Friday, December 29, 2006

The internet hiatus starts today. I'll be offline for about a week. See you then.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Last night, Nell and I had dinner at Italian Villa in Arlington. A tradition of sorts, as five years ago I proposed after dinner at the same restaurant. It was a nice meal, and afterwards we retired to the house for our exchange of Christmas gifts. Nell gave me some cool pants and two hip shirts (I'm notoriously bad at purchasing clothes--unless it's UT-related regalia). I plan on wearing them to Christmas at my parents' house tomorrow. As for my gift to Nell, well, without going into specifics, it came in a box that looked like this...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The annual litigation section Christmas party took place yesterday afternoon. The champagne was flowing and by 5:30 pm (the party started at 3:30 pm), everyone was feeling fine. Afterwards, a handful of us ventured to a local bar for another drink. It was a good time until...

I awoke early this morning and went out for a run. The first mile was pretty slow (10+ mins), but I started picking it up. I finished my obligatory 3 miles in 26:49, so somehow I managed to keep it under 9 minute miles. I've got to remember than drinking and running just don't mix.
There are eleven days left in 2006. Wow. It's been a very good year. Over the next week or so, I may recount some of the high points of the past 365 days. There are many, and I'm sure I'll forget some that may come to me later. But right now, it's 6 a.m., I've been up for half an hour, and I'm feeling reflective.

To start off, January 4, 2006, was a great evening. We watched the Rose Bowl game at our friends' house on their newly purchased gargantuan HD TV as VY led the Longhorns to an incredible victory over the USC Trojans. Unbelievable.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling pretty good and decided to go for a short run. I left the house and ventured down towards the levee. It was cool and windy, but not too cold. There was light rain falling. No one was out. It was grand. I had the entire Trinity trail to myself. A short run turned into a medium run. I logged in 7 miles at a comfortable 8:54 pace. And that includes a pretty brutal hill up Hidden Road (152 feet over 1/2 a mile). I would've keep going, but, unfortunately, running doesn't pay the bills, and work beckoned.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

This may be the blogger's equivalent of chain mail, but I'll play along in the spirit of the holidays.
1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Egg nog.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa sets 'em on the fireplace or in the stockings. Unwrapped.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored outside (need to buy new ones, as several lights have gone out). White lights on the tree.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Normally the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but we got the outdoor lights up early for a party. The tree and indoor decorations came a week later.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Hmmm....
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Decorating the tree with homemade ornaments.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? The truth? I'm not following you....
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yep, and it's always pajamas. Family tradition.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? A mix of ornaments and race medals.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it because I live 2.4 miles from my office and everything I need is within 5 miles. In other words, if something's gotta get done, I can run there.
12. Can you ice skate? Almost as well as I base jump.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Everyday with Nell is a gift.
14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Family and friends.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pecan pie with vanilla bean ice cream.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas eve mass.
17. What tops your tree? A small star ornament.
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving. I'm too impatient when it comes to receiving. I just go out and buy what I want. Nell says that's party of why I'm hard to shop for.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song? It varies, but I've always been fond of Greensleeves/What Child is This?
20. Candy canes? Not so much.
21. Favorite Christmas movie? National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Or Die Hard. (It's a Christmas movie, go watch it again if you don't believe me.)
22. What do you leave for Santa? Who?

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's December and it's 74 degrees in my house and the heat isn't on. Unbelievable. I went running today and wore shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt and I was drenched with sweat by the first mile. Did I mention that it's December?!?
So Dean is done. At least with his run across the country. He made it almost halfway before opting for a return to his family. I think he made the right decision.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I've been at the office for several hours today working on a response to a motion to dismiss. Ugh. Not the ideal way to spend a Sunday. Now I'm brain dead and need to go run. I'll be leaving in a few minutes. (Not to fear, dear work, I will bring my laptop home with me so I can continue this drudgery long into the evening.)

Yesterday was a fun Saturday. No work, all play. I got up around 6 a.m. and went for a 5 mile run. After that, I met up with three friends for golf. The weather was great, and I even won $10. I grabbed lunch and took a nice hour and a half nap before meeting up with Nell for a party at Joe T's. Somehow, the party moved from the restaurant to our house, where it finally wound down around midnight. Good times, but I paid for them this morning with a nasty headache. Bummer.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I just realized I ran a negative split at the Rock. The first half took me 1:59:48. The next half took me 1:57:12. So somehow I improved my pace by 2:36.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Random White Rock photos...

This is around the lake, about a mile or two before heading back into the neighborhoods. I like the random dude behind us flashing the Hook 'em Horns.

Apparently, I was pretty happy to be crossing the finish line. (Note the clock: 3:59:24!)

And here's a shot post-race with J-Ball. (He's from the future.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

J-Ball and I ran our first post-White Rock run this morning. 3 easy miles in 29 minutes, 57 seconds (9:59 per mile). Stiff but not too stiff. We walked twice during the run, but still kept the overall pace under 10 minutes per mile. I'm doing 4 miles tomorrow and 6 on Saturday.

I love running.

Monday, December 11, 2006

This morning, I awoke in a way that has never happened the day after a marathon -- pain free. Normally, I'm unbelievably stiff for a few days after 26.2 miles. I hobble around the office like Frankenstein, barely able to bend my knees or adjust my stride for fear of muscle spasms and cramps. But this morning, for whatever reason, I felt fine. I've got a little soreness, but no more than a typical long or a particularly fast short run. I can't really explain it, other than maybe my body is (finally) adjusting to longer distances. This is a good thing. Especially if I plan to continue my journey toward greater endurance endeavors.

So... let's talk about the race. I hadn't slept too well the night before. I had been cold and restless all night. Adding to the discomfort, my throat was a little sore, and my nose was running. Oh, and I also had a slight headache. Ugh.

It seemed I had just fallen into a decent state of unconciousness when the alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. Not surpisingly, I woke up cranky. I wanted to stay in bed. No choice, I had a race to run. So I relunctantly dragged myself out of bed and took a hot shower, hoping the warmth would help. It did, but only a little. I choked down a Clif Bar and a glass of milk, loaded up my bag, and got dressed for the run.

J-Ball showed up at 6:30 a.m., and we (Nell, J-Ball, and I) were en route to the American Airlines center. We avoided most of the exiting traffic by meandering through the streets of downtown Dallas. Whether this actually saved us any time is uncertain. But we were able to find a parking space on the street about three blocks from the finish line.

Originally, I had planned to catch up with Runner Susan and Just 1 2 Finish before the race to meet them and maybe snap a photo. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to plug Runner Susan's telephone number into my cell phone. Alas. It was probably for the best, though, as we had about 30 minutes until the race start.

While J-Ball made some phone calls, Nell and I made our way to the AA Center and hit the restrooms one last time before the run. By the time we were through the line and back outside, the race announcer informed us that we had 5 minutes until the start. Perfect.

J-Ball met back up with us, the gun sounded, and 2 minutes later we were crossing the starting line. I felt the start was more crowded than the Marine Corps start. And--here's a quick rant--I get very annoyed by two things at a race:

(1) Huge groups of runners running side by side so that there is absolutely no way you can get around or through them. I understand if you want to run with your friends. That's fine. But don't block the entire roadway. Run in a group, not a wall.

(2) Runners with headphones jacked up so loud that they can't hear anything around them. It's fine if you want to listen to your music when you run. What's not cool is blasting the tunes at a level where you are completely oblivious to everything else around you.

Okay, back to the race report.

Nell was running the first leg of the relay (along with her team, which consisted of my dad, Shana, M., and E.), and her goal was to keep up with J-Ball and me. We were running about 9:00 per mile, maybe a little faster. Nell did great! She stayed with us through the first 6 miles like champ.

After Nell handed off the "baton" to my dad, J-Ball and I continued on, running somewhat together. By that I mean we had agreed to each run our own race, and if our paces lined up, that was cool. But we weren't purposefully trying to stay together, and there were no obligations to do so. Most of the time J-Ball was a few paces in front of me, although for a few miles before entering White Rock lake, he soared ahead and out of sight.

As with Marine Corps, my goal was to run steady and strong, but to never feel like I was pushing it. I kept general tabs on my pace but wasn't wearing a watch. I felt pretty good, but my right hip kept bugging me. Not enough to slow me down, but enough to cause minor concern. Thankfully, it never became an issue.

J-Ball started fading after the park and around the Dolly Parton hills. About mile 21, he told me he needed to back off the pace and encouraged me to go ahead. I bid him farewell and wished him luck.

Around the same time, I started matching pace with a guy wearing an A&M shirt. I had on my Texas Longhorn gear. This combination of in-state collegiate running rivals spurred the neighborhood crowds to cheer us on with greater enthusiasm. We traded off the lead several times for the next few miles, until he surged ahead around mile 23. (I later passed him about halfway through mile 24 and beat him to finish line. Go Horns!)

The next couple of miles were standard. Keep moving, keep your pace, you're close but not quite close enough to start getting excited. And then I hit mile 25 and was informed of the gun time. It had been 3 hours, 52 minutes, 49 seconds since the official start. I knew I would make it under 4 hours with my chip, but I suddenly wanted to cross the finish line with the race clock still showing 3 hours. So I started to pick it up. Much to my surprise--and delight--I was able to move. Really move. I ran that last mile in 6 minutes, 43 seconds. Holy crap. That's fast. I crossed the finish line at 3:59:26. Later, I checked my chip time and discovered I had run the race in 3:57:00, or 9:02 per mile. A new PR.

After I picking up my finisher's medal and t-shirt, I waited for J-Ball to come through. While standing there, I glanced to my right and noticed a guy who looked vaguely familiar. "Hey," I asked, "you wouldn't happen to be 'Just 1 2 Finish,' would you?" The guy smiled, "Yeah." I introduced myself and asked him how his race went. He had met his goal and run under 4 hours. "Congrats, buddy." "Thanks." Small world.

Pictures to come....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

White Rock results: 3:57:00. New PR!
It's 6 a.m. Two hours until the White Rock. It's cold. I'm cold. My nose is running. My throat has a tickle. I am not particularly thrilled about running a marathon. Race report to come....

Saturday, December 09, 2006

It's awfully early (4:45 a.m.) and for some unknown reason, I'm awake. I first stirred a bit after 4 a.m. When sleep didn't return, I gave in, got up, and started reading my newest purchase from Half Price Books, "The Sex Lives of Cannibals." Something tells me a post-White Rock expo nap is in my future.

Despite my prior statements to the contrary, I ran 3 miles last night. The hip soreness is better, but--and this may be only in my mind--there may be something lingering just under the surface. For better or worse, I'll find out tomorrow.

Friday, December 08, 2006

On Wednesday, I argued before the Court of Appeals for the first time. It was an interesting experience. I got about 20 seconds into my presentation, and then spent the next 15 minutes answering a barrage of questions for the 3-judge panel. It was invigorating. Gotta do more of these.

I haven't run since Tuesday when my hip soreness reared its ugly head during a very short run. Instead, I've lifted weights and spent a good deal of time stretching. (And I hate stretching.) But with White Rock on Sunday, I'm doing whatever I can to ensure a decent run.

Speaking of running, we are officially booked for the Mardi Gras marathon. We got a great deal on flights and cashed in some Amex rewards for our hotel. It will be good to visit New Orleans again. We haven't been since Mardi Gras 2005.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level."

-Bruce Lee
Training is unique to each individual. Some are gear hounds, with heart rate monitors, GPS trackers, and sport watches. Some just hit the pavement sans equipment. As for me, I’m somewhere in between. On most runs, I grab the $4.98 Target brand watch I picked up a year ago, slap it on my wrist, and hit the start/stop button. That’s the only objective measure of performance I use. Subjectively, I rate each run by how I feel. But I always upload my runs to the computer, so I can track my pace and distance.

When it comes to training programs, I read voraciously, checking out blogs, websites, magazines, and listservs. But other than ensuring that I stick to my long runs, I’m not too rigid with my plan.

Since I started running longer distances in 2001, I’ve completed 7 marathons (with two more set for the next couple of months), dozens of half marathons, and countless multiple-hour training runs. This summer, I picked up cycling, and rode the Hotter than Hell in August.

I like endurance because it’s simple. You put in the training, and you can do it. That’s it. The competition, unless you’re one of the elite, is personal. It’s you trying to best yourself. You put one leg in front of the other and go. You have to be committed. You go to bed at 9:00 p.m. on a Friday night so you can get up at 4:45 a.m. to run the following morning. You (try) to limit your indulgences. But ultimately, it's yourself you have to answer to.

I don’t really know the point of this post. Maybe it has something do with the idea of running a 50K. And the dream of running a 50 or 100 miler someday. Right now the 50K seems doable, but the further distances are unfathomable. I suppose everyone has to start somewhere. You just put one foot in front of the other.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I ran a quick 10.3 miles yesterday afternoon (8:39 per mile). It was a bright, sunny afternoon, but the wind kept it cool and in the low 40s. But now I've got a slight tightness in my right hip. Um... let's all hope it dissipates soon.

After the run, I made the weekly trip to the grocery store and decided to pick up some dinner at one of my favorite eateries -- Luby's!

Damn, I love me some Luby's. That square, fried fish they make is so good. For some inexplicable reason, Nell strongly dislikes Luby's. She's missing out.

During my tasty dinner, I caught the end of the UCLA/USC game. Good stuff. I'm not a fan of the Trojans. Maybe it has something to do with all the talk of USC's unstoppable dominance preceding last year's National Championship game. Enjoyably, VY and the squad stuck it to 'em. If only he was still wearing burnt orange....

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Last night, I mapped out my training plan. White Rock is next week, and the Mardi Gras Marathon is February 25. What's next? That'd be the Waco 5-0, a 50K trail race halfway between Cowtown and Austin.

50K? 31 miles? Trails?
Yes, all new things. Could be brilliant or disastrous. Whichever way it goes, it'll be an experience. And after that? Delusions of grandeur... a 50 miler, perhaps?

Turning back to the present, I'll be on my own for the day. Nell, currently yoga'ing, has a hair appointment followed by a wedding photo shoot. Today's agenda has me going for a 10-12 mile run, followed by errands galore. As the Legendary Adam H would say, "Yip. Dip. Doo."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's cold. It's sleeting. Snow and ice are expected. The temperature is supposed to drop into the teens this afternoon. In sum, the weather has done a 180 over the past 24 hours.

What to do? What to do?

An early evening run sounds crazy fun. I'm trying to convince Smiley to join me.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The headlamp arrived. So naturally I had to go running last night. I convinced Nell to join me, and we ran a little over 6 miles. I felt much safer running through the neighborhood. Cars actually moved over a few inches as they whizzed by. On the trail, I kept the headlamp turned off most of the time, as we enjoyed the quiet solititude of being the only ones running along the Trinity River.

This morning, I awoke to 70 degree humidity. As I sipped my morning coffee, Channel 5 informed me of an impending cold front, bringing rain, sleet, snow, ice, etc. by this evening. Taking advantage of what appeared to be the last warm morning for quite awhile, I laced up my running shoes and went on a quick 4 miler. Good times.

And lastly, White Rock approaches. Stay strong.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Damn Aggies. Damn K-State. Damn Buckeyes.

Ah, well. At least we still have this.

* * *

Went for a 10 miler this evening. Slow -- 9:15 per mile, but enjoyable. Just made a pulled pork and pesto pizza.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Running with a hangover is tough. The first mile really sucks. So does the second. The third mile isn't much fun either. And the fourth--and final--mile is a beat down. But that's what you get for drinking what my grandma calls the "devil juice."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

After seeing the Ultracentric competitors running with their headlamps, I decided it was time to make the purchase. So now I'm officially a VIP member of Roadrunner Sports (which, for a $30 annual fee, gets me free shipping and 10% off every order and will easily pay for itself in a year). Besides the headlamp, I snagged a pair of gloves (I lost mine at the Marine Corps Marathon) and some socks. I also picked up a pair of shoes for J-Ball.

Inspired by my purchase, I went on a very short 3.5 mile run after work last night. I clipped a flashing light to the back of my shorts and carried my bicycle headlight in my right hand. Not the greatest system in the world, but it kept me visible to cars.

Switch gears (somewhat)...

Nell informed me the other day that she wants to run 10 miles Thursday morning before the yearly gluttonous Thanksgiving feast. Sounds good to me. Somehow, this is more appealing to me that running the 10K Turkey Trot (which we've run the past 3 years). Perhaps I'm becoming a race snob, but if it's less than a half marathon, I'm not really that jazzed about running it.

Oh, and I've started thinking about an ultra. I've done 7 marathons and by February will have run 9. And I've finally broken the 4 hour barrier. While going faster could surely become a goal, I think I'd rather set my sights on going farther. (This may have something to do with the fact that, at 6 feet, 190 pounds, I'm not exactly built for speed.)

Next July, I'll turn 30 years old. What's a 50K? 31 miles or so? That sounds pretty good -- 30 miles for my 30th birthday. No official announcement as of yet, but I'm leaning towards this.

Maybe I could get some local runners to participate. We could turn it into an organized run....

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Today was a great day. A great day. I woke up around 6:30 a.m., and after a quick cup of coffee and a Clif bar, Nell and I left the house as the sun was rising for a run. Nell stayed with me for the first couple of miles before turning back to make her Saturday morning yoga class. I cruised down Hidden Road onto the Trinity trails and took a new route through the Stockyards. By the time I made it home, I had logged 16 miles.

After showering, I met up with my dad, and we drove to the New Balance store to officially sign up for White Rock. Having now paid the $80 registration fee, I’m committed. Dad signed up for the relay, which he’ll be running along with Nell, Shana, and three others whose shall remain nameless.

And, of course, I came home and fixed the aforementioned toilet.

But things got really exciting later in the day.

Around 4:00 p.m., I was watching the OSU-Michigan game (which really doesn’t matter much to me anymore now that Texas is out of the national title hunt), when Nell reminded about going to see Dean run the Ultracentric. Her friend and marathon partner also wanted to join us.

To be honest, at that point I had considered blowing it off. I figured it would be crowded at the race, and, despite all I’d read, I wondered how accessible and accepting Dean would be, especially if he were competing in a national championship event.

But Nell is wonderful and she always seems to lead me in the right direction, so around 6:15 p.m. we pulled out of the driveway en route to Heritage Park in Grapevine.

Of course, we got lost.

Instead of a left, we made a right. Or instead of a right, we made a left. Whatever the case, at Nell’s insistence (did I mention she’s wonderful?), we pulled into a gas station and learned that we’d taken the wrong exit. Ten minutes later, we were zigzagging through the dark, narrow road leading (we hoped) toward the Ultracentric. I was beginning to doubt myself until the headlights made out several orange cones, and I realized we were in the right place. We slowly cruised into a parking spot and walked toward the Start/Finish/Food area.

The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was. There seemed to be few competitors, although every now and then a group would come through together. The course itself was an endless, out-and-back 2.4 mile loop. Runners crossed two chip sensors—one on each far end of the loop—and continued back and forth until the end of their respective race time, be it 6, 12, 24, or 48 hours. Some competitors looked great, others were clearly struggling. Realizing that several of them had been going for 12+ hours already (and some of the 48 hour entrants were on hour 36), my 16 mile jaunt started to seem a bit wimpy.

Waiting for Dean to come through, we cheered on the other runners. This was tricky because, unlike most other races, you couldn’t try to pump up the competitors by telling them they were almost finished. Nope. This was a race that was going to continue until the clock ran out. So we just clapped and told them they were looking good (even when they weren’t).

After about 20 minutes, I made out the now familiar Endurance 50 tanktop through the darkness. “Get ready,” I told Nell. She whipped out her camera and, as Karno approached, we began cheering for him. With a huge smile on his face, Dean began waiving his arms wildly and hollered right back at us.

He looked strong, relaxed, and happy. After he passed by, I checked the leaderboard and discovered he was in 4th place and, at that point, had already run 65+ miles. Holy crap. He looked better after 65+ miles than I had early today at 16.

I turned to Nell and asked for permission (yes, that’s right, I ask my wife for permission and I’m not ashamed of it) to run a lap with Dean. She enthusiastically told me to go for it. Too bad I was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt and my stylish, but not so practical Pumas. Should’ve gone with my trusty Asics. Ah well.

So we kept cheering other runners as I awaited the return of Team Dean. Twenty or so minutes later, he rounded the corner. Excitedly, I hurried over towards him, only to watch him turn away from me to grab some food from the aid station. Like a little kid waiting to meet his hero, I stood anxiously in the wings until he turned around. Grabbing some grub, he started back onto the course, and I cautiously asked if I could join him for a lap.

“Right on,” he said, smiling and extending his hand. “I’m Dean. What’s your name?”

The next 2.4 miles were very cool. I’m sure it was the same conversation he’s had hundreds of times over the past few months, but Dean was genuine, friendly, and—amazingly—talkative throughout our short run together. I asked how he felt about the Endurance 50 (it was great, but it became a much bigger media event than he expected), how his family was doing (he missed them a lot and was looking forward to their arrival in a few days for Thanksgiving on the road), how the run was treating him (lonely, but good to get back to the solitude of running after spending the past two months constantly surrounded by people). He asked about my background. I told him I had been pretty unhealthy until about 8 years ago when I woke up one day and decided to change my life. I told him I had stopped smoking and started exercising and had dropped 60+ pounds and 6 inches off my waist. I told him that since 2001, I had run 7 marathons, including last month’s Marine Corps Marathon (which, despite my PR, Dean had smoked me on by about 30 minutes), and had done a century ride and a duathlon. I got several more “right ons” as I recounted my brief endurance history (which paled in comparison to his endeavors). He asked what was next, and I told him I was running White Rock in three weeks.

The entire experience of running with Dean was relaxed, casual, and surreal. Here was a guy I had discovered a year and a half ago when I had come across a book review in a Southwest Airlines flight magazine. Since them, my tattered hardcopy of “Ultramarathon Man” has been passed around to family and friends, most of whom went out and bought their own copies after reading it. (It’s a good book to have around whenever you need some motivation.) I had checked Dean’s blog religiously during the Endurance 50 and have kept up with his run home on a daily basis. And now, here I was, running with this strange, driven man on a starless night in Grapevine, Texas.

I told Dean that he was the rockstar of endurance athletes, and he sloughed off the compliment. But it’s more than that. The guy is a hero to so many (including me) because he’s more than an incredible athlete. He inspires. Not just athletically, but emotionally. He is a testament to the power and resilience of the human spirit. He makes us believe that we are capable of great things. And he invites us into his life to share in his physical and spiritual journey.

As we neared the finish, I could make out Nell in the distance. Dean asked if that was my wife. “Yes,” I said. Immediately, he began to cheer. (Yes, Dean—having been running for nearly 13 hours—began to cheer.) I reached over to shake his hand and bid him farewell as he continued the race, but he stopped and smiled and put his arm around my shoulder. Nell began to snap pictures. “Thanks for letting me borrow this guy for a lap!” He said. Then, just before heading out into the night, he grabbed my arm and gave me hug and said, “thanks for running with me, man.”

Very cool.

After the run, I recalled Dean mentioning that he wouldn’t mind a mocha. So, after grabbing a late dinner at Kincaid’s in Southlake, we dropped by Starbucks and picked Karno up his chocolate java. Snagging the coffee, we drove back to the race and arrived just as Dean was nearing the aid station. “Hey, Dean, thought you could use this.” Another huge smile escaped his lips. Apparently, just a few minutes earlier, two guys who had also come to run with Dean (driving up from San Antonio) had brought him some Taco Bell. With his Taco Bell and CafĂ© Mocha in hand, Dean was all smiles. He thanked all of us several times before disappearing into the night.

We stuck around for a little while longer to talk with Dean’s dad, Nick, and the two fellas from San Antonio (sorry, guys, I can’t remember your names). Nick was in great spirits, and, although he’s surely gotten used to Dean’s fans, seemed just as enthused and appreciative about our presence as Dean had been. I learned that the San Antonio guys had run 6 laps with Dean before Dean’s pace got the better of them. But they kept going, and one of the guys ran his first marathon out there on the Ultracentric course. That’s pretty cool.

All in all, it was a great day. I.I.T.S.

Sometimes, a man is challenged. And it is the true, real man who rises to that challenge. And today, I am that man. Yes, today...

I fixed a leaky, running toilet for the first time.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Anybody remember that trial I had back at the beginning of October? The one where the jury came back deadlocked? Well, a few days afterwards, I was still dissastisifed so I did a little research and came across some authority that would allow us to seek a directed verdict after the jury had been dismissed so long as we did so before the trial court ordered a mistrial. So... I drafted a motion, and--a month and a half later--the judge heard it and GRANTED it! Ta-da! We're done. Our client won and is very happy. (Of course, it'll probably get appealed.)

Switching gears, I intended to go for a 6 or 7 mile run this morning, but I'm a wimp and it was cold. With tube socks over my hands (I chunked my gloves at the Marine Corps Marathon and need to buy some more), I put in 4 decent miles (8:43 per mile) before taking the shortcut back to the house. I made up for bailing on the distance at lunch, when I skipped a long meal and instead went to the gym to lift weights.

But the real excitement of the day occurred when I learned that Dean is coming to the D/FW metroplex to participate in some crazy 24 hour race in Grapevine this weekend. Hmmmm... this may affect my weekend plans....

Update: Pam Reed will also be at the Ultracentric race in Grapevine this weekend. (Thanks for the info, just12finish.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I just received an email from the marathonfoto folks and realized I'd never posted a pic from the Hotter than Hell ride. Here's a shot as I dogged it into the finish...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Well, damn. Texas ain't gonna play for the national championship this year.

On a more optimstic note, I had a great 12.7 mile run yesterday morning. Felt good. Kept a nice pace. Thinking about running again later today.

Update: Just got back from a 5.2 mile run to/from my office. I felt sluggish, but the clock says I stayed at an 8:53 per mile pace.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It's just after 6 a.m. I planned to sleep in, but I awoke with Nell. (She's currently at a yoga class.) As I sit here, I'm transferring songs from my CD collection to my computer so I can upload them to my new iPod shuffle. Then it's off to the gym.

I went for a 7 mile run last night with Jason. I rarely run in the evening--especially anything that leaves the comfort of my neighborhood. I'm an early riser and prefer to hit the streets before dawn and watch the sun come up. But I read Dean's recent blog entry about the peacefulness of jogging at night, and I happened to come across an article in my wife's Runners World about night running--so why not?

It was a cloudy night, making it all the more dark. Nature seemed stiller than the morning. Quiet. It was pretty cool. But I need to get a headlamp if I'm going to do more of these. There were several spots where I slowed down considerably for fear of losing my footing.

I also slept great last night.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

One more thing.

Dean is now running from New York City to his home in San Francisco. Wow.
A few things.

First, I was admittedly pleased to hear that Lance Armstrong was hurting after the NYC Marathon.

Second, I was more pleased to hear that Dean went for a 28.5 mile run the evening after completing 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days.

Third, yesterday I went for my first tempo run since pre-Marine Corps Marathon. It was hard. I felt like I was huffing and puffing. I stopped at least three times to walk and swig water. The 5K jaunt took me 22 minutes, 16 seconds or 7:10 per mile. Wow. That's almost 20 seconds per mile slower than Lance finished NYC. Maybe I owe him a little more respect.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Just got back from my first run after the marathon. 5 miles along the Trinity. Felt good for the first couple of miles, then my legs started to tighten. I took several walk breaks and stopped to stretch at least four times. But I still jogged it in a respectable 9:29 per mile. Lots of stretching afterwards. About to hop in the shower.

Friday, November 03, 2006

While I was off marathoning last week, the Dallas Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a case for which I am lead appellate counsel. For the few legal nerds out there, I filed a motion with the Court of Appeals asking it to find that the trial court had abused its discretion in determining the net worth of two judgment debtors (my clients) for purposes of setting the bond required to supersede the judgment while the case is on appeal.

Wow, when you write it like that, it sounds really exciting.

Here's the deal. When a defendant gets hit with a judgment and wants to appeal, the defendant can post a bond that prohibits the plaintiff from executing on the judgment. Imagine, if you will, that a jury awards the plaintiff $1 million. The defendant wants to appeal and doesn't want to pay the plaintiff the $1 million unless and until the appeal is final. So the defendant has to put up a bond so the plaintiff has security that, assuming the appeal is unsuccessful, the plaintiff will eventually be able to recover. Typically, the bond is for the amount of the judgment. So for a defendant to supersede a $1 million judgment, the defendant would have to find a surety to back him for a $1 million bond. But there's also a rule in Texas that the bond cannot be greater than 50% of the judgment debtor's (i.e., defendant's) net worth.

In my case, I was arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in finding that the two defendants each had a net worth of $20,000 (which resulted in the trial court setting the bond for each defendant at $10,000). Instead, we put forth evidence that the net worth of the one of the defendants was a negative number and the net worth of the other defendant was around $2,600.

Since July, we've had two hearing in the trial court on this, filed two motions in the appellate court, and provided some additional letter briefing at the request of the Court of Appeals. While I liked our chances, showing an abuse of discretion by the trial court is pretty hard.

But we won! The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and rendered that the defendants' net worth was exactly what we said it was (negative for one defendant and around $2,600 for the other defendant).

If you're so inclined, a copy of the Court's opinion is here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Marine Corps Marathon folks put together this nifty graph/chart showing my results.
The Race: Oct. 29

The alarms (we set three, just in case) shrilled to life at 5:45 a.m., waking Nell and I from our slumber. While she jumped in the shower, I secured ChampionChips to our shoes and filled my pack with extra gels, Metro passes, and few dollars. Flicking on the TV, I learned that it would be a nice day to run a marathon--55 or so degrees and sunny with some cool winds.

We met Shana in the lobby of the hotel and began walking toward the McPherson station, stopping at Starbucks so Shana could get her caffeine fix. Along the way, we ran into more and more marathoners.

The Metro wasn't too crowded yet and we were able to grab seats on the train. We rode to the Pentagon, where we were supposed to meet Nell's training partner, Elizabeth, at 7:15 a.m. Unfortunately, Elizabeth was running late.

Around 7:30 a.m., Shana and I bid Nell farewell and caught the Metro back to the starting line near Arlington National Cemetery. We didn't want to leave Nell, but my race began earlier than hers. (The Marine Corps Marathon has two wave starts.)

The starting area was pretty crowded. After a quick restroom break, we sang the national anthem as jets flew over head. I made my way into my assigned starting corral and awaited the starting announcement.

I always have butterflies just before a race and this was no different. I was happy to be running another marathon. Standing amongst thousands of runners, you just can't help but get a little excited. For me, however, that excitement was kept in check by an alarming stiffness in my right hip. I tried to stretch it out, but it was still tight. Oh well, I thought, let's just hope it's pre-race jitters and will work itself out on the run.

The gun fired and about two minutes later the surge got to my corral and I was off and running. At least, for about 300 yards until I had to duck into the bushes to relieve myself. Too much water before the race!

We ran down the highway and I was at Mile 1 in about 11 minutes. The hilliest part of the course was the beginning, as we ran up down the streets of Arlington before crossing over into D.C. Before I knew it I was in Georgetown. My hip was still sore, and I kept rubbing it as I ran.

I saw my parents near Mile 5. My mom was standing at the front of a crowd of people, and my dad was checking his cell phone a few steps behind her. I hollered at them and got their attention, but didn't stop.

The next bit of the course took me out-and-back along Rock Creek parkway. I had settled into a nice pace and was running near two former Marines. One was carrying an American flag and the other was carrying a Marine Corps flag. These were not little flags. They were big and heavy. I couldn't imagine running 26.2 miles with one of those resting on my shoulder, not to mention the extra wind resistance they generate. These dudes were hardcore.

After Rock Creek came my favorite part of the race as the course made its way onto Constitution Avenue and around the Washington Mall. I passed several museums, the Washington Monument, the Capitol building, the Lincoln Memorial, the reflecting pool, and many other sights I can't recall. They were bands playing and people cheering.

Around this time, I crossed the halfway point. According to the Marine calling out race times, it had been 2 hours and 1 minute since the starting gun had sounded. I realized that I was probably on pace for a 4 hour marathon and maybe--just maybe--I could finish in under 4 hours. I recall being excited at the prospect, but telling myself not to speed up. To keep my pace steady and to just see what happened. My hip was no longer hurting and I felt great, but I still had 13.1 miles to go. A lot can happen.

The next several miles took me along the Potomac River, past the Kennedy Center and around the East Potomac golf course. The crowds thinned out a bit and the wind was pretty brutal as it rocketed off the water. I hadn't noticed it until then. I rounded the golf course and starting running back towards the Jefferson Memorial with the Washington Channel to my right.

The course circled around Maine Avenue and up a bridge onto Interstate 395. I crossed the Mile 20 marker at 3 hours, 3 minutes. So I had 57 minutes to run a 10K. No problem. The reality of running sub-4 hours was sinking in. I could do this. It wasn't that far. I was feeling good. But as I entered Crystal City, my quads and calves were getting tight. I took a few extra walk breaks and chowed down on some Sports Beans.

At Mile 23, a Marine told me I was at 3 hours, 31 minutes. 29 minutes to run a 5K. I could do this. The course left Crystal City and took me onto a highway towards the Pentagon. Damn, the Pentagon is big! It seemed to take forever to get around it. Finally, we were running down an exit ramp back towards Arlington National Cemetery. I ran past the starting area and then the course turned left. Suddenly, people were everywhere. There was the Mile 26 marker. I turned right and the last .2 miles were uphill. There were grandstands and spectators hollering words of encouragement. I began pumping my arms to get my legs to move faster. I knew it was going to be close. There was the finish line. Across.

Did I make it in under 4 hours? I had no idea. The official race clock had said more than 4 hours. It would depend on what time I crossed the starting mat. I walked through a corral and a Marine placed a medal around my neck and a tinfoil blanket on my shoulders. I pulled out my cell phone and noticed I had received several text messages. They were from family and friends who had been following my progress on the Internet. I had made it--3 hours, 59 minutes, 49 seconds! Later, I would learn my official time was 3 hours, 59 minutes, 51 seconds. Wow. That was close.

After finishing, I called my parents to find out how Nell and Shana were doing. My dad told me they would probably be at the finish line in about an hour. So I walked toward the Metro Station and bought two hot dogs and a Coca Cola. Then I walked back and found a spot at the front of the crowd about 200 yards from the finish line to wait and cheer. It was fun yelling for the runners as they made their way to the end. Some looked great, some were barely making it.

Nell and Elizabeth came by first. I yelled and yelled and got Nell's attention. She raised her arms in the air triumphantly as she jogged by.

About five minutes later, Shana came up the hill. She had her headphones on, so I had to holler pretty loudly for her to hear me. But she saw me and half-smiled/nodded as she pushed through to the end.

And that's the race. I'll add more pictures to this and/or other posts as they come in.

Oh, and White Rock is in 6 weeks. I.I.T.S.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pre-Marathon: Oct. 27-28

D.C. was nasty.

It was cold and rainy with angry gusts of wind whipping through the streets when we arrived Friday afternoon.

Earlier that morning, Nell, Shana, and I departed the comforts of home for the DFW International Airport. As has seemed the norm every time I have been forced to fly through Chicago, our flight was delayed due to a "low ceiling." High winds had my stomach churning and during our layover I popped a couple of motion sickness pills. Unfortunately, these did not help. I was weak and nauseated by the time we touched down at Reagan National Airport. Not a great way to start the trip.

We grabbed a taxi to the University Club on 16th Street NW. A friend is a member at this private D.C. club, and he was able to get us a great deal on a hotel room. Our room wasn't quite ready, so we left our luggage with the coat check and made our way through the chilly, wet streets of Washington in search of something for lunch.

We settled on a restaurant called 14K--mostly because it was nearby and we were shivering. After chowing down on a Cobb salad with grilled apples, we braved the elements and made our way back to our hotel, where my parents had just arrived.

Tired, Nell and I opted for a short nap. About 30 minutes later, we awoke and, after purchasing an umbrella, walked to the McPherson Metro Station, where we caught the orange line into Virginia. We exited the Metro and walked two blocks to a high rise apartment building where a good friend from law school resides on the 22nd floor.

As our friend opened the door to her home, we were greeted by the welcoming smell of baked chicken and roasted new potatoes. We had cocktails, drank some wine, and enjoyed a wonderful meal. Conversation was relaxed, as we reminisced and shared our experiences over the past few years since we had seen each other. By the time dessert arrived, I was sated, but couldn't resist digging into baked pears and cherries drizzled with buttered rum sauce with a generous scoop of sweet cream ice cream. Stuffed, Nell and I bid our friend farewell and ventured back into the frigid, soggy night in route to the University Club and (hopefully) a good night's sleep.

The next morning, we awoke and caught the blue line to the Armory for the Marine Corps Marathon expo. We arrived before 10 a.m., so the line wasn't too bad. Inside, we picked up our race packets, activated our chips, and snagged our official competitor T-shirts. Nell got a "Virginia is for Runners" T-shirt, a marathon hat, and a long sleeve running top, and I picked up a pair of running sunglasses. After fattening our goodie bags with various running paraphernalia, we rode the Metro back to the hotel to drop off our wares.

Lunch was at Tony & Joe's on Washington harbor. Good crab cake sandwich. Nell, Shana, and I were joined by my parents and a few of their (and our) friends. After lunch, we walked around Georgetown for awhile, but, unexpectedly, my left ankle started to really hurt. So while the rest of the crew made their way to the Smithsonian museums, the White House, and the Washington Mall, I retired to the hotel to rest up and catch some college football.

About 1 hour into the Texas-Texas Tech game, we (Nell, Shana, mom, dad, and I) ventured to Olive's for dinner, a restaurant that promised to have the UT game playing in the bar for us to watch. This, it turned out, was not the case. So we traversed the blocks in and around our hotel looking for a more suitable eatery. When we were unable to locate a place with the game on, we settled for Tosca, a nice, upscale Italian restaurant. Very good food.

With full stomachs, we hailed a taxi back to the University Club. I caught the end of the game 2(Colt McCoy is the real deal, folks) and drifted off the sleep.

The marathon was 8 hours away....

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I really looking forward to the Marine Corps Marathon this Sunday. I don't have any specific goal in mind other than finishing and feeling decently well. I can take some soreness. I'm just hoping to avoid the residual pain that stuck around for weeks after last year's White Rock Marathon. But whatever happens, it's good to be running another one. For whatever reason, I like endurance events.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I always find the week or so before a marathon strange. No more long runs. No more serious training. Just some easy, short distances to keep the blood flowing. The goal is to hang out, stay healthy, and not do anything that might cause injury.

In other news, this will be the first weekend in about two months that I have nothing planned. Other than watching the UT game Saturday morning, the weekend in wide open.

I bet I get bored.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I'm getting excited about the Marine Corps Marathon next weekend. How quickly I forget the pain of my last marathon.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

First, the trial. Or, more accurately, the mistrial. The jury found zero damages for the plaintiff, but couldn't agree on liability. They deliberated from 11:15 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. or so and came back twice saying they were hopelessly deadlocked. So no verdict, which means we may have to do all of this again in a few months.

Second, the Austin trip. After getting back home late Thursday night, I met up with Will Friday afternoon for the drive to our college town. We picked up Rolo at the airport, checked into the hotel, and grabbed dinner at Manuel's. Following a package store run, we had some drinks at the hotel before hitting 4th/5th/6th Street. Some pool, some more drinks, and lots of nostalgic reminiscing took us to last call, after which we stumbled back to the hotel for some shut eye.

I got up earlier than the rest of guys Saturday morning and went for a 7 mile run through downtown, campus, West campus, and around Townlake. Around noon we had lunch at Texadelphia on the Drag before enjoying some bowling at the student union.

And how cool was bowling at the student union?

Well, so cool that we ran into fellow Texas alum and 7-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. Yep. He was there with family and friends and some guy named Jake Gyllenhal. Small world.

After bowling, we went by Hole in the Wall for a beer, then met up with Terry for a Miller Lite sponsored tailgate. The first couple quarters of the Texas-Baylor game were fun, but by the start of the second half we had left the stadium for Posse East, a bar just down the road.

By the time the Longhorns finished destroying the Bears 63-31, I was both inebriated and exhausted. So while the guys headed back downtown, I crashed at the hotel.

I was sleeping nicely until I got a phone call around 2:15 a.m. from Rolo telling me he was lost. Yep, lost. Our hotel was on the corner of 6th Street and I-35. How you get lost is beyond me. Just head towards the highway. Seems simple enough. But I guess not. So I put on my running shoes and started jogging through the mass of stoned co-eds. I was about a mile down the road when Rolo called to tell me he was sitting in the lobby of the hotel. Apparently, after he called me, he was able to catch a ride with some random dude. More than a little strange.

Anyway... now I'm back at the house getting ready for a trip to the store. Back in the routine.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

6:05 a.m. I'll be arguing our motion for directed verdict in about two hours. After closing statements, our case goes to the jury. Then we wait for a verdict.

The past few days have been a lot of fun. This was my first trip to the rodeo (i.e., my first district court trial). It's taken place in a small Texas town (population 1,500) about an hour and a half from Cowtown. So far, it's been an interesting--and enjoyable--experience. We'll see if my opinion sticks after the jury comes back.

I haven't run since last Saturday when I booked 15 miles before TX/OU. I've had a bit of ankle soreness and picked up a brace that I've been wearing the past few days. My ankle feels fine now, though, and I'm planning to go for 12 miles or so tomorrow.

That's it for now. Gotta tweak my argument and grab breakfast.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Another Saturday, but a shorter long run. Going for 15 miles this morning. (Nell and her running partner are gong for 22 miles. Have fun, ladies.) After the run, I'm hopping in a quick ice bath, showering, and heading to Dallas to enjoy the TX/OU game.

Yesterday, we picked a jury for our trial in Bosque County. I'll be giving the opening statement on Tuesday and putting on a few witnesses. So Sunday will spent at the office preparing. I hate preparing. But trial itself is fun. It's just the preparation that sometimes sucks. Not unlike running a marathon, come to think of it.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Earlier this week, I had a physical exam at the doctor's office. I think it's the first physical I've had since 9th grade football.

Good news--no hernia or testicular cancer, and my cholesterol levels were right where they're supposed to be (86 HDL or good cholesterol, 59 LDL or bad cholesterol).

Somewhat surprising was my resting heart rate. According to the EKG, it's beating 37 times a minute. Apparently, that's low. Really low. Based on all the running/biking I do, my doc wasn't overly concerned. But she also noticed a slight heart murmur, so she wants me to schedule a stress test. A stress test involves measuring my heart rate before, during, and after I run on a treadmill. So sometime in the week after trial but before we leave for the Marine Corps Marathon, I've got to squeeze in a visit to the cardiologist.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Somebody started a blog....
We went to a big party/fundraiser last night at Joe T. Garcia's. It was fun, but having a margarita and a few beers completely throws off the next day. I woke up late, skipped my morning run, and sprinted into the office just before a 9 a.m. conference call. I felt sluggish until noon, when I skipped home for a quick 4-miler (8:21 per mile pace). The afternoon has been better, and I have crossed several big items off my list (and, of course, added several more to it). I also just found out that I am definitely going to trial next week. I got the word from the court coordinator that our case is number one on the jury docket. So Friday I'll be picking a jury. Saturday is a 15-miler followed by the State Fair and the TX/OU game. Sunday and Monday I'll be preparing for trial. Tuesday I give my first opening statement in district court.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I'm taking a break from the stack of cases I'm going through in preparation of a comprehensive memo for work. It's becoming rarer that I find myself tasked with drafting legal memoranda--I've "graduated," if you will, to more hands-on representation (e.g., hearings, pleadings/motions, briefs, etc.)--but on occasion I'm asked to "hit the books" (an antiquated term, as pretty much everything is online these days). I've got to meet a partner at the office in an hour. Sunday sure is a fun day.

Yesterday's run went very well, although my legs are a bit achy today. (Damn delayed onset muscle soreness!) I tried a new route for the first eight miles that led me down a deserted, seclued, tree-heavy road behind a cemetary. In the spirit of full disclosure, it was a little scary running through there at 6 a.m. The sun had yet to rise, and I couldn't see much more than a few feet in front of me. I probably picked up the pace a bit just to get onto the main trail.

Back on the well-traveled path, I booked along at a comfortable pace. It took me 2 hours, 46 minutes, or just about 9:15 per mile. Slower than a 4 hour marathon pace, but that's okay. While the sub-4 hour goal is out there, I'm not worried about it for the Marine Corps Marathon. The more immediate goal is to get through the race feeling good, as opposed to the week and a half of pain I was in after last year's White Rock.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

It's 5:31 a.m. I'm munching a Clifbar and sipping my morning coffee. Nell's basically doing the same thing (Powerbar instead of a Clifbar), sitting in the big, blue chair watching the early news. I've got an 18-miler planned this morning. Nell's going for 12 with her running pal.

It's just a normal Saturday morning at our household.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sunday, September 24, 2006

If you haven't been following Karno's progress, you should. He's running 50 miles in 50 states in 50 days (much like Sam did earlier this year). These type of endurance endeavors inspire me. I know I don't have the physical make-up to subject my body to the rigors Karnazes routinely endures, but his superhuman feats remind and encourage me to push myself. The human body is capable of much more than our minds think it is. And most of us never even get close to the limit. I.I.T.S.

In an semi-related note, I changed the header of this blog to more accurately reflect what it has become. Originally, it stated: "Singularly entertaining commentary on that which momentarily moves me." It now reads: "Mostly true tales of an aspiring endurance athlete trapped in the body of an attorney."
I don't know what sparked Farce's multi-comment rant on the disaprity of the distribution of wealth in this country--especially in response to my post about running after work--but I'm so starved for comments, I guess I'll take anything I can get.

Back to more typical matters at hand...

I had a good 16 mile run yesterday. It was hotter than it has been the past couple of weeks (low 80s by 7 a.m.) and quite humid, but I kept a sub-9 minute per mile pace (8:51 mer mile to be exact).

I also tried my first post-run ice bath.
It was cold.
Not sure if it helped or not, but I feel fine, so maybe it did its job.

After the run, Poolie, Willis D., and I drove to Austin to catch the Longhorns take down Iowa State. The first half of the game was brutally hot. I was drenched in sweat. During the third quarter, however, massive storms started to blow in, cooling temperatures quickly. Fifteen minutes later, the refs stopped the game due to lightning in the area. At that point, Texas was up 37-14. That was our cue to go.

On the way back to Ft. Worth, we grabbed dinner at Luby's in Georgetown. Damn, I love me some Luby's. Nell is not a fan, so I hardly ever eat it these days. I sure did miss that tasty, retangular-shaped fried fish. Yum. Give me that culinary delight, some mashed potatoes, and some green beans, and I'm a happy camper.

After a good night's sleep, I woke up and met Adam H for a 24 mile recovery ride. Followed a few hours later by a nice, hour long nap on the couch.

I love the weekends.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Part two of the double-run went very well. 6 miles after work in 52 minutes, 23 seconds. And I did it in my new running shoes (a "classic" pair of ASICS 2080s) that arrived from RoadRunnerSports this afternoon. With my nifty new Fuel Belt and RoadID, I was sporting lots of shiny new gear.

About to hop in the shower and await Nell's return with pizza. Good times.
I missed two workouts this week. First, I skipped the Sunday bicycle ride. It was a lazy Sunday, and I just never got rolling. Second, I missed yesterday morning's 3 mile speed run because I had an early meeting (7 a.m.) and a pretrial conference/hearing in Bosque County.

I ran 3 miles this morning, though. About 7:55 per mile. Faster than marathon pace, but not up to a speed workout.

I've got a young lawyers' function after work, but I'm going to beg off early and try to make it home in time for an easy 6 miler. That puts me back on schedule--not counting the bike ride.

Work is getting progessively busier. I've got an appellate brief due next week and trial the week after. Busy is good. Makes the days go by quickly. But it also makes it harder to train. Welcome to the balancing act.

Monday, September 18, 2006

From the League, here is a great post about Austin:

This is why I missed you, Austin. I missed your trees and your ridiculous signs up and down Burnet. I missed the Frisco. I missed your hills and your twin devotions to live music and football. I missed the weather changing five times in 7 hours. I missed kids in shorts and cowboy boots and hats walking with their moms up to Central Market. I missed knowing that my loan officer was secretly an aspiring film-maker with a deep knowledge of kung-fu films and what makes Bruce Campbell just work, dammit. I missed knowing Thursday night is (was and always shall be) Mariachi night. I missed people lining up in the rain to show tribute to a one-term fire brand governor as she lays in state. I missed bats under bridges and overgrown oak trees. I missed getting right on 35 to get onto the ramp and knowing that turning onto 290 from Loop 1 is a left exit. I missed picking up the phone and asking a friend to watch my cat for a week and him saying to come by whenever and paying him back with an enchilada and a margarita. I missed rickety metal stairwells and wall-units. I missed an orange tower on Saturday nights and the hope of hundreds of thousands embodied in that edifice of an arena just off the freeway. I missed couples standing in the ice-cream aisle at 10:30 at night looking like they just rolled out of bed and knowing that they've looked like this all day. I missed your gentle hills and your white limestone faces where they cut you to make way for the roads. I missed a million, tiny little details that whisper to me and say "that was where you learned to drive," "That was where you learned to love learning," "That was where you kissed her for the first time," "that was where on that one Tuesday afternoon you cut out early and you and Justin tied one on because it was sunny out, but it was too early in the year to be hot," "That was where you jumped in the water and you thought your eyes would pop out," "that was where you decided you were coming back here to go to school", "that was where you figured out this was forever, and over there by the peacocks is where you made it official."

I missed you, Austin.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

We spent the last day and a half in College Station for Matt and Amy's wedding. After a half day at work on Friday, we packed up and made our way to Highway 6.

We arrived at the hotel, dropped off our bags, and traveled to the All Faiths Chapel on the Texas A&M campus for the rehearsal. (Matt asked me to play piano and sing a song during the ceremony.)

After the rehearsal, we met up with the whole crew for the rehearsal dinner at Cafe Eccel. Very good food. Unfortunately, I could only take baby sips of my wine, as I had a 14 mile run scheudled for the morning. Nell, however, was able to fully enjoy the chardonay.

At 5:30 a.m. yesterday morning, I woke up and drove to the closest Starbucks. 30 minutes later, Todd met me in front of the hotel. Todd is training for his first marathon, the Chicago marathon. After he swigged some water, we left for our 14-mile run in, around, and through campus. (I got the route off the USATF site.)

It was humid--really humid. But I felt solid throughout the entire jaunt. This was my first run with my new fuel belt and my Road ID. The fuel belt was great; I never noticed the Road ID. So both served their purposes.

We finished a little before 9:00 a.m., ate some breakfast tacos, and got to the church at 11:00 a.m. for pictures.

The wedding started at 1:00 p.m. The service went well, and I was happy with the way I played. (Oh, and I was able to sneak "The Eyes of Texas" into some of the pre-service music.)

The reception was a lot of fun. It took place at an older mansion with a very New Orleans' feel. After a few beers (that went straight to my head), Nell and I begged off. Thankfully, she drove home as I took a nice nap. We got back around 9:30 p.m., ate a late dinner, and crashed.

Now I'm watching football and working on some trial preparation. Back to it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Maybe it was the nearly 9 hours of sleep last night. Or the 64 degree temperature. Or Jason nipping at my heels. Whatever the reason, I ran very quickly (for me) this morning. 3 miles. 20 minutes 59 seconds. 6:59 per mile.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The run Monday was hot. 4 miles, but hot. Not overall temperature hot. But it was humid, steamy, sweaty. Ugh.

Tomorrow morning is a fast run. 3 miles. Hopefully, it won't be so swamp-like outside.
Saturday was full of highs and lows.

The day started off early with a 12 mile run through light rain. I jogged along the Trinity, a route I normally bike but rarely run because of the lack of shade. It was cooler than it has been, and I enjoyed the solitude of being one of the only people along the banks of the river as the sun came up.

Following the run and a quick shower, we met my dad and headed to Austin for the Texas/Ohio State game. After dropping Nell off at her sister's house, we picked up Farce and made our way to campus. We parked the car in a nearby garage and were walking the 40 acres by 2:30 p.m.--4 hours 30 minutes before kick off. It was crazy near the stadium. There are always tailgaters, but this time they were EVERYWHERE.

After grabbing lunch on the Drag, the tiredness from the morning run kicked in. Knowing the ins and outs of the Texas Union, I snagged an unused room (actually, the Asian Culture Room) and got about 45 minutes of shut-eye.

Awake and (somewhat) refreshed, we bowled a couple of games at the Union before walking to DKR-Memorial Stadium.

The Stadium was madhouse. They're doing construction near the north endzone, which causes all kinds of foot traffic problems. Slogging through a mob of students and fans pushed together into a bottle-necked path was hot, humid, claustrophobic, and uncomfortable. 20 minutes after getting in line, we finally made it inside and to our seats.

Of course, then we had to endure the game. It started well enough, and the final score belies how close it was for 3 quarters. But two turnovers and at least one costly penalty really hurt the Horns. Freshmen QB Colt McCoy played okay, but without Vince Young, a return to the National Championship game seems unlikely. Ah well. You can't win 'em all.

The next day, we took off early for Ft. Worth. Sunday afternoon was filled with running errands, ironing shirts, folding clothes, and a 20 mile bike ride.

And then Monday rolled around, and I spent the day in Waco interviewing law students for summer clerkships at the firm. Having the same conversation 15 times every 20 minutes is tedious. But I'd much rather be on the law firm side of the table than the law student side of the table.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I really want to be an endurance athlete. A real one. Not just marathons and century rides. I’m talking ultramarathons, double centuries, Ironman, Western States. I don’t know if my body is up for it. My calves cramped pretty badly at last year’s White Rock. And my thighs started cramping on the HH117, but I was able to keep them from seizing too badly by chugging pickle juice. (Disgusting, but effective.)

I also know I don’t have the time to adequately train. Right now, I put in about 8 hours a week running/biking/lifting weights. At the very least, I’d have to double that. It’s not easy when you’ve got a real job. (Maybe I need to find a sponsor….)

For now, I’ve agreed to step up and run the Marine Corps Marathon in 7 weeks. I hadn’t planned to run a marathon so soon. Normally, I give myself at least 3 months to train. But Nell’s Marine Corp Marathon training partner had something come up, and she won’t be able to run the race in late October. Since I’ll already by in D.C., I figured what the heck. We’ll see how quickly I can get back in marathon shape.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It's weird. Although I rode a long way on the HH117... and even though I crossed the finish line of the HH100... I don't feel like I really did it. It's like by being "misdirected" off course, I didn't really ride the HH100. So I guess I have to do it--legitimately--next year.
Happy 30th Birthday, Nell!!!!!
It was 65 degrees this morning when I left the house. After an endless stream of 100+ degree days, 65 degrees was almost cold. It felt great.

Today was a 3 mile tempo run. I was running a 6:30 pace at mile 1. By mile 2 I had slowed to a 6:45 pace. Still very fast for me. I was zooming down a hill about a quarter of a mile later when a vicious stitch seized just under my right lung. I slowed my pace, but it wouldn't go away. I had to walk for a couple of minutes. Half a mile from home, I started slowly jogging, building my pace to a good sprint at the end. I finished in 23:14, which was only 4 seconds slower than last week's tempo run. And I didn't walk last week. The cooler temperature definitely helped. But I also probably went out too fast; hence, the cramp.

Monday, September 04, 2006

It's been raining lightly but steadily since late last night. It's now 10 a.m. Good stuff.

Today is Labor Day. I've got some work to do, but I'm not heading to the office. Thanks to our wireless network and remote log in, I can get things done comfortably from my couch. So I get to enjoy three days away from the office. Given last month's busy schedule, it's nice to have a few days at home.

The 10 mile run went well yesterday. It was humid, so I was soaked a couple miles into it. The only snag was our stop at 7-Eleven around mile 8.

We dropped in to pick up a couple water bottles. Usually, it's a minute or two tops. This time, however, there was a man in line ahead of us buying a newspaper, a cup of coffee, and a banana. Apparently, he picked up the wrong edition of the paper, which he discovered after he had already paid for it. The difference between the edition he bought and the edition he meant to buy was 50 cents.

Did you hear that? 50 cents.

Well, this caused all kinds of trouble for the 7-Eleven clerk. She had to get call her manager, who had to log in to the register to issue a refund. Then she had some issue with the cash drawer. As this is going on, a line begins to form. It's now been at least 5 minutes. The clerk continues to have problems finalizing the transaction. The manager stands behind her observing the situation but offers no meaningful aid. Meanwhile, more customers get in line. Keep in mind, there is another register, and the manager, who is doing nothing, could easily walk over and start checking people out. But he doesn't. He just stands there. Finally, the clerk figures out how to count 50 cents, gives the man his money back, and he leaves. After 10 minutes, we have our water bottles and finally get back on the road.

This was the first of my two incidents waiting in line.

Later that day, I ventured to Super Target to pick up a few groceries. Sundays at Super Target can be troublesome. You never know if you will encounter every consumer in Cowtown during their weekly shopping trip. Thankfully, it wasn't too crowded at 3 p.m. (The morning rush was over and the evening rush had yet to begin.)

After grabbing the 10 or so items I needed, I made my way to check out lines. Picking a line is always a risk. The shorter ones may have the slowest checkers, someone may have a bunch of coupons, a price check is always possible. After scoping my choices, I settled on a line about mid-way down the aisle with a mother-daughter purchasing what appeared to be dorm room supplies. The cashier was moving quickly, so this looked like a great option.

Or not.

When it came time for the mother to pay, she very slowly pulled out her purse and wrote a check. Naturally, her check was rejected. The cashier politely explained that she could not accept the check and asked if the mother would like to pay by credit card. This offended the mother, who loudly stated, "I can't understand this! I've got $15,000 in that account! What's the problem?"

Again, very kindly, the cashier told her that the third-party check verifier had rejected the check. The cashier explained that she had no idea why it was rejected, but that she couldn't accept it. Again, the mother responded angrily, "This is ridiculous!"

So the cashier called her manager, who came over and--for the third time now--respectfully explained that Super Target could not accept her check.

"So, you're telling me Super Target doesn't want my business!?"

"No, ma'am," the manager replied. "We care very much about your business. But for whatever reason, VeriCheck won't allow us to accept this check. Do you have some other means of payment?"

Clearly agitated, the mother pulled out her debit card and slammed into the credit card reader--backward. It jammed the machine, forcing her to yank it out. She then put her card in correctly, but--of course--couldn't remember her PIN. So the debit card was rejected.

Scarlet with embarrassment, the daughter finally spoke up and told her mother that she would pay for the items. The mother protested. I wanted to scream, "Let her pay you crazy woman!" Thankfully, however, the daughter was eventually permitted to charge the items.

Huffing and puffing, the mother stormed off.

Nearly 15 minutes after unloading my basket onto the checkout line, I left Super Target.

In conclusion, I had a couple of frustrating trips to the store yesterday.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

North Texas is in the middle of a drought. It never rains. In the past month, it seems we've gotten one semi-decent shower. Our front lawn looks like hay. It's always offensively hot with a temperature hovering around 100 degrees. The summer has been brutal.

But today--the first long run of this year's marathon training season--it is lightly raining. And cooler.

This is a nice way to begin.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Horns looked good in their 56-7 domination over the North Texas Mean Green. Our seats for the season aren't great, but I'm just happy to be at the games. We're in the northwest corner of the endzone about 40 rows up. We're closer to the goal line than the back of the endzone, so we've got a bit of perspective.

Godzillatron, the new high definition jumbotron monstrosity (it's currently the largest in the world), was impressive in size, but they need to put it to better use. Not enough of it's gigantic screen was devoted to replay footage. I've been told they are working out the kinks and still getting it online (it was only completed a week or two ago). Hopefully, it will be up and running for next week's prime time game against Ohio State.

On the way home from the game, we stopped at the Nike outlet in Hillsboro. I picked up two Coolmax shirts and two pairs of running shorts. I needed shorts. Until recently, I was stilling running in shorts I bought six years ago. Wow. That's kind of gross.

Speaking of running, tomorrow is the first long run of this year's White Rock training program. 10 easy miles. Jason (2004 Marine Corps. Marathon and 2005 White Rock Marathon training partner) has agreed to join me for some of my early training runs, but he has made it clear he will not be running the full marathon in December. Wimp.
We're about to head to Austin for the season opener against North Texas. It's a good day. Go Horns!!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Running was great yesterday. 3 miles in 23 minutes, 10 seconds. That's fast for me, folks.

I'll have to skip tomorrow's morning jog. I've got depositions all day in Meridian, Texas -- about 80 miles south-southwest of Fort Worth. Fun stuff.
Computers are odd.

Monday night, our internet connection stopped working at the house. According to the DSL modem, our local network was not responding. I shut everything down and rebooted, as this is usually the remedy to any computer problem. No dice. I unplugged the cables. Still wouldn't work.

So today I asked one of the IT guys at work what I needed to do. Apparently, it's all in how you reboot. First, the modem. Then the computer. Lastly, the wireless router. Any other order, and you get nil. Weird.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Endurance Ride has been completed. Time to switch gears. Marathon training officially begins tomorrow. Damn.
HH100 Report:



Oh, and did I mention I ended up on the wrong course? Here's all the local Wichita Falls' paper had to say about the "misdirection" that lengthened the HH100 endurance ride by 13 miles:

Some riders participating in the 100-mile ride actually saw the course lengthened. At FM 171 and FM 180 in Clay County, several bikers were taken off-course because of incorrect signs. Keith Walters, a rider from Dallas, said he was one of about a 1,000 people who were taken off course by a sign held by a man in a pickup truck. It was a disappointing detour that added 13 miles to an already long course. Walters and other riders, who were into mile 80 before the diversion, did receive aid from locals. Clay County Sheriff Deputies and volunteer firefighters with the Jolly Fire Department provided water to the misdirected bikers. Walters said the alternate path dumped bikers out on to Texas 79. Christie was aware of the "sign vandalism." He said some HHH workers had taken down other signage, seemingly set up to misdirect riders. But instead of damning the sign-changing culprit, Christie applauded the impromptu "humanitarian relief."
Um, yeah. No big deal. We'll just ride 117 miles instead of 100. It's was only 100+ degrees by noon. That extra 13 miles with no water or support over some good sized hills into the wind after having ridden 80 miles was great. Just great.

Here's a map. The red line represents the extra mileage 1,000 riders--including Adam H and me--rode.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I just tried to do some yoga. I got 30 minutes into the "energizing morning sequence" before deciding I needed a cup of coffee. Ah, well.

I need to stretch more. I hate stretching, but I know it's important. I always put in a few minutes after a run and/or ride, but that's about it. With all of the jogging/biking I do, I need to keep my muscles loose, not tight. But I really hate stretching.

We're leaving at noon for the HH100. Adam H, Jason, and I are taking Adam's new jeep Cherokee to Wichita Falls, complete with the newly installed 3-bike hitch rack. The plan is to check in at our host house, drop off the bikes, and head to the MPEC to pick-up race packets and check out the expo. Dinner is up in the air. My goal is to be in bed by 9 p.m.

Race/ride day (with 10,000+ riders, it's going to take awhile to get a good pace going, so it's not really a race) starts bright and early. The endurance ride (100 miles) officially starts at 7:09 a.m. According to Google maps, our host house is 4.5 miles from the starting line. We'll probably get up around 5:30 a.m. and ride to the starting around 6:30 a.m. So we'll actually end up riding 109 miles. I hope to finish this bad boy before 1 p.m., but I'm really not worrying too much about time.

I'm taking a camera and will post some pics when I get home.

As I prepare to embark, I leave you with this encouraging description from HH100's website:

The Hotter'N Hell Hundred route is rolling with some long inclines accentuated by incessant wind. People some times ask what you get when you register for the HHH. It is a grueling day in the sun so what does a rider get besides sore muscles, tired posterior, sense of accomplishment and several hours of pure cycling madness? There is no answer that fits all because riders pit themselves against the road and elements for different reasons.


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