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3M Half Marathon - Jan. 29, 2006

Simply the Best Race so far!!!!

I picked up the race packet on Friday and it contained the best swag of any of the races. 3M knows how to build a race packet; 1. something to eat, 2. something to read, 3. something free and 4. a cool wearable something.

The Running Gods came together and put together a race that will be remembered by the running community for quite some time. The above mentioned swag started everything off in the right direction. My food belt showed promise (more below). The weather was supposed to cooperate. The only thing that had me worrying was my first blown workout in seven months of training. By Saturday I had already forgotten Wednesday's blown workout.

Food prep, carbo-loading had everything going fine. I did add a couple of glasses of Pino Noir, which has been a pre-race no-no, but what the hell. I ate a Kenyan diet all week and needed something different. Different was the case how I treated by race day meal. I decided to wake up at 2:00 A.M. and down a Super Protein Boost instead of the ritual of oatmeal and berries. This could've proved disastrous on race day but worked wuite well. No stomach issues.

My dreams have become race-oriented lately. Maybe the fear of failure after the disastrous pace at the end of the Runtex 20-miler, not acknowleging the 30-mph wind. Maybe the blown workout. Maybe that I felt a cold or flu coming on this weekend. I through down echinacea and Ester-C like M&M's with green tea every four hours. Although it was a concern on Saturday, it proved not an issue on Sunday.

Now back to the race and what the Running Gods created for the day. Simply magnificent! The weather proved to be perfect. When I arrived at Gateway Shopping Center at 6:00 A.M., the temperature was in the forties with scattered fog, a slight breeze from the west, and just the right amount of humidity from yesterday's showers... and dark. I proceded to do a slow jog and stretch in the SUV that's worked in the past. At 6:30 A.M. I followed the pack to what I imagined was the starting gate. I was without tights or sweats this time so it felt chilly. I found a few guys huddled out of the wind on the side of the building and we talked before the race and exchanged training tips and methodologies. It was then five minutes until the start, delayed due to getting 3,700 people into their parking places.

Although there what looked like plenty of porto-potties available, I didn't have to use any of them or the trees this time. I felt like I was hydrated but just right. No surplus. The gun went off and it took the pack over two minutes for our group to move. The first mile was great, coming in at 9:47 pace.

A slite uphill, which was expected and everything felt good. The left foot flop was present but I worked through it without stopping. The new shoes with the new insoles and orthotics were comfortable. The only thing was 3,700 runners trying to find a spot or pace. Slow down, speed up, slow down, etc. Still, everything felt good.

As the miles started to roll by I wondered how the new belt would work out. I bypassed the first water stop and decided to stop at mile four to try it out. It worked. While I don't drink immediately at the stop, I did later after the Accelerade powder had mixed with the water. Perfect.

I had an inclination that this race would be different once I saw the accordian player at the third or fourth mile. All dressed up and somewhere to go was he. A smile beamed across my face. He was not the only musician on the course. Full bands with amps, guitar players, mariachi bands, and a guy with bagpipes. WOW! The musicians really came out today. Thanks guys, it really helped.

The people of Austin really came out as well. People all along the route, unlike the Runtex 20-miler which had three people and hundreds of cows. Cows just don't get into the running scene and have probably never run a day in their lives. Not a good mix for a race. Hundreds of cheetahs would be cool, but that may be problematic. Cows don't work. Musicians and people do.

With perfect racing conditions, the mental aspect of the race didn't really play a decisive part in my running. Sure, it was there around the sixth mile as I saw I was running at my 10K pace, but the legs kept working. I kept thinking.....

  • Mind: Legs, what do you guys need?
  • Legs: We could do with a little oxygen down here.
  • Mind: OK, I'll tell the lungs to breath a little deeper.
  • Legs: Oh yeah, we could use a dose of dopamine if you see fit.
  • Mind: I'll see what I can do.

And so it went for the next few miles. Mind and Legs discussing how to run the race and get to the finish and how not to have another Runtex 20-miler.

Once I got to 34th street and running past Seton Medical Center I felt the pace could continue. I still had to make it down to 12th street but everything seemed to be in another's hands. The Mind and Legs were discussing dopamine and oxygen. Meanwhile, I was along for the ride as it should be.

There was a slight uphill getting to 12th street and I knew around the corner there wasn't much left. I probably should've started the kick earlier, but at this time it felt good. Hammer Time! I was passing people. I had energy left. There were people everywhere cheering on the finishers. How cool was that?

I finished strong, a new PR for the half marathon with 1:55:20 and a great couple of breakfast tacos. Shuttle buses took us back up to Gateway. Great people, great swag, great weather, it doesn't get any better than this. This made the last seven months of training worth it.

  • Mind: Legs, you guys did well today.
  • Legs: Thanks.
  • Mind: You need anything or should I leave you alone?
  • Legs: We could do with a tea tree oil bath, an aspirin lotion rub on the knees and some downtime.
  • Mind: Everyone's proud. Even the stomach pulled through.
  • Legs: Yes, even the feet are happy once you figured out the inner soles problem. See you at Freescale.
  • Mind: I'll warm up the bath.

Oh, and the guy with the flag in the pic. He ran by me at mile four carrying that huge flag wearing texas running shorts. Only in Austin.

Split times: 9.47, 9.00, 8.44, 9.12 (water), 8.24, 8.19, 8.24, 8.32, 9.25 (water), 8.49, 8.52, 8.50, 8.12, .50

3M Race Results

  • Overall Place: 1548 of 3700 runners
  • Age Group Place: 166
  • Time: 1:55:20.4
  • Pace: 8:48/M

Austin Distance Challenge Standings

  • Overall Place: 297 (jump from 317th last race)
  • Age Group Place: 47
  • Time: 12:25:30 (total time thru 6 events)


Change of Plans on Rest Day

I know I said I was going to put the new handlebar on the Bianchi on my rest day but something else came up. Sewing. I can easily detect your smirk through this blog so keep smirks, laughs and WTFs to two seconds. Here's what happened. With the 3M Half Marathon tomorrow, I really wanted to try a new food strap. A food strap or water bottle strap is something that carries water bottles, gels, MP3 players. There's quite a variety out there to choose from. The only problem is mine isn't working for me anymore. It's functional but I think I don't need to carry water with me 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles. Instead, why not carry the Accelerade powder and mix it with the water the volunteers hand me at the water stops? I then save precious weight off my backside. That's where the sewing comes in.

I found a one-inch adjustable strap that would do the trick. The only thing was that it didn't have any holders on it. I decided to sew some 3/4-inch black elastic onto the strap so that it would accommodate 35mm film cannisters. Measuring out my Accelerade, I needed two cannisters for the Accelerade and then decided to add two more for Clif Shot Bloks. I then placed a camera case, that fits on a belt, for gloves, Carb Boom!, keys, credit cards, etc. Also, the little gel bottle was perfect for mixing the solutions of Accelerade and water.

Who knows, if it works tomorrow I might have found a second calling in sewing. I can sell them from here on the blog.

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New Handlebar Has Arrived

It looks like I'll have something to do on my rest day tomorrow. The Nashbar Oversized Time Trial Bar has arrived in the mail. The bar is so light, only 260 grams. This will be a sweet addition to the Bianchi. Now I'll have to go purchase some aero brake levers to make it complete.

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So Do Good Things

The bad things stopped at four. Actually it stopped at five as I forgot to mention I'd lost my Buddhist prayer beads. This morning I realized that yesterday was no big deal. Be flexible. I stopped for gas and everything was put into a better perspective. A lady across on the other pump was filling the tank of her new VW Beetle. It overflowed a bit and got on her suede shoes. The pump then refused to accept her American Express card and the pump kept beeping at her. Very annoying. As she walked towards the door to hand her card to the cashier, she busted her ass stepping up the curb. If that wasn't enough, she got into a discussion about her card with the cashier who couldn't speak much English. At that point my load was lifted. My troubles were no big deal.

The whole blown day yesterday could've been the universe's way of telling this newbie to taper before the 3M Half Marathon on Sunday. If the track had been vacant yesterday, there's no doubt that I would have had an intense workout and by Sunday I wouldn't have recovered. As others have said on their sites, my fitness is in the bank. Taper and rest, which is one of the hardest things for newbies to learn. As they say, there's not much that can help me at this point, but there's plenty that can screw the race.

I'm in the process of changing the schedule. The Bowie track use by the high school students may have been a blessing in disguise. I needed to split the schedule into morning workouts and night workouts and make sure I had everything covered. The yoga workout last night reinforced that I'm neglected my back and I found that out during the Runtex 20-Miler, even with a 30-mph wind.

Today, my only contribution to Sunday's race was eating right during the day and spending the evening in the whirlpool and sauna. I felt much better after working my legs with jets of water, rather than the treadmill, the elliptical or the track. The fitness is in the bank. We'll see Sunday.

I found the Buddhist prayer beads. The weight scale showed I finally dropped below 160.5 to 159. All is well.

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Bad Things Come in Threes

Many people believe bad luck comes in threes. I don't adhere to the belief, but recognize it when it happens. Yesterday's workout incorporated all three bad luck events in a span of three hours.

First, I was working from home and writing and glanced at the clock. It was 4:30. Crap! Only an hour to get in my interval miles at the track before sunset. I scurried to change, get my stuff and head to the track, knowing the workout would be cut short.

Number Two. Since I was running late, I cut the stretch and warmup short which then produced strain on the shins, the hips and the knees. I know better than to not warm up properly. The first mile came in at 8:38, so it was decent but painful. My muscles felt like they were detached from the bones and floating around under the skin.

Number Three. My head was elsewhere and not fousing on the run. I was still thinking about the clock. The muscle strain and head in the stratosphere could also have been attributed to the number of people at the track. Not the normal runners, but hundreds of Bowie High School students practicing various sports. It's training time for all the Spring sports; lacrosse, track, soccer, softball, and spring football. I couldn't stay in one lane. I had to dodge the hurdlers on one part of the track, the sprinters on another part of the track and the cross country girls on another. Meanwhile, there were students constantly crossing the track to get to the softball field, the soccer field or to the football field. I can't get angry, as I'm using their track and it's primarily there for their use. But the end result was there was not going to be consistent times or efforts.

I stopped the workout and called it a day, rather than force the muscles to re-attach themselves to the bones or dodge the hundreds of students. Bummed, I thought this would be a good time to change directions and get some good yoga time in. As my muscles were squirrelly it sounded good at the time.

I got home and Googled up some new yoga poses to work on the back. Everything felt good and I felt I had accomplished some flexibility gains in my body, plus flexibility in my schedule. I was going with the flow. Two hours later Number Four hit. Number Four? There's only supposed to be three bad luck items in succession. Obviously the new back poses really did a number and were in need of some work but it looks like I overworked a few.

So tomorrow, instead of getting freaky with 3M Half Marathon coming up this weekend, I'm going to step back and be a little more flexible; schedulewise as I'm stiff as a board. Today will be about the whirlpool and lossening up a bit. It'll also be about reworking the training schedule for the next few weeks as the Bowie High School track will not accommodate interval runs during the week in the afternoons.

Time to drop any thoughts of training for the night, chill, and Xbox some bad dudes to get some frustration out.

Song: Bad Things Lyrics

...But something out there’s messing with me
A strange dose of reality

I had some things I had to do today
I had some things my head got in the way
I thought a run might make it okay
I thought a run would take it all away

I can’t shake what’s hanging over me
I can’t shake it this brain freeze
Something out there’s messing with me
Bad things come in more than threes

Bad things bad things
I just wanna
Bad things, bad things
I wanna wanna
Bad things, bad things
Come on, I wanna
Bad things, bad things
I just wanna feel good
And I feel so bad...

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Jan. 25, 2006

Core workout this morning. Nothing fancy, just crunches and pushups. These are starting to get a little easier, so I'll have to incorporate weight and technique for more resistance. The weight came back down to 160.5.

Jan. 24, 2006

Uneventful workout at the gym. The main idea was to stay with the low impact machines to give the blisters time to heal for this Sunday's race, using resistance to work out the hips, knees and quads. 30-minutes of recumbent cycling, 30-minutes of elliptical.

Corn and Beans and Pho Soup

It's corn, beans and brown rice for the next couple of days. I over-indulged in German food, German beer and Hill Country wine over the weekend. In addition to the supplements, a few more pounds appeared on the scale. The 3M Half Marathon is this weekend and it's time to do some carb loading. My weight should come back down over the next few days with watching what I eat.

I went out for a seven-mile run yesterday and the Pho soup (Vietnamese Chicken Soup) sat well during the run. Pho soup always gets my insides back in balance and especially with all the germs floating around the office, it helps the immune system. The pace was at 10K or Critical Velocity pace. I didn't have the correct shoes, nor the correct socks (cotton), so the seven miles put three new blisters on my feet. So for the next couple of days, I'll have to do cardio on the gym's machines. Good news about the pace though. It came in at 8:41/mile, which is much better than the last good run on Town Lake. Running efficiencies must be happening and that reinforces the training program.

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Town Lake Friday

It feels good to be on the the Town Lake trails on any day of the week, but for some reason I especially enjoy them on Friday afternoons and Sunday mornings. Friday afternoon, as it's a nice release from a week of work. Sunday, as the trail is less crowded and for me, is better than any church I've been to.

My last run around Town Lake had been three weeks ago and it was my best run since I started back to running [4.5M/40.10.40,8:53/M pace]. The time before that, I ran with a co-worker and I ran a disappointing 49 minute something as I stopped after the small hill, across from the vacant Seaholm Power Plant with my heart rate at 94% max. He and I ran again today and while I didn't feel as good as three weeks ago, it felt much better than the last time he and I ran together. My heart rate climbed close or above 170 well before the second mile. It later descended to 165. As I wasn't huffing and puffing like before, I can only imagine that my maximum HR has increased with the training. We were both able to carry on a conversation during the run, so clearly I wasn't near maximum at 170. My age maximum is supposed to be 177.

The weather was almost perfect. The winds died down and the temperature was in the high seventies which is just weird for January. The cedar pollen count was up over 4,400 which hasn't affected me this year as in the past. The humidity was hovering at 35%, which was higher than the 13% we experienced the other day, but it still seemed really dry.

The final time for the 4.5 mile lap was 40.41. Just a few seconds slower than the best. We stopped three times to check my heart rate, so I'm happy with the time. We split at this point and I decided to run another 4.5 miles at a slower pace to get in some more miles before the 3M Half Marathon next week. Time for that lap was 50.32 with a heart rate of about 140. It felt very comfortable running the second lap. My Asics felt great and didn't seem to be rubbing or causing any blisters. I stopped into Runtex and picked up a pair of running socks before the run, as the ones I brought didn't wick the moisture. This proved to be a good move. The shoes, combined with the thinner socks, made my feet feel great throughout the run.

Now for a little ice on the knees and tomorrow a day of rest.


Yesterday was also a test of Accelerade as a viable sports drink during the runs. There are two main discussions in the running world these days. First, the high mileage versus low mileage training discussion. Do runners, training for a marathon, have to put in the long miles in training. From Marshall Burt's posts, they don't. In my case, the knees and hips prevent me from doing multiple days of long miles. At least until the knees become acclimated to the stress and I don't know if I'd do it anyway, as research has shown there's no real benefit to the increased mileage other than feeling comfortable that one can complete that distance.

The second discussion in the runner's world is the use of gels and sports drinks before, during and after exercise. These two camps are broken down in those that believe protein extends the time until exhaustion, and those that believe that protein causes trouble during exercise. Again, research points to some interesting findings, some of which propagates into products like Acelerade and Enlive!.

I'm not one to blindly take a product's claim as gospel. In terms of running, training and nutrition, I've tried several things out over the last eight months. Some work and others don't or not as expected. You would think because people have been running for millions of years, this would be the one science where we knew exactly what happened before, during and after. How food interacted with the run and in what conditions a perfect runner makes. Not so by a long shot.

Given all the variables in exercise, nutrition, environemnt, not to mention our daily lives, it forces us put ourselves under the microsope. To test, to experiment with, to record changes and to constantly be learning what works and what doesn't. I can say without a doubt that the protein added to my sports drink helped with the Runtex 20-miler. I was able to extend the onset of fatigue past the 10-mile mark experienced in another race. Was that due to protein in the drink? Probably. Could it have been due to additional training between races? It could be. I know one thing though. Training yesterday with Acelerade caused no side stitches, cramps or any side effects that are said to come from adding protein to the sports drink.

Gatorade and Cytomax refute the beneficial claims of adding protein to sports drinks. I remember when Bill Gates wrote The Road Ahead and everyone laughed that it failed to include the Internet. Oooops! Amazon's listing for the book reads The Road Ahead : Completely Revised and Up-to-Date. Yeah, it now includes the Internet. So traditional sports drink makers are in a corner. If the makers add protein to the mix, it looks like they didn't see the Internet coming, so you then question they had it right in the first place. If they don't add protein to the mix, they refute what may be a valuable addition to runner's training and the care of their bodies, in order to save face.

Under my microscope I can now say that these things worked.

  • Less mileage - worked. I have not had an injury in the eight months of training.
  • Protein added to sports drink - worked. Extended my endurance without stomach cramps.
  • Glucosamine & MSM - worked. My creaky knees no longer make sounds when coming down the stairs and my knees have recuperated better after long or intense runs.
  • Asics GT 2100 shoes - worked. Once I customized the insoles these are great shoes.
  • Cross Training - worked. Allows me to maintain weight and conditioning without adding more stress to the knees and hips.

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Asics GT 2100s back as primary shoes

Not wanting to give up on my new Asics GT2100s, I tried something different today before the run. From a previous post you'll read where I experienced huge blisters that formed during training and during the Runtex 20-miler, even though the shoes had been broken in. This time I removed the Asics insoles and replaced them with the Triad insoles. I then placed a Dr. Scholl's gel insole into each of the shoes on top of the Triads. Ahhhhhhhhh, like landing on pillows. I traded a little stability for more cushioning and no blisters. That's even though I wore wicking socks and no protection for the new skin over the blistered areas. These shoes are back to being my primary running shoes and now warrant the Runner's World Magazine Shoe of the Year Award, as advertised. I'm gellin'

I took a rest day yesterday and did nothing. The only thing I did that involved running was read the Runtex forums, and in particular, Marshall Burt's posts on intensity versus mileage. As a 44-year old runner, I've always wanted to protect the knees, especially since I came from a long period of inactivity so low mileage was always my game plan. This reinforces the low mileage, but adds a bit about intensity which is what I was doing anyway with my track workouts.

Today's Run (400-meter repeats with one lap, sub 2.00, followed by a slow lap)

.75 mile warmup
1.54, 3.15, 1.56, 2.35
1.56, 2.44, 1.55, 3.12
1.50, 2.39, 1.55, 4.01
1.53, 2.51, 1.55, 3.00
1.59, 3.06, 1.56, 3.33
1.54, 3.10, 1.54, 4.51
1.54, 3.02, 1.53, 3.03
1.54, 2.52, 1.51, 3.20
Total time 1:21.38 + warmup + .5 mile cooldown
Total miles = 9.25

Weather: Sunny, 72 degrees, 13% humidity, 15-25 mph wind

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Yoga and XT Break

I've been having some soreness in the adductor region on the right side more than the left. It was either that or the obturator externus. Rather than stress it more, I decided to take a day for yoga on Sunday, with a day of low impact cardio at the gym tonight. It seemed to work as there's no soreness or pain left.

Twelve minutes on the treadmill, twelve on the bike, twenty on the elliptical, and then six back on the bike

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It's all mental from now until Freescale

After the "bar" ate me in the Runtex 20-miler (see below), I decided some changes were in order. Not too drastic of a change, as many didn't finish and may said it was their toughest race. I did decide to up the mileage as the thirties weren't cuttin' it, even though there was a 30-mph wind at the 20-miler.

Yesterday, I put in a good workout at the gym. I did some extra machines to get chest and core worked out. I was hurtin' today. Not necessarily from the gym. I always feel that. This was different. Something I ate yesterday at the elementary school or cooked last night. I suspect it was the spinach, as the same spinach sent the bunny to the vet for two days and $500 worth of enemas and drugs. It hit me in the middle of the night. Severe stomach cramps, followed by a trip to the library, and another, and another. No sleep last night and the stomach pains lasted into Saturday. I tried to lay down but there were constant interruptions from the phone or the doorbell. Since the one thing I said I'd work on was the mental aspect of training, I decided I needed to buckle up and get out for a run. I'd either puke in the first lap or it would do me good.

I made my way to the Bowie track, already determined to do mile repeats for as long as I could hold out. Surprisingly, I was the only one on the track. No dyslexic runners, no soccer teams, no post-season football players, and no new year resolution folks. They've been at the track in droves, but have been seeing more of the couch lately, than the track.

I warmed up and then stretched. I was stiffer and more sore than normal. It was nice to have the whole track to myself. I started in with a half mile jog. I was stiff and my core was definitely sore. I thought I could at least hold on for a couple mile repeats. Mental....right.

As with most runs, the first mile either feels great or sucks. Today of course it sucked. I jogged a 400-meter slow jog in between the miles. My watch must've been cuttin' me some slack as the first mile came in at 8:14. How could I feel bad and have a time like that? The rest was as follows.

8:14, 2:56, 8:51, 3:18, 8:54, 4:06, 8:43, 3:54, 8:29, 4:13, 8:29, 2:51
Total 1:13:03 + .5 mile warm up and + .5 cool down

Outside of the first mile, the last two came in negative to the rest. I felt better as I went along and probably made me feel better. The temp was in the seventies, with low humidity, but there was the "bar" wind at 5-10 mph, gusting to 15. I went mental on it and tried to run the wind side of the track faster than the other side. I think it worked. I thought more about the mental aspect of running and it is defintely something I need to incorporate more of. Five weeks to go until Freescale. Time enough to get images formed and ready to go.

Bowie High School track

Alternating 400-meter repeats with one lap at a target time of 2:00, followed by a slow lap. I had to use the Bowie High School track's outside lanes, as a dyslexic runner, running in the opposite direction was taking up lane one, with walkers in lanes two and three. The soccer fields were full, meaning occasional balls came across the track. On slow run laps I tended to fetch a few.

Temperature was in the upper sixties, low humidity with a slight south wind (5-10mph).
Half mile warmup
1.53. 2.34, 2.00, 2.45 felt great
2.04, 2.58, 2.04, 3.13 stretch, felt like crap
2.03, 2.46, 2.07, 2.53 felt better
2.05, 2.42, 1.58, 2.49 felt great through the rest
2.06, 3.04, 2.01, 3.19
2.02, 2.53, 2.01, 3.08
2.02, 3.33, 1.57, 3.00 sunset
Half mile cooldown

Tuesday was a recovery jog day of 4 miles.


Sunday's race was tougher than I thought. See responses from other runners.

All of yesterday I thought I needed big changes in my training schedule and routine. After reading the responses from other runners in the race, I think more intensity is definitely in order (faster pace times + 10% mileage added per week), but minor adjustments, not the major ones I was thinking about.

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2005 Runtex 20-Miler

Brutal wind of 25-mph, with gusts up to 30-mph. That about sums it up. Just when the Distance Challenge had run out of courses with brutal hills, it calls on wind gusts to provide the gut check. The wind seemed to pick up on the second ten-mile loop of the course. By that time, most in my group had extended their walking breaks, or had converted over to just walking.

With each race, in my rookie season, I learn something new. Little tidbits of information that can shave a minute here or there, or make me feel more comfortable during the run. This week my diet worked just right. No stomach problems to speak of from morning oatmeal, with blueberries and strawberries with coffee and an Emergen-C. In the days prior to the race, I had carb loaded with pasta, corn, beans, grilled chicken and no wine. A change for this race with the no wine. When I started the race, my body felt better than it had on any race day.

The only hiccup at the start was a lack of porto-potties or actually too many that needed to pee. The line with five minutes to race was too long for me to get a cabana. I decided to break from the line and do it in the woods, as many had chosen to do, men and women alike.

The first ten miles of the race was a breeze. Even with the wind, there was enough energy stored to make the first ten miles quite comfortable. I had printed a wrist band with target times I wanted to achieve. Those numbers quickly went out the window with the first mile as the congestion was too much and I decided not sprint around others and save the energy for the second half of the race. Most were using this as a training session and not as a race. At least those far back from the starting line. I went with the flow.

Coming into the end of the first loop we separated from the ten-milers. They went right to finish, we went left and back on the course. At this point the wind was at our backs and it seemed like the second ten would be a comfortable run, going at a constant pace of 9:30 to 10:00 minute miles. When we turned the corner at mile 13.5, everything changed. Swirling winds, wind gusts and the stinch of cow manure made for a bad omen.

Since I had bonked on mile ten in the last race drinking Powerade, or maybe as a result of something else, I decided to take my own sports drink this time. I filled a water bottle with 16 ounces of Enlive!, apple flavor. This proved to be a wise decision as I wouldn't know what I was going to drink besides water, during the race, and seen as I was about to burn about 2000 calories over three-plus hours, I needed to control the replenishment of my system. Enlive provides 300 calories with 10 g of protein and 65 g of carbs, per 8 ounce serving. By my rookie calculations, I should end up with just enough gas in the tank. Looking back on the race, I think I drank it too slow though. I took too few sips thinking I didn't want to get stomach sloshing or a side stitch. The end result by not taking enough in was I didn't get enough sodium which caused my quads to cramp up in the latter part of the race. It should be easy enough to convert sips to ounces and plan better for the Freescale Marathon.

Yesterday, I prepped my new Asics shoes by cutting out part of the design from the outside of the shoe. It was the part causing a blister on the side of my foot. In running yesterday it was a night and day difference from before. This morning I picked up some Johnson & Johnson Coaches tape and wrapped the foot and it felt fine. That was until mile eight. I felt a twinge at that part of the foot but ran through it and it subsided by mile ten. What became more of a problem were blisters in other places on the foot. By taping the foot I created some problem on the top of the foot. Removing the tape post-race revealed a quarter-size blister. The tape had adhered to the skin and so all of the skin came off as well. Ouch! Two other blood blisters appeared underneat the foot on the fourth toe. Both swelled during the race and burst at some point. So needless to say the last five miles were uncomfortable. The Asics will be retired to short distances or track shoes. They work fine for the shorter distances but I can afford the downtime for the feet to heal, nor the pain during the race. I would have run in the old New Balance pair but they've lost their cusshioning and wouldn't hold up for the distance. I have five weeks to get a new pair and break them in. This is also probably why I never experienced an endorphin rush during this race. To much to battle against.

One thing I noticed during the race was my breathing. Seen as I forgot to check the MP3 battery beforehand, it was dead at the start. With no tunes, there was plenty of time to think about breathing. Breathing, as in whiffs of cow manure, whiffs of EMS and Constable's motorcycle exhaust, whiffs of 30-mph gusts of wind. But what I noticed was that I was breathing shallow. Very shallow. Even in the later miles I was doing this. I felt a lactic acid buildup in the legs and experimented with heavier breathing during my walk breaks. As I started again the dead legs were alive again. Part of this was due to the walking, which should made them feel better, but I also think it was due to the increased oxygen intake. Another thing to work on.

I'm a rookie. It's my first season to get back into shape and at the same time, run some races. I had high expectations coming into the Distance Challenge and have now become a little more realistic. There's still more to learn and experiment with. The realization this year is to complete without injury, not necessarily compete. I'll be patient.


First Ten [1:45:9] - 10:55, 10:32, 10:31, 9:55, 9:37, 10:06, 9:56, 10:53, 11:01, 11:43

Second Ten [2:10:17] - 11:47, 10:35, 10:55, 12:03, 11:21, 12:58, 16:58, 13:13, 16:06, 14:21

Average - 11:45 minutes/mile

Total Time 3:55:05

Austin Distance Challenge Standings

  • Position: 317
  • Cumulative Time (5 races)10:30:09
  • Points: 4389

Runtex Review of the Race

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Thursday, 01/05/06 - Tempo Run

This was to be the last run prior to the Runtex 20-miler on Sunday. In fact, I wanted this workout on Wednesday, but seen as the University of Texas Longhorns were playing for the national championship on Wednesday, that wasn't going to happen.

The run was doomed from the start. I had drank my dinner watching the game, although there was quite a spread of smoked ham, appetizers, queso, baked beans, black-eyed peas and cornbread for the taking. The pre-game, game and post game lasted from 5:00 p.m. until well after 2:00 a.m. I kept glued to the remote, switching from one celebration into the next, sometimes watching the same coverage four or five times. I couldn't believe UT were national champions. Actually, I could as I wasn't worried at all with 45 seconds to go in the game. I had seen Vince Young and the horns do it to teams time after time. They would prove to do it again.

Driving down to Town Lake on a beautiful sunny day with temps in the seventies, I was looking for excuses. It's too windy. My new shoes will cause the quarter sized blister to become a silver dollar-sized blister. I don't have the right shorts. Thank God for the Nike commercials. Just do it! is sunk into everyone's head who's seen them and trains. And if you don't Just do it!, you're basically saying to yourself, Loser, loser, double loser. Another snippet of information engrained into my brain. So I got out of the truck and made my way to the rock to warm up and stretch.

The warm up and stretch felt great, but the first mile was punishment for my celebration the night before, continuing into the wee hours. My sweat didn't stink of alcohol as I expected it to, just a sluggishness like I hadn't run in two weeks. My thoughts turned to the Sunday's race and I wondered how I'd feel if I slacked off. I knew I feel it and decided to increase the pace and make this a workout.

In the end, I'm glad I did as the time came out one minute, thirty seconds slower than last week's run [41:46/4.5M]. I can't say I felt as great as last week's run, but it felt great to get the workout in so that I could slide into a rest period before Sunday's race.

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Mon., 01/02/06 400-meter repeats

.5-mile warmup
400-meter repeats with 8-minute pace for one lap, then a slow jog for the next, repeated.
1.54, 2.31, 2.06, 3.39 (stretching),
2.06, 2.44, 2.10, 2.44,
2.10, 3.08, 2.03, 2.57 (water)
2.00, 2.41, 1.58, 2.44,
2.03, 2.58, 2.01, 2.55 (water)
1.58, 2.44, 2.02, 2.41,
2.02, 2.48, 1.57, 2.52

It took some time to get into the groove tonight on the Bowie High School track. It wasn't until the second mile that I felt comfortable. Hip stiffness, a left knee twitch, and the right arch blister were all being felt. Between the second and third mile the knee settled down as well as the right hip. The blister felt worse with each additional lap although it was easy to run through. It seems I could do that for six miles, I don't think I could for 20 or 26.2.

70 degrees, no wind, low humidity.