Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stuff I Thought About While Running

While running last night, here are some thoughts I had:

  • I'm slow.
  • I should wait more than an hour and a half after eating meatloaf before running.  And if I plan to run later, maybe I should skip the seconds and use less Tabasco sauce.
  • Although it's a better deal to buy 2 20 ounce Gatorades for $2 than to buy 1 for $1.39, it's no fun to carry a 20 oz. bottle of Gatorade for an hour.
  • The full moon is one of the most beautiful sites ever.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Runner's Rule Book, by Mark Remy

A few months ago, I noted (here) a review in the Star-Telegram of Mark Remy's new book, The Runner's Rule Book: Everything a Runner Needs to Know--and Then Some.  Remy, an editor at Runner's World, has a great sense of humor and definitely knows the world of running.  Any reader might find some humor in Remy's rule book, but those of us who are runners, or have been around road racing, will laugh out loud as they recognize themselves and the crazy people they've run with.  You might even learn something, too!

Rule 1.1, Have Fun, and its follow-up, Rule 1.2, Expand Your Definition of Fun, introduce the tone of the book.  I don't know how competitive Remy has been as a runner, but these rules remind the vast majority of runners--those of us who will never be in the Olympic trials and who run marathons knowing they will be way, way behind the winners--that it's all about having fun.  In that light, I need to heed Rule 1.44, One Day a Week, Run Naked, by which he means, without a watch, GPS, or headphones.  I get a bit particular about recording my runs, even when they're terrible, and could use that advice.  I would be better off if I lived up to Rule 2.44, Becoming a Human Metronome is Fun.  I have a terrible time keeping track of my pace without my GPS; I would love to be able to run a mile and predict my pace.

Remy covers etiquette with groups, at races, and on a track, clothing do's and don'ts (I especially liked Rule 3.11, You Can Always Take Off Clothing, and 3.13, When In Doubt, Wear Gloves and a Hat.), and bathroom advice ("If you see a porta potty with no line, use it.  Even if you don't need to."  "On a long run, it's always better to have a bit of toilet paper and not need it, than vice versa.").

As Remy points out in the introduction, these aren't rules that will be found in the USA Track & Field Competition Rules Book.  But novice and veteran runners alike will enjoy his compilation of common sense, received wisdom, and good fun.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Local Ultramarathoner in the Star-Telegram

It's great to see ultrarunning getting mainstream press.  I don't know Alfonso Chan of Colleyville, but I'd love to run with him!  He recently completed the 25th running of the Sultan Marathon des Sables, a 7 day, 151 mile race across the Sahara.  Next time you call me crazy for running a 50 mile race, I will refer you to him.
The race web site has some great pictures from the race.  Click here to see more.

The Star-Telegram has a very nice description in Tuesday's paper.  I can't say it makes me eager to enter this race, but it might be kind of cool . . . .  Here's the link to the article.  I've included the text below, in case you don't want to go to the S-T web page.

Colleyville attorney goes the distance in Sahara ultramarathon


COLLEYVILLE -- Lugging 45 pounds of gear, Colleyville attorney Alfonso Chan crossed the Sahara in a grueling seven-day, 151-mile ultramarathon.
He endured temperatures that topped 120 degrees in the daytime, melting his nylon-blend socks. At night, temperatures would drop to 40 degrees.
On he went, crossing dry riverbeds and salt flats, jumping over deep crevices, and climbing sand dunes and hills covered with jagged rocks. Thoughts of his wife, Sharon, and their two children provided a needed distraction as he persevered.
"I always kept thinking about home," he said.
Chan, who turned 40 in January, returned home this month after completing the Sultan Marathon des Sables, an event that drew more than 1,000 runners worldwide. He achieved a goal that many didn't: He completed the race.
Sharon Chan said her husband trained relentlessly for what has been called the hardest race on the planet.
Competitors must carry their sleeping bags and food through miles of Moroccan desert. There are no trails or roads to follow. Instead the runners use a compass to find their way along the course, much of which is in desert sand. Chan carried Kevlar poles for the sand dunes, though they were not very effective in some of the deeper dunes, and he carried goggles and a headscarf to deal with sandstorms.
Runners were supplied with water every 10 kilometers, or 6.2 miles. Each night, competitors camped in tents provided for them. There are no showers and no bathrooms. For food, Chan stocked up on beef jerky and dried meals similar to ones used by the military.
The course was six stages, each a different distance. The first three days, runners averaged about 21 miles per day, alternating between running and walking. The fourth stage was a nightmarish 51 miles and took Chan 24 hours to complete.
When he arrived at the camp at 9 a.m., Chan and the other runners got a much-needed day off with a special performance by a singer and musicians flown in from the Paris Opera.
But what he appreciated most was the tiny soft drink each runner received that evening. After he had lived off dried rations and salt tablets, a soda was a "huge" treat, he said.
Chan also received treatment for blisters from his melted socks. He had only one spare. "So I borrowed two used pairs from my tent-mates and doubled up on socks during the final two stages," he said.
He hit the sand again the next day with 26.2 miles and then had a 12- to 13-mile finale April 10.
Chan, who started the race at about 215 pounds, lost about 12 pounds.
He doesn't consider himself a professional athlete. His ability to manage fluid and electrolyte intake was the key to finishing the race, he said.
His wife said his mental and physical toughness saw him through.
"He's got this crazy endurance," she said. "He can just go and go forever."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A new start, now a new schedule

I'm back in a routine for running, with a schedule and everything.  I ran my first semi-long run today in while.  I set out to run 11 miles at 8:33.  I stuck with that pace for the first half, but ran out of gas and slowed down the second half.  And I only made it 10.25.  I misunderestimated (as GWB might say) the distance of the loop I ran, and when I got back to my house I decided to stop to prove to my brother that I am not always one of those runners who runs around the block until his Garmin reads the right distance.  Besides that, I was tired.

Now that I'm getting back into the regular running habit, I have a new challenge: starting Monday, I'll be moving to a day shift!  For 2 solid years, I have been working the night shift (e.g., 1:30-10).  I start in a new position in the company Monday, and will be on a day shift.  We're thrilled that I can have actual family time during the week, evening church and sports activities, dinner at home, and bedtimes.  Kelly's thrilled that she won't be a single mom 5 nights a week. 

The one big positive of the night shift is the ease with which I was able to fit in my running.  A typical running day would have me putting Chloe on the bus, taking the boys to school, going for a run, then having time to shower, eat, hang out at home, and run errands before work.  Now I'll have to figure out if I want to get up early to run, run after the kids go to bed, or, well, I just don't know yet.  It will be harder to get in the high mileage weeks I have run in the past, but I bet I can find a way.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A New Start

For the last 2 years, since February of 2008, I have at all times had a training calendar on my closet door, with a race in sight and my daily workout prescribed.  That is, until my crash and burn in this spring's 50 milers.  After a few weeks of recovering from that let down, and working long days that generally precluded running, I feel like I'm back with a fresh start.

Two weeks from Saturday is the Amazing RiverRUN, the 5K sponsored by my boys' school.  As I said in my last post, Elliot said he wants me to try to win my age division.  I don't know about that, but I am looking forward to running my first 5K competitively, and have put together a training calendar for the next two weeks.  A small start, but I need to start somewhere.  Plus, I was affirmed and encouraged by this morning's Runner's World quote of the day that came via e-mail:

Training for shorter race distances makes the body use more fast-twitch muscle fibers and leads to better leg strength, cardiovascular fitness, and, ultimately, faster times at all distances.
Sean Coster, running coach and exercise physiologist

I'll take faster times at all distances!

I've also added a new widget to track my mileage.  I decided not to try to fill in the year so far.  But you can keep me accountable if you don't see the miles adding up!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Amazing RiverRUN 2009

Since I'm not doing much running these days, I thought I'd reminisce a bit about a run last year.  The boys' school hosts an annual 5K, The Amazing RiverRUN.  The boys run with the running club after school a day or two a week.  They try to see how many laps around the campus they can run in 30 minutes.  Then they have the 5K, competing against their classmates.. 

Last year I pushed Chloe in her wheelchair and paced Elliot.  He did great!  We walked for a few stretches, but ended up finishing strong in 41:20, a 13:18 pace.  And Chloe had a ball. When I run while pushing her in her chair, she roars with delight!

Elliot said he wants to run by himself this year, and wants me to see if I can win my age division.  If you live in the Fort Worth area, and want to run in a small, casual, family-oriented race, be there May 7!  You can register here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Back in January, I said that I was taking on the pushup challenge (in this post).  I started doing a pushup for  each day of the year every day.  I have missed a few days (usually around a big race) but have doubled up each time to make up.  Saturday was the 100th day of the year, so last night I did 100 push ups.  If my math is right, that means I have done 5050 pushups in 2010!  Like they say, I'm not pushing up, I'm pushing the floor down.  Just thought you'd want to know.

Friday, April 9, 2010

50-mile Texas Style Grand Slam

OK, OK, this will be the last post in which I mention my failed attempt at the 50-Mile Texas Style Grand Slam.  I checked the other day at the Tejas Trails web site to see what the status was, and at that time there was a chart showing the finishing times of 3 runners after the first 3 races in the Slam, me and two others.  I was last in total time, of course.  I guess they were compiling the list to compare with Hell's Hills finishers, to see who finished the Slam.  Neither of the other 2 were Grasslands finishers.  I don't know whether they ran at Hell's Hills.  But it made me realize that if I were able to finish Grasslands and then run at Hell's Hills, I would likely have been the sole Slam finisher!  That would have been cool!  Alas, it was not to be this year.  This realization made me more determined to attempt it again, maybe next year.  We'll see.  Now the site only has a blank page where the chart was.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

DNF 550

Yesterday driving to work I was behind a car whose license plate read "DNF 550."  I took it personally.  This weekend is Hell's Hills, which would have been my 5th 50 miler, the last in the Texas Style 50 Mile Grand Slam.  I thought the Slam was a reasonable goal, and maybe it was.  But I DNF'd the 5 50s.  I took that license plate as a slap in the face, so I rammed him from behind.  Just kidding.

I would love to have headed to Smithville for the race, but I admit I am looking forward to a relaxing Saturday.  I don't have any races coming up on the calendar.  I need to get back on a running schedulel  I have been working 12-14 hour days for a few weeks, and haven't been running at all.  After tax day I'll start fresh and build my mileage back up.

I saw this shirt on a web site.  It's me: Cross Timbers, DFL; Grasslands, DNF; Hell's HIlls, DNS.