Monday, July 22, 2013

Presque Isle Half Marathon Race Report: Enough to Finish, Not Enough to Race

At some point in time, to get ready for the fall and winter marathon season, I figured that I would have to encounter the half marathon distance again.  It is a distance that I enjoy in that I can run (and race) and not completely beat myself up at.

Once I confirmed that Waverly and I would be coming to Canada and flying through Pittsburgh, I looked for Sunday races and found that the Presque Isle Half Marathon was the morning after we would fly in.

We got to Erie a little after eight, had dinner at Cheddar’s and got to bed early – given that we lost an hour coming east.  I had a really good night of sleep as the alarm went off at 5 a.m.  We were both up and out the door by 5:30 a.m. and in the next 30 minutes, including a stop to something light to eat and some Powerade, we were in Presque Isle State Park.

What was interesting about this event - produced by the Erie Runners Club - is that there were no bibs, but everyone had a timing chip and got a technical shirt as part of their $35 entry.

I had run this race back in 2007.  I had flown into Pittsburgh late on a Friday night, drove to the Altoona area to surprise almost my entire family, including Waverly, and then ran a 5K in Roaring Spring where we had the chance to meet Brian Sell and his wife.

The next morning, early, of course, I drove to Erie, ran the half and then drove back to Tyrone, where I’m from and my grandparents – to this day – still live.

In the run-up to us making the trip, my father, Will, had been communicating via e-mail with a friend who played softball with him in the 1970s for many years, Jeff McNelis.

When we got in town last night, after eating, we were both pretty tired and figured that I would call Jeff, who was going to be there to see his son, JJ, run his first half marathon ever, once we got to the Park.

There was no cell service for us.   So the task would be to try and locate him before the race.

We walked around from about 6 a.m. until right before the race started at 6:45 a.m.  Waverly and I had split up at about 6:35 a.m.

The race got started on-time, but the funny thing was the lack of too many pre-race formalities for a race of this size (would estimate that there might have been a 1,000 runners.)  The gentleman who had the microphone in his hand admonished those waiting in line for the restroom that “you bathroom people had about three minutes left”.

Where I was queued up at, the only way we could tell that the race had started was for all of the chips starting to go off from runner’s feet crossing the timing mat.

I told one guy that Mike Reilly’s job was indeed safe.

No sooner had I crossed the starting line, I heard a “Jon!” and it was Jeff who was standing next to Waverly.  Hard to miss a tall redhead that you’ve seen in pictures on Facebook!

The temperature for the race was actually pretty nice for a mid-July morning.  It was humid, but not as much as Houston is.

The slogan for the race, which I thought was great, was, “As in life, you only go around once.”  The park, that is.  I believe for their marathon in the fall that it is two loops.

We kind of did a short out-and-back and I saw Jeff, his wife, and Waverly again in about six tenths of a mile.

I knew that a 2:19, which I did on this course on a whim six years ago, would probably be out of the question since I hadn’t covered the distance since April.

I ended up with a 2:24:19, but it was the strangest way to get that time – ever.

When you look at my splits below, you’ll think that I ran pretty steady and consistently the entire way.  Sort of.  If you call a half marathon a continuous series of 200- and 400- meter repeats with short recoveries.

As I’ve been experiencing on my 5K’s, it is like the muscle memory on my gait and pace wants to do one thing, but I don’t have the base to do what I might be capable of.

It was a little frustrating and it wasn’t until about mile 7 until things didn’t feel as if I had somebody sitting on my breathing a little bit.

At about that mile, a gentleman asked me if I wanted some of his fruit chews.  I wondered to myself, “Gee, do I look that bad?”  Yes, I was sopping and wringing wet the entire race – liked I was running after swimming in a triathlon, but I think it ticked me off a little.

I politely declined and then I started to run harder, and I felt good, but the continuous track workout continued.

And all the while, I didn’t feel totally and completely spent physically.  Such an odd feeling.

I’m really baffled.

Nonetheless, here are my splits:

Mile 1 – 10:15.66
Mile 2 – 10:29.25 (20:44.91)
Mile 3 – 10:52.25 (31:37.16)
Mile 4 – 11:00.75 (42:37.91)
Mile 5 – 10:58.87 (53:36.78)
Mile 6 – 11:06.82 (64:43.60)
Mile 7 – 10:59.32 (75:42.92)
Mile 8 – 10:52.27 (86:35.19)
Mile 9 –11:37.84 (98:13.01)
Mile 10 – 11:11.69 (109:24.70)
Mile 11 – 11:06.99 (120:31.69)
Mile 12 – 10:50.60 (131:22.29)
Mile 13 – 11:38.12 (143:00.41)
Last .1 – 1:19.12 (144:19.53)

After I finished I found Waverly and Jeff and we went over and met his wife, his son – who finished his first half marathon in 2:02, and his wife as well as his grandson.

We talked for about 10-15 minutes.

Jeff hadn’t changed in all of those years.  His son seemed to run well and enjoyed the experience.  It turned out we ran the same race back in April at the Beaver Stadium Run 5K.

It is the great thing about running:   you typically – regardless of ability and/or experience – can find common ground quickly.

Next half marathon for me could be even more of a challenge:  the News and Sentinel Half Marathon in Parkersburg, West Virginia in four weeks.  It is hillier and it will be hot.

I guess I have some work to do.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

35th annual Lunar Rendezvous Run 5K Race Report

Waverly will tell you from traveling with me that I'm the master of vacation planning.  And part of that was scheduling a flight today that wasn't at the crack of dawn so I could squeeze in a race this morning here in town.

I knew that the last time I put a bib on for the Lunar Rendezvous Run that the first winner of the Houston Marathon, Dan Green, was putting on one too!

What I didn't realize is that it had been five years -- 2008!  I didn't have a great time that day - and today still isn't where I want things to be, but I figure everything will come together in the fall and winter.

And running six miles yesterday afternoon probably didn't help either.

Hosted at the Space Center Houston parking lot and run on the grounds of NASA in Clear Lake, the Lunar Rendezvous Run is put on by race director Jay Lee and supported by his staff at On The Run and the Bay Area Running Club.

The majority of races on the southeast part of town are put on by Jay, Robby Sabban or a combination of resources and parties.  The original Seabrook Lucky Trails Marathon race director Bob Linza was among the regulars helping out.

Sure, I run too many races.  It is the people, though, that I get a chance to see and interact with that make the investment in time and resources so worthwhile.

After being helped with my packet by Cheryl Jantkowski and Lori Alvarez, I visited with Robby and Bob for awhile.  Also talked to today's eventual winner Ryan Smith of Sugar Land.  (Glad to know that he plans on coming up and running the 2014 Fidelity Investments The Woodlands Marathon with us.)

As 7 a.m. approached, HARRA president Joe Carey asked to man the microphone to help getting people to their proper locations (packet and chip pickup) in time so as to not delay the start of the race.  I think it was a successful effort as Jay got the race started a couple of minutes early actually.

Runners on the far southeast side of Houston are certainly a pliable bunch!

As I was running to the start line, I told Pauline Nicodemus, "Darn.  Robby remembered to put the 3-mile flag out."

I've been trying to keep from trying to put down an 8:55 - 9:05 first mile, but it didn't seem like 9:29.30 was slow enough.

I grabbed some water at the aid station and then went in to a two-mile version of doing lots of 200-meter repeats with short breaks in between.  Again, my legs want to run low 9's and the rest of my system isn't supporting that effort.

Mile 2 was 10:10.53 and mile 3 was even worse -- 10:29.99.  I guess I picked it up a little in the last tenth of mile in 53.32 for a total time of 31:03.14.

Have had lots better and lots worse, but I'll keep going out there and try to get it back in the 28's and 29's where I'm capable at any day -- and, looking back, have been in the summertime even.

I got ahead of June Harris in mile one and had the rememberance of her catching and passing me down the homestretch of last year's Outrigger's by the Bay 5K, but she would pass me around that water stop.

Jim Alvarez was running with someone and they were looking to get under 30 and I told them to stay focused on June and she'd get them under that time.

One BARCer who I've heard by name was saying that she was using me to pace off of - well, that's a mistake!  After we both had finished (she ahead of me), I found out it was Anna Stegemann-Wilson.  (Thought she only did the long stuff, like fellow BARCer Annabel Dixon.)

Saw or talked to the usual suspects Ben Harvie, John Moyer and had a great conversation before the race with Chris Peden, who handles all of Robby's tax work with Running Alliance Sport.

Missed Veronica Hoge at the Baytown Bud Heatwave, but she was there before jetting off to New York and then Stockholm.  Vera Balic was back racing and, today, I couldn't keep up with her father, Boris.  Another day.  Another race.

Want to run a not fancy, but well-executed, fast and flat course?  Lunar and Outrigger's are two that you should put on your summer calendar if you're in the greater Houston area.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Vern's No-Frills 5K #51 Race Report

Where do I start?  When I saw that I would be able to do the 5 Alarm 5K in Sealy last night, I also spied the opportunity to do Vern’s No Frills 5K in Georgetown.  This would give me a race in Texas city or town #84, but more importantly an opportunity to run a race established by one of the early Run The Woodlands 5K regulars Bill Schroeder of Georgetown.  (And a good friend from when we were fellow members of the Houston Striders.)

He and his wife Mindy have taken their own running experiences (from their days in Cincinnati) as well as others such as Don Drewniak and Roger Boak, added some nice touches of their own and put together a classic low-cost race/running/walking starter for families in northern Travis and Williamson counties.

The Vern’s No Frills 5K was started about five years ago.  The course is a sweet, winding double out-and-back that is on concrete trails in Georgetown’s Berry Springs Park and finishes on the crushed granite surface that is similar to Memorial Park in Houston.  The race is on the third Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. of every month.  (This week was different as Bill heads to the National Senior Games Association next weekend in Cleveland, Ohio.)

The price on this race is just right:  $1.  You get your own bib that you keep for life!

The bottom line, though, is that it is a labor of love for Bill.  We had a chance to visit after I finished on a warm central Texas morning and he said that today is one of 25 races that he puts on each year.  (These include 12 Vern’s No Frills 5K and a half-dozen Georgetown Running Club events.)

For me, it was 10 years to the weekend from when I did my very first Run The Woodlands 5K – July 2003.

I went off course (yes, I crossed Crownridge) and was wearing a baseball cap and a cotton T-shirt.  I’ll always remember getting advice from Tom Pinney about the change of attire.  Everyone has to start somewhere, of course.  And today, like at many Run The Woodlands in the past, there were many folks for who a 5K run was a challenge and an accomplishment.

Me?  I was running on little fuel.  I left Sealy right after the race and made it to the hotel in Round Rock at 1 a.m.  It took the cleaning lady, I believe, 20 minutes to get me checked in and there were three people behind me!  I pity them.  So, it was a short night.  I got about three hours of sleep and probably another 45 minutes after I got to the Park where the race was being held at.

(When trying to save a buck, please do not stay at the Extended Stay America in Round Rock near McNeil Road.  Major, major mistake.)

Over the years, Vern’s No-Frills 5K has raced $7,000 through its $1 entry fees to give back to the Williamson County Parks and Recreation Department to use in the park that they hold the race.

Bill certified the course and sold sponsorships to have granite half mile markers (a la the HARRA markers in Memorial Park).  They looked really nice.

As I stated earlier, Bill took some of the hallmarks of the original Run The Woodlands 5K and incorporated them in this race.  One of those is something only the most hard core of us – me and Bill Dwyer probably – would recognize and that is that Saturday’s race was “Vern’s No-Frills 5K #51”.  Don Drewniak, the creator of Run The Woodlands, numbered each race, which is also what his original club – the Central Mass Striders – did on their weekly free 5K.

At this month’s race, the Ashlyn’s Angels organization was in attendance and Bill afforded three of their participants, better known as the captains of their racing chairs, to start early and miss much of the congestion.

After Bill thanked his sponsors and those others who supported the event, educating those that might have been there for the very first time, he had everybody raise their right hand and repeated, “I promise.  To be careful.”  Vintage Roger Boak on the Tour de Bayou free cross country races put on by HARRA.  I loved it.

Funny story on what might have been one of my only Tour de Bayou races.  I was just starting to run and I carried a lot more weight than what I do now.  It was an event that started near the Jackson Hill bridge, I think, and at the bottom of the Bayou.  It was two loops.  To start, you had to run up the hill and then do the loops.  Well, after the first loop, realizing that it was too much for me being new, I went back over the bridge and left after loop #1.

Saturday’s race was hot and humid.  Classic Texas conditions, of course.

It is on a winding concrete path heading west out and under Interstate 35 and back to the entry area where there was another half mile or so that had a similar turnaround at its terminus.

You passed the three-mile marker and then made a left on to the crushed granite trail where Bill and his timer would capture your lifetime bib number and tell you your time.

My run wasn’t too hot and this was a day that I probably shouldn’t have clicked my watch at the half mile markers as it clearly showed my demise.  And I had even dialed it back.

.5 mile – 4:48.06
1 mile – 4:55.59 (9:43.65)
1.5 mile – 5:07.41 (14:51.06)
2 mile – 5:23.64 (20:14.70 … Ugh! 10:07 a mile and I knew that the course was not off!)
2.5 mile – 5:20.80 (25:35.50)
3 mile – 5:26.89 (31:02.39)
Last .1 – 1:06.29 (32:08.68)

At least the last mile and a half was steady!  ;-)

I was 77th out of 161 – ha! – in the top half for the second straight day in a row.  I’ll have to pick up the pace Saturday at the Lunar Rendezvous Run to do it for the third straight 5K.

Results, with name, age and city, are online typically by noon at  (Just like Don used to do with RTW at

I also catch - and remember - very quirky things (my great love for facts, figures and statistics and what I think makes me a good race announcer) including the gentleman that had a ragged Woolmarket Duathlon singlet.  When I started to add this entry, I thought that it was from an event that I thought I remembered in San Angelo; however, this is a three-race duathlon series in Gulfport, Mississippi much like the Webster Bicycle Duathlon Series that Kevin and Jana Landry put on for years in La Marque.

If your schedule ever works out, this is a great, classic “grass roots running” event to take part in.

Here’s some material from Bill that speaks a little bit more to some of the tenets of the event:

+  The No Frills 5k was started in Apr 2009 and was renamed in tribute to Vern Cantwell, a dear friend who had a fatal heart attack while cycling with friends. He was the race’s first starter and a runner’s best cheerleader.

+  Vern’s No Frills 5K is usually held every third Saturday of the month. The event is free to students K-12 and $1 for adults. The race was started to encourage adults and especially children to get out and participate in a fun, casual, and professionally organized event. Over 7,500 runners and walkers have finished a Vern’s No Frills 5K event. Even only charging a very nominal amount the race has raised over $7,000 that goes directly back to Berry Springs Park & Preserve. The money has been used for a log splitter, wildflower seeds, stone half mile markers, certification of the trail, and updating the interpretive signs.

+  Bill Schroeder started the No Frills 5k to provide a low/no cost 5K event to encourage people to run or walk. The event appeals to not only competitive runners, but also first time participants. People pushing strollers and walking their dogs also come out to enjoy the casual, fun, and professionally organized event. Because the course is basically flat and only has 3 turns, many people run/walk their best times. Since the course is certified, people are ensured that they are running/walking an accurate course and because it is held monthly, they can come back and see how their fitness is improving.  (Much like Run The Woodlands 5K. – Jon)  Also, another side benefit to Berry Springs Park & Preserve is that once people come out to Vern’s No Frills 5k, they end up coming out to camp, picnic, play, and walk at other times because the park is such a hidden gem.

+  Every April on the anniversary of the race, the Georgetown Running Club and the Georgetown Taco Cabana contribute breakfast tacos as a little “frill” to all participants.

+  Bill Schroeder as the founder of Vern’s No Frills 5k and now President, Georgetown Running Club (GRC) continues to put on the event. GRC has always been a title sponsor and provides all insurance coverage (this keeps the cost of the event to a minimum) and almost all of the volunteers come from the club. Not only does GRC put on Vern’s No Frills 5K, but when the park was flooded in Sep 2010 and the race was cancelled for that month, the GRC turned out with 40 volunteers and helped to clean-up, repair fencing, and help to get the park back open sooner than later. GRC was also instrumental in getting the 5K trail certified so it is accurate and also purchasing and installing half mile markers for the trail. All of this was done without using any park funds or tax dollars. Other sponsors include No Excuses Running, REI, Luke’s Locker, Road ID, Luna Chix, and Taco Cabana.

+  Course records are 15:52 for the men and 19:10 for the women.  Most participants?  268 in July 2012.  The race has only been cancelled twice -- once due to the entire park being flooded and during a very long thunderstorm.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

5 Alarm 5K Race Report - Sealy

Ah, yes, the adventurous soul.

I had a multitude of possibilities for this weekend as Waverly has been gone to youth church camp and will be getting back Saturday afternoon.  I had thought about running a race on Sunday, but she’s only going to be singing on stage at church possibly two more Sundays (as we’ll be on vacation for at least one and maybe two).  And this Sunday is the first of those two.

I just realized this week that the Toughest 10K in Texas, which is held annually in Lampasas, is Saturday, but I’ve committed to run the Vern’s No Frills 5K in Georgetown.

The race is fashioned after the original $1 race – Run The Woodlands. 

Former Kingwood resident Bill Schroeder was one of the many regulars of RTW and he started this Georgetown race approximately five years ago.

But to get to Georgetown on Saturday morning, the road went through Sealy.

As I think I explained in an earlier post, because I work so many events in the late spring, my running suffers and it takes me during the summer time to put it back together for the next fall.

Therefore, I run a lot of races.  I enjoy the atmosphere, the people and the many interesting things that I see and can (and cannot!) apply to races that I assist with.

Last year, as part of the Sealy Community Foundation’s Sealybration, they held the first annual 5 Alarm 5K, which started at 10 p.m.

Yes, very dark streets.  Sure, there were street lights, but if you didn’t know the street and its surface and cracks you could have taken a pretty good tumble.  (I brought my head lamp this time and wore it the entire way.)

I think I ran fairly well last year.  (Just checked.  Maybe not.  30:11.  But I recall feeling good as I ran in a new type of show, Asics Cumulus.)

The work week was a little long and slow and I didn’t get in the gym until Thursday night where I ran 6 miles on the treadmill from 10 to 11 p.m.

I then added another six (6) on the treadmill this afternoon from 3:25 to 4:25 p.m.  Yes, 12 miles in the 24 hours preceding the 5K.  Sure, not the brightest idea when “racing”, which is a relative term for me.

They had approximately 175 signed up this year with 159 finishers – an increase from last year’s 119.

I placed myself at the back and took 20 seconds to cross the start line.  Gary Mulvihill from Run Wild Timing in Houston was doing the timing and we were using the B tag with the microwave readers.

The course is certified and it is as flat as can be – as flat as the Beneeezy Purple Monkey 5K and 10K in Alvin, which is held in late August.

Mile 1 came and went in 9:20.13.  I passed a lot of people, but it was one of the steadiest miles that I’ve run in quite some time.  I was pleased that I dialed it back a little.

I was a little disappointed in the time of mile 2, but was satisfied with the effort.  I’ve been in a situation recently where my legs will try to run an 8:55 to 9:10 mile, but the rest of my body wouldn’t agree.

This mile was as steady as the first, but the time came through as 10:05.70 to put me at 19:25.83 – which is a 9:42 pace.

Mile 3 registered as 10:25.88, which was at 29:51.71.  Lots of starts and stops, but again:  solid effort.

The last tenth of a mile was 59.84 for a total time of 30:51.55, but Gary got me at 30:46.  Which should I choose to record?  You decide.  The gun time, interestingly, was equal – 31:12.

I guess I shouldn't complain with the time after running 12 miles, even though the course in Nacogdoches last Saturday was a little bit more difficult and I ran 30:17.  Even though it was warm (80 degrees perhaps), the humidity wasn't bad.

You can tell the “quality” of the field, however, when I finished 71st overall out of 159.

For the record, this is a solid little event - that raises money for the Sealy Fire Department to honor two firefighters who lost their lives in 2000 and 2004 -- which might benefit from an earlier start (like 8:30 p.m. even) as Gary suggested to them.  Then again, if have the right light, it isn't too bad to run that late at night.

Then I gathered my keys from Gary's gear and it was back on the road again to drive to Round Rock, via Highway 71 through Columbus to Highway 183 and then to Interstate 35.

Georgetown in a few hours will be Texas city or town #84.  Can’t wait!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Baytown Bud Heatwave Event Report

Its been a week since I got the opportunity to help produce the 24th annual Baytown Bud Heatwave with Robby Sabban and the Running Alliance Sport team, but really the first chance that I've had to really unwind and share the day.

I truly enjoy event production.  It's hard work, but it provides a completely different sense of accomplishment than even what running a good time does.  Very hard to explain.

It is about putting together many moving pieces to satisfy a large number of people who spend their discretionary income on something that they could walk outside of their place of residence and do.

Yet, that wasn't even the best part of the day.

The best, of course, was the time that I got to spend with my daughter, Waverly.  I know it sounds like a broken record, but it really, really is the case.

Dad set up her with the opportunity to sing twice and she didn't disappoint.  I had her start off the pre-race ceremonies with "God Bless America" in an effort to have everybody join in with her.  They didn't take the lead.

And then she did an excellent job with the National Anthem.

As always, I was -- and continue to be -- proud.  It will be the last time for awhile that she'll have the opportunity to sing the Anthem at a race as she heads off to Liberty University next month.

After getting a reprieve from Robby to leave the scene a little early, Waverly and I headed to Galveston with friends of ours to spend some time at their friend's beach house in Jamaica Beach.

I don't take the time to just "get away" and "do nothing" for awhile.  I did,  I needed it and I enjoyed it.

Waverly had the chance to meet some other young boys and girls around her age, jumped right in, went to the beach with them for awhile, rode a jet ski with a young man who is going to be a junior this year at Texas A&M and even did a little paddleboarding in the canal.

I got the chance to spend a good bit of time talking with a friend that was in visiting from Virginia and learned a lot more about them then I had previously known.  Was very glad that I made the decision to go.  :-)

As far as the race was concerned, I'd say we had a pretty good day.

I think the only snafu that we ran into was something that is always a challenge -- and that's getting shirts right.  Unless you can work with somebody that can print what you need a day or two before, you either guarantee 'x' number of people the right size -- and cut everybody else off -- or you try to order enough.

We went into race day with 678 names in the database for the timer, who was new for this race.  (Fastlane Services, who did a really nice job.)

And almost another 50 registered on the morning of the race, taking us to 726.

We had 669 official timed finishers, which is almost double the 352 timed finishers that we had two years ago -- the first year the race came back after a 10-plus year absence.

It is great to work with a team of individuals that simply knows what to do -- and do it well.

The Running Alliance Sport team is much like the Win Win Events team, which produces the new Texas 10 Series.  A group of professionals that have a good time putting on a quality event.

My job as a race announcer is to get everyone to the starting line on-time and keeping them informed (without getting into an overkill mode where people want to say to you, "Shut up!").

And then at the finish, it is to announce people's names as they approach and cross the finish line and then handle the awards ceremony.

We had a slight issue when our masters winners were in the top three and the timer's software couldn't parse those out of the overall and move the next fastest runner up out of the age groups.

Therefore we had a couple of revisions to finalize before I made my way over to handle the awards.

I think our post-race plan worked well to ensure that we got winners up on stage as quickly as possible and moving so those that wanted to leave could do so.

At the shorter Running Alliance Sport events, we recognize the most experienced runners first -- ladies first also, too.  (At La Porte and Seabrook, those runners tend to be out on the course longer and therefore, we go from youngest to the oldest.)

I felt like we presented and highlighted the RRCA state championship award winners particularly well.

One of our sponsors, Michelle Bitterly with Awards & Engraving in Baytown, who sponsored our awards, commented after it was over that it seemed to have flowed much more smoothly than it had the previous two years.  I simply chalked it up to good planning and execution all around.

This year, we had moved locations on the grounds of Wismer Distributing and the acoustics were much, much better and Anita with Other Brother did a really good job in having the sound nice and "hot" for me.  I was really pleased with how I sounded.  (Yes, it matters to me.  While I like to fly under the radar, even with that, I still take pride in how I come off.)

Yet there was one situation on the day that I probably didn't come off well with one person.

And if that person reads this (which I doubt that they check out anything of mine on Facebook or even know that this blog exists) - or someone close to them does, I apologize.

I hate feeling like I'm being mean, but I was guilty of being a little burned up that the individual couldn't acknowledge an e-mail sent to them in late May.

It was a near repeat of a situation that took place two years earlier -- to the day -- in conjunction with that event.

It was more that I shut down all opportunities of communicating with the individual when I had taken the opportunity to do so in the limited times that I had come in contact with them previously.

It wasn't my finest moment of the day, but I'm human too.

As a result of working with the new timer, I was asked two days after the event how much I charged to do what I do.  I submitted a price for them to carry to an event producer that they are working with for early September.  All good stuff.

Nice that people are able to see what you're capable of doing -- even the first time they see you work.  That's very, very flattering.

The big challenge now is to work towards our goals of 2,000 for each of the three Texas Bridge Series races -- one each in September, October and November.  We're tracking way ahead right now on all three, but there's still a lot of work to get done.

Our first price increase is coming at the end of July.  Three races -- two 10K's and a half marathon -- with four medals for $130 is a pretty good deal.

And I've seen the mockups of the medals ... they're really, really nice!

If you're a bling person, you want to run these races!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Texas Endurance Sports Hour Update

As I mentioned in late April, I am aiming to start a weekly Internet radio program, geared towards running and triathlons, called the “Texas Endurance Sports Hour”.

The original plan was to host it on a Sunday afternoon at an area running or triathlon specialty store around the greater Houston area – and to start it in May.

I wanted to leverage Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas to get the program started and had discussed with Fleet Feet Sports store manager Mick Long to be able to do the first three programs from there.

However, I didn’t want interruptions in the summer time for two reasons – 1.) I wanted to be completely available to Waverly even though she was going to be gone two weeks to Africa and this week to youth church camp and 2.) I would be taking two weeks of vacation, including at least three Sundays.

My good friend Dan Morgan with will produce the program and it will air over the Texas Sports Radio Network.  It looks as if now that it will air on Tuesday evenings live from Katch 22 Houston restaurant in the Heights and will follow the Lone Star Christian Sports Network’s “Chalk Talk Live”.

I’m looking for a few sponsors for the months of September, October and November.

It doesn’t take a ton of money to do this; however, I do need to make sure that I cover Dan’s time and then, if the listenership goes to where I think it can, get ad monies to be able to invest in my own broadcast equipment.

And then the plan is to take the program on the road and do special programming.

If you have a running or triathlon-related business, produce races or have some other entity that would benefit from being associated with me and such a program, please let me know.

I hope that this is something that everyone in the running and multisports community would be interested in having.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Upcoming Races - July

Just firmed up five more events for the next two weeks:

Sunday, July 7 -- The Woodlands Running Club Sunday Night 5K (The Woodlands, TX) - Free
Friday, July 12 -- 2nd annual Sealy Fire Department 5 Alarm 5K (Sealy, TX)
Saturday, July 13 -- Vern's No Frills 5K (Georgetown, TX) - $1
Saturday, July 20 -- 35th annual Lunar Rendezvous Run 5K (Clear Lake, TX)
Sunday, July 21 -- Presque Isle Half Marathon (Erie, PA)

Georgetown will be a new Texas city.  Sealy will not.  Ran this race last year.  Have also run the Presque Isle Half Marathon before.

May squeeze two more in here.  If so, they would be on Sunday, July 14 and Saturday, July 27 (in New York).

Freedom 5K (Nacogdoches) Race Report

Another brick in the road to racing in 100 different Texas cities and towns was set today with a finish at the 2nd annual Freedom 5K in Nacogdoches.

The race gave me an opportunity to see a good friend of mine, Edwin Quarles, of Lufkin, who is the athletic director at Pineywoods Community Academy – a college preparatory charter school.

It was also the second time this year that I’ve run a race in his neighborhood after running the New Year’s Resolution 5K on my birthday in Diboll.

This event was the second one that I’ve run which was produced by TTR Timing Services – a small outfit that includes Nacogdoches’ Gerardo Moreno, 28, who just finished the Western States 100 Endurance Run in 25:51:42 a couple of weeks ago.

Since these guys are coaches, or at least Gerardo is, I’m gathering that the course was accurate.

And if I doubted it, there’s absolutely no way that I could remember what streets we turned on in Nacogdoches to go back and try and map it.

And if it was accurate, then my time – 30:17.71 – was OK.  (The gun time was 30:26, but it took me eight seconds to cross the start line.)

The race started and finished at Thomas J. Rusk Elementary School, but on the grounds was also what is known as the Old University Building.  A description on the Stephen F. Austin State University included the following:  “Located in the middle of Washington Square and now surrounded by the elementary school, the Old University Building was designed by John Cato and built in 1859. Called a university not because the original school offered higher education but because it offered study in a range of subjects, the building has served many roles in its lifetime. Besides a school, it has been used by Confederate troops, Union troops, the Catholic Church, the Masonic Order, and was a temporary home for Stephen F. Austin State University. It now operates as a museum.”

It wasn’t particularly a hilly course, but the first half mile I’d say included a nice decline for the 80 finishers.  Some of it was made up close to the finish as part of that last half mile was retraced.

Nor was it especially hot and humid.  The temperature, according to, was between 73 and 75 degrees.

I ended up being 49th of 80 runners while Edwin was 15th overall in a time of 22:50 -- not bad for coming off an ankle injury that had slowed his training the last week.

All in all, a nice little event that was supportive of all types of runners and walkers.  A couple of intersections there were even police officers to slow a very, very light traffic morning near the center of Nacogdoches.

The only negative was that there were no mile markers

The winners – Adam Saloom and the former Megan Jenkins, a pair of former track and cross country stars at SFA – each went home with a previously unannounced prize of $100, which also included breaking the course records.

And it was the fourth Saturday in five that I had driven to run a race two hours or more from my house in Spring.  Good stuff!