Archives for 2008

New Shoes: Saucony ProGrid Ride

Posted on 12/5/2008 to Health and Fitness

This week I’ve been volunteering at the Jingle Bell Run’s packet pick-up, which was at the Fort Worth Running Company. Coach Jim and his son James run one of the best running stores around, and it was inevitable that I would seek one of them out to try gaining some insight on my current injury situation. Unlike previous days, I came prepared today—current shoes on, and previous pair in the car—all I needed was a lull in the packet pick-up.

Continue reading New Shoes: Saucony ProGrid Ride...

2 Miles, Every Other Day: Week One

Posted on 12/5/2008 to Health and Fitness

As I mentioned in my last post, I was nearly done with physical therapy. Well, now I am—at least for now. The result of that last appointment was that my physical therapist suggested I try running 2 miles, every other day, for two weeks. If that worked out, I was to then run 3 miles, every other day, through the end of the year. So far I’ve completed one week (3 of those 2 mile runs), and I’ve had soreness with each run.

Continue reading 2 Miles, Every Other Day: Week One...

Just A Short Update

Posted on 11/25/2008 to Health and Fitness

I wanted to let you all know that tomorrow is hopefully my final physical therapy appointment. It’s the last of my second prescription of 6 appointments, anyway. I also have a follow-up with the Doctor next Monday, and I’m hoping that he doesn’t feel the need to offer more PT.

It’s been almost 2 weeks since I’ve run (if you count the .25 mile test run two Thursdays ago), and I am really looking forward to testing things out over the Thanksgiving holiday. Once I canceled the race, the therapist and I agreed that I shouldn’t run until after the last appointment this week, to make sure that there is plenty of time for any remaining inflammation to subside. I promise that I’ll take it easy to start—2-3 miles, every other day.

Stay tuned!

No Half Marathon For Me

Posted on 11/14/2008 to Health and Fitness

It’s been decided—I’m out of the half marathon. I canceled the hotel reservations last night. There will be no inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon for me.

It’s been nearly 6 weeks since the initial ITB flare-up, and after cutting back my mileage, taking extra time off, going to 7 physical therapy sessions, and getting some orthotics, I was not able to make it even 1/4 of a mile last night before the soreness on the outside of my right knee started up. And it wasn’t the dull ache sort of soreness that might’ve allowed me to continue. No, this was the increasingly sore with every step sort of soreness that told me the real sharp pain was coming soon.

Continue reading No Half Marathon For Me...

Truth Time

Posted on 11/2/2008 to Health and Fitness

Ok, let’s forget for a moment that I am pissed as hell that Texas just lost to Texas Tech! And damnit Blake Gideon and your drop of what would have been a game-ending interception! Ok, Blake, I know you’re just a true freshman and you’ve had a surprisingly good season, but you probably left a shot at a national championship on the field when you dropped that ball. Of course I also realize that the team sucked ass for most of the game, but it was right there for the taking!

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10K Test Run

Posted on 10/29/2008 to Health and Fitness

I went for a run yesterday after work along the Trinity Trails. I was shooting for 6 miles, but ended up going 6.24 miles. My knee felt sore for most of the run, but it never hurt like I needed to stop—I just “felt it” for a good portion of the run. Oddly enough, as soon as I stopped running, it hurt like a #$%@!

Continue reading 10K Test Run...

Wound Tighter Than A Drum

Posted on 10/23/2008 to Health and Fitness

For the observant ones in the crowd (and with a good memory, since I haven’t posted in a while), you’ll recall that I mentioned an injury in my most recent post—Half Marathon Training: Week 10. ITB Syndrome to be specific, with pain on the outside of my right knee that comes on after some period of running (usually around 1 mile).

Continue reading Wound Tighter Than A Drum...

Half Marathon Training: Week 10

Posted on 10/14/2008 to Health and Fitness

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and I am way overdue with this update. Training was going well in Week 10—until I hit my speed work on Thursday, October 2nd. Halfway through 4 x 1 mile intervals (total of 8 miles, including warm up, 4 x 1 mile intervals w/.5 mile recovery jogs, and warm down), I started experiencing some discomfort on the outside of my right knee. More specifically, it started in the first half mile of my 3rd interval. The discomfort held at a manageable level through the 4th interval, but by the end of my warm down, it was a sharp, shooting pain. Of course, it pretty much went away as soon as I stopped running.

Continue reading Half Marathon Training: Week 10...

Half Marathon Training: Week 9

Posted on 9/28/2008 to Health and Fitness

Running-wise, week 9 of my half marathon training was a good week. During the past week, I surpassed 100 miles for the month, for the second consecutive month, and the third month overall in my short running career. I am sitting at 117.2 miles, with 5 more to go before the end of the month.

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Tempo Run Take Two

Posted on 9/25/2008 to Health and Fitness

As you may recall, two weeks ago today was a dark, dark day in my short running career. It was the day of my tempo run meltdown. It’s a day that I’d rather forget, except that I think it is more useful remembered—as a learning experience.

In case you forgot, I had 6 miles scheduled that day: 1 mile warm up, 4 mile tempo run @ 8:40/mile, and then a 1 mile cool down. I stopped twice in the last half mile of the tempo run for a total of nearly 2 minutes, and I felt like a complete failure for it. Fast forward two weeks, to a 7 mile run, with a 1 mile warm up, 5 miles @ 8:39/mile, and a 1 mile cool down.

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Reflecting On My First 10K

Posted on 9/23/2008 to Health and Fitness

By now you've read the really long race report (sorry), and you know more than you ever wanted to know about the race itself. Since Saturday, I've had some time to reflect on the race, and my training, and I thought I'd share a little bit with you.

Continue reading Reflecting On My First 10K...

Half Marathon Training: Week 8

Posted on 9/22/2008 to Health and Fitness

I’m now halfway through the training for my first half marathon, the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon. Week 8 was a cut back week, with just 4 runs scheduled, all of which were supposed to be 6 miles at 10:08/mile. I didn’t even cross train on the 3 non-running days. However, I did drop my 6 miler on Friday in favor of my first 10K race this past Saturday.

Continue reading Half Marathon Training: Week 8...

Tour des Fleurs 10K Race Report

Posted on 9/20/2008 to Health and Fitness

We’re back from the Tour des Fleurs 10K/20K, where I raced my very first 10K.

Today started very early—the alarms began going off around 4:20 AM, and I was out of bed by 4:30 AM. The Tour des Fleurs was held in Dallas, around White Rock Lake, which is about 45 miles from us, so I wanted to allow plenty of time to take care of things, and to get over there for the 7:30 AM start.

Continue reading Tour des Fleurs 10K Race Report...

Tour des Fleurs

Posted on 9/20/2008 to Health and Fitness

We’re about to head over to Dallas for my first 10K—the Tour des Fleurs.

Being that this is my first 10K, I’m not really sure how much of a “race” this will be for me. Rather, I think I will go out at a good, but comfortable pace, and depending on how I am feeling in the last half, keep that pace, or really try to bring it on home.

Continue reading Tour des Fleurs...

Half Marathon Training: Week 7

Posted on 9/14/2008 to Health and Fitness

As good as last week was, this week was tough. I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised, as things always seem to have a way of evening out. On the bright side, the week ended on a high note, with a very, very good long run this morning. Here’s the week’s training:

Continue reading Half Marathon Training: Week 7...

I Hate Tempo Runs

Posted on 9/11/2008 to Health and Fitness


I Quit


I’m Questioning Everything About My Training

This morning I had a 4 mile tempo run, with a mile warm up and a mile warm down, for a total of 6 miles. As you might be able to guess, it didn’t go so well. Actually, it went well for 3.5 miles out of the 4 miles at tempo pace. But the last .5 mile removed any feeling of satisfaction.

Continue reading I Hate Tempo Runs...

Half Marathon Training: Week 6

Posted on 9/11/2008 to Health and Fitness

With this past Sunday’s 11 mile long run, week 6 of my half marathon training is in the books. It was a pretty good week, and a really good long run. What made it such a good week? Cooler weather definitely contributed, and based on my runs so far this week—back in warmer weather—that’s about it. Here’s the run down from last week:

Continue reading Half Marathon Training: Week 6...

Thanks Gustav

Posted on 9/3/2008 to Health and Fitness

Over the weekend, weather forecasts were calling for lots and lots of rain over north Texas this week, as a result of the former Hurricane Gustav. Parts of northeast Texas have received lots of rain, but a little further west, in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, we’ve seen a few sprinkles at best. We have, however, been the beneficiary of cooler weather, due in part to increased cloud cover, and some pretty heavy winds.

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Half Marathon Training: Week 5

Posted on 8/31/2008 to Health and Fitness

You’re probably wondering what happened to weeks 3 and 4 of the half marathon training, right? No? Well, I’ll tell you anyway—both weeks were just fine, but week 3 ended while we were on vacation in Colorado, and week 4 ended the day we got back from vacation, and I guess posting my training just sort of slipped my mind.

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36 Years Ago Today

Posted on 8/30/2008 to In General

On this day, 36 years ago, I was born. That’s right, today is my birthday! 36 is a pretty insignificant birthday in the grand scheme of things, though I do find it amusing that I’ve now lived my second 18 years. Whereas it seemed like the first 18 years took absolutely forever, the last 18 years have flown by.

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Back From Colorado

Posted on 8/25/2008 to Travel

We made it back from our vacation at about 1:45 AM this morning, after driving straight through from Denver. It was a fun trip, and a great introduction to the mountains for the boys.

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Rock Slides And Rain

Posted on 8/16/2008 to Travel

Well, the good news is that we’ve made it to Colorado. The bad news is that on our way down Raton Pass, into Trinidad, we encountered a rock slide in progress.

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Half Marathon Training: Week 2

Posted on 8/10/2008 to Health and Fitness

You know one thing I love about my running right now? On most mornings I am done with my exercise for the day, before most people are out of bed.

This morning’s long run concluded week 2 of my half marathon training. Compared to last week, my legs felt less tired, I felt like I had more energy, I hung in there on my speed day, and I kicked some ass on on my long run! All in all, it feels like my body is adapting nicely to the increased workload. There were two notable differences this week, versus last week: I didn’t do any additional lower body strength training, and I took a complete day of rest yesterday. Last week I had two lower body strength training sessions, and on my Saturday Rest/XT day, I did a pretty intense yoga class.

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Half Marathon Training: Week 1

Posted on 8/4/2008 to Health and Fitness

Yesterday marked the end of the first week of my half marathon training. Overall, it was a good week, though running 4 consecutive days might have been a little much. I was definitely looking forward to a day of rest/cross-training by Saturday. Here’s a brief rundown of the week’s activities:

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New Balance 858 Review

Posted on 8/2/2008 to Reviews

It’s been about a 10 days since my most recent pair of shoes, New Balance 858s, showed up on my doorstep. This is the third pair of New Balance 858s that I’ve owned, dating back to last summer. As I mentioned recently, New Balance is looking for people to review their shoes, in exchange for a free pair of shoes. Since I love my New Balance shoes, I figured this is a no-brainer, so here it is…

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Mid-Year Review

Posted on 7/31/2008 to Health and Fitness

This week’s Take It and Run Thursday theme over at Runners' Lounge is “Look Back, Look Ahead.” With this theme in mind, I figured now would be a good time to recap the first part of 2008, and look ahead to what’s to come.

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One Hundred Pushups: Week 4

Posted on 7/31/2008 to Health and Fitness

I’ve not quite completed week 4 of the One Hundred Pushups Challenge, but I realized that I’ve been promising an update for a couple of weeks and haven’t followed through.

Last night, I completed day 2 of week 4. The first 4 sets were tough—not really hard or challenging, just harder than they have been. I was a little surprised at this, because for the first time in a couple of weeks I hadn’t done an upper body strength training session before doing the pushups. Oh, and I totally rocked the 5th set (max set), breaking the 50 pushup barrier for the first time on the last set of a workout (I've done 50 or more on both of my tests—50 and 57).

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I Am Tired

Posted on 7/30/2008 to Health and Fitness

I got up at 5:30 this morning for an easy 4 miles. I got up yesterday morning at 5:30 for an easy 4 miles. I also did a lower body strength training workout late yesterday afternoon. I am tired. More specifically, my legs are tired.

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Half Marathon Training Starts Today

Posted on 7/28/2008 to Health and Fitness

I know that the day is nearly done, so the title should read “Half Marathon Training Started Today,” but I don’t give a flip, they day isn’t done.

Anyway, here’s my half marathon training.

Day one was innocent enough—cross-training or rest. Of course I chose cross-training. I did a nice upper-body strength training routine, plus Week 4, Day 1 of the One Hundred Pushup Challenge (another post for that to follow).

That’s it.

Eating Pavement

Posted on 7/28/2008 to Health and Fitness

Yes, I ate pavement recently. But if you run long enough, it’s bound to happen, right? That’s what I keep telling myself.

We all went to Houston over the weekend to visit Julie’s family, and to see her mom and our nephew in a production of “The Music Man,” while her sister played in the orchestra. The show was pretty good, and their performances were great! While there, Julie decided that it was time for her to start running again (she’s been dealing with tightness in her Achilles tendon, as well as some pain in her foot), and I decided that I’d go, too.

Towards the end of the first mile, while I was running along, minding my own business, I suddenly found myself hurtling towards the ground. My hands hit first and I quickly rolled over onto my right side, which caught the brunt of the collision. More specifically, I landed on my right hip area. Yes, the same right hip area that was recently injured. My only thought after “what the hell?!?,” was “crap, that hurt!”

Fortunately, aside from Julie, there were no other witnesses to my fall. And after brushing myself off, and making sure I was still in one piece, we continued our run. My hands stung for a bit, and my hip was pretty sore, but I finished the run. I was also able to go for an 8 mile long run yesterday, marking my longest run since Father’s Day (aka 11 miles of pure hell).

In the end, I covered 4 miles in 41:22 of running time, though we stopped a couple of times for Julie to stretch (and for me to nurse my bruised pride). And in case you’re wondering, I say “I” because Julie stopped at around 3 miles, since she was easing back into running. (Her Achilles tendon and foot felt great, by the way.)

Cross-Training, Running, and Shoes

Posted on 7/22/2008 to Health and Fitness

Just a quick update to let you know I’m still here, and that I haven’t suffered any injury related setbacks. In fact, overall, my training has been going very, very good—except that it’s cross-training. I’ve been hitting the gym 3-4 times per week for the last few weeks, getting in 1-2 sessions each of upper body strength training and lower body strength training. That’s definitely long enough to notice a difference in my physique. Fortunately, I’ve been able to hold my weight steady, so this has been good for my body composition, as I seem to have dropped a little more fat, while gaining the muscle.

Continue reading Cross-Training, Running, and Shoes...

Bringing Sexy Back

Posted on 7/16/2008 to Health and Fitness

Ok, so I’m not so sexy, but I think that maybe I am back (knocking on wood). I put in another 4 mile run last night, and everything felt great! I also went back to one of our standard routes, which includes a little uphill and a little downhill, rather than sticking to the flats, which is what I’d been doing for the previous couple of weeks. I even had a little light rain falling to help cool things off.

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One Hundred Pushup Challenge – Week 2, Day 1

Posted on 7/15/2008 to Health and Fitness

Last Friday I finished up Week 1 of the One Hundred Pushup Challenge, and last night I completed Day 1 of Week 2. So far, so good—I am getting all of my reps in, and my max sets are all above 40, including 47 last night. I don’t know why, but I am still surprised by the “pump” that my entire upper body gets from doing the pushup workouts, specifically the max set.

Continue reading One Hundred Pushup Challenge – Week 2, Day 1...

Injury Update

Posted on 7/14/2008 to Health and Fitness

This is just a quick injury update… After easing back into things with a couple of 2 and 3 miles runs in the past week, I ventured out for 4 miles today—pain, discomfort, and tightness free! While it felt good to up my distance another mile, and without pain, I have to admit that the 4th mile was kind of tough. I was tired… It was hot… I felt like I’ve lost a lot of running fitness in the last couple of weeks. But my hip/upper thigh didn’t hurt!!!

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The One Hundred Pushup Challenge Begins

Posted on 7/9/2008 to Health and Fitness

As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I am taking up the One Hundred Pushup Challenge. And not only am I taking up the challenge, but I’ve also recruited Julie and 9 others, mostly coworkers to take up the challenge as well. So that each person only needs to focus on performing their exercises, rather than worry about how many sets and how many reps, I even put together a nice spreadsheet for each person to use in tracking their weekly progress.

Continue reading The One Hundred Pushup Challenge Begins...

Channeling My Inner Pre?

Posted on 7/8/2008 to Health and Fitness

I've been unintentionally growing my beard in since about the time of my injury. At some point I decided it was going to grow until I was running consistently again. I am not ready to claim the battle won over the injury, but I was ready to shave it off when I got home this evening. But before I could shave it all off, I decided to channel my inner Pre…

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Easing Back Into It

Posted on 7/4/2008 to Health and Fitness

Well, the doc said to take 3 days off, and then if it was possible for me to “ease back into it,” I could start running again. Over the past 3 days, I’ve followed his orders as closely as possible—going so far as to work from home the rest of Tuesday, and all of Wednesday and Thursday, to make sure I was able to properly ice my hip/upper thigh every hour or so. (I didn’t think HR would appreciate me doing this at work, even if I closed and locked my office door.) I’ve also been taking Aleve or Ibuprofen regularly, and most important of all, aside from mowing the yard yesterday, I’ve been resting.

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Trochanteric Bursitis

Posted on 7/2/2008 to Health and Fitness

After filling the doctor in with all of the specifics of the injury, and having him contort my right leg in all sorts of ways, he decided that it is likely trochanteric bursitis. With the way he was moving my leg around and pressing on the area that hurts during my runs, if it was a tear or fracture, it would like have hurt, and it didn’t hurt at all.

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Going To The Doctor

Posted on 7/1/2008 to Health and Fitness

I’ve finally decided to go to the doctor and get my hip checked out. As you know, I ran on it when I shouldn’t have. I rested it. I tried again. It still bothers me—from discomfort at first, and eventually to pain.

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Two Zune Family

Posted on 6/27/2008 to Reviews

I’ve been meaning to mention that I bought a Microsoft Zune last week—a black, 8 GB Zune. My previous Mp3 player experience was with a 40 GB Creative Zen Jukebox Plus, or something like that.

Continue reading Two Zune Family...

I Am A Runner

Posted on 6/27/2008 to Health and Fitness

This week’s Take It And Run Thursday theme over at the Runners’ Lounge is… 13 words or less: “You are a runner…” Finish the thought in 13 words or less. Here goes:

When I started thinking about food as a fuel for my next run.

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One Hundred Push Ups And My Hip

Posted on 6/25/2008 to Health and Fitness

Ok, so I’m finally going to do the challenge—the One Hundred Push Ups challenge that it seems like everyone else is already doing. I’ll admit, in addition to running, I also do at least two strength training sessions per week, and have been doing strength training more or less consistently for 17 years. While I’m not as strong as I have been, especially since taking up running, I figured that I’d do ok in the initial test, which I just took. The result: 50 push ups.

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My Own Little Triathlon

Posted on 6/20/2008 to Health and Fitness

This morning I did my own little impromptu triathlon—backwards. I was scheduled to do a 6 mile run yesterday, with 4 miles of tempo running, but due to my hip soreness, I postponed it until today (hip willing). Well, this morning, the hip felt pretty good, so I decided to take it a mile at a time, and just see how it did. I could feel it the tiniest little bit during my first mile warm up, and into my first mile at tempo pace, but in the second mile, it was much more noticeable, but not nearly as bad as Sunday, Tuesday, or Wednesday—yeah, I know I shouldn’t have run on at least two of those days… Needless to say, I called of the tempo run after 2 miles, and finished up with a 1 mile cool down.

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Then And Now

Posted on 6/18/2008 to My Weight Loss Journey

Since posting the pictures from our anniversary celebration, I've been thinking that this would be a good time for a little game of then and now. Okay, maybe not a game, but at least a couple of pictures from the wedding timeframe to compare with pictures from a year later.

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Lunch Time Swim

Posted on 6/18/2008 to Health and Fitness

I am working from home the rest of this week, and one of the apparent benefits is being able to go for a swim on my lunch break. That's right, I went for a 4-mile run this morning, and then I went for a swim on my lunch break. Crazy, huh?

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Snakes On The Run

Posted on 6/18/2008 to Health and Fitness

Okay, snakes can't run, and there weren't snakes, just a single snake. But boy, did it have me moving quick to the other side of the trail!

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2nd Annual Run For Dad Results

Posted on 6/14/2008 to Health and Fitness

Julie and I ran the 2nd Annual Run For Dad 5K this morning in Fort Worth. For some reason, we were both very nervous about today's race. For Julie, I think it was due to some recent tough runs. For me, it was the memory of the Buffalo Boogie, where I blew up about half a mile from the finish and had to walk for a couple of short stretches. Either way, it had our stomachs knotted, and our heart rates elevated.

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The Early Years

Posted on 6/13/2008 to My Weight Loss Journey

I've pretty much always been heavy. Not always fat, but always a little bigger than the other kids—big boned, perhaps. And I've always loved to eat and cook. In fact, maybe I learned to cook at such a young age so that I didn't have to rely on my mom or dad to fix me was a measure of food freedom. Most of the people on my mom's side of the family were also heavy, and some were extremely heavy (I didn't know the word obese at that time). They loved to eat, too.

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A Day Of Rest

Posted on 6/13/2008 to Health and Fitness

Wednesday ended up being an unscheduled complete rest day for me. The first such day in the previous 11 days, and only the second in the previous 24. Granted, I hadn't been running every day—I only run 4/5 times per week, mixing in strength training, yoga, swimming, or biking on the other days (mostly strength training)—but I was starting to feel a little sluggish.

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Where's My Speed?

Posted on 6/10/2008 to Health and Fitness

Okay, I've got to know—how long were you guys running before you started getting some decent speed? Or were you already fast? I realize we're all built differently, but come on, I've got to have more speed in me by now, right?

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Another 11 Miles...On My Bike

Posted on 6/10/2008 to Health and Fitness

Yesterday evening I was in need of some cross training, but I couldn't decide between a yoga class or a bike ride. A cool front had come through during the day, so instead of the typical mid-90s temperature, it was 70°F—perfect for a nice, leisurely bike ride. Of course, with this front came rain, or so the weathermen predicted. However, the radar told a different story, and it was decided—I was going for a bike ride.

Continue reading Another 11 Miles...On My Bike...

New Running Gear

Posted on 6/8/2008 to Health and Fitness

On Saturday afternoon I ventured out to our local Luke's Locker for some new gear. I'm really not sure what I went there for, but I ended up with a pair of shorts, socks, hydration belt, and a bra—for Julie. I also picked up some Hammer Gels, which I'd never tried before.

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Yes, I Sweat That Much

Posted on 6/8/2008 to Health and Fitness

My alarm went off at 5:15 AM this morning, and by 6:15, I was out on my 11 mile run. It was only 81.2°F, 64.3% humidity, with a 14.2 mph wind. The run was pretty good—it certainly felt better than my first attempt at 11 miles, and even better than last week's 11 mile run, which wasn't too bad.

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Running Intervals In The Wind

Posted on 6/6/2008 to Health and Fitness

First, let me clarify—it sucks. Big time. Last night, while doing my interval workout, I had the pleasure of 26-28 MPH winds, gusting to 40 MPH. 40 MPH! And of course the only time the wind let up even a little was when it was at back, never when it was in my face. So I did what any runner would do and I HTFU, and did my intervals. There was one saving grace—the temperature was only 90°F, with 48% humidity.

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All-Star Baseball

Posted on 6/4/2008 to Family & Friends

Our oldest, Jacob, had the privilege of trying out for his baseball league's Summer All-Star Team back in early May. Now, Jacob enjoys playing baseball, but he'd be the first to tell you that it isn't his favorite sport. However, he's pretty good.

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Catching Up On Running

Posted on 6/2/2008 to Health and Fitness

I was looking through my training log, and realized that I hadn't discussed much of it, other than to say it sucked, or that I did x number of miles. So I thought I'd run through the week:

  • Tuesday, May 27: 5 miles in 50:08 (10:01/mile) - Avg HR 149 (relatively cool).
  • Thursday, May 29: 5 miles total, including 1 mile warm up, 1 mile cool down, 3 miles Tempo (8:51, 8:45, 8:27).
  • Friday, May 30: 4 miles in 40:20 (10:05/mile) - Avg HR 157 (hot, humid, and windy).
  • Sunday, June 1: 11 miles in 1:56:53 (10:37/mile) - Avg HR 163 (warm, humid, and windy).

As you can see, my heart rate is not only dependent on effort, but also highly dependent on the weather, especially if I don't slow myself down in hot, humid, windy conditions.

You'll also notice that I attempted another 11 mile run. Unlike last week, I consider this one a success. I was able to run the entire distance, without any walking. I carried 20 oz. of water with me, and it lasted until the end (barely). I should mention that I was out the door and warming up by 6:40 AM Sunday morning. However, before I was even a few miles into the run, I was wishing that I had gotten started even earlier.

One last item to note: some of you may have noticed that I now have Twitter Updates listed on the front page of the web site, and that I've posted some of my running data there. I think that I am going to continue doing this with my runs, as it is a super easy and convenient way to quickly summarize my runs. I might even do a running only twitter feed.

100 Mile Month

Posted on 5/31/2008 to Health and Fitness

May has turned out to be quite the month for running. Last week I completed my first 30 mile week, and yesterday I put the finishing touches on my first 100 mile month (101.27 to be exact). I also had my first double-digit runs, with two 10-milers, and one 11-miler. Last, but not least, I ran the Buffalo Boogie on May 10th—my 3rd 5K race in 4 weeks. I set a new PR of 26:25 at the Buffalo Boogie, even though I had to walk 3 times between 2.6 and 2.8 miles.

May also saw some difficult times on the road, as I dealt with my first "injury" for the first couple of weeks—strained hip flexors. First it was my left hip flexor, and then it was my right.  The right hip flexor strain lingered on for what seemed like forever, and then one day the discomfort was gone. Of course, I tried to train through it, which I am sure just prolonged the discomfort.

I am not sure what the next two months hold for me, until I start my half marathon training, but over the next several months I am sure that I'll be looking back on May saying "remember when I only ran 100 miles in a month?"

When The Sun Goes Down

Posted on 5/29/2008 to Health and Fitness

This week's Take It and Run Thursday theme over at Runners' Lounge is Running In The Heat, and  here in Texas, we know a little bit about the heat (and humidity, and wind). Heck, some people like to say that we only have two seasons here: summer, and the rest of the year (which seems to amount to less and less time each year). Growing up, the heat never bothered me much, in fact it was something I was proud a sick and twisted way, but whatever, that's a Texan for you...then I moved to Colorado.

While I was only in Colorado for just under two years, that was enough time to totally throw my body out of whack when it came to dealing with the heat (it might also have had something to do with gaining 50+ lbs). When I moved back to Texas, the heat that first summer was unbearable, and has continued to be unbearable ever since. I don't even venture out around downtown Fort Worth for lunch once we get into June!

Between 2002 and 2003, I dropped most of the 50+ lbs. that I gained after moving to Colorado, and it made little difference. I've now dropped another 50 lbs., and all of a sudden, I no longer have a permanent "winter coat." I actually get chilled sometimes, to my wife's amusement. So I've actually been looking forward to this summer, just to see how well I can handle the heat.

But that all came crashing down this past Sunday when I attempted my long run much later than I should have (10:30 AM instead of 6-7 AM), in the trio of heat, humidity, and wind. While I did complete the 11 miles, I had to walk quite a bit during the final 3 miles, including alternating running a walking every .1 mile for the last 1 mile. I also consumed about 60 oz. of fluids during the run, which is a lot more than I consumed on previous long runs (9 or 10 miles, but in much cooler and less humid weather).

It's obvious that I need to do something different if I am going to survive a summer of running. The obvious answer, as many people have pointed out, is to simply get out there and run in the heat, but slower, and for shorter distances. Within a couple of weeks I'll be acclimated. But what about my weekly long run, or my tempo run or intervals? I don't really want to shorten my long run, and I've got to do my speedwork--what do I do about those?

The answer so far has been to wait for the sun to go down and the temperatures to at least fall back to the low 80s, if not the 70s. Of course that might mean running at 10 or 11 PM, which isn't all that fun, and makes for a very late night--and not a happy wife. If only I could get myself out of bed and out the door between 5 and 6 AM!

Until I get acclimated, I'll be slowing down, wearing the lightest colored, most breathable clothing I own, slathering on the sunscreen (should always do this), and putting on the shades (helps keep those squint wrinkles from showing up so soon). I'll also be carrying water, or running in areas with reliable water fountains, and praying for a cooler than normal summer.

Our First Anniversary

Posted on 5/28/2008 to Project 18,253

Yesterday, Julie and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Actually, our celebration started the day before that, on Memorial Day, and continued on through yesterday.

After sleeping in a little bit on Monday, we headed to the gym for a short workout, but not before a quick shopping detour to find a couple of shirts to match the plaid shorts I picked up the day before. An hour and twenty minutes later, we were finally at the gym. While working out might not sound like much of a start to a celebration, if you've been following along here for any length of time, you know exercise is very important to both of us. Besides, we'd be eating at some fancy restaurant later that evening.

After the gym, it was back to the house to pack our bags, get a quick shower, and then head out for the real fun--a hotel party.

For those of you familiar with the area, we stayed in the new Hilton at the Southlake Town a corner suite...very nice. Upon our arrival, we had champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, which were very yummy.

After a quick look around the hotel (checking out the fitness room, and the pool), we ventured over to the hotel bar (inside of Copeland's restaurant) for a drink. The bar is called the 5° Bar, and features vodka and tequila on tap, chilled to 5°F. We each had a margarita on the rocks with Patron Silver and Grand Marnier. Very tasty. Next stop on the anniversary tour was Brio Tuscan Grill for a little snack a their patio bar, because the margaritas were that strong.

After some awesome margherita flatbread from Brio, and a couple of more drinks (mojito for me, and wine for Julie), we headed back to the hotel with enough time to hit the pool before needing to get ready for dinner.

The pool was nice and quiet, but there was no swim-up bar, no waiters and waitresses roaming around taking drink orders...nothing! Oh, wait--that was last year, in Mexico. The pool was nice and cool, and the sun was shining--perfectly relaxing.

After a little fiasco with the iron (it temporarily stained the shirt I brought to wear to dinner), we were off to Truluck's for dinner. This was the first time for both of us to dine at Truluck's, and it was absolutely wonderful!

We started off with "wine flights," as neither of us could settle on any one thing, and we hadn't decided what we'd be ordering for dinner. I had a Pinot wine flight, and Julie had a Chardonnay wine flight. I don't remember the specific wines, but they were all good.

As for the food, we shared the Sauteed Superlump of the best I've ever had! Julie had the Grilled Gulf Red Snapper with their Ponchartrain sauce, and I had their Grilled Tenderloin Medallions, which came with "loaded" potato cakes--OMG! Finally, because we were there celebrating our anniversary (and shamelessly told the hostess as much) the waitress came out with a specially prepared small molten chocolate cake with fresh berries. Also very, very good.

After dinner we took a nice stroll around the Town Square, over to these fancy "brownstones" that they've built. We even stopped to chat with one of the owners who was out working in her garden (escaping the heat of the day?). The brownstones are very nice, and very big. The woman we spoke with said that they had over 3,000 sq. ft.

Yesterday morning, after sleeping in again, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in our room, another dip in the pool, and then it was time to pack up and head out.

But before heading home, we visited Brio for lunch, Central Market to restock on fruit and stuff, and then finally went home to eat the top layer of our wedding cake. (Which I'd been looking forward to ever since May 27th, 2007.) The cake did not disappoint. My mom did a great job of wrapping it up so that it would last a year in the freezer.

It's time for me to go get the boys, so I've got to wrap this up... We had an amazing anniversary! A quick thanks to friends and family for all of your support over the past year.

Runners' Hell

Posted on 5/26/2008 to Health and Fitness

85.3, 62.5, 17.7. Can you guess what those numbers represent? Runners' hell, that's what. Actually, those numbers are the average temperature, humidity, and wind speed during my 11-mile run yesterday. You don't want to see the highs. It was hot, humid, windy, and it sucked! Runners' Hell.

I've decided that I can easily take one of the three, and on a good day, I can deal with two of the three, but three of the three? Forget it. I can honestly say that I haven't been so miserable on a run and looked so forward to it being over as I was and did yesterday. But I finished it. It required a fair amount of run/walks in the final 3 miles, but I did it.

Since I'm all about the numbers today, here are some more: 181.5 lbs. and 175.5 lbs. The first number is my weight when I got up yesterday. The second is my weight when I got home from my run. In between the two weigh-ins I ate half an english muffin with peanut butter, 1 banana, and consumed 60 oz. of fluids--and I was still down 6 lbs!

In the end, I covered the 11 miles along the Trinity Trails in a very pedestrian 2:11.03 (an average pace of 11:53). On the bright side, even on a miserable day it looks like I'll be able to cover my first half marathon in 2.5 hours or less.

A Man Without A Plan

Posted on 5/22/2008 to Health and Fitness

Here it is Thursday, and I am 4 days without a running plan. I finished up my 8-week Smart Coach program from Runner's World this past Sunday, and in a couple of months I'll be starting my official half marathon training program, but I've been at a loss for what to do until then. I've been running with a plan for as long as I've been running—nearly 8 months now! I admit, I feel a little lost.

All of this is not to say that I haven't been running, because I have—9 miles so far this week, with another 5 or 6 tonight, a few more tomorrow, and then I think an 11-mile long run on Sunday. But I need a plan. I need something to tell me what type of run I am doing, the pace of each run, when to run and when to rest... I just need something.

Over on Runners' Lounge, they have a feature called Ask Coach Kellyso I did. I asked her what I should be doing between now and the end of July/first of August, based on my current level of fitness. I got a great (and fast) response, with all kinds of good information. In her response, she talks about periodization, and functional strength training (already working on this one with my strength training), targeting the potential muscular imbalances of runners and endurance athletes. She goes on to suggest 3 to 4 runs per week, and two strength training sessions per week, adding in cross-training as desired. All great information, with suggestions on some articles to read, but still no specific plan to follow.

Should I try designing my own plan for the rest of May, June, and July, or should I go back to what has worked so far? I could try the intermediate 10K program from Hal Higdon, or his advanced 5K program. Or I could generate another program from Runner's World's Smart Coach. Hmm...

Running Intervals

Posted on 5/16/2008 to Health and Fitness

Last night I ran intervals, and that basically concluded my 8-week Runner's World Smart Coach Training Program. Sure, I am supposed to take today and tomorrow off, and then race on Sunday, but I raced this past Saturday, and 2 of the previous 3 weekends, too. Plus we'll be visiting with lots of family this weekend--hey maybe I'll organize a little family 5K fun run!

Anyway, I was saying...oh, yeah...yesterday was interval training day. Overall, it wasn't a really tough training day, just 3x800m @ 4:05, 400m recovery jogs, and a total mileage of 5 miles, including warm up and cool down. The only catch was that J had a baseball game at 6 PM, so I either had to get it in before the game, or later in the night, which really just meant that I might opt not to do it. So I headed up early to the ball fields, which are at one end of a really nice trail, and set out for my run.

I started off with a nice easy 1.5 mile warm up at a 10:46/mile pace, and the proceeded to run half mile intervals in 3:55, 3:54, and 3:46, with quarter mile recovery jogs in between (since I was on a trail, I set my Garmin to .5 mile/.25 intervals, rather than 800m/400m). I wrapped it all up with another 1.5 miles for cool down.

In total, I covered 5.25 miles in 54:41, with an average pace of 10:25/mile, and an average heart rate of 156. Not bad, huh?

10 More Miles

Posted on 5/14/2008 to Health and Fitness

I know I am a little tardy in posting this, but I've been very busy rearranging some things with my web host. Anyway...

This past Sunday I completed my second 10 mile run. Unlike the previous Sunday, when I averaged 11:42/mile, I averaged 10:42/mile, which was my target pace. Of course, I also looked at my Garmin Forerunner 305 while I was running. It definitely wasn't quite as easy feeling as the first 10 mile run, but that's to be expected.

Sunday was also my first run along Trinity Trails. I started from a parking lot on the west side of University, just north of the river, and headed west over to Hwy 183 and back. Of course, from where I left, it was less than 5 miles to the turnaround point, so I had to keep running east of University for a while before I was done.

Overall, I enjoyed the change of scenery, and the people out on the trail, but there were two things I think I can do without:

  1. The cyclists who insist on riding two across, even on narrow sections of the trail.
  2. The stink coming from the rail yard. It was awful!

Next time, I think I will park north of I-30, and head north. Also, next time I need to not forget to put on sunscreen!

2008 Buffalo Boogie Results

Posted on 5/10/2008 to Health and Fitness

Whew...what a race! I knew going in that it was going to be a tough course. The race was advertised as a "flat, shaded, and entirely in the country," well at least they got two out of three right. The person making the claim that the course was flat must've just looked at the net elevation gained/lost--this was pretty much a loop course, so of course the net elevation change is going to be about 0! 

As I was saying, I knew it would be tough going in. I found the course on and mapped it on, to get an idea as to what it would be like. My coworker, Darren, who also ran it (new PR and not only his first sub 30:00 5K, but his first sub 29:00 5k!), took a look at the course using Google Earth, which gave us great feedback on the elevation throughout the course. Fast, downhill start, pretty flat for the next mile and a half, and then uphill for the rest of the race.

In my Pacing the Buffalo Boogie post, I posed the question as to what approach to take for this race. In the end, I decided to go out a little faster than normal, since there was the nice downhill for the first .35 mile. The hope was that I would gain some valuable time, without using up too much extra energy, and then I'd be able to afford to lose a little time in the uphill final mile plus of the race.

Right on time, at 8:30 AM, we were off. As planned, I went out fast, and Darren initially started out even faster. I pulled even with him and let him know we were running a low 7 minute mile pace, at which point he pulled up just a bit. I really tried to hold that pace, but soon found myself running 6:20/mile pace by the bottom of the hill--probably just a little too fast, as I was sucking air already. I spent most of the rest of the first mile trying to recover, while still holding my pace at around 8:00/mile.

The second mile was nice and shaded, though the sun wasn't out, and with the temperature at 75°F, with near 80% humidity, it really didn't matter. Mile 2 was mostly rolling, and never really afforded me a chance to get comfortable. The goal here was to not lose any time to my 8:32 overall pace, which would be necessary to hit my current PR of 26:31. Towards the end of mile 2 we begin the uphill towards the finish.

Mile 3 was as advertised, if not slightly worse. It went up, and up, and up. I was suffering. I had to walk. 3 times. I've not done that before in a race. Somewhere between 2.6 and 2.8, I walked 3 times, for a total of 30-40 seconds. Could I have gone sub-26:00 without walking? I don't know. Maybe. I feel like such a wuss for walking. I can't believe I gave into that little voice that is always sitting there saying "you've done good, it would be okay to walk now." I even took some water at the second water stop, which was somewhere around the 2.5 mark.

In the end, I was able to pull some time back in the final .25 mile, and come through the uphill finish without walking anymore, spewing, or collapsing. My chip time for the Buffalo Boogie is 26:25.76--a new PR! I even passed a few of the folks that I had been running with, who I figured were long gone when I started walking.

Here are the official results: 2008 Buffalo Boogie Age Group Results (It goes straight to my age group--4th place!)

Pacing The Buffalo Boogie

Posted on 5/9/2008 to Health and Fitness

I am having a tough time deciding my race pace for the Buffalo Boogie. Looking at my last 4 races, I tend to run negative splits throughout (i.e., final .11 is faster than mile 3, which is faster than mile 2, which is faster than mile 1)—the exception being the Komen, which I ran with Julie, and really held back for most of the killer 3rd mile, so that I didn’t leave her too far behind. Some of that is surely due to the congestion at the start of the big races. In the Bunny Boogie, which was by far the smallest race, I turned in the most even pace, with only 3 seconds separating my time from mile 1 and my time from mile 3.

To equal my current PR, from the Fort Worth Zoo Run Run, I need to average 8:32/mile. Of course, that doesn’t take into account any additional distance I must cover if I don’t run perfect tangents. Knowing that the last mile is mostly uphill, do I go out faster than 8:32/mile, leaving some breathing room at the end, do I shoot for even splits, or do I hope for more negative splits, perhaps saving a slight amount of energy to really push that 3rd mile?

Considering the mostly flat to slightly downhill first two miles, I am inclined to go out a little faster than my target pace, and hope to just hold on in mile 3.

What do you think?

Registered For The Buffalo Boogie

Posted on 5/8/2008 to Health and Fitness

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I was considering running the Buffalo Boogie 5K this Saturday at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge. Well, I just registered for it, so I am running it. Here's the description from

The Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge is a natural gem on the banks of the Trinity River and Lake Worth with 3800 acres of prairie, woodland, river bottom, and marsh. Buffalo Boogie proceeds this year will support the 24-member bison herd. The Boogie route passes right by our herd, so everyone gets to see these lovely animals. The route is flat, shaded, and entirely in the country!

The Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge really is a cool place—it's scenic, has lots of hiking trails, and of course the buffalo herd, plus lots more. Julie and I need to take the boys over there a little more often than we have (we've been once).

As for the hip flexors feel good this morning, though the left one was a little tight (again) during my run last night, so I am thinking of actually racing, and not just going out to "do the run." I am stretching both of them daily, and I've also added some leg lifts to help strengthen them some. Hopefully that will help, otherwise it looks like I am in for a little time off. As for my goal time...that's a tough one. Not counting the Komen Race for the Cure, which I ran with Julie, I've been taking a minute or more off of my 5K PR in each of my last 3 5Ks (that was done over the course of 2 months). It's now been 3 weeks since the Fort Worth Zoo Run Run, where I set my current PR of 26:31, and 2 weeks since the Komen, where Julie and I actually finished with a time that is now my 3rd best 5K time, at 28:40. Aside from the hip flexor issue, my training has been going well--I've been getting in my distance, and doing my intervals and tempo runs. Perhaps I should shoot for a new PR, maybe even shoot for a sub-26:00 5K. What do you think?

Buffalo Boogie

Posted on 5/6/2008 to Health and Fitness

I ran the Fort Worth Zoo Run Run and the Komen Tarrant County Race For The Cure in back to back weekends, two of the last three weekends. With this past weekend off from racing, I am considering entering the Buffalo Boogie, which is held at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, this coming Saturday. Is anyone else doing this run? Has anyone done this run in the past?

The Salsa King

Posted on 5/6/2008 to Eats and Drinks

For my longtime readers, you know that I had a life before running, and that I do have other interests. One of those interests is cooking, and one of my favorite things to make is salsa. I love eating it, too. In fact, I love it so much, we have a party every year, celebrating Tequila and Salsa.

Over the years I've used my coworkers as my informal taste testers for my salsa, so when a salsa contest was announced at work to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, many of them asked if I'd be entering. I've got to admit, I haven't made a whole lot of salsa over the last couple of months, and we were going to be pretty busy over the weekend before the contest, so I really wasn't sure that I wanted to enter. However, late Friday evening I decided to go ahead and enter.

As it turns out, I didn't make it to the store to get my ingredients until Sunday night, and I didn't even start on the salsa until after 9:30 PM Sunday night.  Within an hour, the salsa was ready and tasting good. Monday morning rolls around and I take the salsa to work and set it out for the judging, and what do you know, I win the contest!

So now I am the proud maker of an award winning salsa! Does anyone know how to go about bottling salsa and getting it into the hands (and mouths) of consumers?

Oh, and if you're interested, the winning salsa was based on my Perfect Salsa.

Slow Ride

Posted on 5/4/2008 to Health and Fitness

...Take it easy...

That's sure what I did on what must be my first real long slow run. Sure, I've run a lot of long runs over the last few months, some slower and some faster, but this morning I was truly slow. I know, I know--that's the whole point of long slow runs. And I feel pretty good about it, but something is gnawing at me a bit, like I didn't do enough.

My run this morning was day 7 of week 6 of an 8-week program generated by Smart Coach from Runner's World. 10 miles @ 10:43 pace. At least that is what it was supposed to be. Instead, I decided not to look at my Garmin Forerunner 305 during my run, preferring to just run based on feel--nice and easy. So that's what I did.

I felt good. I felt strong. It was a beautiful morning, with the temperature in the low 50s when I headed out. It was deceiving. I figured the cool temperature was contributing to how good I felt, not an especially slow pace. As the miles went by, I continued to feel strong, even though the temperature had climbed into the 60s, the sun was out, and I was tackling hill after hill. In fact, somewhere between mile 7 and 8, I started thinking about a blog post to the effect of "flattening of the hills." That's how good I felt.

Finally, I hit the end of mile 10. A little walking to cool down, and it was time to check the Forerunner--1:58:02! Oh my goodness, that's like 10 minutes off the pace I was supposed to be running, and not in a good way. No wonder I felt so good during the run, and feel so good now, I was barely moving.

After seeing the overall time, the next step was to check my heart rate and splits. Wow, 146 bpm for 10 miles. That's something, right? I mean that puts my run squarely in the "Long Slow Run" category, where it is all about building endurance, and getting the time in on my feet, right? Just in case I need to feel a little bit better about things--for the first time, the first run at a new long distance didn't own me.

Here are the splits:

  1. 11:59 / 133 bpm
  2. 11:53 / 136 bpm
  3. 12:04 / 144 bpm
  4. 12:06 / 140 bpm
  5. 12:13 / 148 bpm
  6. 11:47 / 141 bpm
  7. 11:45 / 148 bpm
  8. 11:39 / 155 bpm
  9. 11:18 / 162 bpm
  10. 11:15 / 164 bpm

Half Marathon Training

Posted on 5/1/2008 to Health and Fitness

I had so much fun participating in last week's Take It And Run Thursday over at the Runners' Lounge, that I couldn't pass up doing it again this week. This week's theme is "Backwards Take It and Run Thursday," meaning that instead of posting wisdom (or attempting to post wisdom), we should post a question that we have about our running, training, racing, gear, hydration, etc., that we need help answering. As such, I've decided to pose the following questions regarding training for the upcoming San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in November of this year.

For those of you who are new to my site, I have been running since October 2007, and am nearing the end of my fourth training program (started with Couch-to-5K, followed by Hal Higdon's Novice 10K, then Hal Higdon's Intermediate 5K, and now Runner's World's Smart Coach for 5K). I've raced in five 5Ks since December 1st, improving my time from 31:25 to 26:31. My most recent long run was 9 miles (twice), and my next two long runs will be 10 miles. I am currently running between 20-25 miles per week, 4 days a week, with my last two month totals at 93 and 89 miles, respectively. My first half marathon is November 16th.

Given all of this, here are my questions:

  1. How should I train for my half marathon?
  2. When should I start the training?
  3. What program do you consider to be the best to use, given my current level of fitness and experience?
  4. In two weeks, my current program will end--what should I do between then and the official start of my half marathon training?

A lot of questions, but I know the answers are out there. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and help me out!

2008 Komen Race For The Cure Results

Posted on 4/26/2008 to Health and Fitness

Julie and I ran the Tarrant County Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this morning. Since we raced the Fort Worth Zoo Run Run last weekend, our plan was to run together, and just see what we could do. That plan was put in doubt Thursday night after I strained my right hip flexor doing intervals. It didn't start hurting until I was doing my cool down, and I was barely able to walk enough to cool down. I was not hopeful, to say the least. However, after ice and rest, it felt good this morning, and I planned to race, pending how it felt after warming up and stretching.

We arrived downtown and had our timing chips by 7:30 AM, leaving about 30 minutes for a good warm up and stretch, and to see how my hip flexor was going to feel. After a light jog, some strides, and then thorough stretching, we were ready to go, my hip flexor included.

We hopped into the competitive 5K starting area, and ran into Julie's former MBA classmate, Ron, and his wife, Tiffany. They were grouped into the 10:00/mile, yet weren't too far back from the start, so we stayed with them. Tiffany recently completed the Cowtown Marathon (I think her first full), and Ron the Cowtown Half, so I was hitting them up for some training tips as we awaited the starting gun.

Once the gun went off, we made our way to the starting line, and then we were off. The first mile was a slight downhill, and we focused on settling into a nice pace--not too fast, because of the killer uphill 3rd mile, but not too slow, as we wanted to take advantage of the slight downhill. Mile one was clocked at 9:04, not bad, but not quite as quick as we could've gone.

With mile 2 we started into the first couple of uphill sections, but they were at least followed by decent downhill sections, so that we could make up some time. We ran mile 2 in 8:54. Not bad at all, and definitely feeling strong. But that was about too change.

Mile 3 was almost all uphill. It wasn't fun, but we charged on. About halfway up the hill, I actually started to feel good--not quite like a second wind, but definitely not as tired as I had been. We finished mile 3 in 9:48, and then the final .1 mile in 54 seconds (at a 7:43/mile pace), with Julie half a step ahead of me.

My Garmin time showed 28:40 and Julie's watch showed 28:41, so we're going to go with 28:40 as our official time. Unfortunately, RunFar, who did the timing, seems to have had problems with our chips, so we're not sure what our official time is.

By the way, the 28:40 is a new PR for Julie, topping her previous mark of 28:48, which was set just one week ago.

Running Wisdom In 13 Words Or Less

Posted on 4/25/2008 to Health and Fitness

This week's "Take it and Run Thursday" topic at Runner's Lounge is to share some running wisdom in 13 words or less. Here's mine:

Just get out there. Nobody says that they wish they hadn't run today.


Whenever you think you can't, know that you can, and that you will.


Posted on 4/23/2008 to My Weight Loss Journey

185—that's been my long-range weight goal ever since registering on back in November 2007. Now, just 5 months later, that's my weight—from a recent high of 231 in mid-November. In 5 months. Without "dieting." Pretty good, huh?

I am writing up something a little longer (ok, a lot longer) that will go into more detail about my weight loss journey—where I've come from...where I am going...what it means to me, etc. So be looking for that in the near future.

Now, it is time to start settling into my new body, and let my old skin catch up to my new body.

My First Group Yoga Class

Posted on 4/22/2008 to Health and Fitness

If you recall, Julie and I recently completed 3 in-home yoga classes with our friend and coworker, Beth, of Laughing Ladybug Yoga. Since finishing those classes, Julie has started attending the yoga classes at our local LA Fitness at least once a week, but I've been hesitant to join her, and the schedule just hasn't cooperated--until last night.

Last night I attended yoga at our LA Fitness, along with Julie. This marks my very first out-of-the-home yoga class, and the first yoga class where it was more than just Julie and me. I had been hesitant to attend one of these classes because I didn't want to feel out of place amongst a bunch of super-bendy longtime yoga folks. As it turns out, there were a few super-bendy folks, but most people were not much more flexible than me, and I was able to do all of the poses, even employing some of the advanced techniques (at least for a few moments, anyway).

As with my previous yoga classes (all 3 of them), I found the class to be challenging, but not overly so. I was definitely glad that I'd had the earlier classes with Beth, where she was able to take the time to show us proper form and explain the "whys and hows." Otherwise, I might've been lost. I think I'll plan to go again.

2008 Fort Worth Zoo Run Run Results

Posted on 4/19/2008 to Health and Fitness

As I mentioned in my post earlier this morning, today was the Fort Worth Zoo Run Run, and Julie and I ran the timed 5K. We don't have the official results, but I do have my Garmin Forerunner results (started and stopped on the timing mats).

According to my Forerunner 305, my time was 26:31.13, with an average pace of 8:34/mile, which is an average speed of 7 mph. My average heart rate was 182 bpm, with a max heart rate of 196 bpm, which came right at the end, along with my fastest speed--10.7 mph. Here are my splits:

  • Mile 1: 8:49.86 - 174 bpm
  • Mile 2: 8:44.80 - 185 bpm
  • Mile 3: 8:21.45 - 187 bpm
  • Final .1: 0:35.02 - 193 bpm

This was a tough race, with a lot of people, lots of kids, strollers (fortunately most of the strollers were towards the back), and hills. It was also a fun race, as the early part of the course wound right through the zoo, and included runner taunting monkeys.

Overall, I am very pleased with my time. It definitely indicates that my training is working, as I've now dropped my 5K time significantly in the last few months:

Julie ran her first sub 30 minute 5K! We're estimating her time in the range of 29:15-29:45. Hopefully the official results will be posted later today and we can verify the actual time.

Next Saturday is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Please join our team or make a contribution!

Racing With A Garmin Forerunner

Posted on 4/19/2008 to Health and Fitness

It's racing day today--the Fort Worth Zoo Run Run 5K/10K. Julie and I are doing the 5K. This will be the 3rd race that I've run since buying my Garmin Forerunner 305, and I am curious as to how other people with Forerunners utilize them during a race?

In the previous two races (the Cowtown 5K and Bunny Boogie), I've set a quick workout for pace and distance. The allows me to just worry about hitting start, and then I keep the display on pace to make sure I'm not too fast and not too slow. Of course, if the course is off a little, or if I am not running perfect tangents, then the Forerunner will finish the set distance somewhere besides the actual finish line. So far, though, my Forerunner times have been pretty close to my actual finish times. However, in today's race, I am thinking of just hitting start and then manually stopping it at the finish line.

How do you race with your Garmin Forerunner, or other, similar device?

The Week Of A 5K Race

Posted on 4/17/2008 to Health and Fitness

What do you do the week of a race? Specifically, what do you do the week of a 5K race? Do you reduce your miles? If so, how? When? Do you take the day or two before the race off from running? Do you change anything else--cross-training, eating, etc.?

I've now run 3 5K races, and I have one this Saturday, and one next Saturday, and I am still not sure what to do the week of a race!

In the week before my first race, I finished up the Couch-to-5K Running Plan on the Wednesday before the Jingle Bell Run (a Saturday race), so I took Thursday and Friday off from running, though I did do upper body strength training in the early afternoon the day of the race (evening race).

In the week before my second race, the Cowtown 5K, I also planned on two days off before the race. My training program at the time, Hal Higdon's Intermediate 5K Training Program, had a 5K test race scheduled for that weekend with 2 days of rest prior to the race. The day before the race I did an upper body strength training workout, along with several pick-ups between my strength training sets. I ran the Cowtown in 28:45, which was nearly 2.5 minutes faster than my Jingle Bell Run time. Of course my training and weight loss played a large part in that improvement.

In the week before my most recent race, the Bunny Boogie, I also had two days of rest scheduled prior to race day. On Thursday before the race I did upper body strength training and yoga. Friday was a complete rest day (with a couple of margaritas, wine, and Tex-Mex for dinner). Of course, I set a PR and came in 2nd in my age-group.

So what's the proper approach? We've had some pretty nasty storms blow in this evening, so I am not likely to run today, making two days off since my last run, though I did do some cross-training yesterday. I don't really want to go four days between my last run and the race, so I think I'll go out for an easy 4 miles tomorrow early. Tell me what you think.

Getting Ready For The Zoo Run Run

Posted on 4/16/2008 to Health and Fitness

In preparation for the Fort Worth Zoo Run Run, which is mostly uphill through the first half or more, I decide to use today's "easy" 5 mile run for some practice on the hills.

I did an out-and-back, which was flat through the first 1 mile, and then uphill for the next 1.25 miles. The plan was to stay close to my training pace of 11:04 going out, and then just let myself go on the downhill stretches on the way back. I think it worked out pretty well. Overall, I did 5 miles @ 10:24/mile pace, with an average heart rate of 155 bpm. My average speed was 5.8 mph, my max speed was 8.7 mph, and my max heart rate was 180.

Here are the splits:

  1. 10:58.89 - 139 bpm
  2. 10:42.79 - 152 bpm
  3. 10:06.13 - 159 bpm
  4. 9:50.02 - 165 bpm
  5. 10:26.92 - 163 bpm

All in all, it was a good run. I was actually surprised to see that my average heart rate was only 155 bpm. I expected something in the 160s, just because it was a little warm, a lot windy, and I was pushing a little.

The Zoo Run Run is this Saturday morning. The plan is to run it with Julie. Hopefully I can set a nice pace for her early, and help her get a PR, or maybe we'll just have some fun!

Running Wild

Posted on 4/14/2008 to Health and Fitness

Yesterday was the end of week 3 of my current training program, which was generated using Runner's World's Smart Coach program. Yesterday, of course, was also my long run--9 miles, for the first time.

Julie and I took the boys down to her parents' house in Houston this weekend for the "Wild Game" dinner, which is held each spring at at her parents' beach house. The Wild Game dinner consists of lots of food, adult beverage, good times, and sun (most years, anyway). This year was no different. Though the dinner was on Saturday, my long run was in doubt, as a day of eating, drinking, and lounging in the sun is not always conducive to running. That, and it's a 5+ hour drive back home. However, Julie had other plans.

Once everyone was up and moving, and the boys had been fed (donuts, of course), Julie arranged for her sister and family to come over--their 3 boys to play with our 2--while we went for our run. I do love her! We headed out for a nice, relatively flat couple of loops in the neighborhoods around her parents' house.

Julie's run was a 10K, her longest distance to date, so I paced her around at my training pace, which is currently 11:04/mile for long runs. She not only held on, but she ran it easily. In the final 1.2 miles of her 10K, I inched the pace up ever so slightly (unintentionally), and thought that I might drop her. But as we closed in on the final half mile, she pulled herself back up to me, even as I picked up the pace a little more. By the time we hit the 6 mile mark, and then 6.22, she was running strong, and right along side of me to finish her first 10K!

Once Julie finished her 10K and began the walk back to the house, I surged ahead for the final 2.78 miles of my 9 mile run. I've got to say that up until this point I was feeling really good, and it actually took a little effort to hold myself back. However, that all changed as I finished up mile 8 and headed into mile 9. As with previous long runs, the first week of upping the long run mileage, I feel very strong all the way through the run, right until I am about to head into the new distance, then it all hits me at once. Fortunately I have been able to regroup, refocus, and push through the last mile or so without burning myself out. Of course it helped knowing that the next time I do this distance, I will own it.

In the end, I did my 9 miles at an 11:00/mile pace, for a total time of 1:39:17.


Posted on 4/10/2008 to Health and Fitness

This past Monday I ordered ChiRunning from Amazon. It arrived Tuesday afternoon, and Tuesday evening I went out for 5 miles at an 11:04/mile pace which turned into 5 miles at a 9:34/mile pace, while I attempted to implement the lean.

The goal of ChiRunning is to provide runners with effortless, injury-free running technique that focuses on the pleasure of movement rather than on struggling and battling to run further and faster.

Created by Danny Dreyer, ChiRunning is meant to lower your perception of effort, regardless of how fast you're going. This is where the lean comes in (at the ankles, not the waist), allowing the body to work with--rather than against--gravity.

Of course there is a lot more to ChiRunning, and if you're not familiar with the ChiRunning technique, I encourage you to read more about it on, and to pick up a copy of the book.

As for my run, I already mentioned that it was a schedule "easy" 5 miles @ 11:04/mile, and that I actually did it @ 9:34/mile, but I didn't mention the specifics of my experience using ChiRunning...

I certainly didn't set out to go at a pace that much fast than I was supposed to run--it just sort of happened. After completing my initial mile in a comfortable 10:16, I hit a nice downhill stretch early in mile 2, and the next thing I know, I've completed mile 2 in 9:26. Not wanting to burn myself out on this run, I tried to back off a bit in mile 3 and turned in a 9:39 pace. At this point I just gave in and ran mile 4 faster than any of the other miles @ 8:50. It was sometime during mile 4 that I decided that I would turn this run into a 3-mile tempo run, with mile 1 as my warm up and mile 5 as my cool down. And I did slow down in mile 5, to a 9:35 pace.

I am not going to say that this was all due to ChiRunning, after all, I only looked at a very small portion of the book before heading out on my run. However, I will say that it helped. Sure, I was working hard, but not as hard as I have in the past to turn in that sort of pace over an extended distance. Without implementing the lean, I am sure that pace would've caused my average heart rate to be in the 180s, rather than the 166 bpm that it was.

Head on over to Amazon or your local bookstore and take a look at ChiRunning.

Tequila And Salsa

Posted on 4/10/2008 to Eats and Drinks

For those of you who cannot get enough tequila or salsa, I'd like to remind you of my latest website: Tequila and Salsa Party. The Tequila and Salsa Party website is dedicated to, of all things, tequila and salsa--and consuming them with good friends. The website was created as a companion to the Tequila and Salsa Party, which we've held for the last two years.

The Tequila and Salsa Party website contains not only information on our annual party, but also information on tasty salsas and tequila, as well as Mexican food that goes great with both.

Make sure you head on over to the site, and subscribe to the feed for the latest in tequila and salsa.

What A Difference A Week Makes

Posted on 4/6/2008 to Health and Fitness

Just finished up my long run for this week--an 8 mile loop around the neighborhood, same as last Sunday. This time I owned it, instead if it owning me.

For both runs I was to do 8 miles at an 11:04/mile pace. Last Sunday, I did my 8 miles in 1:35:57, for an 11:59/mile pace, with an average HR of 171. Today, I did my 8 miles in 1:28:02, for an 11:00/mile pace, with an average HR of 162. Last Sunday, my HR averaged 173 by mile 3, and I had to slow down dramatically just to keep it from going much higher. Today, my HR didn't average 173 until mile 7, and I was able to maintain my 11:00/mile pace through until the end.

Here's a link to a dot race between the last two long runs: What a difference a week makes!

Failed Run

Posted on 4/4/2008 to Health and Fitness

Yesterday was my first tempo run of my new training program. It called for a total of 5 miles, including warm up and cool down, with 3 miles @ 9:28/mile. It did not go well.

First, let me get the excuses out of the way—it was warm (mid-70s), it was humid (strong chance of thunderstorms), and it was windy (S 20 MPH, gusts to 30 MPH). Also, miles 1 and 2 of the 3 mile tempo run were too fast: 9:22/1st mile, and 9:16/2nd mile. Mile 3 ended up at a 9:32 pace. I only did .18 mile of my 1 mile cool down, and I did that walking.

This is the first time I haven't completed a scheduled run, and it really bothered me yesterday. Okay, the thunderstorm that blew in as I was in the last quarter mile of my tempo run did have a little to do with me not finishing the full 5 miles, but still... I even tried telling myself HTFU!

Komen Tarrant County Race for the Cure

Posted on 4/2/2008 to Health and Fitness

I am now officially registered for the Komen Tarrant County Race for the Cure 5K. Julie has done this race a few times, while I did the race with her back in April of 2006, though we registered for the fun run/walk, not the competitive 5K. This year we've both registered for the competitive 5K.

Please help us raise money to fund education, screening and treatment programs and support the national search for a cure. If you'd like to donate, or join our team, please visit my personal Tarrant County Race for the Cure page.

My Original Traineo Goal

Posted on 4/2/2008 to Health and Fitness

While I might have started running consistently on October 1st, 2007 when I began the Couch-to-5K Training Program, my whole journey to better health didn't really get going until I came across the web site

Traineo is a weight loss and fitness community that tries to differentiate itself by making motivation, support and accountability a key ingredient to the web site. Here's what they say on their site:

Motivation, Support and Accountability are the keys to achieving a weight loss and fitness goal. Our mission is to create the most effective weight loss and fitness community on the web by combining the latest software technology with sound information and services from the world’s leading health and fitness experts.

traineo is the culmination of over three years of development, testing and focus group studies in partnership with leading experts in weight loss, health, sports and fitness.

Quite honestly, I stumbled upon traineo the week before Thanksgiving 2007 while I was reading some running blogs. One of the blogs had this "I'm getting fit on traineo" badge, which I thought looked cool and interesting, so I clicked on it. The next thing I know, I'm registering and being asked to enter a weight goal. I had no idea what to enter, and honestly, I hadn't been very good lately about keeping, much less meeting weight goals. So out of my...ahem...hat, I pull out 185 by the end of March 2008 as my goal. I figured "what the heck do I have to lose, besides the weight."

Well, here we are on April 2, 2008, and while I didn't meet my goal weight of 185 by the end of March, I did get down to 192--that's a weight loss of 33 lbs since setting my traineo goal, and an overall weight loss of 39 lbs from my recent high, which was a little earlier in November 2007.

Since I haven't met my weight goal yet, I created a new goal, and that is to get down to 185 my the Komen Race for the Cure 5K on April 26th.

Fitness Goals For The Rest Of 2008

Posted on 4/2/2008 to Health and Fitness

  • Reach my initial Traineo Goal of weighing 185.
  • Finish my first half marathon.
  • Continue running as long as I am enjoying it.
  • Maintain an active lifestyle.
  • Continue healthier eating.
  • Find cross-training activities that I enjoy.
  • Reassess goals every 8 weeks.

Look for a blog post on each of these topics soon.

San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon

Posted on 3/31/2008 to Health and Fitness

It's official--I've registered for the San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon. It is on Sunday, November 16th, so I've got several months to get ready. My plan is to continue my current program, which will take me to the end of May, and then I'll either repeat the last several weeks of it or another program before beginning an official 16-week half-marathon training program in July.

Wish me luck!

Not Quite To 100

Posted on 3/30/2008 to Health and Fitness

Today was my weekly long run, and the final run for March. In the month of March, I ran a total of 93.15 miles, which is an all-time high for me by 20 miles. Today's long run was also a new high at 8 miles.

Today also marks the end of week 1 of my new training program. The current program is one that I generated from the Runner's World Smart Coach, and will last for 8 weeks. Here are the parameters I provided to generate the program:

  • Recent Race Time: 27:30 for a 5K (this was my Garmin time for the Bunny Boogie).
  • Training for a 5K.
  • Currently train 21-25 miles per week.
  • I want to train at a moderate level.
  • Long run day = Sunday.
  • Schedule length = 8 weeks.
  • Starting week = Monday, 3/24/2008

The first week went pretty well. There are a few differences between this program and the one I just finished (Hal Higdon's Intermediate 5K):

  • Easy runs are 4 or 5 miles.
  • Interval workouts alternate between 800m and 1600m intervals (different days, of course)
  • Tempo runs are quite a bit longer.
  • I have prescribed paces for each run (paces get quicker in the 2nd 4 weeks).
    • Easy run pace is 11:04
    • 800m @ 4:14
    • Tempo @ 9:28
    • 1600m @ 8:56
  • With this program, my longest long run will be 10 miles.

So maybe I'll top 100 miles in April, who knows? What I do know is that Spring is here, and in Texas, that means that Summer is practically a week away--at least that's how it felt today. Nothing like a long run in really warm weather, with high humidity and a lot of wind! For the record, I completed my 8 miles in 1:35:59, which was well off my prescribed pace of 11:04/mile, but aren't I supposed to slow down so many seconds or minutes per mile for every 5 or 10 degrees above 50 degrees?

Bunny Boogie Results

Posted on 3/22/2008 to Health and Fitness

Julie and I ran the Bunny Boogie 5K this morning at Trinity Park in Fort Worth. It was an absolutely great morning for racing, with the temperature in the low 50s, and lots of sunshine.

After eating Tex-Mex last night, along with a couple of margaritas and a glass of wine, I was uncertain of how the race would go today, and waking up with my stomach gurgling was not a great sign. Fortunately things subsided, and we headed out to the race.

I knew from looking at past results that this would be a very small race (100-150 people tops), but that's just what I was looking for, and we were both excited to not have to deal with the massive crowds of walkers bunched up at the starting lines of most of the really big 5Ks. Once we arrived, we grabbed our bibs, pinned them on, checked out the course map, and then warmed-up. As it was nearing the start-time, we caught up with our coworker, Darren, and his 7-year old son, Aidan, who was running his 2nd 5K. After a few words from the race director, we were off.

We started a little ways back from the starting line, not wanting to push our luck and get passed by too many people, which ultimately cost us a little time, but not too much. As is typical, I think everyone started off a little faster than they wanted to. At one point, I looked down at my Garmin and saw a sub 8:00/mile pace—definitely too fast! Within a couple of minutes I had brought the pace back up to a more manageable 8:45-9:00/mile, and was able to maintain that for most of the way.

Waving my arms to Stacy K, and keeping pace with my ''rabbit.''The plan for today's race was to go for a new PR, and I set a pace in the Garmin of 28:30, which would've been a new PR by 15 seconds. However, I found myself feeling pretty strong and pacing behind a guy at around 8:50-9:10, so I let myself stay slightly ahead of my goal pace for a little while. After several minutes, my "rabbit" slowed considerably, so I surged on ahead in search of a new rabbit. Luckily for me, he was just 20 yards ahead. I followed my new rabbit for the majority of the race, until he finally picked up the pace in the last half mile, and left me eating his dust. But that was okay, as I had been holding steady to an 8:55/mile pace and was still feeling good—just not good enough to stay with him as he upped his tempo. The good news is that I wasn't passed by anyone in the last half of the race or more, and I was able to pass several people, including a couple towards the end. And unlike the Cowtown 5K, I did not try to kick too soon. This time, I focused on maintaining my pace right up until the final .11 mile, and then surged with a controlled and maintainable (at least for a couple of minutes) pace of 7:43/mile.

At the finish, my Garmin reported a time of 27:30, so I will call that my chip time, since this race didn't utilize timing chips. My official time was 27:45, good for 2nd place in my age group (35-39), and a new PR by 1 minute!

Julie waving to Stacy K.After finishing, I walked back up the course a little ways to cheer on everyone else, including Aidan, Julie, and Darren. Aidan was the next of our group to finish, with a time of 31:16, which was good for 1st place in his age group! Then came Julie, a few seconds behind Aidan, finishing 3rd in her age group, and finally Darren, who did a magnificent job setting the early tempo for Aidan.

All in all, this was fun day, and something I think we'd like to do again—this race, as well as more small races! I should have some pictures of Julie and me with our medals to post a little later.

Here are my splits from the Garmin:

Mile Time Avg HR Avg Pace
1 8:54.98 169 8:54
2 8:53.75 182 8:53
3 8:51.73 186 8:51
.11 0:46.69 190 7:43
Total 27:30.15 179 8:51

Me and my silver medal.Here are the official results: Bunny Boogie 5K 2008. Looks like I need to email the RD and let him know he's got a 35 year old female in the 25-29 year old age group. Julie really did finish 3rd in her group.

Fort Worth Zoo Run Run

Posted on 3/20/2008 to Health and Fitness

Since I am in the mode of posting about races we've registered for, I thought I'd mention that we are also registered for the Fort Worth Zoo Run Run, on April 19th. This year, proceeds from the Zoo Run Run benefit all 25 of the Zoo's frog species in honor of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Year of the Frog.

Looking at the elevation of the course (assuming no change to the course from previous years), I think it will be pretty challenging, but what the heck, it's a good cause, and we'll be getting a cool t-shirt!

Well, I think it's about time for our 3rd yoga class, so I should probably wrap this up and shut the laptop down.

Registered For The Bunny Boogie 5K

Posted on 3/20/2008 to Health and Fitness

We finally registered for this Saturday's Bunny Boogie 5K Run/Walk. Saturday will be the final day of my current training program, Hal Higdon's 5-K Training: Intermediate, and for my final run, I am supposed to do what else, but a 5K race.

I also raced at the end of week 4, in the Cowtown 5K. My time in that race was 28:45, and I am hoping to be faster than that on Saturday. I think I will be, but you never know. The Bunny Boogie is a relatively flat, out-and-back, but it is not chip-timed, so I am at the mercy of getting a good start, close to the front, and someone at the end catching my number at the right time, or something like that. I guess I can always use my Garmin for my official results.

One thing that will be interesting is the size of this race. Previously, we've done big charity runs, or a 5K associated with a much larger race (like the Cowtown Marathon), where there's a couple to several thousand runners/walkers or more. The size will certainly help get closer to the starting line, however it also lends to a little bit more nervousness--I don't want to finish last, after all.

Training: What's Up Next?

Posted on 3/18/2008 to Health and Fitness

Well, here I am in the final week of Hal Higdon's 5-K Training: Intermediate, and it's past time to start looking for my next training program. If you've followed along here, you know that I've done the following programs:

  1. Couch-to-5K Running Plan
  2. Hal Higdon's 10K Training Program: Novice
  3. Hal Higdon's 5K Training Program: Intermediate

All three programs have been pretty much perfectly suited for where I was at the time—even the Couch-to-5K, which I initially thought of jumping in at week 5 or 6, when I first saw it. Fortunately, I started at the beginning and began building my base the right way. Hal Higdon's 10K program also came along at the right time, as it allowed me to continue building my foundation and extending my runs all the way up to a 10K (obviously). Once I finished the 10K program, I began looking for something to take my running to the next level, and Hal's 5K program seemed like the perfect fit. Not only have my miles continued to ramp up (over 20 per week and 7 per long run), but was also introduced to a couple of different speed workouts—tempo runs and intervals, as Hal's 5K Intermediate program is geared toward improving your 5K time.

So now what? Of course, I'd like to continue increasing my speed—I am by no means fast, and I might not ever be, but surely I can go faster. Losing weight has certainly helped with that so far, but that won't last forever. I'd also like to continue increasing my mileage and run a half-marathon by the end of this year, while continuing to run 5Ks, and perhaps even a 10K or two (my next 10K race will be my first). The half that I am considering is the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio, in November. Do I start a half-marathon program now? Do I continue on my current plan until I get within 12-14 weeks of the half and then switch to a half training program? Something else?

One other note: as I am nearing my initial goal weight of 185, it is time to think about whether that is the right weight or not. There will definitely be some more to lose, and some toning to be done, but what's the right number? My suspicion is that somewhere between 170 and 180 is going to be the right number, and fairly hard to achieve—not that the last 4 months and 35 lbs. have been easy. Time will tell, and I am sure that I'll know it when it's right.

One Rough Week

Posted on 3/17/2008 to Health and Fitness

This has been a tough week, beginning on March 9th when our youngest had his tonsils removed. His recovery proved challenging, and included a 9 hour visit to the local urgent care facility, and then an ambulance ride downtown to the local children's hospital between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. We finally headed home at 6 AM Wednesday morning. Needless to say, Julie and I, and the little one were pretty wiped out. So I made Wednesday my rest day, and picked up with my training plan on Thursday.

On Thursday, we had our second yoga session scheduled, and for some reason I decided that I also needed to run through a more traditional strength training routine prior to yoga class. After lifting weights, and after yoga, it was time for my running--Wednesday's run, to be specific--8 x 1/4 mile intervals with 2 minutes of active recovery, along with a 1 mile warm-up and cool-down. Talk about packing in the fitness! And this was all between 5:20 PM and 10 PM Thursday night.

Friday, which is my usual rest day, rolls around, but this time I need to get in a 3 mile recovery run, which I finally do around 7:30 PM. It went okay, as I covered the 3 miles at a nice leisurely pace, taking somewhere between 34 and 35 minutes to complete the route, with an average heart rate of 145 bpm--which is pretty good for me.

Saturday morning found us all catching up on sleep, as we slept until 11 AM. By early afternoon, I was heading out for my scheduled Saturday run, which was 5 miles, fast. It was warm and sunny, and more than a little windy, but what the heck, I just run 4 miles, fast two weeks earlier in 38:45, so I figured that I could easily do 5 in under 50 minutes, and probably under 48 minutes. Boy was I wrong! After starting off a little fast (goal for the first mile was 10 minutes), at 9:23 and 9:16 for my first two miles, I really started to fade halfway through mile 3, with my heart rate up to 188. Instead of continuing to push the pace, and risk not finishing, I did something that I haven't done in months--take a walk break. Through the rest of the run, I took more than 9 walk breaks, typically 30 seconds in length, for a total walking time of 4:36. By the time I hit 5 miles, 50:25 had elapsed and for the first time ever, I had lost to my Garmin Forerunner 305's Virtual Training Partner. Still, I was actually satisfied with my time, given the week and given the weather. I was also very glad that I had listened to my body and allowed myself to walk. I seriously doubt that I would've made it through the 5 miles if I had kept running.

As Today rolled around, and it was nearing time to go out for my long run, there was more than a little doubt lingering from the day before. Today's run was a scheduled 7-miler, which I had only ever done once before, and that was just the previous Sunday. Nonetheless, I set out a little before noon, with the goal of taking it easy at 12:00/mile. In the end, I did just that, averaging 11:57/mile, which was 4 seconds per mile faster than last Sunday's 7-mile run, However, my average heart rate was 161 bpm, compared to 155 bpm the previous week.

I think it's pretty obvious that I pushed my body a little harder than I should have over the last 4 days. While I ate well, I didn't get enough sleep leading up to the 4 days in a row of running, including 2 hard training days, and over the last two days, it started to show. Fortunately, Monday is rest or stretch/strengthen (I'll be doing the latter), as long as it doesn't involve the legs. I am looking forward to it.

One more note: This coming week is week 8 of Hal Higdon's 5K Intermediate Training Program, which means this coming Saturday will be a 5K race. I've not signed up for anything, but we were planning on doing the Bunny Boogie 5K Run/Walk.

New Shoes, New Routes, and Snow

Posted on 3/7/2008 to Health and Fitness

It's been a pretty busy week here, between off-site work meetings, training, and tonsils coming out (C's, not mine). I am glad that it's finally Friday!

I've been using Mondays as a dedicated strength training day, but we spent all of Monday at an off-site management "retreat," followed by dinner at Reata. I ate and drank way too much, so by the time we got home, I just wanted to go to bed. Fortunately, Tuesday was only a half-day of meetings, followed by a group activity, which was over between 3 and 4 PM, so I headed to the gym to get in some full-body strength training, and followed that up with a 3 mile run around the neighborhood with Julie—in my new shoes.

Wednesday, it was back to the office, playing "catch up." J had his first dentist appointment in quite some time, and ended up with his first two cavities :-(. Time to double-check his brushing, and perhaps start flossing. Wednesday evening I was able to get in my tempo run, and boy was it a good one. I set off on a new route that we've been using, but instead of following it all the way around, I veered off in another neighborhood, looking for hike and bike trails that might connect up with our neighborhood. Without the Garmin 305 to keep track of things, I'd never be able to do this. While I didn't find any connector trails, I did find dead ends that looked like they will eventually be connector trails, and I was able to keep moving at a decent clip.

Yesterday we were supposed to have our second Yoga session, but due to inclement weather, we canceled. We received nearly six inches of snow yesterday afternoon and a lot of rain and sleet prior to that—very unusual for the Dallas/Fort Worth area, especially in March. At first, I thought about getting in my 3 mile recovery run outside, but it was such a mess that I braved the roads and drove to the gym, where I hit the treadmill for 3 miles, and then did another full-body strength workout. As much as I am enjoying running, I've realized that it's really important for me to keep up with my strength training, especially now that I am nearing my goal weight and the muscle definition is really standing out. Not to mention, I enjoy lifting weights, and a stronger me can only mean better runs, right?

Here are some of my stats for the week (Tues/Wed/Thurs):

Tuesday (strength and 3 mile easy run):
  • 1.23 mile warm up on treadmill in 13:00
  • 50 minutes of strength training—full body
  • 3 miles in 34:39, avg HR @ 155 bpm
Wednesday (40 minute tempo run):
  • 10 minutes easy (.87 mile, 11:30/mile pace, 133 bpm)
  • 20 minutes fast (2.14 miles, 9:21/mile pace, 168 bpm)
  • 10 minutes easy (.74 mile, 13:25/mile pace, 143 bpm)
Thursday (strength and 3 mile easy run):
  • 3 miles on treadmill in 32:10, avg HR 148 bpm
  • 50 minutes of strength training—full body

By the way, the new shoes are doing great.

Weekend Running Recap

Posted on 3/2/2008 to Health and Fitness

Some friends of ours were moving into their very first house yesterday morning, and we'd volunteered to help, since they are good friends and have helped us with lots of stuff. So anyway, knowing that I'd probably be tired from helping them move, I decided to try my hand at getting up way too early and running. My scheduled run called for 4 fast miles, so I figured that I needed to allow 50 minutes for my run, including warm up and cool down. We needed to be in southwest Fort Worth by 8 AM, which meant leaving no later than 7:30 AM, so I set my alarm for 4:40 AM. And what do you know? I actually got up when my alarm went off and was out the door by 5:30 AM! I couldn't believe it. It turned out to be a pretty good run. I set out with a goal of 10 min./mile (I know, I know—I'm slow). My final time was 38:46. Here are the splits:

  1. 9:45.60 - HR @ 158 bpm
  2. 9:26.63 - HR @ 170 bpm
  3. 9:53.39 - HR @ 176 bpm
  4. 9:40.61 - HR @ 180 bpm

Averages: 9:41 min/mile pace - HR 171 bpm

Here's the link of my run at

This morning (much later than yesterday morning), I went out for my weekly long run. The schedule called for 6 miles, so I headed over to a nearby greenbelt/park, where I knew I could do 3 miles out and back. Now, at this stage of my program, this is supposed to be a long, slow run. For me, it was long, and it was definitely slow, but at an average of 161 bpm, my heart rate was much higher than it should've been. My pace goal was 11:30 min./mile, which is appropriate according to the pace calculator at McMillan Running. However, I probably should've taken into account the temperature and humidity, as well as the 20 mph winds, and slowed down some. Here are my splits:

Mile Time Avg HR Cal
1 11:24 146 154
2 11:30 154 157
3 11:29 160 161
4 11:28 164 159
5 11:20 169 160
6 11:23 175 160

Interestingly, except for when I was heading straight into the wind, I felt pretty good—especially in the last two miles.

So this marks the end of Week 5 of Hal Higdon's Intermediate 5K program, and my second 10 mile weekend. This past week also concluded my first 70+ mile month, and my first-ever Yoga session. This coming week, my mileage should continue to climb, as my weekend miles go up—5 miles on Saturday, and 7 miles on Sunday (which will be a new record long run for me). We've also got our second Yoga session (substituting this for strength and stretching).

Ordering New Shoes

Posted on 2/28/2008 to Health and Fitness

I just ordered some new running shoes. I've got no complaints about my current shoes, so  I went with the same model, but a different color--black. This is my first time ordering shoes online, so I've got my fingers crossed.

Given this recent article from the NY Times, I feel a little guilty for not going down to my local running shop, but I was able to save about $20 by buying them online, compared to what I would've paid locally. For the record, I ordered from Any experience with them?

My new shoes: New Balance MR858BK

My First 70 Mile Month

Posted on 2/28/2008 to Health and Fitness

With one more day of running in February, I am on pace for 70+ miles for the month. This will be a first for me. My previous high was 58 miles in January. So far, my body is holding up.

Reflecting on my time for the Cowtown 5K on Saturday (28:45), I wonder how much improvement I can expect in my next 5K, which is in 3.5 weeks, at the end of Week 8 of Hal Higdon's 5K Intermediate training program? I improved from the Jingle Bell Run to the Cowtown by about 2.5 minutes. Surely, I won't see the same improvement with only 4 weeks between races this time. Besides, since the Jingle Bell Run, I am also 25+ lbs. lighter, and have really ramped up my training compared to what I was doing prior to the Jingle Bell Run.

What is a reasonable expectation?

2008 Cowtown 5K Results

Posted on 2/23/2008 to Health and Fitness

Well, we did it—we got our butts up out of bed and hauled them to Sundance Square to run the Cowtown 5K this morning (in the freezing cold, mind you—average temperature for the 5K was 36.5°F). I was shooting for a sub-30 minute time, which would beat my previous (and only) 5K by over a minute. In the end, I ended up running it in 28:44.7, which was good for 472 overall, 329 among men, and 44 in my age group. Not bad for my second effort, and it definitely looks like the training is paying off! Here are some links:

One last note—I cracked 200 lbs. this morning, weighing in at 199! That puts me 14 from my goal of 185.

Running The Cowtown 5K In Morning

Posted on 2/22/2008 to Health and Fitness

Julie and I are running in the Cowtown 5K tomorrow. At 8:15 AM, the gun will go off for the start of the Cowtown 5K, which is one of 6 races that makes up the overall Cowtown Marathon event. For me, this is my test race at the mid-point of Hal Higdon's 5K Intermediate Training Program.

Earlier this afternoon, we went over to the Expo to check things out and get our timing chips. It was our first time at a marathon expo. I also picked up a lightweight New Balance running jacket for 50% off. Not bad, huh?

To help get in the mood for this weekend, we went to see the encore showing of Spirit of the Marathon last night. We both really, really enjoyed it. It was funny, it was intense, it was emotional, but most of all it was good!

For a while, I've suspected that I might have caught the bug, after watching the film last night, I know I've caught the bug. The plan is to see how things go between now and the end of June, and then if things are still going well (I'm still running), then I am going to pick a half-marathon in the fall. If that goes well, then I will target something bigger for 2009. Any suggestions?

Well, it is time for bed...wish us luck!

Handheld Hydration

Posted on 2/19/2008 to Health and Fitness

What is "handheld hydration," you ask? It's a water bottle, dummy! Actually, in running circles, it is more than just a water bottle—it's a water bottle with some sort of sleeve or strap around it, for your hand to fit through. This allows a runner to carry the water bottle in their hand, without having to hold on to it.

As the distance on my long runs has increased I've found myself wishing that I had some water towards the end of my runs. In the last couple of weeks, I started taking a small Gatorade bottle with me on my long runs, but I would get tired of having to hold it throughout the run. So on Sunday, before going out for 6 miles, I stopped by our local Luke's Locker to pick up a handheld hydration system—the Quickdraw Plus, from Nathan Sports.

Overall, it was pretty good to run with. The Quickdraw Plus has a zippered pocket for storing small items (like my car key), an adjustable, and a reflective strap for a customized fit. The one downside was that my hand got pretty cold holding it for the first half of the run, as I had ice in the bottle, and had put it in the freezer for a while before my run. To help combat this, I switched hands often during the first mile, and then switched once per mile during the the rest of the run.

Have you used a hydration system while running? If so, what kind?

Site Update 2/19/2008

Posted on 2/19/2008 to Site Information

Just a couple of quick items:

  • Comments are enabled, though I am not finished mucking around with them.
  • My Recent Runs - I've added a new page at the ol' site—My Recent Runs. It lists information about my 10 most recent runs (runs where I used my Forerunner 305). The data is pulled from, and includes links to more details at Motionbased, as well as to Google Maps and Google Earth.

My First 20 Mile Week

Posted on 2/18/2008 to Health and Fitness

I know that I recently posted about feeling beat-down, worn out, or whatever you want to call it. Today I feel good. Saturday I felt good. Yesterday I felt really good. So what happened? I don't know—perhaps it was just a matter of getting a day off to recover. Whatever it was, I am not going to complain. After all, I just completed a 10 mile weekend, and my first 20+ mile week. And I don't feel like I simply survived, I feel like a thrived.

Continue reading My First 20 Mile Week...

That Good Old Beat-Down Feeling

Posted on 2/15/2008 to Health and Fitness

You know that feeling you get after you've been training hard? You know, that beat-down feeling? Well, I've got it. I just feel worn out today. This week has just taken its toll (and I've still got two days of training left—4 miles tomorrow, and 6 on Sunday):

  • Sat: 3 mile fast run
  • Sun: 5 mile long run
  • Mon: Intense upper body strength training
  • Tues: 3 mile run
  • Wed: 6 x 1/4 Intervals (1/4 recovery, 1 mile warm up, 1 mile cool down)
  • Thurs: 3 mile run

It's no wonder I am feeling so lethargic today. Good thing today is a rest day!

In addition to all of this work, we also had the Tequila and Salsa Party Saturday night, which meant too much to drink, too much to eat, and staying up too late. Of course, it was a great time, and I wouldn't have missed it (especially since it was at our house)! But its effects have lingered on throughout this week, I think, as I only lost .5 lb since last Friday. And honestly, I haven't eaten horribly, or even bad. Perhaps this is my first real plateau?

As for Hal Higdon's 5K Intermediate Training Program, I will give it another week, and see how I feel. It is a lot of work, and while I didn't expect that it would be easy, I am wondering if it's a little too much right now.

ASP.NET MVC Framework Update

Posted on 2/13/2008 to Developer Stuff

Since word of it first spread, and since seeing a demo of it while I was in Redmond back in October, I've been very excited about the ASP.NET MVC Framework. And since its initial CPT release, I've been messing around with the ASP.NET MVC Framework quite a bit. Though I did have some trouble (like getting it to run in IIS7 on Vista—never got it working, even with help from Phil Haack), I really like what I've seen, and can't wait to begin using it in production. Now, it looks like it will soon be one step closer  to being production-ready.

In a few weeks, there will be an ASP.NET MVC Mix Preview Release, which will address a number of this, as discussed by Scott Guthrie in his blog post titled ASP.NET MVC Framework Road-Map Update. Of all the goodness that he mentions, one thing stood out:

We have also factored out the URL routing infrastructure from the rest of the MVC framework with this preview, which enables us to use it for other non-MVC features in ASP.NET (including ASP.NET Dynamic Data and ASP.NET Web Forms).

As someone who uses URL Rewriting quite extensively, this is great news! I can't wait to see what I can do with the URL routing infrastructure and my existing Web Forms based applications.

HH5K:Intermediate - Week 2 Wrap Up

Posted on 2/11/2008 to Health and Fitness

Another week of the Hal Higdon Intermediate 5K Training Program has come to an end. Week 2 was a pretty decent week, and I got to add another type of run to my training—the tempo run.

The week started of easy enough with upper body weight training on Monday. There's nothing special about this workout, just 40 minutes of weight lifting, doing chest, back, shoulders, triceps and biceps in 35-40 minutes. In the training program, Monday's are marked as rest days, but I like to use them to get in weight training, so that I am not doing my runs and weight training on both Tuesday and Thursday.

Continue reading HH5K:Intermediate - Week 2 Wrap Up...

Face Plant

Posted on 2/8/2008 to Health and Fitness

Okay, so I am out on my run last night (Week 2, Day 4 of Hal Higdon's Intermediate 5K Training Program), and I'm about 1/3 of the way into the last mile, I've just crested a little hill and I'm picking up speed to cruise on down the hill, when all of a sudden my left foot catches on some uneven sidewalk.

Continue reading Face Plant...

Another Day, Another Salsa

Posted on 2/2/2008 to Eats and Drinks

It's late...we've got a busy Saturday...I really should be getting to bed, rather than writing this blog post. But I've just got to get this salsa recipe out of my head and stored somewhere a little more permanent.

Roasted Tomato and Tomatillo Salsa
  • 6 Roasted tomatillos
  • 2 Roasted roma tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz. can of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 Roasted Poblano pepper
  • 1 ancho chile pepper
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 1/2 shallot (minced)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • a few cloves of roasted garlic
  • salt
  • white vinegar

Maybe someday I'll come back and tell you how I took all of these ingredients and turned them into this salsa:

My First Speed Workout

Posted on 1/30/2008 to Health and Fitness

Holy cow...wait, I mean HOLY COW!!! I knew that the interval workouts would be challenging, but this was something else! Here's the link to all of the data that was captured by my Garmin Forerunner 305:

The workout (laps) went like this:

  1. 1 mile warm up.
  2. 5 Run/Walk Intervals (laps 2–12)
    1. Run .25 mile (supposed to target my 1600m or 1 mile pace).
    2. Walk .25 mile.
  3. 1 mile cool down.

The warm up and cool down were targeted to zone 3 for heart rate, which is 130–148 bpm. The run intervals actually were targeted to 5–7 min/mile—just a little too fast, I'd say.

I am glad that Intervals are only every other week (alternates with tempo runs)!

Here's my new workout program: 5-K Training: Intermediate. This was day 3 of week 1.

Bunny Boogie 5K Run/Walk

Posted on 1/29/2008 to Health and Fitness

My new training program, Hal Higdon's 5K Intermediate, calls for 2 5K races as part of the program. The first 5K is halfway through, at the end of week 4, and the second 5K is at the very end of the program, at the end of week 8. Julie and I are already registered for the Cowtown 5K on February 23rd, so that takes care of the week 4 5K race, but I hadn't found a race for the end of week 8--until now--the Bunny Boogie 5K Run/Walk.

The Bunny Boogie 5K Run/Walk looks like it might be the perfect wrap-up to this training program. It is a relatively flat out-and-back course, along the Trinity Trail in Fort Worth. It benefits Meals on Wheels, and registration is only $8. Best of all, it falls on the last weekend of my training program!

The Perfect Salsa?

Posted on 1/28/2008 to Eats and Drinks

Mmm...delicious! I think that I am very, very close to perfecting my salsa. On the heels of last weekend's success, and with the Tequila and Salsa Party less than two weeks away, I thought it was time to give it another go.

Using last week's salsa (mine, not the Ersatz Papalote) as the basis, I put my roasted tomatoes in a pot on the stove, added chipotle peppers, salt, and some water, brought the whole thing to a boil, and then simmered for around 20 minutes. While the tomatoes and chipotle peppers were simmering away, I minced up some shallot, and chopped up some cilantro. (I also roasted some garlic earlier in the evening.) After about 20 minutes of simmering, I added equal parts red wine vinegar (less than last weekend) and white vinegar to the tomato mixture, and simmered another  minute. I then poured the tomatoes and peppers into the blender, added the cilantro, shallots, and roasted garlic, and chopped until the salsa was a nice smooth consistency.

Check out the final result in the picture, shown along with some homemade tortilla chips. The salsa might just be the best I've ever made--I can't wait to try it tomorrow!

My Next Training Program

Posted on 1/28/2008 to Health and Fitness

Now that I've finished Hal Higdon's 10K Training Novice Training Program, it's time to look/start my next program. I am leaning towards using another Hal Higdon program--5-K Training: Intermediate.

(I'll post soon on the finish to the 10K program).

Making Some Salsa

Posted on 1/19/2008 to Eats and Drinks

My Dad's birthday was today, and I was asked to make some salsa and guacamole to go along with fajitas. Figuring that this would serve as good practice for the 2nd Annual Tequila and Salsa Party, and I never pass up the opportunity to make something tasty to share with family, I agreed. My guacamole recipe is pretty much set, with a slight variation from time to time, so the next step was figuring out exactly what sort of salsa I wanted to make.

Continue reading Making Some Salsa...

HH10K Training - Week 7, Day 2

Posted on 1/16/2008 to Health and Fitness

Today's 3 mile run was my first time out with my new Garmin Forerunner 305. This was actually a little hard of a run than I would've liked. Whatever that new gear was that I found a couple of weeks ago has left me. My legs felt very heavy. Perhaps they're tired from Sunday's run? Perhaps they're still tired from an hour of basketball Saturday afternoon? Either way, this was slower than what I was going for, but good lord, look at all of the data I have now!

Map of HH10K: Novice - Week 7, Day 2

As I mentioned, this was a 3 mile run. I set the Forerunner to auto-lap every mile, but I didn't stop it when I hit 3 miles, so there's an extra .63 mile of data from my cool-down. The GPS-based map is very close to the map I created on I was pleasantly surprised.

THIS THING ROCKS! Of course, so does the functionality at Motion Based.

Garmin Forerunner 305

Posted on 1/15/2008 to Health and Fitness

A new training tool should be waiting for me when I get home today--a Garmin Forerunner 305. Even though this is supposed to be my reward when I reach my goal weight of 185, I simply couldn't resist Amazon's sale price of $185 (hmm...185 lb goal weight, $185 sale price...coincidence?), plus a free 1 month trial of Amazon Prime, which meant free 2-day shipping or overnight shipping for only $3.99. Besides, this should help me reach me goal, right? At any rate, I've got a 3 mile run scheduled for today, so you know I'll be charging this thing up as soon as I get home. I guess now I need to pick something else out as my ultimate goal reward--perhaps a Forerunner 405... ;-)

I'll post more on the Garmin Forerunner 305 later.

Cowtown 5K

Posted on 1/15/2008 to Health and Fitness

It's official, Julie and I have signed up for the Cowtown 5K on February 23rd, which is run as part of the Cowtown Marathon. I briefly considered signing up for the Cowtown 10K, but since I just ran my first timed 5K back in December, I figured that it would be best to get a couple more 5K races under my belt, before moving up to a 10K.

5 Mile Run

Posted on 1/13/2008 to Health and Fitness

Whew! I finished up week 6 of Hal Higdon's Novice 10K Training program today with my long run--a 5 miler. The weather was good, the wind was pretty calm, and though my legs were a little sore after an hour of basketball yesterday, I felt good. Keeping in mind the "long and slow" mantra, I paid no attention to my watch, other than to start it at the beginning and stop it at the end. Of course I hit the lap button as I completed each mile, but I never looked at it. In the end, I completed the 5 mile run in a respectable 58:48. Not bad for a long slow run that was full of hills.

I ran the first 1.15 miles with Julie, as she was on her long run (3 miles), wrapping up week 1 of Hal Higdon's Novice 10K Training Program, before I headed off into uncharted water. The rest of mile 2 was up a nice sized hill that I'd done a number of times, though the last quarter mile or so was beyond my typical turn around point. Mile 3 was pretty much all uphill (sometimes steep hills). Just beyond the 3 mile mark, I tried a little chocolate GU energy gel for the first time on a run. I felt really strong through mile 4, perhaps because of the boost from the GU, or perhaps it was because I finally started heading back downhill. At any rate, mile 4 turned out to be the quickest of the day. Mile 5 featured one last good hill, which I took nice and slow.

At the end of the run I felt really good, and while I was tired, I felt like I could've continued on for a while longer. In addition to carrying the GU, I also carried some money with me for the first time, and as luck would've have it, mile 5 wrapped up right across the street from a 7-11, where I stopped to pick up a Sunday paper, and some Gatorade. Julie and Sadie (our dog) met me out on the road and we took a nice 1 mile walk back to the house. All in all, I feel really good about this run, especially when compared to last week's 4.5 mile run. My confidence was shaken by how hard that run was, and by how bad I felt afterward. What a difference a week makes!

Here are my mile splits:

  1. 11:47
  2. 11:32
  3. 13:00
  4. 10:55
  5. 11:31

Here's a link to the route I ran (first 5 miles). Make sure you click the link (or check the checkbox) to show the elevation!

Go #$&%@! Cowboys!

.NET 3.5, LINQ, XML, VB 9

Posted on 1/11/2008 to Developer Stuff

One of the reasons I moved to a new host is because they were already offering ASP.NET 3.5 on their servers (and the price was right). The next logical step, after moving this site to the new host, seemed to be moving this site to ASP.NET 3.5. In order to try some new things out with LINQ to XML, and VB 9, that has now happened.

The first order of business was to try using LINQ to XML to pull in an RSS or Atom feed of my bookmarks at ma.gnolia, and utilize that data in the Links section of this site. It was ridiculously easy. A couple of lines of code to get a list of all the distinct tags, and a few more lines to grab the title and URL of each bookmark, based on the tag selected. Right now, I am just displaying both in simple lists (using the new ListView control, also very nice), but I will be spiffing it up and adding some additional functionality soon.

Now, since my day job involves working with XML most all of the time, I am very tempted to bring some of my existing code into the world of LINQ to XML.

For more information on LINQ, check out Scott Guthrie's LINQ related posts.

Additional LINQ Links:

The Key To Weight Loss

Posted on 1/8/2008 to Health and Fitness

According to Jenny Hadfield and John Bingham, in their book Running for Mortals: A Commonsense Plan for Changing Your Life With Running, weight loss is easy -- "Eat less. Move more." And of course, for most of us, they're right.

You already know that over the last couple of months I've really ramped up the consistency, quality, and effort of my workouts, but what I haven't talked too much about is how much better I've been eating. In fact, it's not just me, it's been a family effort. And believe it or not, we're not starving ourselves, and we even indulge in our favorite foods from time to time. (Moderation, not restriction is important!)

The key for us has been reducing our portions, not going back for seconds (usually), and watching out for the mindless snacking that can occur. It's also important to recognize your eating triggers. Additionally, we're focused on getting whole grains and lots of fruits and veggies in our diet. So far it's working. Since mid-November, I am down nearly 20 lbs. (Over the holidays, too!)

If you'd like more information on eating healthier, especially if you're also active, check out this list of nutrition articles on the Running Network.

One last thing--don't forget to drink plenty of water!

Useful Running Links

Posted on 1/7/2008 to Health and Fitness

Over the last couple of months, I've compiled a fair amount of useful links pertaining to Running specifically, and fitness in general. In case they might be of use to anyone else, here are a few of them:

  • Route Mapping Sites
    • MapMyRun - A  website that provides mapping tool based on Google Maps. The website also has a robust training log and a community forum.
    • RunningAHEAD - Similar to MapMyRun, RunningAHEAD features a running log and mapping tools, as well as a vibrant running community.
  • Running Articles
    • Runner's World - Companion site for the Runner's World magazine. Tons of useful articles, blogs, training programs, and training calculators.
    • Running Times Magazine - Resource for training plans, racing advice, road race rankings, guides to shoes, marathons, camps, etc.
  • Training Programs
    • Couch-to-5K - This is a pretty good beginner's program, and is the program I got started with.
    • Hal Higdon - The home of my current program, Hal Higdon's Novice 10K Training Program, as well as much, much more.
    • Jeff Galloway - Former U.S. Olympian, author of top selling running books, and designed of the run-walk marathon training program.

HH10K Training - Week 5, Day 7

Posted on 1/6/2008 to Health and Fitness

Okay, this run was hard as I've had so far. I know this is my long run, which means slow, but this was ridiculous...the wind was terrible. Ok, perhaps in light of the wind, I should've gone even slower. Here are my splits:

  • Mile 1: 10:22
  • Mile 2: 11:02
  • Mile 3: 12:03
  • Mile 4: 12:13
  • Mile 4.5: 6:20
  • Total: 52:02

I actually felt good going out on the first mile, like I was turning a nice slow time. I was surprised to see 10:20. My target pace was 11 min/mile, so I slowed down on mile 2 and was almost right on pace, at 11:02. Heading into mile 3, I felt good, then I felt the wind. And then I felt the wind while running uphill. I slowed way down to 12:03. Mile 4 was some more running into the wind, and uphill, and then head first into the wind (gusting to 28 mph), which was worst of all, even if it was relatively flat. I was actually surprised to see mile 4 come in at 12:13. At the beginning of the final half mile, I actually got a little pep in my step, though I tried not to speed up any, and by the time I was a quarter of a mile from the end, I was really struggling. Not surprising, the final half mile came in at 6:20. I am wiped out!

Temp at start of run was 70, wind S 18 G 26. A the end of the run, it was 71 degrees, and the wind was S 14 G 28. No wonder!

Comments Update

Posted on 1/6/2008 to Site Information

Just wanted to let you know that I am going to add Comments back in (as well as the Contact page), I just haven't gotten around to it just yet, as I'm still moving stuff over to the new web host. The good news is that everything is going very well, there's just a lot to move.

Site Update

Posted on 1/4/2008 to Site Information

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I am changing hosts. This site has already been moved, but some of my other sites have not ( and http:/ been moved.

Also, my new host supports version 3.5 of the .NET Framework as well as SQL Server 2005, so you can expect to see some new things popping up, or perhaps not, as they might mostly be behind the scenes. At any rate, if there's any problems with the site, I'd say hit the Contact page and let me know, but of course, I haven't added a Contact page into this latest site template (or comments, for that matter!). I guess I've got some work to do...

Fitness Update

Posted on 1/4/2008 to Health and Fitness

Recently, I was perusing my workout log at, and decided to talk a little bit about the month of December, and what I was able to accomplish in what was my first full month of tracking my workouts and weight, as well as the first 4 weeks of Hal Higdon's Novice 10K Training Program.

On December 1st, I ran the Jingle Bell Run. After completing the Couch-to-5K earlier that week, my goal was to not walk. My stretch goal was to finish in under 30 minutes. I met the first goal, but not the second, as my time was officially 31:30 (my watch clocked it in 30:59). I weighed in at 224 that morning. The next day, I went for an easy 5K recovery run/walk. On Monday, December 3, I began Hal Higdon's Novice 10K Training Program. I weighed 223. My first run on the HH10K:Novice program was 2.5 miles, covered in 27:30, for an 11:00 min./mile pace, and a speed of 5.45 mph. The following week, I covered the 2.5 miles in 26:09, but I think that was on the treadmill, so we'll throw it out. In week 3, I covered the 2.5 miles in 24:40--outside--for a 9:52 pace per mile, and a speed of 6.08 mph. Also, this was my first out door run where I averaged less than 10 minutes per mile. Just two days later, I finished my 2 mile run in 19:29, with a 9:43 pace and 6.16 mph. Needless to say, I was very excited with my improvements. In week 4, on Christmas day, my 2.5 mile run moved up to a 3 mile run, but I turned in my best run yet: 3 miles in 28:46, for a 9:34 pace and a speed of 6.26 mph (on a very flat route, but still!). Most recently, I did my 3 mile run in 28:45, which is basically the same pace and speed as the previous week's 3 mile run, except that this was back home, on a much hillier route. But perhaps the thing I am most thrilled with is the progress of my long runs. From week one - week four, my pace has gone from 11:30 per mile to 11:01 per mile, while the distance has increased from 3 miles to 4 miles, and until now, I'd never run non-stop for more than 3.11 miles. Oh, as of this morning, my weight was 213!

As you can see, I've been making some pretty good progress with my fitness. I am nearing the end of Week 5 of the HH10K:Novice program, with 3 more weeks to go. My running is improving, conditioning is much improved, and I am feeling pretty damn good about all of this! I think it is fair to say that I am a runner.

No Excuses

Posted on 1/4/2008 to Health and Fitness

If you haven't seen this video, check it out now. It's a new commercial from Nike.

Given that this is the season of resolutions, and everyone is crowding into the gym, trying to live up to their resolutions, this commercial offers up a little something to remember when the excited, new phase of exercising wears off in another few weeks.

Also, here's a brief article about the commercial, and the athlete in it: No Excuses, Nothing But Net.