Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dallas Half

Despite its many benefits, running for the sake of running can be difficult. Without a goal there's no training plan to stick to... no obvious downside to skipping a workout... no finish line, rife with screaming fans, to imagine crossing in record time...

My days of running sans objective are past as I'm now signed up for the Dallas Half Marathon!

I've been thinking about going at it hard. After all, it's been four years since I put up that 1:34:14.

Beyond the half marathon, I'm fully committed to running a full marathon this winter. I just need to chose between Cowtown and the Livestrong Austin Marathon.

"I plan to be running as long as I can and have no plans to stop."
-Frank Shorter

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Communist Yardsale?

Another exquisite example of mastery over the English language.

“Communism is like one big phone company.”
-Lenny Bruce

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Here's a great piece of advice: Don't fall off your bike at 20 miles per hour.

It hurts.

A lot.

"I just want to show off my scar proudly and not be afraid of it."
-Carly Simon

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wise Tri Race Report

3:45 AM is a ridiculous hour to wake up. There's really no getting around that.

Yet, that's just what I did on Sunday morning. Roughly 12 hours after crashing my bike I slogged out the door for an Olympic distance triathlon.

Well, truth be told I did pay a visit to Mr. Coffee before I got to the door.

I spent the next hour or so with Bill and Pomai, our new friends and training partners, driving to Lake Bridgeport for the second annual Wise Tri Triathlon. Despite the ungodly hour there was an abundance of smack-talk (Oh yeah? It is so on, Pomai! What are you going to do when I bring the heat, Bill? What are you gonna do???).

Kidding aside, a few serious words about the race... The Wise Tri is a non-profit race and all proceeds go to research Galactosemia, a rare but potentially fatal genetic disorder that affects one's ability to metabolize the sugar galactose (found in dairy) properly. In addition to its philanthropic roots, the Wise Tri is a fantastic small race. It's really well organized and incredibly well staffed. The course is challenging (particularly the trail run!) well supported and clearly marked. And the volunteers... Wow! Seriously some rock star volunteers!

Once we arrived at the race it was straight into packet pickup, body marking, and the obligatory bio-break. All was going swimmingly until I realized I'd forgotten something. Two somethings. DOH! I left my contact lenses at home! Oh, and did I mention that I crashed my bike the day before?

So with multiple open wounds and near blindness as companions, I set off on a 32 mile journey (1.5k swim, 40k bike, and 10k run) across North Central Texas.

The Swim

Since there were only a few dozen people doing the Olympic distance (there's also a sprint) the race organizers made it a single wave, mass start. So Bill, Pomai and I toed the start together. Despite the churning chaos common to every open water swim start, I managed to stay calm and focus on my stroke. Even though my vision was 'impaired,' I managed to spot the buoys well enough and stay 'mostly' on course. I finished the swim in 34 minutes flat - ahead of Bill but way behind Pomai, who apparently has the ability to channel Michael Phelps on command.

I transitioned to the bike in about 2 minutes... so some room for improvement there.

The Bike

Nice course! Some rolling hills and mostly void of traffic (except for a gaggle of Harley-Davidson biker dudes who seemed a little perplexed by all the spandex and bicycles). Several miles in I hammered away down a steep decent, hitting about 40 miles per hour when I saw Pomai headed the other direction. She'd already hit the turn around and was a couple miles ahead! So with Pomai burning it up out front and Bill closing in fast, I stomped on it (my ego was on the line, after all!). I managed to catch her a couple of miles down the road... but I had to put it all out there.

At the next turn around I saw Bill barreling down the road and gaining fast! I dropped into a bigger gear, got up out of the saddle, and poured on the gas!

I came in from the bike course in 1:19:19 with an average speed of 18.8 MPH. Not too shabby and a little better than I expected.

T2 went a little quicker and I was on the run in under a minute-thirty.

The Run

Whoa... here's where things get interesting ugly. With the mercury flirting with 85 degrees and the humidity at 90%, more than just the competition was heating up. Frankly, the conditions were better suited to frozen cocktails than running, but here I was just a simple 10k away from the finish line.

One little problem... this was not your ordinary 10k. This was a challenging trail run with steep climbs and descents, uneven terrain, a (dry) creek crossing, and fit friends on a mission to put me in my place. In a word, brutal. 

I could practically feel Bill and Pomai breathing down my neck so there was no letting up. I caught and passed a few dudes. A couple of dudes caught and passed me. Then a couple of chicks caught and passed me. I hit the turn around and made my way back, shuffling up and down the craggy hills.

The course is actually an out-and-back 5k so the first loop is a total tease. The finish line is just steps away but you've got to turn around and do it all over again. For better or worse, this allows you to see your competition... who were way too close for comfort! Twisted. Cruel. Awesome.

As I headed out for lap two. They were coming in from lap one. I didn't have much of a lead and even with blurry vision I could tell Bill was digging deep to close the gap.

I mustered up some gumption and pushed my weary body forward but there wasn't much gas in the tank. I hit the final turn around and as I made my way back, looking like death, there was Bill, looking strong and picking up ground. And Pomai, all smiles, was not far behind. Uh oh!

Finally, I trudged up the last hill and turned into the finishing chute. I didn't have anything left for a kick but I managed to hold my lead, barely. I finished the run in 1:03:59 a pace of 10:19 per mile. S-L-O-W!

After reviewing the results, it's clear my concerns that Bill was gaining on me were well founded. He was closing that gap by more than a minute per mile!

Pomai crossed the finish line moments later to secure the 3rd place female finisher and 1st in her age group!

For me, the swim and bike went a little better than expected. The run was tough, but I finished. Given the difficult course, my limited vision, and the crash I'm pretty pleased with the effort. Most importantly my ego is intact... for now!

Kidding aside, I've nothing but praise for the race organizers, course, race shirt and visor, finisher's medal, community support, volunteers, and friendly competitors! You guys are all first rate!
“Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.”
-Jesse Owens

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I must have slid ten feet before friction brought me to a grinding halt in the middle of the street. I know this because I was able to drop the f-bomb at least as many times (I figure the crash lasted 4 seconds and I averaged 2.5 f-bombs per second while rapidly decelerating from a speed of approximately 30 feet per second. Go ahead, try it yourself). Thankfully the concrete was there to break my fall and slow me down.

Yup, while taking a casual spin around the neighborhood I hit a little patch of water and in an instant was smearing DNA into the road.

And all of this the day before the Wise Triathlon! COME ON, FATE! GIVE ME A FREAKIN' BREAK!

I'm cut, scraped, scratched, bruised, and have some wicked road rash. I'm in pain. But I'm still going to race!

Grrrr.... Road Rage

Gnarly Road Rash

Falling down became second nature and it really didn't bother me.”
-Nancy Kerrigan

Sunday, September 05, 2010

A Matter Of Timing

I'm a week away from running an Olympic distance triathlon yet I'm already thinking about what's next... Well, I'm torn between the Dallas White Rock Marathon and the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth.

Both are medium-to-small races and are practically in my back yard. What it comes down to is timing.

Dallas takes place in early December. If I come off next week's race and go right into distance running, I'll be able to leverage my current fitness as a base to build up for marathon training mileage. However, going from a base of 15 miles per week to a peak of 50 miles in just three months is akin to begging the Gods of Marathon for injury.

But still... I'm keen to get in a marathon in 2010, ya' know. Because moving across the country, buying a first home, and having a baby aren't enough challenges for one calendar year.

Cowtown is in late February which gives me plenty of time to safely ramp up my weekly mileage. It's also not so far off that I'll lose momentum but it does mean training through the winter - which is a bit of an x factor here in Texas.

That said, I'll be burning an inordinate amount of calories during the holidays - so no worries when it comes to hydrating with egg nog.

Decisions. Decisions.

UPDATE: I've added a poll (to the right). What say you?

"Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly."
-Thomas Jefferson