Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year! Year End Roundup

Today is a good day to sum up my racewalking activity this year and think about the new year ahead. Here are some statistics from 2004:

Miles walked: 1,854.1
Time spend walking: 14 days, 22h 13m 35s. I spent about 4% of my year walking!
Average pace: 11:47/mile

Number of races: 16
Shortest race: 5k (Dino Dash and Uptown Run)
Longest race: 50 miles (Heartland and SunMart)
Fastest pace: 9:49/mile (Flagpole 8k)
Slowest pace: 15:05/mile (Heartland 50 Mile Endurance Run)

It was a great year and I really enjoyed my training and races and I hope for another exciting year.

Good luck and HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you in blog land. Be proud of your accomplishments and look forward to a great new year!

Help Tsunami Victims! Make a donation......

The Tsunami tragedy is horrifying and hard to fathom, and that makes me all the more aware of my good fortune and my wonderful family and friends. If you haven't already done so, please consider donating to one of the many organizations that is helping the survivors. One easy way to donate to the American Red Cross' Tsunami fund is through Amazon alone has already raised almost $9 million! Share your many blessings with the victims of this tragic catastrophe!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Goodbye, Toenail

I lost the toenail on the small toe next to the big toe on my left foot. This was the last remaining effect of SunMart. There was already new nail growing underneath and there was no pain or blood, so I don't expect to have any problems.

Also, I walked today, 4 1/4 miles. I took it easy and didn't push hard or go long. I'm just trying to get back in the habit of almost daily walking and trying to give my body some time to recover and adjust. So far, so good.

Monday, December 27, 2004

2005 Goals and this weekend's walking

A lot of people are posting goals (as usual, Chris got things rolling) so I thought I would post my own.

I really only have four walking/fitness goals:

1. Complete the Heartland 100 Mile Endurance Run in October.
2. Get a bicycle and do some cross training.
3. Stick with an exercise routine--primarily just situps and pushups, but I want to stick with it to improve my strength and reduce my gut.
4. Lose about 10-15 more pounds (about 5 of those pounds were added this month!).

On a related note, I think I'm going to change my race plan and training plan. I had been planning to do another 50 mile race in February (Rocky Raccoon) and then a three day race in March (Three Days of Syllamo: 20k, 60k, 40k). But the problem with racing this frequently is that I am almost always in taper mode or recovery mode so I don't get much opportunity for quality training.

This point was driven home yesterday when I went out for my first trail training walk since SunMart. I went to the North Shore Trail at Lake Grapevine at about 6:15 yesterday morning. It was still dark so I used my new Petzl Tikka headlamp for the first time (it worked well!). I also used my CamelBak M.U.L.E. pack for only the second time since I planned to be out for about four hours with no good place to refill my smaller pack. I also thought I might need to store the headlamp and some of the cold weather clothes I was wearing (it was about 30 degress when I started).

My plan was to do the whole trail (it's a 9 mile trail so out-and-back is 18 miles). It is, in my opinion, a fairly rugged trail with lots of ups-and-downs, lots of rocks and roots, and, yesterday, lots of frozen mud and puddles (I fell once on the ice and banged my knee). I've done this trail before and love it but it can be very hard on the legs. I was in good shape and moving well for about the first 13-14 miles of trail, and my time at the turn around was good. After about 14 miles I started to slow down due to some pain in my left knee and my right ankle (I seem to have a recurring problem with that ankle that I need a doctor to look at). After about 17 miles I was in agony and had to just walk to the finish. After I got home I had some Advil and an ice bath and felt much better.

After thinking about this I've decided I need to take a different approach for a little while. Since I started ultras back in October I've never gone back and rebuilt my base; I've tapered and recovered, but once recovery was over I started high mileage long runs immediately. I think I need to take a little time to rebuild my long distance endurance.

Also, even though I've done three trail ultras, I really haven't trained very much on trails. I'm going to start building my base on trails as much as possible (I can never train on trails during the week but I can do all my long walks on trails if the weather permits). I think part of the soreness I'm getting in my knees and ankle is because I'm not used to the additional stresses that trail walking places on your body. So again I need to take time to rebuild and do as much training as possible on trails.

My plan is to start with some shorter daily walks for a couple of weeks and long walks in the 10-15 mile range for three weeks. Then I'm going to start increasng my long run mileage (increases two weeks in a row followed by a shorter third week). I can't increase by the tradtional 10% because I will never reach ultra distances, but I can increase by 5 miles per week (if my body permits). I'm not going to race in Rocky Raccoon in February. Instead I'm going to focus my attention on the Three Days of Syllamo three day race in March. That gives me slightly over 2 months to rebuild the base before this race. I think this race will be a great training race for Heartland since it will be 74.5 miles on rugged terrain over three days.

After Three Days of Syllamo everything will be focused on the Heartland 100. As I get closer to March I will post my training plan for the 100 miler.

Is everyone else thinking about plans and goals? What's on your horizon?

Happy New Year to the RBF!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Local man needs a Marrow Transplant

The need for Marrow hits close to home. A firefighter in my town has leukemia and will soon need a bone marrow transplant. Think about talking to your friends and family about registering for the National Marrow Donor Program. They could save a life.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the RBF and anyone else who stumbles across this blog! Enjoy some time with your family.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Looking for Advice

As you know if you've read my blog for long, I'm really interested in increasing the number of people in the Bone Marrow Registry. I'm on the Volunteer Advisory Committee for the local Bone Marrow Donor Program office, and my wife and I frequently work to encourage people to register their marrow.

I'd like to take this interest to the next level and had an idea that I wanted to bounce off the RBF. I was thinking of asking friends, family members, co-workers, businesses, etc., to sponsor every mile that I walk. By the end of this year I will have walked approximatley 1,850 miles. If I could get people to pledge an amount per mile for every mile I walk in 2005 (I was thinking $.01, $.10 and $1.00 for starters) then every step I take would raise funds for the Bone Marrow Registry. If I could get enough people to pledge a total of $5 per mile, then I would have raised $9,250. Every 50 mile ultra I walked would raise $250!

I would then use the money raised to support local donor drives or some of the drives being organized by patients in need. It costs between $25 and $95 to perform the HLA Typing required to add a potential donor to the registry so one of the biggest problems adding people to the registry is cost.

To increase awareness of the cause and my efforts, I would hand out brochures on the National Marrow Donor Program at races and other events, and I thought I would try to get some custom training shirts made with information on my efforts and a web address where people could learn about what I'm doing.

What do you guys think? Does this seem feasible? I'm strongly motivated to do something for other people, but I've been unable to find the right forum do become active. This would combine my love of walking and racing with my concern about the Marrow Donor Program and the anguish I feel when I read about people waiting for a bone marrow transplant but unable to find a donor (see my sidebar for a list of some of the people who are waiting).

I'm open to suggestions and criticism so feel free to be honest. If you like, you can e-mail me directly (there is a link button on my sidebar). Thanks for your thoughts!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

More Cancer Patients that Need Your MARROW!

Check out 12 year old Amy who has started Amy's Army to find bone marrow donors for herself and others in need.

Sukriti is a 12 year old Indian girl who is also in need of a bone marrow transplant.

Megan is 22 and has been battling cancer for three years.

is a 41 year old mother of two who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in May, 2004.

Kailee was adopted from China and has very severe Aplastic Anemia.

And Sonia is a 15 year old girl who has been battling cancer for 12 years!

Have you registered? Could you be the person that saves a life? Do it today!!!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Pictures from SunMart

Here are some pictures from SunMart. For once the official race photographer got a lot of pretty good pictures of me. There's also a picture of me and Frances, my pacing buddy and comrade for much of the race.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

SunMart Race Report

It's long and probably boring, but here is a too detailed race report on SunMart. Thanks again to everyone who commented! I do appreciate all the support and encouragement.

On the mend

I'm slowly getting better. I still have a cough and am tired and weak, but I don't have the stuffy nose and headache any more and my throat isn't sore. Also, I'm pleased to say that almost all of the soreness in my legs is gone! I still have a little discomfort in my left knee area but it is getting better.

And I'm still working on my race report. I've been too tired to do much on it but will probably have something posted tonight.

Take care, everyone. Happy running/walking!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I'm sick....

The whole week before SunMart I was fighting off a little bug with vitamins, fruits and vegetables and as much sleep as I could get. It worked and I didn't get sick, but I think now that my body has been depleted I'm not able to fight it off so I'm sick. It's just the usual--sore throat, stuffy nose and head, slight cough, etc. It's worse today than yesterday so I'm taking the day off from work and I'm just going to lay in bed and rest. Unfortunately my wife left town Sunday to help care for a sick relative so I'm single parent this week. But that's OK, Lela and I will just take it easy and watch some movies or read books in the evenings until I feel better.

Sunday was a pretty tough day physically. My legs were really, really sore, and I had trouble fully extending my left leg so I had to walk with a limp. Yesterday was better, but making the transition from sitting to standing or standing to sitting was difficult. Today everything seems to be on the mend and I'm less sore and more able to walk with a normal gait.

I also got three blisters on the tips of my toes. They were pretty ugly--blood mixed with whatever it is that is inside a blister. I think I have 1-2 toenails that are not sure if they want to continue to be a part of my feet but haven't fully made up their mind. And I had some pretty yucky looking chafing in my underarm area. Other than that, I'm in tip-top shape! ;)

This little break will give me some time to work on my race report. I didn't take pictures this time (and I'm glad I didn't or I might not have made the cutoff) but the official race photographers took a lot of photos and some of my friends at the race took some, as well, so I should be able to post some photos soon.

Thanks to EVERYONE for all the great comments and support. It means a lot and I still can't believe you guys read this! Take care and happy trails....

Sunday, December 12, 2004

SunMart results

Well, I made it (just barely). My watch shows 11:47:50 (the cutoff was 12:00). But that's 46 minutes faster than Heartland! And the course wasn't "easy." There weren't major elevation changes but there were enough hills that it was hard on the legs. And portions of the course were so rooty that it was tough going--I saw two runners do full face plants on the trail right in front of me.

I'll post more later when I have time, but I'll briefly say that it was really hard but really fun. And I never, not once, thought "No more ultras for me." I have decided to adjust my training and racing schedule, but I feel like I'm in this for the long run.

Before I go, here is one of the coolest things about SunMart: "premiums." At race check in I went through a line where they handed me a large gym bag with the SunMart logo. Then I walked down the line and filled it with stuff! If I remember correctly, I got:

Pedicure set in a little case with the SunMart logo
Disposable camera
Rain pancho
SunMart hat (choice of colors)
SunMart polo shirt (choice of colors)
Portfolio with the SunMart logo (like you would use at work--pad of paper, slots for business cards, etc.)--I'm really excited about that because I can carry it at business meetings and declare my love of ultras

Then at the finish I received a nice medal and a choice of a Tyvek SunMart jacket or an afghan (I chose the jacket). I came home with about 50% more stuff than I took with me!

Right now I can't sleep even though I'm exhausted. I had a lot of soda and coffee for the drive home (three hours!) and I think the caffeine is keeping me up.

Thanks everyone for your support. I'll post more about the experience soon.

Friday, December 10, 2004

I'm outta here!

Off to SunMart. I'm working about three hours today (let me clarify that--I will be at work for about three hours; I won't say if I'll be working or not!) and then driving to Houston for packet pickup. I'll post all the ugly details on Sunday.

Hope everyone has good training and good racing (VJ) this weekend!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Happy Anniversary! Five Years Cancer Free!!!

Today is a wonderful day for my family. Today is the five year anniversary of the stem cell transplant that saved my wife's life. Angela was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia on her 30th birthday, November 2, 1999. She received chemotherapy but she immediately relapsed. The only thing that could save her life was more chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow/stem cell transplant; happily her younger sister was a perfect match. On December 8, 1999, her sister's cells dripped into Angela's veins and started rebuilding her blood marrow and restoring her to life. She had a very hard time recovering, including time in ICU, two total hip replacements and severe lung damage that will be with her forever. But she is with us today, and that is all I care about.

Here are some photos of Angela with me and our daughter, Lela. Today I celebrate Angela's life and her "5th birthday" and thank her for being such a wonderful wife and mother!

This is one of my favorites, a family self portrait at the State Fair of Texas. We have a lot of fun together.

Here we are on the Midway at the Fair.

Angie and Lela love the food at the Fair.

Mmmmmmmm, funnel cake.......

The two of us at my last birthday.

Lela and Angela at a "Breakfast with Santa" last weekend.

Congratulations, Angela. I LOVE YOU!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Happy birthday to . . .

Tom Waits, the king of cool. Happy Birthday, Tom.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Marrow Registry saves another life, but others are dying - Join the Registry today!!!

Back in October I blogged about several seriously ill people who were waiting to find bone marrow donors on the National Marrow Donor Program registry. Two of them, Pia Awal and Varun, found matches! Pia's organization has added more than 14,000 people to the registry. So please think about registering. You just might be the person who saves a life. Minority and multiracial individuals are especially underrepresented in the registry, so if you are a minority or multiracial person PLEASE consider registering.

Sadly, Sagarika lost her battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia the day after Thanksgiving.

For more information, go here (in the U.S.) or here (in Canada).

Friday, December 03, 2004

New shoes?

I'm thinking of buying some trail shoes: the Inov8 Terroc 330 (scroll down). I like them because they have a lower heel and less rigid sole. The product matrix even mentions "Trail Walking" and "Long Distance Walking" as good uses for them. They've received great reviews from running magazines and from some members of the ULTRA list. I'll have to balance the checkbook and see if they fit in the budget (where's Santa when you need him???).

If I get them I'll let everyone know.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Houston Racewalker gets nice article in the Houston Chronicle

Here's a nice article on Becky Browning, a wonderful racewalker from Houston. She's a very friendly and generous person (in fact, she's the person who encouraged me to sign up for SunMart and she's putting up a shelter for all of her racewalking friends that will be there) and also a great athlete. Last year she walked three marathons on three consecutive weekends and also walked the Antarctica Marathon. Check it out!