times, consecutively, in order to actually FINISH the marathon.
Which cliché do you pick here...  eat an elephant 1 bite at a time, a journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step, 2 wrongs don't make a right, but 2 Wrights made an airplane...  wait, that last one doesn't fit here at all.
Then there's 2 wrongs don't make a right, but 3 rights make a left.
I think I'll stick with the elephant one.


Ok, so I finally got off the couch and ran last night.  It was a good run.  Really.  I even ignored a perfectly good excuse not to run.  When I was changing I discovered I had left my shirt at home.  "Can't run, don't have a shirt" was the first thought that came to mind.  I have no business running without a shirt.  I'm not that good a runner.  Excuses be damned, I went and ran anyway.  As far as I know nobody lost their lunch at the sight.
There was a little issue around mile 2.5 with a side cramp, but other than that it was a good run.  I discovered the HARRA mile markers on the Memorial Loop.  I've noticed them before, but always ran to the east along Memorial rather than the west along Memorial so they never really made sense and I never really saw them all.  But yesterday I not only saw them, but I used them to track my times.
Total time:  29:58
Mile 1:   9:50
Mile 2:   9:40
Mile 3:  10:18
Like I said, a little issue with cramping around mile 2.5.  HOWEVER, at the very end I kicked it up to stay under 30 minutes.  And to top it all off, when I crossed my start/finish line under the 30 minute mark, I was heard to say "Yea!  Take that b****!"  That got a couple of stares, but I'm ok with that.
I like running Memorial Park.  It's packed with really beautiful scenery through the whole route.  Oh, the park is pretty, too.
Houston FIT is running 10 miles this weekend.  I'm doing the Run the Woodlands 5k and maybe another 5k later in the morning/early evening.  I may even throw in another bike ride.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Today is the day!

That's right.  I'm breaking out of the divot on my couch.  Today I run.  I even have my gear in the car.
I can't just sit and wait for the motivation to come to me.  I'm going to just have to get motivated. 
The door won't open for me, I have to kick it down.  The, uh, wind won't, uh, push the boat, I have to set the sails.  The, uh, ball won't get in the goal itself, I have to shoot it.  Um.  Ah...  the food won't jump into my mouth, I have to chew it.  Ah, er...  The beans won't burn on the grill.  Whatever, you get the picture.
I'm back.  Watch out, marathon.  There's an ass kicking coming and I'm providing the boots.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Katrina Relief 5K event

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

More info:

For the record

Just in case you're keeping score, it's now been since August 27 since I last ran.  10 days.
I know, I know...  I really need to get off the couch.
I'll be up in the Woodlands on Saturday, though.

Groove? What groove?

Yes, I was supposed to do speed work today.  Yes, I was supposed to run SOMETHING yesterday.  No, I didn't do either.
But I did only drink 5 beers yesterday for Labor Day.  And they were all light beers, so that barely even counts.  And I did have 3 bugers (one a double), but there was lettuce on them, so that counts as salad, too.
I guess my only saving grace was that I must have walked about 1000 miles at the Reliant complex between Friday and Saturday.  Tomorrow morning, I promise, 2 or 3 miles.  And then another 2 or 3 in the evening.  Nice, easy pace.  Then speed work on Thursday--a little interval training.  That'll be fun.  Nothing like interval training to make you hate life.  Maybe I can find a place to run wind sprints!  Or run lines!  That'll be a hoot!
As you can tell, the motivation factor is pretty low right now.  Plus football season is starting.  And I've got to watch paint dry.  I've got a thousand excuses.

Monday, September 05, 2005

No, I haven't felt much like running lately...

There's bigger things going on than my little marathon dream. I'll be back in the groove this week, but last week I was needed elsewhere. There are some fine folks visiting my city from New Orleans. I figured I'd take some time to meet a few of them and maybe help a few out.
Something this big makes you feel pretty small.
Alls I can really say is "Wow".

Friday, September 02, 2005

Damn Ducks

Fully intended to run last night, until I remembered the Coogs played at 6:00pm and not 7:00pm.  So, I got home and watched the game.
I should have run.
The Coogs melted in the 3rd quarter after an impressive first half.  Only saw what I consider to be a major coaching error 1 time--Art Briles went for the end zone on 4th down from the 8 instead of taking the chip shot field goal.  The Ducks made the stop then marched up the field for a field goal of their own--a 6 point swing.  Those 6 may not have made much of a difference in a game we lost by 14, but it was a momentum killer at the end of the first half.  Instead of going into the locker room up 24-17, we go in 21-20.  It may have mattered.  Maybe not.  They looked pretty wiped out at the end of the game.  Depth, depth, depth.
So, I went to bed fully intending to run this morning.  Got my shorts out, shoes, socks, fuel belt, stop watch, everything all set.  Then didn't run.  I just flaked.  If I bonk tomorrow, so be it.  I'm going to try and get in a workout this evening.  The schedule had a 35 minute "tempo" run of just an easy stroll.  That's about 3 to 3.5 miles for me at an easy pace.  Maybe I'll get that in this afternoon.  Maybe not.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Stupid spammers

I received my first spams. Yippee freakin' doo.
There is now word verification for comments.

Thanks, spammer scum.


OK, so last night I had a dream about running.  Nothing spectacular, just leaving my house, heading down the street, to the park, down to the stop light, then back home.  About a 6 mile route.  I've mapped it out before on the GoogleMap pedometer.  Completely uneventful.  Completely unimaginative--there weren't even any cars.  Just me.  Running. 
I'm going to count that as my workout today.
Just kidding.  But seriously, it's not like I don't WANT to like running, but dreaming about it?  Come on!  Get out of my freakin' head.
I'm either going to ride today or run 6 miles.  Saturday's run is 9 miles.  Yippee!