Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Catching up

Lots has happened over the last couple of days.

Sunday was the Team in Training Kickoff. I worked directions in the hotel lobby, attended the Kickoff rally and then met with the Dallas Walk Team and my mentor group afterwards. I met several of my group and they all seem very excited and motivated. Several of them have a deep "connection to the cause" that is very touching. I'm so lucky to have Angela with me and to be six years distant from most of her serious medical issues.

Sunday was my day off after my Saturday "long" walk (I only walked 10 miles compared to the usual 26-30, so it doesn't seem long!).

Monday I signed my daugther up for Marathon Kids. One of my biggest shames in life is that I signed her up last year and we never completed her miles! Here I am walking 50-70 miles per week and completing numerous ultramarathons, and I can't even walk/run 26.2 miles with my daughter over six months! Pathetic! This year will be different. Monday we took Lemon for a walk and walked to the park, played a while, then walked back (a full mile!). It rained on us all the way home which was kind of refreshing.

Monday I walked five easy miles in the morning.

Tuesday I did my first speed work in months! I couldn't do it at the track because of last night's rain; my neighborhood track is made up of dirt and crushed rock so it gets very messy after rain. Instead I did 1/4 mile intervals (with 1/4 mile rests) on the local paved walking/jogging trail. I did eight intervals and was pleased with the results, especially considering I haven't done any speedwork in ages. Here were my splits:

2:27 (9:50)
2:32 (10:08)
2:31 (10:05)
2:15 (9:03)
2:18 (9:15)
2:23 (9:32)
2:18 (9:12)
2:09 (8:38)

I really want to break 2:10 for my next Half Marathon (9:55 pace), and 4:30 for my next Marathon (10:17 pace) so I need to keep up the speedwork. My training plan is:

Sunday: rest
Monday: easy 5-6 miles
Tuesday: intervals, from 1/4 to 1 mile
Wednesday: easy 5-6 miles
Thursday: Tempo/Acceleration Tempo training
Friday: rest
Saturday: long mileage

Gotta run and take Lela and Lemon to the park again. Rack up the miles!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Back in the Saddle Again

I took the week off to recover from the all night walk last Friday and to catch up on sleep and personal stuff. This morning I went back to White Rock Lake to train on the asphalt and paved running surface around the lake (at 4:45 am it was already 85 degrees!). I'm officially back in training for marathons and half marathons and will return to ultras and trail walking at some future date.

Today I decided to push myself to see just how much speed I lost during my long distance training. I've done no speed work in months (maybe as long as a year) so I wanted to do an assessment and start building my training plan.

My first miles were slow--I guess I needed more warm up and needed to get my body adjusted for fast walking again. As the morning progressed I picked up the pace and felt pretty good. Here are my splits: 11:51, 11:37, 11:14, 10:27, 11:02, 10:56, 10:50, 10:35, 10:15, 10:27. For reference my marathon PR pace is 11:20; my half marathon PR pace is 10:13. So I was pretty pleased with these splits. I wish I had been faster in the beginning but given the fact that all of my recent walking has been at a much slower pace I felt this was pretty good.

I got new racewalking shoes! They are pretty cool looking:

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Unfortunately I got a blister on my left heel, something that never happens to me. It felt like the inside of the left shoe had a hard ridge that wasn't present in the right shoe so maybe the shoes are defective. I'm going to contact the company that sold them to me and try to replace them. Other than that I love the shoes--very flexible, very lightweight. They have a tapered or sloped heel that helps with the natural foot roll that occurs in racewalking. They seem to be well-designed.

Tomorrow is the Team in Training Kick-Off for the winter season. I already have 10 people on my mentor team and may get more tomorrow. We're going to have a big team, which is really cool. I can't wait to meet everyone and start the training.

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend and getting in some nice training or racing.

Distance: 10.4 miles
Time: 1:54:06
Pace: 10:58

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Disappointment, Frustration and Change of Plans

Friday night I drove to Waco to meet my ultra friends and complete a 100k all night training walk/run. It was miserable and none of the five of us got anywhere close to our goals (some people planned more than 100k, some less). We all had to quit early due to fatigue, heat, illness, etc. I was so sleepy (not physically tired but actually sleepy) that I stopped twice and slept in the car before finally calling it quits. It was a very frustrating evening.

That frustration got me thinking about my current plans and goals. I've decided that I'm not going to do Heartland. Friday night was discouraging, but that is not the main reason. The main reason is that I can't keep up this training schedule. Several times I've almost fallen asleep in the middle of the afternoon while driving because I'm so tired; I've had my daughter in the car so that is very scary. I'm spending between 10 and 16 hours training each weekend, and to do that I have two choices: sacrifice time with my family or get up at super early times and walk around like a zombie during the day. I don't like either of these choices. I've missed a lot of training during the week simply because I'm so tired, and I've almost fallen asleep at my desk at work.

I'm just burned out and although I love ultras I think I need to take a little break and get things back in balance. I'm going to spend some time training for half and full marathons and work on my speed. If you've read this blog long enough you know that I won the Mardi Gras Half Marathon racewalk division in 2004. I'd like to train for some marathons that have walking divisions (Little Rock, St. Louis, Mardi Gras, Portland, to name a few) and try to win them. So I'm going to go back to a more normal training plan. I'm not giving up ultras forever, but I really do need a break. I've been burning the candle at both ends, and with my wife's medical problems, my daughter's needs, a new puppy, being in the PTA, being a mentor for Team in Training, I can't keep up. Ultimately it's more important to be with my family and be involved in these other activities than to focus exclusively on ultras.

This was not an agonizing decision--it was pretty simple and I am already very excited about my future plans. I think I will do one or two half marathons, then do the White Rock Marathon in December as a training event. My big goal is a big PR and First Place in the Mardi Gras Marathon racewalk division.
Here's another reason to switch to road/track walking for a while: I get to buy a pair of these!! Cool!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Great Article

Here's an article on Russell Secker, the Texan running the Trans Gaule.

Thanks to Zack for the link!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Say Hello to the Newest Member of the Family

This is Lemon, our new Miniature Pinscher puppy! I picked her up Friday night and we've been adjusting to having a baby in the house all weekend. She and my daugther have really bonded--she's a very sweet and playful little thing.

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She's also tiny!

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Texas Runner in the Trans Gaule 2005

Watch this blog for updates on Russell Secker and the Trans Gaule 2005. Good luck!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Another member of North Texas Trail Runners is really excited about a Trans-Texas Ultra. We are very, very, very tentatively discussing March, 2007. The route shown (which was used in 1993) would be about 670 miles; that's about 40 miles a day for 16 to 17 days.

I am so excited!

Update: Looks like May, 2007, not March. A little warmer, but it works better with my partner's work schedule. Here is a different route that he suggests that looks great as long as we can avoid major highways.

Friday, August 05, 2005

First Team in Training Information Meeting

I signed up to be a mentor for the Dallas Team in Training Walk Team. I did the Virginia Beach Half Marathon with TnT in August, 2003, and that's what got me started with racewalking and endurance events. I've always wanted to support the team again but have never had time, but I decided to make the time and sign up to mentor.

I went to the first information meeting of the season and it was really great. We completely filled a small hotel conference room with people and 21 people signed up that night! I was asked to speak about my wife and my reasons for joining TnT. I knew it would be hard because I tear up at every video about TnT, and I even teared up during a promo video they played about the Arizona Rock N Roll Marathon, a race I have never done and never plan to do; but I remember the incredible feelings of accomplishment as I finished my first half and then full marathon, then ultra, and so on.

Anyway, I only spoke for a few seconds before I started tearing up. I talked about Angela's diagnosis and recovery, about wanting to do something to help but feeling helpless, and about how TnT gave me a powerful outlet that has really changed my life. I talked about the privilege of walking "In Honor of..." instead of "In Memory of..." and how inspiring and moving it is to see people who are racing "In Memory of Dad," "In Memory of my daughter," "In Memory of a dear friend." Even though it's been almost six years since her diagnosis I still can't talk about it without tears. Hopefully we can all make a difference!

This weekend will be busy. Tomorrow morning I plan to do about 25 miles at the track near my house, then I have to be at my daughter's school at 8:00 am to fill holes in the school yard (our lack of tax dollars at work!). Tomorrow afternoon we are going to an 80th birthday party for a distant relative and seeing my Dad, brother and step brother (and their families) who are all in town for the party. Sunday I hope to do 27 miles at North Shore Trail. That means I'll probably get up at 3:30 on Saturday morning and 1:45 on Sunday morning! I hope I can make it.

Hope everyone is having good training and great racing. Keep up the good work and walk/run hard!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Centurion 2005

In June of 2004 I announced my intention to walk in a Centurion race. A Centurion is a 24 hour judged racewalk, usually on a track or paved loop; anyone who completes 100 miles in 24 hours is designated a Centurion. There have only been 60 USA Centurions (not necessarily US citizens, but walkers who achieved Centurion status in a US event).

Well, there is going to be another Centurion event this year, and it is right in my back yard at the Ultracentric 24-hour and 48-hour race on the weekend after Thanksgiving (this was also the Centurion event last year; RD Scott Eppelman is a member of the North Texas Trail Runners and a really nice guy). So looks like I've got plans for after Thanksgiving; better watch what I eat!

Ollie Nanyes was last year's organizer and is also organizing this year's event. He's a great walker and is really dedicated to the sport of racewalking and ultras. Thanks to Ollie for organizing this again.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Outstanding Running Quote

This is one of my favorite quotes ever and is definitely going on the Ultra Quotes page:
Running is no longer about life and death. It is about finding how large and lovely the nothingness is on the other side of self-preoccupation. Just run. Find nothing.
--Thomas C. Williams
That's from the most recent letters section of Trail Runner Magazine. Perfectly put.

Take care of your feet!

Foot care impresario John Vohnof (who provides foot care and advice for many ultras and has several publications relating to caring for your feel during endurance events) now has a blog! Check it out for great advice on foot care and links to essential foot care products and reading.