Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Texas Bridge Series Finishers

The Texas Bridge Series consisted of three races -- the Toughest 10K Kemah, the Toughest 10K Galveston and the La Porte By The Bay Half Marathon.

236 runners and walkers completed all three to become inaugural Texas Bridge Series finishers.

Dora Aguilar-Bloomer, F, League City
Laura Aguilar-Ramirez, F, League City
Melissa Akin, F, League City
Rudy Alvarez, M, Houston
Bud Arnold, M, Humble

Jack Barfoot, M, La Porte
Jenny Beattie, F, La Porte
Britt Bell, M, Kemah
Susan Bell, F, Kemah
Pam Bennett, F, League City
Joey Berry, M, Missouri City
Wendy Berthiaume, F, Houston
Kirsten Beyer, F, Kemah
Dana Biedrzycki, F, Crosby
Jonathan Blankenheim, M, League City
Robert Botto, M, Baytown
Mark Braddock, M, Seabrook
Gilbert Brillon, M, Spring
Rosalie Brillon, F, Spring
Alison Brown, F, Houston
Buddy Brown, M, Houston
Damian Brum, M, Baytown
Misty Bryan, F, Houston
Amy Brzezinski, F, Houston
Grant Bue, M, Houston
Roland Burciaga, M, Pearland
Christa Burgett, F, Houston
Eliza Burton, F, Houston
Melanie Butler, F, Katy

Brenda Cantu, F, Spring
Gabriela Cantu, F, Houston
Jesus Cantu, M, Houston
Patricia Carreon, F, Houston
Leonardo Casanova, M
Marisol Chavez, F, Houston
Valerie Christian, F, Humble
Dawn Clements, F, Houston
Eileen Constancio, F
M. Melissa Cooper, F, League City
Stephen Cooper, M, Houston
Migel Cruz, M, Pearland
Gail Culp, F, Houston

Nasser Dabbas, M, Houston
Lisa Danielson, F, Houston
Shelia Davidson, F, Houston
Ami Davis, F, Baytown
Abigail De Los Reyes, F, Houston
Lori Diaz, F, League City
Trish Dillon, F, Houston
Hoang Do, M, Houston
Steve Dollinger, M, Manvel
Jennifer Duarte, F, Richmond

Kristin Echerd, F, League City
Lee Echerd, M, League City
Carly Erwin, F, Galveston
Eddie Espinosa, M, Houston
Zully Espinosa, F, Houston
Paul Estrada, M, Houston
Sharona Everett, F, Deer Park

George Z Felan, M, Houston
Priscilla Fierro, F, Dickinson
John Fife, M, Pasadena
Kelli Fife, F, Pasadena
Yvonne Flores, F, Katy
Bryan Ford, M, Cypress
Rachel Forrest, F, League City
Alison Fowler, F, Houston
Bonnie Frankum, F, Houston

Betty Garcia, F, Seabrook
John Paul Garcia, M, Friendswood
Penny Garcia, F, Friendswood
Lucia Gentry, F, Dickinson
Hillary Gerhart, F, Katy
Robert Godinez, M, La Porte
Bruce Greer, M, Houston
Laura Greivenkamp, F, Seabrook
Megan Griffiths, F, Sugar Land
Seth Guerin, M, Pearland
Jaime Gutierrez, M, Friendswood

Lisa Hagler, F, Houston
Floyd Hamilton, M, League City
Laura Hanson, F, League City
Leo Henny, M, Lake Charles, LA
Maria Hernandez, F, Houston
Santos Hernandez, M, Katy
Kellie Hill, F
Rob Hill, M, Houston
Gloria Hinton, F, Dickinson
Sara Holder, F, Houston
Kelly Holland, F, Baytown
Karen Hollen, F, Houston
Bryant Holley, M, Houston
Kim Holt, F, Seabrook
Diana Houston, F, Baytown
Dennis Hudgens, M, Willis
Tom Hutson, M, Houston

Charlotte Jam, F, Houston
Phillis Jefferson, F, Richmond
Bobby Jennings, M, Magnolia
Mary Jennings, F, League City
Carey Jensen, M, Houston
Jesus Jijon, M, Houston
Pamela Johnson, F, Tomball
Dee Jones, F, Dickinson
Janet Jones, F, Houston
Carol Jordan, F, Dickinson

Tiffany Kamp, F, Richmond
Kenneth Karam, M, Houston
Mark Kenney, M, Pearland
Stephen Kerlegon, M, League City
John Kirwin, M, Galveston
Mark Knox, M, League City
Lindsay Koller, F, League City
James Koon, M, Pearland
Mike Kovich, M, League City

Holly Lamb, F, Crosby
Scott Lamon, M, Houston
Sofia Lamon, F, Houston
Kevin Lampley, M, Spring
Dave Lang, M, Galveston
Kevin Lang, M, League City
Mitzi Laughlin, F, Pearland
Tammy Lawrence-May, F, Deer Park
Tony Le Cara, M, Houston
Glyssel Lee, F, Dickinson
Crystal Leutwyler, F, Richmond
Paul Love, M, Spring
Anna Luckenbach, F, Houston

Lynn Malloy, F, Katy
Janene Martinec, F, Houston
Patricia Martinez, F, Houston
Michael Mateja, M, Houston
Missy Maxwell, F, Friendswood
Deanna McCollough, F, Katy
Fred McCulloch, M, League City
Sandy McKinney, F, Houston
Greg Melching, M
Priscilla Meraz, F, Galveston
Mary Mercado, F, Houston
Ken Merenda, M, Seabrook
Reyna Merritt, F, Houston
Isaias Mesa, M, Houston
Cynthia Meyn, F, Friendswood
Cathy Modaro, F, League City
Andres Monterrubio, M, League City
Mariana Monterrubio, F, League City
Paul Morken, M
Natalie Moya, F, Pearland
Martha Myers, F, Baytown

John Najera, M, Houston
Ashley Niess, F, Pasadena
Geri Niess, F, Deer Park
Nathan Nieswiadomy, M
Timothy Nolan, M, Houston

Chase Ocanas, M, League City
Ovidio Ocanas, M, League City
Donovan O'Connor, M, La Porte

Lynn Palmer, F, Houston
Don Peck, M, Houston
Robin Peck, F, Houston
Anita Pena, F, Houston
Mike Perales, M, League City
Chris Perry, M, Dickinson
Theresa Perry, F, Dickinson
Paul Peters, M, Dickinson
Rachelle Pinard, F, Willis
Diane Pinkston, F, Houston

Laura Rachita, F, Friendswood
Jerry Rasmussen, M, Houston
Michele Rawson, F, Houston
Keith Reed, M, Houston
Melanie Renault, F, Katy
Esteban Reyes, M, La Marque
Meglyn Rickerl, F, Houston
Debora Riley, F, Houston
Steve Ritter, M, League City
Linda Riviera, F, League City
Christie Roberts, F, Baytown
Lanny Roberts, M, League City
Staci Rogge, F, Humble
Jose Ruiz, M, Houston
Susy Ruiz, F, Houston
Stephanie Russell, F, League City

Michael Sangl, M, Spring
Pam Sangl, F, Spring
Michael Sapp, M, League City
Eric Schaefer, M, League City
Debbie Schallock, F, Friendswood
Kristie Schmidt, F, Seabrook
Keith Schreiter, M, Houston
Mark Schultze, M, Houston
Sam Scott, M, Friendswood
Stacy Scranton, M, Cypress
Diane Sevilla, F, College Station
Rakesh Shah, M, Webster
Bernice Shaver, F, Houston
Matt Shawhan, M, Galveston
Angela G. Smith, F, Seabrook
Bruce Smith, M, Clute
Lillian Sockwell, F, Baytown
Eric Sonny, M, Webster
Robert Sorge, M, Deer Park
Chris St Jean, M, Seabrook
Cindy Stipe, F, Baytown
Matt Strohmayer, M
Russell Swanson, M, Deer Park

Brian Talley, M, Seabrook
Michael Terry, M, Houston
Johnny Tobin, M, Baytown
Gracie Trejo, F, Pasadena
Mary Trenolone, F, League City
Alicia Trussell, F, League City

Albert Valle, M, Sugar Land
Flavia Valle, F, Sugar Land
Marla Vasquez, F, Pearland
Donna Villarreal, F, Sugar Land
Terry Villarreal, M, Sugar Land

Susan Walden, F, Houston
Brett Walker, M, Baytown
Andre Warren, M, Houston
T. Philip Washington, M, League City
Jennifer Wells, F, Houston
Christopher Westerlund, M, Seabrook
Lisa Whitten, F, Deer Park
Kristi Wiley, F, Houston
Meagan Williams, F, Houston
Philip Wingert, M, Houston
Paul Winton, M, League City
Omer Womack, M, Deer Park
Trevor Woodhouse, M, Alvin
Lee Woods, F, Houston
Trisha Wooten, F, Jamaica Beach
Amy Wright, F, Friendswood

Samantha Yarberry, F, Houston
Pam Yenetchi, F, Houston

Carlos Zepeda, M, Rosharon

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Run For The Ranch Marathon Race Report

Yesterday in Springfield, Missouri, I finished my 38th marathon and one in a 24th different state.

It was also my 13th of 2011 and 12th since late June. All of this, of course, is part of the buildup for February's Rocky Raccoon 100 mile endurance run.

However, I'm more than a little concerned about my ability to finish it. Regardless of the challenges that my job has put in front of me (with its travel to the left coast), I'll give it my best shot and see how things pan out.

I love to express myself.

I have been given some incredible opportunities in life to do some very neat things that may only be neat to me.

I had a chance this weekend to share another incredible trip with my daughter. It isn't that we did anything spectacular, so to speak, but most importantly, we spent some quality time together.

We flew into Kansas City Saturday morning and drove south to Springfield.

Our first visit was so Waverly could see the grounds of Baptist Bible College -- one of the many colleges that she is considering to pursue a career in elementary education.

It is a very small college. There seemed to be more dorm buildings than classroom buildings; however, the school has been turning out Christian leaders for well over fifty years.

After taking in the grounds and all of its surroundings, we ventured to the original Bass Pro Shops in Springfield. I've never been to a Bass Pro Shop and I quickly could see why I wouldn't spend a lot of time there. I figured, though, if I was going to go in one that I might as well make it the biggest and the original one!

We then ventured to the campus of Missouri State University where Sunday's Run For The Ranch Marathon would take place.

There was a panel discussion that was to include Chuck "Marathon Junkie" Engle and 2012 Olympic Trails Marathon qualifier Camille Herron from Oklahoma.

While Engle was a no show, I met Herron - the 2010 White Rock Marathon winner - for the first time after simply being a Facebook friend. Speak about somebody with energy to spare for three people. Wow!

Her story is really incredible - coming back from a double hernia repair and having to start out walking again - and I think that you'll hear a lot more of Herron's name as she plans to try and win a marathon in all 50 states.

Herron has completed seven (7) marathons in the Olympic Trails qualifying period - all under 2:44. Incredible. Only California's Mary Akor has completed as many, but faster.

We also met Shannon Hays from the greater Atlanta area. She is aiming to become just the third runner to finish all 50 states in under four hours. She has 38 states down and 24 in 2011 alone.

After the panel discussion, Waverly and I went and got a bite to eat at the Springfield Pasta Company and called it a night with an early bed time of approximately 9:30 a.m.

What's different about the Run For The Ranch Marathon is that it is a 1 p.m. start time. Really unique.

This allowed us to attend Sunday morning services at High Street Baptist Church.

We got up and had a hearty breakfast at the Doubletree where we were staying and then we went for the 8:30 a.m. "traditional" morning worship service. It was an excellent service by Pastor Eddie Lyons.

Waverly stayed and attended Sunday School class while I went and got online at McDonald's and checked up on a few things. Really proud of her for stepping up and taking that adventure to meet new people.

We went back to the hotel and I got changed before getting ready to run.

I didn't see Herron or Engle, but I talked to Justin Gillette - another runner – who is from Indiana. I had talked to him (and Camille the night before) about the prize money being offered up by The Woodlands Marathon.

The race didn’t go as planned. My weight is up in my mid-section and I'm not getting mid-week work done.

I ended up with a time of 5:50:39 after eight, equidistant loops. The loops had a mile 1, 2 and a 3 marker, but I didn’t try to keep up with those splits, but rather just for the loop itself.

They went as follows: 34:47.47, 37:05.66, 38:12.34, 38:33.24, 48:14.57, 50:04.22, 50:24.31 and 53:18.11. So it was 2:28:38.71 on the front half, and 3:22 on the back half. Not real good.

Shouldn’t have done it, but Waverly and I enjoyed Andy’s Frozen Custard after the race.

We got a little bit of sleep and were up and on the road at 12:15 a.m.

We took I-44 over to Joplin and then Highway 71 up to Kansas City. We were at the terminal by 4:15 a.m. for a 6 a.m. departure. Luckily, we both got upgraded to first class on the small regional jet and I pretty much slept the entire way – including my flight from Houston to Bakersfield, California for work.

And a trip like this makes up for some of the crappy stuff that took place in 2011.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Race Reports: From Sioux Falls to Indianapolis

Sunday, September 11
Sioux Falls Marathon (Sioux Falls, SD)
Time: 5:20:42
Grade: C
Weather: Clear skies; Sunny. Cool at the start, but warmed up after about mile 17-18. Course: Relatively easy course. Roads for the first 8-9 miles before reverting to a paved trail system that we followed to the finish with the excpetion of an excursion to the streets to pass through the city's central business district.
From home to SD: At approximately mile 17 in downtown Sioux Falls, somebody hollered, "Jon Walk. Are you Jon Walk?" Nervously, I responded, "Yes", and waved. I had to laugh, thinking, "Gee, somebody knows me everywhere. Scary." It turned out to be Bijou Chacko from Friendswood who found out from John Moyer that I was going to be in Sioux Falls.
Future marathon story: At the start of the race, I had the bright idea that I could separate the rental car key FOB from the key to the ignition and tie it to my shoelace. About 15 minutes before the start at Howard Wood Field, I put the ignition key under the passenger side floor mat, locked the door and smiled that I would have to carry it 26 miles. (I don't trust gear checks with keys.) Inside the stadium, I knelt down and tied it on just above my chip. I figured that I could always see it on my foot as I ran. After talking with Chevron Houston Marathon veteran Charlie Viers of Natchitoches, Louisiana just before the National Anthem and about five minutes until the start, I looked down and ... no key FOB! I was frantic. I searched all over the football field, on the track, went back to the rental car to look on the ground in the glow of the stadium lights ... nothing! The gun goes off. This race I was going to be starting last by necessity. I crossed the line, hit my watch and saw the timer from All Sports Central that I've seen at other events that they've worked. I told him what happened, he tore a number off my bib and promised to relay it to the race director. As I ran I began to strategize what my options were. I said to myself, "I have a 6:30 p.m. flight out of Omaha. I have to be checked out of the hotel by 2 p.m. If I finish at this time, I have this amount of time to find a locksmith." Not fun, but I surprised myself that I maintained my cool. At mile 16 just as we got into downtown Sioux Falls, I asked a police officer if they were going to have anybody back at the Stadium (as this was a point-to-point race), and he said, "No." After I crossed the finish line, I asked for the race director. I shared with him what had transpired and he said that there had been a cell phone, a set of keys and a key FOB turned in. It was mine! Crisis averted!

Sunday, September 25
Quad Cities Marathon (Moline, IL)
Time: 5:17:54
Grade: C
Weather: Overcast skies. Cooler at the start, but later doused in a downpour from mile 15 to 19.5.
Course: Unique in that you passed through all four towns (Moline and Rock Island, Illinois and Bettendorf and Davenport, Iowa), and to do so you crossed the Mississippi River twice. The only hilly area of the course was in Bettendorf. Otherwise, it was pretty flat and was 80% roads and 20% trails (along the Mississippi between the two Iowa cities.) About four and a half miles were in and through the Rock Island Arsenal, passing an old confederate cemetery, before hitting a final three mile out and back stretch, which surprisingly wasn't that mentally taxing.
From home to IL: I knew prior to traveling to Iowa that Spring's Nicole Richardson was going to be in attendance. I hadn't met her before so I waited near the start line (she's a 3:05 marathoner) to also watch race day operations while I waited to meet her. I saw Bart Yasso get down from the dignitaries' platform and I spoke with him for a little bit when I noticed Houston's Heidy Lozano. The 48-year-old former masters winner of the Boston Marathon a couple of years ago told me that she had dropped from the marathon to the half, but I had a chance to introduce her to Bart. When I told Bart that Heidy was 48, he said, "No way." I get to do neat things!

Saturday, October 1
New Hampshire Half Marathon (Bristol, NH)
Time: 2:14:05
Grade: A- (Really happy with this effort. 7th best half marathon ever.)
Weather: Near-perfect: Cold with a little bit of a mist of rain at the start.
Course: Semi-hilly, especially the first five miles. All of the race was run along country roads which weren't too heavily travelled. That was just about perfect too. I had seen enough trails in the first half of my marathons of 2011 to suit me for awhile.
From home to NH: On the bus on the way out to the start of the point-to-point race, I saw a female runner in the seat to the right of me tearing up. She had an Ironman 70.3 finisher's visor on so I knew that she wasn't in tears as a result of being nervous. I thought about saying something, but I figured that I should just mind my business. After arriving at the start, there was a semi-long line for two port-a-potties. Two young women were talking about relays and I piped in about the Texas Independence Relay to which the women on the bus (who was from Dallas) talked about the weather variation at that time of year. She was standing in front of me in the port-a-john line when I heard her ask the woman in front of me if there was bus service from the next town south. An odd question I surmised. As we waited for the start (~30 minutes), I struck up a conversation and found out that she flew north to meet a man who was more into her than she was into him. His reaction to her assessment the evening and night before scared her and how he might respond when the race was finished (he was running the marathon) when she was to tell him that she wanted to go home immediately. Honestly, she intimated that she feared for her safety. I was to be driving over to Portland, Maine after the race. I told her that I had time that if she needed a ride to the Manchester, New Hampshire airport that I would be happy to take her. She had her iPhone so I gave her my name and I had already told her that I wrote for Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine. (This was so if she wanted to check on me to confirm that I wasn't as crazy as the man she had met.) Nothing else was said. During the race, I passed her around mile 8, but I was running pretty well so I didn't stop to talk. After crossing the finish and getting some food and fluids, she crossed later - a surprise because her half marathon PR was about 7 minutes faster than mine - and as soon as she saw me she asked if my offer was still good. It turned out that the reason that I passed her, she had called to speak to a friend who had booked her a ticket on a Southwest flight to go home after the race. She got in my car and I drove her to the bed and breakfast that they had stayed where she proceeded to explain the situation to the front desk clerk who allowed her to go get her things and leave. As we drove out of town, we actually passed him on the course. I dropped her off at the airport and then went on to Maine. And, yes, she later that week added me as a friend on Facebook.

Sunday, October 2
Maine Half Marathon (Portland, ME)
Time: 2:21:12
Grade: B- (This one hurt a little bit after a strong effort on a tougher course the day before.)
Weather: Cold and rainy. At times, the rain, especially in the middle part of the race, came in the form of a downpour.
Course: Some rollers on a four-mile, out-and-back section between miles 5 and 8, but otherwise flat. And all on the roads.
From home to ME: Many people were using the New Hampshire and Maine races to do a marathon double for their 50 states quest. For me they were states 35 and 36 in my half marathon 50 states journey. I saw Steve and Paula Boone from Humble at both races and I knew that Houston's Yong Collins and Pearland's Rhonda Emerson (who I saw in Wisconsin) were both there. TWRC's own Susan Rouse, who I didn't see, was adding state #40 with a marathon finish that day.

Sunday, October 9
Gulf Coast Half Marathon (Mandeville, LA)
Time: 2:15:49
Grade: B+ (Wasn't expecting to post my 11th best half time ever after a back-to-back half weekend.)
Weather: A crisp cool in the air at the start with winds coming off Lake Ponchatrain near miles 7 and 8 that kept it cool until the temperatures started to pick up in the last three miles.
Course: Fast and flat. The first 10 miles were on the roads and streets of Mandeville before entering a very straight trail system for the last three miles to the finish.
From home to LA: This was a special trip. Bill Dwyer ran his first half marathon in approximately four years. (I ran the first almost 9 miles in Austin with him that year in 2008, but I would leave the pacing duties to Leeann Rosser, George Roffe and Leeann's best friend, Surona Cousins, for Bill's return to the half marathon distance.) Adrienne Langelier made the drive over with Bill and I where we also met up with Randy Smith and his three children, George and Trudy Regnier, and Rebecca Massie from Alabama, her boyfriend, Keith, and a few of their running friends from Alabama. Second best road trip of the year!

Sunday, October 16
IMT Des Moines Marathon (Des Moines, IA)
Time: 5:04:07
Grade: B+ (Really happy with my 5th best marathon time ever to date.)
Weather: Weather couldn't have been better for this race. Cool the whole way to the finish.
Course: Fairly hilly until we hit a two-mile trail system at approximately mile 17. We passed the mile 12 marker on the track of the home of the Drake Relays. (For fun, I crouched down in a sprinter's stance on the track for the Brightroom photographer. It hurt my neck getting back up. However, I got a round of applause from a half dozen spectators in the stadium's bleachers.)
From home to IA: The closest thing to a hometown in-person encounter was seeing San Antonio's Gary Brimmer at the Expo. Evan Guy introduced me to Gary and one of his runners, Donna Palisca, at the very last Sunmart in Huntsville a few years ago. Gary sells "The Stick" and is at many expos (he's always at Houston if you want to buy the product at the Expo) and he told me that Donna would be shooting for a Trials time at the Philadelphia Marathon towards the end of November.

Saturday, October 29
Spinx Run Fest Marathon (Greenville, SC)
Time: 4:58:30
Grade: A- (Really good race. First time under 5 hours since last November. Lost nearly four minutes in the port-a-john.)
Weather: Cool once again, but just a tad bit windy.
Course: Hilly for the first four miles on city streets until we hit a trail system that we stayed on until approximately mile 10. We left the trail for a seven-mile, clockwise loop that brought us back through the Furman University campus and then back on the trail system near mile 20. The last mile and a half is back on the streets with a finish in the minor league baseball park near home plate.
From home to SC: Through a couple of Facebook photos, I knew that Penn State grad Dane Rauschenberg as well as Steve and Paula Boone were going to be there. I never saw Dane, but I did see Steve before the race as we tried to stay warm inside the ballpark. Stopping by to talk for a little: former Olympian Jeff Galloway.

Saturday, November 5
Indianapolis Monumental Marathon (Indianapolis, IN)
Time: 5:25:41
Grade: C (Had a 4:48 pace through mile 18, but shut it down by mile 19 and settled for a finish.)
Weather: Nothing to complain about. Maybe even a little too cool at the start, but really felt good in the front half. A light to mild wind kept things chilly until the finish. Course: Pretty flat, especially the first half of the course.
From home to IN: No close encounters of the Texas kind, but I did find out later that The Woodlands' John Slate - a member of the Seven Hills Running Club had been there as well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Race Report

First of all, Rebecca Massie: This race has your name all over it! Just put it on your calendar now!

Bill Dwyer has told me that I'll learn a lot about myself during the course of a 100-miler. Heck, I'm learning a lot about myself now in trying to get ready for it!

The first thing is: Unless your Dick Beardsley, you can't expect to go out and beat your time marathon after marathon. Especially when you're doing them so close together. My fifth best marathon ever was three weeks ago. The fourth best last Saturday. To think that I might be able to get under 4:58 again, even with cool weather, was a little bit of a reach. If it happened, great. If not, it would turn out to be a long, paid and supported training run.

That's called Plan A to Plan B. And that's what transpired around miles 17 and 18 at today's Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.

The original plan was to go out and try to run as steady as possible for as long as I could and see what happened. If I was in striking distance of five hours again, fine. If not, then my plan was to shut it down and save myself a little bit to try and get some revenge in the City of Brotherly Love in two weeks. (That statement seems like an oxymoron, doesn't it?)

While I was sitting in a warm car in a parking garage just a block or two from the starting line, I talked to Bill and told him that my head really wasn't in this one. It wasn't a negative thing. It might have just been because the travel and all was catching up with me. He said to go out and approach it as if I was getting ready to start the fourth loop of the Rocky Raccoon 100 and that I had just done 60 miles and didn't feel like running another step. As I got out on the course, I was appreciative that I had a friend who knew me pretty well and how to motivate me - without being phony and rah-rah. That's something that I truly appreciate.

At about 7:40 a.m. (Indiana is Eastern time), I made my way to the start area. I lined up in the 11-12 minute per mile area and at 8 a.m., we were off. It took almost six minutes for me to get across the line and the fact that we serenpentined through the city for the first six miles, I felt like I didn't get off to a blazing fast start even though my watch was suggesting it a little.

Mile 1 - 10:41.63
Mile 2 - 10:22.94 (21:04.57)
Mile 3 - 10:30.16 (31:34.73)
Mile 4 - 10:19.87 (41:54.60)
Mile 5 - 11:02.22 (52:56.82)
Mile 6 - 10:09.10 (1:03:05.92)

Fortunately, this is one of these races that I don't remember a lot of specific details. Except for Pacer Jim. Oh my goodness. This guy was leading the 4:40 pace group and telling jokes, which were bad. And every once in awhile he'd say, "And we're still on pace!" Narcissism must have been his major in college.1:1 I understand that there's a little rah-rah in leading a pace group, but this guy's next gig was going to be to put on a wig and certain attire and go be a Colts cheerleader.

Mile 7 - 10:43.56 (1:13:49.48)
Mile 8 - 10:46.82 (1:24:36.30)
Mile 9 - 10:48.80 (1:35:25.10)
Mile 10 - 10:57.64 (1:46:22.74)

Around this area, I talked with a young lady who was working on her first marathon. It is always encouraging to see the excitement and passion of others for them to be enjoying something so much.

Mile 11 - 11:17.18 (1:57:39.92)
Mile 12 - 11:09.77 (2:08:49.69)
Mile 13 - 11:16.47 (2:20:06.16)

I remember getting to the halfway point and I could start to feel that I was getting gassed a little. Not from an oxygen debt standpoint, but just my overall body. As I made my way towards the mile 14 marker, I had heard on the medical crew's bicycle radio that somebody on the course had been hit by a car.

Mile 14 - 11:12.95 (2:31:19.11)
Mile 15 - 11:36.00 (2:42:55.11)

Even though I was still on a 4:48 marathon (11-minute per mile) pace, my body was hurting - specifically my midsection - by the time I got to the mile 18 mile marker. It was then that I started to do the math -- 16 times eight equal was 2:08. Add that to the 3:20 and I was happy with that finishing time. I know that sounds like I was giving up, but my goal is to run a 100-miler ... not a PR every time out. And that is where my focus has changed a little bit.

Mile 16 - 12:13.63 (2:55:08.74)
Mile 17 - 12:43.25 (3:07:51.99)
Mile 18 - 12:57.23 (3:20:49.22)

I ran some in mile 19, specifically a downhill even, but you couldn't tell if I had.

Mile 19 - 14:48.35 (3:35:37.57)
Mile 20 - 15:02.72 (3:50:40.29)
Mile 21 - 15:34.44 (4:06:14.73)
Mile 22 - 16:27.15 (4:22:41.88)

In mile 23, it took me the entire mile to eat all of pretzels out of a dixie cup and before and after, I had a bite sized Snickers bar. I figured that I'm going to have to eat real food - and not just gels - in the 100-miler so I might as well start practicing.

Mile 23 - 15:59.23 (4:38:40.11)
Mile 24 - 15:45.49 (4:54:25.60)
Mile 25 - 15:28.47 (5:09:54.07)
Mile 26 - 13:40.09 (5:23:34.16)
Last .2 - 2:08.00 (5:25:42.16)

The one thing that has changed for me in this journey to attempting the Rocky Raccoon 100 in February is that my frame of mind on the course is 200% better than it has ever been and I'm thankful for that.

Even this last week, I was finally able to completely - and hopefully once and for all - set aside something that has dominated my emotions since March 2010.

A year ago, I had made the trip to Panama City Beach, Florida with my good friend John Laskowski to see more than 20 local athletes complete Ironman Florida. I was in pain much of the trip. Early the month before, physical pain in my lower back revealed two protruding discs. Three months later, I would make the realization that it came from stress in the body that caused for the nerve root endings to become inflamed.

Even though I'll always be sad with everything that came about for me to finally be able to set things aside, I'm thankful that in my post-race phone conversation with Bill Dwyer that I came away from today's race with many things that I can take away and learn from -- without a negative thought.

I had had the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on my schedule for quite some time; however, when I found out that I could add another marathon in Greenville, South Carolina the week before, I did so and it may have compromised a better performance.

Now the goal for the next two weeks is to do enough cardio work to maybe drop a couple of pounds, but to get my legs and lower back ready to go for the rematch with the Philadelphia Marathon course. And the two best things from it is that I'll get to travel with Waverly to a race and then go see my grandparents in central Pennsylvania before Thanksgiving.

All in all, I'm still pleased. To go out and finish a third one in four weeks after you have put down your fourth and fifth best performances ever is nice. BUT it is time for a little bit of a break. The remainder of preparation will continue to be challenging.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cheapest Marathons in Texas as of 11/1/11?

Given each remaining marathon to be held in the state of Texas through April of 2012 and its current price on the race's website, here is a list in low-to-high order:

Marathon - Half - Date - Event (Through Date)
$ 55 - $ 55 - 4/14/12 - Davy Crockett Bear Chase Marathon, Groveton (until 1/31)
$ 60 - $ 60 - 2/18/12 - OverNite Software Surfside Beach Marathon (unknown)
$ 60 - $ 60 - 12/31/11 - New Year's Eve Marathon, Allen (until 11/30)
$ 60 - $ 60 - 1/ 1/12 - New Year's Day Marathon, Allen (until 11/30)
$ 65 - $ 45 - 12/11/11 - Fiesta Marathon, McAllen (until Expo)

$ 70 - $ 50 - 2/ 5/12 - Michelob Ultra El Paso Marathon (until 12/31)
$ 70 - $ 50 - 2/11/12 - Orphan Hope Trail Run Marathon, Huntsville (until 12/31)
$ 70 - $ 60 - 3/10/12 - Exygon and Baptist Hospitals The Gusher Marathon, Beaumont (until 11/30)
$ 75 - $ 75 - 3/18/12 - Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon (until 12/25)
$ 80 - $ 65 - 4/15/12 - Big-D Texas Marathon, Dallas (until 1/15)

$ 85 - $ 65 - 12/11/11 - Double Decker Marathon, Austin (until 12/1)
$ 85 - $ 65 - 2/ 5/12 - Galveston Mardi Gras Marathon (until 12/6)
$ 95 - $ 65 - 2/26/12 - Cowtown Marathon, Fort Worth (until 11/15)
$100 - $ 80 - 11/13/11 - Fort Worth Marathon (Until 11/10)
$100 - $ 85 - 1/29/12 - Waco Professional Firefighters Assoc. Miracle Match Marathon (until 1/21)

$110 - $ 85 - 1/29/12 - USA Fit Marathon, Sugar Land (until 12/14)
$115 - $ 85 - 3/ 3/12 - My Fit Foods The Woodlands Marathon (until 1/31)
$120 - $100 - 11/13/11 - Rock 'N Roll San Antonio Marathon (until 11/6)
$125 - $100 - 12/ 4/11 - metroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon (until 11/25)
$130 - $ 95 - 2/19/12 - Livestrong Austin Marathon (until sellout)

Closed - 11/19/11 - Reliant Stadium Indoor Marathons of America
Sold Out - 12/11/11 - Atkinson Toyota Bryan/College Station Marathon
Sold Out - 1/ 1/12 - Texas Marathon, Kingwood
Sold Out - 1/15/12 - Chevron Houston Marathon

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Spinx Run Fest Marathon Splits - Greenville, SC

Not only was today my 34th marathon and 21st in a different state, it was almost seven years to the day of my very first marathon - the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.

The weather was absolutely perfect for today's Spinx Run Fest Marathon and the day was beautiful, especially some of the scenery as the fall leaves are hundred different colors here. (The "on the course" scenery wasn't too bad either.)

The only person that I knew was Humble's Steve Boone. He was running his 493rd marathon so that the Chevron Houston Marathon will be his 500th in January. While we were talking, up walked Jeff Galloway. Sweet! Nice guy. Two weeks ago, Yasso and Ulrich. This week, Galloway.

The first four miles were on Greenville city streets. Part of the third mile, on Washington Street, had a couple of inclines on it that made it a little tougher than the first two.

Mile 1/2 - 20:30.19
Mile 3 - 11:55.83 (32:26.02)
Mile 4 - 10:17.71 (42:43.73)

The next five miles were on a paved asphalt trail system that ever-so-slightly went uphill. That meant that we'd get it back later!

Mile 5 - 10:40.62 (53:24.35)
Mile 6 - 10:49.28 (1:04:13.63)
Mile 7 - 10:41.83 (1:14:55.46)
Mile 8 - 10:49.14 (1:25:44.60)
Mile 9 - 10:41.53 (1:36:26.13)

Mile 10 navigated a road near Furman University and it was a little bit uphill as we left the asphalt trail. It would lead to a 7-mile loop that would drop us back at Furman and take us through the campus and around Furman Lake.

Mile 10 - 11:13.72 (1:47:39.85)
Mile 11 - 11:33.44 (1:59:13.29)
Mile 12 - 10:27.19 (2:09:40.48)
Mile 13 - 12:07.25 (2:21:47.73)
Mile 14 - 11:06.13 (2:32:53.86)

At mile 8 (not 9 where it was located on the course map), there was a porta-potty. However, I would have lost a lot more time because I would have had to wait for one person that was already waiting. I didn't know, though, where the next one was.

But just before the mile 15 marker, the next one appeared. I slowed down in mile 13 above to see if I could investigate going in the Green Valley Country Club.

I took a 3-minute, 43-second penalty. Yikes. Had I not had to take that, I would have been on a 4:48 pace until mile 21. Sad, but at the same time it kind of kept me jazzed through the race.

Mile 15 - 16:19.99 - 12:36.90 (2:49:13.85 - 2:45:30.76)
Mile 16 - 9:56.75 (2:59:10.60 - 2:55:26.51)
Mile 17 - 10:55.94 (3:10:06.54 - 3:06:22.45)
Mile 18 - 11:20.86 (3:21:27.40 - 3:17:43.31)
Mile 19 - 11:34.20 (3:33:01.60 - 3:29:17.51)

The next four miles is where a sub 5-hour time was made by not allowing any of those miles to slip over 12 minutes.

Mile 20 - 11:18.69 (3:44:20.29 - 3:40:36.20)
Mile 21 - 11:22.73 (3:55:43.02 - 3:51:58.93)
Mile 22 - 11:58.14 (4:07:41.16 - 4:03:57.07)
Mile 23 - 11:31.88 (4:19:13.04 - 4:15:28.95)
Mile 24 - 12:21.34 (4:31:34.38 - 4:27:50.29)
Mile 25 - 12:09.72 (4:43:44.10 - 4:40:00.01)

After we came off of the trail and back on to city streets, I had some fear that the 5-hour time might slip away. I fought off the urge to walk more than I did and gutted it out to get my time under 5 hours for only the fourth time ever.

Mile 26 - 12:08.04 (4:55:52.14 - 4;52:08.05)
Last .2 - 2:38.00 (4:58:30.14 - 4:54:46.05)

Very, very pleased with my effort today.

Literally was in tears as I placed a couple of post-race phone calls. If I'm successful with Rocky Raccoon in February, I'll share why. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mid-Week Marathon Ramblings

Saturday, in Greenville, South Carolina, I will embark on my ninth marathon of the year. Not that big of a deal, but certainly a different challenge as I continue to prepare myself for February's Rocky Raccoon 100. Not only have I seen some progress in the physical aspects of my running, but more importantly the mental approach.

I know from talking with Bill Dwyer and others that there are going to be some challenging times in both of these areas in the up to 30 hours that I have to tackle such an arduous challenge. So I figure while I'm making a financial investment to run marathons away from Texas (better weather and races in different states), I'd better work hard on the things that I'll need to complete my goal.

Yet the goal of finishing a 100-miler isn't all-consuming. Honestly, I don't want it to be. I'm sure that there are those who will think that I won't be successful, but I'm wired a little bit differently. My sense of accomplishment comes from a completely different place, I think, then many. Even though the challenges may seem to be far greater, I sense that my satisfaction won't be any greater than writing an excellent story, putting on a race or seeing Waverly succeed in something that she has set out to do.

Basically, I'm optimistically cautious about the event that is just over 100 days away. And at the same time, there's a part of me that's scared. It isn't that I'm afraid of failing. That's very real in a 100-miler. Maybe there's a part of me that's afraid to actually be able to do it. Almost seems a little perverse.

One of the things that Bill and I have already talked about, for example, are pacers after mile 60. Those individuals that I choose to cover some miles with me are certainly going to have to realize that there may be some stretches that will be all about "keep moving" as opposed to actually running. Yet I'm excited to share the experience with some hand-picked individuals who can conform to the approach that I think I'll need to be successful during that stretch. Rah-rah, "you can do this" types need not apply.

For me, it is all about figuring it out by myself or with a little bit of help or collaboration. That is where Bill has been such an asset to me - in addition to having finished two 100-milers himself. He knows what it takes to complete the goal, but he's probably the person who knows my mental makeup better than anyone else. We've also talked about communication methods during the race to ensure that I stay in the right frame of mind to accomplish the goal.

I'm very eager to build the right support crew to assist me in being successful. In that sense, it is very exciting. As this is something that I'm not doing alone. Sure, I have to put one foot in front of the other for 100 miles, but it is a team approach and I'm excited about sharing the experience with others who have earned the chance to be a part.

And even though there's some sharing involved, the oxymoron of it all is that I really don't want to make a big deal about things! Go figure!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Worth The Hurt - San Francisco Marathon Race Report

It is 1:45 a.m. Monday morning and - like Kona last month - I can't sleep.

I purposedly stayed away from any caffeine post-race. Surely those two post-race Jamba Juice banana-strawberry smoothies at the finish line didn't have the equivalent of a Mountain Dew.

Maybe I'm awake with enthusiasm for the effort. Yep, that's it.

I know that 5:18:02 isn't something to write home about for many of my running friends, but given the circumstances of how I run marathons, etc. it is pretty pleasing.

It was my 9th fastest of 28 marathon finishes, and it is right at the dividing line between quality efforts and "a finish".

I'm very fortunate to be able to say that I can go out and run a marathon at any time. Not with any cockiness, mind you, but I love being able to say that. "That" is my biggest athletic achievement, for sure. While an Ironman is something that a lot of people can't get their mind around, many also can't when you tell them that you didn't necessarily train normally. Like I said, that's my fun.

But ... I'm very thankful that I have the financial resources to be able to do this as well as the physical abilities. My life is rich with experiences that many others don't have the opportunity to experience and I never, ever forget that.

I'm really pleased that I managed this race very, very well.

Some of the normal pain was mitigated a little bit by a steady diet of Tylenol pre-race. This is something that I picked up a few years ago from Niki Bellnoski (then Swearingen) of the Seven Hills Running Club.

I had a pre-race banana while walking from my hotel to the start.

I had plenty of pre-race fluids. I was nursing a bottle of Powerade at the start and carried the bottle with me for the first four miles.

Because of the cool temperatures, I wore gloves the entire time, which also served to be able to carry three Gu or Power Bar gels - two chocolate and one strawberry banana. I picked up two on the course. I used four and was left with one. I used them at about every 70 minutes. (Nutrition is something that I'm going to have to pay close attention to at Rocky Raccoon. That and fluid intake are my biggest fears to be honest.)

I stayed on top of my electrolytes. They had some product called UltraLyte Electrolyte. It was actually pretty palatable to the stomach. (I won't comment on what it looked like though!)

And the weather was in my favor the whole race. The sun never came out (although I got some extra burn on my scalp from Saturday.) It was between low 50's and the mid 60's with occasional cool breezes. My kind of weather!

They had an 8-wave starting system. The elites went off at 5:30 a.m. and I was in wave 7, which had a 6:22 a.m. start. My hotel, which was about 7 blocks down Folsom from the start/finish, gave me a 2 p.m. late checkout since I'm a Platinum Premier member with Marriott and it allowed me to not have to leave my room until 5:30 a.m.

The waves were necessary because of the spacing on the Golden Gate Bridge, which, of course, has inclines - but very, very cool to run over. Just as cool as the Verrazano Narrows at the INY New York City Marathon!

I made a conscious decision to start at the front of the wave. Well, somebody helped me make it!

I saw this cute woman who had an uncanny resemblance to someone in our local athletic communities. The similarities were striking. As the waves started to walk up to the start line, where Runner's World's Bart Yasso was holding court as the race's Court Jester, I found out that she was doing her first marathon! Very cool.

Mile 1 - 10:00
Mile 2 - 10:37

I had to remind myself that I wasn't trying to PR at the half marathon. Big mistake at Philadelphia in November was made when I went 2:11 in the front half only to go 2:40 on the back half. Plus, this was supposed to be one of many training runs for Rocky Raccoon in February. These two miles ran us through Fisherman's Wharf and past Ghiradelli Chocolate.

Mile 3 - 11:55

This mile had the first of many hills. The elevation chart shows about a 100-foot climb on the back side of Nob Hill. I told myself, "I'm training for an ultra. Walk the uphill. Run as much of everything else."

Mile 4 - 10:34
Mile 5 - 11:13

These two miles gave us beautiful views from the shoreline of the Golden Gate Bridge. Wow. Nice. Still feeling really good. Trying to take it easy. Midway through mile 4, I hear "We are ...." from behind and I rattled off "Penn State". It was Dane Rauscheberg. He and Sam Falsenfeld started at the very back and were passing people to raise money for charity. You could contribute $2.62 as part of your registration toward their causes. I did.

I was also keeping my eye on the cutie in the all purple outfit that was at the starting line too. :)

Mile 6 - 12:48

A couple of steep climbs. A little over 100-foot gain from the mile 5 marker to the half way point and then another 100-foot gain to the mile 6 sign, which was about in the middle of the bridge. Wall to wall people on the bridge, but very cool.

Mile 7 - 10:41
Mile 8 - 11:48
Mile 9 - 10:47

All three of these mile markers are on the bridge. You climb to a little over 250 feet of elevation at mile markers 6.5 and 8.5. You actually go off of the bridge and into a pull-out parking lot that looks back over the bay and the city off to the side of the bridge.

At about mile 8.5, I asked if she was "from around here". She said that she was from Ohio. I told her that I had worked in the Youngstown area back in 2006. She was from close to there, as it turned out: Warren, Ohio. She said she was enjoying the marathon so far and that she had to stop and take some pictures. Gee thanks ... that means she would have been kicking my butt otherwise.

Mile 10 - 11:50
Mile 11 - 10:44

Mile 10 was brutal. You dropped about a 100 feet in the first half of the mile and then climbed 150 to get to the mile 10 marker. This put you firmly in the Presidio, where they have a tough 10-mile race there.

Mile 11 wasn't any prettier. It was a crushing 230-foot drop in elevation. I tried to keep from crushing my quads by running down the hill in a zig zag motion. Looks kind of silly, but it keeps from punishing them when you need them later on in the race. (Thank goodness that there won't be any of that silliness at Rocky.)

Mile 12 - 12:14
Mile 13 - 12:15

This put us through what was known as Sea Cliff and into Golden Gate Park. Mile 12 included about a 140-foot climb and then mile 13 had two dips and one climb of about 50 feet each.

Mile 14 - 10:57

The cramping started to occur here and I got concerned that this was going to be another Kona, but much cooler outside (which can have its own negative effect since you're not generating much body heat from walking). I just simply took the time to rub it out as well as walking backwards when I needed to.

Mile 15 - 12:56
Mile 16 - 12:37
Mile 17 - 12:08

Still in the Park, I constantly was fighting off the cramps. At the mile 14 marker, you are at about 75 feet above sea level. At mile 16.5, you get to 300 feet. Seriously, this course was a continuous beast.

I found out that she was celebrating her 40th birthday ("in the last month") by doing a destination marathon instead of one in her home state. And while walking backwards up the hill, I found out her bib number was 10341. It didn't have her name on the bib, but some other odd spelling. Didn't want to make it look obvious that I was looking for it. :)

Mile 18 - 11:48

This is where Barbara Kosinski, who I found out from the results, got a burst of energy and as you could tell, I tried to put the hammer down, so to speak, and keep up. She kind of dropped me like a bad habit. :) No doubt, 17-plus miles of motivation. Thanks Barbara! A very nice woman to talk to!

Mile 19 - 12:48 (3:40:40)
Mile 20 - 12:07 (3:52:47)
Mile 21 - 12:21 (4:05:08)

The 19-mile marker was at the end of the Park and miles 20 and 21 came in the Haight Asbury section (yes, there were some folks who look like they were still stoning from the 70s) and into The Mission part of San Francisco. It also took us from about 250 feet of elevation to just under 50 feet.

I was very pleased to be at mile 20 in 3:52 and change, given the constant course elevation change. I took note that my cardio was in great shape. It was just that everything from my mid-section down were things that I am going to need to focus on - core and leg strength, cramping and foot care.

Mile 22 - 14:24
Mile 23 - 14:48
Mile 24 - 13:07
Mile 25 - 15:45
Mile 26 - 12:42
Last .2 - 2:10

These miles probably cost me a low 5:10 marathon, but again: this was an expensive ($162) training run. And I had done really, really well given my style of preparation.

I walked back to the hotel, got on Facebook a little bit, got a shower, grabbed something at Starbucks before getting my car and making the drive back to Fresno (to swap cars) and then on here to Tulare, California for work. I was sitting in Chili's treating myself by 7 p.m.!

On the drive, I talked to Bill Dwyer and I was just really estatic about the effort. Really looking forward to Bill's input as I make the journey to February. There are many more marathons to run between here and then. Honestly, it is the only way that I'll get ready.

Thanks for reading and sharing in the experience!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Back to the Basics - San Francisco Marathon

When I started to run (never fast, mind you) back in 2003, I kept track of everything - how many races I ran and of what distance, and so on.

I still do, but to a much more limited extent (pretty much just marathons and half marathons). 27 and 70-something. 14 and 34 states, respectively.

And, it is pretty easy to remember that I've done three duathlons too.

When I say "back to the basics", I guess I mean from a pre-race preparation standpoint. I'm in San Francisco, California right now, waiting to start what I hope to be my 28th career marathon finish. (I've started 29 to date, but DNF'd at both the West Texas Crossroads Marathon in Odessa and an edition of the Surfside Beach Marathon. Both at mile 23, by the way.)

My best friend, and coach (when I want to be coached, that is), Bill Dwyer tells all of his runners a couple of things - 1.) Friday night is when you should attempt to get your best night's sleep before a marathon and 2.) the day before your marathon you should be off of your feet as much as possible.

I did those two things this time - as opposed to last month's Kona Marathon where I attended a charity 5K, flew from Houston to Los Angeles to Kona, got four hours of sleep in a hotel bed and the finished the race with a PW (personal worst) and an IV. Yeah, one of those that go in your arm. Nice! :)

And I used to blog all the time.

As I begin my journey to February's Rocky Raccoon 100-miler, I plan on going back to my roots - and doing more races! I have five marathons already scheduled - 2 for September, 2 for December and, of course, Houston in January.

When I schedule out-of-town marathons, it is really based on whether I can fit it into my schedule or not. That is, around my full-time job. The only reason that I am doing the San Francisco Marathon is because I am working in the central California valley during the week. It was easy to say, "I'll stay over the weekend and drive up and run this marathon."

I rarely am ever concerned about the course profile, etc. It is all about the travel logistics. The biggest thing this weekend for me is getting the 2 p.m. late checkout on Sunday.

My wave starts at 6:22 a.m. (The elites go off at 5:30 a.m.) The start is six blocks down Folsom Street. (I'm at the Marriott Courtyard at 2nd and Folsom in the Financial District.) As long as I keep it under six hours (which I dearly hope so with the GREAT weather), I should be fine.

I'll repeat that rationale of thinking in September when I go to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Quad Cities, Illinois (really Moline and Burlington, Iowa) and fly out of Omaha, Nebraska and Chicago, respectively.

So it is almost 9 p.m. Pacific time and I have plenty of water and Powerade here, Tylenol Extra (which I've been taking since yesterday) and food for in the morning. I'm more planned then I've been in a long, long while.

Did I say that the weather was GREAT?!

People are wearing jackets and coats. For me, that is absolutely perfect! I'm debating between wearing my 2010 Chevron Houston Marathon finisher's shirt or my Penn State long sleeve technical shirt. Either way, I'll represent well!

Small world story today. As I was going down the elevator here at the hotel, a woman stepped on it at the 11th floor. Oddly enough, I recognized her! She had on a 2008 Love The Half jacket (which is a program that my friend Paula Robertson of Dallas put on for many years to encourage people to run more half marathons.)

We walked about half way to the Expo when some things that she was telling me confirmed that it was Maggie Mount of Rockwall, Texas, who was chasing half marathons on the list and has done the Texas Marathon Triple. I told her that I was the finish line announcer at both Kingwood and Seabrook. And that I knew that her and her husband, Robert, from it! I texted Seabrook race director Robby Sabban and his reply was, "Great stuff!"

Once I got to the Expo, I saw Dane Rauschenberg - a Penn Stater who ran 52 marathons on 52 weekends in 2008. Marshall Ulrich and Bart Yasso were both there signing their books, but I didn't stop to listen either one of them speak. (I think Marshall was yesterday and Bart was today.)

The Expo was nowhere near like anything Houston, Boston or New York City does.

I had lunch at Amici's and had a mini, 7-inch pizza titled, "Philly". I figured I might try to channel the 4:51 from last November. I'd like to get back there, but I have to remember that I can't run a PR marathon time while doing a 100-miler either. The restaraunt was very close to AT&T Park where the San Francisco Giants play.

I walked around and in the Park a little bit and then went back to the hotel and actually slept some during the afternoon.

Even though I don't train traditionally, I know that I can finish a marathon at any time. And tomorrow, I hope to be no different.

I'm really looking forward to be running more marathons - and enjoying them!