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Posts Tagged ‘dallas marathon’


Today is Thanksgiving and I am sitting on the couch at my wife’s parent’s house enjoying being around everyone.  Our kids and grandkids will be here later to enjoy food and family.  Yes, this is a cliché Thanksgiving post.

Not everyone is here though.  There has been loss and there is also separation. So, it is not always as easy as it seems, but then for many, holidays are never as Hallmark-y as they make it out to be.

In our bible class at church we are studying John’s gospel.  He’s that “other” guy in the group.  The one that didn’t write like all the rest.  One of John’s repeated motifs is the “I AM” statements from Jesus.  “I AM the Light that has come into the world,” Jesus says.  “I AM the Bread…”, “I AM the Good Shepherd“, and “I AM the Resurrection and the Life”, are also statements of Jesus.  I suppose these hearken back to when Moses was at the burning bush asking God what His name was so that the Hebrews would know whom it is that Moses is talking to them about.  God’s only answer was, “I AM THAT I AM“.  He needed nothing more.

I think that at this time of year, it is good that we see that same simple statement in ourselves and the kind of spiritual power those small words have.  I am…

I am…thankful.  That is the biggest thing for this year.  It has not been easy for me or my family.  Since losing my former job in 2012, I was finally hired after five months of searching by a nearby hospital.  I am thankful for being able to keep a roof over our heads and food upon the table.  My new situation doesn’t allow for much more than that, but we have still been blessed and cared for every day of this past year.  Regardless of how little we had in our pockets, God provided for us all year.  I am thankful for these blessings because I know that others have even less and are still thankful.

I am…a runner.  Didn’t think I would stick that in here, did you?  No matter what has happened this year in other ways, I am still a runner.  I still get up twice during the week to run before the sun is up, and every Saturday I still go out for my long run.  My only race of the year will be in a week at the Dallas Marathon, where I am running the half.  I was fortunate to register back in the Summer and I am looking forward to the race. Yes, I am still a runner.

I am…a cyclist.  Well, we have to keep it going don’t we?  Cycling  is an expensive sport.  However, it can also be simple.  I managed one organized ride in May, but I have still been riding.  I have friends that have gotten up early on Sundays to ride a few miles and when they aren’t available, I realized I could still get up early and ride for myself.  While I don’t ride as many miles as in past years, I still ride and have made a few good routes around town.

I am…a triathlete.  Well, this one is just on faith.  I stopped swimming about a month ago just because it got very boring.  I did manage to make my distance up to a mile a week for a while this year from mid-Summer until Fall.  However, 1800 yards in a 20 yard pool can get very old.  So, I will just sit out for a while until I just have to go back.

I am…still in ministry.  I thought that when we started over at a new church that I would just be “around”.  That isn’t the plan I see.  There have been opportunities all year for ways that I can serve and I have been glad of the opportunities.

Yep, it’s been quite a good year after all.  And, just think: Christmas is just around the corner and many new adventures await.  Happy running, and happy thanksgiving!

 

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As summers go in North Texas, up until this week, it’s been rather mild.  Yet, that doesn’t mean it’s been nice; especially for running.

Up until the end of June, we were stricken with a “higher than I can remember in recent past” humidity level.  The actual temperatures remained lower than normal, but the moisture in the air was pretty high.  On one of those runs in June, I finally gave vent to breaking my daughter’s rule (actually, she says it should be an ordinance).

One day a few years ago, my daughter was babysitting for some friends during the day.  The friends live across from a park and when she went outside once during the day, there was an older gentleman out in the park sans shirt.  She came home that day and informed us there should be a city ordinance against old men (yours truly included) from being outdoors without a shirt, because we don’t have the body for it.

On some of my really long runs getting ready for my second marathon last Fall, I encountered a problem that guy runners often encounter, injured nipples.  Yup, it can get really bad.  When I could tell the injury was about to start, I would just stop and remove the shirt and keep going.  It was better to break my daughter’s rule than to come home with bloody nipples. Yes, it should probably make you laugh.

In December, we had a warm spell around the day for the Dallas Marathon.  Sure enough, about 10 miles out, I could tell that the sweat was going to be a problem. Now what do I do?  I’m in the middle of a big–very public–well photographed race. I took off the shirt. A marathon has enough of its own aches to slow me down, and I wasn’t going to let this be one more.  So, I removed the shirt once again.  I went without the shirt through about the next 15 miles.  About that time, we reached downtown and the forecasted cold front began to blow in.  I put the shirt on for the last mile or so and ran across the finish line without breaking the “Rule”.

Fast forward to June of this year.  As soon as the humidity level struck, the uncomfortable nature of running with a shirt surfaced once again.  I had learned now that not only was running sans shirt a good preventive measure against the dreaded bloody nipples, it was much more comfortable to run during   serious heat and humidity. The die was now cast.

For most of June and almost all of my July runs, I’ve simply left the shirt at home.  We had a rare cold front at the beginning of July and the temps and humidity were just good enough in the morning that I could tolerate a shirt for a few days that week.  However, since then, it’s back to shirtless running.

Fortunately, for my daughter’s sake, I run mostly in the early AM hours and she is not awake to be aghast at my total disregard for her “Rule”.  I consider my comfort while running a lot more important than what I look like, which I assure you is not pretty.  Since I run a lot in the dark, my pasty white skin was my primary defence early on for visibility.  But, after a few weeks of Saturday long runs, I have resorted to extra reflective bands during my morning runs now.

I’m not sure what the public actually thinks of seeing a senior citizen running loose without a shirt.  I haven’t been pulled over by the police yet.  I haven’t seen anyone look like they are going to get sick.  No moms have covered their kids eyes because of me either.  So, I have to assume at this point that probably no one cares.  I certainly know that when it’s 90 degreesF when I take out for a run, ditching the shirt definitely makes a difference in the quality of the run.  I wonder how long into the Fall this will last?  Happy Running, ya’ll!

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Yep, I’m back.  No, I didn’t go anywhere.  I’ve just been busy.

Since the first of this year, my family’s budget has been much more strict.  That can be problematic when you’re a triathlete, clydesdale or otherwise.  It’s kind of normal that in the 21st century, everything is an industry these days.  So, yes, there is the running industry, the triathlon industry, and I even work in the healthcare industry.  Side note: In my own personal opinion and belief, healthcare of any kind should never be considered an “industry” in any sense.  It should always and only be considered ministry, regardless of your religion.  We should be working ourselves out of a job, not creating permanence and profit. That being said, industries have one primary goal in mind: setting their followers free from the green stuff in their pocketbooks and making them feel good about it.

That’s not cynical, people, it’s just true.  Industries are in it for making money.  They exist because they have constituencies; followers.  Runners need shoes, shorts, shirts, gels, sleeves, compression gear…and the list goes on and on.  Get it–runners NEED this stuff (feel free to substitute cyclist, triathlete, etc.).  And, it’s true that there are times when we do need the stuff, or it may help us in one way or another.  However, many times, we just want it.  Of course, for many triathletes, what we  most want is the next race, or ride, or whatever event there is down the pike.

Previously, during most of the year, I was budgeted to one event per month (except for special instances). One race or one ride.  Now, even those will be hard to come by, so I am doing with less of them.  I attended one ride this Spring, primarily because it was inexpensive and we didn’t have to travel far (and there was something for sweetie to do while I rode).  I was able recently to sign up for the Dallas Half Marathon in December because of a birthday gift.  No, I am not complaining, but I am learning a lot more about what it means to be a runner or a cyclist this way.

I’ve learned I can do without Clif bars.  I’ve learned I can do with just Gatorade.  I already reported that while funds were available, I pre-bought two pair of running shoes so they would last.  I’m keeping my 400 mile pair in service for short runs to make them last even longer.  I’ve also learned to get more out of my workouts than just a notch up for the next race or event.

Usually, by now, I am into full swing cycle mode for the Summer.  That hasn’t happened this year.  I have switched to doing long runs on Saturdays instead of going out and riding.  Mainly because I can’t get any medium length ones during the weekdays.  I was finding that if I got up at 4AM and did 6 to 8 miles, I was wasted for working that day.  Also, by waiting until Saturday, I can run longer and get into better condition, all while seeing the sun come up.  Much better, I think.

But, I’ve gotten some riding time in as well.  I’ve just had to be creative.  I’ve loaded up the bike on the car and driven out to a large trail where I can ride safely on Sunday afternoons sometimes.  Yes, that may be anathema to some, but it is better than nothing.  A friend recently started up his Sunday morning group ride around town.  Since I don’t have to be at church at 7AM any more, I can now ride.  Also, much better.

I’ve been working on a better running workout that is doing me some good right now.  My weekday runs are limited to about 3 and no more than 5K at a time.  Then on Saturdays, I’ve been working from 8 to 14 miles.  I just finished the first cycle a couple of weeks ago and now I’m going from 9 to 14, then 10 to 14, then 12 to 14.  After I finish that cycle, I’ll go back to 8 and start over again.  I’ll let you know how it goes, but so far it has felt very good to get out and do the longer runs like I was doing for the marathon.

I’m trying to hold 1,000 yds. in swimming, but I waffle some.  I’m down to just one day as Mondays are seniors only at my pool.  It’s a lot less busy that way and I can swim better.  An Ironman friend of mine had been doing a workout where he ran to the pool, did his swim, then ran home.  I’ve started doing that some.  It’s a killer workout, to borrow a cliche, but well worth the effort.

I hadn’t really been a running clothes horse.  My only few important things I’ve had for a while; a couple pairs of compression shorts, and some really good socks, plus a pair of winter woolies and running pants for Winter.  Almost all of my shirts are race shirts or were bought at Wal Mart or Target.  You can get decent stuff there.  I haven’t need any clothes this  year, but if I did, I know where to look.

It’s been different not racing or going to rides as much.  I’ve been blessed with more great runs this way than usual.  I am still getting to do new things.  I’ve noticed I am running much faster than I used to run.  It’s decently exciting to finish a long run on Saturday and discover you didn’t take as long as you thought.  It’s also good to be able to run by the grocery store on your run and see folks you know.

Running and working out is about a lot more than just the events.  You really don’t have to have a lot of money to do it.  You do need to have really good shoes though.  There you cannot scrimp.  That just requires planning and budgeting to make it work.  I’ve been reminded a lot more lately of just what it means to be an athlete (or “late onset athleticism as John Bingham calls it).  At my new job, I have been able to put into practice all those things I believe in about being a craftsman such as doing a good job just because it’s the way you do a job.  Now, I’ve been able to apply those lessons to running, biking, and swimming.  Doing them well just because you should and because  you can.  Triathlon training on a budget does work.  Happy running, ya’ll!

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After several months of training, I ran my second marathon this past Sunday in the 2012 MetroPCS Dallas Marathon.  This marathon has been run since 1971 in Dallas.  I have now been a participant three times, one half and two fulls.  I finally decided this year to run it again, partially to get redemption over last year’s really crappy weather.  In addition, I wanted to end my year on a strong note and a hopefully improved time.

The race this year was new and old in many respects.  When I ran this marathon last year, it was still called the White Rock marathon, so named because it used to be run just around White Rock Lake in Dallas.  This year’s course moved to downtown Dallas, but still retained  a leg around the east portion of White Rock Lake.  There were also other new additions to the route as well.  So, I ran my first marathon at the last White Rock marathon and my second at the first Dallas marathon.

All the runners gathered downtown Dallas on Main Street before sunup.  Yep, that’s runners.  Ready to run well before dawn.  The streets were decorated for Christmas and it added to the atmosphere.  The weather this year was going to be really different.  I was glad there was no rain forecast, but instead of cool weather that we usually have, it was in the low 60’s and humid–really humid.  Before the day was over, the temperatures would climb up into the lower 70’s.  Not really great running weather for this distance and my build.

The start was arranged in three corrals this year and it helped get us out fairly quick.  Some years folks in the back (like me) had to wait 40 minutes to get out on the trail.  Our first section out took us into West Dallas.  This was the first year that West Dallas had a part in the race.  I think they were thrilled and we enjoyed running through their part of town.  The motorcycle club revving their Harleys was a great part.  Upon leaving West Dallas, we ran over Dallas’ newest bridge.

The Margaret Hunt Hill bridge is a new one placed over the Trinity river and connecting West Dallas with Woodall Rogers and downtown.  It’s a suspension bridge designed by a Spanish engineer by the name of Santiago Calatrava.  I’m pretty sure the idea was to make it like the NYC marathon run over the Verrazano Narrows bridge.  It was a cool part of the race.

Once over the bridge, we took a swing through the Design district in an old industrial part of town, then up Oak Lawn for a ways to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for children.  They are the primary receivers of the funds from the race.  Scottish Rite serves children with many different orthopaedic medical needs, all at no cost to the families.  The race had never been run by the hospital itself, until this year.  We turned at Maple Street and headed through part of the Uptown district and down to Turtle Creek, a mainstay of the marathon course.

On Turtle Creek, I saw the best sign of the race.  Luke’s Locker mans an aid station about six or seven miles out.  This year, they had some signs placed before the aid station and one read something like, “There ain’t no app for this.”  I think I’m going to have to remember that one.  It ranks right up there with “Run Forrest Run.”

During the early part of the race, I tried to keep my running comfortable, but I made the decision that I would stop for a walk only when I really felt I needed to slow down.  I kept looking around for the 5:00 hour and 5:30 pace groups, but never saw them.  I did see the 2:40 hour half-marathon group close and thought I’d stay close to them.  That would be a 5:20 marathon pace.  Little did I know I was soon to become the poster child for what not to do in running a marathon.

My first real break came at 9 miles when we were about to cross Interstate 75 and head towards White Rock.  I probably could have kept going, but it was time to find a short line at a port-a-potty and this was it.  Someone in front of me forgot to latch the door on theirs and I saw the green indicator.  I quickly found out that the lady forgot to latch it.  No harm.  Nothing seen.  Move along.  After eating a bit and drinking some Gatorade, it was off again.

There were a lot more hills in the race than I remember and more than I run on my training runs.  But, I was doing them pretty well so far.  However, when we were on Mockingbird, I finally realized I was running too fast.  When I slowed for a walk, the 5:30 pace group passed me at about the 12th mile.  Uh-Oh.  I had been running ahead of them all this time.  Time to slow down.

I tried to stay with the pace group around White Rock, but about half way, I could no longer keep up.  I was starting to lose energy.  And, the wind was getting annoying off of the lake.  I forgot to mention that shortly after the 9 mile mark, I got tired of my sweaty tech-T rubbing certain parts of my anatomy that it shouldn’t (and doesn’t usually).  It was either run in pain or lose the shirt.  I ditched the shirt under my hydration belt and ran without it.  Much better, even though I was breaking my daughter’s rule about old men and no shirts.  Precisely why the wind off the lake was now getting annoying.

Just after 19 miles, we ran by a group that was actually handing out beer.  I later found out they not only had beer, but also jello shots for the runners!  I passed up the alcohol and kept going.  Never take in something you aren’t used to on your runs, which is why I also passed up the guys handing out FRS energy drinks.  The biggest hill in the race was right here just before 20 miles.  I was glad to get it over with and get on passed 20. I’ve said before, the first 20 is just a training run, the last 10K is the race.  Now, it was the race.

By this time, I knew I was in trouble.  My feet began to really hurt and it was hard to keep it up.  The marathon is the only place I know where we count up to 20 and down to 26.2.  I was actively counting down at this point.  We were on Swiss Avenue and headed to downtown when I really noticed the wind picking up and it getting a little cooler.  We were due a cold front in the afternoon that would take us down to freezing overnight.  Looks like it was getting here a little early.  By the time I was near 24 miles and downtown, it was time to put the shirt back on.

My last few miles was just gutting it out.  Everything below the waist was starting to hurt.  I crossed the line with a gun time of 6:15:00.  If it had taken longer than 15 minutes to get out, I had broken 6 hours.  We had a new tech feature this year.  A QR code on our bibs allowed volunteers to read us our time almost immediately.  6:01:52 was the actual.  I was still happy.  I had taken more than 25 minutes off last year’s time and considering my mistakes I did alright.  I learned later my 10K time was 1:15 and my half time was 2:45:45.  I ran a great 10K and massively PR’ed my half marathon time.  Yet, it took me 1:36 to finish the last 10K.

I guess I did something right because it sure hurt worse than last year.  It’s Tuesday and my quads are still barking.  Now for three weeks off of running and then to rebuild for next year’s adventures.  I think I’ll work on half marathons for a while.  I seem to run them well now.  My weight is less.  My speed is up some.  The marathon is still a brutal race, but it’s great to have both on mylist and more to come.  Lesson learned and a great race also.

Yes, on Monday morning there was snow on the ground.  Just a little and it left after sun up. Happy running!

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2012 MetroPCS Dallas Marathon Finisher's medal

2012 MetroPCS Dallas Marathon Finisher’s medal

Yep, here it is folks.  Another runner that I follow on Twitter posted this pic of the finisher’s medal for this year’s MetroPCS Dallas Marathon.  I finished my last long run yesterday for my training plan and only have a few short easy runs and some rest days before race day on December 9th.

In addition to getting ready for this race and thinking back over all the training I’ve done, I thought some this week about my cross-training.  After having several injuries mostly relating to over-used or inflamed muscles and tendons, I learned about cross-training.  Of course, as a cyclist, I was cross-training already, but since then, I’ve added in swimming as well.

My cross-training with running really helps with my muscles.  I can always tell after riding, spinning, or swimming how much looser my muscles feel.  This has to be good for my running and I think it has helped.  Along with remembering to stretch after long or hard runs, I haven’t (knock on wood) had any issues this year after my swimming injury healed.

I’m getting just a little bit excited to run come Sunday.  Now the really obsessive part of racing takes hold.  Checking on the weather every five minutes.  Pouring over the race map to visualize the race neighborhoods and where I’ll be at about what time.  Figuring out six days in advance what I’ll wear and need, then changing it several times. Fretting over meals and calorie counts.  If I forget anything to be obsessive about, please send me a comment and remind me.  I don’t want to miss even the smallest obsessive detail you know.

I pulled the marathon card on my algebra teacher this week.  I signed up to take college algebra this semester as I need more discipline hours in order to be able to teach on the college level someday.  Wouldn’t you know I’d pick math, right.  I have this saying, “Dave always has to do it the hard way.”  And, I’ve proven it with math.  I’ve really struggled this semester with this course, which shouldn’t be all that hard.  I took algebra in high school, right; thirty something years ago.  Mostly, I seem to have some kind of numerical dyslexia.  My difficulties are often in getting all the numbers written down without transposing something.  In any case, I spent all day yesterday doing two tests, and I do mean all day.  I’ve been close to giving up and withdrawing.  Instead, I sent my teacher an e-mail and told her I was a marathoner.  We don’t give up.  And, I wont’.  Might go down in flames, but I wont’ give up.

If you already have a follow for me on Twitter, I’ve set up tweets while I’m running next Sunday.  If you haven’t and if you’re really that bored for tweets on Sunday, I’m @abigmanrunning over there.  Strangely enough I do have followers on Twitter as well as here on WordPress.  I thank you for that.  I started writing this for practice, but I realize it’s writing and we do like for folks to actually read what we’ve written.  I found out how important that was this week when I helped out another writer.

Discovered a new app to use this week.  Another friend messaged me about using Strava for cycling and running.  My garmin has been broken for all of this Fall.  I just haven’t wanted to spend the money on a new one nor mess with it while training.  Mostly, I just need an easy way to record my miles, times, and paces.  I’ve been using another app on my android phone, but it’s really a power hog.  Strava so far doesn’t seem to be.  I’ve only gotten to use it once, but it’s really simple.  It works while my phone is in airport mode.  The GPS signal still receives during that mode, but it really lowers power usage.  I’ll keep everyone posted on it.

Well, I told you it was going to be a bit random.  It happens every now and then.  I just heard today there are chances of rain showers for next Sunday.  I don’t need to hear that after last year’s race.  I sure hope that goes away.  I’ll be updating on the post race recap next week, after I rest up a bit.  Remember, the first 20 miles is a training run.  The last 6.2 miles is the race.  I think I said that somewhere before.  Merry Christmas, and Happy Running!

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With only two weeks until the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon, I had my second to last long run this morning.  I think that my timing was perfect.  I elected to begin a half hour later knowing I would have to deal with traffic on a Saturday morning, but the extra sleep would be nice.  However, to my surprise, it seems that Black Friday shopping turned into my blessing.  The roads were pretty sparce.

My goal today was just 12 miles.  It seems odd to be using the word ‘just’ along with ’12 miles’, but it’s true.  Four years ago, I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) have said something that sounds so weird.  In any case, rather than running my regular 12-miles-at-a-go route, I thought I’d just run my 6 mile loop twice.  That shouldn’t be hard since I’ve been doing loops all Fall for my long runs.

I took off just after 6 AM.  The streets were still dark for about a half hour.  I expected the traffic to be low at that time.  What I didn’t expect was that after running for more than an hour, the streets were still empty.  Even down near the finish of the run at close to 9AM, traffic was still very light.  So, I suppose that since so many folks must have worn themselves out shopping on Black Friday, today should have been a boon to most runners.  I wonder if any other runners also had a great run with little traffic today?

Also, I thought I’d throw in an update on the BikeIrving.org website.  It is getting closer to reality.  I have worked with owner’s domain and been able to point it to my server to see how it works.  I’ve also gotten WordPress loaded and set up for the pages that won’t have something to do with mapping.  It is looking a lot more like a web site now.  I’m also down to the last real mapping task and that is to be able to save and recall routes.  I have a plan on how to do so and now just need to implement it and make it work.

I guess there are folks out in the real world that can probably put sites out like this in a heartbeat.  I would probably be further along as well, but my full time job right now is finding a job.  Probably the other slowness is the way that I work.  I’m a hacker.  No, not the kind that tries to break into the CIA, or the DOD.  A hacker is a coder; a programmer.  I just really enjoy writing code and seeing it work.  I like even more seeing my code do things for people.  There are probably lots of faster ways to make web sites, but I still like mine.  Except for what I do with WordPress, I use a text editor for the special stuff.  Yep, that’s right; a plain old text editor–no drag and drop, no point and click.

But enough about such foolish things.  You didn’t stop by here to debate the pros and cons of text editors.  Thanksgiving is a great time of year.  It is time to be thankful for all the things we have.  I am thankful that I have my family.  I am thankful that I am blessed by God with so many things.  I am thankful that I get to get up in the morning and run or ride or whatever.  There are so many in our world with so much less and they are still thankful for what they have.  We are blessed beyond measure for things we probably don’t deserve.  So I am glad that on this Saturday, I get to get out and run and do some work that will help others.  Happy running!

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It’s Monday and I just finished up a “marathon” session of algebra homework.  Yes, yours truly has returned to school yet again.  I discovered at the end of Summer that if I were to simply beef up my credit hours in math or another subject that I have a good chance of getting to teach at the college level eventually.  So, starting with College Algebra, I am back into the groove.  Let’s see how that does with my marathon training.

This past Saturday I finished up my first 20-miler of this round of training.  Last year, my training plan from Runnersworld.com only had me do one 20 mile run before tapering.  This year, I stepped the plan up a notch and it has me doing the 20 three times before taper.  Two of these will come in back to back weeks very soon.

I am also still being amazed at my times.  Now, I’m still not a speed demon by any means, but my long-er long runs have taken considerably less time than I was doing them in last year.  For example, this weekend, I ran my 20 miler in 4 hours, 14 minutes.  That is a full 45 minutes faster than last year’s 20, and I still have two that I can improve upon.  If I can hold up to this, I have a chance at finishing nearly an hour earlier than my first marathon.

I know that part of the factor in my first marathon was the weather.  It was brutally wet and cold.  It slowed a lot of people down.  However, I didn’t run my training runs any faster, and those were run in good weather.

Early last month, my garmin died so I have been using known routes to run for my long runs.  I have a set 14 mile route around South Irving and I’ve added some of my shorter runs to that in order to make the distances.  This Saturday, I ran a 6-mile route first, picked up my stash of Gatorade at it’s usual finish, then took off and ran the 14-miler to gain 20.  I have even double-checked my mileage in my mapmyride.com route and it’s accurate.

If there is anything I know that I have done differently this year, it is in consistent Summer mileage, strength training, and working on getting the weight down.  This past Summer, I regularly ran an 8-mile long run each week, plus tried to keep my weekly mileage near 20.  I’ve been doing strength training at the Senior Fitness Center since January.  I know it’s been an added bonus.  Working on the weight is still a struggle, but I am down to 244.  If I can take off a few more pounds before December 9th, it’ll help.

I think I’ve worked harder on this marathon than last year.  I am hoping that it will prove out come race day.  I’m still injury free and running well.  If the weather will cool off a little more, I think we’ll keep running well round here.  That makes me hopeful for a good 2nd marathon.  But, I still have to remember, job one on race day is just get across the finish line.  I’m working on a solid pacing strategy in my long runs to get me at the right point.  We’ll see how it goes.

In the middle of all this I am still job hunting.  However, I have two appointments tomorrow.  One is with a recruiter about an IT job.  It’s not ideal, but I need to get in front of someone.  I am almost at the point of giving up on IT work for a living at this point, though.  My second appointment tomorrow is with my old job.  There are a couple of positions open that I can do and I’m going to see if they will work out.  It’s work I know I can do with people I know.  Both of those would be good right now just to get me going again.

I am enjoying my algebra homework by the way.  I do like math.  I’m just sloppy at execution.  I make little mistakes that miss the mark.  I could use sharpening up on those and continuing to improve.  That’s something that running and cycling has taught me.  We make mistakes in our training.  But, we evaluate our training and then we make changes to correct those.  We add practice on the new stuff until it works.  Then we can put it into our knowledge base for use on race day.  Because I know I can do the work to run a marathon, I also know I can do the work to reach whatever goal I set, whether it’s job-related, or just life-related.  Happy running, folks!

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You will be lucky today as I’ll get two posts out on the same day.  Actually, since I’ve already posted a short update on my tech blog, I think I might be setting some kind of record on productivity.  In any case, I wanted to jot down some of the important things from the past week and I also wanted to do a review on Premier Protein’s shakes and snack bars.  I didn’t think the two would go together, so I’ll just write up two for the day.

I’ve been getting busy this week on the job search front.  I have a good friend that is helping me with that process.  He and I talked this past Saturday and now I have a good bit of resources on what to do next.  I’ve spent the week going through a process guide he gave me and it has helped.  I’m trying to get my resume done up correctly.  You wouldn’t think it would be that hard, but I happen to be trying to switch careers.  I’ve done a lot of IT work over the last four years, and a lot of similar type of work in the years before that.  I’d really like to keep it going.  I have some disadvantages in that I don’t have all the little alphabet soup certifications after my name.  I just happen to know how to do the work.  I’m kind of weird in that respect that actual experience and merit count for more than just tests, exams, and paper.  Not that I haven’t done those either.

However, today, I thought I’d spend a little time just doing things I like.  I have a web site of my own that I run and it needs some work.  It’s kind of the “cobblers children never have any shoes” syndrome.  If you sit on a PC all day doing coding and IT work, you don’t often wish to do it when you get home.  Therefore, my little site is kind of drab and needs some sprucing up.  It doesn’t do much and unless you’re a serious geek it may not mean much.  However, if you just want to see what happens, look at it every now and then and you’ll see it start changing as I work on it.  You can find it here, it’s called the T.A.R.D.I.S. Server Project II; mostly just an information type page.

Running has gone well this week.  My foot’s tendonitis is still acting up a little, but I’m trying to take good care of it.  It hasn’t cost me any days yet.  I have almost finished my second week of marathon training and I guess this week is the week of forgetfulness and loss.  Twice this week, I’ve forgotten to plug in the garmin and had to use my smartphone’s abilities instead.  One of those was my tempo day, so no HR controls.  And, my SmartCoach plan on Runnersworld.com got messed up again.  I got it back, but it’s off a little so I am adjusting as I go.  I’ll run my 12-miler on Saturday and that will finish out a good week of running.

Next week will be triathlon week.  Yeah!  I only go round to setting up and planning for just one triathlon this year, so it’s kind of a big deal for me.  It’s the same sprint tri I did last  year in September.  This will make my second tri and I’m hoping to see improvement over last year (which wasn’t bad at all BTW).  I will once again take the Fuji out for the bike portion (do not fix what ain’t broke).  I’m also making some last minute decisions on how to handle some other issues with transition.

The transition area at the Rose City Tri is very sandy, so I’m concerned about my bike shoes.  I wear Speedplay pedals and I know I won’t have time to put on or take off the covers in the bike out area.  I also haven’t learned how to lean over and do my shoes up on the bike (I don’t balance well).  The reason it’s of a concern is that the cleats on the Speedplays are big open holes that can easily clog up.  We’ll have to wait and see on that point.

I am also taking a hat with a bill this year for the run.  Last year, I just turned my cycling hat around and wore it on the run.  But, the run portion has a lot of east-west running and it’s right in the face of the sun.  I’m not a fan of that on or off the bike, so a hat will be a help.  It doesn’t take long to put on in transition.  Finally, swimming should be better since I can do the whole distance with freestyle strokes now.

I started with “where to go from here”, but I think I have a good idea where that will be, or at least I have an inkling.  I will say, as I did earlier on Twitter, that it feels very odd not going to work every day.  Yes, it’s only the first week.  However, in thirty years or so of work, I’ve not had very long between jobs.  It feels as if I’m breaking some kind of rule.  As if there is some rule encoded in the Universe that says we are supposed to be at work every weekday.  There is one like that isn’t there?

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It was quite good to come home from Hotter-n-Hell to a week off.  I took all that was left of my vacation time this week instead of leaving it on the books.  I figured I could use it as a buffer between having a job and having to look for a job.  I also thought I’d get some stuff done before starting new tasks.

The weather had conspired to keep me from any yardwork for a few weeks because of on and off again rains.  It’s not too weird to get rain in August, but we got a little more than usual in the past few weeks.  The spacing was just enough to throw off any catch up in the weeds.  I only have one really bad weed nemesis; stickerburrs.  The front yard is fairly well under control, but our back yard along the fence is just over run.

I have tried chemicals to no effect (not my usual choice).  I also have been using bagging on the lawnmower, but that only seemed to have a slight effect.  Currently, I am digging up individual plants before mowing in the attempt to cut down on seeds.  Each stickerburr plant puts out at least 8 to 10 burrs.  Each of these are a seed for a new plant.  Hopefully, by removing the plants, I’ll catch up on them.  However, that will be a trick.  This week’s take is four yard bags of plants.  Each bag was about half full because of the weight.

This week also began the first week of Dallas Marathon training.  For longer races, I usually generate a Smart Coach plan from runnersworld.com, then I add in or take away as needed.  Since this is my second marathon and I ran pretty good this Summer, I set it as a ‘moderate’ level of training.  Therefore, it has me running long runs up to 20 miles three times before taper starts.  That should be fun (sure).

Monday’s run called for five miles easy.  I figured after a very hard 100-miler on Saturday that I would not at all feel like doing that many miles on Monday.  If I got it up to 3 miles I would be doing well.  However, I surprised myself.  My tendonitis in my right foot wasn’t hurting at all and I did not seem to have dead legs.  Since I didn’t have to get up uber-early, I got to Running Bear Park at first light and decided to go around the whole loop and see what I’d get.  Turned out to have a 4.7 mile morning.

Wednesday also called for my first tempo run.  If you’re wondering what that is, check here.  This would be my first real speedwork since last season, so I strapped on the heart rate monitor and decided to run the tempo going more by heart rate than by pace.  The runnersworld.com plans still tend to run slightly behind what I can do now, so heart rate should give me a better idea of true tempo pace.

For the tempo run, I had to warm up, then hold tempo pace for four miles and cool down.  The total for the day would be 6 miles, which is 2 shorter than a normal Wednesday.  After a half mile warm up, I stepped the pace up to 12 min/mile.  That should be enough, right?  My max heart rate should be around 168 (220 – my age = max heart rate).  After a little bit of 12 min. pace, my heart rate went up to…145 bpm.  OK, that’s not doing well, and I could tell by my exertion level that I wasn’t at tempo either.

The general rule of thumb on tempo runs is to hold a pace that you can hold, but really, really would like not to hold.  With HR and exertion level in mind, I stepped up a little better.  We were  heading down to Running Bear park by now.  Turning out of Running Bear, I checked again and my heart rate was 165 bpm.  Good one!  My exertion level was holding, but just; so that was OK too.  My pace now: 10:50 min/mile.  Not bad.

The next mile carried me up two pretty good hills and as expected, by the time I hit the peak, the HR monitor alarm went off.  I was exceeding 168 bpm now.  I slowed a little to let it go back down, but not much.  And, what do I run into…a red light.  Not just your ordinary red light, but the one from Hell that never changes.  Down, down, went the heart rate.  At about 118 bpm, the light changed.  It was probably only a minute and a half, but I didn’t like losing the tempo HR.

After the red light, I picked things back up to speed and the HR came right back into line.  Through the next couple of miles, I had to slow just a bit, but my HR remained steady and I was still doing 11:15 to 11:30 pace.  I turned the corner at the next red light and saw I had finished up all four miles of my first tempo.  I could now slow back down and go easy for the rest of the miles.  It felt really good to finish up the first bit of speedwork.

Today was the first “official” long run at 10 miles.  I had already done a 9-miler a couple weeks ago, so I was pretty ready.  We’ve been in a cool streak, but expecting more heat.  Still, I was surprised to see the 79degF on the outdoor thermometer this morning.  I set up and got my stuff on and left the house…without my hydration bottle.

Oh, I had put on the belt, but didn’t grab the bottle out of the frig.  When did I figure this out?  A half mile down the road.  Now what do I do?  I couldn’t run out a whole ten miles at this temp without fluids, so running back to the house I went.  At least the jog back to the house made sure I had ten miles done this morning anyway.

On my long runs, I keep close to what the plan states, at least somewhat.  It called for a 15 min/mile pace, but that’s almost walking speed now.  I kept it between 13 min/mile and sometimes 14 min/mile.  Those paces felt pretty easy for me.  For a mile or so, on flat section, I put in a 12:30 pace.  The 10 miles went by decently, but not real fast.  It took a couple of hours plus this morning and I have been able to do 10 miles in two hours even, but not today.

I am sitting here this afternoon waiting on a friend that’s just gone through the job search routine recently and we’re going to go over what I’m going to do.  I also have a list of things to do next week; some related to job search and some related to keeping something going for now.  It’s kind of weird not having to worry about each day right now.  I know that can grow as time drags on, but right now it’s not a big deal.  That’s new to me.  My biggest problem will be making sure I stay productive and busy while the search goes on.  As my sweetie tells me, I don’t sit still very well.  That’s probably a fault of mine.  As I recall, my grandfather was a bit like that as well.  So, here’s to next week and getting things done.  More miles on the books and things to do.  Happy running!

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It seems that my Fall training time for the Dallas Marathon may be fairly flexible.  I received recent notice that my job of the last four years is ending this month.  That happens, though I was still unprepared for it.  I was rather liking what I had been doing the past four years.  Now, I have to decide what is next, which is just not that easy to accomplish.

I will do alright for a while as I did receive a good severance deal from my employer.  So, I have a little time in which to formulate a good plan.  There are lots of choices but no clear direction or answers.  I am toying with the idea of doing some tech work on my own.  I’m not a web designer, but I do know a lot about setting up the systems and technologies so that companies can communicate with their clients and customers (I will not argue with folks on the most effective color of purple).  It doesn’t really take a designer to get an organization’s presence and message clearly out onto the Internet.  Yet, many don’t really know what to do with some of the newer things like social media.  To paraphrase what I read today in an article by Bob Sullivan of MSNBC, organizations are being told they need to be in social media, but they don’t know how to use it effectively.

I have taken a little time to finally get off my duff on one of my personal pet projects.  I now run my own Linux Server, with a real name.  I kept it kind of low key for a long time but I got a good deal on a domain name this week and decided it was time to push things out there.  My server can be reached at http://www.tardisgallifrey.com.  I’ve called it the T.A.R.D.I.S. Server Project II, after my favorite BBC character’s transportation device.  It is a big blue police box on the outside, but it is much bigger on the inside.  I kind of see servers in that same light, bigger on the inside than on the outside.  It doesn’t do a whole lot just yet, but the web site is functional and I can receive e-mail via the address I have posted there.

I missed my 8-miler on Wednesday because of thunderstorms.  I literally woke up at 4AM and before I left the bed it was FLASH, BOOM…and oh well, back to bed.  I got caught out once this Spring in a thunderstorm and they aren’t that nice for runs.  So, instead, tomorrow I will run a 9-miler on my “usual” long run day as the prequel to my marathon training, which will start in earnest the very last Saturday of August.  Additionally, a very hard project at work had me on my feet most of the week and I even missed running Thursday just for an extra rest day.

After the run, hopefully, I’ll get on the bike for my last training ride before Hotter-n-Hell 100 2012!  Probably no more than just an hour on the bike after the long run.  Yes, I believe I am ready for next Saturday’s ride.  Or, at least as ready as I can get.  It’s been four years since I made the hundred the last time.  It’s time to do so again, and this year, we get to do it on a different bike and a different route.  This year, all the riders will get to go through the Sheppard Air Force Base rest stop.  I understand it’s better than cool.

I’m going to take my 1986 Fuji to this ride.  After the work I did in the Spring, new wheels, beefing components up and putting on new brakes, it feels like a new bike.  I’ve ridden it the most often on training rides and I can hold a good pace without working too hard.  That will be key in the first 60 miles of the ride.  You really need to hit 60 miles feeling like you have another 40 in you.  You don’t really, but you need to feel like you do.

Changes are coming around my house.  Fall will approach soon and with it will be a whole host of new things and events.  I have already signed up for almost all my Fall races, so at least I do not have to decide on those.  I know I’ll be busy, but my training does not stop.  I have to do just what I’ll be doing for my marathon training, put a plan together and then follow it out to its conclusion.  Been there.  Done that already.  Happy Running!

 

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