Sunday, January 29, 2006

Catching up

How’s life? I’ve been on a reading and writing blog vacation of late. For those of you who have commented – thanks! My lack of reply is not because I am ignoring you … I am just ignoring my blog in general.

My world has been a little busy and I was in Dallas with Andrea and some close friends from work for the last couple of days for a conference. The running is getting better. I’ve run some this week and I ran 10 this morning. It almost felt normal but still not as well as I felt premarathon.

Running right now seems kind of aimless. The miles I run are not specific to training for an upcoming race so they feel somewhat useless. I am relearning to run for the joy of running rather than for the purpose of training for a race. It is a good mental discipline.

I am thinking about running a 15-mile trail race in March.

Also there is a possibility I may go hike the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal in May as part of a mission trip. That will be too cool. Plans are not finalized yet but the trip organizers want people who are in decent shape so running is once again serving me well.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

More Marathon Pictures

My legs have decided that they want to be a part of my body again. On Tuesday they were in complete revolt and I assumed they were just going to leave me. I didn't want to have them either because they hurt so much. My quads wanted my legs to be bent. My hamstrings wanted my legs to be straight.

Yesterday I felt good enough to run three. Three slow miles.

Here are some pictures from Sunday:

Experiences just are. And they are unique to each individual. … My running experiences have been overwhelmingly good. With my knowledge and limited skills, I still experience running as something I enjoy and want to encourage others to do. Since there is no hierarchy in experiences, I don’t worry about whether my experience is better or worse than anyone else’s. It is possible at the end of the race to rank people based on the quality of their skill that day but not on the quality of their experience.
I didn't win, or even run as fast as I hoped, but I learned a lot about myself. The experience was incredible.
Others can give you a name or a number, but they can never tell you who you really are. That is something you yourself can only discover from within.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Houston Marathon Pictures

Here are some pictures from Sunday ...

My wife Andrea, son Jakeb and me before the race in GRB.

Me with friends Jennifer, Mary Margaret and Nathan. The three of them ran the half marathon.

Me and Jakeb at the starting line. Jakeb ran about a mile with me at the 17 mile mark.

Edwin at mile 11 running so fast he is just a blur ....

Me at mile 11 ... I still felt pretty good.

I took a risk

Today I ran the Houston marathon in 4:13:41 (chip time), 5 seconds faster than last year’s time. A stellar marathon PR. My gun time was 4:15:19.Until about mile 20 I was on pace to run under four hours. I knew I was taking a risk by trying to keep that pace because I really did not train to run any faster than I did last year. I ran more miles in training this year but not faster miles.

At mile 20.5 my quads started cramping and then by mile 22 muscles were cramping I didn’t even know I had. For the last 4.2 I mixed walking with running. The last mile ended up being almost as much walking as running.

I feel a sense of accomplishment completing another marathon. Now I’d like to train for and run one faster than four hours.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sufficiently Encouraged

If I do not run well tomorrow it will not be because I was not encouraged to do so. Earlier this week my wife Andrea gave me a card that said “You can do it.” The next day she left a card in my chair from my kids telling me that I could do it. The following morning I found a card in my office chair from my mom, dad, and brother saying they knew I would run well. The next day it was Andrea’s family encouraging me and the day after that it was a card from friends. This morning I got another card from Andrea reminding me how long I’ve trained for tomorrow. The delivery of these cards was orchestrated by her.

Yesterday when I came home from work at 11:00am to head to the expo and pick up my race packet there were signs in our yard that said “Go Tommy – 26.2” Constantly Cruising” etc. Andrea says she had nothing to do with that one and we still haven’t figured out who is responsible.

This afternoon while I took a nap Andrea and our 14 year old daughter Tori made an Italian feast for a couple of local runners from our church that are still in town. We will carbo load together tonight after our Saturday service.

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me by saying they belive I can do it. Especially the most excellent woman in the world; my wife Andrea.

If I stink tomorrow I will be my own fault.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Loosening things up

I ran two this morning just to grease the joints and warm-up the muscles for tomorrow. I started out at a pace that felt comfortable. I was singing Lost in Germany in my head. I assumed I was at about marathon pace. I hit my watch at the first mile and looked down and it said I had just run an 8:05 … WAY to fast, “Slow down Tommy”. So I slacked off a bit and ran the second mile at a pace that felt slower … 8:20 at the finish.

I cannot run a marathon at that pace. I need to slow down. I don’t want to run with a pace group tomorrow, but I don’t think I have a choice for the first couple of miles. I don’t want to blow up.

It felt good to move again this morning after a couple of days off.

I'm ready to run Twenty6.2 ………..

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Other reasons for running my second ...

After reading yesterday’s post again … I also am running another marathon because its cool to wear the finishers shirt in public and show off my accomplishment. It fells good to have a finisher’s medal hanging from a lamp in my office. So my motives are not as pure as I made them sound yesterday.

I'm going stir crazy from the taper. I'm ready to run my guts out.

The Pilgrimage

I ran three miles this morning on a route that I’ve run hundreds of times. I call it the “sidewalk” route because I run on a sidewalk that leaves the street and goes behind some houses.

As I ran this last real run before the marathon on a familiar route I asked myself “why am I doing this again?”

Last year I ran a marathon as a “check-box” thing. I’d been running for almost 11 years and had talked about running a marathon sometime before I died. Last year seemed like as good a year as any, so I trained for and ran my first marathon in 2005 in Houston and placed a check in that box. The whole idea of checking anything off of a list is kind of weird for me though because I abhor to-do lists.

Since I had accomplished what I set out to accomplish, why would I choose to train for and run another marathon? And as I thought about it, I’ve come to realize it has nothing to do with the prize at the end. Checking a box, getting a finishers metal, a t-shirt, a mug and a certificate saying I’ve run a marathon is cool but for me none are good reasons for running.

It is about the pilgrimage. Pilgrims travel to holy places and the journey has purpose and significance. In the process of traveling they learn more about themselves – physically mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The holy destination is only a small part of the reason for the journey. The main point is the journey itself.

In running I plan to make it to the destination; the “holy place” at the end of a 26.2 mile course. More than the destination though the pilgrimage has taught me quite a bit about myself. My body can handle far more than I thought it could if I will only push it. My mind is tough enough to push on when my body says it wants to quit. My emotions are worked through and find solid foundations as I think and run. And God is present in every foot fall when my spirit is listening.

So Sunday I will run 26.2 and reach my destination, but I will also become more of who I am as I find myself on the way.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I ran 4 miles this morning. Going North I felt like there was an invisible hand pushing on my fore head to hold me back. Running the south-bond part of my loop felt like there was a hand on my back throwing me forward. The wind was brutal.

During these last couple of days I have had moments of enthusiasm for the marathon ahead and I have had moments of dread where I feel lazy and lethargic.

It helps to have inspiration when I hit the low points. My wife Andrea has placed a card in my office chair the last couple of days. The first one was from her saying “You can do it!” and today’s was from my three kids saying “Your kids think you can do it.”

I also found inspiration here …> link

... and here as I look back at last year …> link

Saturday, January 07, 2006

8 cold miles

I ran 8 this morning with Nathan, Mary Margaret, Jennifer, and MM's dad Kent. Nathan, Mary Margaret, and Jenn ran 10. I met them at their two-mile mark. Kent met us for the last three. I've always been a solitary runner but it has been cool to run some of my long runs with others this year. It makes the time go by fast.

Nathan used gmaps to map out a route. It was weird for me not knowing where the mile makers were. I always know how far I've gone and what I have left to finish. Today I didn't have a clue.

The marathon is in one week and one day ... trecho agon.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Confirmed "exciting"

Our friends have a 3 year old boy who does the "exciting" dance. He clinches his fists tight and shakes the upper half of his body and says "I'm exciting".

I did the "exciting" dance when I got this:

Blogger defined

Guy Kawasaki is an interesting person and a good writer. I read his book The Art of the Start on a recommendation from a friend. I ran across his blog today and on his banner he defines a blogger:

Blogger. n. someone with nothing to say writing for someone with nothing to do.

I don’t know about you, the reader, but I think that describes me, the writer pretty well.

Longhorns, short runs and vision

Congratulations Longhorn fan! Rarely does a championship game in any sport at any level live up to the hype, but that was a great football game last night.

I ran three this morning and my body said, “What? Are we done already?” After all of the miles I’ve run three almost seems pointless although I know its not. 3 miles – 24:34 – 8:12, 8:11, 8:11.

I’ve been running faster than normal lately. Maybe it is because I am not running as far. But I start to get overwhelmed thinking about what could be next weekend. So I have to remind myself over and over again to keep the vision clear. My goal – Make the time on the clock read less than last year. That’s it. (oh and under 4 would be nice too …)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Today I got up and went through my regular morning routine. I put on my running clothes, shoes, stretched and got out the door at 6:00 for a 4 mile run. When I walked out of the door I was hit in the face by a blinding light. The motion control porch light came on as I stepped outside and it reflected against the thick fog that had formed over night.

As I moved into the yard the fog surrounded me in a wet sticky embrace. It was strange to not be able to see more than a couple of feet ahead of me and the street lights were just a faint glow in the distance.

My shoes were a little loose so I stepped into the street to tighten them. As I did I could hear foot steps coming across the neighbor’s yard toward me. My heart started beating like I was already running pretty hard and then I realized that the “footsteps” were just water condensed from the fog dripping from the trees.

I cannot stand not having all my senses functioning normally. As I started running I only had a sense of the hard ground below me but I felt as if I were running into nothing … UNO, dos, tres, CATORCE!… I'm at a place called Vertigo

I was watching really closely where I stepped. I didn’t want to twist my ankle stepping off of the sidewalk. Because I was paying so much attention to the ground at mile 2 I missed my turn on Southern Oaks by a couple of strides. I’ve run this four-mile loop for years, most of the time once a week; and I missed my turn.

I hate running in the fog. I think running is an excellent metaphor for life. And I think I live sometimes like I ran this morning. In a fog, without my senses intact, hearing things that are not there, scared of what is ahead, paying so much attention to some things that I miss what is important.

The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.
Marcel Pagnol

4 miles – 35:29

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Long tempo speed run

I ran 12 miles yesterday morning. It is my weekly long run but I started out trying to maintain my marathon goal pace (like a tempo run). I wanted to try to run at race pace the entire 12. I did really well for the first four.

Then as I passed my house I saw Mary Margaret, Nathan, and Jen ahead of me a ways running their long run. They are training for the ½ marathon on the 16th. So I decide to catch up and run a couple with them.

My tempo run turned into speed work. It was harder to catch them than I thought it would be. I was heaving when I got there. I ran about four miles with them at a little bit slower pace than I was trying to run before.

When I set out on my own to finish the last four I was kind of tired. My legs felt heavy. I think it was from the unintended speed but I finished well.

This last week a couple of people at work were sick – coughing and hacking with their voices transformed to frog-octave. My daughter has a sore throat and during these last couple of weeks before the marathon I am hoping not to catch anything from someone else.

I have increasing excitement for running the marathon. I like the taper and how strong I feel. I am hoping to run faster than last year. I have run more miles and have run faster in training, but I have not done any speed work to speak of. So if I finish with the same time as 2005, so be it. But I will push myself harder and see what happens.