Monday, March 31, 2008

Will's Hills 7 - Three Stage 25 Minute Hills, plus TDLR

.81 warm up3.11 of hills at 8:04 pace

The hills were particularly tiring for me this morning, although the course wasn't that difficult. It was structed as a three tier run, with an "easy" stretch (flat/downhill/uphill), a "moderate" stretch (flat), and a "hard" stretch (uphill). My legs were weary from yesterday's long run, and I skipped the post run workout in order to do it myself at home. 100 crunches, 100 bicycles, 2x1M bridge, 2x20 push-ups, 1x20 butteflies? with 8# weights on my back on the exercise ball. All of these exercises are about 25% less than what I could do during my last marathon training. My core has gotten weak.

I'm going to try a new feature in my blog for a while (until I get tired of doing it) called "This Day Last Year" (TDLY). It will hopefully give me a chance to laugh at my old self and compare how I'm doing now. 3/29/07 was the first time I ever used my Garmin watch, and TDLY was the second time. It just so happens that it was a 5k race.

5k Bellaire Trolley Run, 24:47, 8:01 pace, Max HR = 185, Avg HR = 168. This race was almost cancelled because the weather was so bad. Trees were down on the way to the race, and lightning was still around the area. My watch took forever to sync up because it was very overcast. I can remember going out pretty fast during the first quarter mile (Cory said I "shot out of a cannon"), and then settling in before a big push at the end. At some point both Julie and Cory passed me, although I didn't see either of them. It wasn't until the end of the race that I found out they beat me! At the post race party I pigged out on pizza and tried Accelerade for the first time ever.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Time to Get Serious

22.14 miles, 2:46:12, 7:30 pace, (8:01 including breaks), Max HR = 165, Avg HR = 145, 75% Zone 3 and less, 25% Zone 4, 87 cadence

I'm choosing April as "Time to Get Serious" month for the Ogden Marathon. It occurred to me that I probably only mentioned it in passing, but I'll be running the Ogden Marathon with my friend Cory on May 17, 2008. He's gunning for a Boston Qualifying (BQ) time, and I'm going to do my best to help him achieve it.

I'm getting serious by being consistent with my running, ramping up my mileage, watching my food consumption, and doing my core exercises and leg exercises.

The marathon will be challenging because it's run at elevation, and has 1000+ feet of decline over the course including downhills (of course) and a few uphills as well. I'm hoping to be in shape to finish with a STRONG 3:20 so I'll be in good shape the whole way. 3:20 equals a 7:38 pace.

The legs were a bit tired today from my race yesterday, and the leg exercises I did to work my quads, but overall I produced a good effort, especially given the fact that I ran much of this by myself, and it was hot (75 degrees at 6AM) and muggy.

Mile 1-6 by myself. I wanted to try to meet someone at 6AM that I met yesterday for some early miles, and them meet with the Tornados at 7AM. I saw Jack, a Tornado and head of PIM at about mile 5 and realized he was going a different way and wouldn't be running with the Tornados, so I did a U turn and had to kick butt to catch up with him (a sub 7 mile).
7:50, 7:42, 7:51, 7:40, 7:36, 6:51

Mile 7-9 with Bayou City Road Runners. It turns out the Tornados went to a bachelor party last night for Jeff, a fellow runner from Tuesday's Rice Track session, and Jack was tagging along with BCRR because he had no faith the Tornados would be in any shape to run! Good thing I tracked down Jack. At mile 9 we stopped for a few minutes and had some water.
8:13, 7:32, 7:27

Mile 10-12 with BCRR. Jack and Mark? took off after the water break and it was everything I could do to catch up with them. After catching up I realized I wouldn't be able to keep up, and after running a 6:32 to catch up and a 7:04 once I caught up, I had to let them go and ran my next mile at 7:27 to catch my breath. By this time I'm starting to feel some serious fatigue and I realized I'm only half way through. I'm relieved to see Jack and Mark stop about 50 yards ahead of me at the next water station, but I continued to run another .4 miles around a loop while the rest of the crew caught up, just so my water break wouldn't be too long.
6:32, 7:04, 7:27

Mile 13-14 with Jack and Mark. The rest of BRCC is going down the Bayou toward downtown, but I follow Jack and Mark back to Memorial Park. My car is there, and I don't want to run alone along the Bayou without my phone just in case I run out of gas. I'm pretty tired by this point, and if I'm at Memorial I can walk to my car if I need to call it an early day.
7:28, 7:14

Mile 15-22 alone around Memorial Park. At Memorial I'm starting to get pretty tired. I calculate that I'll have to do two complete loops plus the distance back to my car and I'll be done. That's not overwhelming, so I concentrate on not slowing down too much. I'm wondering if the fatigue is because I'm not used to 22 miles (probably) or because I ran hard yesterday and did leg exercises (probably this too.) I saw several PIM people including Lisa and Dr. Bob who cheered me on. It was helpful, and I appreciated their support.
7:31, 7:38, 7:46, 7:42, 7:48, 7:48, 7:37, 7:20

After I finish up my run I drive directly back home without even cooling off because I want to see Julie. I even pass up my normal Jamba Juice stop so as not to waste any time. As I'm getting serious with this running, I want to make sure that I'm not spending too many hours away from her. I'm going to try to tally as many miles in the morning as possible to leave my evenings free.

One note on today's run. I stopped my watch at the water breaks, so my pace of 7:30 did not factor in 10.5 minutes of stoppage. The two with BCRR were really long. In general I don't like to do that because of three reasons: 1) It brings the heart rate down, 2) It's not simulating race-day conditions, and 3) My legs tend to get stiff making starting challenging. If I had it my way, I'd do what I did for the other stops, and make each break less than 15 seconds. But this is not practical for a large group, and even if there were 20 water fountains allowing a stop like this, it's not really what running in a group is all about. For most groups it's about the social aspect of running, and the breaks give everyone a chance to catch up and catch their breath. I don't want to mislead you, though, because the BCRRs have many people who can and do kick my butt at every distance. Their breaks obviously don't take away from the training.

One 22 miler down. Here is a recap of what I did leading up to the White Rock Marathon as far as long runs go, superimposed onto the calendar for Ogden:
3/29 - 22
4/5 - 10 (race)
4/12 - 24
4/19 - 15 (race)
4/26 - 22
5/3 - 14
5/10 - 10
5/17 - 26.2 Ogden Marathon

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Law Week 8K Race - Plus This Day Last Year (TDLY)

8k (4.97 miles), 33:43, 6:41 pace, Max HR = 174, Avg HR = 162, Cadence = 89

I had a good time at this race. Because I've had a hard week of running, and because I'm scheduled for 22 miles tomorrow, I treated this run as a tempo run instead of a race. It takes the pressure off of running a personal record, and because of that I can enjoy myself a bit more.

By now I'm becoming familiar with the course . . . down Allen Parkway to Shepherd and back toward downtown. But Shon, my buddy from the Dynegy Running Club, pointed out something I've never seen before: the blue line. The blue line is painted along the marathon course and represents the route by which the official measurement is taken. I'd always heard about it, but I thought it was symbolic and not an actual line.

Mile 1 - 6:24
Julie Cheered me on here, and Shon and I run alongside two guys that are in over their heads with the pace they're keeping. Shon and I know it, but I don't think they knew it.
Mile 2 - 6:42
I grab some water during this stretch. It's hot and humid, or else I wouldn't stop for water in such a short race. I see the leaders on their way back and cheer for they guys I know.
Mile 3 - 6:46
The turnaround point is a police officer on a bicycle. Interesting that they didn't use an orange cone or something else.
Mile 4 - 7:11
"The mountains of Allen". Allen Parkway has some underpasses that act as a proxy for "eleveation" in Houston. They aren't particularly tough, but they come at mile 22-24 of the marathon route, so they are often dreaded. At this distance they don't cause me much concern.
Mile 4.97 - 6:41
Shon and I make a push to the end and cross the finish line in style, with a sub-7 minute mile and a good kick at the end.


I thought it would be a cool idea to list my run from "This Day Last Year" - TDLY. I'll do this for a while at least to see how much trouble it is. I'm starting today because this is my first run ever recorded by my Garmin.
2.02 miles all out run, 16:09, 7:59 Pace, Max HR = 180, Avg HR = 166

Thursday, March 27, 2008

An Hour with Julie

8.53 miles, 1:03:20, 7:25 pace, Max HR = 161, Avg HR = 149

I ran from home to the bayou and back home today with Julie riding alongside on the bicycle. It was fun to talk about our day while enjoying the great weather and the rest of the afternoon. We came home and made a crawfish and crab curry dish over omega-3 fortified pasta . . . an excellent evening.

I told her it would be about an hour, without really knowing exactly how far it would be, and it turned out to be almost exactly an hour! I took two gel packs with me since I'm trying to get into the habit of consuming those on the longer runs so I am used to in during marathons.

Good news! Today my CCC10K official time was finally posted correctly . . . 39:40 (chip)

I've been negligent and failing to blog all of my runs, but I caught up. If you're interested in backtracking, new entries as of today can be found at:
March 9 - Aborted Long Run Attempt
March 10 - Will's Hills - 4 - Hills at Spotts Park - AM
March 10 - Run Along Buffalo Bayou from my Casa - PM
March 11 - Rice Track - 2 - 5x1000 with 3MR
March 12 - Mid Week Wrap-Up
March 22 - My Crescent City Classic Race Report
March 23 - Easter Run with Kyle
March 23 - More thoughts on the CCC10K
March 24 - Slow Run Through the Heights
March 25 - Rice Track - 3 - 15x300
March 26 - Will's Hills - 6 - Three Person Relay on 400 track
March 26 - PIM - Batons - Week 4

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

PIM - Batons - Week 4

My PIM session Today

I mostly walked today with an injured runner from the GUs, Vicki. She hurt her foot and was wearing a soft cast. Her doctor told her to keep off of it, but Dr. Bob (GU Coach and retired orthapedic doctor) told her she could run or walk on it as long as it didn't bother her. There is a large contingent of medical personnel who believe that, under certain circumstances, recovery can be sped up by applying slight stress to the injury as opposed to total rest.

I listened to a great comment the other day on a podcast from a coach of olympic caliber athletes. He said the number one factor that determined a champion was how the person dealt with injury. If they were used to running two hours per day, did they use their injury time to catch up on their thesis? Or did they hit the bike and pool for four hours instead, and the chiropractor and masseuse for another couple?

Will's Hills - 6 - Three Person Relay on 400 track

Warm up
Workout/Warm Down

Today's workout was a nice change for normal speed work. I paired up with Lily and Trisha, two strong runners, to form a three person relay team. We ran the 400M "track" at the "dog bowl", named because people like to bring their dogs there. I've never knowingly stepped in any dog waste product, which is either blind luck or ignorance.

It sounds complicated, but the relay wasn't really that difficult. The progression was this: I ran 300 and rested while my first relay partner ran 100, and passed it off to my second relay partner who ran 300. Then it was my turn to run 100 and pass it off to my partner who was running 300. SO, as a team we ran 300-100-300-100, etc. Individually, I alternated running 300/100, with a rest period equal to the time it took my teammates to run 400 together.

This went on for 14 minutes with a break of about 5 minutes, followed by another 14 minutes.

I'll have to remember this workout in case I'm ever with a group containing a multiple of three. It was pretty good, although exhausting as it came on the heels of last night's 15x300.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rice Track - 3 - 15x300

Warm Up
Three sets of 5x300 with 100 walk rest, and 4 minutes rest between each group of 5
Warm Down

This wasn't as tough as I thought it would be. Doing one more set of 5x300 would have possibly killed me, but three wasn't too bad. This was the first time I ran at the Rice Track and I didn't do a hill workout the day before, so my legs were a bit fresher than normal. If I had to point out one bad thing about the workout today, and this is nitpicking, I'd say that I wish I wouldn't have taken increasingly long walk breaks and breaks between sets. The purpose of interval speed work is to keep your heart rate up, and taking longer breaks lessens the benefit of the workout.

There is no doubt that these workouts will make me a lot faster. The people are serious about their training, which is an infectious attidude. But the potential problem is that it's difficult for me to pull myself away from work in order to get there in time. Tuesdays are often big days at the office, so it's not always a good idea for me to leave before 6:00.

1 59.57, 1:11 rest
2 58.55, 1:12 rest
3 58.25, 1:12 rest
4 56.80, 1:14 rest
5 56.33, 4:09 rest
6 56.98, 1:27 rest
7 55.67, 1:31 rest
8 55.21, 1:28 rest
9 55.07, 1:32 rest
10 54.30, 4:29 rest
11 56.82, 1:32 rest
12 56.15, 1:34 rest
13 56.15, 1:34 rest
14 57.18, 1:35 rest
15 52.70, 1:39 rest

Monday, March 24, 2008

Slow Run Through the Heights

7.02 miles, 1:00:18, 8:35 pace, 50% zone 2 and 50% zone 3

I was still hyped about my success at th CCC10K, so I didn't want to let a day pass without running. Since I couldn't claw myself out of bed at 5AM for Will's Hills, I decided to run the neighborhood after work. I took a page out of Kyle's book and decided in advance to run for an hour regardless of distance. This turned out to be quite slower than my normal pace, but I didn't mind. It was a nice recovery. I usually try to get under 8:00 miles, but running an hour at any speed was a solid accomplishment after two big running days.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

More Thoughts on the CCC10K

1) My sisters-in-law ran this race. Jeanne is a former collegiate cross country runner for Loyola, New Orleans. Alicia is also athletic and participated in several sports, although she never enjoyed running. (Just like me last year.) I ran with Alicia a few months back at the Baton Rouge Turkey Trot and she had a tough time finishing strong. I was proud of her goal to finish the CCC10K in under 60 minutes without walking because I knew it was realistic, but a stretch. She delivered on her promise, looking great as she crossed the finish line in her goal time.

2) The post-race party is the best post-race party in the country, and this year did not disappoint. Cowboy Mouth headlined the concert, and Abita Amber flowed from the taps. 10,000+ people crowded into Tad Goremly Stadium and had a good time. I was one of those enjoying the beautiful weather.

3) I was very excited to post a top 150 finish, so I couldn't wait to see my official results at the website and in the New Orleans Times Picayune newspaper. Saturday night I checked the results (New Orleans race results are typically posted in a timely manner) and my name wasn't listed anywhere in the top 500! Due to a chip malfunction, my time wasn't registered. So not only was I afraid that I'd be robbed of the poster, I wouldn't get to be recognized in the newspaper or even know my official time. I forgot to stop my watch, so I only had a guess about what it was. I sent an email to the CCC10K:

I finished the CCC10K 2008 in under 40 minutes (approximately 39:45 gun time, plus or minus about two seconds), but my name was not listed as a top 500 finisher. I had a chip which was picked up at the expo. It was assigned to me at the Expo, since they had to look up my qualifying race time on the spot. My bib number was 1992. The friend who picked up my packet said that I was originally assigned another non-qualifying bib because you didn't receive my qualifying race time from the BR Mardi Gras Mambo 10K. The bib was then switched to a blue bib (1992).

I'm hoping you will take the effort to research the time file and find my time. I will spare you the full details of my story right now, but suffice to say that I trained extremely hard since last year in order to win a poster. Last year I could barely finish the course as I just started running, but I trained for a whole year with the specific goal of winning a poster. I even ran the Baton Rouge Mardi Gras Mambo injured just to qualify for a chip and a bib that would place me at the front. I was quite hurt when I didn't see my name on your web site, and my fears were confirmed that you didn't get my time when I saw the Times Picayune the next morning.

PLEASE research the data from the chip timer to see if you can find my name and official time. I know you probably handle several thousand various requests, but I can not stress enough how important this is to me.

Also, please email me to confirm you received this email so I can at least know a live person read it.

Jonathan Bennett

Their response (I was CC:'d on an email to the lead CCC10K person):

Good Afternoon, Chuck,

As we discussed, you are aware that there were some issues with the scoring of the race.

This morning (Monday), a number of people have indicated that they rented a chip at the Expo.
On race day, they wore it when they participated and it was given back after the race.
Seeing the list of Top 500 finishers, they realized that they should have been listed.
I've tried to let them know that you are trying to determine why they were not scored.
Please let me know when you have something we can relay to them.

My email to Chuck:
If it helps out at all, here is a link to my GPS results from my Garmin Forerunner 305. I did not stop the watch exactly when I finished, but I started it once I crossed the mat. I'd say my time was about 39:44 plus or minus about two seconds.
Please keep me posted and let me know if there is anything I can do to help out. Winning a poster was a huge goal for me this year -- I could barely finish last year because I just started running. I thought about that poster on just about every training run over the past year, and I'd be quite disappointed if I didn't get one due to a timing error. I'm already upset enough that my name did not get published in the paper to show off to my friends. But not getting formal recognition of my time would be crushing, given the amount of work I had to put in to break 40 minutes. Last year's 10k was my longest run up to that point without walking.
Thanks again for the help,

Email to me from the timing guy:
I have located your time. It should be updated on the website by this afternoon. Thanks!
John Beadles
Atomic Racing Systems, LLC
(318) 525-6629

I just found out the "official" results, and they incorrectly posted my time as 40:04 gun time and 40:10 chip time. I emailed the chip timing guy to explain that my time was associated with spot number 127 which is blank, instead of spot number 141. That would put my official time at 39:45 gun, 39:40 chip.

Even later update -- what I think is my official time was finally posted . . . 39:45 gun time, 39:40 chip time.

FYI -- I found out my results on on 3/27/08, so I'm cheating a bit by using 3/23/06 as the publishing date of this blog entry. I'm just keeping it close to the race entry for continuity purposes.

Easter Run with Kyle

Warm Up, .97M, 7:05, 7:16 pace
9.41 miles, 1:10:11, 7:27 pace, Max HR = 164, Avg HR = 154

Happy Easter!

I stayed in Metairie last night with Dave so I could run with Kyle this morning. He ran the CCC10K yesterday as a tempo run at 36:08 for a 5:50 per mile pace. Last year he ran 35:15 for a 5:41 pace. Obviously I was in over my head to do a long run with Kyle, but he assured me he would appreciate the fact that I would act as a brake on his pace and keep him to a leisurely 7:30 pace over 1.25 hours

I knew I could do 7:30 for that long on a good day, but what I didn't know is if I could do it after my Saturday morning effort, and my Saturday afternoon consuming at least three quarts of beer. After the beer I hydrated like a mad man, took Advil, and then Dave and I hit my favorite poboy shop for a shrimp and roast beef poboy. Danny and Clyde's is good for the body.

As I mentioned in a prior post, Kyle runs cross country and track for LSU. He's an athlete in the truest word, and it was a great honor just to run alongside of him.

The run wasn't too difficult for me. For the most part I was able to keep up the conversation with Kyle, although he was able to do (and thus did) most of the talking. We ran along the grass on the levee for 80% of this run, and my body really appreciated that. I ran yesterday and today in very old shoes (500 or 600 miles). So I could tell a huge difference when hitting the blacktop after running six almost continuous miles on grass.

It came as a suprise to me that Kyle cared about running on grass. I know it's better for him, but I didn't know if a young guy like that would care. I found out that Kyle is a lot more mature than I would ever have suspected regarding his running. I knew this about his non-athletic endeavors, but I suspected a brash approach to his running given his talent and age. Instead the tables were turned, and he mentored me on several subjects that I've heard about but brashly ignore.

1) Running for time and not distance. Kyle strictly adheres to this, and runs according to feel so he will reap the maximum benefit of each workout. So his speed work is really fast, and his recovery is truly slow. I usually set out on a quest for a certain distance no matter if I slow because it's not my day.

2) Running into the wind. We hit a very strong headwind, dropping our pace significantly (even for Kyle who isn't as wide as me!). I followed my normal course and picked up my effort in order to maintain pace. Kyle explained the virtue of a constant effort on a long run rather than a constant pace.

Kyle redshirted last year and produced great results in the meets he did run. We're expecting great things out of him this year as he travels throughout the SEC and elsewhere.

.97 warmup - 7:05 (7:16 pace)
7:29, 7:24, 7:35, 7:45, 7:44, 7:20, 7:29, 7:26, 7:18, 2:34 for .39 (6:34 pace)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Crescent City Classic 10K, New Orleans, LA

10K, officially 39:40, 6:24 pace, Max HR = 183, Avg HR = 171

This represents a new PR for me! I'm not surprised at the PR because I haven't run many 10Ks over the past year. The only recent entries were my Bayou City Classic collapse and the Mardi Gras Mambo in Baton Rouge, which I ran conservatively because I was injured. But I am somewhat surprised that I slid in under my goal time of 40:00. I took the last week almost completely off due to motivation issues, coupled by a slightly larger than normal work load. During the week I put on five pounds by overeating and eating bad food. I wasn't in top race shape.

But I can't say this with enough emphasis -- I was in top mental shape for this race. So much of running is mental; more than we care to admit. If you take the average non-runner off of the street I'd be willing to bet that they could run a 8:00 mile if the were offered $1 Million. Our bodies are capable of so much more than our brain will allow us to consider. Running helps me to understand that, and consequently push myself to new limits.

I've spent the entire year trying to win a poster at the Crescent City Classic by finishing in the top 500. Last year I ran a 53:03, and this year I wanted to run more than two minutes per mile faster. Every time I took a day off or had a really great day training I pondered how it would affect my CCC10K time. So I was mentally prepared for this race more so than any other I've ever run.

I decided on a strategy of starting out fast and holding on. Since my fitness level is down slightly, I knew my goal of 40 minutes would be more about will than fitness. So I wanted to get out early and put myself in a position of willing myself to hold on. Because the race starts out around tall buildings downtown, the garmin didn't provide accurate split information. But I did hit the lap button at the 3M, 5K, 4M, and 5M point to get accurate splits there.

Mile 1 cumulative time - 6:04?
I think my first mile was about 6:04 according to the official clock (which would be a few seconds slower than my chip time.) I saw a child (perhaps 8 years old) at the starting line, and I was worried I'd trip over him at the start. Too many times slower people get at the front of a race line, and cause accidents and near-misses with faster runners. Children tend to get underfoot easily, so I was a little perturbed that he would be so close to the start (notice the foreshadowing).

That first mile was easy. I felt great and I didn't have to weave too much. The adrenaline was rushing through my body, picking up my heart rate to 97 BPM before the starting gun. By the end of the first quarter mile it was up to 160. Through the crowd I could see a guy dressed in a bunny outfit running with the lead pack. Wow . . .I wonder how long he held on at the 4:30 pace run by the top finishers. With my first mile behind me I prepared to turn onto Rampart and run along the north side of the french quarter.

Mile 2 cumulative time - 12:22?
Rampart had a few potholes and I had to watch my step. I also met the only other external challenge of the race here -- a very small head wind. Nothing would impede my goal, other than the internal forces that ask you to slow down. A few people started to pass me during this stretch, and I was aware of slowing down a bit. But I wanted a fast start and I was ok with settling down into a rhythm afterwards. Unfortunately my watch was already skewed to the point that it was useless in determining my overall pace, and thus help me to gauge my chances of finishing under 40 minutes. I wouldn't know how close I was until I could see the clock at the final kick, because I don't trust my math when I see an official split while running.

Mile 3 cumulative time - 18:40, 5k cumulative time - 19:23
I'm thinking I'm ahead of schedule at this point, although I'm not quite sure until I hit the 5k time and double it (that math I can do.) I'm only five or six seconds off of a 5K PR, so I know I'll never be able to hold this pace. This mile makes the left turn onto Esplanade where most of the spectators are. I pass my favorite group of spectators -- the guys (slightly younger than me) dressed in high school band uniforms handing out free beer, but charging $4.75 for water. The water is a joke (they probably don't have any at all), but the beer really is free. I pass this year since I'm on a mission, but I reflect back to last year's race where I grabbed a cup, and also to the White Rock marathon where I sampled some free beer as well. Just before the end of mile 3 I see Dave's cousin (Chris) and his wife. I wave, but they don't recognize me. They don't know me very well, and I look a lot different when I'm running. Under the I-10 overpass is a brass band entertaining the runners. It's a nice sound, although it would be better if there were more bands along the route as there were in prior years. I start to get wary at the three mile marker because I know it's only half way over. No matter how long the race, I can always run one more mile, and the one just before the last mile is always the hardest for me. So at the end of three, I'm thinking I could gut out one more mile, and then have my finishing mile. But that only puts me to mile five. I still have 1.2 after that. So I try to relax and forget about how far I have to go. It's during this mile that the (eight year old?) kid from earlier passes me. I smile to myself and think how elitist my earlier thinking was about how he didn't deserve to be at the front of the starting line. I consider drafting off of him (figuratively, since he's half my size), but I decide to let him go but keep him within sight so I don't blow my chance to have a strong kick at the end.

Mile 4 cumulative time - 25:19
All of this mile is along Esplanade. I can see city park ahead, and I'm thinking (incorrectly) that once I'm in the park I only have one more mile to go. In reality it's two, but I'll end up confronting that issue later. This mile contains another famous "freebie" . . . the Devil Dog. Runners can get Devil Dog hot dogs. There are several clever signs, but my favorite is the one promising that their dogs are 99% rectum free. I'm really tiring at this point, but nobody is really passing me any more. I know my pace is slipping, and with that goes my chance at a sub-40 time. But I'm determined to kick it home when that time comes, even though I don't know if it will be too late by then.

Mile 5 cumulative time - 31:55
Now that I've finished mile four, I can use my old trick of "one more hard mile" and then the last mile after that. I'm a little behind my 31:26 Park to Park 5M Race, although I don't remember that at the time and probably wouldn't have cared anyway. The bridge over Bayou St. John provides the only "climb" of the course (about 5 feet high, if that), and I joke to myself that I'm glad I've been doing hill workouts. During this mile I dog-leg off of Esplanade onto Carrollton and then City Park Avenue. I'm running along the park now, and I realize I'll be doing that for a couple more miles instead of just one like I previously thought. One year I walked/ran the CCC10K and this was a brutal stretch of heat. This year it's very pleasant. I can remember having to weave in and out of the crowd last year, using the sidewalk and curb to make passes. Closer to the front there isn't as much competition for space so passing is easier. And that's what I'm starting to do during this mile. I'm sure some people passed me, but I don't remember any from the time I hit City Park Ave at about mile 4.5. All of my work to date was to put me into this position. The last two miles wouldn't be easy, but I was thinking it could be done if I wanted to do it. In reality I still had no idea where I stood regarding my potential overall time, but I ignored that fact and pushed onward.

10K Official finishing time -- 39:40
I have 1.2 more miles to go. It's easy to think of a 10K race as 6 miles since it's twice the distance of a 5K. A 5K is 3.1 miles, but you kind of forget about that extra tenth. That tenth becomes two tenths in a 10K, so the last "mile" is really 1.2. It's during this stretch that that they call out your unofficial place (mine was about 135 if I remember correctly) meaning that I'd easily finish in the top 500. But my goal was 40:00, and when I passed the "one mile to go" sign I knew it would come down to a contest between my will and the course. I'm passing a lot of people now, which is quite rewarding but very secondary to my goal time. There are some curves along this road inside of city park, and I'm trying to run the tangents to shave a couple of seconds. Panic hits me that I didn't know how I would feel about finishing a second or two outside of my goal. I also start thinking that I want a gun time of 40:00 or less, meaning that I'll have to overcome the second or two after the start that it took for me to cross the starting line. The chip time is what I consider "official" and that takes away the effect of taking time to cross the starting line, but in reality all races are won based on gun time. I run down Lelong Drive and passed a couple of guys and a girl. Without noticing it, I see the 8 year old kid again. He's probably too far away for me to catch in the short amount of time left, so I'm not worrying about him. I take the half circle of Collins Diboll Circle and it's a straight shot to the finish line. Since there are so many beautiful oak trees lining the course at this point, I can't see the finish line but my watch tells me that it's about to turn midnight on my goal to break 40. I pick up the pace, but I don't know how much longer I have to go . . . until I see the finish photo line . . 150 (or so) yards from the finish line. This line always fools people because they think its over, only to cross and notice that they still have a tenth of a mile to run. I can see the clock and I panic at how close it is to 40 minutes. I ran that stretch at full speed, watching each second tick off toward my goal. I think I passed a couple more people but I'm mostly blind except for that clock. It took about three seconds for me to realize that I'd make it. That made me run harder. I crossed the finish line elated.

In my next post I'll give some more thoughts on the CCC10K, and give an account of my roller coaster ride regarding whether the organization would accept my time (and award me with a poster) or if they lost it through errors.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

PIM - Batons - Week 3


Becoming a Champion

Hello Batons!

I included an excerpt from Ryan Hall's blog. He is possibly the next American phenom at the marathon distance, and he is our best hope for a gold medal in the Olympic marathon in quite some time.

The key takeaway I get is that I don't have to win championships in order to be a champion. I measure myself against my maximum effort. I'm bursting with pride when I give 100% and I'm disappointed with myself when I give any less. Fellow runners, you have it in you to give championship effort and thereby become a champion. And although you and I will never touch Ryan's speed, we have the capacity to achieve greatness just like him. You just have to choose to "get back up".

How does Ryan's statement pertain to you?
"The other day I was reflecting on how, when I was little, I always built up Olympians as these super-strong people who were just good all the time. Now that I am going to be one, it feels ironic that I thought of Olympians in this way. When I look at my strengths I realize that one of the most important characteristics I have is simply the ability to get back up. "
"I can’t tell you how many 800’s I jogged in over 2 minutes, even though I was going all out, or how many races I was doing everything I could do to just cover the distance. I remember racing in the London Super Grand Prix 5,000M two years ago getting the applause from the crowd for the last place runner who is struggling in far behind the rest of the field. After all these hard times, I, like Alicia, had a choice to make: was I going to get up or give in? I think some of the most celebrated moments in human achievement should be those times when everything is going against a person and they are down in the dumps but they simply choose to get up. That’s real greatness!"

Consider reading the entire blog entry at the link below:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Cross Training Day

1:40 Bike ride through Houston. I didn't get any data from the watch because it ran out of batteries only .25 miles into the ride.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Questionable Success

19.7 miles, 2:31:31, 7:41 pace, Max HR = 152, Avg HR = 143, 87 Cadence for mile 10 onward

This is my first long run for the Ogden Marathon, and I'd like to call it an unqualified success. My pace was good, despite occasionally running into 20 MPG wind gusts. My heart rate was low (95% in Zone 3, and the balance in Zone 2), my legs felt strong, and I think I could have run another few miles without slowing significantly.

While running I passed by a couple of bars with outdoor bands and St. Patrick's Day parties taking place. When I got home I showered up and went out with Julie to take in the festivities. But I almost immediately starting feeling bad. I was sick to my stomach and thought I might need a toilet or a garbage can at any moment. I'm not sure what the problem was. It could be the shot blocks that I chewed over the course of my run. They're probably old. It could be lunch beforehand . . . that chicken breast was a week old. It could be dehydration, although I drank from the fountain at least five times during my run and chased the run with about 32 ounces of liquid. Maybe it was the fact that it was a long, tiring weekend with plenty of beer consumed the prior afternoon. Regardless, I cut the night short and went home to sleep it off. I woke up feeling ok from a GI perspective, but my right knee is a bit sore. No big worries there.

This run gave me the confidence that I can run a flat 3:20:00 marathon without much struggle. But Ogden is a downhill marathon, which sounds easier but can actually be much more challenging. I'll have to keep up with my leg exercises to strengthen my quads.

Morning Weight: 144.0
10% body fat

7:55, 7:42, 7:33, 7:32, 7:38,
7:34, 7:37, 7:43, 7:42, 7:35,
7:30, 7:31, 7:35, 7:52, 7:52,
7:52, 7:42, 7:36, 4:34 (0.6 mles, 7:36 pace)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

St. Paddy's Dash Down Greenville 5k (Dallas)

5k, ~19:45 unofficial

My chip time didn't register, so I may never know how fast my "official" time was for this race. I sent an email to the timing group and I haven't received a response yet. Also, despite pre-registering, they ran out of shirts. So I didn't get timed or get my shirt. I'll give them a few days to mail me a shirt and fix my time. If they don't I may consider cancelling my credit card charge.

The other bad thing about this race was that the race organizers didn't line people up properly at the starting line. Those who arrived early grabbed spots at the start line, and those who arrived late simply lined up in front of them, ahead of the starting line. Baracades prevented them from going around to the back, and the speedsters in front weren't about to give up their positions to strollers, walkers and kids. As a result the starting field had to weave through hundreds of really slow people at the beginning. I ran along the sidewalk jumping over and around spectators and garbage cans. At one point I had to backtrack because I hit a dead end. A conservative guess puts me at a 15 second disadvantage for the first mile due to the obstacles.

My overall time wasn't great. I had hoped to break 19 minutes, but the early trouble made me think that was probably impossible. After the first mile I really felt the cumulative effect of the training on my legs (last week was my toughest week of training in a long time, perhaps ever). So I knew this wouldn't be my PR race. I concentrated on passing as many people as possible. There were a bunch of slower people ahead of my during the entire race since they all started ahead of me.

The race course was challenging with serious wind and hills unlike anything here in Dallas. (I'm sure the hills are speed bumps compared to other parts of the country, but they were difficult for me.) There was net change of 70-80 feet up over the last mile, which came as two uphill climbs.

I finished under 20 minutes, and outkicked a bunch of people at the end. All in all I'd say my race was a success, and good training for what I can expect at the crescent city classic in terms of crowds.

Half Mile Splits:
3:09, 3:09, 3:07, 3:09, 3:22, 3:10, 0:38 (.12 mile finish)

My official time has been posted. It was 19:38.9 for 7th place in Male Age 30-44. 47th place overall. Four ladies beat me, but one of those four started along with hundreds of others in front of the starting line. The overall best time was 15:20 (M) and 17:00 (F). I wonder if I'll ever be able to run a 17:00. That seems impossible for me, but then again 20:00 seemed to be the best I could ever hope for one short year ago. I'm racing against the biological clock. I'll see how long I can win that race before my best times are no longer achievable.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Picking up Miles

4.26 Miles, 35:27, 8:19 pace, Max HR = 145, Avg HR = 134

I'm tired of running this week. My legs are week and my motivation is lagging. This run was solely to get in miles. Ideally I would have run closer to six or seven miles, but I was happy to get out. Tomorrow I'll rest so I can try to recouperate for the 5k in Dallas this weekend.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mid Week Wrap-Up

It's been a tough few days of running.
Monday -- hills in AM, 7M in PM
Tuesday -- track workout in PM
Wednesday -- Will's Hills speed work in AM, PIM in evening, 2.5M run home afterwards

It's not the work load that professional runners carry, but it was a tough stretch by my normal standards. I mentioned to Julie that I think I would enjoy running for a living. She laughed. If you knew me a year ago you can understand why that was a funny thing for me to say. But now I really think I would enjoy putting running as the highest non-family priority in my life. The work is intellectually and obviously physically stimulating, and I would tackle it with everything I had. Don’t get me wrong . . . I could never compete at the level required to be a professional runner. I’ll never be that fast at any distance. But it is fun to daydream about.

Triple Duty

I ran three times today:
1) Will's Hills 5 Warmup and 10x400
2) PIM Run 2 with Batons, 7x(1 minutes Run, 2 minuts Walk)
3) Run home from PIM happy hour (with booksack on) 2.69 Miles, 25:17, 9:24 pace

Wednesdays will continue to be difficult for me since I'll always have Will's Hills just 12 hours after my Rice track workout.

After the PIM workout, I rode with Coach Lisa to the happy hour spot and then loaded up my booksack on my back and ran home. I took it easy, but my right knee is bothering me and I almost decided to walk for a bit.

Will's Hills - 5 - 10x400 with 2MR

My legs are heavy from the past few days of speed and hill work. I went to bed last night with the intent of gauging my fatigue, pain and motivation in the morning before deciding whether to go to Will's Hills. I can deal with fatigue, and there was no pain, so the decision boiled down to motivation. I'm always particularly lazy on the days that Julie is off of work because I'd rather hang out with her than do just about anything else. Bu I managed to pull myself into my running gear and get out of the house just in time to catch the group heading off to the workout.

The workout was structured as 10x400 (with a slight uphill in the beginning and a slight downhill at the end. The course measured as .26 miles according to my Garmin, but it doesn't really matter because I can't really compare my times to those on a track anyway. But here they are:
1:37.67 (1:57 rest)
1:35.00 (1:57 rest)
1:29.18 (1:57 rest)
1:34.05 (2:00 rest)
1:28.77 (1:56 rest)
1:31.73 (1:53 rest)
1:30.50 (1:55 rest)
1:26.61 (1:57 rest)
1:26.65 (1:55 rest)
1:25.32 (skipped the plyometrics and calisthenics and headed home)

I saw Brett Riley there. He was running with a friend (Tom?). I tried to keep up with those guys, and managed to keep my splits within a second or two of them. But the comparison isn't really fair because they were jogging 400s as recovery and I remained stationary in an attempt to get my heart rate down. Even so, it was clear they were taking it somewhat "easy", whereas I was hitting it pretty hard. It's exciting to be running to people who are on a different plane than me.

Tonight I have my second session of Power in Motion, and I'll have to decide whether or not I'll take a lap of Memorial Park afterwards. The legs are holding up realatively well, so I might give it a go.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Rice Track - 2 - 5x1000 with 3MR

2.08 Mile Warm Up5x1000 with 3 MR, Max HR = 171, Avg HR = 135

1000M is a difficult distance for me. You can't sprint the whole thing, but you can't treat it as an easy run either. As a new runner, it's difficult for me to keep a pace. That's why it's nice to run at the track with a group of people in my speed range. It is because of them that my splits were relatively level. I really kicked it home during the last one. I still don't know what my best mile would be, but that one was a pace of 5:41. If I wanted to set my mile PR, I would have had to run 609 more meters to finish and I would have slowed down. But then again, I wouldn't have run 4000 meters over the prior 30 minutes either.

3:45, 3:01 rest
3:36, 3:13 rest
3:38, 3:04 rest
3:36, 3:02 rest

Monday, March 10, 2008

Run Along Buffalo Bayou from my Casa - PM

6.84 miles, 51:26, 7:30 pace

For my second run of the day, I wanted to hit the neighborhood park but the rain and puddles made me decide to detour. I ran downtown to buffalo bayou and then along the bayou to Heights boulevard before heading home. It was a good course, making a nice square when looked at from above.

When I hit Heights Boulevard, I saw a guy running ahead of me by at least a quarter of a mile. He was trucking it, but I decided to try to catch him. After almost two miles of running I came within twenty feet of him before he broke off to another street, robbing me of my victory. Hahaha. But I was glad to be just about home at that point. The pace over my last four splits was 7:38, 7:02, 6:54, 6:28. That's not a bad way to finish up a 50 minute run on legs that were tired from a hill workout earlier that morning.

3:53, 3:52, 3:58, 3:39, 3:43, 3:49, 3:56, 3:53, 3:54, 3:47, 3:49, 3:31, 3:27, 2:08 (for .33)

Will's Hills - 4 - Hills at Spotts Park - AM

Warm Up
Two sets of 14 minute Hills with a break in between, 2.79 miles, Max HR = 170, Avg HR = 149

This is one of the most challenging hill courses I've even done. Constantly up and down with very little flat runs for recover.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Aborted Long Run Attempt

3.02 miles, 21:40, 7:11 pace, Cadence = 90

I set out to run home after mass at the Catholic Church in Memorial Park. After a mile or two my knee pains didn't go away, so I decided to keep it to only one lap of Memorial and go home to recouperate.

I've been having a pain in the outside of my right knee for a few weeks. It usually loosens up early into the run. I think it's because my IT band is tight on my right side. I don't know if this matters or not, but my right leg is shorter than my left. As a result I land on my feet differently, as is evidenced by the wear pattern on my shoes. Apparently this is relatively common.

On the plus side, all of my splits (except one) were run as negative splits, and my last mile was just under 7:00.

3:47, 3:42, 3:32, 3:36, 3:31, 3:27

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bayou City Classic 10K

10k, 47:57, 7:44 pace

This was a disappointing race for me, but I supposed I deserved what I got. I have to say that I really didn't respect this race the way I should have. I didn't prepare for it mentally, and despite the fact that I took two days of rest prior to race day, I didn't really prepare for it physically either.

My normal pre-race routine is to eat very sensibly for a few days beforehand (mostly carbohydrates, and little to no meat). The night before I try to gorge myself with water, and in the morning I have a jelly sandwich or something along those lines. Just before the race I'll jog a bit to warm up.

For this race I did none of those things.

I guess I thought my goal of 40 minutes would just fall into my lap and I wouldn't have to work for it. As a result I crashed and burned. After a relatively fast first mile, I cramped up prety bad. I was walking before mile two, somewhat hunched over to avoid the pain of the stomach cramps. The water station at mile two helped out a bit and I was able to jog and even run a bit, but the cramps came back and I ended up walking a couple more times.

All in all it was a great learning experience. I'm like just about everyone else, and I tend to take things for granted when a pattern is established. My pattern was continuous improvement in road races, and I learned that you have to earn improvement. It isn't give away.

On a humorous note, despite my dehydration manifesting itself as cramps, I went staraight to the beer line for post-race refreshments. This is one of the better post-race parties, and if I couldn't place in my age group for running then I was going to do my best to place in beer drinking.

The Crescent City Classic is just around the corner, which will be my chance to redeem my 10K efforts.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

PIM - Batons - Week 1

I'm celebrating a birthday today. Today is the first day of the spring Power in Motion (PIM) session, which happens to be my one year birthday as a runner. It also happens to be my first day on the job as a coach for PIM, and the first day of running for many runners in my group, the Batons.

In an older post ( I talk about why I joined PIM. My blog and all of my comments therein serve as testament to how my life has changed since I took up running.

But this post isn't going to be about the reason I started running or what running means to me. This post is about how hard it is to start running. After all, it was only one year ago that I was in the same shoes as many of the 200+ participants in this session of PIM. So the feelings of "newness" are fresh on my mind. I still have that metaphorical new car smell.

To put it succinctly, starting to run was HARD. I can remember showing up and running the time trial for people who could run one mile continuously (but not three). I was scared I wouldn't finish my time trial. I was scared I wouldn't be able to do my "homework" runs 3-4 times per week. I almost stopped in the middle of my three mile run on the first weekend, but what kept me going is that I was determined not to quit. I defined "success" as completing the program, and I was determined to succeed. Sometimes our lives present us with challenges that are impossible to overcome. But nine weeks of running was not only achievable, it was well within my sphere of control.

Perhaps one of the reasons why I like running is because I am a recovering "control freak." And running is, almost without exception, entirely within my control. I determine how fast and far I run. Through my actions I decide if I'm going to get better or worse. I can experiment with new courses, training methods, foods and equipment. People may tell me that I shouldn't do "this", or should do "that", but ultimately it's my decision. If you are new to running, consider the empowerment you receive by being in total control of the pathway to your goal. Many of us seek this state through our careers or our personal lives. My epiphany was that running provided that outlet.

For the new runners -- you are on a path traversed by millions before you, yet yours is still unique. You will encounter your fair share of pitfalls and difficulties, but what glory is found in that which is easily achieved? You can do it. It will be hard, but achieving your goal is worth the work. Best wishes.

Today the Batons and I ran 7x(1R/2W) with a stretch break after the first three sets. I saw a lot of smiling faces and determination. Dr. Taylor did a fine job of motivating all of us and leading us through the stretching routine. I'm really glad I decided to become a PIM coach.

Will's Hills - 3

9x200 with equal rest, 5MR, 9x200 with equal rest

This workout was structured as a relay. You run 200 and rest while your partner runs his 200. My partner got a little more than he could handle since my splits were faster than his. As a result his rest was insufficient and mine was more than it should have been.

I like this format, as it introduces the element of competition into training. I didn't run these at maximal effort, but I'm still a bit fatigued from the relay last weekend even though I didn't run on Monday or Tuesday.

Will leads the group in five to eight minutes of plyometrics and strength training after the workouts. I learned an exercise that burns the quads in no time at all . . . running up hills backwards. We also hopped up hills on one leg, and on both legs. I've neve done any exercises like this, and I'm hoping it will help prepare me for the Ogden Marathon.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

TIR - Leg 35 with Hillarie, Leg 36 with Charlie, Leg 39 with Jean and Andrea, and Eplilogue with the Whole Team

Note: this blog entry is being posted on 3/11/08. You can read the story of the rest of the race below, but I was too tired and occupied to do real-time blogging.

After finishing my legs (18 & 19), Charlie (20) took over followed by Hillarie (21), Tracy (22), Mike (23), Shon (24 & 25), and Tracy again (26). Most of this was a blur for me, as I grabbed a few winks and finished my book (Duel in the Sun.)

I'm not sure when our van finished, but when we did we traded the night running equipment with the other van. We passed the baton over to the other van for the hard core night running, and drove back to Hillarie's house. I drove home and arrived at about 3:30 AM, sleeping only about 30 minutes in the prior 24 hours.

I got a wakeup call from Hillarie at about 6:30 AM, and showered up to join the team at Memorial Park. The night shift was finishing up at Memorial, and the day shift would meet up with them. I asked Hillarie if I could run with her for her leg 35 along the bayou and into down town.

From that point on both vans either shadowed the runners or went ahead to the next stop, so we got to reunite the two halves of our team.

I hopped out of the van mid-way through leg 36 and joined Charlie. I tried to block the head wind, but I'm a smaller guy than him and I'm not sure I did any good. I also joined Jean and Andrea for leg 39 and did my best to block the wind again.

At this point my legs were very tired and I was in dire need of some more sleep. I'm sure our whole team felt the same way.

The epilogue is a quarter mile section of the race where everyone runs together. We crossed it in style, and I gorged myself on a couple of slices of pizza and a Snickers candy bar. After a long weekend, we arrived at the San Jacinto Monument -- no longer "Perfect Strangers" (our team name).

Official Time: 29:52:09
Mixed Open Place: 23/63
Average Pace: 8:48

Saturday, March 1, 2008

TIR - Legs 18 and 19

Ever since my last leg I've been trying to rest and gather strength for my back-to-back legs equal to almost 12 miles. I tend to be a distance snob lately and think anything less than ten miles is a "warmup". But, given the fact that I've been up since 3 am and logged 30 miles already, I was worried about tacking on a near half marathon. I tried to swap one leg with anybody, but it wasn't feasible.

This leg ate me up. I started out over the first four miles at 7:30, but my average ballooned to 8:23 by the end. At the end of the first leg
I met Shon and the only thing I could think of was that I wanted him to meet me with a pb&j AND a ham sandwich. I haven't eaten a real meal all day because I didn't want to upset my stomach, and I think it caught up with me. Who says there is no strategy in running!?
Hillarie was an angel and ran along with me offering encouragement and refreshments. She told me she heard my phone ring and that I was probably an uncle by now (unfortunately not, but Melanie and her baby are resting and doing well, waiting to come out.)

After my leg I ate, had a beer and slept like a baby in the crowded van for at least 30 minutes.

11.73 miles, 1:38:21, 8:23 pace
Total for me so far:
32.72 miles, 4:19:45

I'm going to try to run some unofficial legs tomorrow, but I can't run any more officially because four us the most any one person can run (not including prologue or epilogue). So, I'm done. First one in the team to complete their legs. Right now we are more than an hour ahead of our schedule!

By the way, MVP props go out to our drivers who handle logistics between 12 runners and two vans, with utmost skill and infinite cheer. We would not be succeeding without their help. The night driving is particularly difficult as they have to "shadow" runners by driving 1/4 mile ahead and allowing the runner to pass and get assistance. This quickly becomes monotonous to a driver, but is a lifesaver for us.

TIR - Leg 10

Internet spotty and battery low.
6.25 mi, 44:11, 7:04 pace.
felt great. I think my knee probs were b/c I sprinted at the end of my first official leg after running 13 miles. You live, you learn.

Passed 6 or 7; didn't get passed.

Andrea looked unstoppable when I passed the baton (leg 11) and again when we saw her on the road passing two guys.

TIR - Legs 6-8

The weather turned hot and Frank (leg 6) and Shon (leg 7) had a tough time. I saw Shon's finish and he looked wiped out. It's unlucky for him that he got one of the most difficult legs right when it turned hot. Sunscreen is also vital right now.
Jean is running leg 8 right now and we just met her midway through her leg to drop off some water. She was grinning from ear to ear. Maria relieves her for leg 9 in about 5 minutes and I'm up for leg 10 (6.23 miles).

TIR - About to start Leg 5

Hillarie looked strong on her leg and came in well ahead of pace. She's doing a great job as captain.
I tagged along with Tracy for leg 2 and tried not to hold her back. We saw a dead skunk in a tree. You just don't see that in Houston. Skunk aside, she finished ahead of pace as well.
I ran leg 3 solo. It's a long gravel road (8.78 miles) through cow pastures. The local beer is obviously Natural Light because I saw cans all along the route. 1:04, 7:17 pace. My knee is bothering me now, so I took 800mg of ibuprofen and iced it to get ready for leg 10.
Mike tackled leg 4 valiantly, despite a late, blind hill just before the finish.
Charlie is on leg 5 right now. Everyone has been ahead of schedule, and he promised to "get us back on schedule" :^)

My total mileage so far 14.75, 1:57:12

TIR - Prologue down, Hillarie doing first right now

I'm going to run leg 2 with Tracy, and that leads to leg 3 (my first leg.)

TIR - We're Off

4am - in the van on the way to the start. The pasta party at Hillarie's house last night was great. Now we are focused on running and burning up some of those carbohydrates..

Best news of the weekend so far--I awoke and found out my sister went into labor early this morning!