Sunday, May 08, 2011

Monday, March 01, 2010


Bear with me while I try to streamline the technology side of my life. Google seems to offer most of the services I use therefore I’m trying to ensure everything is Google friendly.

With that being said, I have made lots of changes. My blog is staying with blogspot, but I have changed the address. You can now find my blog at:

I no longer use my yahoo email account either. It's so nice to finally have a shorter email address after years of my old LONG ( address. My new email address is:

My Google group is still the same, although it's become recently dormant. :-(

Trailhead Endurance Sports

I hope to see you at the new blog and email!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Don't Look

It’s been a beautiful morning, with the exception of a couple isolated thunderstorms.

Small miscommunication with a client left me short a couple miles on my schedule.

When the skies turned dark I laced up my shoes and ran a couple miles on the bayou. I like running in the elements.

I restrained myself from looking at my watch until the last quarter-mile. I didn't look at my watch because I wanted to predict my pace. On roads I’m fairly accurate at pace prediction, but I'm still learning to dial-in my pace on trails. In the end, I was within 45 seconds of my predicted pace.

1.94 miles
9:45 pace

0.26 mile
16:48 pace

Push-up challenge has improved since the week three reset. I finished the workout as prescribed. I even had enough juice left to gut out a few extra push-ups on the last set.

Push-ups: 86

I’ve been pleasantly surprised with my weight loss this week, especially while being on Taper. It will be hard to monitor my caloric intake while in New Orleans this weekend, so I’m going to exercise a bit of flexibility. I’ll leave the food scale at home, but I want to continue with two guidelines; NO meat and NO calorie dense drinks (sodas, alcohol, sweet tea, etc). Hopefully, this will keep everything in check.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spring PIM meeting

Today marks the start of my third session as a Power in Motion Coach. I attended the Spring 2010 coaches meeting today.

The program is SOLID as a rock, so there are minimal changes. There were a few new faces and of course, the usual PIM veterans.

Lisa made an official announcement that Coach Vic will be taking over as the program director starting in the Fall. I’m very excited for Vic. His passion for running makes him the ideal candidate for the position.

Speaking of people, I was amazed at the weight loss by several people. Vic and Will don't even look like the same people. Up to this point, I've been proud of my weight loss. I was taken down a couple pegs after seeing the transformations from those men.

June is coaching her first session and is doing great things. I look forward to talking with her. I believe she is eating a more vegetarian diet and she's interested in running an ultra. We will have LOTS to talk about!

Earlier in the day I got a surprise visit from Josh. He has a contract on his house and is looking at homes in the Kingwood area. I wanted to show Josh a part of Kingwood you can’t see from your car, so I put him on Andrea's bike and we went riding. I think our six mile bike ride showed him why so many people love Kingwood.

Trail Bike:
6.45 miles
10.46 mph

No running today, so that I can run with a client tomorrow.

196.0 lbs

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A little here, a little there...

As a coach, my mileage now comes in small spurts here and there. In fact, I’m on NOLA taper and I have already met my mileage for the week, yet committed myself to another run Friday. I have no intentions of pushing this marathon, so I’m choosing to listen to my body and giving myself the green light for extra mileage. Everything feels good.

I met with two clients today. The first appointment started at noon. It was a great session and it provided me with a lot of useful information for our future workouts. Today’s sessions looked like this:
• 0.5 mile run to meet the client
• 1.5 mile warm-up
• Dynamic stretching program
• 10 x 30/30’s at 1-mile race pace
• 0.25 mile cool-down walk
• Static stretches
• 0.5 mile cool-down run
• 0.5 mile run home

Later in the evening I meet with Shaina. Her schedule consisted of 2 x 10-minute run/2-minute walk.

I’m proud of both these runners and I’m confident they will meet their goals. Shaina is at the halfway point and has quickly learned how to balance work & family with running. Even though she finds each week’s workout a challenge, she is already “hooked” on running.

All the different numbers complicate matters, so I added everything together.

4.28 miles
12:08 pace

1.01 miles
17:10 pace


Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Being on taper makes me feel lazy. My body doesn't know how to react with so little running. Four more days till the New Orleans Marathon.

Once Andrea got home we took an easy stroll to a local deli for dinner, then back home. It's bitterly cold with a light drizzle of rain in the air. Even with the shift in weather we still had an enjoyable run.

2.5 miles
10:47 pace

I'm not sure what is going on with the push-up challenge. I reset the program back to week 3, day 1. I was able to complete the program as scheduled, but it was harder than expected.

Push-ups: 72


Monday, February 22, 2010

Life is Good

I started the day with a light one-mile run to meet with a new client. The client is preparing for a job agility test and has requested my assistance.

After a quick introduction we started the session with a quarter-mile warm up walk, dynamic stretches, one-mile time trial run, static stretches, and finally a half mile cool down walk.

Once the session was complete I jogged half a mile home. To finish my daily running I went for a two mile run with Andrea.

I had a great day. My body feels good, the weather has been delightful, and Karma has perfectly aligned my life to appreciate those things which I have a passion for.

All the running times have been combined below.

4.23 miles
11:07 pace

1.06 miles
16:07 pace


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Outta Gas....

At work today

I ran two miles on the treadmill. I was running a decent pace, but the unit said I was nearly walking. I know it’s not correct, but I use those numbers anyways.

2.0 miles
15:04 pace

Once I finished running I transitioned to the recumbent bike for thirty-minutes.

Recumbent Bike:
7.98 miles
15.96 mph

I started the push-up challenge only to discover I was out of gas. I reset to week-3, day-3, but I was still too lethargic to complete the workout. In a final attempt to finish some kind of strength training I tried a pull-up. Much like the push-ups, they were unsuccessful as well.

It is time to rest my body. I’ve been pushing the upper limits of my general fitness.

Push-ups: 57


Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's My Heart 5k, plus 6-miles

Early last week I made plans for the family to attend a fund raising 5k to benefit a heart disorder which has affected Steve and Dolan's children.

Yesterday I started thinking about my ability to challenge a three-year old 5k PR time of 23:51. In 2006 I spent a fair amount of time doing speed work, but I also lived with lots of aches and pains. Currently, I’m running lots of mileage without any chronic discomfort. I’ve always wondered which of the two would prevail. I’m confident injury-free mileage would win in a longer race, but there’s a fair amount of essential speed work needed to perform at a shorter distance.

Let me start with the top news. Andrea finished THIRD OVERALL FEMALE with an incredible pace of 7:50. I’m unable to find the official results. I didn’t show her total time because the course measured a lot longer than 5k. Three different Garmin’s recorded a reliable 3.31 mile course.

Personally, I dreamed of a PR for myself, but I did very little to make it a reality. I had a good run, but far from a PR.

We didn’t have anyone to watch Preston, so I was forced to push Preston in his jogging stroller. The four underpasses along the Allen Parkway route proved to be a significant challenge. I was on 7:40 pace during the first mile, but watched the pace slip away with each and every climb. My final overall pace was 8:09.

This isn’t my typical race report, but this wasn’t a planned race like most. I’ll concede to bulleted tidbits about the race:

-Great party
-Happy to see a chip timed race, but can’t find the results
-No overall awards
-Large, odd age brackets. Andrea was in Female 19-54
-Course was inaccurate (nearly ¼-mile long)
-Kid friendly event and great cause

Once we got home we put the kids on their bikes and went for a six mile run. It was an enjoyable run. Still lots of noise, but it was a beautiful day to be outdoors. The warm-up, race, and post run mileage were combined below:

10.01 miles
10:43 pace

1.55 miles
16:10 pace

Thursday, February 18, 2010


At work today

I ran two miles around the station followed by 41-minutes on the recumbent bike. The run pace was much faster than it felt. Other than the pace, both events were uneventful.

While riding the bike I listened to another episode from Endurance Planet. I’ve quickly become addicted to Endurance Planet podcast. It’s an online newscast for MY SPORT’S.

2.1 miles
9:50 pace

Recumbent Bike:
10.3 miles
15.07 mph

I going to re-do week four of the push-up challenge. Today I was only able to complete the first set. I continued the workout with as many push-ups as possible, followed by modified push-ups. The workout is below. The first column is the scheduled number of push-ups, column two is the amount of normal push-ups I completed, and the third column is the number of modified push-ups.

An hour later, I completed the sets that I wasn't able to complete without modified push-ups. During those last four sets I had to incorporate 20-30 minute recovery breaks in between sets.

The total number of push-ups was rather impressive.

Push-ups: 188 plus 67 assisted


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Damn Dirt Bikes

I’d be in paradise if the weather was this beautiful every day. The last two days have been amazing. Morning lows have been in the upper 30’s with the afternoon highs resting in the upper 50’s.

The small nagging discomfort in my right knee doesn’t seem to want to go away. With five miles on the schedule, I’ve been concerned about the benefits of running at all today. Before starting the afternoon run I decided to wrap a compression wrap around the troublesome knee.

From the minute I wrapped my knee, I noticed a remarkable difference. Andrea and I ran the bayou rim and I had zero pain or discomfort. This has been my best run since running RR50 eleven days prior. With a road marathon less than ten days away, this is promising news.

The run was great until a couple kids buzzed by us on dirt bikes. Motorized vehicles are not allowed anywhere on Kingwood trails, but it’s hard for the officers to police them, since they are usually small which makes it easy for them to evade a full-size police car.

At one time there was an older man with two very young kids behind us and a woman with a three-year old ahead of us. As the bikes approached at high speeds I stopped and stood in their way trying to stop them. The first bike passed within 12-inches of me and without any regard to my attempts to stop him. The second bike slowed down. When I told him to stop (I planned to scare the kids), he simply yelled, “I can’t stop” and he too went around me. Needless to say the event ruined an otherwise spectacular run. My attempts to stop the kids kept them away for 30-minutes, but later I heard the dirt bikes riding on the bayou once again.

These kinds of incidents are progressively stressing me. I’m grumpy enough as it is, I can only imagine what I will be like when I’m older!!!

5.1 miles
10:22 pace

16:31 pace

I FINALLY had a good day on the pull-up bar. Over the duration of the day I was able to complete eight complete pull-ups during six attempts. Five of the sets also included what I call “half pull-up”, which simply means I pull my body up most of the way, but can’t quite get my chin above the bar. I’m only counting the full pull-ups, but I know there is a lot gained with all attempts. The sets looked like this:

Pulls: 8


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Noise is everywhere around me. I yearn for the silence of the country.

Andrea and I walked for one-hour. Earlier in the week I downloaded several Endurance Planet podcast onto my iPhone. Since we were walking together I decided to play the podcast on the external phone speaker. I was amazed how much noise surrounded me. The player was drown out by the barking dogs, cars, leaf blowers, and overhead airplanes.

For the last several months I’ve hungered for a simpler life. The noise around me only promotes these feelings.

4.15 miles
16:09 pace

Push-up challenge is sucking! I had to perform modified push-ups on the last two sets. Thirty minutes later I repeated those last two sets with “normal” push-ups. I tried to do a pull-up without success. Very weird

Push-ups: 120 (+52 assisted)
Pull-ups: 0


Monday, February 15, 2010

Early Run

I met Tom at 4:45 am for a five mile run before going to work. Temperatures measured 35 degrees, but felt much colder due to a brisk north wind. My right knee is bothering me, which has become a concern. The smart thing to do is discontinue running for a week, but I’m hopeful this is not serious.

5.08 miles
11:26 pace

0.17 mile
18:44 pace

Non-eventful Engine 2 workout at work. I almost skipped the workout, but I’m glad I made the time.

Strength Training:
Engine 2 Basic

200.5 lbs

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day. I'm still smiling, having spent my Valentine’s Day with the people I love most!

I gorged myself at a Mexican Brunch buffet. Ate entirely too much and I’ve been paying for it all day. Karma found it proper to supply me with six hours of nausea for embracing my gluttonous behavior.

Andrea joined me for a two mile run along the bayou. Nice easy pace. Afterwards we cycled for forty minutes, which was enough time to complete our scheduled one-hour of cardio time.

2.08 miles
10:52 pace

Trail Bike:
8.22 miles
12.54 mph

Shaina and Andrea were introduced to their first Engine 2 workout. Neither of them had any issues with the workout at the basic level.

Strength Training:
Engine 2 Basic

I’m still struggling with the push-up challenge. Once again, I had to take longer than prescribed recovery breaks and had to divide the last set in half. I’m improving with the pull-ups. I did two pull ups during two different attempts.

Push-ups: 120
Pull-ups: 4


Saturday, February 13, 2010


Pleasurable eight-mile run with the family.

I wasn’t the only person to appreciate the two-hour workout. Preston enjoyed the scenery from the comfort of his stroller, while I pushed him through the greenbelts. Alison did a remarkable job of maintaining our pace on her bicycle. Andrea spent a majority of the session running in the grass alongside the pathway. Her first 50k will be here before she knows it; therefore she is transitioning several of her usual road runs for bouts on similar race terrain.

8.0 miles
11:24 pace

1.65 miles
16:50 pace


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cold Rain

I’m always amazed how fast the weather changes in Texas. Yesterday was sunny and cool, absolutely beautiful. Today it has been raining all freaking day and it’s bitterly cold. Fifty miles north of Kingwood, they are reporting sleet and occasional snow flurries. Needless to say, this is not my favorite running conditions.

The wish list of ultra-running gear continues to grow. During a one-hour session in the cold rain I found myself yearning for a breathable outer rain shell. I don’t mind running in rain, which I do often. Running in COLD rain is a whole different story. Brrrr…

The run itself was peachy. No aches or pains during the run. Perhaps I was numb to any discomfort. I feel good about my recovery progression.

I was glad to see that running through the water cleaned most of the Huntsville State Park trail mud off my Brook Cascadia shoes. Woo-hoo, one less thing to do!

2.25 miles

1.77 miles
16:34 pace

Today's push-up challenge was tough. I struggled with the last two sets and had to take longer than prescribed recovery breaks. Ultimately I finished the quantity of push-up with the addition of 3-4 minutes of recovery.

Push-ups: 100



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

First Recovery Run

Shortly after moving to Kingwood I started a secretive relationship with one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful creatures, a local red-tailed hawk. Seldom does a week go by without us crossing paths. This week has been no exception; I've seen my friend at least twice every day since Sunday.

For whatever reason, I primary view this bird while running. I spend countless hours walking, cycling, and driving in the area, yet I seldom see him unless I’m in stride. The initial greeting between us has remained the same, he emerges from the depths of a nearby tree and glides fifty yards in front of me . It is obvious he wants his appearance known. Within five feet from the ground he powers upward and perches himself on a nearby tree limb or power line. After his impressive showing of grace and authority he always places himself in open view, as to be admired.

Today this majestic bird kept a close eye over me while I ran the bayou loop. I found myself concerned about the general health of my friend. He seemed a bit tattered, possibly the result of a fight.

The mere sight of the magnificent animal has turned many stale runs into ventures of great enjoyment. Today was no different. This was my first run since my fifty-miler. The hawk made his appearance a half mile into my run. I was so engulfed by his presence that I didn’t worry much about how tired my legs were.

I planned to go out slow and take a quarter-mile walk break between mile one and two. For awhile I was lost in thought and didn't realize I was nearly none. To better the deal I had run at a remarkable pace. Once I reached the scheduled two miles I started walking and as usual, my friend flew back into the forest. I’m not sure how old this hawk is, but I hope we continue our mysterious relationship for years to come…

2.0 miles
9:57 pace

2.45 miles
16:25 pace

Andrea and I decided to be a little silly with our tax refund. Me made a list of all the things we wanted and tried to get as much as we could with the money. We divided the funds into thirds; I got a third, Andrea got a third, and the final third was household and stuff for the kids. Nearly all my portion was spent on my truck. I had a small lift kit installed in addition to new wheels and tires. I know it’s not for everyone, but this is something I wanted. I loved my truck before, but now… WOW, it looks so freaking awesome!

Anyways, the truck as been in the shop all day and I forgot about my promise to run with Shaina tonight. Luckily, she had enough time to wait for me to get home. I didn’t want to tell her, but I had concerns about running again. She doesn’t understand that I am still in recovery mode and have already logged my miles for the day. Shaina's been a trooper, plus I didn't want to let her down, so I kept my commitment to run with her this evening.

The run turned out to be quite pleasant. Truth be known, I think she needed me more today than any other day. She started a new interval schedule of; 4 x 5run/2walk. On top of that it is cold outside and she wasn’t feeling well. As usual, I talked non-stop and kept her mind off the task at hand. She did a remarkable job and I was able to log extra cardio time.

It’s a win-win situation, although I plan to subtract this mileage from tomorrows run. No matter what, I HAVE TO BE SAFE and keep myself injury free.

1.34 miles

16:41 pace


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Recovery Continues

At work today

I spent thirty minutes on the recumbent bike, followed by thirty minutes walking on the treadmill. I felt a slight twinge on the inside of my right knee. The discomfort was mirrored on the left side, albeit considerably less on the opposite knee. Having similar ache’s in both knees tells me it’s probably just post long run soreness.

Recumbent Bike:
7.66 miles
15.32 mph

19:21 pace

When I opened today’s 100 pushup challenge it asked for a three-week “test”. I surprised myself with 30 non-stop pushups. A mere three weeks ago I only managed to complete 17. I’m unsure if I read the workout correctly, but it asked for the full workout after the maximum test. I waited an hour between the two sessions and was able to complete all of the pushups except the last seven. I completed the session with seven modified pushups. Later this evening I completed another seven normal pushups.

Push-ups: 110 (plus 7 assisted)

Pull-ups: 1

Weight: 201.25

Monday, February 08, 2010

Recovery day 2

I'm mobile again. As a percentage, I'd say I have recovered 80%.

I rode the trail bike along the greenbelts. Once again I was measuring different routes. Sitting in the seat was a bit uncomfortable due to the chafing issues from Saturdays run. My legs felt ok, yet my knees were sore when I finished.

Trail Bike:
10.55 miles
10.73 mph

No strength training, but I completed my push-up challenge workout. I also tried the pull-ups. For whatever reason I couldn't manage to pull myself up for a single repetition.

Pull-ups: 0

Push-ups: 81

Weight: 200.75 lbs

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Rocky Raccoon 50 mile race report

Awake by 4:30 in preparation of today’s battle. Nothing like a little Nyquil to ensure I get good night’s sleep.

Odd as it may seem, two egg and cheese biscuits have become my pre-race meal of choice. After driving through a nearby McDonalds we ate breakfast on our way to the park, arriving at 5:30am. Andrea had enough foresight to rent a shelter for Friday and Saturday. Not only did it serve as a home base for our gear, but it ensured us a convenient parking spot close to the start line.

First on the list of things to do was check in with the volunteers. As I stood there among the runners who were about to start a 100 mile foot race I wondered what must be going through their heads. It seemed like everyone knew each other. With the exception of Andrea, I was there alone. I also considered this a benefit. Without friends around me, I couldn't be sucked into any bad vibes. Most runners are positive in nature, but as a group we seem to confess all our aches and pains to anyone willing to listen.

The temperature was a pleasant 38-ish degrees, which is perfect for running yet too cold to stand around in shorts and a technical shirt. With the truck parked only a hundred yards away we decided to spend the next 30-45 minutes in the protected shelter of our vehicle. I set my alarm to wake up fifteen-minutes before the race, but I was too anxious to sleep.

A weird feeling crossed over me as I heard the hoopla of the 100-milers starting their race. It felt like someone punched me in the stomach, but without the pain. Very odd!

With 20-minutes to the start I finally walked back to the starting line. Once there I became extremely selfish. Deep inside me the mental preparation had begun. This fight would be a long battle in which I planned to win. Andrea was energized and probably expected more from me, but I blocked everything out during those final minutes. Today was about me and those fifty miles ahead.

If there were pre-race instructions I didn’t hear them. Maybe the self-induced trance I placed myself in was too deep. I had not noticed the start of the race until the runners in front of me started moving. I hadn’t looked at my watch, but it would appear we started on time.

The night before the race I preloaded a workout in my Garmin forerunner. Having never run this far, there was uncertainty if the watch battery would last the entire race. To manage battery life I kept the workout simplistic. I loaded time goals for each loop which were; 4:00, 4:30, and 5:00 for laps 1, 2, and 3 respectively. What I should have skipped was the upper pace parameters. During the first tenth of a mile the pace alert was beeping and buzzing non-stop. I knew if this pattern continued the battery life would not last the entire race. I made a quick decision to stop the workout, reset, and restart the watch in its normal mode.

My only strategy for this run was to walk every incline, no matter how insignificant. Everything else was left loose, but obviously I wanted to run as much as possible. The first mile went by smoothly. I was caught off guard by the route. This park isn’t huge, but it’s amazing how many different large loops can be configured. The last two 50k’s I ran in this park made a complete loop around the outer parameters of the property. This route is hard to explain, but it did not completely loop Lake Raven. I think that is what confused me the most, especially since I didn’t view a map beforehand.

My plan was to start loop one without a lot of gear. With me I carried only two Gu’s, an Ultimate Direction 20 oz water bottle, and a small baggie of s-caps. The Gu and S-caps were neatly tucked into my Race Ready short pockets.

Everything was going a lot better than planned, until mile five. It was at that point my legs started feeling tired. This struck me odd because I was moving at a pedestrian 12:30 pace and I only had five miles under my belt.

The discomfort progressed with each mile. In the area of ten miles the issue had isolated itself to my right leg. There were times when the pain was sharp at the top of my right hip, the lateral side of my right knee, and less frequently the lateral side of my right calf.

All kinds of thoughts ran through my head while I was trying to determine the root cause of the problem. I rested most of the blame on the massage I received Thursday. The therapist was being rough on my ITB and had me fidgeting in pain. I’ve had a great training season and remarkably very few injuries leading up to this race. I know it’s a long stretch to link the two, but I was also wondering if my lack of S-caps was to blame. Anytime I run more than 10-miles I take one cap every 30-minute’s. I had forgotten to order more and found myself with only nine caps to last the entire race.

Once I reached ten miles I was running with an obvious limp. The change in gait seemed to compound matters and at mile twelve I was reduced to a fast walk. I’d walk for five minutes and the discomfort would dissipate, only to return with an attempt at running.

Surprisingly, I stayed in good spirits through it all. Thoughts ran wildly though my head. Mostly I thought about my endless chatter regarding this race. I’ve mentioned my fifty mile race so many times at the fire station they’ve been teasing me about it. I wondered what I would say to them if I quit.

Each of the three loops measured 16.67 miles. I gained enough time in the first ten miles it didn’t matter that I walked the last four miles. I crossed the first loop timing pad at 3:42:xx, forty-eight minutes ahead of schedule.

Andrea did a superb job as my crew chief. She found prime real estate for my gear and chair near the timing pad. As orchestrated, she handed me PB&J sandwiches along with a glass of unsweetened green tea and a Payday candy bar. From my medication box I took four ibuprofen and one muscle relaxer. I didn’t plan to take any medications, but I’m glad I brought them.

The mud wasn’t as bad as I expected so we skipped the change of shoes. As intended I dropped off the handheld water bottle in exchange for my Nathan hydration vest. Andrea reloaded my supply of Gu’s and captured pictures when she had the opportunity. I was carrying my Flip camcorder, but it went haywire and completely froze up. Since it was dead weight I left it behind as well.

As I stood up out of my chair I sensed the end was near. The angle at which I could move my knee without pain was less than 10%. I made a small attempt to stretch, but it only seemed to aggravate the injury. With a heavy heart, I told Andrea it was going to be a long day if I had to walk the remaining distance. I was back on the course in eleven minutes.

The pain was unbearable. My knee was giving out in a manner that I was worried about falling. With the finish line still in sight I turned around. Andrea was still there watching the agony unfold before her. As I limped in I told her I’m done. The first volunteer I crossed asked me if I was quitting. I didn’t say yes, but I didn’t say no either. This same volunteer pointed to another volunteer and told me, “If you’re going to quit give your bib to her”. There was an indescribable sense of shame I felt as I limped those twenty feet to surrender my bib.

I had one hand releasinf a pin holding my bib on when I reached the person who would document my DNF. Thankfully, this person didn’t accept my surrender as easily as I did. She asked, “Have you been to medical yet?”. When I replied, “No”, she told me, “Go see what they say. You have thirty hours, maybe you’ll feel better in a little while”.

Once I arrived at the medical shelter, I joined another runner with the exact same issue. The medical officer in charge took us inside and showed us how to use a foam roller. We took turns lying on the floor trying to stretch our ITB’s. There was a significant amount of pain when the roller crossed the top of my hip and knee. We went through three full rotations, which took about fifteen minutes. There was a considerable increase in the mobility of my right leg, so I thanked the staff and made another attempt to get back on course.

From the time I initially stopped till the next attempt at loop two was exactly 30-minutes. I told Andrea that I would re-evaluate everything in two miles and if it wasn’t any better I’d turn back.

Within minutes of starting the second loop I was joined by Kyle, the runner with me in medical. We held a respectable 17:40 walk pace while comparing the similarities of our injury. Together we agreed to make another attempt at running once we passed the first aid station. Kyle would later stop to urinate, never to be seen again.

Most of the discomfort in my leg was nearly gone once I reached the aid station. As intended I made the turn behind the station and took off jogging. It was a great feeling to be running again. It was a far cry from a graceful pain-free stride, but I was willing to accept anything at this point. Without any rhyme or reason I started a regimen of run ten-minutes followed by a five minute walk, which I continued for the majority of loop two.

Near mile 27 the pain was creeping back into my leg. I asked the Dam Road aid station volunteers if they had a roller, but I was out of luck. Trying to be helpful, they handed me an empty bottle of Heed. It was similar in size and shape to a foam roller. Hoping the container would work, I found an empty spot out of everyone’s way. Instantly the container failed. The weight of my body crushed the container. After a few stretches I thanked the volunteers for their help and I was back on the trail.

Loop two was interesting. It went by in a blur. I remember worrying about my time more than my leg. I was crunching numbers in my head and realized I was back on my target pace and this included the extended stop at medical. I also ran alone more during this loop. Everyone was spread out and those runners that passed me seemed to be in small pods.

I think I did well in the aid stations. At each aid station I grabbed a cup of Heed and Gatorade. With the one exception listed above, I never spent more than 30-seconds in an aid station. The third loop was the only loop where I ate food from the aid station. I tried a cheese quesada, which didn’t work for me. It tasted good, but the cheese stuck to the top of my mouth. I also tried M&M’s and Pringles chips. Pringles worked very well. They were easy to grab and walk away with and they helped with my salt craving. I also picked up a quarter PB&J, well I thought it was a PB&J. After putting it in my mouth I realized it was peanut butter and banana. For some reason I had one hell of a time trying to chew it. There were several runners around me and I didn’t want to seem rude by spitting the food out on the trail.

I finished loop two strong. Before the timing mat I saw Jon Walk on the course. Jon had told me earlier in the week he might be out there, but was unsure. In and around Houston, I generally know several people. At this race I didn’t see anyone I knew from my normal circle of runners. With that being said, it was a pleasant surprise to see Jon. He’s always a smiling face offering words of encouragement.

Once I crossed the timing mat Andrea was waiting for me once again. I exclaimed, “I feel good. I don’t know what we did that worked, so let’s repeat everything we did the first time”. While I was running the second loop, Andrea was in pursuit of S-caps, but wasn’t able to locate any. In addition to the gear I already had I donned a running cap with a bib light, handheld flash light, extra Gu’s, and I changed shoes and socks. I had several hot-spots, but nothing visible during the exchange. While Andrea changed out my socks and shoes I ate my PB&J’s as fast as I could. As before; I had my Payday candy bar, ibuprofen, and one muscle relaxer.

What would later turn out to be a bad idea, I asked Andrea to dump the water in my hydration back and fill it with the remaining green tea. I was hoping the caffeine would keep me alert since the sun was already setting. The tea tasted great, but left me with a thirsty feeling. Andrea took care filling my hydration back while I asked the medical personal to use the foam roller again. Not only were they willing to let me use the roller, they seemed overly excited to know I was still running.

Thanks to Andrea I felt like my time off the course went efficiently without any unnecessary loss of time. The off-course time between loop two and three was just under fifteen minutes. Once I got back on course Jon walked with me for a couple minutes. Jon stated, “If I can run a fifty, I know you can”. I did not know this, but Jon ran the RR50 two-years ago. He also said he would try to be here to see me finish. For many, many miles I thought about that last comment. To be frank, I have family that wouldn’t wait 4-5 hours to see me finish, yet Jon would. I can only hope to return such a gesture. Knowing Jon would unselfishly wait in the cold dark to see me finish gave me a huge burst of encouragement.

I wanted loop three to mirror loop two, but I got inpatient and started running well before the first aid station. On this loop I walked ten minutes and ran five minutes. The pattern yielded a 16:45 pace. Again, I was back on schedule, even with the extended time spent at medical. I noticed my leg felt better when I ran a faster pace, so obliged my legs with some impressive five minute burst. The pattern of fast running followed by a walk was embarrassing at times.

On that final loop I saw something I thought I would never see. Just ten feet ahead of me I watched an older man pull his shorts to the side and start urinating without ever losing his stride. I’ve read about people doing this in books and magazines, but it blew my mind to see it in person. If you’re wondering, it was quite messy. He pissed all over his leg and his shoes, but you got to love his dedication to conserve time.

I made it half way through the third loop before I needed a light. The small LED hat light I wear on the greenbelts did little good on the trails. Luckily I had my flashlight, although it wasn’t much brighter. In the near future I plan to invest in a better light. Some of those runners looked like a freight train coming down the track. The only problem arose when people tried to look at your face, because their light would temporarily blind you. For that reason I reduced the quantity of “Good Job” comments I threw out.

Once it turned dark I had a massive burst of energy. There are a number of reasons to account for this, but it boils down to my joy of running in the dark. I’ve acknowledged this several times while night trail training for this race. I ran for at least four miles continuous, including the less aggressive inclines. In the dark you don’t notice inclines till your legs start burning. I stayed less tuned to my watch on the last loop, yet I knew a sub 13-hour finish was possible.

There is always a point in every race when my legs get tired. During this race my legs felt ok till mile 43. Of course I’m not talking about the ITB issues mentioned earlier.Thi slets me know my base is solid. I know there was a lot of walking but 50 miles is 50 miles. With the right training, there is no telling what I might be able to run.

The running burst stopped a few miles short of the finish line. I wanted to run the remaining three miles, but I was out of gas. I tried returning to my run/walk pattern, but I couldn’t seem to find anything I was comfortable with. I walked 90% of those last three miles without any regrets. I conceded the sub 13-hour finish knowing I would finish faster than my goal of 13:30.

Once I saw the bright lights of the finish line I sprung back to life. I felt like I was running a 40-yards dash as I finished, although the spectators would probably tell a different story. As I crossed the timing pad they yelled for my number. I proudly returned “626”. During my scan of the crowd for Andrea and yelling my number I missed the time on the clock.

I came to a stop in front of Jon, who was the first person to congratulate me. In my peripheral vision I saw Andrea walking up from the side. True to her usual self, she had a smile from ear to ear. Her first words were, “I can’t believe you finished this soon!”. Once she said that I thought to myself, “On no! I forgot to look at the clock”. When we actually looked, the clock read 13:00:27.

There was a small piece of me that wished I would have tried harder for a few seconds, but I was happy to finish my first 50 mile trail run. Jon directed me to the finishers table. Unfortunately, I didn’t see Jon after that. I wanted to share with him my appreciation for his time and kind words.

In what I hoped was a joke, they told me they couldn’t find the finisher medals. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. This has been the most monumental thing I have ever done in my life. And yes, that silly little medal proves it to everyone. The volunteer took my bib number and told me they will mail it to me when they find them. I also thought we received a finisher’s shirt, but apparently we don’t. Sigh…

I sat down for awhile to rest my weary body. Next time I plan to walk to my truck before stopping. After I sat down and took my gear off, I couldn’t gather the strength to get out of the chair much less walk to the truck.

True with all my races, I learn from them and become a better athlete. The most valuable lesson today was how to run through pain. I was hurting for the majority of this race, but never stopped making forward progression. I’m a little closer to understanding the mental aspect of running.

Now for my general review of the race:

The overall damage wasn’t too bad with all things considered. Both legs are sore, which is typical of a long race. Other than the sore legs I have four blisters on my feet, both knees appear swollen and I have a chafed butt crack. Yeah, you read that right. That’s a first for me and it not comfortable!

The meeting was informative and the meal was GREAT, although a little on the expensive side ($15/person). Glad to see they offered a vegetarian option. The facility accommodated the runners comfortably.

The weather was beautiful today. I wish the camera hadn’t died so I could have caught the sun rising over Raven Lake with the sound of water flowing over the spillway. The view was breath taking. I don’t know the exact temperature, but I think we started around 38 and the high was mid 50’s.

As always, I like to see chip timed races.

Route/ Course:
This was a pleasant and interesting route through HSP. Not that I wanted any, but I was expecting more mud due to all the recent rain.

Race/RD/Aid stations:
I cherished the aid stations. The volunteers provided an upbeat environment. RD seemed to manage the large number of runners well. When deciding if I wanted to run RR50, I sent Joe two emails. Both messages returned with a single word response. Hard to explain, but it seemed very impersonal to me. As I mentioned, I’m bummed about walking away empty handed. Maybe I’m hard to please, but I really don’t like the cheap, ill fitting pull-over. I’d much rather a technical shirt. No swag in the packet, just a bare bones race. Those darn road races have spoiled me forever!

The only issues with my gear were in the light department. The hat light was not bright enough to see anything and the handheld light is cumbersome because you need to minimize arm swing to see well. Garmin forerunner held out the entire race. Dirty girl gaiters ROCK. I didn’t have any issues with rocks, dirt, or leaves in my shoes. Both the handheld Ultimate direction water bottle and Nathan Hydration vest worked as expected. I also ran the last loop with my iPod. It’s not my style to run with an iPod on the trails, but I was looking for energy anywhere and everywhere. My running cap was comfy. I wore my compression sleeves on the final loop as well. Not sure they yielded any results.

I needed my S-caps. This was the first time to run 15+ miles without them and also first time to have muscle issues. There might not be an association, but I don’t care to try again. I’m not sure if Gu is helping anymore. I use to notice a big improvement minutes after a gel shot. Now they merely make me hungry. Even though the PB&J sandwiches worked well, I learned to cut the crust off my bread. The crust is too dry. I’m also going to add Pringles chips to my list of foods. The Payday candy bars still work well.


Friday, February 05, 2010

Alison the GREAT!

I had a lot to do today. The main objective was to finish preparing my drop bag in preparation of my 50-mile run. I found a drop bag ‘master list’ online, which was a huge help. Preparing my gear for each loop was fun as much as it was motivating.

Andrea and I left the house at 1pm. I made last minute plans to pick up Alison in Trinity and take her the Rocky Raccoon 1-miler kid’s race. Once we picked up Alison we stopped by the Walker County Storm shelter to pick up my race packet hoping to beat the crowds that would be there closer to the pre-race meeting.

We arrived at Huntsville State park thirty minutes before Alison’s 4 pm race. When Alison and I talk on the phone she is always telling me about her “training”. Each week she reports how many times she ran up and down the road or loops around the house, and she tells me how many jump ropes she completed. I usually tell her what a great athlete she is, but inside I chuckle at her because she takes her fitness so serious at the ripe old age of eight.

While registering for the race we sized up the competitors. Two girls there were older than Alison, one of the girls was easily 12-years old and towered over Alison by more than a foot. There was also a boy the same age, yet larger than Alison. Everyone else was younger than her, yet deserved equal respect. In the minutes leading up to the race I kept whispering to Alison, “Today is your day. You’ve trained hard and I know you will do GREAT”.

At the start there were 10-12 kids. For the first time, Alison lined up at the front. Usually she is content with being in the back of the pack, so I was surprised to see her on the line. Andrea offered to run with her, but she refused any help. The course was an out and back one-mile trail run. Once the race started I was only able to keep Alison in sight for a tenth of a mile. For the short time I could see the runners, the leaders were four strong, with Alison leading the way.

We waited for what seemed like an eternity. About eight minutes into the run we spotted the first runners on their way back. The runners were too far down the trail to determine who they were. As the runners approached I noticed the leader was wearing a black shirt. Overwhelmed with emotion I thought to myself… Alison was wearing a black shirt, I think that’s Alison! Within seconds I was able to confirm the front runner was indeed Alison. Following closely was a boy of similar age. The crowd exploded in excitement. Not only because it was the kids race, but there was a serious battle to the finish.

From the look on Alison’s face, she was clearly tired. The other runner was on her heals, so I cheered as loud as I could to make sure she held her lead. As I had mentioned to Alison before the race, TODAY WAS HER DAY. Alison crossed the finish line first OVERALL in a mind boggling 8:31.

The swag was nice and I mean really nice. She received a red golf shirt with the race name printed on it, an engraved finisher’s medal, and the first place prize, which was a large hand crafted gecko lizard. The first place prize was triple the size of the other awards, which were hand crafted horned toads. Before the race started she had seen the frogs and instantly fell in love with them. She had told me, “I hope I win one of those frogs”.

Alison left everything on the course. She didn’t hold anything back and was rewarded for her effort. Even while holding her larger first place medal, she admired the smaller trophy. Not only did I notice this, but so did the Race Director. Without a second thought they allowed Alison to trade her larger first place award for the trophy she really wanted.

Then came one of those moments every parent dreams of; There was one very young boy out on the course who had not finished yet. Even though Alison had finished long before the last runner came in, she met him at the finish line and gave him her original first place award.

I cannot think of another moment when I’ve been more touched. I was so overcome with emotion I found it difficult to hold back tears of pride. The entire time I overheard people talking about Alison. At least a dozen times I heard people comment among themselves saying, “That’s the girl that won the kids race in EIGHT minutes”.

WHAT A DAY! It doesn’t get any better than this.

Once we finished at the park we went back to the Walker County Storm shelter for the pre-race meeting and dinner. Alison proudly wore her finisher’s medal among the 700 ultra-marathon runners.

The meeting went as I expected. I was in awe at the vast number of runners. The one thought that kept crossing my mind was; what are the trails going to look like with this many people on them at one time?

Alison was starving and I made plans for her to eat with us, but Erin arrived minutes before the food was served. I felt bad because I wanted Alison to eat amongst her fellow runners. As for the food, it was AWESOME. On my first round at the self serve buffet I had salad, pasta, veggie marinara sauce, garlic bread, and a piece of chocolate cake. I couldn’t resist over indulging in a second serving of spaghetti, using tomorrow’s 50-mile race as an excuse.

Andrea and I stopped by Wal-Mart for a couple last minute race supplies. Up to this point everything was going perfect. Things took a different tone when Andrea noticed a voicemail from our hotel. Once she got a hold of the hotel we learned they had over-booked their rooms and needed to move us to another hotel. If that wasn’t bad enough the hotel they moved us to was also full, so they had to move us a second time. Somehow we ended up at the Econo Lodge.

I’ve never been a fan of hotels. Call me a germ freak, but it just makes my skin crawl thinking about the nasty people that might have been sleeping in that bed or walking around barefooted in the room. YUCK! Knowing that my options were limited, I tried to subdue my frustration.

We arrived at the Econo Lodge, which was next door to the La Quita. We had stayed there before and were totally grossed out. The girl at the desk pf the Econo Lodge was friendly and aware of our situation, which was a huge help. I had assumed it would get confusing trying to explain everything. Unfortunately, one of her first comments was, “They told you it’s a smoking room, right?” After she said that I had had enough. I was considering driving back home. After pleading my case for a NON-smoking room she made a phone call to the manager and got permission to release a room that was on hold for the manager himself.

All at once, everything turned around, but this time in a positive manner. We were given the managers non-smoking room and since it was the mistake of the original hotel, they paid for our room! Truth be known, the property and our room were both in pretty good condition.

Andrea had two vital roles during the race. She was attending the race to support me and more importantly she was my one and only crew member. I spent a couple hours diligently discussing my race strategy with her. We went through my drop bag, so she knew where everything was and when I would need certain items. Everything seemed in order and I was in bed by ten pm.

As I posted on my Facebook;

DEATH before DNF.
Tomorrow I’m going into battle and I shall return victorious!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

T-minus; 36 hours

I cycled the new greenbelt extension I discovered Tuesday. As expected my 5.25 mile loop was lengthened one mile. The new distance from my driveway and back is 6.30 miles. It's a nice addition, with the exception of crossing Woodland Hills Drive and Tree Lane. Unfortunately, both of these roads are relatively busy.

From time to time I run another extension to the South of my five mile loop. With any luck I will have a nice seven mile loop with both extensions. Seven is the magic number I’ve been looking for.

Trail Bike:
6.29 miles
11.11 mph

The push-up challenge went well today. For the first time I was able to do more than the minimum on the last set.



Out of the clear blue sky my weight started dramatically dropping. This shocks me, because I'm eating "heavy" in preparation of my goal race. My intake is BMR + 200. This equals 2670 calories per day.


The final race preparation was a one-hour massage. They accidentally scheduled me with the wrong therapist, so I was concerned about the actual benefits of the session. After explaining exactly what I wanted the therapist did a respectable job.

My usual request is a sports massage to my neck, back, legs, and feet. Most therapist are scared they might hurt their client and generally take it too easy to get any real benefit. I gave the therapist detailed instructions to treat the session as a deep-tissue massage, but STOP if they see my squirming. Two muscle groups seemed to be exceptionally sore... bilateral iliotibal bands and distal portion of my trapezius or possibly my erector spinae. Fortunately, the therapist also commented about the symmetrical balance of my muscles.

I spent the better part of 5-6 hours working on my 2010 race schedule yesterday. I'm REALLY excited about these races. This schedule was not built for the weak at heart! Everything is confirmed and on my calendar, I've even requested off for the out of town races. I also spent a few extra minutes and downloaded all the registration forms. I'm hoping to save a few dollars by avoiding online registration fees. All that is left is to train and run the race. Sounds easy enough... right!?!?!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Final tapper run

At work.

Final run of the week. I couldn't bare the idea of another treadmill run, so I ran circles around the fire station, which was the lesser of the two evils. The overcast skies dropped their rain on me once I decided to run. I maintained a decent pace, simply to get out of the cold rain.

2.08 miles
9:25 pace

Strength Training:

199.75 lbs

I'm already looking for my next big race. Online searches for a 100k run didn't yield anything fruitful. Well, no races within a reasonable driving distance. Maybe I should put a hundred on my schedule.

Let me make it through my first fifty. Baby steps, Bill.... baby steps.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


What gives? I'm tired, almost to the point of being exhausted.

I ran a new greenbelt route today, which I plan to add to my five mile loop. Not sure what the new mileage will be, but I guess it will be close to six miles. Even though I have a general feeling of lethargy, the run was refreshing.

I opted to jog on the grass next to the greenbelt. The rock, dirt, and grass under my feet make me feel like I'm on the trails. There is nothing better than the inner peace I feel while running on the trails.

3.0 miles
10:26 pace

1.0 mile
16:00 pace

This afternoon I spent thirty minutes in my personal gym lifting weights. Maybe it's a "man thing", but I enjoy throwing iron around.

Strength Training:
Upper body

After a visit to the hardware store and $28 later, I now have a pull-up bar. I simply added it to the end of the kids play set. Nothing fancy, but it's plenty durable. As soon as I can do five unassisted pull-ups in one day I plan to start the iPullups application on my iPhone.

The last set of push-ups was hard. In fact, they were so difficult I had to switch to modified push-ups for the last seven of 15.

4 full and 3 half (over several hours)


200.25 lbs

Monday, February 01, 2010

DOMS is here...

Happy February!

DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, has caught up with me. No running for me today, yet my legs feel like they have hundred-pound weights attached to them.

Sore legs was a worry I had when deciding to run Piney Woods 10-mile trail race the week before my goal run. Not a great idea, but I have no regrets. At least I have plenty of time to recoup.

This evening I went for a short walk. I'm hoping to reap the rewards of flushing some residual lactic acid out of my legs.

Thirty minutes on the treadmill. I moved the unit in front of the television to reduce the boredom associated with a treadmill workout. It's interesting that I've NOT been on a treadmill in months, but all of the sudden I've been on a treadmill three times in the last week.

1.62 miles
30:00 minutes
18:31 pace


Piney Woods 10-mile trail run VIDEO

Piney Woods 10-mile Trail Run from Bill Cox on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Good Workout at Work

At work.

I spent thirty minutes on the recumbent bike. The normally boring workout wasn't too bad. Josh was in the gym circuit training, so I had someone to talk with. Followed the session with a treadmill run. Nice and easy pace. My legs feel surprisingly fresh.

2.51 mile
13:54 pace

Recumbent Bike:
7.64 miles
15.28 mph

Strength Training:
Engine 2 Basic workout


1 and 3 assisted

I'm embarrassed to admit my inadequacies with pull-ups. Hope to change this predicament soon!

Yesterdays "free-meal" turned into a full blown "free day", which was evident on the scale.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Piney Woods 10-mile race report

This morning’s race was by far the best running experience I’ve ever had. No PR’s. No hardware. This was merely an enjoyable and exciting time out on the trails.

Race Director Bill Gardner has his thumb on the pulse of trail runners. Without hesitation I would be happy to register for any race he directed. The parts of the race that should be simplistic were, and the usually neglected items were diligently managed. Great job, Bill!

A general sense of concern loomed over me running this morning, because we have all three kids with us this weekend. Having the kids aren’t the issue, but taking them out in 33 degree weather IS AN ISSUE. The kids showed an authentic interest in attending my run, so we kept our plans and prepared accordingly. Andrea went to great length to dress everyone in multiple layers of clothing for maximum warmth, which worked perfectly.

I was shocked to realize we were loaded and actually on our way a few minutes BEFORE schedule. Being early or even on time is a rarity. Maybe that single act set this perfect day in motion.

We arrived at Lake Houston Park about 45-minutes before the 9am start. Registration and packet pick-up was easy to find. The volunteers were as friendly as much as they were efficient. Earlier in the week I had corresponded via email with Bill Gardner about my returned race registration, so I needed to explain my case to them. Even with my little issue, I was completely done in less than five minutes.

Once we left registration we walked a quarter-mile to the race start/finish line. The first thing I noticed was the huge camp fire, complete with benches around all four sides. The radiant heat from the fire was greatly adored by the race participants. Initially, there weren’t many runners congregating around the fire, but as the race time neared the real estate closest to the fire became extremely valuable.

Between the camp fire and the start line was a nice looking jeep, which was the power source for a simple, yet impressive music/PA system. When we first arrived most of the runners were happily listening to the music, while only a few people were socializing.

As I was warming up next to the fire, I also attempted to “warm-up” to the other participants. I asked the group a series of questions, which included; “Have you ever run in this park before?” I felt somewhat special, because I have run here on plenty of occasions, most recently earlier this week. For those willing to listen, I gave information how the trails were holding water BEFORE the last big rain. I also gave them a brief insight to the ownership of the park (LHP was a State park before being purchased by the City of Houston), and why they should try to avoid the low ground bridges. Most of those bridges are in dire need of repair and I find it safer to run next to them rather than risk injury by running on them.

Several people were talking about this being their first trail run. I offered tidbits of information on what to expect at this particular park. It’s a neat feeling to finally be the one with a little experience. Again, this added to my feeling of being both “at home” and confident.

In the pre-race announcement the RD warned of two-three cumulative miles of ankle deep water and mud. I knew we’d see water, but I assumed his wording of “ankle deep water” was an exaggeration. I didn’t let the fear of running in water bother me, because honestly, I didn’t believe it would be as bad as stated.

I’ve never understood why so many races are unable to start on time, but that wasn’t an issue today. We heard what Bill called his, “Cold weather National anthem”, which was a beautiful and respectful 1:45 minute version of the US national anthem. At 9:00 sharp we were on our way.

The first thing I noticed was the sharp left turn once we left the starting area. I imagined the race to take place in the back of the park, which would have required a right hand turn. With all the running I’ve done in this park, very few miles have been west of the power line easement.

Before the race started I was standing around the camp fire with a great deal of confidence and probably acting a bit cocky, because I knew the layout of the park. One mile later I found myself running a section I’ve never seen before. I love karma and how it always has a way of bringing me back to reality.

Miles one and two were fun and fast. My pace was hovering around 10:00/mile. I felt smooth as I glided through those first miles, but I wondered how long I could hold the pace. My question should have been how long the trails will allow me to hold the pace. By the time I reached the second mile I was running in cold muddy sloop. The trails were holding an abundance of water, much like Bill Gardner warned us of. The runners before us had tried to run to either side of the water only to turn the entire section into a swamp land.

For the first hundred yards I was able to keep my feet dry. I knew it wouldn’t last and it didn’t. The water was so cold my toes were almost immediately numb. I remind you, it’s still 35 degrees in the park and now I’m wet. There were stretches of water and mud that lasted for a mile. Okay, maybe not a mile, but a long damn way. As soon as I left the water behind I’d make a turn on the trail and see another long stretch of what I just left. I watched a couple women lose their footing and take a nose dive into the water. There is no way for me to image how cold or disheartening that must have been. After seeming Karen’s friend fall in a pool of water, I made my number one goal to stay upright at any cost.

The bulk of the mud and water was behind us as we approached the five mile mark. By this time we were finally in a section of the park I was familiar with. I was running alone as well. No complaints from me though, I like running solo on the trails.

I ran long enough on high ground that my feet were starting to dry. I joked with the aid station volunteers and asked for directions to the next mud hole, because my feet were getting too dry. Over the next couple miles we saw small patches of water. Most of these were easy to navigate around.

The seven mile marker was located in an area familiar to me. From that point I was able to predict the last few miles. The start line was 2-3 miles away, which was consistent with the remaining mileage. Again, I assumed we would run along the power line easement then turn on the main camp road towards the finish line.

I struggled with ideas regarding how to finish the race. I had run continuous and a lot faster than expected. This doesn’t take into account I was running on muddy trails! If we followed the roads I mentioned above it would be a fast finish. I had 4-5 runners ahead of me and I eagerly wanted to reel them in. As well, I tried to remind myself that I have a HUGE race next weekend and this might be a foolish move. During the half-mile spent thinking about my options I never thought we would enter the west end trails again. To my surprise we made the dreadful right hand turn for another round of mud and fun.

There was enough mud to last any runner a lifetime. With a smile on my face I ran straight down the middle of the trail splashing water several feet in the air. I didn’t make a single attempt to dodge anything. Quickly I learned the areas with the most water had a solid bottom. Everyone else was still slipping and sliding while trying to avoid the large bodies of water. During this time I was able to maintain my pace and I actually caught all but one of the runners I had in my sights.

Those last couple miles went fast. There was a part of me thinking something was wrong. This race was going all too well. I figured my Garmin was fowling up, resulting in a faster pace than I actually was running.

The course was beautifully marked. There was one small turn at the end I was not sure about. With only half a mile to go I simply turned in the direction of the music. Ahead of me in the last half-mile was a runner who followed me for a couple mid-course miles and eventually passed me. Once I caught up with him, I made the generic comment of “good job” to which he replied, “You caught back up!?!”. In all honestly, it was a combination of his slowing pace and my increasing pace. We were side by side with the finish line in sight 150-yards ahead. He said something similar to; “Let’s kick it in”. I cranked the pace a little and quickly put him behind me.

With a mere ten feet before entering the finishers shoot I could hear Andrea and the kids yelling in excitement. I had assumed the excitement was for me, and only me. What I didn’t know, as I slowed to enter the shoot the other runner was on my heel and was coming around me. I had already stepped on the first timing mat as he passed me, but he passed me fair and square. Of course if I had known he was there I could have easily prevented it, but it’s not like I was fighting for hardware.

Once it was all said and done, I was glad to finish a wonderful experience in such a dramatic fashion. We both congratulated each other as runners always do. That is what I love about running trails; there are never any bad feelings.

The post race party was phenomenal. They kept the campfire burning hot, while the caterer filled the air with delicious aromas. The music was playing, the beer was cold and everyone was congratulating each other and telling their personal stories of THE MUD.

Simply because I’m a vegetarian, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the smell of grilled meat. When I walked up to the caterer I told him I’m probably the pickiest fat guy you will ever meet. We both had a chuckle and I proceeded to ask about the ingredients of his foods. After a series of questions I was able to feast on sweet corn, a fresh roll, and a rice medley that was to die for!

I saw a lot more people than expected. Most notable was Karen. It’s always great visiting her and I feel faster just knowing her! Sabra and Yong were in attendance as well as numerous familiar faces from Kingwood FIT. I mentioned to them how I’d like to see Kingwood FIT start a trail program much like the Woodlands FIT has. If they are inclined enough to enter a trail race on their own, maybe this will help support my ideas of a trail marathon group with KWFIT.

All morning I carried my Flip camcorder and captured several videos of before, during, and after the race. I’m getting better at recording while running, narrating, and picking parts of my race worthy of capturing.

My chip time was 1:43:15, which was good enough for 13th place in my age bracket. Unfortunately, my knee ached for a couple hours after the run. This is most likely due the down hill kick into the finish. Once again, this was apparently a bitch slap from Karma to keep me in check.

For the first time ever, I wore “dirty girl” gaiters I received for Christmas. I’m not sure they help when running in water, but I know there are comfortable and don’t bother me. This was a test run before running in them next weekends 50-miler. I started the run with a couple s-caps and only used a single Gu during the run. I didn’t stop at any of the aid stations, but I made it a point to thank them for their time.

Of the forty plus races I’ve run, this has been my best overall experience.

I love me some trail running!!!

10.0 miles
10:20 pace

On last thing; this is the first race I've started under 200 lbs!


Thursday, January 28, 2010


At work.

Ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill followed by thirty-minutes on the recumbent bike.

I'm tired and hungry. My weight bounced back quickly, but at what cost? I'm in need of more energy. Beginnings are always tough, especially this time.

Next week I'll increase the calories in preparation of my big race. Most likely my BMR + 200.


2.5 miles
13:54 Pace

Recumbent Bike:
7.24 miles
14.48 mph

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Preston and Dad

Its been a delight to watch and play with Preston all day. We started our morning with a mid-week long run.

As usual Preston hitched a ride in the jogging stroller. For some unknown reason, he LOVES the jogging stroller. Preston brought a few of his favorite toys and I cranked up the music loaded on my iPhone so we could both hear the tunes. We had us a rolling party!!!

This mornings run was very leisure without any formal structure. The first leg of our run was a four mile stroll to Subway at Town Center. I finally used the last of a Christmas gift card. Lunch cost me a whooping 0.30 cents. Thanks Marty for the Christmas gift!

We ran three miles to Kingwood Park High school on the second leg. Andrea seemed happy about our surprise visit at work.

On our final four miles home we stopped at a playground. Preston saw an airplane ride on the playground and nearly jumped out of the moving stroller to get to it. On that final stop I allowed Preston to play for awhile before finding our way home.

10.0 miles
11:13 pace

1.92 miles
15:33 pace

This evening I did another Engine 2 Basic workout, push-ups, and pull-ups. It's embarrassing not being able to do a single pull-up. I want to build a pull-up bar at the house so I can practice. Today I used the kids' play set.

The E2 workout seemed too easy. I probably should be lifting weights, but with my goal race on the horizon I'm playing it safe.

Strength Training:
Engine 2 BASIC workout


3 (assisted)


The diet has been on track for three days. I've been sub 2,100 calories all three days. That's the magic number where I see decent weight loss.

My body weight has been the same for two days. The damage of the last month was not as bad as I had expected.

I'm hungry right now, but I'm tougher than a few hunger pangs.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Unexpected Company

Back on my trail bike for a mini tour of Kingwood. Unlike my last bike ride, today I felt more comfortable in the saddle.

I've changed my recording device. The bike computer and GPS greatly differ in the total distance. And honestly, I trust the GPS more.... even if it consistently shows a shorter distance. On today's ride the difference was nearly 1/3 of a mile.

Trail Bike:
8.93 miles
11.88 mph

My run was a short two-miles, yet I gassed out.

I was wearing a pair of shoes that are well beyond their running mileage. In fact, I retired them months ago. Most of the shoes I retire are still in decent condition, so I use them for other activities like cycling. About a quarter-mile into the run I realized I forgot to change shoes from the bike ride I had just finished. As a safety precaution I ran on the grass next to the greenbelt to minimize any unwanted pounding.

Half a mile into the run I came across a large dog without his owner in sight. He was a huge and gnarly mixed breed dog, but it was obvious he was friendly. I tried shooing him away, but he refused and ran right next to me. I've never been the type that "has to have a dog", which is why I don't understand people and their obsessions with their canine pets.

I'll be the first to admit, it was kind of cool running with a well-behaved dog.

Not sure why, but he had a stub of a tail, maybe 2-inches long. The entire time his little stubby tail was wagging so fast you could almost hear it moving in the air. As he ran next to me he was sticking his chest out, as if he was strutting and proud to be "runner".

Every couple minutes the dog would look up at me for validation. And EVERY time he took his eyes off the trail we bumped into each other. Any other time I would have been frustrated that a dog was interfering with my run, yet I found it comical when our legs got entangled.

Our route was an out and back, so after 1.3 miles I turned around. Interestingly, he stopped running with me at nearly the same spot he joined me. I wonder how far he would have followed me?

My legs were totally dead and I didn't want to run, but my new friend surely kept me entertained.

Unknown dog, "Thank You, it was fun".

2.21 miles
11:23 pace

0.43 mile
16:31 pace


Tonight I made the nearly two-hour drive to attend "Math Game Night" at Alison's school. I barely made it in time due to traffic. We had a lot of fun being together, but I'm reminded that I'm likely to miss a lot of school activities due to the distance barrier.

Erin, Andrea, and I worked out the logistics for me to bring Preston home with me. This is going to be a great week!