This Page

has been moved to new address


Sorry for inconvenience...

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


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September mileage 2009

Miles run in September: 198.71 (Last two weeks are tapering for Portland Marathon)

Time: 27 hours, 15 minutes, 41 seconds

Pace: 8:13 min/mile

Total miles run in 2009: 1,772.12

Miles run in all of 2008: 1,601.69

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Taper doing its job

Did 8 miles with Team Rogue this morning.

For the first time in, oh, say six weeks, I ran without ANY pain. NONE. NADA. ZILCH.

No pain.

(Did I say pain free?)

Before I took the first step, I was already wincing, ready to go into the pitiful warm-up shuffle that I normally do on the first mile. But, when my foot hit the ground ... nothing. No pain.

I kept waiting for the pain to come and it never did. There were a few twinges (maybe they were phantom twinges) - but I'm as close to being 100 percent as I've been since July. And I had a bounce in my stride that hasn't been there in a while either.

(Much thanks should go to the massage therapist I've been seeing. Her motto should be, 'I make you hurt so you won't hurt when you run.')

This morning we were supposed to do 3 or 4 miles of the 8-mile run at marathon goal pace. I hit the paces easily, without pressing, without breathing hard, and even kept pace when we went up hill. I had to keep telling myself, "slow down, slow down, slow down you fool."

My average for the 4-mile section at marathon pace was 7:34.

I went home and iced my leg (even though it wasnt hurting) and will continue to concentrate on nutrition and hydration.

Finally, I'm getting excited.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Portland Marathon Week: The details are in the numbers

Today, with the marathon less than a week away, I checked out my weekly mileage totals from each of my four previous marathon totals and compared them to the 16-week schedule I've done for this marathon.

Based on my training, I should PR easily. But will I BQ? (I need to average 7:38 min/mile for a Boston Qualifying time of 3:20)



Portland - ??

2009 – 3:53

2008 – 4:08

2007 – 5:20

2005 – 4:41

Avg. weekly mileage






Peak weeks


9/40 .. 4/50

10/40 .. 3/50

6/40 … 1/50

8/30 … 1/40

Runs over 1 hour

60 of 88 (68%)

37 of 72 (51%)

29 of 85 (34%)

21 of 69 (30%)

24 of 73 (33%)

Runs over 90 minutes

29 of 88

13 of 72

14 of 85

13 of 69

15 of 73

Runs over 17 miles

10 (8 over 20)

5 (5 over 20)

5 (4 over 20)

4 (2 over 20)

3 (2 over 20)

Year - Time: Probably self explanatory. But just in case... "2009 - 3:53" means I ran 3:53 in the 2009 marathon. "2008 - 4:08" means I ran 4:08 in the 2008 marathon.

Peak weeks? Under Portland, for example, I have 12/50 and 6/60. That means I had 12 weeks where I ran at least 50 miles that week and 6 of those weeks were 60 miles or more. In training for the marathon earlier this year, I had 9 weeks of at least 40 miles and four of those were at least 50.

The part of the equation missing from this chart is my paces for key runs. I didn't put that in on purpose because the question for me has never been speed. It's been muscular endurance. I've run 5ks under 20 minutes and can run a mile in under 6 minutes. But my training and nutrition in the past has turned me into a 10- and 11-minute miler in the last 10k of my previous marathons. Hopefully, having averaged 55 miles a week over the 16 weeks before taper is enough for me to hold the proper paces.

*My marathons in 2005, 2007, and 2008 were all in Dallas at the White Rock Marathon. Course was very flat except for a few hills around Mile 20. The 2009 marathon was in Fort Worth, which was a little hillier.

*The weather for all but the 2008 marathon was in the 30s or 40s. The 2008 marathon saw temperatures start off in the high 60s.

*Training for all the marathons except for Portland was basically on flat terrain. If you know anything about Austin, or have read my blog, you know that its pretty hard to find a flat place to run here, unless you run all of your mileage at Town Lake Trails.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Track workout: Too many left-hand turns

Interesting workout today. 6x1 miles around the track. But the twist was that during each mile, every 400 meters we had to alternate between our 10k pace and our half marathon pace. We were to rest for about 90 seconds between each mile rep.

Now, that is just way too much thinking for me to do so early in the morning. And it was dark, so I couldnt look at my Garmin to see if I was on pace.

So I just decided, as Geezer said, to run fast and less fast, making sure that my last few 10k reps were just as quick as my first few 10k reps. My half marathon paces ranged from 6:50 to 7:00. My 10k paces ranged from 5:56 to 6:08.

Not sure if the 90 second break was a help or a hindrance. Each time I got in rhythm, it was time to stop. Cardiovascular-wise, I felt fine. My legs, though, especially the bothersome lower left one, is still a little wonky, so all the stopping and starting (not to mention all the left hand turns on the track - 24 of them in all) made it tough to warm up and stay warmed up.

Coached asked me today if I was still going to try to BQ in Portland. I told him I didn't know. I mean, I know I'm going to try to run 3:20. I've worked too hard not to try. I just hoped I'd be closer to 100 percent by now, and I'm not and my leg is causing me to shift my running style and putting more pressure on other parts of my body (groin, hamstring).

Anyway, I've still got time to taper and see how things go.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Leftover Labor Day Pictures

These are leftover pictures from when I went to Fort Worth. I went to a Queso Party (thrown by the coolest party thrower ever, Christa - squatting next to me in the first picture.) and I raced a 15k. The first pic looks weird because there were four different people taking that picture and none of us knew what camera to look at. The last picture is of me during the last tenth of a mile at the 15k. I guess I got a muscle or two. Funny how they come out when I'm running because I never see them when I get dressed in the mornings.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cowboys-Giants: Not the way to open a new stadium

How many times in NFL history has one team run for more than 250 yards and still lost?

When you run for plus 250 in a game, it means your offensive line is dominating their defensive line. It means you have been more manly than their men have been.

But in the regular season debut of the Rome Coliseum in Arlington, Texas, the Dallas Cowboys rushed for 251 yards yet lost to the New York Giants, 33-31.

The Cowboys culprit? Tony Romo. He threw three interceptions and each pass was worse than the last one. The Giants returned one for a touchdown and should have been awarded a touchdown on another interception after a Romo pass ricocheted off of Jason Witten's foot. Romo's third pick was such a lob-lolly that the Giants defender could have called a fair catch.

Jerry's $1 billion stadium was glorious and brought out the likes of LeBron James, George Bush, and a bunch of old Cowboys, including Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. Unfortunately for Dallas, Romo is looking more like Danny White.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Time for Taper: My legs need the rest, my mind needs the confidence

If anyone would have told me before I joined Team Rogue that I'd survive 8 runs of 20 miles or more including 3 runs of at least 23 miles; that I'd survive 10 weeks where I ran at least 55 miles including 6 weeks of more than 60 miles; that I'd survive a 16-week program where I averaged 55 miles a week....

If anyone would have told me all this, I'd have taken it right then and been happy, happy that I was primed for a marathon PR.

But expectations can turn happiness into self doubt.

And that's what I'm feeling today. No, not that I won't PR my marathon in two weeks. If I can't run 26.2 miles faster than 3:53, then something is wrong.

But I'm hoping for a 3:20, which is what I need to qualify for Boston. And after today's run, which is the third 23-plus mile run I've done in the last four weeks, my legs and my confidence are feeling a bit shaky.

Today's workout had us do a 1.5 mile warm up, then run 20 miles at 20 seconds slower than marathon goal pace. There was water at Mile 5, 10, 15, and 20, and we could take a 2 to 5 minute recovery after Mile 10.

For me, that meant running 8:00-miles. I took the workout as more of a mental challenge than a physical one. I've had problems "going out too fast," in some races and workouts, so I wanted to make sure I stayed within the 8:00 m/m range, give or take 5-10 seconds.

I stayed on pace the first 15 miles. Here are the splits for the first 15 miles:

My legs didn't want to cooperate during the last 5 miles of the workout. They were tight, leaking glycogen, and worse, I was becoming dehydrated. I took a GU and two thermolyte tablets at each water stop (which were spaced every 5 miles), but that didn't help my energy. At one point, I even stopped sweating. My hands and face were bone dry.
Here were the splits for the last 5 miles of the workout:
We actually ran out of water after the last water stop and so I stopped at a gas station, saw a guy using a water hose to fill his radiator and asked if I could borrow it. "Sure," he said. I guess the good thing is that I stayed on pace for the most part during the first 3/4ths portion of the workout.

Still, here is what has happened to me over the last three 23-plus mile runs.

Aug. 29 race prep: I cramped and had to stop on Mile 24 of a 27-mile workout which featured 9 miles at MGP, 5 miles of steep hills, 1 mile at 5K pace on the track, and 6 miles on the track running paces that ranged from MGP to 10k pace.
Sept. 5. long run: After completing the first 21 miles of a 24-mile run in 8:20 pace, cramps and low energy slowed my last three miles to 11:30 min/mile pace
Today: First 15 miles in 7:58 pace. Last 5 miles in 8:56 pace.

This run wrapped up a 58-mile week. I'm tired. My legs have no spring in them. None. Nada.

I'm ready to taper and hope two weeks is enough time to restore the speed and freshness I had in my legs before I began this 16-week ordeal.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The best news I've had in some time.

So, this is how I learned I was no longer unemployed. I was dropping Noah off with his mother. I checked my iphone for emails, and voila, at 2:40 p.m. Central Standard Time, my luck all the sudden got a whole lot better.

Here is how the email began...


Attached is our offer letter to you.  Upon receiving your acceptance, I'll book your travel and provide you with necessary information regarding the upcoming training in Tempe, AZ.

 Please let me know if you have questions.  I look very forward to working with you.


So, what's the job, you ask? Well, I'll be an investigative auditor for this company that works with all the big mortgage insurance companies to check for real estate fraud. I'l go through files, call the lender, the buyer, and others involved with the transaction to see if everything was on the up-and-up.

The pay isnt great, but its more than what I was getting in unemployment. And there are plenty of chances within the company to make more money if I do a good job. They are always giving out bonuses.

I feel like I can finally start my life again now. I have a job. I HAVE A JOB. I'm normal. I can get up. Go to work. Go to lunch. Come home and do it all over again the next day. I'll have co-workers, a desk, covered parking (never got that at the Star-Telegram). It's crazy what you take for granted, and what you don't miss until it's gone.

The really neat thing is that the job is less than two minutes from my apartment. Seriously. It's on the same exit that I take off the highway to get home. I just gotta drive out of my apartments, do the u-turn under the bridge and pull into the job. Guess I can never use the, "traffic excuse" as a reason for being late anymore, huh?


Something else. I start Oct. 5. They want me in Tempe, Arizona (they are paying for this, of course) by 8 a.m. that Monday morning. I run the Portland Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 4. I thought about not running Portland, but they said theywould pay for my plane ride from Portland to Phoenix, so, I'm still on for the marathon.

I'll leave Portland Sunday night. I figure, as one blogger told me, the mojo is with me, might as well use it the day before I start work. I may be pretty sore on the plane ride to Tempe, but hopefully, I'll be so giddy after qualifying for Boston that it won't matter.

I've got a job

Just got the offer letter.

R.I.P unemployment 3/20/09 to 9/18/09

I start Oct. 5 with 2 weeks of training in Tempe, AZ.

More details later. I've got a sleepy kid drooliing on me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The prince charming/ugling duckling chronicles, Part Deux.

I came in from my run Thursday morning all ready to blog about how much better my legs have been feeling since I've been seeing a massage therapist.

And then I logged on to my computer and saw that my Wednesday post, the one about Community Impact Newspaper deciding I was not good enough to hire, was getting a lot of hits from computers in the Austin area. Immediately, I knew that a person or persons from Community Impact Newspaper was reading my blog. (One of the search terms that said person(s) used to find my blog was, "Community Impact Newspaper" rejection letter.

By 10 a.m., I had more than half a dozen hits about the post from, according to Google Analytics site tracker, computers located in Pflugerville, which just so happens to be the home base of Community Impact Newspaper.

Ok, I thought. That's fair. I had a lot of strong opinions. Surely, there would be some opposition. Finally, at 10:18 a.m., an anonymous poster left this note in the comments section:

The idea that you would be turned down for a job because you're over-qualified seems ridiculous but then again, so is everything else involved with getting a new job. I wonder though — and I say this meaning to be honest, not to insult — if maybe you didn't come across as arrogant. No one wants employees who think they're too good for a job because they'll jump ship the first chance they get.

As writers, we need to be reminded to drop the pretensions: News writing is a trade, a skill one can be taught. We're not artists and you're not Ernest Hemingway. When reporters are losing jobs left and right, a certain degree of humility is in order — a realization that we're not as valuable as we once were and we should be thankful for any chance to do the thing we love.

I would also point out that blogging negatively about a job (saying you're more interested in another publication) while you're still in consideration, might not be the best idea when your thoughts can be retrieved with a simple Google search of your name.

Anyways, I say all of this not meaning to insult you but to wish you the best of luck. It's sad to see how many excellent writers are being forced to change careers because of the state of newspapers. I hope the job you're really after works out for you.

I thought about what this poster said for a few minutes then replied. Basically, I said that perhaps my post was arrogant, but I was not arrogant during the interview, that I would have worked my tail off, and that my latest blog post didn't come until after I'd already been told I was not getting a job.

Blink. Sigh. Deep sigh.

I wondered if that post came from the HR lady, whom i thought was pleasant (and stunningly attractive) or from management (which would have been really low considering that I signed my name to the personal letter i sent them - and they have yet to reply.)

Turns out, the post came from one of the paper's reporters. At least that's what the anonymous poster wrote in another comment on my blog at 4:35 p.m. Thursday. (And since he/she is not management, I can understand and accept the fact that person would want to remain anonymous. I mean, newspaper management always wants their reporters to have opinions and not put up with b.s. and be critical thinkers, but let one of them criticize one of their own editors/managers and its, "off with their heads.")

Anyways, anon's new post in my comments section read, in part, "@Kevin Thanks for your response. I did not mean to say it was ridiculous to assume you did not get the job because you were overqualified. To the contrary, I would be willing to bet that is exactly what happened. I meant that it is ridiculous that employers decide someone is somehow too good for the job they are offering."

To that and any other Community Impact Newspaper reporter, let me say this: please accept my apology. Having read and re-read my blog post, I probably came off like a little shit in saying that I can do the job that it takes two or three of you to do. You guys/gals, I'm sure, are just hard working employees trying to do your job. I don't know anything about you, your talents, or what your lot in life is. I should have found a better way to voice my displeasure with your management team.

(By the way, anon, how did you know to google my name or whatever it is you googled to find my blog right after they turned me down for a job? That's quite some timing.)

Still, I'd like to make two points about the entire "ordeal."

To anonymous' point about an employee who may jump ship the first chance they get: Look, your management team was offering low 30s for a salary, which is not even living wages. Still, I would have taken that and worked two jobs to make ends meet because it would have been a job (reporting) that I enjoyed. I guarantee you this: There is not one person at that company making low 30s who is running around shouting, "Whoopeeee, I'm making 30k a year. I'm set for life, brutha," unless he/she is a relative of the publisher/editor. Seriously, I and anyone else looking for a job in today's climate would be stupid not to try to have more than one option open to them.

To your point about my arrogance: Please explain, for there was nothing but positive, effervescent communication between myself and your HR person from the very first contact until she sent me the rejection letter. Seriously, 30 minutes after I sent my resume and clips to the newspaper, the HR lady was trying to set up an interview.

How it went down....

On Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 11:23 a.m., I sent Community Impact Newspaper a resume and letter of interest after spotting their want-ad on Craigslist.

Less than 30 minutes later, at 11:47 a.m., the HR lady replies:

Hi Kevin,

It was great to hear from you. You definitely have the qualifications we are looking for in a candidate. I would like to bring you in for an interview but in an attempt to make the interview process worth while for both parties, I would like for you to know up front that our starting salary for a reporter is in the lower 30's. Please let me know if this is something you would still be interested in and or your salary requirements.

With Kind Regards,


Obviously,at this point, they were really excited about me. But they were worried about whether or not I'd work for that kind of money. So, 32 minutes later, here was my response:

Thanks for the note about the starting salary at your publication. I'd still like to talk to someone about the open position. While the lower 30s is not ideal, neither is being unemployed. Let me know what the possibilities are for an interview, and which office has the open position.

Thanks again..



38 minutes later, the HR lady calls from her cell phone and we have our first non-email communication. We talk for about a minute. She asks if I can come in the next day at 10 a.m. for an interview. I say I have a prior engagement and can we make it later in the afternoon. She asks if 2 p.m. is ok. I say great. A few minutes after the phone call, the HR person sends me confirmation of our scheduled interview and cc'd it to the paper's executive editor. The confirmation says the HR lady and the executive editor will be at the interview.


Now, by this time, I think I'll get a job offer. I mean, in the space of two hours, I've gone from an anonymous job seeker at Community Impact Newspaper to having an interview scheduled with someone in HR and the executive editor.

But between that 1:33 p.m. Tuesday email from the HR lady until just before I stepped foot in the offices of Community Impact Newspaper 24 hours later, something went wrong.

I mean check out the verbiage when they first contacted me: It was great to hear from you. You definitely have the qualifications we are looking for in a candidate.

And now check out how they told me I was not getting the job: While your background and experience are strong, we have identified other candidates whose experience more closely matches our needs at this time.

Huh. First I had the qualifications, then I didn't. What changed? Well, it wasn't me and my big mouth. I didn't blog, twitter, or facebook about the interview until afterwards, when they had clearly already decided that they would not hire me.

I mean, they went from, "Let's get this guy in here for an interview, pronto," to, "Uh, well, you (HR Lady) deal with him. Here is a set of questions you can ask him to practice your HR'ing. We've got better things to do."

Again, my point is this, and excuse the exaggeration, but... The owner or manager of the night club does not send HR to interview Frank Sinatra as a lounge singer without talking to old blue eyes himself. Unless, of course, the owner/manager doesnt want to face Sinatra his/herself and tell him he isn't qualified.


Anyways, enough about Community Impact Newspaper. Like I told them, they are a gutsy organization and they'll be fine without me.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Anatomy of a rejection letter: Why the Ugly Duckling turned down Prince Charming

This letter is not from the job I think (and am hopeful) that I am going to get, so I wasn't all that sad when the rejection notice hit my inbox Wednesday afternoon. Before I re-print the letter, let me tell you the hilarity of the situation: This is a monthly newspaper. This is a monthly newspaper that published its first edition in '05. Not 1905. I'm talking 2005. And, this is a monthly newspaper that published its first edition in 2005 and was trying to add two or three reporters.

So, what we have here is a 4-year-old monthly publication that decided a man with 18 years of experience working at daily newspapers was not good enough. That's like M.I.T. saying 'No' to Einstein.

Dear Kevin,

Thank you for your interest in a career with Community Impact
While your background and experience are strong, we have
identified other candidates whose experience more closely matches our
needs at this time.

Your resume will be kept on file and you will be contacted in the
event our employment needs should change.

Again, we thank you for your interest in Community Impact Newspaper
and wish you all the best in your job search.


A few points...

1) Seriously. You mean there are unemployed writers living in Austin who have more writing/editing experience than I do? That can't be the case. But if you read between the lines of the rejection letter, you may get your answer. Take this sentence:  "...we have
identified other candidates whose experience more closely matches our needs at this time."

That is code for, "You are too experienced and much better than anyone we have on staff right now - managers included - and if we hired you, you'd quickly realize this and want their jobs, or make it hard for them to manage you. So, we need to hire somebody who is only worth the 30k/year salary we are offering."

Obviously, they think I am overqualified. I get it. And of course, their hiring managers have every right to employ people who will want to work there and won't make waves. I had no plans on making waves and would have worked my tail off for that publication, which is not as Mom-and-Pop as you think. Community Impact Newspaper has 55 employees and six different editions.

The editors there, however, will never know my intentions because they sent a human resources employee to interview me. She read questions from a piece of paper and never asked follow-up questions. And perhaps the editors knew all along they were not going to hire me, so why waste their time by asking me questions.

The tough thing is, What do you do with that? You know? My money is low and I'm trying to work. I'm not robbing banks. I'm not sitting on my ass trying to see how long I can make my unemployment benefits last. I'm trying to work, and Community Impact Newspaper - a place where I could probably do the job of two or three people with my hands tied behind my back - does me like Kanye West did Taylor Swift.

But this newspaper isn't the first and won't be the last would-be employer who, "dumbs it down," during the hiring stage. Unemployment levels are at their highest in years, and when it gets this tight, the MoFo who knows everyone is more likely to get a job than the MoFo who knows everything.

And right now, I know nobody.

By the way, I sent a nicely worded thank you letter to the newspaper. Here it is:

Thanks for the interview last week. I was certainly surprised that my resume, which featured 18 years of journalism experience working at some of the biggest daily newspapers in the country, was not enough for me to land employment at your publication.

I can only presume that your management team believed that I wouldn't want to do the work at Community Impact Newspaper, or wouldn't work for the money you guys were offering. My only regret is that I didn't get to interview with any of your editors, for perhaps I could have convinced them otherwise.

Nevertheless, I wish you and Community Impact Newspaper good luck. I think yours is a gutsy publication. I commend your publisher and executive editor for expanding this newspaper, especially in these economic times which have been particularly harsh on the business. As an old ink-stained newspaper man myself, I'll be rooting for you guys.


Kevin Lyons


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mizuno Wave Inspire 5s: Not the time

So, I wrote Monday that I was going to switch shoes from Brooks Adrenalines to Mizuno Wave Inspires.

After Tuesday mornings tempo run, I'm going back to the Adrenalines. For now, at least.

We had a 4-mile warm up, then 4 miles at tempo pace, then a cool down. I felt really bad for much of the run, like I just couldn't get enough fuel to my quads. Of course, that had nothing to do with my new shoes. My stomach just wasn't right. And in fact, during each of my runs for the last four days, I've had the urge to want to find a port-a-potty.

When my legs finally did warm up, the shoes just didn't cooperate. The Mizunos are much more cushiony than the Adrenalines. And they felt weird. It's like, when my quads were ready to fire off for the next step, my feet were still "landing" on the cushion-y shoe. I had this weird brain-body disconnect for much of the speed portion of the workout. I'm sure it's because I'm not used to the shoes, but I think I better wait until after the marathon to try something new.

Anyway, here were my mile-by-mile splits for the tempo run.

1 - 7:10
2 - 7:24 (Thought my stomach was going to explode here. Really thought about stopping the workout.)
3 - 6:57 (Stomach problems went away. Like, almost, instantly. But couldnt get a real rhythm because of shoes.)
4 - 6:53


A few weeks ago, i said I wouldn't buy anymore wine for my home wine cellar and I even unplugged the cellar. Well, consider that idea a bad one. At the grocery store the other day, I bought three bottles of red and plugged the cellar back in. I guess I'm back on the sauce.

Monday, September 14, 2009

There is a new woman in my life

As I await my fate about whether or not I have a job, there have been a few newsy items going on in my life.

I am seeing a new girl. Ok. Ok. It's not what you think. Most of the Team Rogue runners see the same massage therapist and I decided to see her too last week. She damn near had me in tears as she twisted and mashed on my quads and hamstrings. I told her about my sore soleus/gastroc (that's calf muscle for those of you who don't know). She prescribed a lot of stretching for me and said I should be okay in time for the Oct. 4 marathon in Portland.

My feet keep fighting my shoes. I wear the Brooks Adrenalines. Worn them during every marathon and for most of my running career. They've been perfect for my feet, which slightly overpronate. But the more miles I have been running, the more efficient I am becoming. Problem is, the Adrenalines continue to their job, pushing my feet outward even though they wanna point inward. The result is my shoes really are wearing a lot on the outsides. A whole lot. Even my new massage therapist noticed that most of the trauma in my legs is located on the lower, outside part.

So, after Saturday's 14-mile run (in the rain no-less), I decided to buy a new shoe: The Mizuno Wave Inspire 5. It is in the same class as the Brooks Adrenaline in terms of the stability/cushion aspect, but it is not so stiff that my legs can't do what they want to do. I ran in the Mizuno's Sunday and Monday and will also run in them during the last long run leading up to the Portland Marathon. I need to know how they hold up on a 20-miler. If things go well, then I'll wear the shoes for my marathon. If not, I can always go back to the Adrenalines.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I was interviewed by a triathlete: She's gotta like me now.

Today's interview went great, I think. First off, the woman asking the questions is a triathlete who was competing for an Ironman in Utah when she injured herself last April. When she told me that, I was like, 'Great, we have a connection. How can a triathlete not hire a marathoner?'

We talked for about an hour and she did most of the talking, basically making sure that I knew what I'd be getting myself into. This company spends a lot of money training its new employees and doesn't want to have to retrain a bunch of people all of the time.

After the interview, she paired me up with an employee who showed me what they do. Fascinating stuff. We talked for 40 minutes.

I was a little disappointed that they didn't offer me the job right on the spot, but I know they have other people to talk to. They also need to call my references and do a background check - normal things.

So, at this point, I'd be surprised if I didnt get the job (especially since they are hiring 8 to 10 people), but I won't celebrate until I get the offer letter.

Meanwhile, the Austin American Statesman continues to offer me work. I'm covering a high school football game Thursday night (Hutto-Akins, 7 p.m. at Burger Stadium) and Friday night (Converse Judson-Pflugerville, 7:30 p.m. in P'ville.)


I see black people: Not only did I meet and talk to another black runner after my run Wednesday, turns out Dionn has a blog - - and is a member of Team Rogue. Funny thing is, I've seen Dionn on the Town Lake trails before and she always looked strong, like she could run for days. After my run Wednesday, a bunch of us dipped into Barton Springs and she was standing on the third step (too cold to get all the way in) and she was talking to some of the same people I was talking to. So, I just walked, swam right up to her and introduced myself.

Dionn is also a triathlete and from reading her blog, you can tell she is a very accomplished one.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Getting closer and closer to a job

This was a good day....

I had a 2 p.m. interview at one company (won't name them yet, but will after they say yea or nay). I get to said company at 1:45. I sit in the car and brush myself off. My phone rings. It is the hiring manager from another company I interviewed with last Friday, where I'd be working for employers who investigates real estate fraud. They want to bring me in for a second interview. Tomorrow! By the time I get off the phone, it is 2:01 and I'm late for today's interview. But it's ok, because the lady who interviewed me today was late as well.

Anyway, today's (Wednesday) interview was conducted by someone in human resources. It was a writing job. I've never been interviewed for a writing job from someone in human resources. I mean, writing is a specialized task and usually when I interview at other newspapers/publications, the people asking the questions have written/edited before. Or they are currently writing/editing. Did I lose you? Ok, say you are a brain surgeon. You wanna work at ABC Memorial Hospital. The only thing the HR lady does is take down your information, get you to fill out the W2 forms, etc. I mean, she doesn't ask you how you hold up under pressure, or how you remove brain tumors, does she? Of course not, because she is not a surgeon.

So, that's kind of how I felt today, like a surgeon being asked a question by someone who has never been in an operating room. So, I asked the lady if I'd be interviewing with an editor or something. She said she was screening a lot of people and they'd be calling people back in the next few days. Huh? We could have had this discussion over the phone. It's funny, the more I write about what happened, the more I think they probably won't hire me and they already knew it before I got there.

Oh, well... I'm not too depressed because the job I really really really like is the one in which I'd be investigating real estate fraud. The hiring manager who talked to me over the phone emailed me some HR forms to fill out before my interview Thursday morning. She said she wanted me to come in and make sure this is what I wanted to do, and (of course, make sure that I was someone they wanted to hire). She also asked me if I'd be ready to work the first Monday in October because they were going to send their new employees to Tempe, Arizona for some training.

Wooo-hoooo. Not only does it look like my job status is about to change, but it looks like I would/could start off the new job with a siesta in Arizona.

I should know something definitive by tomorrow or Friday.

Meanwhile, the editors at the Austin American-Statesman called me again and want me to cover two high school football games this week, Thursday and Friday.

It's good to be busy again.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Fort Worth Labor Day 15K Race Report.


Time: 1:07:53
Pace: 7:15
Place; 41st overall (286 men)
Age: 6th in my age group (out of 48 men)

I sort of planned this trip at the last minute (two weeks ago) because my parents were having a Labor Day get-together on Sunday and all my old friends from Fort Worth were having a party Saturday and running the annual Labor Day run on Monday.

I debated whether or not to run the race at all. My legs were still kind of achy from Saturday's 24-miler and I wanted them to be ready for Tuesday's speedwork at the track back in Austin. The Fort Worth Race is a 5k with a 15k companion. Most of the participants run the 5K.

I figured if I'd run, I'd run the 15k - I'd try to kill a 5K in race conditions, but I figured I could use the 15K as a way to get the mileage in.

Of course, I almost didn't make it to the race. I ate barbque and drank beer at my parents until 10 then stayed up at my brother's house playing pool until after midnight. When my alarm went off at 5:30, I turned it off and only awoke again an hour later because a friend texted me wondering about parking at the race.

Eeeesh. It was 6:30. The race started at 7:30. I hadnt got dressed. I hadnt gone to the bathroom. I hadnt eaten any breakfast. Well, I made time for 1 and 2, but eating would have to wait until after the race. I hopped in my car and sped during the entire 35-minute drive from Cedar Hill to Fort Worth, lining up just as they began the National Anthem.

Didn't know how my legs would feel so decided to use the first mile as a warm-up, then run each mile some 15 to 20 seconds slower than my 10k pace. There were times during the first half of the race, after my legs had warmed up, that I'd look at my Garmin and see that I was averaging sub 7-minute-mile for a particular mile. I knew that was too fast, so I forced myself to slow down. Slow down. Slow down. Slow down. That's what I kept saying to myself. I didn't want to over-tax myself and didn't want to have to work too hard at the end.

I didn't want to do any kind of running that would make me breath hard.

There were a few little rolling hills, but nothing like Austin. So, I was pretty much able to keep the same pace the entire time after the first mile. (I was also slower than pace on Mile 7 because that mile included water and hills.

Here are the splits. (Yes, it was a PR, but that's because I hadn't run a 15K since the summer of 2005).

1 - 7:30
2 - 7:11
3 - 7:12
4 - 7:07
5 - 7:16
6 - 7:08
7 - 7:29
8 - 7:05
9 - 7:12
.4 - 2:38

I'm happy about the time I ran despite having dead legs. And the good thing is: I am not going to do the speedwork with Team Rogue Tuesday morning. I'll go off on my own and do a 6 to 8 mile recovery run.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Crappy 24-miler

This post is going to sound a lot like last Saturday's post, only last Saturday, I was running marathon goal pace and 5k pace and half marathon pace all during one run, and finally my legs gave way at the end.

I'm not sure what happened today. I mean, I could start with the excuses:

*Friday night, I covered a high school football game for the Austin American Statesman. (Yipppe, money!). The game was delayed 55 minutes because of lightning, so I didn't get home until midnight and didn't get to bed until 1 a.m., leaving me with 3 1/2 hours to sleep before waking up for Saturday's 24-miler.

*My last real good meal Saturday was around 3 p.m. I knew I was covering high school football, but it threw my eating schedule out of wack. I thought about eating a hot dog at the game during half time, but because of the late start, I spent the entire halftime writing my story. I didnt eat again until I got home and all I could stomach was a bowl of cereal. I had no breakfast.

*The weather was cool but the humidity was 90 percent. I don't do well in humidity.

So, knowing all these things, I really tried to take it easy during the run. I had a lot of mile splits that began with 9. Every once in a while, I'd feel ok and hit a low 8, but that was every once in a while. I sucked down four GUs and 8 salt tablets, but my legs were cooked by Mile 20. I mean just cooked. I walked most of Miles 22 and 23 before finally getting a second wind to get the last mile done in right about a 10:00 min/mile.

Maybe if I had eaten right or slept more than 3 1/2 hours (of which 2 when my eyes were really closed), I would have done much better. Still, I am getting a little nervous. I want to be getting stronger as the marathon gets closer, and the last few miles of my last two long runs (albeit 24-mile runs) have really sucked.

I need to spend this last month getting healthy (sore soleus/gastroc muscle). I still hope to mash out a 3:20 at the marathon, but eeesh, I'm certainly not as confident today as I was two weeks ago.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Job front: Good news/bad news

First, the good news: I had a 40-minute phone interview Friday with an HR person who works for a company that investigates real estate fraud. I'm applying for a position where I'd basically be an investigative reporter. I'd check documents and interview the people involved in a mortgage transaction to determine whether or not things were on the up and up.

I think it'd be a great job and I think I had a very very very good interview. I won't know anything until the end of next week, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Now, the bad news: The job is basically my last hope to get hired by anyone in the near future (ok, like a month or so). That's because the two other promising leads I had for work sent me rejection/regret letters.

First, this one:

Thank you for your application and interest in opportunities at
the University of Texas at Austin.

We have reviewed your application based on the job related
criteria for the posting, 090723018676,
Informational Writer II.
We regret to inform you that you were not the candidate selected
to fill the position.

And then today, this one:

Thank you for your interest in the Dallas Morning News’ Austin Bureau. I won’t bury my lede: I’m sorry to say that we are choosing someone else for the position. We received resumes from well over 100 talented journalists and culling the list to fit our needs has been a difficult task, to say the least. Your work, as you should know, is really good but our needs this time around are taking us in a different direction. Thanks again and I wish you the best of luck in the future.

The fact that I didn't even get an interview for the UT position was surprising. I would have been working for the University Interscholastic League (UIL), which is the governing body for high school sports in Texas. My job would have been to go to high school sporting events, write press releases and gather information to help sports writers at those events.
I'm sure the UIL saw on my resume that I covered high school sports in Texas for several years and that I worked with the same UIL organization that I was trying to become part of. I guess the UIL thought that a guy with my experience having covered the Cowboys/Mavericks/NFL/NBA would not be good enough for high school sports in Texas.

The second rejection letter, from the Dallas Morning News, was not surprising. I mean, that is a very good newspaper, and though I think I'm a very good writer, I'm sure they hired someone who is already working for another paper, or, perhaps, the Dallas Morning News itself.

Anyway, I'll keep my fingers crossed about the good news that happened today.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The kid is out cold

He wouldn't fall asleep, so I loaded him into my car and drove around Austin and... voila!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Same song, different verse

Dear Kevin,

Thank you again for your interest in BookPros. We received many applications and considered many qualified candidates, and have filled the position. We will retain your information in our files, however, and may consider you again in the future, if another position opens up.

Good luck with your job search.


Portland Marathon

I'm in!
Bib No: 6811