Sunday, December 30, 2007

I took Ezra on his first run ever today, and he did great! We jogged 4 miles around the neighborhood, and then walked around the block to cool down. He didn't even break a sweat--this kid's got Marathon Maniac written all over him!

Friday, December 28, 2007

I just added up the entry fees for the various races I plan to enter in 2008. $705! Holy sh*t.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I just finished reading "No Country for Old Men" by Cormac McCarthy. I picked it up from the library because the movie interested me, and I wanted to read the book before seeing the film. If the Coen brothers stay true to McCarthy's vision (which reviews of the film say they have), then the motion picture will be brutally violent, dark, and powerful. I'd never read anything by McCarthy before "No Country for Old Men," but after completing the novel, I went straight to the library to check out another of his books. There is a rhythm to his prose that I haven't experienced with any other authors. I felt like I wasn't reading his words; rather, I was hearing them or feeling them. For some strange reason, McCarthy's stark, minimalist style also reminded me of running an ultra event.

Friday, December 21, 2007

2007 by the Numbers
6 Marathons (Mardi Gras, Big D, OKCity, Andy Payne, San Francisco, White Rock)
2 Ultramarathons (Waco - 50 km and Ultracentric - 53 miles)
1 Endurance Ride (Cow Creek Country Classic - 78 miles)

What's on tap for 2008?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Since White Rock, I've been taking it easy. I ran 10 miles on a teadmill last weekend (so I could watch football). And I am going for a 20 mile run Saturday or Sunday. But I haven't been pushing it. Pace isn't a concern. Just some lazy, long miles.

Well, now Bandera is 2 weeks away. 50 km of rocks, roots, hills, cacti, streams. Sound like fun? Not convinced? Well, take a look at some pictures of the actual course from the Bandera website:

Anybody wanna come play?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

White Rock 07 was an interesting marathon. (Check out photos here.)

It started the night before, when Nell, Ezra, and I hunkered down in the spare bedroom at my parents' place. Nell and I were both running on Sunday, and someone had to watch Ezra during the race. Nanna and Pop (the self-appointed granparent names of my mom and dad) are always ideal, but they were attending a party the night before the run, and Pop was also running the White Rock relay. So we opted to stay at their house so Nanna could watch Ezra the following day (thereby eliminating the need to wake up ridiculously early to drop Ezra off before the race).

At 6:30 a.m., Pop and I slinked into the car and made our way through the cold, rainy morning en route to Dallas. We were part of a relay team consisting of 5 runners, each covering 5-6 miles. The full marathon was sold out, so I planned to run the entire relay along with my relay team, matching my pace with each team member. Officially, I was supposed to cover a 5 mile stretch around White Rock lake. Unofficially, I intended to run 26.2. Renegade style, amigos.

I dropped Pop off at the 1st relay exchange and then drove back toward the American Airlines Center. Traffic wasn't too bad, and I had made arrangements to park at Poolie's office near the West End. I met Jballs at the office, and we began the quarter-mile walk to the starting line.

Of course, we were late.

The race began right on time, but we didn't make it to the start for another 5-6 minutes. The race officials looked us a little funny as we sauntered casusally toward the timing mats.

"You guys running the half marathon? It starts in an hour."

"No, we're here for the marathon."

"You sure? You know it already started? Started at eight."

"Yep, we're just running late."

"Well, I guess you can go ahead."

Gee, thanks.

We trudged along for about half a mile before running into the rest of the runners. Zig-zagging our way through race walkers and joggers, we cruised through Turtle Creek and towards the first relay exchange located at the 10 km point.

Based on our late start, we figured that V., the relay team member handling the initial leg, had already handed off to Donaldo, who intended to run around 12-14 minutes per mile. So the plan was to continue running until we caught up with him, at which point we would match his pace. But 2 miles after the relay exchange, we still haven't caught him.

What gives? Did we miscalculate? Was he ahead of us? Or had we zoomed based V. during the first leg of the relay, putting Donaldo behind us? Hmmmm... what to do? What to do?

As we contemplated our fate, we happened upon a group of marathon spectators attempting to deliver beer to the runners. It was 9:15 a.m. and we were 8 miles into a marathon. Why the hell not? Jballs and I each grabbed a cold Miller lite and, while we walked along and sipped our brew, lo and behold, Donaldo approached from behind us! Ah, the miracle of lager!

A couple miles later, we bid our companion farewell as we began the long, slow circumference of White Rock Lake.

At mile 13, I called Poolie and requested the she bring me an apple fritter.

At mile 15, we met up with M., who forced us to pick up the pace as we hurried out of the park and back into the neighborhoods.

At mile 20, Poolie handed me a Stabucks bag. My apple fritter? Nope, even better--an eclair! And, hey, look, it's some more folks handing out beer. Perfect! Suds and sugar.

As we approached the finish line, we were all smiles. Our time was slow (4:49:56), but it was a lot of fun. I got to run a marathon with my dad and sister... and M. and Jballs. And I got to have a couple of beers and eat a doughnut. Good times.

p.s. Nell finished her half marathon in 2:12:12--and she ran it three and a half months after giving birth to Ezra J!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I'm unofficially running the White Rock Marathon this Sunday. Officially, I'm part of a relay team (consisting of Donaldo, Poolie, M. and V.) and will be covering a 6-mile leg of the course. Unofficially, I'm runing the entire course along with the team. I'm planning to stick with the pace of each teammate, so some relay legs will be quick (M. runs 8:00-8:30 per mile) and some will be relaxed (Donaldo plans to keep it around 14:00-15:00 per mile). My guess is our overall time will be around 4 hours, 30 minutes.

Nell is also running. Three and a half months after giving birth to Ezra James, she'll be tackling the half marathon. Pretty impressive!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Since the Ultracentric, all sense of proportion has been lost. It was already disappearing during training for the race. After all, when the marathon distance is a normal weekend run, one's perception of exertion has definitely skewed. But now, having covered twice the marathon distance in a single outing, my perception of endurance (and what constitutes a long run) bears almost no resemeblance to what most folks would consider realistic.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

We all exhibit a certain amount of self-delusion when it comes to how the world sees us. And I know that I certainly have an idealized view of myself--who I want to be, as opposed to who I really am. It's difficult (and sometimes a bit painful) to compare one's self-image to reality.

So with one month left in 2007, how do I want to end the year?

Empathize more, criticize less.
Train smarter, not harder.
Drink less, eat healthier.
Express more gratitude, less entitlement.
Exercise more humility, less arrogance.
Be quicker to forgive, slower to blame.
Practice efficiency.
Give more compliments.
Offer to help more often.
Be more appreciative.

And on that note, it's time to load up the backpack and head out on 15-mile run.

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