This Page

has been moved to new address


Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
5ksandcabernets: February 2009


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cowtown Marathon

Unofficial time: 3:53

Went out way too fast (1:45) but didn't cramp too badly like I have in the past. And I still managed a 15 minute PR from White Rock.

More details later. But I'm off to find a beer.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Anybody wanna predict my Cowtown Marathon time.

I had lunch today with Ryan from Distorted Veracity and he thinks I'll do 3:43.

Anybody else wanna make a prediction?

Leave your prediction in the comments section. I'll send the one who is closest something nice. Maybe a bottle of wine (or a gift certificate to your favorite spirits shop.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Did I leave my kneecaps in Austin?

Running in Austin was great last week. But it seemingly came at a small cost. Because it was always dark, I could never really see where I was planting my feet on the Town Lake trails, which had all kinds of ruts and often changed from dirt to concrete. During one of the runs, I twisted my left knee just a bit.

I decided to take Sunday and Monday off to rest my knee (and taper for the Cowtown Marathon coming up Saturday). My plan was to hit it hard today, take my rested legs for a spin and get of sense of how I should pace for the marathon.

First few meters were like, oh shit. My knee. My knee. Ouch. Ouch. My knee. Ouchy. Oh.

Id never had pain like that during a run. But just as my worry meter started to redline, the pain went away. Instantly, almost. Well, I thought to myself, that's a relief. I guess I just needed a warmup to get all my knee joints lubricated, or something like that.

Back to the run. It was a 7-miler. I did a "warm-up" first mile in about 8:30 and then I ran six miles hard, but not at race pace. My goal was to push the pace but still be able to talk.

Ok, make that still be able to blurt out thoughts.

The stats: 6 miles in 42:07, a 7:01 min/mile pace. I hit the last mile in 6:36. Whoa. Didn't mean to go out that fast. But I'm no worse for the wear. Knee feels great. And more important, my confidence is soaring. That's exactly the kind of run I needed, though I won't be running any 7 min/miles during the marathon, unless I'm feeling really good after Mile 20.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Over-analyzing Cowtown: Can I split a hair three ways?

I'm back from Austin and already miss the trails there. It's a running town, for sure. Fort Worth, well, let me just say this. When I was taking the exit off the highway to go home, to the right was a guy riding a horse in a field. There may be more horse trails in Fort Worth than jogging trails. And unless you are a Cowboy, that's just sad.

Anyway, as I wrote this post, It was T-minus 5 1/2 days before the Cowtown Marathon. I havent really started tapering yet. In Austin, I ran 35 miles during the week. Not the 50 I was doing during the peak of my marathon training, but I'm still getting in the miles. But this week, I'm definitely going to shut it down until Saturday. When I ran in Austin, it was often in the dark and often on uneven dirt. I tweaked my left knee just a little bit - nothing to be concerned about, but its about time to start resting.

I have not run since a 9-miler Saturday and won't run until Tuesday. I'll do 6 then and 6 Wednesday, then that's it until the marathon.

What will I do in the meantime? Worry. Overanalyze. Over think. If I could split a hair three ways about Saturday's race, I would.

I know. I know. Its not healthy, but its no use. This is what I do during marathon week. I think about pace. About fuel. About the weather. When I got back from Austin Sunday afternoon, I went over my splits from my previous three marathons, breaking it down by looking at the first half of my marathons vs. the second half...

Year............1st half=pace.............2nd half/pace.................% slow down
2008............1:50=8:23..................2:18=10:32...................25 percent slower
2007............2:17=10:32................3:03=13:58...................32 percent slower
2005............2:10=9:58..................2:31=11:32...................24 percent slower

Even though I had a faster time in 2008 (4:08), it appears I ran a "better" race in 2005 (4:41) because I didnt slow down as drastically. As you can see, my marathons give a new meaning to "Negative Split." In my 2007 White Rock Marathon race report, I wrote that the only reason I didn't quit is because I couldnt find a medic. Three hours to run the back half of a marathon? Yeah, that was me.

In the second half of marathons, things have been negative alright. Again, its not because I run out of breath, or because I "hit a wall." All my second half problems have been because of painful cramps caused from, what I now believe, drinking toooooo much water.

But, as I wrote in a post a few weeks back, I think I got this cramping thing figured out. I'll bring my salt packets on the road to Cowtown, and hopefully, I can have the kind of negative split I'm supposed to have.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Social networking on the run: How I learned to untangle hair and what grape soda smells like

I've been a social networker (blog, Facebook, Twitter) for about a year now and like most people, my virtual "friends" have stayed just that: "virtual."

I know about your lives, and you know about my life, through words on a page, 140-character tweets, or updates on Facebook. Most of my virtual buddies live in states like New York and California, with a smattering in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas, D.C., Oklahoma, Oregon, Canada and Texas. So, you never expect to come into contact with any of them.

But this week, I've had the pleasure in meeting/phone conversation with two of my blogging buddies .

First, on Monday, Rachel from Single Mom Seeking, and I finally connected over the phone. Rachel blogs about what its like to be a single mother and no topic _ mommyhood, dating, sex _ is off limits. Rachel is half Jewish, half Irish Catholic, which makes her daughter half black, half jewish, and half Irish Catholic. My kid is also interracial, so Rachel and I sometimes talk/blog about what we do with our kids' hair. (Those kids dont have a problem with hair. I'm the one who has a hair problem.)

Rachel is also an accomplished writer, having published a book that is the same title of her blog. And that's why we'd been exchanging voicemails. I'm thinking about writing a book and wanted to tell her what a nice book she'd written. Of all the blogs I read, Rachel probably as the biggest following. Makes me feel all important when she makes little notes in the comment section of my blog.

Somehow, in a post about vibrators and privacy settings on Facebook, Rachel worked in a line on her blog about how our phone conversation went.


On Friday morning, I actually met up with a blogger friend in person (I guess if you meet someone, it is in person, right?) Anyway, I had blogged on Thursday about how often I get lost when I run the trails around Austin's Town Lake. Sadie, a 3:37 marathoner who lives in Austin, read my blog and fired off an email that began, " more getting lost."

Turns out, Sadie was running a slow five miler Friday and volunteered to run with me and "show me around" the Lake. We met at 6 a.m. Friday morning, and though it was dark, I learned the tricks of the trail (there is a place in the run where it smells like Grape soda - that's what Sadie said and, yeah, I did smell some grapey-ness among the blossoms. Come to think of it, I now want to run back to that spot and order a nice bottle of wine) and I saw that there were some maps which showed you where the heck you were running. It was about 38 degrees and Sadie was even nice enough to loan me a pair of gloves.

Sadie is fast, I mean sick fast. She ran this most recent Austin Marathon and even though she treated it like a training run, she popped a 3:38. And the run culminated a week in which she would ran 70 miles. SHE DIDNT EVEN TAPER!!!!!! I've got a marathon a week from Saturday and I'm already shutting my legs down, hoping they do me right at the Cowtown Marathon. Sadie, you are strong!!

Sadie also blogged about our meeting.

Rachel and Sadie were not the first bloggers I've met/contacted. Susan, a cool runner-videographer; Ryan the crazy ultrarunner; Derek the crazy ultrarunner; Brian (sorry about the knee surgery, dude) and Richie have also had the (dis?)pleasure of meeting me.

Who's next?

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lost, then found: You can wear tennis shoes with slacks, can't you?

Austin, oh Austin. Your running trails around Town Lake are awesome, though I wish there were directions telling you which routes to take to run a certain distance. Your downtown is even more awesome, and the capitol building is pretty cool too - though I wish there were better directions to tell you which way you are going.
Spot a trend here? I've spent a lot of time getting in lost in Austin this week _ whether its walking through the halls of the Capitol looking for the office of some state senator, or even the exit, or driving around the Capitol looking for parking. And when I'm not lost, I'm stuck in traffic. It was rainy and foggy the first few days of this week and so traffic on Mopac (That's a north-and-south running freeway for those of you who've never been to Austin) has been like a parking lot in the mornings.
You know what I think it is, why I'm getting lost all the time? Man disease. Really. All I've gotta do when I get lost is stop and ask somebody where the heck I'm going.
But do I stop? No.
Inside the capitol, I think to myself, "well, I've tried this hallway and that hallway, so it must be this other hallway." I guess I'm trying to fit in. You should see me. I walk fast and with purpose, and each time I realize I've gone down the wrong flight of stairs or made the wrong turn, I whisper out loud, "Oh, it's over here." - you know, so just in case someone is watching they'll think I know where I'm going.
To get on the floor of the House and Senate, men have to wear coat and tie. Before this week, I hadnt worn a tie in I don't know how long. (To funerals, I'd always wear black shirt and jacket. Hadnt been to a weddings since before 9/11. As I write this I realize how sad that sounds: I've been to more funerals this decade [ 4 ] than weddings [ 1] ).
To make sure I comply with the dress code, last weekend I ducked into a Kohl's and, voila, they had a sale. Two ties for $30. I usually wear tennis shoes and blue jeans to work back home, but on the first day covering the legislature in Austin, I decided to wear shoes. Argghh. My feet killed me all day long. And my knees hurt when I ran the next morning.
So, the last few days, Ive worn my black new balance tennis shoes with my suits. Ahhhhh! Kenneth Cole slacks and New Balance: I know I look crazy, but boy am I comfortable.
So I've got 9 days before the marathon. I'm tapering like I'm supposed to and my legs are lovvvvvvving it. Just lovin' it. Feeling all fresh and springy, my legs can churn out sub 8 minute miles without needing too much work from my heart and lungs. I did 7 miles at Town Lake this morning in about 55 minutes (7:50 pace) and my average heart rate was 77 percent of max. I hope Cowtown is where I finally vanquish the ghosts of marathons past.
So, in between the running and the getting lost, I have been working.
Tuesday, I wrote a story about the challenges Texas faces in biosciences. And Wednesday, I co-authored a story about Texas Governor Rick Perry saying he would take the stimulus money that the federal government has earmarked for Texas.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Big decision I'm making

Usually when I visit Noah, I stay at the Austin townhouse of his mother, who lives with her mother. I sleep in my own room and I get up when Noah awakes and I get to see him before he goes to sleep. I get there on Saturdays after my long run (Yeah, you try driving 3 hours after running 20 miles and tell me how much your knees like it) and leave Monday mornings.

But I don't get along with Noah's mother. And it makes the weekend stressful. And things are getting worse.

So, I think I'm going to have to make a change. I think I'm going to get a hotel when I go see Noah. It'll mean I have to find an extra $75 to $100 every two weeks in my budget, and it also means I get there Saturday and leave Sunday, but I just don't think I can take the stress anymore. I wont get into why Nancy and I don't get along. We can't stand each other. She thinks she is right and I think I am right, but whats important is that she is a very good mother and I'm lucky and Noah is lucky that she is mom. But staying there is too stressful. Even if its only 48 hours.

I shouldn't have to go through what I have to go through to see my son. There is no law that says so. I give her 20 percent of my paycheck every two weeks, and sometimes I give her extra when Noah needs it. But now, now, if I keep staying there, I'm going to lose my mind. I just am.

And now, I've decided I won't. Nancy and I haven't been in a relationship since she left _ that's right _ she left in Oct. 2007. So, its not like we got something special going. I cant afford two nights of hotel costs every two weeks, but maybe I go to Austin every three weeks. Get there Saturday and maybe leave sometime Monday.

I think its what I have to do to keep my sanity.

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 16, 2009

A different perspective of the marathon

I've run across the finish line at a marathon three times and am now tapering for my fourth marathon Feb. 28. But last Sunday, I spent an hour or so as a spectator watching the finish line of the Austin Marathon. I got there as the 3:45s were coming through and left as the 5:00s finishers were getting done.

Most everybody I saw was in pretty decent shape. There were a few guys who were walking near the end, muscles seizing up on them and boy, do I know how they must have felt.

Here are a few of the pics I took with my Iphone, some of which I posted on twitter. Twitter? Twitter? If you don't know, now you know. I'm loving Twitter. But that's for another post.

(By the way, I'm in Austin all week covering the legislature for the Star-Telegram. I've got a decent hotel about 5 minutes away from my son, Noah, so I can work, run at Town Lake and wrestle Noah all in one day.)

Ok, here are those marathon finish line photos. Pictures say 1,000 words, so I'll just get out of the way. My only comments are, on the upper right, not everyone walked through the finish line and, lower left, finishers were glad to see the lady handing out the medals.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cowtown Marathon: My last important training run

Today's schedule: 16 miles at marathon pace.
What it meant for me: Try to keep every mile under 8:00
What I did: 16.2 miles in 2:08:08, a pace of 7:53
My fuel for the run: A Hammer Chocolate GU and a packet of table salt at Mile 6. (I also had a cup of Gatorade with a packet of table salt 20 minutes before the run). The salt is working! The salt is working!
This is the first run of any distance longer than a half marathon where I averaged a sub-8 minute mile for the entire run. So, I guess that means I'm ready for Cowtown, right? The question that will no doubt linger in my mind for the next two is how fast should I run the marathon.
I think I'll start off doing 8:15s to 8:30s, then hit 8 to 8:15s from mile 10 until 18, then do the last 8 miles in 8;00 or better per mile.
I'll spend the next two weeks training. This week, in fact, I'll be in Austin covering the state legislature for the newspaper I work for, so that means more time to spend with my 18-month old son, Noah. I'm sure I'll have no problems looking for places to run. Can you say Town Lake?
After White Rock, I took a few weeks off and started training for Cowtown at the beginning of January. Here is a look at my 7-week schedule.
Week----------------Miles------------------Long run/time/---------------pace
12/28 to 1/3 ------41.62 miles---------14.5 miles in 2:00:54/-----8:06
1/4 to 1/10---------44.9-------------------16.16 miles in 2:13;45.....8:16
1/11 to 1/17--------41.32-----------------16 in 2:17:03.................8:33
1/18 to 1/24........51.19 ----------------20.3 in 2:52:24...............8:29
1/25 to 1/31........37.1...................13.1 in 1:36:01...............7:20 (half marathon race)
2/1 to 2/7............51.91.................20.2 in 2:56:07..............8:43
2/8 to 2/14...........46.24................16.2 in 2:08:08..............7:53
Notice how my long runs got slower and slower. I figured its because I was starting to wear down. But things have picked up since I figured out my electrolyte/cramping problem. Hope everyone has a nice Valentine's Day.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Dear legs: Good job, but don't get overconfident

With all this whining about my bad haircut, I have forgotten to write about my run Thursday morning.
It was fast. It was crazy. It was fast. Did I say fast?
And it came from out of nowhere.
I went to bed Wednesday night with a bad cold and a badder (Warning - ICKY grammar alert) stomach from Bar-B-Que and greasy fries. I woke up Thursday morning with a stuffy head and an overactive bladder and thought about just skipping my Thursday run altogether. Afterall, I'm beginning a mini-taper for the Feb. 28 Cowtown Marathon, so nothing I do in these final weeks will help me for that day, right???
Well, anybody who knows runners knows that runners are more likely to run when sick than go to work when sick. So I put on my clothes, hit the bathroom, and drove to the Lukes Locker on University for the normal group run that takes us on hills through TCU and the Colonial Country Club.
Now again, I'm still feeling a little foggy-headed, but there were more than a dozen other runners. And when I run with other runners, I get this crazy rush of Adrenaline and if Im not careful, an easy run can turn into a tempo run and a tempo run can turn into near race pace for me.
I tried to be careful. I really did. But for the first few miles, there were a few people in front of me and so I played this game in my head of "catch that guy." And by Mile 4, I had caught everybody and passed them. It was a comfortably hard pace, and not to steal a line from this Northwest blogger/runner/extraordinarily fast person, it was so fast that I was scared to look at my watch; didnt want to do anything other than run and breath.
Here are the splits from the run
1 - 8:13 (warm-up)
2 - 7:22
3 - 6:57
4 - 6:40
5 - 6:27
6 - 6:23
That's 6 miles in 42:01, a 7:00/mile pace for the entire run, and 6:36 over the last four miles. I've got a 16-miler coming up Saturday morning, so I've told my legs not to start bragging and getting overconfident. I plan to warm up the first 6 miles and try the last 10 in 8:00/mile pace or better. That'll end my week at 46 miles and then I'll have two more taper weeks before Cowtown.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The clippers that mauled my hairline: pictoral evidence.

After my post about my most recent bad haircut experience, a few of my blogging friends (from Arizona - sorry about that Cardinals loss; and from Long Beach, Cali) asked me for a picture of the clipper mauling.
So here it is. As you can see, a big chunk of my hairline has been removed. Again, it'll grow back and all, but damn, edging up a black man's hair is actually the easiest part of giving a black man a hair cut.
See, all you have to do is follow the outline of my natural hairline. Remember when you were a kid in art class? You had to color and stay in the lines? Same concept. Well, apparently, this hair technician flunked art.

Labels: ,

An open letter to white hair cut establishments

To whomever it may concern

Please teach your "hair technicians" how to cut a black man's hair. Please. Pretty please.

I haven't complained/blogged about my difficulties in finding a good hair cut IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD in a while mainly because, for the last half of last year, I found somebody. A 20-something girl name Ashley at Knockouts for Men in Fort Worth had figured out what to do with these naps and every two weeks, she delivered one consistent hair cut after another.

Now, I know what you are saying. You are saying I only went to knockouts because of the scantily clad women that cut hair there. Well, I also went for the free beer they give you. But honestly, it was a last resort. Late last Spring, I had run out of all my options of viable places IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD that could cut a black man's hair. And I didn't want to drive 20 to 30 minutes out of the way to the BLACK NEIGHBORHOOD to get a haircut mainly because gas was close to $4/gallon at the time and getting a haircut at a black barbershop on a Saturday meant I was going to have to wait another 30 to 45 minutes before I could get in the barber's chair.

(By the way, the cutting of a black man's hair is on the minds of many "hair technicians." I know because dozens of people have inadvertently found my blog by googling keywords such as, "how to cut a black man's hair." Try it. You'll see my blog pop up.)

So I ignored any thoughts I had about Knockouts being a place that is demeaning to women, etc, etc, and I walked in. I told Ashley what I needed, and with a few prompts, she did a nice job. So I kept going back. It got to a point that all I had to do was sit in the chair and Ashley knew exactly what I wanted. No arrows or wild cuts. No crazy fades. Just something short with a slight taper.

Well, Ashley got another job cutting hair near her house in Burleson, so that left me looking for a new "hair technician." But I was feeling confident that since one white person did such a good job cutting my hair, any white person could cut my hair.

So last weekend, I'm in Austin. Hadn't had a haircut since, oh, mid January. There is a TGI-Haircutters down the street from where Noah and Nancy live. I walk in. A 40-something year old guy from Oklahoma is my "hair technician" He smells like smoke and his hand is shaking a little bit, but that doesn't necessarily worry me. He actually does a nice job....until he gets to the part where he has to edge up my front and sides.

Arghhhh!#$%^&!! He cuts my hair line too far back on the sides and the front. I cringe when I see what he has done, but its no use complaining. I'll still look silly when I get out of his chair. I pay the $14.95 and even leave him a $2.50 tip.

Oh, well. Everything will grow back soon enough. I just hope I find another "hair technician" soon. Heck, maybe I'll start trying to cut my own hair. This guy did.

Labels: ,

Monday, February 9, 2009

Plain old table salt: A cure for my marathon cramps?

Ever since cramps reduced my stride from 8:00 to 11:00-miles during the last hour of my White Rock Lake Marathon experience last Dec. 14, I've been trying to figure out what caused my muscles to spasm. Was I not adequately trained? Was it too hot? Did something chemically go wrong?

Well, during Saturday's 20-miler, I think I may have gotten my answer.

I ran the first half of the Cowtown Marathon course, then a three-mile circle around the hilly neighborhood near the Colonial Country Club, then the last four miles of the Cowtown Course, which has huge hills at the end of Mile 24 and the start of Mile 25. Saturday's weather was eerily similar to the weather at White Rock. High 60s and windy.

At a little after 6 a.m., about 10 of us took off and from the first step, I mean the very first step, I knew this was going to be a tough day. The humidity just choked the air out of you. The heat was crazy. And yes, in Texas, a 60-plus degree day is welcome if it comes in the middle of the summer. But in February, when your morning runs are usually in the 30s, well, 60 may as well have been 80 or even 85.

But unlike the marathon, when I was hell bent on running an 8:00-mile, the first half of Saturday's run was slow and easy. I didn't let myself go faster than an 8:30 mile for the first seven miles. And seven of the first 13 miles were 8:50 or slower. Still, in this heat, I could feel myself stiffening up. Hamstrings. Quads. They just weren't firing as usual. And it seemed like I was working wayyyy too hard to be going so slow. Are these the same legs that carried me to a 1:36 half marathon a week ago? Where did they go? I had to stop and stretch at Mile 7 and again at Mile 9 and with 11 miles to go, I was figuring, "Damn, am I going to make it?'

Before I left the house for the run, I put two salt packets I nabbed from Chick-Fil-A in my fanny pack. While I was stretching near Mile 9, I decided to take one. I tore the pack open and poured half in my mouth. Yek. Then I chased it with water. Instantly, I felt better. I hit Mile 10 in 8:05 and clocked an 8:16 at Mile 11, which would have been faster but I fumbled around trying to take my first GU of the run. The miles felt effortless and they were the fastest two miles of the run so far.

By this time, I was running with three other runners: Tom, who has run 10 marathons and will run Cowtown; Bob, the 50-something guy who I got lost with during my first Cowtown training rout (think pit bulls), and Karen, a Lukes Locker Tuesday/Thursday morning runner who is one of the fastest women in our group. I remember telling Bob about how fresh I felt after taking the salt and we both just said its probably in my head.

Miles 12 thru 15 were all 8:50 or slower, but it wasnt because the salt/placebo was wearing off. At each of those miles, we stopped to either stretch or refill our water bottles and I just let the clock run on my Garmin. At around Mile 13, I gave my last GU to Karen (Hey, I was being a gentleman. She said she needed a GU. I gave her one.) As I handed it to her, my last salt packet flew out of my fanny pack. So here I am, no GU, no salt. Its hot. Its windy. And there are 7 miles to go. But I soldiered on and when I completed Mile 15 in 8:02, I figured, ahhhh, I dont need anything to get me through this.

Boy, was I wrong. I started getting that tight feeling in my legs and quads again just past the 15-mile mark and the fatigue was definitely setting in. Tom gave me one of his GUs and I did everything I could not to puke on the Strawberry Powerade GU. (Hey, I like Hammer Chocolate!). It took me 8:58 to complete Mile 16 and I was absolutely fading, feeling exactly the way I felt at White Rock at exactly the same mile marker that I started feeling cramps during the marathon.

On Saturday, Miles 13 and Mile 16 took me under the same I-30 bridge on the Trinity Trails. At the 16.5-mile mark, I remembered that it was at this part of the course where my salt packet flew out of my fanny pack when I was handing my GU to Karen. So, I stopped and looked around in the grass for my lost salt packet. And 10 seconds later, voila! It had been stepped on, and it was very soggy, but it was still intact. I tore it open, poured it in my mouth (the wind blew some of it in my eyes - ouch) then swigged the remaining water I had in my water bottle and took off.

And again, I felt great instantly. Instant as in now. Right. Now. I went from feeling like the last four miles would be a death march to sprinting. I did the next two miles in 16 minutes flat. Folks, thats an 8:00-mile. It felt great to come "back from the dead," of cramps and low-energy. I was feeling tired, and could feel the wall just a bit. But it was a good feeling. Usually, in my long runs, the cramps come before I get tired and I have never finished a race longer than a half-marathon in an exhilarating sprint.

The last two miles of the 20-miler were 8:36 and 8:48, but both miles were mostly uphill, the same hills I will face on the last two miles of the Cowtown Marathon on Feb. 28.

Saturday was the first time I'd taken salt, plain old table salt, for a long run. I was absolutely amazed at the affect it had on me. I'm guessing with those two salt packets I ingested more than 1,000 milligrams of sodium. (I had this crusty white film all over me afterwards). During my White Rock Marathon 20-miler training runs, I took this fancy pants supplement called Hammer Endurolytes and looking at the label, I see those only have 40 MG of salt per serving. I took 9 of those capsules during the marathon, giving me only 360 MG of salt during the whole race. Combine that with the fact that I drank water at nearly every water stop and its not easy to see why I had washed away my electrolytes during the marathon.

So, maybe, just maybe, I've found a cure to the cramps that have ailed me in my previous three marathons.

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 6, 2009

What if newspapers were invented after the Internet?

Thursday morning, the big wigs who own the newspaper I write stories for announced there would be even more layoffs in the coming weeks. With this economy, no one is really surprised. Think about it: When businesses close, that means fewer jobs, which means fewer advertisements of all kinds: classified, retail, shopper inserts.

Anyway, Ken Paulson, former editor of the USA Today, had a clever take on how newspapers could survive and you have to go back to the future to get what he is talking about. He spoke recently at a National Press Club function and I've lifted his best quotes from a media watch column run by the Poynter Institute.


"We're pleased to announce a new product that will revolutionize the way you access information. It will save you time and money and keep you better informed than ever before.

Just consider the hours you've spent on the Internet looking for information of interest to you. We've hired specialists who live and work in your hometown to cull information sources and provide a daily report tailored to your community, your friends and your neighbors.

We also know that you sometimes wonder whether you can trust the information you see online. We plan to introduce a painstaking new process called "fact-checking" in which we actually verify the information before we pass it along to you.

In addition to saving time online, you'll also save money. You won't need those expensive color ink cartridges or reams of paper because information will be printed out for you in full color every day.

You'll also save money on access charges and those unpleasant fights over who gets time on the computer because this product will be physically delivered to your home at the same time each day, for less than what you would tip the guy from Pizza Hut.

You can read the rest of the post here: (Imagine, newspapers being invented after the modem)

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Legs writing a check that lungs won't cash

Today's Cowtown Marathon schedule (OK, Cowtown doesn't officially have a schedule, so I'm making one up) called for a 10-mile run at my easy pace. But I was feeling kinda frisky (not in that way!), and wanted something a little more livelier this morning.
This means 1,000-meter intervals. Jack Daniels (the book, not the drink) says a person with my 5k speed (19:15) should do 1,000-meter intervals in 3:50 to 3:52. I put on my Sugoi tights, gloves, and my new Brooks Adrenalines (GTS9) and headed out the door in the 31-degree morning.
I drove from my apartment near the Fort Worth Zoo to the Panera Bread/Hoffbrau restaurant on University and did a 2.5-mile warm up, taking it easy as I ran around Colonial Country Club through the Tanglewood neighborhood to Overton Park, which is across the street from Tanglewood Elementary. (Mommies dropping off their kids for school must have wondered, "Why is there a strange black man running up and down the street?) 
I figured out how to make my Garmin reset itself for intervals, so when I was ready, I just hit the "Lap" button and took off. I had planned to only take 2-minute jogging breaks between each interval (The last time I did these, wayyyyyyy back in October, I took 3:00 jogging breaks)
1st 1,000m interval: 3:53 (Legs didnt feel like they had completely warmed up)
2nd: 3:52
3rd: 3:50
4th: 3:50
Glad I was able to recover quickly enough in the two-minute cool downs to be able to do each interval at pretty much the same speed. At the end of the fourth interval, I was pretty much ready to get back in my car and drive home. My lungs were burning. Alas, my car was parked 2.5 miles from the start of my intervals, so I slogged it back and got ready for work.
I looked at my Garmin readout after the workout and noticed that I only spent about 9 minutes with my heart rate above 88 percent max. And my heart rate never got above 95 percent max, which is what you want for these workouts. Its tooooo hard make my heart beat that fast unless I'm at the end of a race. But maybe, maybe, if the intervals lasted a little longer, say, like 1,200 meters, I'd achieve my goal of having my heart rate in that optimal zone for at least 12 minutes.
Anyway, I'm chalking this up to a good workout and I didnt get injured.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Me, qualify for Boston? You must be crazy!

From time to time, I take a look back at my past runs to see how I'm improving (or not improving). If I've been putting together sluggish runs, looking back helps me see if I've had enough rest days, or if I've been running too hard. Looking back also helps me see how I was running on days leading up to races where I PR'd.
After this morning's 8-mile run, I decided to look wayyyyyyy back. To Feb. 3, 2008. Boy, how things have changed for me.
On Feb. 3, 2008, I ran for 1:05:28, covering 6.55 miles. My average heart rate for the entire run, which was done on a flat trail, was 77.5 percent of my maximum heart rate. My average pace was a 10:00 mile.
Today (Feb. 3, 2009), I ran for 1:03:13, covering 8.28 miles. It just so happens that my average heart rate for the entire run was also 77.5 percent of my max heart rate, and this course had hills at the end of Mile 1, 4, and 5. My average pace was 7:38 mile.
So, basically doing a run at the same effort, I'm darn near two miles per hour faster.
The thing in my head now is this: After today, I felt like I could have run another 8 miles in the same pace, if not faster. Which leads me to this: A 7:38 mile run 26.2 times is a 3:20 marathon, which would qualify me for some big race in the Northeast they call the Boston Marathon. And now I'm thinking this: Should I try to BQ at the Cowtown Marathon on Feb. 28?
My answer: Hellllllls No.
I need to 1) get through a marathon without cramping, then 2) try to get in under 4 hours. Those will be my primary goals for Cowtown. There will be other marathons to try to qualify for Boston.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

January 2009 Mileage

Saturday's PR at the Lake Benbrook Half Marathon was the last run of a month in which I ran the most miles in any month: 194.75, just edging out the 193-mile month I had last October. And the thing is, I only ran 20 days in January. I took more days off, ran less 4- and 5-mile speed runs, and concentrated more on endurance. 14 of the 20 runs were at least an hour long, and four of those runs lasted at least 2 hours.

Here are the numbers...

Miles: 194.75

Time: 26 hours, 7 minutes, 40 seconds

Pace: 8:02 minutes/mile

Avg heart rate: 78 percent of max.

I did a 7.3-mile recovery run today, going as slow as I could without screwing around with my stride. Got it done in 1:04:58. Pace was 8:54. I was not as sore as I thought I'd be after Saturday's half marathon. This week is the last big mileage week before the Cowtown Marathon on Feb. 28. This is what I hope to run this week

Today: 7 miles (done)
Monday: off
Tuesday: 8 miles
Wednesday: 10 miles
Thursday: 8 miles
Friday: off
Saturday: 22 miles (running the Cowtown Marathon course just to know what those hills feel like)

Total: 55 miles