Thursday, November 30, 2006

24 Hour Delay

No running today. Overnight freezing rain. Woke to a gloomy, windy, cloudy morning. Touch of sleet mid-morning. High of 31F all day.

Terrible running weather, but if you're in 5th grade, it's perfect for staying outside all afternoon freezing your buns off. That's my Samantha on the right with her 2 buddies and a stranger.

Tomorrow's high will be 49F. Perfect make-up day for a run. I'm right on track with my training mileage, and I'm not going to tempt fate at this late stage by missing out on a run.

To think just last Saturday I squeezed out one last run of the season running without a shirt. Now, 49F sounds perfectly balmy!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Hills of Buttah

Jeanne told me I'd take the hill like it was ... buttah. I don't know what that means exactly, but I like the sound of it!

So I drove out to cousin D's house this morning, which is 2 doors down from
White Rock's mile marker 21. Her husband R. is going to run the last 5 miles with me, and we both went out to take a closer look at this hill between mile 20 and 21.

We ran the marathon route backwards from 21 to 20 to about 19.5, wandering through an old Dallas neighborhood down to the edge of White Rock Lake. On the elevation chart, the hill looked like it headed straight up unrelentingly over the course of a mile. In reality, it's a series of small inclines spread out over about a mile and a half. They didn't look or feel too bad, but I'm sure the sensation will be different on race day after 19.5 miles in the bag.

We ran 3 miles out and back, and then I went out to run it again by myself for another 3 miles. Mile 4, mostly downhill, was covered in 9:27, which was over my 9:09 race pace and ticked me off a bit. On the way back, mile 6, mostly uphill, was buttah'd in 8:53. Jeanne, you're a genius!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Running The Rock

Ran my 20-miler this morning. It was my final test before committing to White Rock. Looks like I made it with all body parts still intact:

1st 6 miles: 10:08/mile
2nd 6 miles: 10:43/mile
3rd 6 miles: 10:01/mile
Last 2 miles: 8:56/mile

Total time: 3:23, ahead of my 3:33 goal time and 10:39/mile LSD goal pace.

I just registered for the race. No looking back now. 3 weeks to taper before Judgement Day ...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ultra Encounter

Ah, weekends, I can sleep in a little bit.

At 8:15 am, I stepped outside for my 5-mile pace run. It was crisp, cool, sunny, and just a touch windy. 42:30 later, I was back home. Ran 8:39/mile for the first 4 miles, and 7:53 for the last mile, all under my 9:09/mile goal pace (as per Coach's orders).

At 9:00 am, about 75 runners lined up across town for the start of the
Ultracentric National 24 Hour Championship. While they ran, I had a leisurely breakfast of easy over eggs, wheat toast, and OJ (passing on the box of Dunkin' Donuts illegally parked on the kitchen counter). I had heard about this race from GandaMan, and the family units surprisingly decided it wouldn't be too bad (read "boring") to see some crazy people run around in circles. Our girls had a friend over for a sleepover last night, so after her mom came to pick her up, we took off.

The race was in Grapevine, TX on the other side of DFW from us. It took at least 40 minutes to get there. They had set up a 2.4 mile loop on the shores of Lake Grapevine.

There were hardly any spectators, mostly just support crews and family members. Cars were parked and tents pitched along the course, with trunks open and tables set up and loaded with all manner of endurance drinks, gels, fruits, bandages, and assorted munchies.

Easy to miss were two giants in the ultra world, Dean Karnazes and Pam Reed, running nonchalantly among the other runners. Here's Dean getting some food and catching up with his support crew, which I think is his dad.

Me: "Way to go Dean!"
DK (fist clenched in the universal "more power" sign): Mmmpf!
Me (after taking picture): "Thank you sir!"

OK, not very imaginative, I know, but at least I got the pic. As I write this tonight, I can't believe they're still out there running.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Low Pressure: I haven't signed up yet for White Rock. Early registration goes all the way to Nov 24. For a Dec 10 race, that's pretty generous. I figure I'll see how my training goes, and if it seems on track, I'll sign up. If it's not in the cards, no problem, no pressure.

High Pressure: Found out last weekend that S.'s cousin's house is directly on the route. Family and friends are already planning a show of force. Two volunteers on tap to help run me in, one of whom is a sub-4 marathoner. Why the pressure? Because abovementioned house is at mile 21, right after this monster Mt Kilimanjaro-of-a-hill:

Maybe the desire to show up at mile 21 in one coherent piece will be enough to temper me to stay on pace in the first 21 miles. If I don't, the family units will get an up close and personal view of a body at the limits of physical exhaustion and on the verge of total collapse. That's a performance that doesn't need to be repeated!

So I'm still training. Arrived in Atlanta last night, and I'm in Alpharetta now. Ran 5 EZ outside this morning; it's a bit of a concrete jungle out there, and it was cold at 6:00 am. Got to do 8 EZ tomorrow. 20 miler LSD this Sunday, then it's taper time from here on out already!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


In my continuing adventure to the world's most exotic locales, I find myself in ... Cincinnati, OH :-0

Arrived late last night, and the first thing I did from my hotel room was check out the city below. From my 14th floor window, I could see the Ohio River separating us from Kentucky. Lots of bridges. Football stadium to the right, baseball stadium to the left. Lots of space down by the river. Looks like good running room.

At 06:00 this morning, I stepped out of the hotel and directly onto the corner of 6th and Race Street. Appropriate or what? It was quiet and quite deserted, but I did see two other runners. 6 EZ miles to do today. Better get started.

I ran down towards the river, barely a half mile away. The closest bridge was the Roebling Suspension Bridge, built in 1866. As I approached the bridge, there was a sign indicating the bridge would close next week for a year of repairs. As soon as stepped onto it, I couldn't shake the thought that I hoped it wasn't closing for fear of crumbling into the river below. It made me pick up the pace just a touch.

I crossed over into Kentucky, which was totally anti-climatic. I was now in Covington, KY. I made my way to the next bridge downriver (or upriver?), and crossed over the Taylor Southgate Bridge back into Cincinnati. This one was built in 1995, thankfully.

With 3 more miles to go, I ran up and down along a park laid out by the riverfront. It probably would have been picturesque if I could see it all, but all I saw was the glow from street lamps along the path I ran. Turning back up and away from the river, I ran a few more blocks around downtown to get in my 6 miles.

Tomorrow is another 5 EZ miles. I hope I can handle the excitement.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Unofficially Under Consideration

This is how my week has gone:

Monday: Still reminiscing about sub-4. What the, where was I? Oh yeah, still reminiscing about sub-4 ...

Tuesday: Staring at my whiteboard at work; map out rough timline to next marathon, but quads and ITB tell me to get real

Wednesday: Got a massage; expected miraculous instant relief, but seemed to only accomplish lightening my wallet

Thursday: Laced up and ground out 4 miles after work. Cold. Dark. Windy. Hurt so bad, no, good, hurt so good. Right.

Friday: Went to Run On and bought a Brooks cold weather running pullover and a thicker pair of gloves.

Saturday: Doing my marathon plan in reverse. 3 mile pace run. Piece 'o cake.

Sunday: 8 mile LSD run. Missed out on The Half today, which I've run the past 2 years, but this felt better.

So I'm unofficially thinking about White Rock on Dec 10. I want to try for another sub-4, and this gives me a chance with only 6 more weeks training instead of starting over with 18 weeks again. A friend at work said to do the last 3 weeks of my marathon plan in reverse, and then do it forward again. Seems simple enough.

What I hope to do differently this time is 2 things:

(1) Stay with the pace team. No more banking minutes in the first half; famous last words :)

(2) Stick with straight Gu+water all the way or straight Powerade all the way.

I'd heard that Gu+Powerade leads to stomach cramps, so I've been taking water with the Gu and Powerade at all the other water stations. However, this work guy told me that once in the stomach, no matter when in got in, the Gu and Powerade "neutralized" each other and so nothing got to the muscles. Is this true?

Then the other guy at Run On who coaches marathoners for the store told me it didn't make any difference! His trick for avoiding cramps is to start salting up his food 3 days before a race. What do you think?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Elite Company

RBF Dinner: (l-r) David, me, David, Jeanne, Bex, Susie, Hallie, Peter

David and Susie

David and Jeanne

Hallie and Peter

Bex and Hallie

The &*#$^ paparazzi was everywhere!

RBF Lunch at Jaleo's: the gang with Michelle and her Dad (look at that ex-Marine stance!)

Post-race with my cousin Candace from D.C!