Friday, October 31, 2008

Up next?

I know I am supposed to be tapering for the marathon, but I really get antsy. All I have this weekend is a 12 miler on Sunday. What will I do with all the time? Eating and sleeping definitely top the list, as does painting the baseboard before my mom visits. But I think I need to run a little 5k race, too, just for fun. So, I will probably be running the Raul Jimenez Inaugural Feast of the Heart 5k tomorrow morning.
Yep, bad Sally. At least I'm passing on the 5 miler in New Braunfels. Maybe all the pros will stay home, too, and I can win a shiny medal.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Proof of the things of which I speak

Yep, like I told you, it was surreal - lots of crazy old cars drinking a brewski with the Hashers...
"camping" in the city park (the boys got REALLY strange looks)

guys in red dresses (their team name was "a few chiks short") - most of our Ragnar relay team at a major handoff - I was cold even after changing into long sleeves
and the really ugly night race pic, "what the heck am I doing running on a highway in the dark?!"

I guess it really did happen.

Thanks to Carolyn for the pics.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Yes, surreal. An often over-used word meaning having an oddly dreamlike quality. But that is the best description for the Ragnar Relay experience. As van 1 (runners 1-6, and it was an Explorer, not a van), we embarked at 9 a.m. Friday morning. Because not everyone's goal is to take the ugliest pictures, these are actually at the start - when we're all bright eyed and bushy tailed! We quickly read through the pre-race precautions, which included emergency procedures in the event of a charging cow - duh? Run!

Stickley, Carolyn, Justin, Patrick, and me (D-Rod joined us enroute, mowed down about a pound of beef jerky, and hit the pavement). The other six runners were in van 2 (also not really a van).

Then, the hills attacked. And they were brutal, and we were ugly. During my run, I was passed by so many antique cars that, when a modern car passed, it was strange. Then I ran for a little while with a big white dog, who I kept trying to put back in his fence, but he kept following me. And a van from another team heckled me, but that was only because their guy was walking the hills behind me (and I was running - just not so fast). After a couple of legs, we shared a beer with a team from the Hash House Harriers.

(that sign meant downhill behind me)

Then we 'rested' - drinking a local ale, eating German food, and lying around in the park as dusk descended. And then it was running in the dark, separated from VERY LARGE TRUCKS by cones. Every shadow was a lurking skunk to me at that point. And I was passed by one of the guys from a team that all wore red dresses. I just kept trying to follow his red blinky light and red shiny tulle.

Luckily, we were able to crash in real beds (or the floor of a house) for a couple of hours, only to be awakened by some of the van 2 folks saying "move over or get up and run." And it was off to our final legs - once again along the shoulder of the highway for me. Carolyn and I headed back to San Antonio after our legs Saturday morning, but our last runner finished about 30 hours and 45 minutes after the start. What a run. Run, drive, sleep? repeat, indeed. Surreal.

running so fast, I'm a blur!

Thanks to Carolyn for the pics!


* did not finish last is better than did not finish is better than did not start (that's what I tell myself every race)

And we didn't finish last at the Ragnar Relay!

In fact, here is our team result:

South TX Viceroys
30:45:42 (as in 30 HOURS)

And we were #6 as a "corporate male" team. Yeah, I'm neither corporate nor male, but that classification comes from the folks who also classified my first leg as "moderate." Not a bad showing for over 180 miles of road race!

Monday, October 27, 2008

the pain, the pain

Okay, orthobutcher might have been (a little) right. I'm experiencing some delayed onset muscle pain from the crazy relay this weekend - and now back pain. I haven't had this in quite awhile and it's echoing from L4-L5 to the hip - straight out spasms. I don't need the doc to tell me that - I dealt with the dual muscle spasms all day. Damn Army. Damn running. Damn relay. I really just don't want to deal with a failed back until I'm at least over 40.

So, I decided to swap walking the pitoodle, lying around, and making pasta salad for the final zoo run for a 5-miler today. I'm technically tapering, so it's okay. I'm hoping to wake up semi (back) pain free. Sometimes that works. Until then, I'll think happy thoughts. Like the fact that another un-worn shirt of mine sold on It's kind of like watching ebay, but I don't profit - but $1 of the sale of that shirt was donated to the River Revitalization Foundation to restore urban river trails and waterways. So cool.

And I know that made everything better!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bibs and turds

Like many other runners, I keep my race bibs. They're a journal of sort, where I record the race details on the back, and the real race details in the condition of the bib (this last Ragnar 180+ mile relay bib is TRASHED). I used to tape them around my kitchen in my last apartment - on top of each other after awhile. Now that I'm residing in the cottage, I thought it would be neat to get a chinese screen-thingy with corkboard to post them on. Luckily, my Mom is an interior designer and found this for me:

It serves a treble purpose. 1) I have a place for all my bibs and awards (except for trophies) that's a little less tacky than taping them around the kitchen; 2) it covers the cats' litter boxes and I giggle every time they politely step behind the screen to do their business; and 3) alerts me when the cat-poop eating pitoodle tries to sneak a cat turd "treat" (ewww - the medals clank and I yell "Gwen - ewwww"). Gwen the turd-eating pitoodle - ewwww

Anyway, I know I'm not alone in this hoarding of bibs. An almost-elite running buddy of mine stacks them on top of each other and records the height, like tracking his children's height over the years. Certain family members think I'm a little race-addicted, but I just love the shiny medals - and my bibs.

Run, drive, sleep?, repeat

It is finished. The Ragnar Relay is in the books. It was tough, but fun. 180+ miles from San Antonio to Austin, through the HILL country, 36 legs, 3 of which and almost 17 miles were me. In between, we tooled around in the Ford "Exploder" (as the insurance guys called it), slept in a park to strange looks, sampled the local brew, and spent a couple of hours in a real bed kind of sleeping. Oh yeah, and ran and ran and ran.

Hopefully, I can post some ugly and not so ugly pics. For now, I sleep.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's official

Rock N Roll San Antonio is sold out - capped at 30,000. Man, that's going to be a crowd. Maybe I'll just walk to the start.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"I think we will vow never to do this one again"

I totally swiped the title from an email of a buddy (Carolyn) who had the same not-so-good idea I did. It started awhile ago with this:

"You and 11 of your closest friends running day and night, relay-style, through some of the most scenic terrain North America could muster. Add in live bands, inside jokes and a mild case of sleep deprivation. The result? Some call it a slumber party without sleep, pillows or deodorant. We call it a Ragnar Relay."

Sure, what a great idea. Let's run 182.4 miles from San Antonio to Austin (the long way), sleeping in vehicles along the way, mere weeks before the Rock N Roll San Antonio marathon. GREAT IDEA! Well, it DID seem like it at that time. Now, I'm not sure I can pack enough ice.

So, Carolyn will be runner #1 and I am #2, running from San Antonio to Austin on Friday and Saturday in our debut - and likely only - Ragnar relay!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Missions Half Marathon ugly race pics

Well, you have to do some work, but here are the pictures (Missions HM, #45 - you have to input that information)

and some super-soaked (it was humid) zombie-style running pictures

and the end - slowest time EVER, but I did have to run 20 miles the next day.

Tomorrow: 15 or 16 downtown and the darn Alamodome

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The one month countdown

Yes, it is a mere month away. And with 30,000 runners, at this time on this day next month - I may actually be hitting the starting mats. I'm hoping for a cold front because, once that sun comes up, it gets hot after hours of running, and there isn't much shade on the missions trail.

My legs are still a little dull from 33+ miles this weekend, but nothing is falling off. That's a good sign, I think. No races this weekend - just an easy 15 miler and then catching up on everything I didn't do last weekend when I was running, eating, sleeping, repeating.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Well, the first 20 miler for this marathon is in the books and, surprisingly, 24 hours after running a half marathon, it wasn't so bad. I ran it all, with walks through the water stops, and only had a few major complaints from my piriformis/sciatic nerve (darn hills). When I returned home, I kicked Gwen the pitoodle and her new buddy, Stray the Walkon dog, out of the kiddie pool and made a slightly slimy ice bath for myself. Then, I crashed on the bed for awhile, awakening to giggle with glee at the Cowboys' loss. Bwahahaha. Anyway, after some initial muscle pain, I was okay.

Today, I got to spend my federal holiday day off at jury duty. This worried me a little - not due to outstanding warrants or past criminal offenses, but due to the thought of having to sit and/or stand for extended waiting periods after running over 33 miles in 2 days. It wasn't too bad - a couple of leg cramps, but manageable. The worrying part was that I almost ended up on a jury of this retrial (it was reversed by the top State court after that decision) for a week-long (at least) trial. I could just imagine sitting for a week listening to testimony with delayed onset muscle soreness and/or cramps. If I had thought there was really a chance I'd end up on a jury, much less one with an extended trial, I would NOT have run both long runs this weekend.

In serving my jury duty, though, I realized that I do miss the courtroom and trials quite a bit. But, then, I realized that, today, I missed my cushy federal holiday, at-will lunches and breaks, and getting off work around 3 p.m. more - for now!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another shiny medal

This morning, I ran the Missions half marathon and earned my shiny finisher's medal. It was my worst finish time-wise in a half ever (by about 10 minutes), but I was consciously staying at marathon pace and not allowing myself to speed up. Even over the 4 awful bouncy bridges. At the end, I felt like I could continue running at that pace for a long time, which was my goal.

Anyway, the Moroccans swept for the men and some of my nemeses took women's first and second. (Liza was first and Andrea, who got injured during the race, came in second.) I came home, chowed, showered, and spent the afternoon lying around with ice on my hip.

Tomorrow, I'm planning on a 20 mile training run - depending on how my hip feels. Right now, things look good - except for the ugly race pics from this half that will come soon...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The plan

Like many, many bad ideas, this one starts with "So, here's the plan..."

First, the background: My hip still hurts, but not quite so bad (or I'm just ignoring it because the orthobutcher scared me). But, I am back to within a minute or so of my normal 5k speed and ran the 2 mile zoo run last night within :30 of last year's normal times. (Maybe it's the sub-100 degree weather?) Not that either of those are indicators that I can run 26.2 anytime soon, but I'll take all positive signs.

Anyway, back to the plan. Tonight, a brisk 4-5 miles, since a Brak Pak BBQ awaits at the park upon completion of the run. Tomorrow, I will get ALL of my errands run, including picking up some sort of fencing for bad escape-artists dogs and installation thereof.

BECAUSE: Saturday is the Missions Half Marathon, which I'm going to try to run nice and easy. The race used to be up in the HILL country, but this will be flatter and is actually part of the marathon course. I just hope we don't have to cross the bouncy bridges that are located in the Missions park. (They make me nauseous)

THEN: I do nothing but lie around icing whatever needs iced until I run 20 miles Sunday morning. Then, I lie around icing everything.

Yep, dumb plan, but I'm going to try it and see how I feel. I can always ice my butt some more while on jury duty on Monday, which would otherwise be a holiday for me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Running scared

The thoughts that flit through your brain when you are running for hours at a time are strange - kind of like dreaming at night. Though this weekend's run was shorter, I kept experiencing thoughts of fear that the hip pain would strike back unexpectedly and I wouldn't be able to make it. So, I started thinking of times when I was afraid to run - like at the start of the Dallas marathon. Then, more frightening, of my times running in Sarajevo. I didn't run that much at the time - maybe 2-3 miles every couple of days. But, starting in Ilidza, I was running on 1.5 foot wide "trails" with mine tape (like caution tape-indicating there were probably blow-you-to-pieces mines on the other side of the plastic tape) on either side. At Butmir, I'd run the perimeter of the base and 1 wild dog would start following me, I'd run a little faster, then it was 3 wild dogs, and, by the time I'd hit a full sprint, there was a pack on my heels and I was wishing I'd grabbed my weapon before setting out.

Those times would have made for great ugly pics, but alas, I have none. There's the unit pic, though - I'm third from the left in front. Sure makes 13.4 miles in the city seem easier!

Rock N Roll SA

Wow - the Rock N Roll San Antonio marathon is capping runners at 30,000. Yeah, 30k! Rumor has it that 28,500 are already registered. I think last year, before it became a RNR event, there were about 5,000 runners - for the marathon, HM, and 5k. This is 30,000 for the HM and marathon. Sounds like it'll be crazy. I'm already blaming what's likely to be a not-so-good finish time on the crowds!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Training Like a Sumo Wrestler

I once read an article on sumo wrestlers. Apparently, they do their training (mostly strength) in the morning and then spend the rest of the day alternating eating (major calorie loading) and sleeping. So, I thought, for today, I'd employ that training philosophy.

This morning's run was 13.5 and it felt tougher than last week's 18 miler - but the course was pretty hilly. I scarfed down some eggs, potatoes, and fruit and hit the couch HARD. I woke up as the Brewers game and football started and was starving, so I made some spaghetti al pomodoro. Now, I'm alternating lying around with the dog and the cats, flipping between football and baseball.

While I may never make it as a sumo wrestler, keeping off my feet seems to be helping my hip and the rest feels good. It would feel better if the Brewers would put 5 runs or so on the board, though.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

A while ago, I weeded through my hoard of t-shirts and sent some off to be teecycled. Today, I went through my pile of old running shoes and sent some off to be reused. There are many organizations that reuse old running shoes - I picked one that is located in Texas so that I don't have to ship very far.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lazy weekend

And here is why my leg/hip/back hurts:
That piriformis that sits on top (or, likely
for me and some of the population, around)
the sciatic.
Or, you can believe the orthobutcher and
think that it is all back related and there
is nothing but surgery to be had. La la la la
I'm not listening.

What I am doing is NOT racing this weekend.
It's a step down week, so I'm going to take
the pitoodle for a long walk tonight and run
13 miles Sunday morning. Hopefully, that
will be after the Brewers win.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Will bike for donations

Well, not me, but a buddy. Yes, I know that I am always asking for money for homeless animals, sick critters, various diseases, legal aid, etc. I just want to make sure you guys have plenty of choices. My buddy, Carl, is riding in the Livestrong Challenge ride in Austin, TX on October 26, 2008. As in many of these fundraising races/rides, there is a minimum donation - which many of us runners/riders usually end up fulfilling out of our own pockets. I know that the current economic situation is rough for all, but by helping others - even a little - you help us all.

So, save Carl's pocket a little - any donation would be appreciated - and donate here. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure that Carl would appreciate happy cycling thoughts sent his way!