Monday, April 30, 2007

From now through June 30, please help the Faithful Soles PR10K (Promote Running for 10,000 Kids) program

Faithful Soles, a web site dedicated to inspiring, motivating and encouraging walkers, runners, and multi-sport athletes of all ages and abilities, and whose main outreach is to get young people involved in a walking or running program, needs help from individuals and businesses in support of its PR10K (Promote Running for 10,000 Kids) program. PR10K targets youth and teens in underserved and underprivileged areas and helps teach them goal setting skills that are not only related to running, but can be used in other aspects of their lives as well. The program started in January and already has about 500 students involved from all over the USA, and the goal for May-June is to get at least another 1,000 involved over the summer vacation time period. To learn more about Faithful Soles and its many programs and web site features, click here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hilarious post-London Marathon video!

If you have not yet seen this, watch this video, "The Day After the Marathon". Warning: This will only be funny until the day after your next marathon.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

At 47 years old and after 25,000+ miles of running, the body remembers what to do

Just after tonight's run, I was all smiles when 5 miles was super easy again

Tonight was great. It was fantastic. I just started running again 10 days ago after my injury and tonight it was all I could do to "only" run a 5.3 mile route I have. I felt as if I had never laid off, and I could have easily done 10+ miles. Even though the temperature was around 80 and the humidity about 80, I cruised on my last mile at about a 7:20 pace, no pain or discomfort at all. I think that all of the swimming, cycling and weight training I have been doing during my recovery has really paid off and made my entire body so much stronger. I highly recommend anyone who is suffering from an injury that can do cross-training during their off time should do it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Last night in the gene "Pool"

My son is definitely my son. Having just turned 15, he and I are best buddies and we love doing stuff together. As far as athletics, the main thing we have in common is that neither of us are necessarily fast, but we have what seems to be unlimited endurance. He knows that I recently started swimming, so now he wants to start swimming. Two nights ago, he goes with me and while I am swimming 100 laps (2500m), he swims only 7 laps and was very discouraged. When I asked him on the drive home what he did, he basically told me he had done some all out freestyle laps, which obviously is what exhausted him so quickly. I explained to him that I am alternating laps between breaststroke and freestyle until my endurance is built up. So last night, what does he do?! He goes with me again and this time swims 64 laps (1600m or 1 mile) without stopping! Good grief! I was swimming 2000m during this time, and kept looking over in the lane next to me wondering how in the world he was doing it. He was so proud of himself when he got out of the water, and I gave him 2 big thumbs-up and a big hug. Now he is talking about cycling and wants me to look up some local sprint distance triathlons. It is so awesome to have a son and daughter with such diverse personalities, yet they are so into what they are doing. The biggest tip I could ever give a parent is to let your child find his/her passion, even if it is far away from whatever you are passionate about or what you wanted them to do, and then give them the love and support they need to fulfill their dreams. After all, isn't that what each of us wants in our own lives as adults?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Better than expected first week back running

With my return to running after a 2 month layoff, I really did not know how I would do last week. I ended up with 20 miles (runs of 3, 3, 3, 3, 4 and 4 miles) with an average pace per mile of around 7:45 or so. In "normal" training, I would be around 40-50 miles per week at about a 7:30 pace, with peak weeks in the 50-60 mile range leading up to a marathon, but I am happy nonetheless that at least the first week back yielded a decent pace and more importantly, no pain from my previous injury.

I swam 3 times during the week (1875m, 2500m and 2500m) for a total of 6875m (about 4.27 miles). I've been swimming now for about 6 weeks and can tell a huge difference in my technique and endurance. I still am alternating laps between breaststroke and freestyle, and am not pushing off the wall so I can simulate as closely as possible an open water swim. I figure after a couple of more weeks I will start to incorporate some different routines to further build my strength and endurance (thanks again Momo and Shelley for the tips).

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Happy 15th birthday, Robert!

My son Robert just after finishing his first half-marathon in Houston this past January

On Easter Sunday in 1992, God gave my wife and I the beautiful gift of the birth of our son, Robert. He is an amazingly loving, affectionate, intelligent and great teenager. Robert has a wonderful sense of humor, and has one of the most creative minds of anyone I have ever known. Since he was very young, he has had the ability to build things with his hands (without the benefit of plans or drawings) that I could never do. He took up running on a more serious level last August and completed half-marathons in Houston and Austin within 5 weeks of each other. He has also helped me when I go out to mentor young kids about goal setting and running. I am so proud of him.

I wrote a story about witnessing him finish the Houston half-marathon that was one of the greatest moments of my life and would like to share it with you here, "Following in the Footsteps of My Son".

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Finally back to running...

After a 2 month hiatus to let my left shin heal following the Austin Marathon back on February 18, I resumed my running on Monday of this week. In the interim, I have been swimming (10,000m last week), cycling (75 miles last week) and doing some weight training. My timing to start running again coincided with the Boston Marathon on Monday, and the fact that the YMCA where I have been doing my cross-training is closed for 2 weeks for remodeling. Thankfully they arranged for us to use other YMCA facilities, so I'm able to drive a few extra miles to use another facility.

So how did I do on my run? Monday morning I laced up my Nike Pegasus TC's (the lighter training and racing version of the regular Pegasus) about 7:30 a.m. and headed out the door on a little 3 mile route around my neighborhood as follows: First mile in 7:45, second mile in 7:51 and third mile in 7:55 for a total time of 23:36 (7:52 pace per mile). I admit being very nervous about this run, and it took me the first mile or so before I finally relaxed and realized my left shin was not going to have a relapse. After taking yesterday off, this morning I ran the same route again in 23:33, and reversed my first and last mile, so today the last mile was the fastest. If I were in regular training shape I'd be doing this same route in about 22:00-22:30, so only being about 20-30 seconds per mile slower in my opinion is great. Other than some soreness in my upper legs (to be expected after a 60 day layoff), I feel fine.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pictures from an AMAZING Spring Show!

First of all, I am so proud of my daughter! It is impossible to put into words how hard she and the other 45+ members of this drill team worked on this show. It was my job before the performance to get the stage sets and coordination of the show backstage done, and to me, that is the best seat in the house. To see the girls laughing, crying, praying, and loving each other like a giant family back there is my most cherished memory. ok, so here are some of the pictures...

My daughter and I on Wednesday during the last rehearsal before the show starts on Thursday night.

Me in the props storage room putting the final paint touches on a giant rocking chair we built for one of the girls who did the old Lily Tomlin "Edith Ann" skit.

My wife and I in the old-fashioned newsstand we (prop dads and moms) built to distribute programs for the show, which also acted as a ticket booth.

Me (red shirt and shorts) giving final instructions on opening night to some of the Dads helping backstage (the smoky air is from the fog machines which help the stage lights).

Me and my daughter backstage prior to the Dad/Daughter dance.

My daughter and her boyfriend backstage. He danced with her in the Senior Guy/Girl dance.

My daughter prior to going onstage for the Senior girls dance.

My daughter (far right) during the Finale' on Saturday night.

The entire team assembled on stage after Finale' on the final night of the performance (the 5 Officers of the team are in the white uniforms).

The team huddles up and sings their team song one last time.

While on stage the final night, the team presented me with a custom-made tool belt engraved with "To our 'Prop Daddy', Love, The 2006-2007 Celebrities" and a hammer with "Prop Pop 2006-2007" engraved on it. I love all of these girls and am so proud of them, and a gift like this is priceless.

The drill team director, my daughter and me after the show.

My daughter and her proud freshman brother after the show.

My wife, daughter and I after the final performance on Saturday night.

All in all, a truly incredible show and I feel so blessed to have shared such great moments with my daughter!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Busy, busy, busy dancing, swimming and cycling

For anyone who thinks I may have disappeared in the last week, I've been swamped working on final preparations for my daughter's big spring show this week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, April 12-14). I am the Dad who heads up building all the stage sets and coordinating everything getting on and off stage during the show, as well as putting together the slide show just prior to the finale. There are about 50 girls on the high school drill team, and there will be another 100 or so from different dance troups performing in the show (32 dance numbers in all, show runs almost 3 hours). The web site to the drill team is Clear Brook Celebrities. You'll even see today through Saturday an announcement on the first page from me about needing backstage help with props (if you are in the Houston area, come to the show, it is amazing). The picture on the page of the girls in uniform looking down is the last slide in the show before the finale begins, and as the screen lifts up, the girls are standing behind it in that exact formation, very cool.

As for swimming, I'm consistently swimming 2000m on 5 days a week, so roughly 10,000 meters a week (6.2 miles) and cycling is still hovering around 75 miles. I am ecstatic to start running again on Monday.

Check back tomorrow for pictures from dress rehearsal tonight...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water...

So this morning at about 6:15 a.m. I arrived at the YMCA, went out to the pool, got ready to get in, looked down in the water, and I see a tiny crawfish about 2 inches long (half the length of my index finger, for those who need metric) swimming in the lane to my left down at the bottom of the pool in about chest-high water (yes, in chlorinated water completely unaffected, no wonder they have survived for millions of years). For those of you who don't know what these things are, here is a picture that is way bigger than the one I saw, sort of looks like a lobster that didn't quite get the full DNA chain:

Anyway, I thought nothing of it because sometimes they walk along the ground and are looking for water, and well, he found the YMCA pool. So, undaunted by the fear of what his teeny-tiny pinchers could do to me, I started my swim as the only one in the pool. Around my 20th lap, a lady comes in to swim in the adjacent lane and she is none too happy about the creature being there. Being the chivalrous gentleman that I am and clad only in my trustee Speedo, I borrowed a net from the lifeguard and after a lengthy struggle where I am sure that my life was in eminent danger (yawn) I pull him out and walk over to release him in a field next to the pool where there is access to a creek (he was such a worthy adversary that I saw it only fit that he should live for us to spar another day). I returned to the pool as a victorious hero having saved a damsel in distress from this monster that easily could have pulled her under and eaten her alive (over a period of about 1,000 years). For the record, even after the ferocious battle which left me battered and bruised, I managed to complete 2000m, my longest swim to date.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Swimming, cycling, weights... and the need to run again

I had a great week of training last week:

Swam 5 times @ 1000m, 1000m, 1600m, 1600m and 1600m for a total of 6800m (about 4.25 miles) - My goal this week (M-F) is to do at least 1600m each day, with one day thrown in of 2000m with some intervals (thanks to Momo and Shelley for the swimming tips).

Cycled 4 times for a total of about 60 miles (not as many miles as I wanted to do, but each time was about 15 miles after a hard workout on the weight machines) - My goal this week is to do around 80-100 miles with at least one ride in the 30-40 mile range.

I suppose all this makes my self-imposed restriction on running harder to deal with because from what I can tell, I have absolutely no pain whatsoever in my left shin now. What keeps me on course though is remembering how severe the pain was and not wanting to get back into it too soon and have it reoccur. My running resumes 2 weeks from today and I am so looking forward to it. It will be interesting to see what effect (if any) all of this cross-training will have on my running performance.