Friday, December 30, 2005

Weekend activities

Ok, nothing fancy over the weekend. I may run a solid 2 hours, or I may bike a solid 2 hours. Not sure. It depends on how my legs feel under me and how the weather is. I really want to get out on the bike, but I'd hate to give up a whole running day. Maybe I'll do both. We'll see.

I said to my mom "I posted the support map for the marathon on my blog" and she replied "I don't know what that is." Nice. I've had this for, like, over a year and a half, now.
I've bookmarked the page on her Explorer. Lets see if the fam ever finds it.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Support map for the marathon

To my fans... ok, fan... ok, brother... who reads this, here's the link to the support map for the marathon.

Pushing the envelope

Ok, I did something tonight I haven't done since the sun started dropping out of the sky early--I ran 6 miles after work.
First, the recap:
I decided to run 3 miles.  I missed the first mile marker so decided on 2x1.5 mile splits.  I pass the finish line, walk back to the start, and without thinking about it just hit the button and take off.  As soon as my brain begins to catch up the bargaining begins.  "Just go 1/2 mile, then turn around.  That's a good 4 mile run."  I run, and part way to the 1/2 mile marker, my body chimes in "you should probably go to the 3/4 mile marker so you can get a 3rd 1.5 mile split."  My increasingly dehydrated brain thinks about this for a second and decides it's a good idea... then forgets to spot the 3/4 mile marker.  Frantically, it chimes in "Hey!  You missed the marker.  Stop at the 2 mile marker and turn around.  That's a good 5 mile run."  Well, the much smarter body responds "if he's going to go that far, might as well go to the 1.5 mile marker and make an even split out of the thing."  The brain agrees, then again forgets to look when we pass the 1.5 mile marker.  At this point, realizing it's been beaten, the brain just checks out completely.  Turns out that was a good thing.
2 consecutive runs, 3 miles each:
Run 1: 28:32.54
(Check out this consistency)
First 1/2:  14:13.66
Second 1/2:  14:18.87
Average:  14:16.26
The back half was only :05 off the pace of the first half.  Not bad.
Run 2:  30:41.49
(I ran the first 3 a little faster than I would have if I were planning on running 6, but it was still a pretty good pace)
Mile 1:  9:58.54
Mile 2:  10:49.98 (20:48.52)
Mile 3:  9:52.97  (30:41.49--nice rally at the end)
Average:  10:13.83
I didn't bother to run the bridge on the way home.  I was tired and there are no places to safely park after dark.  However, I did clock the distance at .5 miles each way, and like I said, you have to run the bridge twice unless you want to drag the car behind you.

Stuff that stinks

Ok, so I work across the street from the Galleria.  I walk to the food court for lunch occasionally.


There’s a kiosk near the Victoria Secret that sells herbal stuff for aroma therapy and stuff like that.


I know I’m not the authority on that stuff, but it straight up smells like ass.  It absolutely reeks.  It’s been a little over an hour and that foul stench is still lingering in my nostrils.  The chick (with an accent) come up to me and puts one of those foul things on my shoulder and asks if she can ask me a question.  Me being the smart ass I am says “you can probably ask me a question in 2 languages, but I have to go eat lunch”.  Stupid, stupid, joe.  She slides between me and the stairs and starts talking.  I’m trapped.


I extract myself from the situation rather gracefully, but not before she shoves a lavender eye cover (smells like lavender ass) under my nose, a mint something or other (smells like mint ass) under my nose, and some herbal slippers (smells like herbal feet and ass) under my nose.  “Just heat them up and they release their aromas”.


Why the hell would I want to subject myself to that?  No.  Thanks.  They make me gag. 


I’d rather run.


In the rain.


Unfortunately, my lovely wife likes that kind of stuff.  In moderation I can tolerate it.  But quite frankly, I’d rather my shoes smell like shoes than peppermint.  Besides, if they smell like food I know a certain beagle that would love to eat them just to prove they’re not food.

2 weekends to go, then BAM!

2 training Saturdays remain.  It’s coming.  Or, rather, I’m coming for it.


Sydney Smith said “To do anything in this world worth doing we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in, and scramble through as well as we can”.


From 7 months away the marathon actually looks small; kind of like the moon.  Once it gets closer, though, it gets big.  I find myself thinking about the enormity of the thing every once in awhile.  Big mistake.


When I ran the 30k I seriously didn’t really think about it or mentally prepare until the day before the run.  I wobbled back and forth as to whether or not I was going to run the thing, and quite honestly before the RTW I probably would have just skipped it.  I may have even gone down to get the packet and just donated the 35 bones to whomever and slept in the next day (and almost did, after all).  I spent all of maybe 3 hours really thinking about it and really preparing myself for it.  A little like eating vegetables—close eyes, open mouth, swallow.


Not with the marathon, though.  I’ve worked too hard for too long.  Every little thing is marathon related.  The person 4 offices down has a sniffle—avoid her.  Another cookie?  Oh, no thanks.  I’m going to have to cart those little chocolate drops of deliciousness for 26 miles through Houston in a couple of weeks.  Stay on the sidewalks and off the grass—you might catch a hole hidden under the blades and turn an ankle.  Run in the dark at Memorial?  Very, very, very carefully.  Remember not to forget that Vitamin C horsepill you rarely took the previous 5 months.  Go to sleep early.  What’s that ache?  Was that there last week?  Will the chafing be an issue on M-Day?


Every little thing is magnified.


I tell myself I’ve done stuff like this before.  A half dozen MS150s and the training runs tell me that my body can do this.  I’ve done the things that should put me in GRB 5 – 5 ½ hours after the starting gun goes off.  Mentally, though, I find myself falling into the trap of standing back and shivering while thinking of the cold and the danger.  I did this before my first endurance event—I didn’t sleep at all.  I did this the first time I made the trip to Dallas.  I did this when I made the trips to San Antonio.  I didn’t do it before the 30k, though.  I didn’t even think about the 30k.  I just snuck up on that run (or it snuck up on me).


If I had finished last year it’d be different this year.  Hell, I probably wouldn’t be running this year.  But if I were, I’d have a finished marathon already under my belt.


I can’t help but think about it.  The dinner before will help—I have planning and such to do for that.  Other things are helping me keep my mind occupied.  But that moment inevitably comes when there’s nothing else to divert you from thinking about the thing that’s been your singular focus for 6 months.  I think about crossing the railroad tracks last year on Westpark and feeling every last ounce of energy slipping away as I went up the hill—energy that was helping me ignore the rising crescendo of pain in my leg and ankle.  I think about the look on my “support team’s” face when they see me at the bottom of that overpass and know I’m finished.  I think about the pain as I’m crossing under the freeway and see the sweepers pass me.  I think about reaching the medical tent and being unable to step up onto the curb because I just simply can’t.  Then I think of the realization of having to call the support team and tell them it’s over.  To meet me at GRB, I’m finished.


Then I think “not this year”.  This year I finish.  This year it’s personal.  There is no try, only do, and I’m all out of can’t.  There is no next time.  This is it.  The pendulum swings back, the doubts are pushed away, and the focus returns.


Tonight’s run will be 3 or 6 miles (I have supplies to ward off chafing, if it works I run 6) and it might feature a little hill work on the TC Jester hill that goes over the railroad tracks north of I-10.  It’s bigger than the Westpark hill, and I have to run it at least twice if I run it at all.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Run report/Pasta party update

Ok, chafing is an issue.  It wasn't before the 18 miler, but it is now.  Chafing sucks.  I'm going to have to get that fixed.
Got my new chrono working, too.  Way cool.
3 miles.  27:54.41
(check out the consistency)
Mile 1:  9:14.84
Mile 2:  9:19.86 (18:34.70)
Mile 3:  9:19.71 (27:54.41)
Best:  Mile 1
Average:  9:18.13
If not for the chafing, I might have gone for 6.
For the record, mile 2 sucks.  I hate the second mile.  Hate it, hate it, hate it.  The second mile is the worst of all miles.  Of all the miles in the whole universe, the second mile is certainly the worst.  I'd rather go the 1st or 3rd mile over nails and hot coals than the 2nd mile anywhere.  In fact, if I could skip from 1 to 3, it might be bearable, but I can't.
Maybe from now on I'll run a single mile, stop, then start again.  that way the 2nd mile will actually be a second 1st mile.  That would avoid the whole 2nd mile bugaboo all together.  Hmmm...  Maybe someone would like to rent my second mile from me?  That way I can run mile 1 for me, Mile 2 for someone else, then get on with mile 3 - 26.2.  I'm going to have to look into that.
Reservations for the Pasta Party are up to 8:
Steve/Mrs. Steve
Me/Mrs. Me
Jon has some guest speakers on tap--more on that as schedules are cemented.


It’s 5:15 and still some daylight is trickling down.  Interesting.

Run update coming

Seriously, I have a run update to give… or, more correctly, will have a run update to give…  as soon as I get around to doing that last long run.  I’d like it to be more than 13 miles.  That should be a good solid 2 hours-plus.


It was going to be last Saturday, then yesterday, now it’ll be this Saturday.  Stuff came up.  Plus, I didn’t want to run, so I didn’t.  There’ll probably be an intermediate run update for the 3 to 6 milers between now and then.


I did get a cool chronometer/stop watch from my bro for Christmas.  It has, like, 10,000 split times that can be stored and other wicked cool stuff like that.  It’ll come in handy when I start the triathlon training, and if I ever run more than 1 lap at Memorial I can use it for that, too (I know, I could track ¼ mile splits and whatnot, but I almost always miss the ¼ mile markers).


I am seriously looking forward to this last long run. Completing it means no more long runs until M-day and largely marks the end of my training cycle.  Once M-day comes and goes, I’m seriously looking forward to not having to run any more after that.  I suspect I’ll continue to get in a short run ever week or so to mix up the cycling—I may possibly become a regular visitor to the Woodlands for RTWs.  Especially since it’ll be awhile yet before the pool opens.


We’ll see.  I’m making very few plans past M-day… and there’s a reason for that.

Friday, December 23, 2005

MS150 officially and stuff

I'm in.  I registered for the MS150.
26.2 miles in January.
185 miles (150 miles is a lie) in April.
More on that later.

The "Big Ass Belt Buckle"

Ok, so there are 3 things that are required to be in the wardrobe in order to live in Texas

  1. A Stetson
  2. Boots
  3. Jeans

Everything else is wide open.  Some of us own a good length of rope.  Some of us even own a whip (don’t ask).

But there’s one thing that sets apart the “royalty” in Texas from everyone else, and that’s the “Big Ass Belt Buckle”.  Everybody’s seen ‘em.  They vary in size from roughly a drink coaster to roughly a desert platter to roughly the roof of a domed stadium.

There’s 2 ways to get these. 

The first way (and hardest) is to earn one.  How do you earn a “Big Ass Belt Buckle”?  Well, win a rodeo.  Do something cowboyey (yes, that’s a word).  Some organizations give them away like trophies.  Some companies give them as tokens of recognition.  But to earn a BABB is not an easy feat.  To earn one means you did something that deserves a BABB.  You hung on to the bull for the full :08.  That’s hard to do.  That deserves the BABB award.


Alternatively, you can go out and buy one.  In fact, anyone can.  You can head down to Cavendars and get one for as little as $7.00.  There’s no shame in that, unless you haven’t done anything to earn it.  Just slapping a caddy hood ornament on your old Ford POS doesn’t make your POS a Caddy.  No, I say you earn your BABB.  You do something, and it better be big.  The good news, though, is you can set the bar wherever you like.  You’re awarding the trophy to yourself and someone’s likely to ask you how you earned the BABB.  Better make it a good story.

I’m considering whether or not 2006 is the year I finally concede that I’ve finally done enough to earn a BABB.  In 2004, 2 weeks after the BPMS150, I sat in the saddle on my bike for a solid 95 miles in rain, cold, and wind from Dallas to Lake Texoma State Park across the Oklahoma border for the Red River Challenge.  That was damn hard.  1500 riders set out that day and only 215 finished on their wheels, the rest caught a bus before lunch.  Then I got up and rode another 60 miles the next day.  That was pretty manly, if I do say so myself.  5 months later I did it again out of San Antonio.  That was the year I pulled off the MS150 Triple Crown (all 3 rides, 1 year).


For my encore performance on the same ride in 2005 I rode 75 out for the first 100 miles on day 1 into a 20mph headwind.  Then I only got to ride 5 miles with the wind, the rest was at my side.  The weather was nice, except for the constant wind.  That was pretty manly.  But it was no marathon.


This year I have a marathon and a few more big events (one REALLY REALLY BIG EVENT that’s not the marathon) scheduled.  If I can pull it off, maybe I’ll finally decide that I’ve earned my BABB.

In fact, I suggest that be the trophy for HRBs at the end of the season.  Some kind of MVP thing.  You guys rock.  You keep me putting the left foot out there every other step I take when I run.

It's official

Spaghetti Warehouse.

January 13


Room for 30.

Open menu.

Separate checks.


Bring your laptop so you can blog from the table (I’m kidding).


RSVP with me before the end of the month so I can have a relatively firm number so they can staff appropriately.


e-mail is—







That e-mail will be inactive by the end of this month, so if you wait until after then you’ll have to get the new addy from someone who already risvipped.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Try? There is no try, do or do not...

That’s right; I stole a line from Yoda.  That little green dude rocks.


Lee Iacocca said “So what do we do?  Anything.  Something.  So long as we just don’t sit there.  If we screw up, start over.  Try something else.  If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.”  Not bad for a car guy.


I’ll set out Saturday morning for a run in Humble.  I’m not sure where I’ll run to just yet, or how far it’ll be.  I’m planning for a solid 2 to 3 hours on the roads… wherever that’ll take me.  I don’t care what the weather is.  I don’t care if it’s cold (it’ll be nice if it’s not too cold, though).  I don’t care if it’s raining (I’ll bring one of my cycling jackets).  2 to 3 hours on the road and I’ll track the mileage when I get home, if I think about it.


By the way, I’m not planning on attempting the marathon in January. 


I’m planning on finishing a marathon in January.  I’m expecting to finish the marathon in January.  I’m expecting to grab the marathon by the collar and kick it in its proverbial nuts in January.  There is no “try” in January… only do.  What will I do?  Anything.  Something.  I will run because I can run.  I will run a marathon not because I know I can, but because there is a real possibility that I cannot and the only way I dissolve that possibility is by crossing the finish line.


I will also run because there are others who think they cannot, but their only limitation is the belief that they cannot.  They have built themselves a prison of their own reduced expectations.  I will hold the torch for them.  I will hold that torch and wait for them to come, take it, and run their own race.  That race may not be 26.2.  That race may be shorter or longer.  That race may be overcoming an abusive childhood.  That race may be holding your child again.  That race may be speaking to your own prodigal son.  That race may be returning from your prodigal ways. 


There is no try. 


There is only do, or do not.


There may be fail.  It’s unpalatable, but it’s always a possibility.  That’s the risk when you refuse the option of “try”  “Try” allows for errant aim.  “Try” allows for coming close. 

I will not try. 

I will do.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Others who hate running... but are running

Ok, so I see on the Houston Run bloggers message board that there's a guy in Arizona who has a "same name" blog.
Well, I go to Google and punch in "I hate running" to see who else hates running, yet for some pathological reason is doing it anyway.
Here's what I found, in order:
This guy ran the 2005 Chicago marathon.
This is a chick on the road to the Iron Man.  As an answer to the question "why", she says: "It's a complete challenge of the body, the mind and the spirit, not to mention intestinal fortitude. It's a chance to see what I'm really made of and am capable of."  Yup.
There's li'l ole me at slot 3.
Here's the fellow from Arizona (linked over there on the left).
This guy hates running in the cold.  I agree with him 100%.  As well as in the heat, rain, sun, wind, calm...  well, all the time.
Highwaygirl hates running, and this picture is worth about 1,000,000,000 words.
There's Peter Buchy's blog where he posts way back in '03: "I hate running!  I know I have to do it, but do I ever hate it."  Hear hear!
It interests me that there are folks out there who seem to feel the need to run...  but don't really want to.  With all due respect, you people are whacked out.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Final stretch

I haven’t completed the blogroll from the weekend’s long run, but if anyone got up on Saturday to run in that muck and nastiness, any performance was a manly performance.  I’m anxious to see how it all went, because, as you can guess, I slept through most of the period when ya’ll were running.  And as I woke up from my second nap of the morning I commentedo my lovely wife “most of them should be done with the 21 miler by now… I bet they’ll be glad to get back to the car”.  Then I went and had a snack.


For exercise, I did chop a little wood in the back yard.  I call that cross training.


But alas, we’re in the final stretch… less than a month to go.


I have maybe 1 more “long” run scheduled for roughly 10 miles on Christmas weekend if I can find a route and the time to do it.


I’m at the point where I don’t think there’s anything I can do to really help my chances, but there’s plenty I can do to hurt them.  I’m not sure how much I was really faltering at the end of the 30k run and how much was just my brain getting in the way of my body running.  Can another 8 miles materialize in less than a month?  Can I finally convince myself to just run and quit looking at the mile markers?  Can I get past the mental barriers?


Yes.  Duh.


But can I do it by January 15?  That’s the real question.  Of course it can be done… people do these things all the time.  But can it be done by me next month?  I say yes.  It has to be done… I’m not going to have time to train for a marathon next year.


The longest distance remains not on the pavement, but in my mind.  The will to train trumps the will to finish.  Run fatty, run!

Friday, December 16, 2005

3 things I don't care to see...

1.  Rent
2.  The Producers
3.  Any soccer game...  ever.
Don't get me wrong, as a sport junkie and UH grad, I'm pretty excited about a MLS team coming to Houston.  They're going to play at Robertson Stadium at UH so that means upgrades to the facilities there.  Plus more sports are pretty cool and I'll probably end up watching a few games--I've seen some hockey games, so why not soccer.  But I really, really don't care about soccer.  If it ceased to be I'd miss it about as much as I missed NHL hockey last year.
And then there's those musicals.  I hate musicals.  They're so annoying.  All that singing...  just get on with the story already.  I was kind of ambivilant about Rent--figured I might go see it if someone else wanted to.  Then I saw a commercial for it.  The ambivalance is gone.  In fact, if the options were running or seeing Rent, I'd go run.  And that goes for The Producers, too.


...  I don't really know what to say.
3 miles.
Mile 1--8:30
Mile 2--18:30 (10:00)
Mile 3--26:54.77 (8:24.77)
Yea, that's not only a course record for me, but the best 3 miles I've EVER run...  including when I was 100lbs lighter back in high school.
That's right, a PR.  And I didn't even want to be out there.
There's something to be said for running fast, especially in the cold.  You get to be done sooner than if you run slow.  That's a big bonus if you don't want to be there in the first place.
I think I've earned the right to sleep in tomorrow.


I don’t want to run tonight.  I want to go out to my car and decide it’s too cold outside.

I want to sit in traffic so long that decide to not run.

I want to do some kind of other workout that will count for miles.

I simply don’t want to run tonight.


I probably will, though.  And after about 1 ½ miles I’ll stop trying to convince myself to just turn around and go back to the car.


I so don’t want to run tonight.


I so don’t want to run tomorrow.


I just want to go home.  I just want to sleep in.



Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Check out the hardware

If this works, you should see a picture of my medal.
You know, they could kick me in the crotch if they handed out medals afterwards.  I'm such a sucker for a trophy.

It's raining!

It’s raining.

You know what that means?  You guessed it boys and girls!  I’m not going to run today.


Of course, that’s saying about the same as “it’s sunny”, “it’s cold”, “the sun rose in the east”, or “it’s a day of the week that ends in ‘y’”.


Regardless, I’m taking the night off.


Physically I’m just about 100% recovered from the 30k.  The acheyness (grab your pencils and correct your dictionaries, I just made up another word) in my joints is 90% gone and the muscle soreness is almost 100% gone.  Only 2 days of recovery, not bad.


Daily stretching helps, I’ve discovered.


I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but with the completion of the 30k, I ran my first EVER 20+ mile week.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

To 21 or not to 21... that is the question

As of right now I’m not planning on running the Houston Fit 21 mile workout on Saturday, so don’t get all excited.


In fact, right now I don’t really want to run anywhere, for any reason.  If you let loose the dogs they’ll catch me ‘cause I’m not running from them.  My legs hurt and I miss riding my bike—even in the cold.  This sucks.


But I’ve swapped a couple of e-mails back and forth with a couple of friends (one who was at the 30k) who are seriously talking about running it and I’m beginning to think I might just go start the route and see how far I get.  Besides, 21 miles is less than 3 miles more than a 30k, though the 30k stretched me to darn near my limit.


We’ll see…  I’ll probably sleep in Saturday.  I’ve got no reason to go out and torture myself any more than I have already.

Postscript, day 2

My calves are still sore, but they’re coming around. 

The chafing hasn’t quite gone away.

My right knee still hurts… the best way to describe it is “tired”.  I’ve started wearing a wrap for a few hours in the evening and morning and that’s helped.

I’m making a conscious effort not to favor the various aches and pains, but to walk normal and stretch out the offended muscles.  That’s exhausting, but it helps.

You people call this fun?


I’m “hoping” to be able to run tomorrow.  Actually, I’m hoping I’ll miraculously be able to finish the marathon without any more running, but failing that I suppose adequate preparation is the best medicine.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Calm like a bomb

During the 30k there was plenty of time to think about what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it.  One man running a marathon doesn’t amount to much of anything.  One voice screaming at top volume in a crowd of people amounts to basically a loud jackass.  But sometimes it’s not the loud voice that makes the difference.  Sometimes it’s the quiet, steady, strong voice with passion and power right there—waiting to be released with a simple spark—that makes all the difference.


In the post-race reflection I think about how runners run these distance runs.  Steady power for 2 or 3 or 4 hours, sometimes longer.  They keep an easy, consistent pace for mile after mile.  They maintain a calm, cool confidence (or at least the appearance of confidence) for the entire run until the very end and BOOM!  They explode in a final sprint that runs competitors off their heels or simply carries them over the finish line.  For the full duration they’re calm, then like a bomb they explode across the finish line.  All endurance athletes do this, but watching a runner do it is like watching a time lapse video.  It slowly and inevitably unfolds before you, and it’s pretty cool.


That’s one of the things I thought about and I thought about the advocates and volunteers.  How do they help the abused children of Harris County?  Not by going into a courtroom or home and blowing up at the offending parents.  No, not at all.  You don’t fix abusive parents with a 2 by 4 or an axe handle.  No, you sit calmly in a courtroom and listen to testimony of atrocity after atrocity… tick, tick, tick.  You do home studies and look at living conditions… tick, tick, tick.  You gather information… tick, tick, tick.  You look after the needs of the child… tick, tick, tick.  Then finally, at the end of it all, you give your recommendation to the judge.




You change a life.  You break a cycle.  You rage against the machine that is child abuse.  Government funding is constantly being cut.  Support networks are being choked if they exist at all.  A system of child abuse (and other social ills) is perpetuated by a sick social environment that tells everyone “this is how you should be” and “this is what success looks like”.  If you don’t have it and you don’t know how to get it and you don’t know how to cope with that unattained expectation, you might lash out.  Unfortunately, it’s the weakest among us that are often on the receiving end of that outburst.  You might kill a child for using a trash can for a toilet.  The inability to cope manifests itself in broken people and in the wake of that destruction is the broken bodies and minds of children and they bring that brokenness to their children (if they live) and the machine churns on and on.


The cycle can be broken in the same way a marathon is run… steady, steady, steady...  BOOM!  You see it happening.  The steady crescendo builds, the intense concentration past the pain and the uncertainty, the focus on the goal carrying you past the ups and downs… then BOOM!  A final sprint that culminates in crossing the finish line or a recommendation to a judge.


Then you rest, and prepare to do it all over again.  Tick, tick, tick…


30k Postscript II

It’s the morning after.

I was actually getting stiffer and stiffer yesterday as the day wore on, but today I feel unusually spry.  My knees are achey.  I feel a little dried out, still.  My right leg does NOT want to lift when I try and pick it up over the puppy-gate that keeps my sweet beagle from eating the cat poo.  I’m not terribly keen on walking.  And oh, the chafing.  I could do without that.


But otherwise I’m feeling pretty good.  It’ll take another day at least for me to even consider running.  Walking is not really high on my priority list today.


I also went shopping last night for dinner—Tortino’s Pizzas.  Of course, I was wearing my finisher’s medal and leaning heavily on a shopping cart while ‘walking’ through Kroger’s.  And, of course, I informed everyone I saw that I ran a 30k earlier that day.  That was pretty sweet.


Finally, 30k is NOT 18 MILES!!!  It’s not even “about 18 miles”.  It’s 18.6 miles.  That may not sound like a big difference to you, but .6 miles is a long damn way after running 18 miles.  In fact, it’s pretty close to 19 miles…  at least closer to 19 than 18.


Oh well.  The results are here.  They misspelled my name (Bneda), but that’s ok.  It’s still official.  I’m not doing it again.  Besides, it’s not like they HAD A CHECK TO READ THE NAME OFF OF!!!  866th overall, 40 out of 44 in my age bracket.  That’s ok.  I’m not running to win, I’m running to finish and prove that I can.


Pace was 12:16.  I need to work on that.  I lost a full minute over the last 5 miles of the run.  That’s not good, but it’s still better than the 13:45 pace needed to finish the marathon.


But in the “good news” file I gained a full 30 minutes on the ½ marathon time.  I went from 3:00:00 to something close to 2:30:00.  Not a bad improvement.  Plus it’s fully 2 miles further than I’ve EVER run.  Yes, my friends, I ran through uncharted territory yesterday, and it felt as good as such a thing can feel to me.


Blogroll later.  I’m curious to see how the Jingle Bell run went.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

30k postscript I

I'm basking in the "afterglow" of today's run.  Which is to say I'm laying very still and wearing my medal.
I made it to the run this morning.  I'm dog ass tired.  I have energy, but my legs just aren't responding.  My knees ache, my feet hurt, and I have a nagging--albeit minor--headache.  But I finished, and I finished pretty well.  12:36 per mile.  I maintained a pretty consistent 11:00 to 11:30 pace for the first 13 miles or so, then started to slow down as I switched to the "walk 1/run 10" method to conserve strength.  I passed the 16+ mile point and was running into uncharted territory--no previous run had surpassed the 16+ miles I ran at the '05 marathon.
I did manage to oversleep this morning.  My alarm actually went off at 5:00am (at least, I was awake at 5:00am), and in my sleep drugged state I looked at the clock, checked the alarm time, decided it was set too early, and changed it to 6:00am.  The snooze alarm kept going off, I think, every 9 minutes and around 6:00 I came to the realization that I needed to leave the house 15 minutes ago!  I jump out of bed, kiss the missus, dash to the closet, change, grab the pile of supplies in the living room, and I'm out the door at 6:05.
Now I need gas.  Go to the gas station, it's not open.  Go to the other station and pay $.04 more for a gallon, only get 3 gallons.
Jump in the car and take off.  The whole way out there (30+ miles, mind you) I'm flying down the road hoping I get there in time, but telling myself over and over that if I don't make it, no problem.  I get to go home and sleep.  Just south of Beltway 8 I get that familiar feeling in my gut of "just screw it, go home" but decide to drive through it.
6:45am I roll to the exit down in Sugarland that I need to take.  There's a cop sitting about 1/4 mile ahead of the exit, but he didn't pull me over.  That would have made me late for sure.
I wind my way into the parking lot and find a spot.  A quick check over the hedge reveals a big queue of people lined up.  I made the start.  The announcer says "8 minutes to start".  I just barely made the start.  I change shoes and shirt, pin on my number, and head to the line of people.  I stretch a little, run a little to warm up, and make it to the crowd.  I find Holden, Jon, Dave, and Kim right before the national anthem and Holden points out that I don't have a race chip.  DAMNIT!  "Where do I get my chip?"  "Over there."  Great.  I take off for the chip, ask someone else who has one, she points me to the "yellow table" and I hear the gun.  Great.  Not only am I slow already, but now I'm starting behind everybody.
It turns out I only missed a couple of minutes.  Mile 1 was clocked at 13+ minutes.  Mile 2 was a 12+ minute pace (24:00 overall, 24-13 is 11:00, so I was right on pace).  Mile 3 came by and I had settled in to my 11:00 pace with no ill effects from the mad dash to the starting line.  My only real disapointment on this thing was that there was nobody to pass at the end.  I was well ahead of the folks behind me and well behind the folks in front of me.  It was just me and the road...  with an impressive final kick.  I always unload the gas tank at the end.
It was cold.  It was early.  I didn't really want to be there.  The people on the bikes didn't really help...  I wanted to switch places with them soooo bad.  They thought I was joking.  But what it boils down to is that I really don't want to fail at the marathon and that "don't want" trumps a lot of others.  Things like this don't have to be a "want to", they're a "have to" otherwise that bitter sting of failure is waiting just a few days away.  I had to do this.  I'm glad I did.  I really want to complete the marathon so that I don't have to do it again.
I did manage to pass Holden on the course.  Small comfort since he was battling injury the whole time (you rock, dude, I'd have said "screw it" long ago) and he passed me again later never to be seen again.  Jon's a great cheerleader, so is Steve (even if I didn't see him until the very end).  And, for what it's worth, it helps to know there's people who will notice if you back out of a run to keep you racing toward the start line when you're running late and the "go home" urge is building in your gut.  Cassie and Jessica were handing out water and gatorade right around mile 8+, 12+, and 16+ (one station, 3 loops).  I had to make sure I was running when I approached that water station so I wouldn't look too bad.  That water was always the coldest and the gatorade was always the ade-est.
All in all, I'm not disapointed and I'm glad I participated.  Plus I got a medal.  It's just another brick that goes into the wall of a finished marathon.  It's one more step along the way to a seemingly insurmountable goal that's so far off and abstract it's hard to really conceptualize how big and how hard it is.  If the marathon was today, I don't think I'd be able to finish.  But I do think I'm on the right track.  I like my chances.  1 more week of hard training then the taper can begin.
Tomorrow's schedule--nothing.
Wednesday--3 or 6 miles.
Friday--3 or 6.
Saturday--6 miles at least.
Even odds on me actually doing any of those runs.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Check it out. I've shed all the delinquency I've reveled in and finally updated my blog with links of the blogs I "frequent", from folks here in Houston, to by old college buddy in Kansas, to the pretty Brazilian cutie who tracked me down from half a world away.
Explore, enjoy.

Oh yea, I almost forgot. Assuming I actually follow through with running the 30k and finish, it'll certainly be a PR.

I've never run 18 miles before.

30k, primed and ready

Ran the RTW.  28:56, see the recap here.  What you won't read is that I got beat by a girl.  In fact, I got beat by 2 girls--Cassie and Jessica.  But that's ok.  They rock all the same.
It's not my best run (like I said, I got beat by a girl), but it was the best run on this course.  I felt remarkably good.  There were a couple of physical issues, but I think they stemmed from not running in the last week or so.  Other than that I felt pretty good.
I've finally committed to running the 30k tomorrow.  My bib number is 1076.  It's my first official "number" to be assigned outside of the marathon.  It feels a little creepy.
Also in the "creepy" file, I'm organizing the Houston Bloggers Pasta party.  I'm organizing a running thing.  Weird.  I'm thinking Spaghetti Warehouse.  Centrally inconvenient for everyone.
That's about it for today.  I met pretty much everyone on my blogroll.  You guys rock in print and you guys rock in person. 
I'm sitting here with my "running packet" in front of me.  It looks weird.  It's not quite a rider's packet, even though it looks pretty similar.  There's just something about it...  I think I'm sliding over to the dark side.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Friendly Friday PSA

Not much running being done, so not much about running here.


Look, people.  Driving on the freeways is complicated enough.  You may not realize it (or take part in it, for that matter), but freeway driving takes real concentration and real skill.  Some people just aren’t cut out for it.  It’s nothing personal, but you know who you are.  Feeder roads were made for people like you.  Just do us all a favor and wait at stop lights and stay off the freeway.


But if you insist on driving on the freeway with those of us capable of handling the higher speeds, increased number of decisions, and reduced reaction time window, here’s a few friendly tips.


DON’T put on your blinker and expect all the world to slow down to let you in.  If traffic is moving at 60, 65, 70 miles per hour and you want to merge over into that traffic, speed up and match that traffic’s speed.  Unless you’re some kind of celebrity who will actually add value to that lane, they don’t care if you merge or not and they’ll gladly fly by you with your blinker on and ignore your request.


Similarly, don’t stop on an entrance ramp and expect the world to stop and give you a golden invitation to join them on the freeway.  Speed up, match traffic in the short window you have, and get in there.  Quit being a moron.


I can’t say how many times I’ve seen a line of cars stacked up behind some moron who’s in the middle lane, driving 35 mph, left blinker on, trying to get over to the next lane but can’t because nobody will slow down to let them in.  THERE’S A REASON THEY WON’T SLOW DOWN, STUPID!  Maybe, just maybe, if you speed up, you can get into that lane.


Just this morning, is stupid thick rush hour traffic, some idiot in an SUV was stopped—STOPPED—on the entrance ramp from TC Jester to 610 with the blinker on waiting for traffic to slow from 10mph to 0 in order to let this idiot in.  Unfortunately someone finally opened up a big enough opening that this future organ donor was able to get into traffic, but they should have left her to rot on the shoulder of the road.  The bad part is that all of the responsible drivers who weren’t heading to 290 were forced to sit behind this idiot, otherwise they just whipped around her and headed north on the wide open swath of asphalt she cleared (and could have used to speed up to the 10mph that would have allowed her to merge easily).

Freakin’ idiots.


And one other thing.  Don’t turn on your blinker and change you mind.  First, use the blinker.  Second, use it to signal your intent, not make a request.  If you’re going to change lanes, look in your mirrors, make sure there’s an opening, and inform the other drivers of YOUR INTENT TO TAKE ACTION.  That means you have to intend to take action.  You’re not asking permission.  There’s nothing more irritating that sitting behind a car with its blinker on wondering if he’s ever going to shit or get off the pot, especially if he’s waiting to change lanes in front of you.  There’s the opening, DO IT ALREADY!!!


And don’t for a second think that if I turn on my blinker you can pull that whole “pull up and cut off the opening” bullshit on me.  I’m signaling my intent.  There is an opening, I am deciding to move my car into it, that’s why I turned on my blinker.  I don’t need your permission.  I’m not asking for it.  I’m informing you of my intent.  That’s what the blinker means.  The law says “yield right of way”.  You can close the gap, but I’ll be sitting in your passenger seat and you’ll be fixing my car…  or buying me a new one.


So, I’ll probably be at the RTW tomorrow.  I’ll finally be shedding my anonymity and proving that I’m not a 4 headed purple dinosaur, but a real, human boy!  I still haven’t signed up for the 30k, though.  I really need to do that…  or I can just run the 21 miler with Houston Fit.


To procrastinate or not to procrastinate, that is the question.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

2 things you don't see very often

1.       Sub freezing weather in Houston.

2.       Me running in sub freezing weather in Houston.


Actually, you don’t see me running much at all…  but more than in the past.


Weather guy says temps will heat up tomorrow and into the weekend.  Damnit.  There goes my excuse to bug out of running over the weekend.


I still need to make my way out to one of the registration points for the 30k.  Maybe I’ll just do online registration.  If for some reason (good or bad) I miss the run—I want to run in it even if I’m not ready just to stretch the old legs out—I’ll hit the 21 miler with Houston Fit next week.  Either way long runs (over 8 miles) are done as of next week. 


If I make the 30k, then I’ll taper back to 13 or 15 next week, then I’ll fully throttle back (which won’t be hard, unless I never open up the throttle to begin with).




Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ice on the car

Know what it feels like to run in sub-freezing weather?

Yea, me neither.  It was way too cold this morning. 

Maybe I’ll run tonight. 

Maybe I’ll get hit by a flying pig.


Anyone know if registration is still open for the 30k?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Running tomorrow and a PSA

This weekend was scheduled to be a running weekend, but I skipped all my workouts.  At least I’m sticking to a pattern.

I’ll be running tomorrow AM (or PM if I can squeeze in a run between work and bible study.  Howabout that, I’m looking into squeezing in a run between things rather than just taking the 30 minutes of free time…  you folks might be making a runner out of me after all.  The goal for tomorrow’s run: 30 minutes, fast.  I’m going to work in some sprints and try and build some more strength.  Maybe it’ll even wake me up in the morning.


I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it now if it hasn’t been said already.


Listen people.  Get this straight.  Don’t forget it.  Tell your friends, ask them to remind you, write it on a sticky note and staple it to your forehead.


PEOPLE GET OFF ELEVATORS HALF OF THE TIME!  For every person who gets on an elevator, someone gets off.  That’s the way they work.


Quit assuming that the elevator showed up just for you.  Wait for people on the elevator to get off before you go barging into a stream of people trying to get off those boxes.  They’re not your personal limousine service.  Your name isn’t on the door.  It’s a very real possibility that someone (or several someones) are trying to get off the elevator—ESPECIALLY IF IT’S STOPPING ON THE FIRST FLOOR!!!!  What makes you think it’s coming just for you?  Are you special?  Did you manage to wrangle a “personal elevator rider pass” that ensures a single elevator follows you from floor to floor and building to building so that you would expect everyone in a building to not ride an elevator just so you can?  Or better still, you expect the folks already on the elevator (who clearly were mistaken in their presumption that it was a public access elevator) to wait patiently as you get on, go to where you’re going, then get off, and then ride back to wherever they were going with the hopes that another PERP rider doesn’t get on?  What, are you stupid, or just plain inconsiderate?


I can handle the 1 floor elevator jumpers.  In office buildings that’s usually a little more convenient than taking the fire escape up or down a floor.  The 5 floor walk-up rule doesn’t necessarily apply in high heels or business attire.  But the next time I stop on a floor and someone tries to get on the elevator before I get off without even looking up to see if there are other people daring to populate the planet, I’m seriously going to knock that someone down.  The way I see it, it’s really the right thing to do rather than let people muddle through life being stupid or inconsiderate.


I mean, if you saw someone standing on a railroad tracks and tackled them off before a train hit them that would be nicer than letting the train hit them, right?  So, I figure if someone is being stupid or inconsiderate, it’s the kind and compassionate thing to do to slap them and help them to realize they’re being stupid or inconsiderate.  Otherwise you’re just enabling their idiotic behavior.


This has been a public service announcement from a guy who hasn’t had enough coffee to get his Monday going yet.



Thursday, December 01, 2005

That last one was free

I dedicate today's 4th mile to Cassie.  I think I passed you out there today at mile 2.5.  If you were wearing a Gallery Furniture shirt and pulling hard to the left, then "hi" from the fat slow guy without a shirt who passed you at the 2.5 mile marker.  But that's not why I'm dedicating the 4th mile to you.
Tonight's run:
3 miles.
Splits:  Don't know.  I was at mile 1.25 before I realized I hadn't looked at the stopwatch yet.  Next thing I know, it's mile 2.5 and I still haven't looked at the stopwatch. 
If anybody's lost a zone, I think I found it.
Total time:  28:30.44.  Pretty kickass, if I do say so myself.  In fact, while semi-intoxicated at a bar a few weeks back I decided to change my name to Doctor Kickass.  I'll have to tell that story sometime.
But here's where the story gets good.
Yesterday my body tried to talk my brain into running a couple extra miles.  Today my brain decided to get one up on my body.
I tell myself somewhere before the 2 3/4 marker but after the 2 1/2 marker that if I stay in control and "keep it in my shorts" then I can run an extra lap.  A few steps later I begin to hear footsteps behind me like someone trying to pass me, and instinctively I kick it into the next gear.  I glance over my shoulder and the guy was 30 or 40 feet behind me, the sound I heard was a trick of the acoustics from the trees.  Well, I was already in half-sprint mode, so when the 2 3/4 marker came by, I decided it would be 3 miles and that's all.  I pass the entry driveway for the clubhouse and kick it into final sprint mode, hit the 3 mile marker and stop.
As I'm catching my breath, my body says "come on, run some more".  My brain--generally the smarter of the two arguing parties--surprisingly says "fine, you want more, lets go".  Shocked, I take off for some more running...  but I do it for free.  I don't start the stop watch, I just run for the sake of running.  I hear that guy's footsteps behind me around the 1/4 mile marker and take off again.  I look back and the guy is forever behind me when I reach the 1/2 mile marker, so I decide to turn back.  Apparently nobody informed him that we were racing.
On the way back I get passed by this chick (Blue top, black shorts.  If you're reading this please remember the rules next time).  I hang with her for a few strides, then she pulls away around the 2 3/4 mile marker.  I realize that there is .1 miles from the clockwise 3 mile marker to the 0 mile marker, then another .1 miles for me to finish.  I decide that I'll catch the chick who passed me and turn on the "after burner".  Once again nobody hipped her to the fact that we were racing and she pulled the plug on my chase .1 miles before it was done.
Regardless, I still don't go out there because I want to run, but the last mile was free and I did have a little fun trying to chase down people who clearly didn't realize they were involved in a race.  So, Cassie, since you're holding out hope that I'll actually enjoy running and that last mile was the closest I've come so far, I dedicate it to you.

Jon's Reader participation thing

I shot these off to Jon, I guess I could post them here, too.


1.) What your top 10 events were in 2005 and this may be a combination of how you performed as well as how the event was managed (use whatever scoring system you would to rate these!),


I haven’t run 10 events in 2005.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve run 10 organized events ever.  Top 10 running outings were:

  • 6 miles with Houston Fit when I yakked on the bike afterwards.
  • First ever 13.5 mile training run.
  • First ever 8 mile training run.
  • First ever 11.5 mile training run (at 9:30 a mile at that!).
  • The 3 mile training run when I ran a 8:16 first mile.
  • The 3 mile training run when I ran a 8:24 last mile.
  • The first Houston Fit training run of the year back in July when I found that point of motivation buried in the despair of utter defeat from the 2005 marathon.
  • The only RTW I participated in…  actually, that’s the only organized run I’ve participated in.
  • I guess the next RTW I participate in will rock…  it’ll prove I’m a real person.
  • The 30k on the next day should be pretty cool, too, if I live through it.

I leave the marathon off only because despite completing 16.5 miles, it was not what I consider a high point in my running life.  It was a goal left unfinished, therefore a failure.  I don’t like failure.


2.) What one person - or more than one, if necessary - inspired you to achieve more this year or to perservere or endure more as a runner and


My sister.  There was an accident last year and she’s been in rehab all of this year and there’s a long way to go still.  As she soldiers on with her rehab it inspires me, but also as I soldier on through training despite every fiber in my body telling me not to, it might equally inspire her.

And then there’s all the folks in the Blogosphere whose running highlights lead me to say “I want some of that”.


3.) What are some of your goals for 2006.


  • Run the marathon (and finish).
  • Participate in a triathlon.
  • Ride 2000 miles on my bike (cumulative).
  • Celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Thanksgiving and Weight and stuff

After completing my blogroll (you guys rock, by the way) and reading Vic’s post about losing 17 lbs, it reminded me of the conversation I had with my brothers over thanksgiving.  It went something like this:

[jb is my little bro, hb is my big bro, me is clearly me, Mrs. Me is the Boss.]


Jb:  I feel like I’ve gained 15 pounds!

Hb: 15 lbs in 4 days is a helluva feat.

Me:  I lost 10 pounds in a week once, gaining that much in a week shouldn’t be impossible.

Hb:  10 pounds in a week is one thing, but 15 in 4 days is another thing entirely.

Jb:  I think it can be done.

Me:  me too.  I wonder what 15 pounds of food looks like.

Hb:  A turkey.

Jb:  I think we should do it.

Me:  After the marathon…  and you’re on.

Hb:  you guys are stupid if you try, but I’ll give you $100 if you pull it off.


Mrs. Me:  [With a somewhat horrified, somewhat concerned, and somewhat serious look on her lovely face]  Don’t you dare.

Me:  That sounds like a challenge.


I then got promptly hit in the ribs.

The good news is that after I put on 15lbs she won’t be able to hit my ribs, they’ll be coated in a protective layer.


So, my post marathon challenge will be to gain 15 lbs in 4 days and retain the weight for 2 days (just so it’s not waste matter or water weight or anything like that).


Jon:  I saw the questionnaire and am diligently working on filling it out.


I’ll be getting the broadband connection tomorrow.  The next item on the high tech agenda is to learn to make fire by banging rocks together.


I almost forgot my running shoes this morning.  Howabout that, I actually went back into the house after the doors were locked and the alarm set to eliminate an excuse not to run.

At least 1 lap at Memorial this evening.  Hopefully it won’t take an hour to get to the park today and I’ll be in a better mood when I hit the locker room.


I’m definitely in for the RTW on the 10th, and the 30k on the 11th.  I probably won’t be going all out on the 10th, though, so don’t expect a PR from me (he said with a sly grin).