Friday, December 31, 2010

RunnerDude Chats with Chuck "Marathon Junkie" Engle

I've always been a huge fan of "RunnerDude's" blog found at, owing to it's consistent high quality focus on all matters pertaining to both runners and individuals simply looking to improve their overall fitness. It deserves every runner's bookmark.

Today's post, however, is especially exceptional, as it  features an incredible interview with Chuck "Marathon Junkie" Engle. As you'll see, his moniker goes well beyond being merely apt!

Have a very happy, safe and productive New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Here's a great video forwarded by my wonderful daughter:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Houston Half - Here I Come!

Earlier today I attempted the Kenyan Way 22-mile long training run, targeting an 8-minute pace for the first 16 miles, and my goal Marathon Pace (7:30) for the final 6 miles. This was a huge day for me, having unaccustomedly bonked in the late miles of both the recent Chicago and San Antonio Marathons it was important to test my fitness level to determine whether to remain in the Houston Marathon, or to drop to the Half.

I got as far as 17.5 miles, and though I'd held my desired goal paces until the final quarter mile, my body guided me to the right decision - I'll be running the Houston Half in January. I'm relieved by my decision, and am excited to hopefully excel at the half-marathon distance. Since with my coach I'd previously committed subsequent to the January Houston race to take six-months off from marathon training and endurance-oriented competition via concentrating instead on speed, through running the Houston Half I hope to have an excellent transition in that direction.

The weather conditions for this morning's run were warmer than I'd hoped, starting in the upper 50's and finishing in the low 60's with very high humidity. Nevertheless, I don't hold that as an excuse, especially as the conditions were well within the expected range for the end-of-January Houston race.

Until mile 17 I had the benefit of running with an evenly-matched friend training for Boston. The miles always go by much quicker with companionship and conversation, and today was no exception. Nevertheless, beginning at the 14th mile it became very clear from my exertion level running at only an 8:00 pace that the 7:30 marathon pace would prove difficult. As I'd feared upon speeding up at mile 15 my rapid and labored breathing in the remainder of the run provided evidence that I'd not be able to complete the full 22 at my intended pace. This was confirmed in the final half mile slow-down, and after re-hydrating at the Kenyan Way staging area I noticed that I felt as I had in Chicago and San Antonio while nearing glycogen depletion. Though initially disappointed I know I'm making the right decision, and look forward to training for the Half.

“Nothing endures but change.” –Heraclitus

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tag Post

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's 22-mile training run with Kenyan Way, as how well I do will determine whether I stay in the Houston full or drop to the half. The weather bodes to be quite good, especially so considering the nasty conditions elsewhere in the country!

TAG - Jamoosh from Last Mile Lounge was tagged by five questions, and in turn he passed-on the tag to others:

1. What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2010?  
I was proudest to have learned from my many training errors in preparing for the 2009 Boston Marathon, and as a result to set a P.R. in the 2010 Boston.

2. What are your running goals for 2011?  
After five marathons per year for three years running I need a change in pace, literally and figuratively! After running Houston full or half marathon I'm planning to spend six-months working on speed and my running form. After doing so I hope to set a 5K and 10K P.R.

3. What is your favorite race?  
See #1 :-)

4. What is your favorite holiday guilty pleasure?  
Starbucks Eggnog Latte - I feel guilty for every one of its delicious 610 Calories and 27 grams of fat.

5. What was your most embarrassing running moment?  
A few years ago, shortly after starting a long run with a group of friends, I was caught-up in my conversation and was completely oblivious to my surroundings - which I proved by running headlong directly into a wide wooden four foot tall pole that the other runners easily avoided. I bounced backward sprawled horizontally on the ground looking up as my friends concernedly asked if I was okay. With much embarrassment I picked myself up and resumed my run, reassuring everyone that I was fine -  thereby proving the power of endorphins over pain and pride receptors ;-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Houston Full or Half Marathon?

Should I run Houston's full or the half marathon? It's a head-scratcher, partly tied to the 2012 Boston Marathon.

While I'm currently signed-up for the Houston Marathon on January 30th I could easily run the same day half marathon instead, provided I switch by the December 19th deadline.

Subsequent to my recent San Antonio Marathon disappointment I've been strongly thinking about switching to Houston's Half Marathon, as based on my recent Chicago and San Antonio marathon splits I would have easily set personal half-marathon records, so I clearly have the fitness to excel at that shorter distance. Additionally, my coach Sean Wade and I feel that I would tremendously benefit by a six-month rest from my three year recent history of running five marathons per year, and to instead concentrate on speed versus endurance by focusing exclusively on 5K and 10K races.

However, I want to be able to line-up in Hopkinton in 2012. As the Boston Marathon will certainly sell-out immediately upon registration opening (anticipated in October, 2011) presuming I begin my six-month marathon hiatus subsequent to my next race it would be ideal for me to get another Boston qualifying marathon run under my belt at Houston.

Of course, as the 2011 Boston race sold out in only eight hours the BAA may change its 2012 registration date, significantly tighten its qualifications standards, enlarge the number of runners (at minimum by stopping the congestion-inducing and freeloading bandits), and/or move towards a a lottery system. However, as all of these possibilities are outside my ability to predict or influence it makes sense for me to simply re-qualify under the current rules then hope for the best.

Consequently, here's my plan. Until Saturday, December 11th I will continue training while generally following the Kenyan Way full marathon plan. I will then run my scheduled Kenyan Way 22-miler (16-miles @8:00 pace with the final 6-miles @7:30 marathon pace). If I flag on that key training run I'll switch to the half instead with a clear conscience that I've done the right thing. Though as a result I may be unable to run my third Boston Marathon in 2012 I'd be completely OK with that outcome, and would be happy to start my forthcoming speed-focused training with a half-marathon personal record. Time will tell! Thoughts?