Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Watching the watch

I’ve been reading other runner’s blogs, some that are training for Houston like me. I have been inspired by bloggers who run everyday and know their mile splits and list them studiously on their daily post.

I’m not that kind of runner. I want to run farther and faster, but I lean more philosophical and less analytical when it comes to details of life like running. Most days I just run and the stop-watch is not even counting. On speed days I run hard and recover. On easy days I run; well … easy. There are some days where I know generally how fast I ran but usually I just know… “That was a pretty good run” -or- “That run stunk.”

Needless to say I have not done much to figure out pacing for this year’s marathon. Last year I spent some training time making sure I was able to maintain my goal pace for a reasonable distance. This year I have just run.

So this morning I decided to try working on my pace. Plus I got a new watch for Christmas. I was scheduled to run 6 miles so I punched the buttons to make “CHRONO” indiglo, and then I pressed the “start/split” button and I was off …

The first mile I ran in 7:33. “WHOA! Way to stinkin fast. Slow down a little Tommy.” The next mile I ran 9:24. “Dang it boy, too slow.” So I planned to speed up but I started thinking about breakfast tacos or something and got lost in my mind and forgot to think about running and finished the third mile in 9:25. I ran the fourth mile and thought I was probably still running too slow and looked at my watch and it said 8:31. “Now that’s more like it.” Mile 5 – 8:31 “Cool consistency.”. Mile 6 – 8:24.

I can’t run a marathon at 8:30 pace but it was good to hit a spot where I was running at a relatively even pace. Tomorrow morning the watch is staying at home.

Monday, December 26, 2005

21 miles to think

I ran 21 miles yesterday. It is my longest training run for the marathon and now it’s time to taper. I am looking forward to the taper. Twelve miles doesn’t seem like that far this Saturday.

The first two miles of my run yesterday were horrible. I couldn’t disconnect from the fact I was running. I thought about my pace. I thought about the weather and how humid it was. I thought about how choppy my stride seemed. I thought about how full I was after eating a couple of clif bars. I thought about how far I had left to go. I thought about how I was never going to be able to finish a marathon if I didn’t stop thinking about it.

For me it is crucial to my long run to let my mind wander. To go somewhere that doesn’t have much to do with running. I was able to do that after mile 2. And then at mile 10 my twelve-year-old son Jakeb joined me on his bike and rode the last 11 with me. It really helped having him there. It also helped that he brought a lot of water along.

It is amazing to me what my mind and body can do when I train and will them to do it.

If we could walk on water well it’s too hard to perceive
And you know it’s even harder to believe...
Merry Christmas …

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Memorial Park will wait

Last Thursday my wife Andrea and I stayed in Houston for a couple of days. My brother and his wife gave us tickets to see Ottmar Liebert and Lunanegra as an early Christmas present. Ottmar Liebert plays “Nouveau Flamenco” a latin form of classical acoustic guitar. With him he had a bass player, percussionist, cello, viola, and two violins. All of the musicians were incredibly talented. There were times during the concert where I had a hard time knowing where to look or listen because there was so much good stuff going on. I had to just close my eyes and take it in as a whole. In life that’s how I am sometimes. I get so caught up in the details that I miss the big picture.

The next day Andrea and I got some of our Christmas shopping done. We went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science and took in the Diana exhibit. It was cool to see the prayer book that Mother Teresa gave to Princess Di and how she stuck to the basic message of the faith in what she wrote in the front cover “Love God and love others”.

We ate really well too.

I was looking forward to my run on Saturday morning at Memorial Park. I had a twelve miler scheduled and our hotel was on 610 and Post Oak. I was going to run a mile and a half to Memorial Park, run the loop three times and run back to the hotel. I woke up early, stretched, drank coffee, ate a Clif bar, put on my stuff and walked out to the elevator. When I got down to the lobby I saw it was raining outside. I like to run in the rain but I hate cold weather. When I stepped out of the doublewide automatic lobby doors I got hit in the face with a blast of arctic air and saw that the wind was blowing so hard the rain was falling sideways.

The local weather man said that it would blow over in a couple of hours, but I didn’t have a couple of hours. We needed to leave mid-day to be back home. So I wimped out and ran three on the hotel treadmill. I ran my twelve miler on Sunday morning. I guess Memorial Park will have to wait.

Cindy - shhhh .....

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Almost the end

I am training for a marathon. This will be my second. I ran the Houston Marathon in January and finished in 4:16. I’m running it again this year and I would like to finish faster.

Last Saturday morning I ran 20 miles. It was an okay run, better than last year’s 20 miler, but the last five miles were a grind. Because of that my hamstrings have been sore and I skipped my Wednesday morning five miler.

I got out this morning and I felt great. My legs were ready for the eight miler I have scheduled. I took off and about a ¼ of a mile from the house I stepped on one of those pine cone looking things that Magnolia trees drop and twisted my ankle. I wanted to scream. Not a girl scream but a guttural King Kong scream that says I'm ticked off. I twisted my ankle in June and it kept me from running for a month, so all I could see was my marathon hopes ended for this year. Me sitting on the sideline watching people run 26.2. Ahhhhh!

It turned (no pun intended) out to be okay. My ankle hurts a little but I took some ibuprofen and iced it and I think I should be able to run by tomorrow. Sometimes life is too fragile. I need to move into a bubble until January 15.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Franciscan travel blessing

I think sometimes I try to make things too complex for my own good. And at other times I boil things down to a cliche when those things are layered and multidemensional and anything but simplistic. Sometimes I am too simple, logical and comfortable for my own good.

from One House:

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers,
half truths and superficial relationships
so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice,
oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you may wish for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference in this world,
so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

On a completely random note - I am a wimp so I blew off running today and used the excuse that I was too tired and cold.