Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 in Review

Looking back at 2008, let's see how I did when looking at my start of year expectations.

1. Run a 5K under 30 minutes.
In March I ran a 33:19, a PR by 5:26 at the time. Unfortunately, I did not run the 5K distance after May, and can't say for certain if I would have beaten 30 minutes later in the year. I considered running a 5K last weekend for training, but I don't want to mess with my half-marathon training at this point.

2. Run a half marathon in under 2:30.
I ran the Houston Half in October at 2:33, a PR at this distance. I really feel I would have easily beaten the 2:30 goal if not for a June auto collision which kept me from training from mid-June through mid to late-August. My only other attempt at this distance later in the year was at the San Antonio Rock n Roll event, which I specifically ran slower to take in the whole experience.

3. Run a marathon. &
4. Run the SunMart 50K.
I was targeting the San Antonio full marathon and the SunMart 50K events until that auto accident (previously mentioned above) cost me too much training time. Instead I ran the the HMSA 25K in Houston in November and the Lakes at Williams Rance 30K in Sugarland in December, running each distance for the first time (i.e. 2 new PR's!)

5. Dropping 25 pounds from 254.5 pounds.
From January through mid-May I proved that running alone will not cause me to lose weight as I stayed with my exercise program and still went up to 263 pounds. From mid-May through mid-November I stuck with a fairly strict low-fat diet and got down to 223 pounds. I allowed myself to return to a more normal diet through the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's period, during which I have gained several pounds back, but am generally holding at a stable level. I'll see about continuing with this success next year.

As for 2009, I am looking forward to a good training year. I will post later about some specific goals for 2009 after I have given the subject some more thought. Currently, I am looking forward to trying my hand at triathlons, it has been so long since I have attempted any multi-sport event that I don't even remember exactly when it was. I am already planning to run the January 2010 Disneyworld Marathon, but have no other specific long distance plans; although I may return to running the 25K trail events at Huntsville State Park. In any case, I'll be back around New Year's with those 2009 goals of mine.

As I finish the year (editing this post on December 31) I have spent 15,004 minutes in exercise, training, etc.... When I started the year I set a goal 15,000 minutes. Maybe I knew what I was doing after all on that goal. I had thought this goal was dead after my auto collision recovery took nearly 2 months out of my training, but then I came on strong after my doctor released my to exercise again.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Austin, Here I Come

After talking about it for the last two weeks (and thinking about it for the last two months), I have registered in the Austin Half Marathon on February 15th.
My cheering section (a.k.a. my oldest daughter) says she is looking forward to it, although she continues to hold out for the hoped for Nashville trip for the April 28th Country Music Marathon (still no final decision on this one yet). Next on the agenda is locking down a hotel for this trip.

I got up early this morning for an interval speed workout. I was very happy with my running today--a far cry from last weekend's disappointing running experience. It's nice to have some proof that last weekend was the exception and not the rule. Another nice thing is the return of the colder weather, not that I am a fan of cold weather, but sometimes warm weather in December just doesn't seem right.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hitting the Wall

I wasn't planning on writing today, but after today's run went bad I just wanted to gripe about it some.

Today was a planned 12 mile run with both The Woodlands Fit and Kingwood Fit. I didn't have any great plans for today's run, just to take it easy and enjoy it. Before I got to the 2 mile point I was needing an unplanned rest/walk break, and after that I never really got it together and was walking as I needed. I ended up shortening the run to around 7.5 miles in 105 minutes, which is better than I thought it was at the time, given I probably walked at least 1.5 miles of the 7.5 and maybe a fair bit more. This may not have been "hitting the wall" in the traditional running sense, but it felt the same to me as that "wall" I once hit around mile 21/22 at SunMart last year, only without the blisters this time.

I figure that my problems were the result of 2 mistakes. First, I may have expected too much of myself coming off of last weekend's 30K--even if I did take the 2 days after as rest days. Second, I ran without my Garmin, in favor of a Polar heart rate monitor with larger numbers. I think this allowed me start out faster than expected on the run, which led to an overall bad run.

Whateve the answer, I suppose I did fine for one of those really bad days everyone will get sometime--and, in the end, I did get a decent distance covered for the day.

Later today, I will go grab some lunch with my wife, do a little shopping, and work on doing some pre-Christmas house cleaning.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Today I enjoyed a nice post-30K massage. My legs were feeling very, very tight and my regular stretching routine was not really doing much for them. After an hour of massage, they are still not back to normal (assuming the word normal would ever apply to me), but they are definitely feeling better.

This is a photo showing Heather (from my last
entry) and me finishing the 30K in Sugar Land.

I really hope she doesn't mind that I lifted it from her blog!

As the year is drawing to a close I am 698 minutes short of my time goal for the year's total training minutes, which means I still have a good chance to make that goal, depending on my training through Christmas and New Year's.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm just getting back from my latest race, The Lakes of Williams Ranch 30K in Sugar Land, Texas. Overall, this was a nice race that seemed well run. The water stops were well located on the main triple loop of the course and there was light, but vocal support from people along most of the course. There were two water station located at opposite ends of a 3.7 mile loop on the course. I was glad to have brought a water bottle with me as I like to take in a lot of fluids on a day as warm as it was.

Although recents have left me somewhat underprepared for the distance, I still showed up prepared to run and represent my running club (The Woodlands Running Club). As a back of the pack runner, I was able to keep with a pace of 12:30 - 13:30 miles, otherwise known as my training run pace. A little before the halfway point I noticed my heart rate was staying higher than I liked (likely due to warm weather and 97% humidity) and started taking it a bit easier on the run. As I neared the 20K mark, a fellow runner named Heather said something to me about us leap-frogging past each most of the day, and as she was wearing a Longhorn Triathlon shirt--a race I hope to do one day--I asked her about the Longhorn Triathlon . We ended up walking and talking together for a bit which also allowed my heart to get a bit of a break. For the next 10K+, we walked and ran together (mostly walking as we were both suffering a bit, me from a high heart rate and occasional calf cramping, her from upset stomach) and just generally had great conversation and enjoyed the balance of the race. I finished somewhere around 4:24, about 15 minutes slower than planned, but I am happy with my performance.

Monday, January 21, 2008

2008 Goals

I am going to set some basic goals for 2008, nothing fancy (and not as lofty as many others can regularly achieve), but some that will be reasonable (and challenging for me).

1. Get my 5 K time under 30 minutes. For me this is a lofty goal since sub-35 minutes is currently a challenge. I will spend time this spring working on speed training.
2. Run a half marathon under 2:30. This is an important goal for me--and one that is most definitely doable.
3. Complete a full marathon. I have already registered for the first Rock n Roll San Antonio Marathon on November 16, 2008. This one may seem a bit anticlimactic since, although I have never completed a full marathon, I have completed a 50K ultra marathon.
4. Run the Sunmart 50K Texas Trail Endurance again in 2008. This time I want to come in under 8 hours. That was my conservative 2007 goal time, but blisters in both feet pushed me back into settling for completing the run in any time.
5. Dropping 25 pounds from my 254.5 pound body. In order to do this I will have to watch what I eat in addition to all my running.

There they are, my top 5 goals for 2008. I guess in a year we can see how I did!

Friday, January 18, 2008

2007 in Review

I can hardly believe that it has been several months since my last post! The new job I mentioned takes up considerable time and effort, some of it due to the poor management of my predecessor. Anyway, here is a recap of my 2007 running.

2007 is the first year in a long time I have run consistently and maintained a real program. As a returning beginner to the sport of running, only much older than before, I consulted several runners online and in my neighborhood. I generally used the writings of John Bingham and Hal Higdon for reference material.
March 3, 2007 - Spring Fever 5K - 38:45 This was my first real competitive event and I was satisfied with my time and experiencing this event.
March 10, 2007 - Bayou City Classic 10K - 1:16:45 I ran a slightly faster rate here just a week later. This was a big city event--very lively and exciting. It was a nice practice for my first long distance race to come.
April 1, 2007 - Big D Half Marathon - 2:58:24 The Aprils Fool's Day joke was on me and many other runners as a major accident blocked the primary highway access to the starting area of the race. I finally made it to the starting line 26 minutes after the start (which was held up for around 15 minutes already) and there were many others later than I. Fortunately, I found the course markers and enjoyed the day. Unfortunately, the chip mats were off by the time I arrived so my official time is based on the gun time (3:24:01, oh well....)
September 20, 2007 - Chevron Houston Marathon 5K Kick-off Party - 38:38 It wasn't that I only beat me earlier 5K by a measly 6 seconds. It was that I did it on a hot, muggy summer's late afternoon/evening compared to the previous 5K run during ideal weather!
October 13, 2007 - Ten for Texas - 2:01:11 A nice run in The Woodlands, Texas through much of the community with a great after-party! I expect I would have broken 2 hours if it wasn't such a warm morning.
October 28, 2007 - Koala Houston Half - 2:35:52 The weather was slightly better than one week earlier and my performance improved for this run. I was very happy to have dropped over 22 minutes at this distance in less than 7 months.
November 3, 2007 - Rocky Raccoon 25K Trail Run - 3:46:26 Given this was my first real trail run and that I had run hard two of the last three weekends, I made this run at a nice recovery run pace. I really enjoyed this one.
December 8, 2007 - Sunmart Texas Trail Endurance Run 50K - 10:19:52 I hadn't really prepared for this distance, but wanted to give it a try. My plan was to take it easy and replicate my 25K pace from the month before. Unfortunately, the weather was unseasonably warm, so I adjusted my plan back down a bit to avoid problems. I went along well until somewhere around mile 22, where blisters were setting in. I ended up treating the blisters and walking pretty much the rest of the distance, finally finishing 2 - 2.5 hours slower than I had expected. However, over 400 of the 1,100 some registrants did not even finish, mostly due to the very warm and humid conditions.

All in all, I have to feel it was a successful first year for me.