Friday, December 30, 2011

Recap of 2011

Check out my highlights of 2011.  It was a fun one.  

January 1
First run of the year was a painful one.  Just the day before on the last day of 2010, I had overworked myself on a 14 miler.  That was the furthest I had ever run before.  It resulted in severe tendinitis in my right foot.  I was advised by my physician to stay off of it for two weeks and was booted up.  Didn't run again until Jan 13 and didn't fully recover until Jan 23.

February 6
I had been on the dailymile social website for runners and athletes since early fall, but only had 2 friends on there and both of them I knew personally.  Out of the blue some person named Blanca G friended me and now I had this total stranger motivating me on my routine 3 and 4 mile runs.  So I then started randomly friending folks on this site just to see what other runners do and what habits they carry, not knowing that I was building my fan base LOL.  Outside of my family, my biggest source for motivation.

March 1
One of my new Dailymile friends Julie A.K.A. "J Gal" hosted a virtual half marathon online which I participated in.  Whomever participated was to simply run 13.1 miles some day that week wherever they were located and post the results.  I was preparing for my first ever half marathon and this was the perfect dress rehearsal.  I ran one of my routine routes which is rather hilly I might add and I clocked myself completing it in 2:14 for a 9:48 pace.   I had never been able to run a sub 10 pace for that distance until that day.

March 13
Completed my first ever half marathon, the Rock N Roll Dallas in 2:07:41 for a 9:44 pace.   Pretty good to be self trained, I think.

April 17
Completed a 16 miler in training.  Record distance.

May 8
Finally figured out how to tackle hills.

July 7
Ran 10 miles of a 15 miler in training before I figured out I had put my shirt on backwards.

August 7
Decided to run 16 miles in 88°  heat, but didn't take in any electrolytes. Only water.  Never made it to mile 14.  Caught a severe cramp in every muscle from my waist down including my butt.  All at the same time.  The worst pain I have ever been in.  A by-passer driving by who saw me on the ground screaming like a girl had to take me home.  Lesson learned.  From that point on I have  carried electrolytes with me while I run.  Even when it's 40 degrees out. 

August 19
Joined the Dallas Running Club.  Best decision I have made all year.  Thank you Keishabadger :)

Late August
The heat in Texas was so bad this summer that I found myself waking up at 4:30am to get in runs.  The temperatures were still in the high 80s and low 90s at night!  Day temps were between 105° and 110°.

September 5, Labor Day
Temps dropped dramatically.  I was able to complete a 15 miler at home with no issues.  Paced at around a 10 min/mile.  It was definitely the heat making me slow for the previous two months.  A big confidence booster.

September 18
I took on the moniker "The Night Train".  Stemed from listening to the song "Night Train" by James Brown the day before and the fact that I was doing most of my runs primarily at night.

September 25
First group run with the Dallas Running Club (DRC). They placed me in the 1:55 half marathon group.  I quickly discovered that I love group runs over running solo.

October 1
First race since the half marathon in March.  DRC "The Loop".  Was a 15K which was a complete loop around White Rock Lake.  Funny thing is 20 years earlier my wife and I attempted to walk the circumference of that lake.  A very difficult task at that time.  Little would I know at age 43 I would be running loops around it.  Completed the race in 1:23:54 for a 9:00 pace.  Also the first time I was in the same race as Keishabadger whom I consider my runner sibling.

October 9
My most enjoyable run of the year happened during a downpour.  Dailymiler "Pantha" earlier that year mentioned that warm rain runs were great and this did not disappoint.  I got in a sweet 18 miles.  My wife called me on my cellphone concerned because I was gone for almost four hours.

October 16
Met dailymilers Tim Timmaaay and Lupe (Mrs Crazymofo) for the first time during a routine run at the lake.

November 6
Ran the DRC Half Marathon.  Finished in 1:55:25 at an 8:46 pace.  Remember, the group I joined at the DRC's target time was 1:55.  Just made it.  This is so far the race I'm most pleased with the results.  I overachieved to get it.

November 11
Our half marathon group ran with the 4:00 full marathon group on a 15 miler.  Was one of the toughest training runs I had ever been on.  Started at a 10:19 pace and the last  half of the run ended averaging around 8:50.  The route we ran started at the DRC clubhouse which is at White Rock went to Highland Park, to the Katy Trail and back to White Rock.  There were some really hilly areas on the way back.  The pace leader of the Marathon group, Rick was impressed that I was keeping up really well and encouraged me to train with the full marathon group in the winter/spring.

December 4
White Rock Half Marathon.  OMG.  That's all I have to say.  Cold, rainy, miserable.  And I ran it with a cold.  But it's in the books now.  PR'ed at 1:54:23.

December 5
The idea of running a full marathon in 2012 had become cemented in my mind.

December 24
Planned group run with Tim Timmaay, Lupe and Bal AKA "Crazymofo".  On a second solo run, finally met who I consider now my run mentor Blanca G face to face.  Though that meet lasted all of 10 seconds, made my day and probably my week.

December 26
Received first Garmin Forerunner, courtesy of my aunt and my wife.  That is the equivalent of giving a crack addict an upgraded pipe to smoke from.

I just hope 2012 will be as enjoyable as 2011.  One thing for sure it will be race filled.  For now, my shout outs to....

My frequent flyer dailymilers (in no particular order):  Rachel U (whom everytime I read her posts I freeze my butt off just sitting there reading), Danny W, Steve T,  Terri P, Tasha G, Runtarantantan, Steve T, Chanthana the great, Michelle M, Jay S, Stephanie H, Luc (what's up mate), Teresa F, Leslie B, Amber F, Valerie, Rosanna L (the energizer bunny), Jen F., Oksana (whatever name you are on DM now lol), Pantha (whom sets and has no limits), Ted, Petite (only friended maybe a month or two ago but is already one of my faves to read about on DM), Keith H (when I wake up he's motivating folks and before I go to sleep he's still motivating folks), Ann P., Paula G., Runnergirltrain (hate i missed you at the Trot would have been nice to get a pic with you and have two "trains"), Shelly M,  Tabitha, Kia 7 (if you are on FB check out her group page Evolve with Kia, it is awesome), Gaby (and Max), Pavlos, Erin C, Vk, JGal and her awesomeness, Gina B, Jeremy F, Andleeb, Alfred, Tam Tam, Carolyn, Roger L, Catherine O, Dionna, Allison J, Pamela Drop Drop Droppin it M, Christina I

and also from Dailymile those whom I've had the opportunity to actually meet (Terri I'm including you because it's gonna happen)
Terri F who's humor keeps me cracking up constantly on DM as well as FB.  Can't wait to meet you.  Crazymofo and Lupe my most favorite runner couple, Tim Timmaay whom it looks like I'll be running in most of the same races this year and of course Blanca whom I'm looking forward to getting in a few runs with this year whenever I can.

Dallas Running Club
The entire 1:55 pace group.  Namely Tara, Elizabeth, Vonnie and our pace leader Steve.  Shouts out to Veejay, Mike, Renee and Ros and a special shout out to my runner sibling KCR "Keishabadger" who brought the DRC to my attention.

I would also like to thank my producer.. oh wait.  Wrong speech.

Here's to a fun, productive and hopefully injury free 2012.  You guys take care.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I started running in March of 2010, and became serious about running probably sometime around this time last year.  Here are some of the things I have learned during my "rookie" season... My experienced runner friends will probably yawn reading this, so this is for any of you who have just started getting serious about running.

Ten things I have learned in 2011

    1. Running fast all of the time does not necessarily make you fast. You gain speed over time and by getting in quality workouts.

    2. Hydrate, Hydrate,  Hydrate. I mean really.. I knew this going in. What I didn't know is how important hydrating and getting in electrolytes the day before and even the week before a race is. Even though the temperature at White Rock Half was an average of 42 degrees, I paid for not taking in the minerals needed when I got that leg cramp at mile 12.8.  

    3. Rest is just as important as workouts. This I knew as well. Toward the end of summer I saw the proof. I had backed off, noticed my legs were fresher and I could run longer. So is sleep. Ok, I'm still working on that one.

    4. Proper training and having a structured training schedule is important. The best thing I have done to help myself is joining the Dallas Running Club and signing up for fall training. I would encourage anyone who is serious about running to join a running club or get a running trainer. I think I did a fair job of training myself for my first half marathon. I was only running for a year and finished in 2:06. However, I don't think I would have gotten my time under 1:55 had I not had the training I had through the DRC.

    5. If you think you can, you are probably can.  If you think you shouldn't, you are probably right. I'm still hard headed sometimes when it comes to the latter part of that.
    1. Summer routine runs are not for speedwork and going for PRs. Just get in a few runs per week. When it's hot out, like it is here in Texas (95 degrees at night) you run slow and hydrate like crazy along the way. It's all about how often you run per week, not how far necessarily. PRs mean nothing unless they happen during a race.
    1. The 10% rule is right on. Not just with running, but even with my strength training. Overrage just defeats the purpose of working out at all. It took me a couple of injuries to believe it.

    2. Don't be a mileage “ho”. I used to get caught up looking at my dailymile leaderboard trying to chase the runners who had the top miles for the week. What I wasn't looking at was that most of these runners and pros already had several full marathons and ultras under their belt. They were running 20 milers for breakfast. I'm not a pro. Yet.

    3. Cold weather is good! Before I started running, I absolutely HATED cold weather. Anything under 60 degrees this Texas boy couldn't deal with it. OK, yeah I still do hate cold weather but I can tolerate it now. On the other hand, running in cold weather is a totally different animal. I would never have thought that one day I would be comfortable running in shorts and short sleeves in 45 degree weather. As long as the wind isn't blowing extremely hard, I'm all good.
    1. Runners are the coolest people on the planet.  Common knowledge to all runners.  You just gotta be one to understand.

Friday, December 2, 2011

To the Beat. White Rock Half 2011

     I said this would go down as a memorable race, and I was right.  All week long me and my other runner buddies had our eyes focused on the weather forecast for raceday.  Every day the forecast seemed to worsen.  By Friday, I had given up hoping that either it would just be cold or it would just be rainy but not both.  I just decided, whatever happens, I still have to run in it and so does everyone else.  So if I sucked due to the weather, then so would everyone else.  My biggest issue then was what to wear.  Turned out that it didn't matter what you wore, the result would be the same.  You would end up soaking wet.  Oh and there was one more added twist.  I had a cold.  I took some Dayquil before I left and hoped it didn't have an adverse effect on me later.
     I had planned a meetup with some fellow runners from dailymile, but that plan fell through when I dropped my phone in water trying to catch the train.  Had no way to communicate with them.  I did however bump into my running sibling Keishabadger and friend Ros from the DRC before the start in the bag drop area.  We hung around in there long enough before security kicked us out into the cold.  As I pushed my way into my assigned corral, I started reflecting back on all of the training I had for this run.  Every race I have run I have PR'ed thus far.  I was hoping I would do the same this time.
     One hobby of mine is DJing.  I'm a part time mobile DJ and a DJ on an internet radio station.  So I have the capability and equipment to mix songs and record them as MP3s.  Two days before, I took songs that I had run to the beat to at race pace and made a two hour long mix with them.  I wanted to test to see if I plugged them in to my iPod, would I stay on pace running to the beat of songs playing at 85 BPM.  Of course I knew I would have to vary on hills, etc.
     Out of the gate, everything I was worried about I had thrown it out.  Weather, apparel, PR'ing... I just decided to go with my normal race strategy and everything would work itself out.
     Mile 3.  I finally got into my groove.  The low 40 degree temp was not bothering me at all.  At that point the rain had stopped from earlier as it had been raining all night long.  One of the common mistakes is starting out too fast.    I wanted to make sure that I didn't do so, however I still got caught up with people passing me and trying to keep up with them.  I looked down and I was at a 8:21 pace.  Too freaking fast.  My "red line" according to my trainer was about 8:30 and I was to stay under that or I would blow up.  I shortened my step a little but still kept to the beat of my iPod.
     Mile 5.  Here comes the rain.  For a few minutes it was really pouring down.  All I could think of is the NFL, being a huge football fan.  Many NFL games are played in unfavorable weather conditions but the players tough it out.  I should do the same.  The rain didn't really slow me down, I was still doing about an 8:32 pace, however my shoes were wet.  That really irked me.  It was almost impossible to not step in a puddle.  Still on beat.
     Mile 6.5  Halfway point.  The turn on Beverly St was the first real hill that I encountered.  Training with the DRC running in the neighborhoods surrounding White Rock Lake gave me plenty hill practice.  I kind of felt for the full marathoners because their course took them straight to that area.  After I made that hill my "bitch", I was right back on beat.  Still a steady 8:32-8:34 pace.  I knew if I kept this up I would easily PR.  I was already thinking about what I was going to post online in my race report.  That's what I get for being overconfident.
     Mile 8-10.  I could feel my calves fatiguing.  I really didn't understand this because I had just run a 15 miler two weeks before with no leg problem.  I had run a 20 miler on my own and several other long runs over 13 miles throughout the year.  I was well hydrated and electrolyted up.  What was happening was very reminiscent to my first half marathon and the course was pretty similar and I had the same calf issues at the same spot.
     Mile 12 1/2.  I could feel the cramp coming in my left calf.  So i reluctantly stopped and stretched out my calf for about a minute and a half.  I didn't know it would have such a drastic affect on my total time.  I got going and I thought I would be fine for the remaining 0.6 miles.  
     Mile 13.  With only 0.1 miles to go (my clock said 13.1 already), the cramp came.  I had to stop or else risk falling or or crawling into the finish line.  Took me a minute to massage it out.  I looked down and my clock had 1:53 and some change.  I knew my PR was 1:55:23 and there was no way I was going to lose the opportunity to beat it.  So I hopped the last few 100 feet or so to the finish line.   Beat my previous PR by 1:02.  That day I was only good for 13.1 miles.  Or in this case 13.2 as it was really measured.
     I walked into the finishing area, happy to be done with my 3rd half and picked up my medal.  While walking to the beat.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Another Milestone - 2011 Dallas YMCA Turkey trot

      I took the train downtown and arrived at the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot around 7:30 am.  Hung around the Community Coffee stand trying to warm myself up with coffee.  The weather was very chilly around 45 degrees and foggy. So foggy that you couldn't see past maybe the 20th floor on most of the skyscrapers downtown.  I hung around there for a few and ran into Cynthia, a good buddy of mine who was running the 5K.  We shivered and chatted for a minute or two over coffee. Then around 8:15 I noticed the crowd thickening and figured I'd better make my way to the start line.  As I weaved my way to the front of the crowd who most was warming up to the music that the DJ was playing, one of Dallas' Finest at the far barricade spotted me and noticed I had a blue bib on which means I'm a timed runner.  She summoned me to come through the barricade since I was timed.  I didn't know that the timed runners had that privilege.  I was able to walk right up to the start line.  I wish I had known that last year.  After a couple minutes, one of my runner buddies, Vonnie from the Dallas Runners Club (DRC) tapped me from behind.  I was happy to see her because I had gotten to be lonely standing there by myself.  Everything was perfect so far, the weather, the atmosphere... except one thing.  I had to go to the restroom.   Badly.  Vonnie suggested since I still had about 25 minutes before the start of the race I make a run for it but I decided to just tough it out.  I could probably hold it for the entire 8 miles.  Uhh... no.
      As soon as the race started, I had issues.  My aunt loaned me a fanny pack which I put my belongings in but it was flopping everywhere and on top of that I was really needing to relieve myself.  Vonnie was a few steps ahead of me and I was trying to keep up with her while fumbling around with the strap on my pack attempting to tighten it but unsuccessfully.  The good thing was I didn't have to worry about running around walkers like last year.  About 2 miles in I spotted a port-o-potty, so I dove in and figured I would give myself a maximum of 1 minute to take care of my business and adjust my wardrobe.  After I was done with that I shot out of there like a torpedo.  I  thought could see Vonnie way up the street thanks to her hot pink shirt that she had on.  So I set out to catch her.  That never happened.  I forgot how she was always at the front of the pack in our DRC training runs and often on the verge of leaving us behind.  After about mile 3 she was out of sight.  I knew this route had a couple of crazy hills, so I decided to prepare myself mentally to be ready for those.  Run and race experience helped me today.  When I got to those hills, I tackled them with ease, passing a lot of other runners who were gassed and walking. I got recovery on the downside of the hills. After the Jefferson Street Viaduct hill (mile 7), I noticed that this race was about to be over with very quickly.  Last year's race seemed like forever.  At that time I remembered that I said I would take it easy in this race, but my competitive instincts had kicked in.  So much for that.  I run 8 milers for breakfast now.
     I ended up officially with a 1:10:29 finish and an 8:41 average pace compared to last year where I finished in 1:22:25 a 10:10 pace.  Of course last year was the very first race I had ever run in, so I didn't know what to expect.  Next weekend, the White Rock Half Marathon.  I hope I can duplicate this effort.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I have it all figured out! I think...

     So I am now 21 days away from the Dallas White Rock half which earlier this year I declared as my personal "Super Bowl" race. At the time I couldn't decide whether or not I would do a half or a full.  I ended up registering for the half. I'll come back to that in a second.
     Joining the Dallas Running Club was the best thing I could ever done.  I think I've probably said that some 10 times already.  I was so raw before and unorganized with my runs.  I had somewhat of a weekly schedule but I wasn't varying the types of runs I did.  By the time I had joined the DRC I had already built myself up during the grueling summer in North Texas, where nighttime temps were regularly in the mid to high 90's.  By the time September came around I was able to whip out a 15-18 mile run without any problem, but I knew there was something lacking. I chose to join the half marathon training instead of the marathon and I think that was a good decision.  It gave me a chance to catch up on learning.  
     When I ran the club's signature race, the DRC Half, it showed that this training clearly paid off (see previous blog).  During our group recovery run, my pace leader who is full of bits of running info and other useless info broke the whole science down to me of training for marathons and half marathons.  The full marathon group's longest training run is only 20 miles he told me.  This made no sense to me since a marathon is 26.2 miles.  Basically they run on a time basis during training, not distance.  And you don't run at race pace during training.  He explained further, that "It's not the distance that you are training for, it's training to stay on your feet for 4 hours.  The speed and distance will be there if you train properly to stay on your feet and have a good race strategy on race day." 
     Remember when you were in Physics, Chemistry or maybe Calculus class and you were foggy on everything and one day everything just 'clicked'?  Well everything clicked for me then. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

2011 DRC Half Marathon

     Today's race could not have come at a better time.  I had just underwent a huge role change at my job and my last day in the department I have worked for 10 years was this past Friday.  That was was weighing on me emotionally to me leaving that group as we are a pretty close family and I am so attached to a number of people there.  So preparing for this race took my mind off of that and the anxiety of starting my new position on Monday.  Saturday I volunteered to set up the race and part of that was to unpack about 20 boxes of medals.  Once I saw the medals, I was pretty giddy and ready to get the show on the road.
     I did very well I think Saturday fueling up with Pizza, Bagels, pasta.  I got a good night sleep which surprised me, because the night before all of my previous races I have barely got any sleep.  Since daylight savings time ended last night, that even gave me an extra hour to prepare.  Got to the race about 20 minutes before it started, due to traffic and having to wait on the shuttle to be transported.  I would have liked to have gotten there at least an hour before.
     Temps were in the 60s and overcast...people complained about the humidity, but I really didn't notice at all.  I guess all that training in the Texas 100 degree heat this summer made me numb to it.  I located 2 people from my pace group and we decided to try to stick together for as long as we could.  I was wondering if I would be able to keep up.  I had no idea it would be the other way around.  
     The first couple miles was weaving in and out of traffic.  We came up on another person from our pace group.  She and a friend of hers joined us, so we had a pretty good group put together.  We kept it at about an 8:55 pace for the first 4-5 miles then started hitting the hilly parts of the course.  My strategy was to tackle the upside of hills carefully, but turn it up a notch on the downside.  Around mile 6 I noticed we lost one of our members.  Then at mile 7 or 8 I lost the other two.  I found out after the race that it was due to cramps and the humidity which seemed to have little or no effect on me.  
     I was feeling good and I was about to take advantage of it.  Every hill I came to, I did exactly as planned, ran at slight slower than marathon pace up the hill, but ran faster than marathon pace down it.  I latched on to a couple runners who were running my pace along the way which helped as well.  The whole time I was worried that I was going too fast and was in fear of crashing.  But it never happened.  Around mile 11 on my ipod the old school hip hop song "How Ya Like Me Now" by Kool Moe Dee popped on.  It starts out with a sample of "The Night Train" by James Brown.  I thought that was pretty funny and actually gave me a little bit more push.  The last mile my legs started to tire a bit, but I was still good and was able to keep my pace.  I found myself looking for guys in my age group to make sure I passed by them for a better ranking  LOL.  I finished with a time of 01:55:23 and a pace of 8:46.  642 out of 2716 overall and 84th out of 237 in my age group.  I never would imagine that I would be the only runner in my pace group who would finish with the target time that we all trained for.  I just wonder how I would have done if the humidity that I didn't even notice wasn't there.  
     So that's one half down and two more to go before the end of the year.  Again, per my last blog I credit this to the group running I have been doing. I don't think I would have accomplished this if I were still running solo.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Better in numbers

I knew that joining a run club would be a big help in my training, but never knew how much. Since joining the Dallas Running Club, my marathon pace has improved dramatically, from about 9:53 to 8:46.  When I was running solo, I was running too many miles and too often.  I was running probably 5 days out of the week, now I'm running about 3 times per week with the group and maybe once on my own.  I've learned a better way to do speedwork and on long runs I've learned how to adjust my pace depending on where I am in the run.  I've also learned a  lot of new run terminology and runners' etiquette.  Not to mention making new friends.  In the half marathon coming this Sunday, my group plans on running the whole thing together in our own pack.  All 12 of us.  In my previous races, I ran solo.  I enjoyed all of them, but I think I would have enjoyed even more with company when I think about it.  I'm really looking forward to it.   

Saturday, April 2, 2011

How the hell did I get here? What a year it has been!

Who is the Night Train?
     Please excuse me as I'm still trying to figure this blogging thing out.  Never had a blog spot before and never thought I would create one,  but there is a first time for everything right?   Well I guess I can officially call myself a "runner" now.  At 42 years of age, I completed my first half marathon one week ago.  Though I have been in a couple of organized run events already- (Dallas Turkey Trot 8 miler thanksgiving 2010)(Mayor's Race 5K Dec 2010), this one will always be my "baby". 
     Anyway just so you know where I have been.  Never really been an athlete.  In fact I pretty much sucked in sports during my adolescent period.  I was always the kid picked last.  However I did run a little track, .  At 5'6" (and I haven't grown an inch since 8th grade) I pretty much decided sports wasn't my thing.  Went through my twenties and thirties never concerned about my health, however I think because I ate somewhat healthy, I kept myself up.  Never exercised.
     Last year my employer moved us into a brand new state of the art office building which included a fitness center.  Being that I was too cheap to shell out hundreds of dollars for a health club membership, I decided to take advantage of this "free" resource.  On 03/01/2010 I took a walk on the treadmill for about a mile and a half and lifted a few weights.  To be honest, I got into the weightlifting more than I did the walking.  I absolutely HATED running, especially being that I am asthmatic.  So I went about 3 months on and off with the run/walk combination but was consistent with the weight training.  The muscles came quickly.  Especially in my arms and shoulders.

Runwell Training Program
On September 28th, 2010 my employer who is a major healthcare insurance company, announced that it would bring in the Runwell Group and offer employees a FREE 6 weeks training program with the goal race being "The Capital One Bank - Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot 5K & 8 Mile Run" on Thanksgiving Day.  I saw this and the word "free" and said "what do I have to lose?"  The program was OK, it really didn't teach me anything about running form, which is really what I was interested in.  But it did teach me one thing.  I could run long distances if I just kept training and you didn't have to be a superstar to run in a marathon.  There were several folks in the group who had run 1/2 marathons and full marathons.  Hell, I didn't even know "half" marathons existed.  There were some who had been running only a year, some who had been running for 20 years.  So I ran with these guys once a week and ran 3-4 times on my own at home.  

My New Love
     Somewhere during that 6 weeks I found my  new love.  I was running a looped route in my neighborhood which was exactly 3.1 miles.  I had no idea that was the equivalent to a 5K. During one run, I decided to extend my run more than the normal 3.1 miles that I was used to.  I kept going and suddenly the run became "peaceful".   I know now that only a person who runs on a regular basis would understand this.   I think I ran about 5 miles on that run that night.  And the only reason I stopped was because I knew my wife would wonder where I was because I told her I would be back in about 30 minutes.  I could have ran another mile or two I think.  I couldn't believe it. THAT got me hooked.

Run, run , run 
     So here I go focused on training for this 5K coming up, I really wanted to do well.  About a week before my last workout session with The Runwell Group I set out to run a couple of the 3.1 mile loops around my house.  6.2 miles was my new number.  Well... toward the end of the run, I still had plenty left in the tank.  Hmm... should I go for another?  Next thing I know, I had completed 9.3 miles non stop running, no breaks, no walking.  Who woulda thunk it?  Not me.  So, right then and there I opted to run the 8miler instead of the 5K for the Turkey Trot.

Dallas  Turkey Trot
     Looking back at this "race" it seems funny now.  It was more of a fun run.  Very congested and not really that organized as the 13.1 that I finished a week ago.  It was cold, about 40 degrees, but I found out after about a mile into the run that cold weather is great to run in.  I'm actually a warm weather person and hate the wintertime, but I prefer to run in the cold.  I played around taking pics with my phone of everybody and everything along the whole run and didn't really take my time or pace seriously.  I ended up finishing in 1:22, a 10:18 pace.  About a week later I ran in a 5K race but didn't take it seriously either.  The night before I went to TGI Fridays with my aunt and had a large beer.  I was feeling the effect from drinking during that run.  However I still finished in :29 and a pace under 9:00.  Not bad...  

     Around that time I was introduced to Dailymile by a good friend who had also gotten the fitness bug.  One of the best things that ever could have happened.  Already being a Facebook addict, this was right up my alley.  It started out as mainly a place to log my runs.  The application that I had on my phone to log them wasn't cutting it.  I had no idea that this site would be my main source of motivation later.

13.1?  Why not?
     Shortly after the Turkey Trot, I was on Facebook and one of my friends on there who ran the trot also mentioned that she would be running in The Rock n Roll Dallas 1/2 Marathon for her birthday in March.  I had already run an 8 miler so I would think I could train to run 13.1 miles, no problem.  I decided to train for this as well and train seriously.  So I ran.  And I ran.  And I ran and ran and ran.  Over did it some and in early January, developed tendinitis in my right foot and had a slightly sprained ankle.  I was sidelined for two weeks.  Good thing that happened early in my training as I had planned on training hard for February and tapering off during the last couple weeks before the race.

My first 1/2
     Just like the Turkey trot, the weather took a sudden turn overnight.  The day before it was sunny and 80+ degrees, but a cold front came through and dropped the temperature to the mid 40s.  Perfect.  I got there about 10 minutes before the race started, so I didn't get to stretch as much as I normally did.  I would pay for that later I found out.  Started out at a steady pace.  I was very hydrated and was really fueled up from all the carb loading the day before.  No problems there.  I hit "Jedi" mode (comfortable running) as I call it around mile 4.  This run was really going well.  The route was so cool.  There was a rock band playing cover songs at every  mile marker.  It was so cool and fun.  Along the way were people on the road side cheering, people in their front yards waving us on.  I stopped only twice during the race to rehydrate at the fueling stations.  And stopped one other time and you will find out why in just a second.  Everything was going perfect until about mile 9, things started hurting from my knees down.  I worked through it.  
     The last three miles seemed like the hardest and the longest.  Felt like I would never get there.  Last mile.  I was always told to finish strong, so I picked up my pace a notch when all of a sudden about maybe a quarter mile from the finish.... Dammit!  Caught a cramp in my left calf.  I darn near tripped fell.  My phone/MP3 player went flying into the cheering crowd to the left of me who then became concerned.  I felt bad because I shouted out a couple of expletives and then noticed a couple of young kids in the crowd staring right at me.  One fellow in the crowd handed my phone back to me and I told him "just a cramp", I'm OK.  I massaged it out, stretched it, pissed because I just wasted almost 2 minutes of race time, then hauled ass to the finish line.   Finished in 2:08 with a 9:44 pace. Still a little upset because I know I was close to beating my personal record for a 13.1 in training, but it hit me shortly after I crossed the finish line and got my medal that I was i an elite club now.  
     Anyway, that's where it stands now.  I have plans to run the same Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 in November when it comes to San Antonio (about a 4 hour drive from Dallas).  

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.    lol