Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lake Houston 10K (Kingwood) Race Report

I wasn't completely sure of the objective when I originally signed up for the Lake Houston 10K, but I figured that it would be another opportunity to push myself a little bit and continue to see where I stand as part of the long build-up for Rocky Raccoon 100 in February.

I had a couple of good workouts this week, but my sleep has been erratic recently.  However, I'm thankful that I have no major stress in my life.  It hasn't been that way in a long, long time.

I enjoy racing as much as I do because invariably it is time that I get to socialize with friends that I wouldn't necessarily do separate things with.

I guess since coming back from Alaska, the humidity has been pretty oppressive to me. 

And it did a number on me on this morning.  Well, that and a rookie mistake.

Two weeks ago, I went to Navasota to run the Blues Capital of Texas 5K with Leanne Rosser and the humidity brought me to a halt a number of times over 3.1 miles.

After the first 6-7 miles last Saturday, during a planned 14-mile run, the humidity left me completely soaked and spent by mile 8.  So much so that I was starting to take chills.

The rookie mistake?  Too much pre-race fuel too close to the start of the race.

Since I've run the Bridgefest 5K in Kingwood before, I knew that this was generally going to be a flat course.

I tried to keep things controlled the first mile, and I was pretty successful with a 9:27.01 mile.

I had the traditional drop-off in mile 2 with a 9:59.02 and with a 10:08.02 third mile, I was sitting at 29:34.05 for three and thought that if I could hold it that I could be close to an hour.

Obviously, the humidity had other thoughts on its mind and my legs wanting to try and run 9:15's but the rest of my body resisting.

Miles 4 and 5 went by in 10:44.14 and 10:58.05 and Curtis Hooper probably saved me from a 1:03-plus by coming out and running with me for a good bit of the 6th mile.

So the final time on my watch was 1:02:56, but the timer had 1:02:42. 

This may very well have been because I remember hitting my watch when people started to move, but am not sure that I did when I crossed the mat.  I thought I did, but possibly not.

A couple of side notes:

I had one of my best friends write me this morning, to follow-up on a post-race conversation, and they said, "You look good -- happy, healthy, and when I saw you running you looked strong and steady."

I think it was somewhere close to the mile 4 marker, but strong and steady had about left the course. 

Healthy?  Generally, I am.  My weight is in a good spot.  Clothes fit well and I'm working out regularly.  I just would like to be in a good spot to be successful in February.

Happy?  That's probably a fair statement too.

My daughter and I had a conversation today after church this morning and I shared with her that I think that people's perception of me is that I'm on top of everything and that life is grand.  But, of course, I have challenges, fears, insecurities and all just like the next person.

Do I purposedly go out of my way to mask them?  No, but if they're greater one day than another, I'll say that I'm "good" as opposed to "well".  I won't lie, but I'll do my best to pick the right word that is truthful.

I had another friend a couple of months back ask me at lunch if I was doing Rocky Raccoon for the belt buckle.  Honestly, I could care less about that and it isn't something that I'm going to wear out anywhere.

Even the one reason that I've joked about a little bit really isn't important either.

And I shared this with Waverly today, I hope to finish it for the same reasons that I was excited for her to do the half marathon that she did at the age of 10 and that was that she could set her mind to something greater than herself whenever she "wanted" to.

With "want" being the operative word.

Never to "want" to be selfish as if to say, "Look at me and look at what I've accomplished and I'm better than you because of it." But rather, I'd like to do that just to see if I can.

I'm very fortunate to be able to finish a marathon at just about anytime.  Not everyone has that specific desire nor drive.  It is a little bit quirky, but it gives me the ability to tell others that if I can, where I'm at, they can if they "want" to.

And if they don't, that's all well and good too.

The "Who was there?" report:

This, of course, is the most fun part, for me.  Because it is easy to forget a race, but hard to forget the people that I come in contact with - even if their life doesn't agree with mine.

I knew Robby Sabban and Richard and Kim Mac Namee were going to be there and I knew that Jack McClintic's timing company was going to be there.  And Jack was there to do the timing himself.

Beyond that, Ron and Karen Berglund from Kingwood; Curtis Hooper and Rick Frank (yes, they kind of go together!); Jay, Kelly and Nathan Oswald; Randy Bradley and Randy Smith from The Woodlands Running Club; George Roffe and Trudy Regnier; Benjamin and Sydney Zywicki; Bob Milligan from BARC and the Clear Lake Fitness Club, and I even talked to Cindy (Middleton), I think, who had been a personal trainer at the Bally's that I go to in Humble.

Really, really good day that was finished off at Hubbell and Hudson in The Woodlands with a visit with Michell Bradie, Mary Carter, Bill Dwyer and Debbie Tripp.

Next up?  The 8th annual Beneezy Purple Monkey 10K in Alvin next Saturday morning.

Two marathons on the dance card as well:  Bozeman (Montana) on Sunday, September 9 and the Maine Marathon (Portland) on Sunday, September 30.

Monday, August 20, 2012

HARRA Board Meeting Notes - August 20, 2012

I had my first chance in quite some time to attend a HARRA Board meeting.

For those who are not familiar with running in the greater Houston area, HARRA stands for the Houston Area Road Runners Association. It has been around in its current form since the early 1990s when it transitioned from the former Long Distance Running Committee of the predecessor to today's USA Track & Field.

Board meetings are open to all current members. Membership each year is $25 for an individual and $35 for a household and it includes an annual subscription to Texas Runner and Triathlete as well as discounts to many races around the city.

Enough of the primer, I suppose.

My original plan was to write a news article for Texas Runner and Triathlete's web site. However, some events caused me to take a more personal position on some things.

I served officially on the Board of HARRA as the VP, Communications for a little more than four years and then filled in on an interim basis after Mark Fraser suddenly passed away last year. And, as many of you are aware, I continue to serve the running community in a number of different roles.

I think what I'm trying to say is that, even though I haven't been to a Board meeting in a long time because of my business travel, I have a pretty good handle on many facets of the sport.

HARRA's current president is Joe Carey. I was fortunate to witness the genesis of his involvement in our running community many,many years ago. He watched, listened and learned the in's and out's of the sport(s) and got involved not only competing, but in giving of his time and energies.

One of Joe's mottos is to never criticize a volunteer, which I think is excellent.

That being said, though, I think if you can't fulfill what you commit to, you need to step aside and let somebody else get involved.

How to make that happen is the art of diplomacy, of course.

Tonight's meeting saw Texas Runner and Triathlete's Loren Sheffer bring an idea of establishing a Memorium page on the HARRA website for runners in the community who have passed away. He stated that he saw how one of HARRA's affiliated club, the Seven Hills Running Club, did this on their website.

The Board endorsed the idea in principle pending a prioritization of website issues and general redesign.

My take is that this is really low-hanging fruit with high value. Some general guidelines can be put together as to how many words, etc., a picture or two and the information can be received, written and posted soon after a runner in the community has passed on. The bottom line, though, is that somebody has to own it and keep up with it.

The kickoff of HARRA's Fall Series is impending with the Tornados Running Club's HARRA Cross Country Relay. However, there's just a slight snag. Work is being done on a pedestrian bridge that is near part of the course and until the contractor finishes the work and turns it back over to the City of Houston, the Tornados can't get a permit.

So the Tornados came to the Board, as part of HARRA race course requirements, to inform them that they'll likely open registration next week and work in parallel of either having the race in its usual location or at Spotts Park, as an alternate.

It was later brought up that some of the Series races' race directors had gotten lax in coming in front of the Board to ensure that all of the requirements were in the process of being met.

In a parking lot conversation, I went so far as to say to put races on notice that if they don't comply that they can no longer be a Fall or Spring Series race: simple as that. At all of the distances but two - the 25K and the 30K, there is plenty of competition in the community.

One idea that I've held for a long time is that HARRA could provide races with a certification, so to speak, that they met the same road race requirements that Fall and Spring Series events needed to meet. If a race as HARRA-certified, runners would know that races had insurance, EMT's on-site, a toilet for each 70 runners, parking within a half mile of the start line and many, many other achievable standards.

Joe's biggest mission is one that HARRA's original president, Joy Smith, advocated and that was advocacy. I think that Ron Morgan provided a good lead for Joe to follow.

HARRA is in the process of delivering to those parties that are developing Memorial Park's Master Plan things that it expects to see to meet the needs of Houston's runners that use the Park. Joe reported that he and former HARRA president Steve Shepard had met with folks with the Energy Corridor District to get an update and provide input on their West Houston Trails Master Plan.

Joe also indicated that he would be part of a team that would be meeting with Parks By You and the Houston Parks Board to listen about their plans.

Treasurer Gail Webster provided a financial update and Membership Director Bob Schamus stated that membership is currently over 1,700 for the new membership year that started on July 1. The Bayou City Road Runners, the Bay Area Running Club and the Houston Striders were the three clubs that had brought the most members to the organziation.

Party in the Park, one of HARRA's two annual outreach events, was set for Memorial Park this coming Saturday, August 25. At-large member Lisa Fletcher was in charge of putting this event on with significant help from John Phillips.

Another season of Power In Motion is close to getting started and Joe indicated that he met with a couple of folks with the Houston Marathon Foundation about some additional ways to work together on projects that would benefit the running community.

All but two of the 13 Board members were in attendance as well as former presidents Ron Morgan and John Phillips and HARRA's Equipment Manager (and the state's course certifier) Tom McBrayer.

Honestly, if people want and expect something from HARRA, they need to roll up their sleeves and get involved and help make something happen for all runners in the greater Houston community. It really doesn't take much.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Texas Multisports Facebook Follower Rankings - 8/7/12

This is an initial, but by no means exhaustive list of Texas-based races, organizations, retail stores and event production and timing companies with Facebook pages or groups and their numbers of likes, friends or members.

Any surprises?  Who are some of the big ones that we're missing on this first pass?  (The number of likes were measured this morning, August 7th.)  Let me know!

17,207 - Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop (Austin) - Retail Store
14,422 - RunTex (Austin) - Retail Store
14,313 - Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Marathon - Road Race
12,364 - Austin Marathon & Half Marathon - Road Race
12,293 - Chevron Houston Marathon - Road Race
10,934 - Dallas White Rock Marathon - Road Race
 9,285 - Rock 'n' Roll Dallas Half Marathon - Road Race
 9,249 - Luke's Locker - Retail Store
 6,960 - Run On! Texas - Retail Store
 6,253 - The Cowtown Marathon (Fort Worth) - Road Race
 6,070 - Marathon Kids (Austin) - Organization
 4,706 - Rogue Running (Austin) - Training - Running
 4,330 - Jack and Adam's Bicycles (Austin) - Retail Store
 4,088 - Austin 10/20 - Road Race
 3,932 - Heels and Hills (Irving) - Event Production Company
 3,580 - 3M Half Marathon (Austin) - Road Race
 3,438 - Dallas Running Club - Running Club
 3,312 - Scott & White Healthcare BCS Marathon - Road Race
 3,008 - Tejas Trails - Event Production Company
 2,981 - The Texas Independence Relay - Road Race
 2,774 - The Gusher Marathon (Beaumont) - Road Race
 2,560 - CapTexTri (Austin) - Triathlon
 2,461 - Bike Barn (Houston) - Retail Store
 2,314 - The Woodlands Marathon - Road Race
 1,967 - Run In Texas (Garden Ridge) - Event Production Company
 1,954 - Redemption Race Productions (San Antonio) - Event Production Company
 1,853 - El Paso Marathon - Road Race
 1,794 - OnUrMark Productions (Houston) - Event Production Company
 1,750 - Team In Training - North Texas Chapter - Training - Multisports
 1,699 - Tyler Rose Marathon - Road Race
 1,689 - San Antonio RoadRunners - Running Club
 1,686 - Ironman Texas (The Woodlands) - Triathlon
 1,576 - New Year's Double (Allen) - Road Race
 1,532 - Big D Texas Marathon - Road Race
 1,513 - Brazos Running Company - Retail Store
 1,490 - Sea Rim Striders (Beaumont) - Running Club
 1,438 - Fort Worth Running Company - Retail Store
 1,384 - Dallas Marathon - Road Race
 1,381 - Texas Round-Up (Austin) - Road Race
 1,365 - Fort Worth Runners Club - Running Club
 1,232 - Capital to Coast Relay - Road Race
 1,212 - Austin Runners Club - Running Club
 1,153 - Mellew Production Events (Dallas) - Event Production Company
 1,152 - In Flight Running (Houston) - Training - Running
 1,135 - Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon - Road Race
 1,120 - Fit Tri Run (Galveston) - Retail Store
 1,102 - OnUrLeft Sports Coaching (Houston) - Training - Multisports
 1,019 - Armadillo Dash (College Station) - Road Race
 1,008 - Texas Running Company - Retail Store
   973 - Texas Runner & Triathlete - Magazine
   964 - Soler's Sports (San Antonio) - Retail Store
   962 - Colonel's Bicycles (Fort Worth) - Retail Store
   953 - Ironhead Race Productions (Euless) - Event Production Company
   953 - Houston Racing Triathlon Club - Multisport Club
   922 - OutRival Racing - Training - Multisports
   905 - Corpus Christi Roadrunners - Running Club
   880 - RunFAR Racing Services, Inc. (Mansfield) - Timing Company
   868 - Houston Area Road Runners Association - Organization
   860 - Houston Fit - Training - Running
   855 - Finish Line Sports (Sugar Land) - Retail Store
   835 - IAAP Racing (San Antonio) - Event Production Company
   794 - Kyle Field Ramp Romp (College Station) - Road Race
   724 - Houston Triathlon - Triathlon
   719 - Bayou City Classic 10K - Road Race
   708 - TRI Aggieland - Triathlon
   693 - The Bill Crews Remission Run (Conroe) - Road Race
   638 - Tri Team Transport (Austin) - Retail Service
   619 - North Texas Runners - Running Club
   615 - Too Hot To Handle (Dallas) - Road Race
   600 - The Showdown Half Marathon (Fairview) - Road Race
   597 - La Porte By The Bay Half Marathon - Road Race
   592 - USA Fit Marathon (Sugar Land) - Road Race
   588 - Pleasure Island Bridge Half Marathon (Port Arthur) - Road Race
   585 - USA Fit San Antonio - Training - Running
   580 - Bridgeland Triathlon (Houston) - Triathlon
   571 - Tri On The Run Fitness Center (Houston) - Retail Service
   570 - The Austin Triathlon - Triathlon
   527 - North Texas Trail Runners - Trail Running Club
   518 - Tri On The Run (Houston) - Retail Store
   507 - Burning Pine 5K & 10K (Bastrop) - Road Race
   495 - Kemah Triathlon - Triathlon
   458 - The Rookie Triathlon (Austin) - Triathlon
   444 - Plano Pacers Running Club - Running Club
   422 - Miracle Match Marathon (Waco) - Road Race
   419 - Lonestar Multisport (The Woodlands) - Multisport Club
   417 - The Hottest Half (Dallas) - Road Race
   415 - Houston Striders - Running Club
   412 - The Woodlands Running Club - Running Club
   410 - Houston Trail Runners Extreme (HTRex) - Trail Running Club
   374 - Abilene Runner's Club - Running Club
   370 - Alamo Series (San Antonio) - Road Race Series
   370 - The Texas Bicycle Racing Association - Organization
   353 - Too Cold To Hold 5M/10M - Road Race
   347 - Bay Area Running Club - Running Club
   331 - Fiesta Marathon (McAllen) - Road Race
   329 - The Tyler Azalea 10K - Road Race
   326 - Bayou City Road Runners - Running Club
   318 - Waco Triathlon Club - Triathlon
   318 - GE Run Thru The Woods (The Woodlands) - Road Race
   312 - The Toughest 10K Galveston - Road Race
   309 - Jack's Generic Triathlon (New Braunfels) - Triathlon
   297 - TriWaco Olympic & Sprint Triathlon - Triathlon
   276 - Revolution Multisport (Fort Worth) - Training - Multisports
   272 - Run For Wellness 5K Series (Houston) - Road Race Series
   268 - Couples Triathlon (Austin) - Triathlon
   268 - Cross Timbers Trail Runs - Trail Race
   265 - College Station Running Club - Running Club
   263 - Snapping Tortuga (Willis) - Event Production Company
   263 - Trinity 5000 Summer Series (Fort Worth) - Road Race Series
   256 - Skeese Greets Women's Tri (New Braunfels) - Triathlon
   253 - Panhandle Marathon (Lubbock) - Road Race
   238 - Golden Triangle Strutters (Beaumont) - Running Club
   227 - Cox Racing Services (Fort Worth) - Event Production Company
   226 - Melon Dash 5K (McKinney) - Road Race
   215 - Lufkin Area Pacesetters (LAPS) - Running Club
   214 - CC Southside Cycling (Corpus Christi) - Cycling Club
   212 - Baytown Bud Heatwave - Road Race
   203 - Fort Worth Cycling & Fitness Center - Retail Store
   202 - Outloud! Productions (Houston) - Event Production Company
   195 - The Woodlands Cycling Club - Cycling Club
   175 - Frankenthon Monster Marathon (Cedar Park) - Road Race
   165 - No Limits Run (Fort Worth) - Road Race
   152 - El Scorcho Run (Fort Worth) - Trail Race
   151 - Finish Strong Coaching (The Woodlands) - Training - Multisports
   149 - Galveston Revival Race 5K/10K - Road Race
   148 - Texas 10 Series - Road Race Series
   147 - Riverstone Community Heart and Sole 5K (Missouri City) - Road Race
   141 - Seven Hills Running Club (Huntsville) - Running Club
   138 - Coach Trent Triathlon Coaching (Houston) - Training - Multisports
   133 - Austin Subaru Doggie Du Dash - Duathlon
   127 - Bikeland (The Woodlands) - Retail Store
   127 - Galveston Island TRI Sports - Multisport Club
   122 - Launch Multisport (The Woodlands) - Event Production Company
   116 - The Republic of Texas Triathlon (Austin) - Triathlon
   104 - Finish Strong Coaching (The Woodlands) - Training - Multisports
    94 - CrossRoads Marathon (Odessa) - Road Race
    75 - RRCA Texas - Organization
    75 - Lone Star Timing (Austin) - Timing Company
    66 - OutSwim Cancer (The Woodlands) - Swim Event
    61 - Tornados Running Club Cinco de Mayo 5K (Houston) - Road Race
    51 - BCS Triathlon Club (Bryan-College Station) - Multisport Club
    50 - Blues Capital of Texas 5K (Navasota) - Road Race
    49 - Strike Force Racing (The Woodlands) - Training - Multisports
    43 - Houston Fit Triathlon - Training - Triathlon
    25 - Waco Striders Running Club - Running Club
    23 - Carrollton Runners Club - Running Club
    23 - Dallas Pride Run 5K - Road Race

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Extraterrestrial Full Moon Midnight Marathon Race Report

Riding the bus back to Mailbox Road, I was sure glad that this race started at midnight and that we couldn't see the course until the sun came up.

If I had had to have constantly stared at the elevation that we were going to run up, I'm thinking that I might have been discouraged - even though the temperatures were perfect for a middle-of-the-night run.

I had wanted to run the Extraterrestrial Full Moon Midnight Marathon either last year or the year before, but couldn't pull the timing off with work.  Probably last year when I was working in California.

As I've mentioned before about chasing a marathon finish in every state, I take what the calendar gives me.  Many times, and this race was the same way, I won't even look at the course map, elevation profile, etc. too much.

To me, it is about the following questions:  Can I get there, can I get my packet picked up in time and can I make it home in time without it affecting my full-time career?

This race definitely fit the bill.

I landed in Las Vegas Saturday afternoon, picked my packet up at the Convention Center connected to the Hard Rock Cafe (just off the Strip) and made it to the hotel by 5:30 p.m.  The race started at midnight and it would be at least a two-hour drive.  Therefore, I needed to leave the hotel in North Las Vegas by 8:30 p.m.

Even though I really didn't eat what I wanted at about 1:30 p.m. Central time at Houston's Intercontinental Airport, I knew I needed to get something else in me -- and hope to get maybe a little sleep.  I ate, but no sleep.

Well, at least, not until I got my car parked on Mailbox Road, just 20 miles south of Rachel, Nevada. 

On the way, I stopped to get a couple of bottles of water to carry with me during the race and then made a final stop on the way in Alamo to top off with gas.  It wasn't plentiful on the route to Rachel.

The alarm was set for 11:40 p.m.  I woke up, affixed my timing chip and car key to my shoe (yes, better than the episode in Sioux Falls, South Dakota last September when I lost it) and made it to the edge of the road where pre-race instructions were going on.

I knew he was going to be there, but Dave Mari from Chicago was taking pictures.  (Yes, he ran too.)  He started the year at the Texas Marathon in Kingwood - where I do finish line announcing and help out Steve and Paula Boone -- and he said to me, "Weren't you in Springfield, Missouri last weekend?"  Indeed I was.  That's the way it is with people chasing states:  you see many folks around the country at many of the same races.

We got started right about on-time and it was just surreal to see all of these people running 26.2 miles - or some that were doing 51K -- in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere.

Mile 1 -- 9:36.00
Mile 2 -- 11:53.79
Mile 3 -- 12:04.06
Mile 4 -- 12:34.98

It was in here after I got some fluids at the water station that -- (Heed sucks, by the way, but I forced it down to get the electrolytes in me) -- I started thinking about the first TIR where Bill Dwyer and I had a team and I came up behind and passed him on leg 23.  However, it was a night leg where I had turned my lamp off to not let him know that I was coming up on him.  I thought back to that moment -- a very good, fun memory.

The aid stations were spaced about every four (4) miles.  I never really went to the water bottles until mile 17 or 18 because I didn't want to dehyrdate and cramp late in the race.

The other thing that I did around this time was to begin to process the miles - given that I had been up all day except for sleeping on the flight and racing early the previous morning - was to think of them as mile 64, mile 65, mile 66 for Rocky Raccoon 100 in February.

Mile 5 -- 12:34.86
Mile 6 -- 13:11.73
Mile 7 -- 14:19.80
Mile 8 -- 12:12.94
Mile 9 -- 14:06.81
Mile 10 -- 14:10.83

2:06 at mile 10.  It was here where I started to do the math -- 16 miles times 16 minutes per mile equals 256 minutes or 4:16.  2:06 and 4:16 makes 6:22.  And I rationalized to myself, "I can accept this.  I'm running my second marathon in eight days."
But that was at sea level and here we started at 4,523 feet and hit the high point at mile 12.8 - according to course certification map -- which was 5,617 feet.  The total course elevation gain was 1,225 feet.

Mile 11 -- 13:20.11
Mile 12 -- 14:18.45
Mile 13 -- 15:01.58
Mile 14 -- 14:35.78

Somewhere after the mile 14 mark and coming out of the aid station near there, I saw Clear Lake Fitness Club's Susan Bell.  An experienced ultrarunner, Susan is like a metronome when she runs.  She just metes the miles out nice and steady with a short, quick foot turnover.

I tried to run with her a little bit, but her turnover made it hard to stay with her for long.  I let her go. 

Sometime later, around mile 17, Susan must have stepped off the road because I had caught up with her, but not for long.  Everyone, including the runners doing the 51 kilometers, had an 8-hour cutoff.

Mile 15 -- 12:08.14
Mile 16 -- 11:42.58
Mile 17 -- 12:10.74
Mile 18 -- 11:57.78
Mile 19 -- 12:24.80
Mile 20 -- 13:11.70

By here, the equation said that I could power walk it and finish in 5:53.  And I decided to follow suit. 

The trick here, though, is that this was a 5K out-and-back past the finish line.

You could see off into the horizon where the police car was flashing its lights at the 51K turnaround and on this morning, I'm thankful that I wasn't tackling that distance.

Mile 21 -- 16:42.33
Mile 22 -- 16:23.16
Mile 23 -- 16:23.38
Mile 24 -- 16:50.29

I pretty much kept to the pattern until I realized that I might be able to run a little more.  On the way back to the finish, I saw San Antonio's Larry Macon.  I realized that things had gotten better for me recently with the work that I've been doing.  In Kansas, where I tried to do a marathon on nothing (after Rocky Raccoon two months before), Larry beat me, I think, for the first time.  Not today.  Larry has crossed off the states, though, 14 times and has run over a 100 marathons in a year two or three times.  Incredible.

Mile 25 -- 14:05.60
Mile 26 -- 13:22.88
Last .2 -- 2:35.05

All in all, I'll take the 5:54.  It isn't sexy, but it is a finish.  Sea level one Saturday; at altitude, the following Sunday.  It is something that I'm really happy with - especially with my non-standard training, which included 80 minutes on the bike Thursday night, an hour on the treadmill early Friday evening and a 5K race on Saturday morning.

One final note:  When I updated my master list, this race is the sixth worst of my 43 marathon finishes.  Yet I feel good about it.  The five below it I had no business of doing, which includes finishes in four different states, but I'm content with my effort knowing where my fitness level is and the course difficulty.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Outrigger's 5K Race Report

My friend, Bill Dwyer, calls me an outlier.  I would qualify that.  I might be an "average" outlier.

Somebody like Michael Wardian would be a real, big-time outlier.

"Outlier" is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience.

I thought having fun was normal.

It is about 2 p.m. and I'm at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport.  I'm waiting to get on a plane to Las Vegas to run tomorrow morning's (at midnight) Extraterrestrial Midnight Half Moon Marathon.

If I'm successful, it will be a marathon finish in my 28th state of our great country.

So, sure, the normal thing to do would be to run a 5K.  Right?

Alright, I guess "outlier" might be appropriate.

Especially when you bring your time - in an effort to get back into better running shape and get ready for February's Rocky Raccoon 100 -- in the distance down to its lowest in the last 60 days.

I made the drive down to Seabrook for this morning's Outrigger's 5K.

It is one of those runner's races.  Just a simple out-and-back.  Two aid stations.  In my friend Bill's days, there might have only been one at the half way point.  (Disclaimer:  Bill is only 10 years older than me.)  I just wasn't running before 2003.

Ten-year age groups.  Otherwise, it is come out, run hard, drink beer, have some pizza and cookies, spend time with your friends and go home.

Of course, I ran the King Salmon Marathon in Cordova, Alaska last Saturday.  So a week later, I was toeing the line of a 5K, but I've actually done traditionally well the Saturday after a marathon in the past.

It is Texas.  It was warm and humid.

I hit the mile one marker in 9 minutes even.  That keeps coming down, which is a nice thing to see.  I just need to sustain it.  If I can, it gets me under 28, which I've done once - in August 2010.

The next two miles were almost equal - 9:48 and 9:49.  Sheesh, I actually walked a little in both of these miles.  That's what gives you the incentive to keep working hard -- and then work harder to stay there once the goal race comes about.

But I've made some pretty decent changes in diet -- cut out 98% of the sugary drinks and have increased my workout output.

So it was a 29:26 5K.  I'm happy.  Seriously, can't wait for it to get cooler as I love running in cool weather.

Nonetheless, I enjoy racing my way back into "shape" - for me.

I'm signed up for a 5K next Saturday and a pair of 10K's before wrapping up the month.

The next marathon beyond Sunday will probably come the first weekend after Labor Day.  Hopefully, it will be a little cooler in Bozeman, Montana, which is where I hope to run my next one for another new state.

The roll call of people is always fun to go through.  It is why I go to races.  I get to spend time - and talk to and with great people.

The Running Alliance Sport race crew was there:  Robby Sabban, Vicki Davis, Jay Lee, timer Richard Campbell and David Stockton.  Bay Area Running Club's Dennis Malloy and Veronica Hoge were manning the halfway aid station.

Always fun to talk with Suzy Seeley, who was pushed by Sabra Harvey.  The elder stateswoman of the two, in the 60-64 age group, sat on Suzy and passed her at the end, but it dragged Suzy under 21 minutes.

Alfonso Torres, June Harris and Michelle Bitterly were some of the other BARC regulars that were there.  Chatted a little with Buddy Brown, who frequents many of Robby's races.

Ken Johnson made the drive down from Huntsville.

Also had fun hanging out and talking with one of Karen Thibodeaux's photographers, Rhonda.

All in all a good morning.  Let's hope tomorrow morning is just as good.  I just don't know if to expect another 5:06 so soon.  This one might be a little bit more challenging, but it will be another state on the road to 50!