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.