Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 8: Yes!

This morning I clocked in a solid 10 miler. I didn't run particularly fast but I felt okay and managed even splits - amazing, given the massive steak dinner and copious amounts of pinot noir I enjoyed last night.

It's been a long time since I've knocked off a double digit run. Feels good.


"Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise."
-Alice Walker

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week 7: And then some...

Inspired by the Ubster, who ran the Detroit Marathon Sunday morning,  I decided to go long today and click off 8 miles, which brought my weekly total up to 24.

While fairly pedestrian when compared to my weekly mileage of years past, it is a notable achievement under my current circumstances.

Now the question becomes, can I maintain?

"Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than before."

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Week 6: Just barely

I made it...

Not by much and with little time to spare, but, I reversed the trend and hit 20 miles for the week.

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
-Douglas Adams

Monday, October 03, 2011

Week 4 & 5: Refocus

Consistency is difficult to achieve. Apparently, it's also difficult to maintain... I suppose that's the point.

Business trips and birthday parties notwithstanding, my training has fallen short of goal these past couple of weeks.

There's nothing to be done but to lace up and head out.

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Week 3

That's three weeks in a row at 20+ for those of you keeping score. Starting to feel like a runner again...

"First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week 2 - Gotcha!

Thanks to a Sunday morning 10 miler, the cockamamie plan I cobbled together somehow came to fruition. I've now managed to achieve my goal of running at least 20 miles per week for two weeks in a row...

I. Feel. Happy.

"An athlete who tells you the training is always easy and always fun simply hasn't been there. Goals can be elusive which makes the difficult journey all the more rewarding."
-Alberto Salazar

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Winter Marathon?

I'm beginning to consider running another marathon this winter; most likely the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth. But before signing up, I'm trying to regain some consistency and build my base back up to a minimum of 20 miles per week.

If I can maintain this foundation for September and October, I'll be positioned well to transition into a formal marathon training plan in November.

Things got off to a good start the first week of September but have already fallen apart here in week two - a big old goose egg so far.
Weekly running totals
I suppose I have a couple of days to run remaining in this week, but getting in 20? Dubious given my schedule.

If the stars align just so, I might be able to skip lunch and squeeze in a run today. Working out on Friday would require a very, very early start (but doable). Saturday is rather iffy but I'm pretty sure I'll be able to run Sunday. So maybe 5 miles per day for the next four days... or 5 today and tomorrow then 10 on Sunday.

We shall see...

"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."
-Henry Ford

Monday, September 05, 2011

Help Wanted

I came across this sign recently. Sharing it today, on Labor Day, seems highly appropriate.

Good luck out there...

"There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking."
-Thomas A. Edison

Friday, September 02, 2011

Upward Spiral

Generally speaking, I tend to steer this blog away from political commentary. Personally, I sit somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum favoring pragmatism over propaganda and solutions to actual problems over news media sensationalism.

Today I received the below email from Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks Coffee, and am compelled to share it.

Our political leaders have become entrenched in partisanship and are focused, almost exclusively, on party loyalty and reelection. I suppose it should come as no surprise that it is the private sector, not the government, who is standing up and affecting change on behalf of the United States. After all, industry's motives are clear... when Americans are employed we buy goods and services, and private industry reaps the profit. These profits can then be further re-investment in innovation and new jobs.

To the Founders, Chairmen, CEOs, and Directors of the organizations supporting Mr. Schultz and Upward Spiral, I commend you and genuinely hope that you are true to your pledges: Withhold your political contributions, decline those $10,000 a plate political fundraisers, and do not contribute to PACs. Instead, re-invest in your organizations, in your people, and in America's future.

August 15, 2011

Dear Fellow Concerned Americans:

Our country is better than this.

Over the last few weeks and months, our national elected officials from both parties have failed to lead. They have chosen to put partisan and ideological purity over the well-being of the people. They have undermined the full faith and credit of the United States. They have stirred up fears about our economic prospects without doing anything to truly address those fears. They have spent a resource even more precious than the dollar: our collective confidence in each other, in the future, and in our ability to solve problems together.

As leaders in business, we have watched all this unfold, first with frustration and then with dismay. Like so many of our employees and customers, we are gravely concerned about the current situation. Today, with both humility and urgency, we propose to do something about it.

First, we aim to push our elected leaders to face the nation's long-term fiscal challenges with civility, honesty, and a willingness to sacrifice their own re-election. This means not kicking the can anymore. It means reaching a deal on debt, revenue, and spending long before the deadline arrives this fall. It means considering all options, from entitlement programs to taxes.

This is what so many common-sense Americans want. That is why we today pledge to withhold any further campaign contributions to the President and all members of Congress until a fair, bipartisan deal is reached that sets our nation on stronger long-term fiscal footing. And we invite leaders of businesses – indeed, all concerned Americans – to join us in this pledge.

We also believe in leading by positive example. And we believe that while the long-term fiscal challenge is serious, even more painful to millions of Americans today is the immediate crisis of jobs. Tens of millions are unemployed and underemployed. Right now our economy is frozen in a cycle of fear and uncertainty. Companies are afraid to hire. Consumers are afraid to spend. Banks are afraid to lend. Record levels of cash are piling up in corporate treasuries, idling. That cash is not being used to expand operations, train new workers, underwrite new ventures, or spark innovation.

The only way to break this cycle of fear is to break it. The only way to get the country’s economic circulatory system flowing again is to start pumping lifeblood through it. That is why we today issue a second pledge. Our companies are going to hire. We are going to accelerate growth, employment, and investment in jobs.

We do this because we want to set in motion an upward spiral of confidence. We are not waiting for government to create an incentive program or a stimulus. We are not waiting for economic indicators to tell us it’s safe to act. We are hiring more people now. We invite leaders of businesses across the country to join us in this pledge as well – and to bring their stakeholders into the effort. Confidence is contagious. The best thing we can do now is to spread it.

This is a time for citizenship, not partisanship. It is a time for action. We don't pretend that our two pledges are quick fixes. We just believe that in this moment of great uncertainty, the government needs discipline, the people need jobs – and leaders need to lead.

Our country is better than this. Let’s get things moving now.

Howard Schultz

“Industry pays debts, while despair increaseth them”
-Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, September 01, 2011

In Decline

My training for the month of August has been deplorable and is trending in the wrong direction. Lack of sleep. Lack of motivation. Domestic and international travel. Blah blah blah...

Must buck up, lace up, and hit the road tomorrow morning. No excuses!

August 2011 Weekly Milage
"He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else." 
-Benjamin Franklin

Monday, August 29, 2011

Running Sick

My brother, The Ubster, is training for his first marathon and recently asked me about running when sick.

His timing is interesting because I, too, am struck with some form of sinusitis and am struggling with the question: am I well enough to go for a run?

The generally accepted rule of thumb is if you’re sick from the neck up (head cold, sore throat) then you can run. But if you’re sick from the neck down (flu, respiratory virus, other unmentionable nasties...) then you should not run.

All of that said, I'm now of the opinion if you have to ask yourself that question you should take the day off from working out.

After a weeklong domestic road trip followed by a weeklong stint in South America followed by a weeklong malaise, I thought myself well enough to get in a 15k. I had to cut the run short and have relapsed into my sniffling and hacking ailment.

If, like in The Ubster's case, you're scheduled for an important long run in a calculated training plan then rejigger the training plan by shifting or dropping a mid-week recovery or tempo run. Otherwise a couple of days off will not ruin your fitness and may actually do you some good (muscles get broken down during workouts and are only rebuilt on rest days).

So if you're asking yourself "Am I too sick to run?" then it may be time to trade in the Gu for some chicken soup!

"The part can never be well unless the whole is well."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Top 10 Reasons To Keep Blogging

Top 10 Reasons To Keep Blogging

Quite obviously, I've not bothered to post anything new in some time and have been considering killing this blog or at least taking it private. Instead, I came up with a few reasons to keep writing.
  1. I like to talk about running and this is my platform
  2. I like to talk about triathlon and this is my platform
  3. I like to talk about beer and this is my platform
  4. Blogging is better than Facebook siphoning away countless hours
  5. Twitter's 140 character limit is, well, limiting
  6. Blogging allows me, an unabashed extrovert, a moment to reflect
  7. Feeling like a publishing magnate
  8. Googling my name and owning all the search results
  9. Keeps me honest about goals... because if it's on the internet then it's got to be true
  10. You, my ardent reader
“Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.”
-Douglas MacArthur

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Steady Hand

Things are a little different down here in Texas...

"Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education."
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Austin Marathon Race Report

Things started off so well... Billy and I got downtown and found parking near the start. The weather was terrific. The Porta-John lines were short. What more could you ask for? Except, perhaps, a good nights sleep and another 12 weeks of training.

The gun when off and I reminded Bill to take it easy and save his energy for the last 10k (it was his first marathon). Sage advice, which we promptly ignored. Less than 3 miles into the race I looked down at my watch and realized I was running a sub-7 minute pace.

Bill was looking good, feeling good, and had put in the training. Knowing his pace was unsustainable I pulled back and let him slip away. It was to be his day!

As the miles clicked by my pace began to slow until fatigue and frustration got the better of me at mile 16. The remaining 10 miles went by something like this:
  • Shuffle
  • Walk
  • Expletive
  • Repeat
At mile 19 I saw the family, which is always good for a boost. The quick kiss, high fives, and "Go Daddy Go!" posters did manage to lift my spirits but the moment was short lived. I was looking at another 10 kilometers of misery.

I'll pause at this point in the story to heap well deserved praise on the race organizers, volunteers, and the good people of Austin. The Livestrong Austin Marathon is a terrific race! There's live music and ample support along the course. Race logistics were flawless and the schwag was top notch. But perhaps best of all were the enthusiastic and humorous spectators. Among my favorites where:
  • The guy with sign that read, "You're fast! That's what she said!"
  • The woman with the sign that read "Supportive and single. Call me."
  • The lawn party with a giant sign that read "Cocktails for Quitters."
With the bulk of the hills behind me the race meandered it's way back to downtown Austin and toward the finish line. Passing mile 25 I mustered up my remaining willpower and forced myself to run the last 1.2 miles without walking.

I unceremoniously crossed the finish line in 4:35:06; more than an hour slower than my personal best and my worst marathon showing ever. I knew going into the race that I was woefully unprepared but still cannot help to be a bit disappointed.

However, there's something to be said of simply finishing one marathon and now I've completed seven.

Congratulations also to my friend, Bill, who broke 4 hours on his first marathon! Well done, dude!

"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Uh oh...

I ran a fair half marathon.

Then I lost my mojo.

Then I hurt my calf.

Then I got sick!

Now I'm getting better.

But there's just three weeks to train before going 26.2 miles.

Uh oh...

"Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance"
British Army

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mojo Missing

A friend recently asked how my training was going for the Austin Marathon"Lousy" was perhaps the most fitting answer.

Sure, the Dallas Half went swimmingly but my training plan and resolve completely fell apart after the race. I ran only twice in the two weeks that followed the half marathon. I just couldn’t conjure up the resolve to strap on the Asics. Blame for my marathon training doldrums can be attributed to a hectic work schedule and holiday obligations but the real culprit is a lack of motivation. Put simply, my running mojo was a no show.

Santa delivered a new GPS-enabled running watch (product review to follow) and some much needed inspiration. I managed a few good runs as the final days of 2010 slipped into history.

My training was just getting back on track when I pulled my calf muscle in early January. In essence I've been out of commission for well over a month!

My calf seems to be on the mend but I’m at a loss for what to do about Austin. As I see it my options are to:
  1. Drop out
  2. Switch to the half marathon
  3. Suck it up and do the full marathon
Each option has its pros and cons… Dropping out would be easy but who wants to be a quitter? Moving over to the half is probably the rational option but how many rational distance runners do you know? Going the full distance opens up the possibility of further injury but also brings the most satisfaction.

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Belated Dallas Half Marathon Report

It has been over a month since I ran the Dallas Half Marathon; and I’ve let all this time pass without updating my blog? For shame! I should probably be drawn and quartered by the blog militia.

I can hardly bring myself to think upon the suspense that you, my dear loyal reader (yes, singular… you and I both know who you are), must have endured. Assuming you still visit this domain, I’ll consider myself lucky to count you as my reader and dispense with the navel-gazing.

Race morning began far to early with a drive downtown to Fair Park. It was rather brisk so I waited to the last minute to drop my belongings at baggage check and head into the corral. This turned out to be a blessing, but I’ll save that for later in the tale.

I was seeded well toward the front of the chute and was delighted by the race start fanfare – complete with local celebrities, music, confetti, and pyrotechnics!

The race itself went about as well as it could have. My pace was challenging to maintain but my splits were consistent most of the way through to the end.

Mile One 7:34
Mile Two 7:22
Mile Three 7:25
Mile Four 7:31
Mile Five 7:24
Mile Six 6:33 (short mile?)
Mile Seven 8:45 (long mile?)
Mile Eight 7:53
Mile Nine 7:55
Mile Ten 7:31
Mile Eleven 7:38
Mile Twelve 7:38
Mile Thirteen 7:10
Last Tenth 1:57

Officially, I finished in 1:40:20, a pace of 7:39 per mile which I’m absolutely pleased with given that my training has been less than desired.

After crossing the finish line, runners are directed into a large indoor multipurpose space where organizers put on a nice post-race spread. Water, Gatorade, bagels, fruit, yogurt… beer. Really everything you could want after running 13.1 miles.

The race itself is flat, fast, and winds through some terrific neighborhoods. Bands were stationed periodically along the course and organizers and the city did a great job ensuring roads were clear and free of traffic.

The only flaw was that the organizers did a poor job with baggage check. The volunteers were just beginning to unload bags when I approached. I ran a decent pace but not that fast… Fortunately, since my bag was one of the very last to go into the baggage trucks, it was one of the very first to come out. Others, I’m sure, had considerable waits for volunteers to unload and organize 15,000 to 20,000 bags.

That said, the MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon and Half Marathon was a very positive experience, and a race I’m sure to run again!

“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.”
Charles Dudley Warner