Sunday, January 19, 2014

Houston Half Marathon Race Report

Up until two weeks ago my running was badly suffering. Beginning two months prior my left calf had suddenly acted-up, forcing me to the sidelines for two weeks. Two weeks later, thinking I was recovered, I ran on a cold and rainy day, and on the thirteenth mile my right calf suddenly screamed with pain, once again forcing me to the sidelines. Worried about my declining fitness, every succeeding two weeks I tested my calf's recovery by attempting a short three mile run, and was increasingly dejected since after only two miles I discovered that my calf was not healed.
This sad situation continued for six weeks, when I finally sought-out then heeded the excellent advice of Kenyan Way Coach Sean Wade, who recommended that I see his long-time sports masseuse Connie. Doing so proved nearly miraculous, as she unlocked my extremely tight fascia which had been restricting the blood flow and the cellular healing of the injured calf muscle. As a result of her healing touch, in the past two weeks I've been delighted to quickly ramp-up my running distances - with no hint of calf problems.

With this as my recent backdrop I ran today's Houston Half Marathon intending to run at a conservative pace, as running too quickly would raise the risk of incurring another injury - especially given my loss of endurance resulting from my nearly two month hiatus. I was delighted with today's half-way decent 1:51 time, which while far from my 1:35 personal record proved both calves are fully healed, and I remain on-track to build my endurance towards the Austin Half Marathon in four weeks. Thanks again, Sean and Connie!

Bottom line, when confronting a frustrating running situation, rendered more-so by endorphin deprivation, don't rely solely on your own judgement. Instead, seek out the council of your more experienced coach or trusted adviser.

I love the new 2014 Houston Marathon and Half Marathon course!  Especially notably, both courses, beginning this year, completely avoid the dreaded Elysian Viaduct, a mile long spectator-free road, ramp and bridge north of downtown that had previously provided runners unsightly views of railroad tracks and down-scale commercial properties. Conversely, the new course substitutes neighborhoods with ample, and always appreciated, spectator support. Great job to RD Brant Kotch and his staff!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Plans for the forthcoming Texas Independence Relay!

Returning again in March I am looking forward to running the Texas Independence Relay (TIR) with team "DOGS" for my sixth (the team's seventh) consecutive year. The TIR is consistently well managed, and I'm blessed to have an excellent group of friends to run this relay race with. It is always tremendously fun, and I recommend it highly to Houston-area runners eager for a new adventure.

In the past several months our team has overcome many significant personnel challenges, resulting from the unfortunate injury or relocation amongst four of last year's twelve DOGS. Fortunately, we were successful at finding strong replacement runners whom we've known for years, so we're all looking forward to another fantastic experience.

Listed below is a summary table extracted from my Excel planning spreadsheet with ample stats, additionally showing each leg run with a corresponding Google Maps link:

1st Sleep Shift:
Rick MarkU David Janet Raul Don
Relay Miles 15.7 19.0 17.6 13.0 14.5 14.7
Prologue Miles 1.15 1.15 1.15 1.15 1.15 1.15
Total TIR Miles 16.9 20.1 18.8 14.2 15.7 15.9
Pace (cool & flat) 8:30 8:00 8:45 11:39 9:45 8:30
Forecast Run Time (h:m) 2:17 2:35 2:39 2:34 2:26 2:07
Forecast Pace (Hot&Hilly) 8:46 8:12 9:02 11:51 10:04 8:41
Overall Elev. Increase (ft.) 528 460 770 285 556 323
Overall Elev. Decrease (ft.) (498) (620) (578) (395) (575) (408)
Overall Net Change in Elev. (ft.) 30 (160) 192 (110) (19) (85)
Overall Number of Legs 3 4 4 3 3 3
Leg 1 1-Rick 2-MarkU 3-David 12-Janet 13-Raul 14-Don
Leg 2 28-Rick 10-MarkU 11-David 30-Janet 29-Raul 31-Don
Leg 3 34-Rick 27-MarkU 32-David 36-Janet 35-Raul 37-Don
Leg 4 33-MarkU 38-David
Relay Miles (Legs) 15.7 (3) 19.0 (4) 17.6 (4) 13.0 (3) 14.5 (3) 14.7 (3)
2nd Sleep Shift:
Paul MB Kim Kath Tim MarkO
Relay Miles 19.0 18.1 18.4 15.8 17.5 14.9
Prologue Miles 1.15 1.15 1.15 1.15 1.15 1.15
Total TIR Miles 20.2 19.2 19.5 17.0 18.7 16.1
Pace (cool & flat) 8:30 9:00 8:03 8:04 8:21 10:00
Forecast Run Time (h:m) 2:46 2:47 2:31 2:11 2:30 2:33
Forecast Pace (Hot&Hilly) 8:47 9:18 8:17 8:21 8:35 10:18
Overall Elev. Increase (ft.) 585 401 427 537 259 399
Overall Elev. Decrease (ft.) (433) (462) (527) (575) (361) (443)
Overall Net Change in Elev. (ft.) 152 (61) (100) (38) (102) (44)
Overall Number of Legs 4 3 4 3 3 3
Leg 1 4-Paul 9-MB 7-Kim 5-Kath 8-Tim 6-MarkO
Leg 2 15-Paul 16-MB 17-Kim 18-Kath 19-Tim 20-MarkO
Leg 3 21-Paul 22-MB 23-Kim 24-Kath 25-Tim 26-MarkO
Leg 4 40-Paul 39-Kim
Relay Miles (Legs) 19.0 (4) 18.1 (3) 18.4 (4) 15.8 (3) 17.5 (3) 14.9 (3)

For even better visualizations of the route install Google Earth then click:
  • Here for the customized zoom-in on any leg along the route;
  • Here for a fun view of our ~36-hour trek compressed to 5.5-minutes!
Here's a great elevation view generated by the very handy tool: