Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Well here's the long and short of things. I've decided for several reasons that I'll be taking a rest in February. It will give me time to put some shorter mileage runs on my knee and hopefully allow it to recuperate some. I can always work on upgrading the Marathon Mania status later. At this point I think I would just rather not push things too far.

I am still scheduled to do the Little Rock Marathon on March 3, and the Oklahoma City Marathon on April 27. After that I'm toying with the idea of MAYBE doing Grandma's in June. It's really just an excuse for Bonnie to get us to Minnesota to see the grandbabies. See how that works, I go run the marathon while she's playing Grandma. Me, I do whatever to make her happy, including going out and beating my body into the pavement for 26.2 miles. Well, as you know that isn't entirely true, I do the races because I want to, because I'm a maniac. This should also give me some time to focus on losing some weight, and I'm hoping that will help the knee as well.

So now I'm looking for some decent weather, it has been so windy here, over 30 mph and gusts even higher for days now it seems. Today I fly to Grand Junction, Colo and I'm taking my running things but I'm not hopeful of getting much done there, well maybe some time on a treadmill I guess.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I've run marathons in each of the last three months and I have marathons scheduled for March (Little Rock) and April (OKC Memorial Marathon). Now it's time to decide if I continue the streak by stepping into something in February, perferrably early February or not. One week after the Houston Marathon my knee feels fine, so I'm seriously leaning towards maybe the ARR Desert Classic in Arizona. I have a free flight available to me on Southwest so I could go out for free and just have one night's stay on Saturday and return Sunday night, provided I can get the ticket thru Southwest....that's a very strong possibility. There are some others that are back east that weekend or the next weekend that might work as well.

I hate these kinds of decisions. I'm sure some would or will say to rest too. I could go with that option as well and then the 6 in 6 months is out the window. I feel that I can do one in February though so am I just rambling aimlessly here for no reason?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Marathon Mania - The Houston Saga 01/13/08

Bonnie and I drove down to Houston, starting on Friday evening, stopping in Dallas long enough to have a quick cup of coffee with my daughter and to admire her new engagement ring. She’s so proud and so is Dad.

We got to Houston Saturday morning before lunch and met up with my Dad and my middle brother Ben (who ran the Houston Marathon last year and got me started down this zany road). We piled into my Dad’s car with my brother driving and headed for the marathon expo. There we met up with one of Bonnie’s many adopted families. We met them in October at the Madill, OK half marathon. Bonnie ran the 10k run that day with the Mom of the group Rae Ann. I didn’t realize it but I was leap frogging with her daughter-in-law, Cindy. Anyway, Bonnie being her quiet, shy self, introduced herself to their cheering party as she and Rae Ann finished the 10k and waited on our group of half marathoners to come in. We also had a Cindy in our group that day that ran in about 3 minutes ahead of their Cindy.

One of Rae Ann’s son’s, Craig, ran the full marathon in 4:29 and some change. The rest of their group ran the half marathon in good times between 2:10 and 2:35 or so.

Now on to Sunday morning. On the way to the George R. Brown complex, my brother picked up a friend of his, Eddie that was running his first marathon. He was expectedly nervous. I tried to convince him that the important thing today wasn’t time but to finish. Once at the complex we met another of their local running friends, Earl. Earl was starting his 32nd marathon. We talked for a while in the complex avoiding going back out in the chilly weather and wind that was whipping around the downtown buildings, but finally we decided it was time. On the way to the intersection where our wave would standby while the first wave left, we stopped for a potty break and were amazed at how short the lines were there. We were walking to our intersection when we heard the gun signaling the start of Wave 1. We had ten minutes. As we got up in the waiting crowd I decided I would leave our small group and head up closer to the 5-hour pace group. When the fired the gun I was just two minutes crossing the start line.

In the first mile we saw Elvis, yes a bit too early to be hallucinating I agree, but there he stood on the bridge median over Hwy 59, bigger than life. On that bridge I had to make a quick stop to retie my left shoe, got that done and was on the road again, where is Willie? First several miles were under 12 minutes. I believe mile 6 was my first mile to take longer than 11 minutes. I think I made the first “on course” bathroom break in that mile. I ditched my gloves during mile 2 and my long sleeve throw-away during mile 4. The weather was turning out to be great.

I saw my brother, got double high 5’s from him, then Bonnie and my Dad. Bonnie was trying to take a photo and at the same time ask me what I needed. I surprised her, brushed the camera out of the way, and gave her a big wet kiss….yes there was tongue involved too. That was all I needed at the time, so much better than any other energy boost.

Miles 8 through 11 were uneventful, except that we lost the half marathoners somewhere in mile 9 I believe. There were still a lot of runners though. Just past mile 11 I say my cheerleaders again, my Dad walked along with me as I approached Ben and Bonnie, asking me how I was doing and how my knee was. I told him at that point that I felt good. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t see the 5:15 pace group any longer. Bonnie gave me a bottle of water and lip balm.

During mile 12 or 13 I took another potty break and as I came out the 5:30 pace group came by, another disappointing site. At this point, I was figuring out that when I stopped and then started to walk or run again my knee would hurt the most. Stopping was causing it to tighten up I presume. At every bathroom break, I took it hurt as I got back on the street. That caused a huge debate with myself just before the 25 mile mark that I’ll explain later.

Mile 14 I again saw my cheering group as expected. They had bought me a bagel and I took half of it at that point. I think I got another bottle of water from Bonnie at this point.

I had been taking Gatorade at each water stop and between water stops I was also taking in some GU. After mile 15 the GU started to not sit well on my stomach so I stopped using it. The Gatorade did not taste like it was being cut and I felt it was giving me the electrolyte balance that I needed.

At mile 16 I got a big surprise, this was in the Galleria area. I heard my name being called loudly from the right side of the street and I was on the left side at the time. I looked over to see my Dad, Ben, and Bonnie there. They were supposed to be at mile 19 next. I didn’t need anything at that point but it was great to see them again.

Onward I went from that point. First west on San Felipe for a short stretch then north again heading thru a neighborhood I think is called Tanglewood, heading to Woodway. I expected to see my group again just after I made the turn onto Woodway near the intersection with Sage but they weren’t there. I continued onward and between miles 19 and 20 I neared the Loop 610 overpass where last year I met my brother and ran in to the finish line with him. I thought maybe they would be there again, but again saw no one around that I knew.

Near mile 21, I looked up to see my brother standing in the grassy median of Memorial Parkway that we were now running on. At this point, it was beginning to feel like the home stretch. We were headed back to downtown Houston. After I saw him I encountered my Dad by himself and he walked with me towards Bonnie. She got a photo of us walking together. I haven’t had a chance to review the photos much yet and will post some later. I think this one will be one that I’m proud of though. I’m glad he could make the race. This was his first opportunity to see me run since my high school basketball days, many years ago.

They left me with cheers of my name and saying they would see me soon at the finish line, it felt incredible. I haven’t mentioned it but after I got to mile 8 or 9 I reverted back to my old run one minute/walk one minute routine that I did most of last year building my mileage base. This seemed to cause my knee to hurt less than trying a 5 and 1 interval.

As I was running between miles 22 and 23 I heard my name being called by someone to my left. I sometimes get so focused on the race that I hear my name but will ignore people. This time though something made me look and it was Robert another friend of my brothers that had run with us over the last several miles last year. I stopped long enough to shake hands and say hello letting him know I was good to go. He called Ben after I left him to let them know he had seen me at that point and that I was still looking good.

Just a couple of minor hills/rises and then into downtown, I was going to make it on my own power. As I approached the 25 mile marker I saw another row of port-o-potties and debated with myself to make a stop or not. I knew I could go and should go but I felt like I was starting to push the 6 hour window and really wanted my gun time to be under 6 hours. I decided I should stop though (I know my system, I have TB...tiny bladder). Again, as with the other times, my knee hurt as I got started walking again, but one cycle of walk/run and I was ok once again.

Into downtown we ran, turning left I believe on Louisiana and running there for 2 blocks, then right onto Rusk and you could see the finish line in the distance. I knew it was several run/walk cycles away and decided not to push things. I was confident that I would be under 6 hours for my gun time. I had the remnants of a bottle of water that I had picked up from Bonnie at mile 21 that I had been refilling at later water stops. I had hoped to find a trash can to drop it because I didn’t want it in my hands at the finish line. I was able to locate a trash can though and ended up dropping it on the street. I felt bad about that because there wasn’t a lot of other race related litter there. I was able to spot first my brother, then my Dad, then Bonnie, all yelling my name. It felt so great to see and hear them there for me. I could see the clock and it was reading 5:57 as I crossed. I later learned they adjusted our gun times in the second wave so that my gun time was actually 5:47:55, just two minutes more than my chip time.

I got my finishers medal and t-shirt and met my group and then we waited on Eddie and Earl to come in. I believe they both finished around 6:10:00.

I was treated to a great steak at a Saltgrass Steakhouse about an hour later and felt really good but very tired.

This now makes 4 in 5 months and 3 in the last 3 months. What will February bring? I am currently signed up for the Little Rock Marathon on March 2, and will soon sign up for the Oklahoma Memorial Marathon on April 27. If I decided to try one in February, it will give me 6 in 6 months and I believe I move up a level as a Maniac.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Houston Marathon "Quickie" Scoop

Here's the quick version of the race. Yes I did start, yes I did finish...wooohooo!!!! My chip time was 5:45:55, gun time they say was 5:47:55. I don't understand the two because while I was on the course early on I saw that I was exactly 12 minutes off the gun time. But they did have two starts and I was a part of the second wave that started 10 minutes after the first. Sooooo, maybe it only took me 2 minutes to cross the start line when "our" gun was fired. I know the clock at the finish line was reading 5:57:XX when I crossed, so I think I just realized the clock time at the finish had to be for the overall time from the "first" gun. They have adjusted my gun time to reflect my second wave start I guess. Who cares, right? I finished, under my own power, in a vertical position, etc, etc....and I'm mostly ok today.

My knee did hurt some but not like in Honolulu. I wore a brace around it to help keep the knee cap in place and that turned out to be a big help. It's kind of funny but the most it would hurt was when I had to stop to take a potty break. Standing still on it seemed to make it hurt as I would start to move again, weird...maybe TMI...but that is the truth. And of course I set a course record for needing to pee during a marathon...at least for me...I can remember stopping 4 times, maybe 5, but normally it's one time and I'm good to go.

The weather was great, started out around 42, with a light breeze, then it warmed up to the low to mid 60's by the end of the race and it was bright and sunny no clouds anywhere. I heard that 7,000 started the marathon but I believe 5,594 finished, I finished 5,336 and was 3,368 out of 3,502 males. Not sure where I was in my age group, but definitely still back of the pack material here. I did not get my Maniacs yellow/gold shirt in the mail in time to wear it for this race, it was delivered apparently on Saturday.

Anyway, I hope the other runners from this weekend had great races, I know several were out doing the P.F. Chang in Phoenix....I'll have to wait till tomorrow night to catch up as I have to get re-packed to leave for Wyoming in the morning.....bbbbbrrrrrrrr.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Introducing "MARATHON MANIAC #788"

It's official tonight I've made it into the InSane AsyLum for Marathon Maniacs!!!!!! Newest member #788. Wow this is so incredible, I'm excited and amazed that I was able to pull this off and on top of it all, I didn't even realize that I had done it...doubly incredible. 2007 was truly a wonderful and wild year for me. Three marathons, two half marathons, a 15k, and numerous other "smaller" races....all I can think of writing is wow...Wow...WOW!!!!!

Oh my God, I can't believe I can't think of anything to say....that's not entirely true because I can think of something very special that I need to write about and share with this group. You guys and gals have been the best support group, cheerleaders, mentors, and fans that a person could ask for. Without your backing almost daily from so many of you I don't think I would have continued to where I am today and to each and everyone of you I am indebted and owe a tremendous THANK YOU!!!!!

I'm also thankful to the members of the Edmond Running Club that I've had the privelege of running with over the past year. Special thanks to Clyde, Rachel, Lissa, and Cindy my frequent training and race partners. It's been a very short year but there have been so many "stories" that evolved in that time frame. I so appreciate your training knowledge, your patience, your concerns with my health at various times, but most of all your total support and backing that I could set out to accomplish such a crazy and insane goal. I also want to thank my coach/trainer/mentor James who has done his darnedest to get me into a pair of motion control shoes but I've resisted...but I know you are right that I need to go that direction and will promise to work in that direction for 2008.

My biggest thanks I save until last and that goes to Bonnie "the woman in red", that beautiful lady that I formally met in 2000 in the Fargo, ND airport where she stood waiting for me dressed in red...so that I would recognize her...see we met on the internet..but that is a whole other post or two or three. She was there with me when I had my open heart surgery (quadruple bypass) in April 2005, and she's been there either physically or in spirit with me for every race. She's even begun to run her own races and I am more than just thankful for all her wonderful, I'm so very proud of her own efforts. You see when we met and when we were married she wasn't a morning person and she definitely wasn't a runner. Well today she is both. In fact I may have a designation as a Marathon Maniac but she's my "trophy bride". She will be so very quick to tell you that for all my efforts in 2007 I've brought home t-shirts and medals, but I have yet to bring home a trophy. She did that in her first effort at a 10k run, finishing first in her age group. She means so much to me and is so special...I'm so proud to call her my bride.

Yes I can go from nothing to say to needing to have someone shut me up. I feel like I'm on top of the world tonight. What a wonderful way to culminate 2007 as my first year as a runner. Thanks again to one and all for the support.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

GOOF Award of the Year - "Me"

After the post I did earlier today the anal-engineer kicked in and I decided to reconfirm the number of days between the Tulsa Route 66 marathon on 11/18/07, the Honolulu marathon on 12/09/07, and the Houston marathon on 1/13/08, and I get a total of 56 days, not even close to 90 days, whew right......well there's more to the zaniness....

Then a very feeble light bulb started to shine and I decided to count the days between the Lewis and Clark marathon on 9/16/07, the Tulsa Route 66 marathon on 11/18/07, and the Honolulu marathon on 12/9/07, and I get a grand total of "84" days!!!!!!


I qualified as a Marathon Maniac with the Lewis and Clark, Tulsa Route 66, and Honolulu Marathons inside the 90 day window to become an entry level "Bronze" Marathon Maniac.

Would someone check my numbers, please...I can't believe this.

I'm still going to Houston though. This is where my true street running started in 2007 when I ran/walked the last 6.5 miles of the Houston Marathon last January with my brother. I'm still really proud of his effort and will always know and remember he did the first one first and it's because of him that I'm running like I am today.

Houston - A Week From Today

I finally got in some very slow mileage today. Bonnie and I did 2 miles at a 13:40 pace. It just felt good to be back out running again. I had a dull kind of ache in my knee but now, we've been back maybe 20 minutes and it's about gone away. I'm supposed to run in the morning with my old Monday/Wednesday gang. I haven't run with them since before the Tulsa Route 66 marathon back on 11/18/07. I will definitely be the slow horse tomorrow morning.

Looking ahead to the marathon, we are staying Saturday night at the Doubletree Hotel that is just off the start/finish area of the marathon, so I should be able to get dressed, do the bathroom thing and go start the run....oh yes and get in a warm up jog for a bit. The weather says that the start time temps should be in the mid-40's and will warm up into the mid 60's by early afternoon. This marathon puts a 6 hour cap on finishers getting a medal. So, I want to finish the race, first and foremost; and secondly I want to finish under 6 hours...and a far distant third...is maybe a sliver of a chance at finishing between 5:00 and 5:30. It's a very flat course and the temps are right so maybe I'll do really good.

This is the third race to gain the Marathon Maniac status. Three races in 90 days, oh God I hope I've counted things right from 11/18 to 01/13. I think I should have about 5 days to spare.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

My Apologies for Being so Absent

I apologize for not being around, but not running can take one out of the mood to blog it seems.

I went back to my sports doctor and fellow runner yesterday. I FINALLY had my MRI done on Wednesday. The end results.....I'm getting old. It seems that the area behind my kneecap (patella), has eroded some but it does not warrant surgery at this point to correct anything. In fact he said there was much better odds that surgery now would just make things worse and I might not be able to run. So...NO surgery. He has cleared me to run in Houston a week from tomorrow...woohoo...I'm so glad he confirmed that. He feels I've got enough mileage base that this off period between Honolulu and Houston won't hurt me and it's given the irritation in the knee plenty of time to recuperate. It's hardly sore any more. He did tell me that with the longer runs it will hurt and that I need to follow the run with ice directly to the knee as soon as possible afterwards as I can...and Advil.

So Bonnie and I leave for Houston, either early Saturday morning or late Friday afternoon, not sure which yet.