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5ksandcabernets: May 2008


Saturday, May 31, 2008

May running totals

I ran the last five days of May, including today's 10-miler, and ended up with a 128.97-mile month, my highest mileage total of the year.

Conditions today, even though I was out on the trail by 7:30 am, were brutal. 75 degrees, 70 percent humidity. The sun was real up close and personal.

And yet, I decided to do a route that had some hills, albeit most were in the beginning of the run. So, I eeked out 10 miles in 1:25:53. An 8:35 pace. Heart rate averaged about 82 percent max, though it hovered around 86 percent the last two miles.

I had water at a fountain about 3.5 miles in, then I had more water at the ice cooler in my car at mile 7. At the end, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then, I saw a guy with an El Scorcho t-shirt on. That's the 25k race I'm going to run at midnight on July 20.

I asked if the guy had run the race before, he said yes. Then I asked him _ he said his name was Derrick _ I asked him what his run was this morning. "22 miles," he said.

22 miles! 22 miles! That's crazy. Crazy. Crazy. He was just finishing his run. He said he'd been out since oh, 5:30 am.

I couldn't have run another 3 miles this morning, and this guy _ Derrick, or was it Derek _ ran 22. Before I started feeling too bad, Derrick said he recognized me from reading my blog.

"Pretty cool," I thought to myself.

Anyway, here are my running totals for the month.

Runs: 21
Miles: 128.97
Time: 18 hours, 35 minutes, 52 seconds
Pace: 8 minutes, 39 seconds-per-mile
Best pace: 6:54 at the Mayfest 5K run on May 3.
Avg hr: 80.5 percent

Miles in 2008: 536.83
Time: 3 days, 7 hours, 15 minutes, 39 seconds
Pace: 8 minutes, 51 seconds-per-mile

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Friday, May 30, 2008

What is the big secret

I went to the Luke's Locker marathon orientation program in Fort Worth Thursday night.

Nice to know that I can get a 20 percent discount on anything in the store (except for Garmin items) just for signing up, and nice to know that I'll have support on long runs and can email the "coaches" about any problems I may be having.

But what I really wanted to get my hands on was the marathon schedule. The formula that makes their program so successful.

The week by week chart of how they were going to make me a sub 4-hour marathoner. There was no schedule. At least not Thursday night. They said they'd give us the schedule when we showed up for our first "group run" in two weeks. And even then, we'd have to use a password to get the program online. And even then, it would only be in one or two week blocks.

Am I missing something? I mean, what's the big secret? You can Google any of the other successful marathon programs, NYCRR, Boston, Hal Higdon, etc. But Luke's Locker? They are treating theirs as if it were some classified FBI document.

I guess I'll have to wait another two weeks to let you in on the details.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

It’s getting hot, and I’m getting slow

No matter how much I lay off the wine the night before, no matter how much I hydrate during, I have found no magic remedy to run in the heat.

A lot of runners have ideas about it, like those over at the Runners Lounge who are participating in discussions about running in the heat. Lately, the scientists over at the Science of Sport blog have shed some interesting insight into, well, the science of running in the heat.

They are using a lot of big words and heavy terminology, but basically, what they are saying is this: Your body anticipates how good you feel, how long you are running, how fast you are running, and how hot it is outside and automatically helps you control your pace in either a race or a training run.

And, the scientist say, this all happens before you’ve run very far. Something about your brain taking all of this information and activating enough muscle fiber for you to do your workout.

And because this happens before you’ve run 1 mile, your slow pace has to do with -- get this -- your body’s anticipatory regulation.

In other words, your body knows when you’ll start to feel like shit before you start feeling like shit and it helps you slow your pace so you can do your entire workout.

People who get heat strokes ignore their bodies’ cues and keep going harder and harder and longer and longer distances, or so the scientists say.

Anyway, the only way to get better at running in the heat is to run in the heat, say the experts, and I believe them. During my 6- and 7-mile tempo runs in the cool mornings of March and April, I could easily run under 8-minute miles. This month, especially the last two weeks, it has been 70 to 75 degrees in the mornings, and I’ve had to slow down to 8:30, sometimes 9:00 miles to finish.

And I know it’s going to get worse before it gets better. If you run into me on the Trinity Trials in the July or August, I’ll be shuffling along on long runs at a 10:30 or 11:00 mile clip.

My advice: Run slow, hydrate (but not too much), and don't be too proud to walk some.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What's an Olympian want with me?

About a week ago, I got this email from a guy who said he was a Norwegian distance runner. Said he found my blog through the Complete Running Network, where we are both members. Said he has enjoyed my writing skills on wine and running.

Said he was a two-time Olympic runner trying to bring attention to his own Web site and wanted to know if I'd link from my site to his.

Now, my first thought was, "Okay, this is either spam, or a friend trying to play a trick on me." I mean, what would a two-time Olympic distance runner want with my slow, low-Vo2max-havin', raggedy-marathon-runnin' ass?

So, I had to look the guy up. And as it turns out, the guy _ Marius Bakken _ is what he said he was. He has run in the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics. He is the Norwegian champion in the 3k and 5k, running a blistering 13:06.39 in the 5k.

Quick math. That's a pace of 4:14 a mile.

Bakken has his own Web site and offers training advice. Its not Science of Sport or even Jim2's page. But its a start. And because Olympic distance runners don't contact me all that often. (I did get a return email from women's marathon champ Deena Kastor after watching Spirit of the Marathon a few months back) I figure I'll give Bakken some blog recognition.

Here is that email...

On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 9:05 AM, Marius Bakken <> wrote:
Hello Kevin,
I have enjoyed your writing skills on your running & wine blog for a while (found it on the completerunning network where we are both registered)
I am a two time Olympic runner who has just started a website And I see that you have a series of links on the right side of your site.
As my site is very young, I am looking for possible links to it. Would you be interested in this ?
In return I could either :
1) Offer you a link from my "personal" webpage or the blogroll. 2) If you need any help with your training in the future, I would be happy to assist.

Wish you good luck with your future running & writing and look forward to hearing from you.
Marius Bakken


Monday, May 26, 2008

Calm before the marathon storm

In between hanging out with my son and his mother, puttering through an 8.5 mile run, and Memorial Day festivities with my parents and siblings, I turned in an important piece of paper over the weekend: I registered with Fort Worth Fit, which is Luke's Lockers Marathon Program.

For what will turn out to be about $7.50 a week, I'll get six months of marathon support in training for the White Rock Lake Marathon in December. I'll get a training program, discounted merchandise at Luke's Locker, and a free entry into a 5k race in the fall.

What I like most about the program? You run with others during the weekend long runs and there is water and gatorade provided on the course. There is orientation for the program this Thursday. And I'm already getting antsy. Fort Worth Fit also has a program for those wanting to run a marathon earlier than December, and the last two Saturdays, I've seen those runners on the Trinity Trails, some of whom I've run with during my Tuesday morning tempo runs: Christa, Dave, Kimberly, Lisa, Jerry, co-worker Mac.

My program doesn't start until June 14. So I've got a little less than three weeks before I'm in marathon mode. I am going to take it easy until then. Limit my speedwork to just the Tuesday morning tempo run. Limit long runs to 10 miles. Don't run more than 5 days or 30 miles a week. I want to be totally healthy when I start training and right now, I've got a sore left arch and sore right calf.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Running in the heat: I deserved a margarita

My son Noah is in town and me and his mother, Nancy, promised we'd take him to the Fort Worth Zoo. Early. Before it got over 90 degrees.

So, for me that meant if I wanted to run, I'd have to be out the door before 7 AM

Mission Accomplished. But it was 78 degrees at 6:45 in the morning.

I didn't drink wine the night before running, but I had a lot of pasta and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to "top off" my glycogen stores.

Let me say this: That was too much food. I wanted to throw up running Saturday morning. Not only was it 78 degrees. But the humidity had to be 100 percent.

Still, I got through it. 8.58 miles in 1:19:39. A 9:17 minute-per-mile-pace.

1 - 9:38
2 - 9:03 (had a few swigs of gatorade and felt terrible)
3 - 9:02
4 - 9:28
5 - 9:09
6 - 9:17
7- 9:06
8 - 9:31
8.58 - 5:25

Lessons learned: I should probably eat my biggest meal two days before the long run, instead of 12 hours before a long run. Also: If I'm going to drink gatorade, it needs to be diluted heavily.

And finally: Kiddo doesn't care how tired you might be after a semi-long run in the heat. So, as promised, Noah got his trip to the zoo. (My sister, her husband, and their kiddo came with us). Afterward, I had the biggest Margarita I could buy at Pappasito's and slept for like three hours.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

The cookie monster ate my training?

Ever since it took me a disappointing 5-plus hours to finish the 2007 White Rock Marathon, I've been trying to figure out what went wrong.
My training? Couldn't be. I ran my first marathon in 2005 in 4 hours, 41 minutes with just one week of at least 40 miles. Last fall, before my taper, six of my last seven weeks were at least 40 miles, which included a 45-mile week and a 50-mile week.
The marathon day weather? In 2005, it started off in the mid 30s and ended near 60. In 2007, it was kinda rainy, kinda windy, overcast, and in the 30s and 40s for most of the run. In other words, it was near perfect long-distance running weather.
And yet with all of that, there was something terribly wrong on Marathon Day 2007. And I knew it by mile 2. I was out of breath when I tried to run faster than a 10 minute mile, even though a month earlier I'd run a 1:52;20 in a half marathon (8:30 pace). My fastest mile at White Rock in 2007 was a 9:39 in mile 8, and THAT took an 80 percent max heart rate. (Wednesday morning I ran 6 miles in an 8:58 pace and my heart rate averaged 77 percent and it was 25 degrees hotter than it was on marathon morning, and I didn't have nearly the long-run base that I did then.
So, if it wasn't my training or the weather, it had to be what I ate in the days leading up to the marathon.
What. Could. It. Be?
Two things, I've determined.
Milk and cookies.
During my marathon training, I had the worst worst worst diarrhea, and it was real bad the morning of the marathon. I've noticed in my diet that when I drink soy milk (it's all I can drink because I am lactose intolerant), and pile on the miles, the problem is worse.
The cookies? I ruled out a lot of things to get to this. Peanut butter. Oatmeal. Thai food (which I love).
In the months after the marathon, the cookies have been the common denominator when I've had a run where my heart rate mysteriously took off and my performance was terrible.
And come to think of it, I had a ton of cookies _ and more specifically, Central Market cookies _ during my marathon training.
Still, I thought nothing of the Central Market cookie-bad performance link until about a month ago. I bought a carton of the Central Market cookies (chocolate chip) and had two the night before a long run. Within an hour, my fingers swelled up a little bit. My stomach was distended with the extra-water weight that I took on. My run the next day was horrible.
Still, I thought it was something else. But the next weekend, I had a few more cookies the night before a long run. Had the same problems. Fingers. Stomach. During the run, I had to stop to walk at mile 9 on a 10-mile run, I put 2 and 2 together.
Something in the Central Market cookies was making me sick and seriously affecting my run. And I know I had some of these cookies the night before my marathon. I was trying to carbo-load.
So what's the dealio? I'm going to do some more research on what's in those cookies (Crack? Damn, they are good). But I am absolutely sure of the culprit.
The Central Market cookie monster.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fastest in North Texas? That didn't last long

2 weekends.

That's all it took for my 21:40 5k time during the Mayfest run in Fort Worth to be vanquished from the list of the fastest runners in North Texas. The cutoff time in my age group, 35-39, is, gulp, 19:02.

I checked into that running site that I wrote about a few weeks ago, the one where my former co-worker has compiled a list of every 5k and 10k run in North Texas. Because I had run my 5k at the "beginning' of the season, which runs from May to April, I had a good chance of getting on the list of the fastest runners.

But today, my 21:40 5k time wouldn't even qualify for a Top 10 mention amongst the 55-59 year-olds in North Texas. And for that matter, I'm not faster than the fastest guy in the 60-64 age group; or the 65-69 age group.

I am faster than a 70-year-old.

Bring it on, John McCain.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Run in this heat?

I swear. I was going to run when I got home from work. But here in Tex-Ses, the sun decided to really get down to our level. So I went to Pot-Belly and grabbed a bottle of Edmeades Zinfandel instead.
I did run this morning, (5 miles in 38:21) so it's probably a good thing that I didn't attempt a two-for today. And for what? I'm not really training for anything right now.
I haven't really spent a lot of time talking about my running lately, with all the excitement of caring for my son, and some recent posts on a bad wine experience.
But I have been running: 31.75 miles last week. 30.84 miles the week before. (I guess I could have rounded up both weeks, but I lam a real nerd when it comes to gadgets and keeping a record of every run. And my Garmin Forerunner 305 has been a Godsend)
I ended last week with a 9 mile run on Saturday. Felt really strong. Got it done in 1:17:18. A split of 8:34 minutes/mile. Heart rate averaged 80 percent of max, and was about 87 percent at the finish.
It was 10 degrees cooler Saturday than the last Saturday, when I quit running after 9 miles. But I don't think it was just the heat and my overindulgence in wine the night before that made the run on May 11 so hard. Through some CSI research into my diet, I think I found the culprit, and it is probably the same culprit that led to my woeful marathon finish last December.
I'll tell you about that later.


I was a frazzled parent

My task Monday was to "babysit" my 9-month old son, Noah, while his mother went to work, and while his grandmother got a well-deserved day off to do whatever it is she wanted to do.

Since his mother and I have been separated since October, I've gone down to visit Noah every two weeks, and every two months, Nancy brings Noah to Fort Worth. So I have changed dozens of diapers, prepared many a bottle, and coddled many a colicky cry. In January I babysat him for a few hours while his mother worked.

But this would be different. In January, Noah couldn't crawl. You put him in the middle of the floor and needed a second to pour yourself a cup of coffee and when you got back, he was still in the middle of the floor. Monday, I knew if I did that, I might get back and Noah would have crawled under the bed or something.

And I didn't help myself early on. Sunday night, I picked up takeout for everyone and while they were taking sooooooo long with the hamburgers, I drank a margarita. And then back at Nancy's I drank two glasses of Boarding Pass Shiraz with my meal. So when Noah woke up at 7:30 Monday morning, I had a slight hangover.

But he wanted to eat. Now. And he wanted to play. Now. So I dragged myself out of bed gave him a bottle, changed his diaper, and then got on the floor to play with him. I entertained him with blocks and balls and books and things that made squeaky sounds. Every once in a while, I got a sneak peak at Sportscenter reruns. At about 10:30, Noah's grandmother took him so I could go to Starbucks.

And let me tell you. I was bushed. I prayed that every light would be red, and that they'd be out of Pike Place Roast. I know this sounds bad, but I needed all the time I could get to catch my breath. So I was a little relieved when I got back to Nancy's and Noah was asleep.

I drank my coffee. Read my newspapers. And when he woke up an hour later, I was feeling a lot better and more energized. His grandmother left me and him alone around 12:30, but things went great after that.

When he fell asleep in my arms at about 2 (he doesn't know yet that I have the energy of a runner _ I basically ran his little cute ass ragged) I figured I should stick to the schedule which called for him to get a bottle. So I strapped him in his little seat and started preparing his food. But he started crying like crazy. So I put him down and he slept for nearly two hours.

I fed him when he woke up. Nancy got home a few minutes later. And my day was done, so to speak.

I've already blogged here often that I think Nancy is a great mother. Moms don't get nearly enough credit.

I's a tough job and I salute the mommies of the other blogs I read, namely, Allynson over at My-momologues and the blogger over at Ms. Single Mamma.

When you have been living by yourself for months and months and then all of a sudden you're in charge of a 9-month old. All. By Your. Self. It can be scary.

But there were no exploding diapers. No crying that wouldnt stop.

I got through it. We got through it. No broken bones. Or broken anything else.

I can't wait to do it again.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hanging out with the kiddo

I'm in Austin this weekend visiting my son. He is growing so fast. He crawls fast. He eats alot. He can basically hold his own bottle. I've read so much to him that I practically have "Goodnight Moon" remembered by heart.

He's almost 10 months old and wants to walk really bad. I'm going to take a lot of pictures and will post some later. The coolest thing he is doing right now: instead of leaning in to kiss you, he bites you with his teeth (he has four). He also knows how to clap. And when I dress him, he stretches his arms so I can put his shirt on.

Austin is the probably the best place to run in Texas. But, shit, I forgot to bring my normal running shoes. I do have my old Asics with me. And I am really debating whether to run in these because the weather is beautiful. But I was having these real strange lower leg aches and pains when I ran in Asics earlier in the year.

So, I'll be smart and take the day off.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Dead wine guy

I'm sure I spent a lot of money on his stuff: Robert Mondavi, a winemaking genuis.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

You call this stuff wine?

I should know better.

When the wine salesman, err, sommelier, comes up to me in the store trying to sell me something, its not necessarily something they think tastes good. Its usually a bottle that gets them their commission.

I normally steer clear of these people. They don't know my taste buds, how finicky I might be, whether I like spicy zins or big cabs or fruit forward petite syrahs.

They don't know whether I'm spending the last $12 in my pocket or I've cashed in the quarters in my piggy bank to buy a bottle whose vintage is in the 20th century.

They don't know. And I know they don't know. And so when their shelves are filled with dusty looking bottles with labels I've never heard of or read about, I go for my usual reliables: A Peachy Canyon. An Ed Meades. A Peter Mondavi. A Layer Cake or Boarding Pass Shiraz.

But sometimes, in my confusion, my self doubt about my own taste buds, and willingness to try something new, I don't buy what I think I want, they sell me what they want me to buy.

And I get home. And I take that first swig. And I wish I was drinking Reunite instead. And no, it's not just in my head.

And its not like you can take the bottle back. Uhh, sir, this Gnarly Head tastes like shit. I'd like to exchange this open bottle for your most affordable Barossa Valley Shiraz.

And its not like I'm going to go back and buy another bottle that I'd like better. I make decent coin, but a big percent _ rightfully _ goes to my son in Austin.

So when this happens to me _ happens, like I caught a disease or something, right? _ I'm stuck with the musty-feet tasting alcohol for the night.

And its like, when you get back to the house with your takeout and you realize they didn't put extra cheese on your pizza or extra cucumber sauce on your Gyro sandwich. You're starving. Right now. And every bite you take, you are muttering, damn, those mutha-fukkers.

But you go to bed with a full belly, only out of the $5.99 you put down for the Chick-fil-A on wheat which came broiled instead of breaded.

The angst is much more with a bad bottle of wine, when you invest $15 in some fancy sounding, Chateau foo foo that turns out tasting like whatever smegma must taste like.

Wine isnt like anything else. You get a certain quality when you pay a certain amount of money for single-malt scotch, or running shoes, or stonewashed blue jeans. But sometimes, that wine bottle on the top rack hides so many secrets that an article in Wine Spectator can't unearth.

You only know the wines you like by tasting the wines. To hell with what someone else might say.

I didn't go with my own instinct when the wine guy came up to me tonight with all of his fancy words and clever terminology.

That mutha-fukker.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I'm one of the fastest guys in North Texas, for now.

There's a guy I used to work with. Runs a Web site called

He takes the results of every 5k and 10k in North Tek-Ses and compiles a Top 10 list, by age group and by sex. He calls it, "Fastest at Metroplex Road Races.'

The "season" starts the first of May, which means, if you run a 5k or 10k the first weekend in May, and you run it reaonably fast, you have a better chance of appearing at least once in his Top 10 than if you ran a 5k or 10k later in the year, when the list is dominated by all the sub 20-minute 5kers and the sub 35-minute 10kers. You know: The elite Kenyans. The elite Africans. And some really really really fast white guys.

Turns out, the 21:40 I ran May 3, the Mayfest Run, has "qualified me" as one of the fastest runners in my age group in North Tek-Ses. Right now, I have the ninth fastest time in the Metroplex. If you click on the preceding link, I'm in the 35-39 age group.

Now, I'm not fooling myself. My name in the Top 10 won't last long. The guys in my age group are fast, very fast. This list will soon be populated with guys running 17 and 18-minute 5ks.

But for now, Yayyyyyyyy Me. To celebrate, I'm going to finish off this bottle of Rosenblum Zinfandel.

Glub, glub.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Too much junk in the trunk?

Sometimes when I run by a building with mirrors or reflecting glass, I sneak a peak at myself to check my form. What I see is not often very flattering. It looks like I'm literally dragging my ass.

I've got these skinny legs, and skinny arms, but my ass belongs on a man who weighs at least 30 pounds more than I do. When you have to buy jeans that are one or two sizes too big in the waist because of your ass, then yeah, you got a big ass. And that's me.

But I will no longer lament having too much junk in the trunk.

I just came across this Harvard Medical School Study that said people with bigger booties are at a lower risk for Type 2 diabetes.

(Trust me, I'm not foo-foo enough to read Harvard studies. But I saw this link flashing on, of all places, the Huffington Post. The question they should've asked: Whose got the bigger boo-tay: Barack or Hillary?)

Anyway, the study actually says the kind of fat you have can lower your risk level. Subcutaneous (uh-oh, big word alert) fat, they say, is the key, and subcutaneous fat is often found on the buttocks, say the experts.

Big butts, rejoice.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

10k on the 10th

I usually don't post on Sundays. Too tired. Too lazy. Too everything.

But there is something of an Internet running revolution going on at one of the blogs I read. A blogger named Nancy is hosting virtual races and inviting people to post their times on her blog, whether they ran in real races or just workouts.

From the looks of her comments, lots of people are participating.

Saturday was her 10k on the 10th. I did something of a 10k today, though it was a training run. I was still recovering from a 15k I'd run on Saturday, so today, I ran 6.5 miles with the goal of keeping my heart rate under 80 percent max for the entire run.

I knew it'd be a good day when I stepped outside and saw that it was 20 degrees cooler than it was Saturday. 55 degrees is perfect running weather. And even though I was a little sore, I ran every mile, except the first warm-up mile, in under 9 minutes.

6.5 miles in 56:47

My average heart rate for the entire run was 76 percent of max.

Here are the splits:

1 - 9:20
2 - 8:33
3 - 8:34
4 - 8:25
5 - 8:40
6 - 8:50
6.5 - 4:25


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Elscorcho run: I've got work to do

Friday, I signed up for the El Scorcho Run, a 25k race scheduled for July 20 in Fort Worth's Trinity Park.

The race starts at midnight.

In Texas, or as we say Tek-Ses, the temperature around midnight in July is still in the mid 80s. So today, I went out for a 15k run (OK, it was supposed to be a 10-miler, but I didn't make it that far) just to test my long-running ability in the heat.

It was 76 degrees and 75 percent humidity.

I tried to run a slow pace so I'd have something left at the end. Five of my first six miles were in 8:40 or worse. But no matter how slow I ran, my heart rate kept climbing, 80 percent of maximum by mile 2 and 86 percent of maximum by mile 6.

By mile 7, I was screaming uncle. I managed a 10 minute mile, felt better on mile 8 (9:25) but worse at mile 9 (10:12).

It was an out and back course, so I had no choice but to keep going. But it wouldn't be running. I walked about half a mile before I jogged the final 1/2 mile to the car.

My final time: 9.65 miles in 1:29:53, a 9:19 pace.

I didn't drink anything during the run. (Big mistake), and I had two glasses of Gnarly Head Zinfandel the night before (Another big mistake. It wasn't even all that good).

So I got two months to train for El Scorcho. And though I didn't feel too good about today's run, it did put the wraps on a 30-mile week, the most miles I've run in a week since I ran 41 miles the week of Feb. 4.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Big weekend plans

1. Take mom to lunch Sunday. Try to keep her from Luby's or Olive Garden. Tell her its okay if she allows me to spend a little more money on her. Tell her I love her. Call my son's mother and thank her for being such a great mom.

2. Run 10 miles Saturday. Was just checking the running log and noticed I've done so much speed work lately that I've not paid attention to long run training. Last run of at least 10 miles was April 12. That's way too long ago.

3. Work Saturday evening. The newspaper I work for will be covering local city and school board elections. It won't be nearly as exciting as Barack vs. Hillary, but we editors are getting free Mexican food for working. So how bad can it be.

4. Get my haircut Saturday afternoon. I blogged a few weeks ago that I finally found a barber for my nappy hair just down the street from where I live. I've gotta train Steve, a 50-something white guy who told me he has only cut the heads of two black people in the last year. But he did such a nice job two weeks ago, that I'm going to try him again.

5. Register for the El Scorcho run. Gandaman has put together a 25k race that will start after midnight on July 21. That's 15.5 miles. In the dead of summer. What am I thinking? But he's already got more than 300 entrants. So I guess we will all drop dead together that night.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Why they like me at the office

I buy pounds and pounds of Starbucks coffee.

I ground my own beans and make the best pot of Joe that a cheap, office-issue coffee-maker could make.

I buy fancy cookies and pastries from Whole Foods and share them with co-workers.

How can you not like working for a guy who has buttered you up with Pike Place Roast and cranberry loaf.

I’ve got management skills, baby.

I’m the office hero.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Weight loss: Too much of a good thing?

A few months ago, I lamented my weight, which was a shade over 170 and figured I was drinking too much wine during the week, which was causing my weight to stay the same even though I was running pretty much four to five times a week, averaging close to 30 miles a week.
Then, I figured out that I could keep drinking wine and still lose weight reasonably as long as I picked up my pace during my morning runs. Say, from 9:30 minute miles to under 9.

Of my last 15 runs, 14 have averaged under 9 minute miles, including five under 8 minute miles.
I got on the scale today after a 6-miler and it read: 1 6 2

Whoa. Now some of that is lost water weight from the run. I was 166 when I went to bed Monday night, with a nice wine buzz courtesy of a 2004 Marietta Cellars Zinfandel. (Thanks for the recommendation, Run Dangerously. It was a yummy wine, very fruit forward.)

I don't wanna be confused for a the kind of person who frets about every pound lost or gained. In fact, I worry that maybe I'm losing weight toooo fast. We're talking about 8 pounds in two months. At this rate, I'll look like the black, male version of Karen Carpenter by October.

So what do I do now? Keep running fast. Keep drinking wine. Eat more donuts.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Don't forget about me

Every two weeks I visit my son in Austin. I always ask myself one question before he sees me:
"Will Noah remember me?''
I mean, just how much memory does a 9-month old have?
A ton, I guess. Last Saturday, when I got to his mother's house, he was asleep in his car seat. I leaned in to kiss him on his forehead and he woke up. There was silence for a split second. Then he started giggling.
Ok, I remember thinking, he remembers me.
I do a lot of things during my stay to make sure he knows who I am.
I play with him rougher than his mom does. (Don't worry, I don't throw him off a building for luck like some people do.)
I also run his little fingers through my nappy hair, which of course, is much much much different from his mother's hair.
He said "Ma-ma" a few times over the weekend, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little jealous.
But he enjoys playing with me.
I know he does.
And that's good enough.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sneaky, sneaky!


This was my unofficial time in the Mayfest 5K run this morning on the Trinity Trails in Fort Worth.
I decided to run it the last minute before taking off to Austin to see my son.
Didn't want to tell anybody I was running it because then I would have put too much pressure on myself to run a certain time.
I was still a little tired from running last week's Komen Race for the Cure 5K, but today's time is still 16 seconds faster. The big reason is that there were no hills on this run.
Splits (My Garmin 305 said I ran 3.13 miles)
1- 6:52 (Couldn't catch my breath. At one point, I was running a 6:20 mile)
2 - 7:05 (Paid for the bad pacing in mile 1)
3 - 6:51 (Felt strong and passed several people)
3.13 - :51


Friday, May 2, 2008

This love of mine

My son turned 9 months old a few days ago.
For the last 9 months, I've thought about him. Every. Hour. Of. Every. Day.
I've had many loves in my life.
But never one like this.
When his mother was carrying him, I wondered how I'd take to him.
And then I saw him in the sonogram. Sticking out his tongue, the nurse said.
And I turned away because I didn't want his mother to see me tearing up.
The day he got here, it was love at first sight.
It's weird. When I feed him or hold him, I find myself nibbling on his ear or his nose or his little toes.
He looks just like me. The same crooked smile. The same frown when he isn't happy.
The same happy disposition.
The same temper.
If you told me I couldn't have another glass of wine, couldn't run another mile, couldn't earn another dollar if I wanted to be with Noah, it wouldn't take me more than a millisecond to give all that up to be his dad.
There is almost nothing I wouldn't give him. Almost nothing.
He deserves two parents.
But me and his mother don't get along.
I won't get into the details here. She is a great mom.
She lives in Austin. I live in Fort Worth, some 200 miles away.
And our chemistry may as well be 1,000 miles away.
Noah deserves better.