About This Blog

As time permits, in-depth musings on myriad subjects will be posted. Abbreviated adages will be announced via Twitter.

Monday, November 16, 2009


At Trisition Area's Kona viewing party last month, I met several fellow IM finishers. Among them was an average Joe who had completed Couer d'Alene and was in training for Cozumel. He'd mentioned he was in need of folks with whom to run long, so we exchanged numbers, as I thought I might have some times for some longer, more casual runs. Those runs didn't pan out too well, but a few weeks ago, I received a text from J--- asking if I was interested in pacing the San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon on November 15. Hmm...marathon...4:30 finish...10:15/mi pace...free...three weeks to train...sure, why not?

From there, I started hammering out some runs in excess of six miles (my longest since CdA) but never made it above a couple of fifteen-mile efforts. My planned twenty miler didn't pan out too well, due to the time of day, lack of nutrition, and sheer exhaustion from the week (and proctoring the SAT earlier in the day), so I was beginning to get a little concerned over my planned, Barney-style assault on a full marathon. Then I did a track workout (of mile repeats) at race pace and all of my fears evaporated; I knew I would rock this thing with energy to spare.

The marathon was yesterday. It was my third time running San Antonio and my slowest of them all, due to the chosen pace. I brought in everybody (who stayed with me) within the 4:30 window, even having time to stop and chit-chat with W---, another CdA finisher, who was spectating at the finish. In all, it was an enjoyable experience, but, more-so, it was a learning experience. In no particular order, here are some of the things I learned from running the 2009 Rock & Roll Marathon:
  • San Antonio's marathon sucks. The course itself is fantastic, but everything else surrounding the marathon (expo, getting to the start, getting out of the finish and back to the start [where your vehicle is parked]) could use a quick exit out of mediocrity.
  • It is possible to train for and complete a marathon in three weeks...providing the person attempting to do so has run marathons before and has completed an Ironman within the preceding six months.
  • Pretty girls run around a ten minute pace. In addition to those I met yesterday, N--- has just under a 10:00/mi pace on-tap for Austin, and girls don't get any prettier.
  • You can find some cool while running. Yesterday, I found a sequined, Michael Jackson-esque glove around mile eight. You bet I nabbed it and finished the marathon with it on my hand. I can't wait to see the pictures.
  • Non-mylar balloons do not make good "signs" for pacers -- especially with painter's tape being used to attach the pace numbers.
  • It's OK to have up to a half-cup of beer while running a marathon.
  • Lone Star Beer isn't half-bad. Then again, after 23 miles of running...
  • Even people who make a living coaching athletes have to walk from time-to-time
  • The Purple Menace isn't nearly as annoying if you don't have to share a hotel with them.
  • Red Robin totally rocks for post-marathon food.
  • Timex's titanium Ironman watch looks -hot but absolutely sucks for trying to keep track of splits in a marathon -- or a track workout. Specifically, each time I hit the lap-split button, the watch records two depressions, resulting in many, many screwy splits.
  • The Nike Free 5.0 is the most comfortable (running) shoe ever made. If you have the means, I highly suggest you pick up a pair. They are so choice.
There's more, I'm sure, but it's getting horribly, horribly late, and I need to be up early for swim practice. It will be another long week, with the TISCA meet on tap for Friday & Saturday. Three more school days, though, and then, after TISCA, I'm off for a week for the Thanksgiving break. Looking forward to time off to investigate grad school for myself, hopefully witness N---'s presentation for her wrapping up grad school, and, of course, swimming, biking, and running.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Gruene with Envy

Last weekend was the annual Tour de Gruene and accompanying time trials. For the first time since my re-entry into cycling in late-2000, I actually competed in the TTs, solo & team, and I am so glad I did. However, in looking at results and pictures from last weekend, I have reached the sad realization that I have let my body get into a sad state of affairs. Naturally, I am at fault for having allowed this to happen; I got too lazy after Ironman. Once I returned to work in early August, that was more or less the end of free time, and my exercising slacked off immensely, yet my calorie intake took no such break. From there, the imbalance worked against me in the worst way.

My posted time for the ITT (individual time trial) at Gruene last Saturday was 41:30, where I averaged 23.13mph over the 16-mile course. The good news is that I finished fourth in my category and am forced to upgrade to the Blitz category next year, as I proved too fast for the Schnell category in which I raced. The bad news is that I missed tying for third place by one second. Yes, one second. Worst yet, in reviewing the pictures, that one second (and then some) could have been had quite easily, had I paid closer attention to my form. I am finding that, again, my grip is creeping too far back on the aerobars, sitting me almost upright; that's a lot of wind resistance. Additionally, my elbows are a tad too wide. I am hoping that the former can be fixed with the obvious reduction in my girth. I may need to look at a different saddle, as well.

Sunday's TTT was run with T---, a buddy from SAW, with whom I have done countless rides, yet never raced. We fixed that this year (his suggestion, and I am so glad; I had no clue who would be willing to ride with me), although T---'s climbing legs were not operating as well as they typically do. We lost a fair amount of time over the 26.93-mile course but I lost nothing in having fun. Dropping down into the bars, with a buddy on your wheel, hammering for all it's worth is an exhilarating feeling that I would not want to trade for anything (okay, maybe a one-time winning super lotto ticket, but only on the condition that a portion of the money could be used to buy bikes and time away from other obligations to go train and/or race). Thank you, T--- for motivation to get back into training and for pulling us across the line in 1:18:55. We averaged 20.76mph, which is only 0.04mph under what I guesstimated we would do. Next year,though, we might wind up with one of those obligatory upgrades to Blitz or something. Full results are posted at www.tourdegruene.com; pictures, www.rxdesign.com.

The SA Marathon is next weekend; Austin, February. Apart from those, I've nothing on the radar, but I cannot let that stop me from getting back into a shape other than round. I'm thinking of a triangle -- so long as that it resembles a yield sign, as opposed to a pedestrian crossing sign.

With that, I'll sign off and leave you to do what you will. Whatever that may be, thanks for reading.