Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I didn't want to run today.  Really, I didn't.  And not like I normally don't want to run.  It took me a solid hour to go from the Galleria to Memorial.  A solid freakin' hour!  I could have ran the distance faster...  except I hate running. 
So I was sitting in the locker room trying to talk myself up to running.  I tell myself "take off your shoes, just taking off the shoes isn't committing to anything".  I take off the shoes and just sit there for a second.
I tell myself "take off your pants, that way you can make the choice to put on the shorts or put the pants back on and go home."  Keep in mind when I say "tell myself" that I really was talking to myself out loud.  I tend to vocalize--albeit quietly and under my breath--when I talk to myself.  Needless to say when I tell myself "take off your pants" it garners some looks in the locker room.
Ok, so I change into my shorts, sit down and mutter to myself some more.
"Just run, you know you'll feel better afterwards"...  and that's not all untrue.  Generally when I run now I really do feel better afterwards.
I lace up the shoes, zip up the bag, and head out the door muttering to myself "just get through a lap and go home."
I did not want to be out there.
Mile 1:  8:59
Mile 2:  9:41 (18:40)
Mile 3:  8:24 (27:04)
That last lap was 9 seconds off my best mile time for this marathon season and only about a minute past a PR for any mile I've ever run, much less the 3rd mile of a 5k.  And I didn't even want to be out there.
To top it off, at the platforms my brain is saying "it's 7:30, go home and eat" but my body is saying "just run another mile, go down to the 1/2 mile marker and turn around...  unless you want to keep going, then keep going...  Melissa won't eat dinner without you...". 
My brain is obviously still smart, but my body has been listening to you people way too much.

44 Days and counting

Today is November 30.  That means there are 46 days to the marathon, and 44 good training days remaining, and about 2 weeks for the last good, long run of my training schedule before the taper begins.  Oddly enough that last good, long run coincides with the 30k.  That’s the current “goal”.  It seems a little odd to me to be setting a “goal” of running 30k.  I don’t really like this stuff.  The constancy of the marathon training is beginning to wear on me.  I wish it would just be over so I could get on with doing…  well, anything else.  One of the few consolations I have right now is the knowledge that it’s a bit too cold and dark when I get home to ride my bike and it’s a lot too cold in the morning, too.  It’s not too cold for a leisurely stroll on the bike, mind you, but I don’t do leisurely strolls.  50 degree temps are downright frigid at 20mph.


But I can keep in mind why I’m doing this.  I’m raising money to support Child Advocates.  They are a fine organization that works tirelessly to end child abuse.  Let me paint a quick picture for you:

A woman who is slightly mentally challenged gives birth to a boy who is also mentally challenged.  Dad goes to jail for some theft charge and Mom goes and gets a new husband and a new baby, not necessarily in that order.  The boy is now around 5.  The baby is around 18 months old.  Due to his mental deficiency the boy still isn’t perfectly potty trained.  Mom discovers that her child has used the trash can instead of the toilet once again and goes back into the living room and tell her husband to discipline the boy.  While she’s watching television in the living room…  or washing dishes in the kitchen…  the step-father proceeds to beat the boy to death.  That’ll teach him to use the trash can.

In fact, it did teach him.  Reportedly the last words of the child were along the lines of “Sorry, no dookie any more”.  Not only does the child get beaten to death, he comes to understand that the beating was his fault.  He dies under the misconception that he brought this punishment on himself and the defect did not lie in the soul of the monster killing him.

This is the battle Child Advocates fights every day.  Cases just like these.  They didn’t save the 5 year old, but because of their work the baby is now in a safe environment.  More importantly, the baby will grow up, have children, and model the behavior learned in the safe environment back on his children rather than the monstrous abuse that would have been learned had he stayed in the house of the murderer. 

There was a time, not long ago, when domestic violence was simply considered a family affair.  If you beat you wife, that was no business of the state.  If you beat your children, that was no business of the state.  Just so long you didn’t kill them you could do whatever you wanted.  That time is in the past now.  We now understand that abuse affects this generation and the next.  We now recognize abuse as something distinctly different from discipline.  When does a spanking become abuse?  I don’t have an answer for that question, but I know good and well a child shouldn’t fear for his life when he comes home from school.  I know that the people charged with protecting a child sometimes violate that trust by violating that child…  or collecting money from people willing to violate that child for them.

The question shouldn’t be “when does a spanking become a beating”, but rather “what will I do to stop the abuse happening all around me in this city to over 4000 children each year?”


I’ll run a marathon.

I’ll volunteer my time.

I’ll do something.



So, on that note let me tell you about the fantastic run I had in Galveston over the weekend.


Done.  I brought the gear along, but didn’t use it.  I couldn’t run, you see, I didn’t have a stop watch.  Yea, that’s my excuse this time.


Tonight I run at Memorial park 3 or 6 miles, depending on how I feel after work (I remembered the stopwatch, so I have no excuse).

Tomorrow I’ll do the same.

Friday I’ll probably rest.

Then Saturday will be a good 8 or 11 mile run.  Maybe I’ll run another ½ marathon.  Who knows?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Country singers playing baseball

Ok, it was Garth Brooks who attempted to play ball for the Padres, not Clint Black.



No running this morning.  Foundation guys are coming.  Regions Bank got retarded again.

Whatever you do, don’t do business with Regions Bank.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I have no proof, but I suspect there is a population of folks out there who are expecting me to post an entry that looks something like this:


“All right, time for me to ‘fess up.  I really love running.  I’m a runner at heart and have been running all my life.  I decided to run the Houston Marathon after having run in marathons around the country and realized I had never run in my home town.  My average mile is sub 6:00 and my average marathon is run in just over 3 hours.  I generally run 4 to 6 times a week, rain or shine, and have been pulling all your legs this whole time.  It was my little joke on the non-running community to try and get people who are marginal runners or non-runners to really believe that if I could do this, they could do this.”


Well, it ain’t going to happen.  I hate running.  I don’t hate it as much as I used to and I suppose that’s progress.  But when I say “I have to run” it shouldn’t be translated as “I feel a desperate urge or desire to run” as if it brings pleasure like a bell for Pavlog’s dog, but rather, “If I don’t go run, something far worse will happen in the future”.  Much like “I have to get surgery” or something like that.


I have the utmost respect for you people who do this and do it well.  It’s hard.  Real hard.  And you folks make it look so easy.  I see folks like you running out at Memorial just blowing by me without breaking a sweat or even breathing hard.  I try to catch up (for about 3 steps) then just drop back into my little 10:00 trot.  The energy and excitement that just flows off you when you get to talking about running, racing, or just plain training infects others around you.

You guys rock.  You keep me going.  I don’t want to look bad in front of you (if I ever appear…  I kind of like the whole enigma thing).  Out of respect for your sport I really do give it all I have when I’m out there.  This isn’t some “jogging tour”, it’s a marathon, and it’s serious business.  I don’t want to be Clint Black flailing away at curve balls, I’m going to step out and beat this marathon thing.


Who knows, over the next 55 days ya’ll just might make a runner out of me.  I may have to change the name of this blog to “I hate failure, A reformed anti-runner takes aim at Triathlons”.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The morning after

I’m a little creaky today.  I’m a little tired.  I don’t feel bad, mind you, I’m just a little creaky.  Things aren’t as responsive as they should be…  I think “lift leg over puppy gate” and my leg says “what now?  Oh, that, right” and then gets on with it.  It’s a slight hesitation, but a hesitation nonetheless.  All in all, I feel pretty darned good.


I tried something a little different yesterday.  A buddy of mine (I’ll refer to him as “Tom” since that’s his name) busted his hip a little over a year ago.  Nobody knows what’s wrong with his hip, but I suspect he’s faking it to get out of mowing the lawn.

Anyway, with the busted hip he can’t run.  Some guys have all the luck.

Unfortunately, he can’t do enjoyable sports like cycling or swimming, either, so triathloning is out for him, too.  So, I cut him a deal.  In order to reduce the number of miles I was going to run and kick a few miles in his direction that he can’t run on account of the hip thing, I’d run 4 miles on his behalf.  That would make my 10 mile run into a 6 mile run for me, and a 4 mile run for Tom. 


Brilliant, if I do say so myself. 


His 4 miles yesterday were basically the 2 or 3 leading out to Waugh (not the overpass, I take the hills myself), the few feet from Waugh to the fountain, then I took over from Waugh to Sheperd (more hills), and then he rounded out his 4 along Memorial on the way back to the park.  All in all, it worked.  I got my miles in, they were all under 10:00, and I felt pretty good at the end.  What’s really cool is that at the 1m marker my time was exactly 9:45.  My overall time was something like 9:30 per mile, so I actually got faster as the run went on and some of the miles had to be below the 9:30 mark in order to make up for the 9:45 first mile.  I’m still pretty geeked up.


Of course, what Tom doesn’t know is that I’m expecting him to pay me back those 4 miles in January…  plus interest.  I hope he remembers to bring his running shoes to church that day.

If anyone else wants to swap some miles now for miles in January, give me a jangle.  I’m sure we can work something out.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

You know what's cool?

You know what's pretty cool?  Going on a good, long run and feeling pretty good about it at the end. 
You know what's cooler than that?  Knowing that your 1:47:56 was a pretty good duration for any run you do.
You know what cooler than that?  Finding out that the 10 mile run you just went on was really 11 miles after you checked the distance on G-maps.
You know what's cooler than that?  Doing the math and figuring out that your 1:47:56 time translated to a sub-10 minute mile performance!
That's right, baby!  11 miles, 1:47:56...   11 miles, 107:56 minutes.  That's sub 10 minute miles on any calculator.  And I'm not flat out exhausted, either.

The route:
Field house at the tennis courts in Memorial park, counter clockwise around the running path.
It's roughly 1 mile to Memorial, then cross the street and head to the start of the bike/running path just west of the Picnic Loop.
Get on the path, go to whatever road that is, and head to Blossom.  Blossom to Jackson Hill.  Jackson Hill to Waugh.  Cross the bayou, go a few steps to the fountain and touch the fountain.  Then turn back on Allen Parkway to Shepard, cut across to Memorial (take the hill in front of Depelchin, no cheating), then make your way back the same way you came.  And just for good measure, don't stop until you hit the 3mile marker so you can get that extra .1mile sprint (and if you're really good, you'll "beat" a guy who is right on your heel at the 0 mile marker where the sprint starts).
All that in 1:47:56.  I feel pretty damn good right now...  I think I'll have some chocolate cake.
15 miles is still on the agenda for next weekend, but realistically speaking I'm not so sure it's going to happen.  I'm not ruling it out, though.  We shall see.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Why on earth...?

Again, why run a marathon.  In the age of automobiles, mechanization, even horses, there is absolutely no human need to travel 26.2 miles by foot.  It doesn’t make sense.  Especially if you don’t like to run.  The distance that it takes anywhere between 2.5 and 6 hours to run can be covered slowly in 2 hours by bike, or just a little over 1 hour by bike if you’re in pretty good shape.  A certain 7 time Tour de France winner can clear that distance in less than 1 hour, easy.  By car it’s anywhere between 1 hour on city streets and 30 minutes (or less) on the highway.  Plus you have additional cargo space to bring groceries, friends, or whatever along for the ride.

Sure, there are health benefits, but study after study shows that the health benefits end around mile 10 or so.  You actually do more damage to your body in the last half of a marathon than you benefit you body in the first half.  Health wise, you’d be far better served to train for a marathon than you are to run a marathon.  So, who do it?  Especially if you don’t like to run?  Why put your body through the rigors of dehydration and overexertion?  Why risk serious joint and muscle injury?  Why risk serious health issues of a heart attack, or twisted ankle, blown knee, ripped soft muscle tissue, heat stroke, hypotoxemia (the opposite of dehydration), and whatnot?


If you’re expecting me to argue that running a marathon is not an extremely dumb thing to do, sorry to disappoint.  I won’t be making that argument.  I’ll be running a marathon, but I don’t think it’s very smart of me to be doing it.


The answer I have is simply why not do it?  Why not risk it?  If the best excuse you have for NOT running a marathon is that it’s uncomfortable or potentially damaging to your health, you don’t have a very good excuse not to run a marathon.  You either have to get on with living, or get on with dying.  In this world, we don’t have many other options.  If you wake up every morning afraid that the day’s events might hurt you, or cause your untimely demise (that’s a funny phrase to me, but I’ll discuss that later), or be uncomfortable, then stay in bed and stay out of my way.  I’m going to step out and make myself afraid every once in a while.  I’m going to risk failure every once in a while.  Every once in a while I’m going to bleed just to be sure I’m still able.  ‘Cause when you stop being able to feel pain, you stop being able to feel joy.  And without joy, why bother.


This comes back around to the cause for which I strap on the shoes and run.  These abused children that Child Advocates takes care of don’t get the option to feel joy.  In fact, it wasn’t even their choice to feel the pain.  It was thrust on them.  If it goes on too long, they just go numb and expect life to be like that always, so they react back in the same way it comes at them.  They become calloused, unfeeling, joyless adults who inflict the same pain on their children and the cycle perpetuates itself.  If you can’t feel joy, then why bother.  The volunteers of Child Advocates introduce joy back into these kiddo’s lives.  The volunteers step into the situation and choose to feel the pain that these kids feel and understand the whole situation.  By taking that pain in for the brief amount of time they are allowed to interact with the kids, they part the clouds and introduce the possibility of joy.  They introduce the option of feeling something other than simply numbness.


That’s why I run.  I’m running a marathon to risk failure and therefore achieve victory.  I’m running a marathon not to feel pain, but to know joy.  Because without joy, why bother.


So, I ran yesterday morning because I was anticipating the drama to intensify last night.  I wasn’t disappointed, the drama kept its end of the bargain, but all went about as well as expected, possibly better than expected.


So, this morning I planned to wake again at 5:00am with good intentions because I anticipate getting good and drunk this evening (well, maybe only a couple of drinks), so no running tonight.  The alarm went off, 3 minutes after I woke up and 2 minutes after I made the decision that it was too cold outside without even getting out from under the sheets.  Turns out the missus actually had some frost on her car, so I wasn’t wrong.


I might run tonight, but I also might sprout wings.  I wouldn’t hold your breath for either to happen.


Tomorrow evening’s run will be 6 miles.  Saturday’s run will be no less than 10.  That’ll give me a good 20 mile week (finally) if I actually stick to it.  Next weekend (Thanksgiving weekend) I’ll put a 15 miler on my calendar.  If I’m really only 6 days behind that should totally doable.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Yes, that was me

That’s right, if you were lucky enough to be driving my neighborhood at 5:00am this morning, you’d have seen me running.  As far as I know, only the paper guy was out and about.

The run was a little less than 30 minutes, probably around 3 miles.  I may get around to actually mapping the route sometime.


The idea is to run again tomorrow, cross on Friday, and maybe hit a long run over the weekend—13+ miles.

So far, so good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Teehee…  it’s raining.  It’s coming down pretty hard, too, last I checked.

That doesn’t rule out a run tonight, but it makes it really unlikely.



Run scheduled, weather pending, for tonight.  If not, tomorrow AM I’ll drag myself out of bed for the first half of a “two-a-day” run, 3 miles in the morning, 6 miles in the evening.

No stopwatch tonight, so no splits tomorrow.

Monday, November 14, 2005


We’re inside of 2 months of training left for the marathon.  The sense of immediacy is growing, and that’s a good thing.

I missed the RTW on Saturday.  I just couldn’t get to sleep, and once I got to sleep I just couldn’t get back up.  But I did do a short run in the afternoon… then I went camping and took in a long moonlight hike that even involved a little running… damn, I’m sore.  I’m going to call that cross training.  If it makes me sore, it counts as a workout.


“Anonymous” is obviously a former coworker (see comments).  Yes, I’ve started the new job.  Yes, I know it’s the Chevron Marathon, but Chevron didn’t pay me to advertise for them, so it’s the Houston Marathon unless I remember to stick their name in front.


After a good weekend of cross training, I’m going to work the kinks out of my legs with a series of 6 mile runs this week.  The goal:  13-15 miles on Saturday.  That should be a good 30 mile week, if I actually do it.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Blatant theft

Ok, so I stole it from Jen, who stole it from everybody.
Check it out, I'm a perfectionist who gets the job done.  Who'd have thunk it...  I guess I have to go Run the Woodlands tomorrow (today...  ugh).
Oh yea, since all ya'll know my birthday now I expect presents.  Big ones.
***Your Birthdate: June 13***

You're dominant and powerful. You always need to be in charge.
While others respect your competence, you can be a bit of a dictator.
Hard working and serious, you never let yourself down.
You are exact and accurate - and you expect others to be the same way.
Your strength: You always get the job done
Your weakness: You're a perfectionist to a fault
Your power color: Gray
Your power symbol: Checkmark
Your power month: April

Blogroll complete

Ok, so I was in the middle of catching up on the blogroll when I wrote the cancellation post 30 minutes ago.
You people have some kind of inspirational power...  I've changed my mind.  I'm going to make every effort to drag myself up to the woodlands in 5 hours and Run the Woodlands.  I need to get back on track.  I was supposed to be running the 25k Sunday.  I need to start chipping away at that 6 day lag I'm on (I figure I'm 6 days of real work from being able to pull off a 25k).
Also, I think I've snapped a synapse or two.


Hope you guys enjoy the run today.  It's 2am, I can't sleep, and it's looking very unlikely that I'm going to be making the trek out to the Woodlands...  though I haven't written off that run at a PR just yet.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Finally... a run

Memorial Park, 3 miles,  29:18.13
Mile 1:  9:55
(Mile 1.5:  14:30, 29:00 pace)
Mile 2:  18:32 (8:37--Great second mile)
(Mile 2.75:  26:35...  yea, draggin' ass at that point)
Mile 3:  29:18 (10:46--Exhausted is a good word for it, but I kept on pace)
I slowed down intentionally on the first half mile after the mile marker, but I still wanted the second mile to be my best one today.  I succeeded with a damn good second half of mile 2, if I do say so myself.
I was flat out whipped on the last mile.  Usually I throw in a good, hard kick on the last quarter just to see how fast I can finish up, but it took everything I had just to keep going tonight.  I only paused for a few seconds around the halfway point for some water, but at the end I was damn worn out.
I'm going to go for a PR at the RTW Saturday.  Watch out, world, here I come...

Tick tock...

Still haven’t gotten out there.  Thank you all for the invitations to run.


I have a definite conflict of interest on Sunday (and no, I don’t mean “conflict of interest” as in “I’m not interested in running”).  I’m certainly not ready for any 25k (I’m maybe 5 or 6 days of good training away from that), but I’m almost certainly up for a good 8k (however far that is, I don’t speak Metrican).  I’m not saying I won’t pop up in the Woodlands on Saturday, though.  However, we’re going camping Saturday night, which is the conflict on Sunday AM.  I may take a wooded run on Sunday morning out in New Caney, though.  It’d be a good opportunity to spend a couple of hours just running “nude” (no clocks, no gear, no route, just me and the road).


I discovered the concept of working out “nude” when I hit a plateau while cycling awhile back.  We’ve all done it at some point.  No matter how much we try, no matter how much we concentrate our effort, we just can’t get over some kind of hump—weight, time, speed, distance, whatever.  I hit a plateau, and then I stumbled across a biking article about “biking nude”.  Being a guy I naturally opened right to the article to see what they had to say, and the concept is basically that we get so obsessed over some metric that we lose sight of the overall joy of going out and just letting it fly in the wind.  You sit in the saddle (or, rise up on the balls of your feet) and just ride.  No time.  No top speed.  No distance.  No worries and no bothers.  One requirement, of course, is that you take a different route than normal because chances are you know every split, every dip, every bump, every curb, every light, every sign, every shrub, every everything along the way, and the idea is to just go out and ride…  nude.  So, Sunday, if I run, I’m just going to go out and run nude on a completely foreign course without my stopwatch.


I may bring my cell phone, in case I need a ride back to camp.


To answer my favorite Brazilian, no, there is absolutely no chance I’ll actually win the marathon in January.  Well, there’s some chance, but if I did actually cross the line first we’d have bigger problems scraping the bacon off the upper floor windows of Houston’s skyscrapers (that is to say, darlin’, pigs will be a-flyin’ if I win the marathon).  However, I will cross that finish line, even if I cross last.  Because for my marathon, what counts is not where I finish, but that I finish.  Anything less than 26.2 miles will be a monumental failure for me.  I can’t look at it any other way.  However, I also know that the greater factor on Marathon Sunday is not the will to finish, but rather the will to train.

26.2, no less, and not a step more.


That all said, I do have my running bag today.  I’m going to run tonight.  I don’t really want to run, but I want to not run even less.  I have to get out there.


Left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right…

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


New job started Monday.

Since getting hired 3 weeks ago, I’ve done very little running…  in fact, I don’t think I’ve run more than 5 or 6 miles since busting out that ½ marathon awhile back.  The time change hasn’t helped.  I’ve got to reconfigure my schedule (sleep patterns, recreation patterns, etc) to be able to run in the AM instead of the PM.  But that’s ok.  I’ve even put on a little weight.  Add to that some brewing domestic crises in and around my own home and you have a bubbling brew of “notgonnarunitosis”.  Also known as stress induced inertia.

I’ll get out there.  I’m confident of that.  Possibly tonight, possibly tomorrow, but I’ll get back out there.  And the marathon doesn’t stand a chance this year.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


A light only shines brightly in a dark room.  A light in a bright room adds nothing.
Go out, find the darkness, and shine.  Just shine.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Tick tock... I'm going to try and get a run in tonight before it
gets dark. Bible study is at 7, and I do have my priorities
straight so I may not actually get the run in.

I also discovered that I may have a conflict on the 25k run in
November. I may not be doing that one afterall.

If not for that photo from the Run the Woodlands event and meeting
Jon face to face, there would be no proof that I'm an actual
person... or that I've ever run a step in my life.
How enigmatic.

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