Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Time: 67:05
Distance: ~9.5 miles

I woke up this morning feeling terribly sore from some of the drills yesterday. I'm pretty sure that it was from the tapping drill that was done on the bench. I hobbled around the house trying to warm things up but it was pretty much certain that I was going to have to do the workout with some sore calves. Luckily, Meagan had some sore legs too and she wasn't too eager to get out the door.

Our warm up to the track and across the street to True Value to use the facilities was 20:12. The legs were tight but I thought I would be able to put in a good tempo effort on the track as Meagan cut some shapes. She was scheduled to run 8x400 in sub 78, but the workout was written about a month ago when Jeff didn't really know what kind of shape she would be in. I hoped to be able to help her out on this workout by running continuously at ~78 pace and then having her jump in for her 400s.

The track was buzzing with action this morning. The Palm Springs HS soccer squad was just finishing a breakfast of milk and donuts when while we stretched and did a few drills. There were three high school runners doing a mini-workout on the track with there coach of an opposing school. I didn't catch where they attended but the coach was young and seemed enthusiastic about the sport. A handful of other people were walking/jogging around the track and doing stadium stairs and I couldn't see a better way of spending a beautiful morning in sunny Palm Springs.

We started the workout by me running as close to 78 pace and her doing a couple 200s to find the pace. Her first 400 was on my third lap and then she jogged back 100 meters which meant she had about 60 seconds of rest before I came around the track again. My splits for 17 laps (4.25 miles) were:
81.65, 88.43, 81.53, 76.23 (5:22 mile)
81.26, 79.68, 80.19, 78.82 (5:20/10:42)
80.80, 79.95, 78.32, 81.11 (5:19/16:02)
78.85, 83.71, 77.86, 80.19 (5:18/21:22)
77.84 for 22:40 total and an average of 80.02.

I managed to hold right around 80s relatively comfortably, but I didn't feel as great as I hoped. Considering my run on last Friday I thought 80s were going to feel really easy. I guess I didn't prepare enough to hurt and I should have known that all workouts are painful to a certain extent.

Meagan and I jogged a few laps on the track before cooling down back to the house in 22:13.

Rolling in the Jag

Once we got to Brea to visit Jilane she took us to the shooting range. It's way better than Halo.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Indian Canyons Golf Course

Time: 79:21
Distance: 11.42 miles
Pace: 6:57
Splits: 8:11, 7:44, 7:32, 6:57, 7:22, 7:22, 7:03, 6:42, 6:39, 6:03, 5:28, 2:19 (for .42 miles or 5:28 pace)

This evening's run started running south past Koffi and I was hoping to head up the canyon but Meagan had to make a pitstop near some apartments. We didn't find a bathroom in the lobby but spotted on out on the golf course that was (a) closed, (b) a terrible course or (c) I don't have anything for "c" but I like 3s. I'm trying to say that the course was quiet which gave us the opportunity to run around the fairways and keep the surface soft. I ran with Meagan back to the house, grabbed my headlamp and took my self-proclaimed "World's Best Potato Salad" out of the fridge.

The second part of the run was in the dark and I wanted to squeeze the pace down a bit. I looped around for another 4 or 5 miles near the Indian Canyons Golf Resort. There wasn't too much action on the streets tonight but it was good that I had my geeky headlamp. As I ran north on S. Palm Canyon drive the cars were coming up pretty quick so I flipped the light around to the back and illuminated my backside. I think this worked as I heard cars switching lanes over the bumps in the road. The 5:28 mile was not run on purpose but I was feeling good and the road is slightly downhill which helped the cause. The legs are feeling good and I think there is going to be a workout tomorrow.

As a side note I made dinner tonight and hoped to make the aforementioned "World's Greatest Potato Salad." It was decent but certainly not the best, I'll have to go back and change some things. I was hoping that the mashed potatoes were key to making it the best, but you could hardly tell that they were added first.

Palm Springs HS Drills

Time: 32:47
Distance: 4.23
Pace: 7:45

Meagan and I wanted to get in a double today and to ensure that we kept to it we ran easy in the morning. We ran from the house over to the high school track and did some drills. It was such a nice day out that we decided to grace the track with our pasty bodies and stripped off our shirts. Meagan showed me her drills that she learned in Charlotte with Jailhouse Jeff. Two of them were legitimate but the third resembled the famous kick from the Karate Kid and I refused to do it. I then took the liberty to show her a drill on a bench which involves tapping both the ground and the top of the bench as quickly as possible. After a few strides around the track of jogging the turns and striding the straights, it was time to jog back home and mill around the house.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Palm Springs Evening

Time: 58:41
Distance: 7.74 miles
Pace: 7:35

We made the drive to Palm Springs in a little over 9 hours and I wasn't feeling too keen on getting out the door for a run. After unloading the car and milling around the house for about an hour it was time to put the boots on. Meagan and I ran from the house up to Ruth Hardy Park and then back to the most ridiculous Christmas decorated house ever. Every city has that house which take Christmas decorations to another level, but his one tops them all. With an electricity bill of $16,000 a month, robots, nativity scenes and other tacky Christmas décor. It's a grand spectacle.

Here is Frosty and his buddy Microwave Xmas Robot.

This Bus Leaves at 6 A.M.

Time: 23:58
Distance: 3.11 miles
Pace: 7:43

This morning we are traveling from Santa Rosa to Palm Springs which is a looong ass drive. Not as long as the one from San Diego to Norman, but it's long. I thought it would be wise to get in a few miles before making the trek so Meagan and I ran from my mom's house to Carolina & Vern's. It was an early morning departure over to our family friend's house but we were there with plenty of time to spare. The pace was slow but considering the fact that I was carrying a backpack with all of our stuff from the night before the run was respectable. After a quick shower, breakfast and last minute reorganization of our stuff, Meagan and I were stuffed into the backseat of the car for the 9 hour drive.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Week in Review

Time: 590:28
Distance: 88.5 miles

I didn't hit as many miles as I would have liked but I got in some good runs. I had a great run on Tuesday in San Fran as I got back to some old haunts when I trained during the holidays in college in the city. Running along the Embarcadero was flat and fast which I like. Speaking of flat and fast, I got after it along the American River in Sacramento on Friday, but things didn't end so well. I had to walk/jog the 3 miles home after calling it a day at 17 miles. I was really pleased at how easy 5:15s felt running along the river, but I wasn't happy when I was forced to hobble home. The week ended with some great runs with Meagan up in the hills of Annadel in Santa Rosa. I used the runs to recover and mend the bum hip that forced me to stop on Friday. Meagan was kind enough to massage the injured area and I didn't have to take any time off, just some really easy days on soft surfaces.

"Please Don't Talk to Me Right Now"

Time: 90:02
Distance: 12 miles

I ignored Meagan's request and took her back to the hills of Annadel. She said something about running between 12 and 14 miles along a flat surface, but I was being pulled back to Lake Ilsanjo. I took her back up Canyon Trail to the lake and proceeded to run around just as we had done the day before. The difference in today's run was that instead of running completely around the lake and back down Canyon, we were going to run up Warren Richardson Trail and down to Channel Dr. The hill leaving the lake is roughly 800+ meters long and steep. Just as we were nearing the top with ~70 meters to go I said "We're almost to the top." She responded, "Please don't talk to me right now." At the top she caught her breath and then was then ready to start the decent back down to the other side of the state park. The final few miles were run at a respectable pace because things flattened out and the legs were feeling sharp.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Classic Annadel Running

Time: 82:54
Distance: 10.68 miles
Pace: 7:46

My mom and I picked up Meagan yesterday afternoon and spent a few hours in San Francisco. We traveled back up to Santa Rosa and saw some buddies at a new bar on Fourth Street which was all good. Since I was busy showing Meagan where all the cool kids hang out, I thought I would continue the trend and show here where all the good runners train. We headed to Howarth Park for a classic run that I used to do frequently throughout high school.

Running through Annadel

We started out running through Spring Lake and then ventured up Canyon Trail to Lake Ilsanjo. I wasn't pressing the pace but was busy listening to Meagan huff and puff alongside me. The hills were so arduous that they made her nose bleed. I thought it was pretty funny after making sure she was fine. The remainder of the run was plenty fun and it was great being back on the hills that kept me company on so many runs during my youth.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Great Workout, A Great Scare

Time: 105:46
Distance: 17.27
Pace: 6:07
Splits 1st Half: 7:43, 7:18, 6:54, 6:38, 6:47, 6:26, 6:25, 6:20, 6:10, 6:02, :37 (for .10 miles or 6:02 pace)
Splits 2nd Half: 5:30, 5:26, 5:13, 5:14, 5:12, 5:15, 5:18, 1:06 (for .14 miles or 7:55 pace)
3 miles of walking home

I spent Christmas day in Sacramento at my cousin's house where we had a great feast of turkey and all the fixin's. The following morning the stomach was well stretched out and I ate a few pieces of chocolate before what I hoped to be a 20 mile run along the river. I wanted to make the second half of the run a workout type effort so I casually ran out on the river taking my time and letting my body adjust. I didn't have any Gu or water with me so I had to be patient the first half so I wouldn't bomb the second. I was feeling very relaxed by 5 miles and remained calm until the 10 mile mark. I was surprised at how accurate the mile markers were along the river and it just so happened that Mr. Garmin was about .10 behind when I linked up to the path.

I turned at the 19 mile mark along the trails and geared up for an up tempo pace. I was hoping to hit 5:30s to 5:40s at the start and then drop things down from there with perhaps some 5:20s tossed in. I was going to run hard for the 8.5 miles back to the entrance and then run easy 1.5 miles back to the house. On the journey out I noticed that my left hip was a little tight, but I didn't think much of it because it wasn't that sore and I figured it was a result of me not stretching much the past week. This would come into play huge time at 17 miles.

I was a bit shocked when I saw Mr. Garmin read off 5:30 for my first mile. I held the effort constant and clicked off 5:25. I was certain that I was going to slow down but I relaxed and remained focused. I was nearly in disbelief when I saw 5:13 for the next mile. There was no way I was running that fast on this day, but not only was Mr. Garmin giving me splits but so was the bike path which was marked. I figured things were going to fall off soon, but then I rattled off 5:14, 5:12 and 5:15. These splits were completely preposterous and they certainly couldn't be maintained but I was feeling great and just let them come. Somewhere around 16.5 miles my left hip started getting really tight and I was having a difficult time striding through completely. I made it to 17 miles and was forced to slow a touch with 5:18 before calling it a day. I tried running after stretching the hip and it just wasn't going to happen. The pain was a combination of charlie-horse and stiffness that I just couldn't get rid of. I ended hobbling back to the house not wanting to aggravate things any further. I was happy to have run so fast but pissed that my left was about to fall off. I still have mixed emotions about this workout because it tells me I'm fit but that I'm also incredibly vulnerable right now. I managed to run/jog/skip the final mile once the pain relaxed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's My Mom's Birthday Today (And 6 lb. 8 oz. Baby Jesus)

Time: 85:53
Distance: 12.01 miles
Pace: 7:09
Splits: 7:39, 7:20, 7:17, 6:52, 6:55, 6:54, 6:54, 6:52, 7:35, 7:41, 7:15, 6:33

I made a strong effort to run slow today and I think it worked. I didn't have a specific pace in mind but I needed to take a day truly easy. I ran along the Sacramento River which I have done a few times in the past when my mom and I come to visit family. The bike path picks up about 1.5 miles from the house and it runs for miles in both directions. I prefer running to the left when I hit the path which I believe is east. I decided to run on the trails parallel to the bike path because the surface is softer and runs much slower. The river was busier than I expected at 1 in the afternoon on Christmas and I ran into a dude named Ron House who was a pretty big fan of running. He was out for a 20 miler just because he felt like it and didn't have a marathon lined up soon. We talked running for a few miles (see when my splits got really slow) and the topics included the Beijing Olympic marathon, Mt. Sac 2005 when Bernard Lagat ran a sick 5k and the running scene in Maryland/Washington D.C.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the Night Before...

Time: 7:53 + 68:09
Distance: ?? + 11.08 miles (12+ total)
Pace: ??, 6:09
Splits: 7:04, 6:50, 6:39, 6:30, 6:28, 6:23, 6:12, 5:41, 5:21, 5:18, 5:13, :29

I wasn't originally going to run today because when I woke up in Santa Rosa it was raining and I didn't think that I would be able to find the time later in the day. Instead I made breakfast for my mom and messed around on the intertubes (thanks Tarpy for clarifying). Maybe I messed around "in" the intertubes, at this point it's too early to tell whether or not it's "in" or "on."

The drive over to Elk Grove was going to uneventful until some d-bag rear ended us along Hwy 12. As expected, the initial impact was jarring but both my mom and I were okay, as were the people who did the crashing. When we got out of the car I was certain that the bumper was going to have a huge ass dent in it, but to everybody's amazement there wasn't any sign of damage. Could this be a holiday miracle? Probably not. I opened and closed the trunk a couple of times to make sure nothing was eff'd up and it all seemed to be working fine. Despite Toyota recently posting its first loss in the company's history, they can sure make a pretty freakin' sturdy and fuel efficient vehicle. Thanks Prius.

We arrived in Elk Grove a few ticks before 4:00 pm and the weather was much improved since this morning. I felt a little conflicted on whether to take Gebresalassie's training advice or Wanjiru's:

"We had to stay in the Sheraton next to Heathrow but when we arrived it was about 11 o'clock in the evening and the middle of the winter. It was impossible to train outside.

"I started to think about how I could train and then I noticed that my hotel corridor was very long. I put on my shoes and started to run up and down it, and then some of my friends joined me.

"By that time it was close to midnight and people started to come out of their rooms to look at us. Do you know what happened? They all thought it was an emergency and started following us. One old woman was shouting and running down the corridor in her pyjamas." --Marathon WR Holder Haile Gebresalassie

Other than that, I run about 15 km at 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning before I have breakfast. I'd say it's like jogging, or a buildup to something like a pace run. I start around 4 minutes per km, drop it down to 3:30 in the middle, then end up down at about 3 minutes 5 seconds. I always want to finish thinking, "Aaaaah, that felt great. I had a good run." I never do any strength training. You can get enough strength from running on cross-country-type courses. Sundays are off, and if it rains I also take the day off from training. If you train too hard in the summer it's bad for your body. --Marathon Olympic Gold Medalist Sammy Wanjiru.
I decided that it would be best for me to put on my running costume and I was out the door just as the rest of the family was arriving. I started slowly along the wide but holiday traffic filled roads until I noticed that Mr. Garmin was acting up again. I think this is the third run in a row that he has given me problems. I timed 7:53 without the satellites working so the distance and pace weren't registering. I stopped, got back on the grid and reset the run.

I ran down a long straight road that was flanked by new housing developments and a school. I could see Hwy 99 ahead and some ballpark lights in the distance. I figured the park ahead was the one where I ran the Run 4 Independence on July the 4th a few years back. **Enter flashback** I believe the race was my first "professional" race following my senior year at Brown. That summer I was still fit coming off the track season and was trying to figure out what I was going to do in the fall. Road whoring seemed to be the best option at the time and this race offered a decent purse. At the time I was in better shape to run the mile than anything else but I needed to try my hand at the 10k in order to win some greenback$. The race ended up being competitive because 4 guys, myself included, showed up hoping to cherry-pick the prize. A group of four (Bryce Lighthall, Pat Boivin, some other dude and I) went out hard through two miles.
We all glanced around the pack as we approached the 5k turnoff because the winner of the shorter race would get $100, but 3rd place in the 10k received something like $150. Since none in our group of 4 took the turn, one unlucky road whore was going to be left out of the cash. After missing the mile split none of us knew how fast we were running, but when we crossed two miles at 9:35, the nameless dude immediately backed off and was out of the dough. I battled with Lighthall and Boivin for the remainder of the race and actually fell off with a mile to go before rallying back to take second. The time remains as my 10k pr which isn't too bad considering how the second half of the race was tactical and the first two miles were quick for my fitness at the time. **Exit flashback**

I ran along Hwy 99 looking for a way to get across and had to run a few miles past a new mall that looked stalled in its development. I took a wrong turn into a neighborhood that I thought would lead somewhere and was getting frustrated as it was getting dark. I needed to get back to the house to spend some quality time with the family but more importantly to stuff food down my throat. After finally finding the park it was time to pick up the pace and get back home. The pace started to fly as I was running down Elk Grove Blvd and into the headlights of holiday travelers. I kept pushing just trying to get in a hard effort. I used to run like this back in high school when I would finish training runs nearly at race pace. I could argue both for and against running in such a way but tonight it was necessary and I felt good doing it. I misjudged the turnoff a few times thinking that it was just up ahead and when it wasn't I put my head down and increased the pace more. I was surprised that when I checked my splits after the run to see I posted a 5:13. I'll have to adjust the training for the rest of the week because of this run, but for now I'll take it. It was good to just get in a run when I wasn't planning on stepping foot out the door this morning.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Back to the Bay

Time: 86:51
Distance: 14.52 miles
Pace: 5:59
Splits starting with mile 3: (The first few splits were all over the place because I was in downtown SF and had to deal with tall buildings and Mr. Garmin isn't used to them coming from Norman?), 5:48, 6:14, 6:20, 6:02, 5:56, 5:55, 5:41, 5:29, 5:37, 5:32, 5:26, 7:21, 1:29 (for .23 miles or 6:32 pace)

I started the run out from Read and Andrew's house heading towards downtown San Francisco and Union Square. When I'm in the city I normally start my runs from Market St. and 3rd St. near where my dad's place is. I decided to get on familiar territory by running up and over Nob Hill past some cool sites/sights on the way to the Financial District. I was excited to be back in SF again and could tell the pace was going to be elevated as a result. Running down Market St. is always a bit challenging due to the traffic but I was able to navigate my way safely without too many jumps/sprints in front of cars (5:48 mile). When I hit the Embarcadero I was able to settle the pace a little on my way out to the bridge (6:14, 6:20, 6:02).

San Francisco morning.

Shot of the trolley track and the TransAmerica building taken from the top of California St.


Grace Cathedral atop Nob Hill.

Along the Embarcadero I ran by the tourists at Fisherman's Wharf, around Aquatic Park and out along the Marina. I kept the pace going and made the decision to make this a mini-tempo effort since things had progressed in such a way. The splits out to the warming hut and out to Hopper's Hands were 5:56 and 5:55. I made the turn and headed back in the direction of which I had come. I shed the shirt and picked up the pace clicking off 5:41, 5:29. Up the hill by the Safeway slowed the pace to 5:37 and back down through Aquatic Park and Fisherman's Wharf I picked it up to 5:32 and then closed things out with 5:26 ending at Broadway.

I made the turn and ran back up Broadway, through Chinatown (I had to karate chop a few old Chinese ladies in the process) and up the HILL. I didn't want to run through the Broadway Tunnel so I decided to go over the top like Sylvester Stallone which was the poorest of decisions. The pace was nearly a crawl and I had to stop at one point to clutch my knees it was so steep. I wasn't too far from my buddies' house so I was able to escape without too much frustration.

I had a great time getting back to some familiar spots in San Fran and I'm glad to have put the harder effort in. I'll need to rest up the next few days and since it might be raining I probably won't want to run. I think on Christmas I'll try to hit up the Sacramento River for another good effort.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Packing It Up

Time: 63:xx?
Distance: 10.01 miles
Pace: ??
Splits: Garmin should slit its wrists

It was a cold final morning here in Norman but I was ready to put in some good running. I was feeling refreshed after a few days of relaxed running. I was tempted to really squeeze the pace before heading out the door but I knew the air temp was hovering around 15 degrees and I didn't want to risk it. I wore half-tights, oxysocks and a few layers up top which all worked out well for the run. Somehow Mr. Garmin lost all of my splits during my flight from OKC to DFW and SFO (I'm currently posting from Andrew Kadar's and Read Wellman's pad in San Francisco). I didn't get the chance to write down all of my splits but in the brief moment I took to look at them I noticed each mile was a little faster than the previous. I didn't intentionally drop the pace during the run but the leg muscles warmed up to the point that I could turn them over well. I think I started out around 7:28 for the first mile which is quicker than my normal starting miles and I clipped off 5:53 and 5:44 for the final two miles.

The course took me from Campus Lodge out to the GT and on towards the store. My shoe came untied so I took the time to tie it and warm up a bit in Starbucks. I was only a little past the 6 mile mark at that point and I had to find another 4 miles on the way to the house/family that Scotty D is dog-sitting for. I ran through the neighborhood to Main St., down the hill to 48th and looped around the Cambridge housing development. I had never run down there before and probably won't do so again soon. However, the neighborhood was quiet on the course I took through it and I was able to run a bit faster. I was glad to be done because the temps were finally starting to penetrate the clothes.

The old apartment is now empty.

The rest of the day was spent packing up the old apartment and moving it into the new one. The biggest challenge was moving the tv. It's not like I'm going to need it anyway because I won't have cable but I felt obligated to do so since I traded Logan a pair of maroon 990s for it.

Just a few pairs of my shoes in the new apartment. Notice how ghetto the base of the refridgerator looks.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Week in Review

Time: 676:05
Distance: 95.75 miles

I decided to play it smart an not venture out into the cold for a measly 4.25 mile, 30 minute run. I didn't want to face the temps or get suited up to do so. I might be able to hit a couple 100 mile weeks in California but that is depends a lot of finding the time away from friends and family and making it up to the hills. This week finishes up another good week of aerobic running and the body remains in healthy spirits. This week was mainly distance runs that were run at a pedestrian pace. I'm glad to have put in a 2 hr long run, but wasn't pleased with the 7:06 pace. That goes for the run on Sunday too. It wasn't that long or that fast, but it was 9 degrees.
I need to incorporate some threshold workouts in the coming weeks spent in California. I would like to put in a 6-8 mile tempo at 5:15 or fast on rolling terrain and also get in 80-90 minutes of solid running at marathon pace (5:20-5:40?) in the hills of Annadel.

Running Dilemma

It's 27 degrees out, feels like 17 and I have 95.75 miles for the week. What should I do? How important is cracking the hundo mark this week? The body feels good and this would be more for bragging rights than anything else. The body feels good and I could find the time this evening. Hmm...

Bobkitten

Time: 90:07
Distance: 12.36 miles
Map

It's freezing!!! How cold is it? When I woke up after a late night spent at the OK Runner holiday party, the intertubes (term used by Tarpy for the Internet) told me it was 9 degrees out with a wind of 12-15 mph and a real feel of -6. Normally I would have gone back to bed but earlier in the week I had scheduled a group run from the Duck Pond. I knew not many people were going to be there, but one hardcore Normanite would certainly be in attendance.

I rolled up to the Duck Pond a couple minutes past 8:00 am and wasn't surprised to see Carrot Top awaiting my arrival. He had done a little research about what to wear in temperatures this low and his costume this morning was great. The rig around his face was a little funny looking albeit useful for staying warm, but I'm sure it was a little intimidating to the clerk when we stopped a couple times for pitstops. He easily could have been mistaken for a robber, however, he might have had a difficult time actually doing the robbing part. His hands were in gloves and the gloves were covered with tube socks. I'm sure his hands were much warmer than mine along the stretch running north directly into the wind, but I could have nick'd the 7-11s much quicker.

My biggest complaint about the run was how cold my hands and face were running east along Cedar Lane and back north on 48th. The two mile stretch going north was not fun at any point. Luckily the legs were feeling good because the pace was light and I was breathing comfortably. I normally run out to 60th but today I didn't want to be outside so I turned the run early on 48th St. This run is called Bobcat and is one of the few orginal named runs in Norman. Carrot Top chose to name this version Bobcat because it is a shorter version of the two.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Long Slow Distance

Time: 120:28
Distance: 16.97 miles
Pace: 7:06 pace

Splits:
8:15, 7:34, 7:12, 7:10, 6:58,
6:41, 7:42, 7:22, 7:14, 7:05,
6:53, 6:50, 6:47, 6:49, 6:43,
6:42, 6:25 (for .97 miles or 6:36 pace)

I'm a little embarrassed that I couldn't manage the .03 to get to 17 miles, but it was a chore just getting to the 2 hour mark. Now that I see it on the screen I should have finished out the full 17 miles, but I wasn't feeling it at the time. Scott Hollingsworth and I put in some time on the feet in the early morning hours. I was out the door at 6:45 am and was hoping to put in 2+ hours so I started off with a trip out to the GT. Carrot Top was running some 1200s out there, but I didn't have much time to chat because I had to make the trip back to pick up the graduate.

I swooped by Holly's house and picked him up around the 45 minute mark. You can see from the splits that when I picked up Scott, who graduates later today, the pace slowed. I was glad to have company but I never felt great during the run. He was feeling a little sluggish too. Usually he's out the door feeling more chipper than both Scotty D and I. Today was not the case and it took him well over 20 minutes for his legs to start feeling good.

I started glancing at my watch constantly around 85 minutes and made the decision that 120 minutes would suffice on this day. It was getting windier about this time and I was glad to have put in 45 minutes before picking Holly up. We are supposed to be getting a cold front this afternoon and it could be nasty by the time the day is over. This partly is why I wanted to get in a longer effort because tomorrow's high is likely to be around 15 degrees. The loop around Irving Middle School was painful, but I was glad to get in the extra minutes. I'll take the recovery day at an easy pace and hopefully will remain on target to hit a hundo.

Friday, December 19, 2008

On My Way to a Hundo?

Time: 39:57
Distance: 5.75 miles

Tonight was a simple run after work from the store through Brookhaven and down to 60th. It was a little colder tonight than it has been the past couple of nights. The air along the flats was much colder than it was in the neighborhood. There was a huge change in temp as I hit the flats that made me zip up the jacket immediately and unzip upon leaving. I was feeling pretty solid on my feet and the trip out was 21:47? and the venture back was ???. I'm not that good at math. The point is that I picked up the pace and felt good doing it.

Who Spiked the Egg Nog?

Time: 60:07
Distance: 8.5+ miles (estimated)

Last night was the annual holiday sweater part over at Scott Hollingsworth's place. It was the usual cast of characters but this time they were all sporting sweaters your grandma found stylish circa '92. The party was relatively tame except for the puppy chow which Jess brought. I think I had a few too many handfulls because by 10:00 pm I was getting tired. We watched part of the Suns v. Blazers game and I was already nodding off to sleep. The body was definitely trying to tell me something.

I stayed over at Holly's and in the morning I ran from his place around town. It was nice starting from a different site but it was hard to know how far loops were going to be. I put just over an hour on my feet before having to rush upstairs to take a shower. The weather was great this morning and the body felt much recovered. I'll hopefully put in a double this evening.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Foggy Norman Mornin'

Time: 90:04
Distance: 13+ miles

It was still dark out at 7:00 am and I wasn't ready to run by 7:20 so I had to start dreaming up ideas of getting to work on time and putting in a decent run. I was going to have to take the bus this morning which meant the latest finish time could be 8:30 am. That didn't leave me with a lot of running so I figured I would just run to work and take a bath in our sink. It worked out perfectly as I was able to change into the clothes I had in my bag that I left in the office last night.

The run was pretty boring but I enjoyed the foggy morning here in Norman. It reminded me of San Fran without the hills and smell of the ocean, so basically it was nothing like Nor*Cal. Once I got to the store around 48 minutes I tossed my bottle and hat, and headed back out through Brookhaven. I pounded down the hill on Rock Creek to Stoops' neighborhood and ran three circuits around the .85 mile loop before heading back. I was a little sluggish the final 15 minutes, but overall my legs felt much refreshed. I have few lingering effects from the long effort on Sunday and think that by tomorrow the tenderness will be gone. Maybe I need a massage, maybe not.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Run-Eat-Run

Part I Time: 11:55
Part I Distance: 1.70 miles
Part I Pace: 7:02

Part II Time: 35:11
Part II Distance: 4.97 miles
Part II Pace: 7:05

This run was done in two parts with a large dinner break in between. I left the store around 7:00 pm and headed over I-35 (or "the I-35" if I lived in SoCal) to Taco Cabana for this night's breadsticking gathering. Tonight was a sad one because it was the last group breadsticking for awhile. There were lots of chips and bowls of salsa accompanied by plates of poorly assembled and tasting Mexican food. I front-loaded the evening and hung out for about 20 minutes before putting the jacket back on and starting the watch for Part II.

The second portion of the run was what I'd describe as "heavy." I put a call out to Meagan who is visiting Jeff on her unofficial/official recruiting trip to Queens University. They were milling around his apartment watching terrible VH1 reality shows. I talked with Jeff about the benefits of running on a full stomach. He couldn't come up with any, but I reminded him of Erik Watz' mom, Susan, who recommended for you to "train heavy, race light." The guys on the Brown team never were really sure what was meant by that comment, then again she is the same woman who threw a head of lettuce in a bowl and called it salad (maybe it was macaroni like Yankee Doodle Dandy). I made it home without any troubles, called it a night and watched the boob tube.

North Base Romp

Time: 82:11
Distance: 12 miles (estimated)

I met up with Hollingsworth and Stephen Pyle this morning along Brooks for a romp through Norman. We ran up to North Base for a few extra minutes of relatively wind-free running. It was cold and I sported my HVAC Seamless L/S aka "ol' 98er" piece for the first time. It was quite warm and 10 minutes in I had to untuck to cool off a bit. I was also wearing an old Brooks jacket from the fall season of '06. It's probably my favorite running jacket I've ever worn and I would have no qualms with it except now that I live in Sooner country, the OSU orange flavor is its only flaw.

The loops around North Base were alright and the pace was quite gentle. I needed it for the first part of the run as my legs are still feeling a bit tender from the effort on Sunday. We dropped Mr. Pyle off at his pad along Hwy Symmes and continued on to Pickard. Holly wanted to pick up the pace a bit so I obliged and we started clipping along. My stride feels much smoother at sub 6:30s than it does at any other pace. I finally started getting cold running into the wind the last 10-15 minutes. It didn't help that I opted to wear pants and my legs had become a little sweaty and now they were getting cold. I was pleased at how the body was feeling by the end of the 80 minutes of running, but I was ready to hit the showers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Brookhaven Night Run

Time: 55:30
Distance: 7.75 miles (estimated)

Tonight I ran solo through the dark streets of Brookhaven. I left the store a few clicks before 7:00 pm and it was cold, much colder than the 27 degrees Gus' truck told me post-run. I ran out and down the hill on Rock Creek and then continued out to 72nd street which is roughly 4 miles. I clocked a couple of the miles on the way back along the gridded stretch and hit 6:43 and 6:31. I'm pleased with those splits considering the conditions and having a hard time judging pace in the dark. The spin back through the neighborhood was fine but I started getting cold and had thoughts that perhaps I should have worn pants. The Brooks HVAC shorts did me well for the first 45 minutes and then things started cooling off, if you know what I mean.

How Does DeCoste Do This?

Time: 30:20
Distance: 4.25 miles

I was listening to the news this morning and the weather man was hogging the entire show. All he could talk about was the "freezing drizzle" that was falling on the streets of Oklahoma. He had the brilliant suggestions of driving slowly, leaving earlier and giving more space between cars. Thanks dude. When I looked outside my window I couldn't see any of this alleged "freezing drizzle" so I put my cold weather costume on and proceeded outdoors. I made it 15 seconds across the parking lot before deciding the ever so thin layer of ice wasn't great footing. I was a little pissed because despite it being 18 degrees outside it wasn't windy. The conditions were nearly perfect and I was excited to run on the Norman's 'crete.

I quickly ran upstairs, grabbed my gym key and sought a treadmill. There was one other dude in the gym but he was wanging out on the elliptical so I had free reign on the t'mills. I was still wearing long tights over half-tights so I heated up pretty but it didn't matter. I couldn't last more than 30 minutes. It was terribly boring. It didn't help that I had seen most of the SportsCenter from the night before. I kept wanting to jump off and finally did once the big red letters showed my time was up.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Katy Trail Jog

Time: 60:15
Distance: 8.5 miles (estimated)

Scotty D, Meagan and I got out the door and headed to the start of the Katy Trail that is right by the American Airlines Center. We ran out for about 30 minutes and made it back a bit quicker. I believe this is the spot that Keith Kelly was limited to running on during The Running Event in Dallas a month ago or so. Yesterday the temps were in the upper 70s and it was really windy. Today the temps were in the upper teens to low twenties and it was still windy. When you have 50 degree +/- change in temps according to Brian Hanley, "it's some end of world shit." I couldn't agree more. Luckily the Katy Trail was somewhat protected and it wasn't too miserable. The pace was easy and my legs didn't feel nearly as bad as I thought they would. Post run we headed to Cafe Brazil for some Holiday Pancakes that were enjoyed by me and Dizzle while Meagan had the grilled cheese sammich.

After driving back to Norman in the afternoon/evening my legs really tightened up and they are sore to the touch. I'm not doubling this evening and will continue to be sore for a few days this week.

Week in Review

Time: 631:52
Distance: 94.14 miles

I put together another pretty solid week of running. I took the time to look back at some of my other 90+ weeks to see how much time it took me to complete. Here's what I found:
Dec. 7 - 632:18 and 92.44 miles
Nov. 23 - 668:00 and 94.2 miles
Nov. 18 - 656:10 and 97 miles
July 13 - 622:06 and 93 miles
July 6 - 657:54 and 94 miles
Mar 9 - 615:39 and 91.5 miles
Mar 2 - 652:05 and 99 miles
Feb 24 - 660:34 and 99.5 miles

This might have been a little better than average based on time and distance. I'll have one more full week of training here in Oklahoma before going home to California for two weeks. I plan on getting in some great runs on the hills of Nor*Cal in Annadel State Park and then through the streets and trails of Balboa Park in San Diego. I would like to increase the miles for two weeks in Cali by about 10-15 miles a week but I doubt that will be possible with friends and family around. I will most likely be limited to a single run a day but I will make it longer and run a few more quality miles.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dallas White Rock Marathon Relay

Part I Time: 92:57
Part I Distance: 16.19 miles
Pace: 5:44
Splits: 5:06, 5:14, 5:11, 5:28, 5:39, 5:33 (roughly end of 1st leg), 5:58, 5:56, 5:36, 6:10 (roughly end of Jilane's leg), 6:07, 5:30, 5:59, 6:24, 6:26 (roughly end of Meagan's leg), 5:32, 1:03 (for .19 miles or 5:27 pace)

Part II Time: 27:36
Part II Distance: 4.20 miles
Pace: 6:34
Splits: 7:14, 6:31, 6:07, 6:25, 1:18 (for .20 miles or 6:30 pace)

White Rock Marathon Video/Photo Montage

Team OK Runner Elite plus Aja who debuted in 3:23. Post race shot courtesy of David "320."

Team OK Runner Elite finished 3rd overall in the 5-person relay and first in the mixed open division.

Where to start? How about at the beginning that's always a good place. Things kicked off with a wake up call at 2:30 am when room 709 got a knock at the door. Scotty was closest and he answered only to find two young ladies dressed not all too scandalously, but they asked if he called. Presumably someone called an escort service and they mistakenly arrived at our door. I hope whoever called received proper attention.

When I really got up a little after six I slugged down some coffee and pinned the bib to my jersey. I was leading off the race and got to the start line with about 20 minutes to spare. I mingled around before jumping into the sea of people and squeezed my way toward the front of the race. Up front I could see some familiar faces that were lined up with the elite. I was surprised to see former California prep-star and recent winner of the '08 US Marathon Champs Fernando Cabada up there. He was joined by Fasil Bizuneh and a bunch of Kenyans.

By the time the gun sounded I had made my way to near the front and was able to run unimpeded for the first straightaway. I know I went out too hard through the first 800 meters as I was with a group of half-marathoner elites. I was hoping to run a strong first 6 mile leg and needed to settle into a rhythm quickly. There were a couple relay runners that were just in front of me that I tried to latch onto. I was feeling good for the first 3 miles but then started to struggle the next three. I wore a Garmin on my left wrist which took mile splits and on my right wrist I had a running clock on my Timex. For whatever reason the first mile on my Garmin synced perfectly with the course mark, but the second split was way off. According to the course mile marker I would have run a 5:45 mile (estimated) and at that point all the splits were a little off from my GPS watch and the course mile markers. What that means for the satellite technology or the marathon course, I don't know.

Marathon leaders racing around White Rock Lake. Photos stolen/borrowed from C. Lowe's FB page.

Just before the 5 mile mark there was a steady incline that put me in the tank. I had just closed the gap between me and a Mexican looking relay dude, but I was not feeling the wind and was having a hard time getting into a comfort zone. The hill allowed me to close the gap even further but cresting the hill the guy gapped me again and I was pretty much thinking that I had a 20 miler on my hands and not the 6 mile leg I was running. I didn't back off but not being able to relax due to the wind made my mind wander. Soon I smelled the musty scent of the Kenyans who were in the process of walking me down just beyond the 5 mile marker. I was surrounded by a group of 8 or so "Munyans" and a few other guys trying to latch onto the group. I'm pretty sure I was also walked down by a couple of the lead women half-'thoners which just added insult to my misery. Luckily I was almost at the relay exchange zone and was able to slow down.

I handed off the green slap bracelet to Jilane in an exchange area that deviated just slightly from the course. There was a little fiasco that occurred once she was on her way back to the course, but it wasn't as bad as what happened in the men's half-marathon race when an athlete took a wrong turn and finished 6th. It's hard to say who's fault it is when something like that happens.

I felt much better on Jilane's leg because I was able to back off the pace. We were still running a dip under 6 minute pace so I was still getting a good long run. The wind wasn't helping anybody on this day, as breezes were consistently in the 20-30 mph range with gusts in the 40s. I had to use the bathroom around the 9 mile mark so I jumped in/out of the port-a-potty in a hurry. I tried to catch up to Jilane as quickly as possible so that I could block the wind around the lake. She ran a strong leg and I felt comfortable dropping a 5:36 mile to catch back up, but I still wasn't feeling great. Jilane handed that green slap bracelet off the Meagan for the third leg.

Meagan and I started the leg with the wind at our back and I was feeling comfortable. I ran ahead to use the restroom again and then caught up to help pace. As I was running down Meagan I noticed a high schooler 20 meters back from a sexy Santa slut. I clipped past the elf ho and made my way back to Meagan's side, but not before I had to yell at her for not running the tangents. We were running on a left hand bend and Ms. Meagan thought it wise to run 15 feet off the curb as we approached the 12 mile mark. She quickly fixed her tactics before we turned back into the wind where I allowed her to draft off me. As much as I would have liked to see Santa slut again, I didn't want to go through the embarrassment of being rolled up on again. Coincidentally, if Santa had rolled us, it would have been within a quarter mile of the last time we got rolled up at White Rock Lake. The section from mile 13 to the end of Meagan's leg was absolutely brutal. The wind was a bit cold off the lake and there was nothing to block its wrath. I attempted to gear up mentally knowing that the exchange zone was near and my 5 mile race with Scotty D would be on.

Meagan finished up wanting me to run harder which I guess meant she was feeling good. She passed the bracelet to Scotty D and I felt the pace change immediately. At first I tried to gap him, but that last for 2.5 seconds when I realized the wind was at its peak and I was nearly 15 miles deep. I fell a stride behind Dizzle and started to draft for about a 800 meters when we made a turn and the wind was at our back. The wind's push felt great for about 800 meters and then we had to turn back into it. I made it about 100 strides before I called it a day and told him to start getting after it. I stopped my watch to end Part I of my workout. I stood by the side of the road for about a minute before starting Part II at a very slow clip.

The marathon leader's just before the 19 mile mark. Photos stolen/borrowed from C. Lowe's FB page.

My shoulders were tight probably because of the hunching into the wind. I couldn't believe how sore they had become just from running, it felt like I had played a day's worth of football or baseball. I must have jogged about a mile to the cheers of spectators telling me good and relaxed I looked. Aerobically I felt fine, but I was mentally discouraged from running in the wind. I knew that Team JJJSM would be waiting at mile 20 for me so I needed to forge ahead and get to the next exchange zone. As I trotted along I looked back and saw a marathoner named Jason who was having a terrible time fighting the wind. Being the humanitarian that I am, I picked up the pace and told the guy to just draft off me. I felt better having a new mission of getting this guy through the roughest section of the race and closer to the finish. When we were leaving the lake the second place female joined our group and it wasn't until after the race that I realized it was Liza Hunter-Galvan of New Zealand. She was not enjoying the wind either but her performance was respectable considering the conditions. I think I deserve 2.5/26ths of her paycheck because that's about how much I paced her during the race. I even handed her a cup of water and offered a Clif shot around the 19 mile marker which was significant because the Hooter's girls were there.

Scotty finished his leg well and passed the stick to Jerry who closed things out for our team. Jerry is coming off his win at the Tulsa Marathon and despite not running much the last few weeks he's still in great shape. Scotty and Jerry brought the team average down quite a bit over the last two legs and closed the gap on the two relay squads ahead of us. The team performed well with a finishing time of 2:30:09.

I got to the 20 mile mark in 2:03:30ish according to the big clock but that included a couple pitstops and a whining break. Overall my performance was not what I really wanted but I'll take it with the far from ideal conditions. I have a better idea of my current level of fitness and will look to fine tune things in the coming weeks/months as we approach the Austin Marathon.

Also of note was Aja Clark's stellar 3:23 performance in her marathon debut. She ran a smart race and qualified for Boston in the spring. Meagan will soon have a recap of her and Jilane's pacing job during the latter miles of Aja's race. See above link for Jilane's commentary on the former Sooner's performance. Other Normanites that fared well were Jenny Graef in the half with an 8th place finish time of 1:24:36 and Andrea Larabee's 10th place in the full with a time of 3:09:17.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Norman Romp

Time: 51:49
Distance: 7 miles

The 2008 McNellie's Pub Run chanp & a $125 Chimay Grand Reserve Jeroboam

Woke up expecting to feel much worse after a brilliant evening out with the crew up in OKC. We ran through the $450 tab slowing but surely and tasted some great brews. I especially liked the Chimay Grand Reserve and the Koningshoeven Tripel. The run this morning took Meagan and I through the quiet Saturday streets of Norman. We ran past Norman High School and it appeared that there was going to be some sort of holiday parade. I must not have received the memo.

Oklahomans are all about sharing the wealth.

Today we are heading down to the big D for the White Rock Marathon 5-person Relay. The team is composed of myself (J), Scotty (S), Jerry (J), Meagan (M) and Jilane (J) and when our powers combined we form Team JJJSM aka Team OK Runner Elite. It is our hope to run faster than 2:25-2:26 which is roughly 5:34s. Pretty quick. I'm leading off with a 6 mile leg and then I'm going to run with Jilane on her 4 mile leg and Meagan on her 5 mile leg. If they hold 6 minute miles then I'll be at 15 miles around 85 minutes. Scotty runs the 4th leg which is 5 miles and I'm going to race him over the distance. His foot is pretty banged up still, but I'll be covering miles 15-20. If all goes well, I'll have run 20 miles in about 1:51-1:52. We'll see what happens.

Getting ready to race with a strawberry shake from Chik-fil-a

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nameless Loop

Time: 63:17
Distance: 8.77 miles
Pace: 7:13

Headed out the door and put some time on the feet with Meagan before going to work. She wants to call this loop "Meagan Loop" but that is completely unacceptable. The loop is about to be dead since I move in a few days and I will no longer be starting/ending at the Lodge. My legs felt pretty solid throughout and the pace was easy which is what I wanted. Our splits were 8:01, 7:26, 7:04, 6:56, 7:06, 7:09, 7:06, 7:04, 5:22 (for .77 or 6:59 pace).

Tonight we are heading up to McNellie's to spend our $450 tab that we won at the McNellie's Pub Run a few weeks back. I'm hoping to try some beers that I normally wouldn't purchase like Chimay and other Trappist style brews. It will be fun times with the crew.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Campus Loop

Time: 32:55
Distance: 4 miles

Meagan got into town this afternoon and spent a few hours at the store. She is lazy and didn't run this morning so I had to beg and plead for her to run this evening because I didn't want to hear the complaints about she didn't get out there. We put in a few miles around campus on a cold windless night. It was a great night to be out and the legs responded well. I wore my NB800s which I wrote a review/rant about the first time I wore them. This was the second time I put those bastards on my feet and they still felt awful. Funny how that works.

This Run Needs a Clever/Standard Name

Time: 53:43
Distance: 8.80-8.85 miles
Pace: ~6:10 (estimated)

The two most recent times I've measure this run with the Garmin it has varied in distance. So much for the accuracy! Garmin can only get within .05? Terrible. Anyway, this morning I woke up extra early (5:20 am) for some reason, probably because I'm dehydrated or something. I packed up some stuff and drank coffee to hydrate properly. When I got out the door I was ready to run for a few reasons (a) I was wearing Oxysocks, (ii) I had been up for 2 hours already, (3) it was cold but not windy. I pushed the pace early on and felt relaxed running down Jenkins and past Scotty's house. I clipped off a 5:40 mile running north on Pickard and even though I backed off the final few miles I could tell the pace was honest. I'm not sure what I'll be able to run this weekend but I'm hoping to run a good first leg and finish the 20 miler strong (more on that later).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Running Under La Luna

Time: 29:58
Distance: 4.30 miles
Pace: 6:58

I ripped off some solid splits running home from the store on my way to La Luna in Campus Corner. The first part of that isn't true, but the latter is. Can Mikie do this: 7:41, 6:55, 6:44, 6:38, 1:58 (.30 miles or 6:29 pace)? I didn't think so. I met the boys at the restaurant for some evening breadsticking. I had a couple beers and a basket of chips which made for a nutritious and balanced diet. It was a great night to run with calm winds and upper 20s, I would have gone longer but there was no need.

Time: 13:56
Distance: ~2 miles

After filling up on food and drink, I ran back to the Lodge. The run brought back memories of the backstretch of a beer mile.

Watching Other People Run

Time: 59:03
Distance: 8.80 miles

Update: I got out the door for a solid run this morning despite the freezing temps described below. I ran on the loop from a few days ago which goes south on Jenkins and back past Scotty D's house. Not too much to report. I was running up Pickard and spotted a house that had frozen grass and I figured the dumb ass owner decided to water last night. There were icicles all over the place, the roundabout was iced over and part of the street was too. I stopped to snap a photo and Steve Calonkey (the son of my new slumlord) was at the light wondering why I was, (a) taking a photo, (b) was out running, or (c) was talking to myself.

It didn't rain last night. This guy just decided to water his lawn when it was 10 degrees. Moron!

Splits: 7:21, 6:54, 6:28, 6:29, 6:48, 6:46, 6:38, 6:27, 5:08 (.80 miles or 6:28 pace).

It's currently sunny out and 19 degrees. Great weather for a run, except for the 17 mph wind that accuweather.com tells me. Take 19 degrees and toss on a 17 mph breeze and you get a real feel of -1. Brutal. I'll get out there shortly. Maybe.

Instead of running, I've been watching other people run on the information super highway. I just watched Marty Fagan and some of the McMillan Elite athletes complete a pretty solid 5 x 1.1 mile loop. In typical Fagan fashion he controlled most of the workout from the front. I remember watching him run workouts on the Brown track and out at Goddard Park in Rhody, and watching him race during his days at Providence College. Great collegiate runner and someone who has had great success recently with a top finish at the Manchester Road Race. The video also shows my old buddy Celedonio "Cele" Rodriguez from my home town of Santa Rosa, CA. He's the little Mexican dude that is tucked in the pack during most of the workout.

Visit Flotrack.org For More Videos


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

There She Blows

Time: 48:28
Distance: 6.5 miles

What a typical Oklahoma winter day! If you read my earlier post about today you would know this morning was windy but relatively pleasant. All of that changed by the time I left for work with Señor Gustavo (I quit my job working at the running store and have now started picking grapes, not really). The clouds had moved in and the temperature had dropped 5-10 degrees and it continued to be windy. All throughout the day it remained windy and when people came into the store they were all relieved to be inside for some Christmas shopping. It was a little after 4 pm when Scotty rolled through to pick me up and it was the first time I had stepped out on the northern side of the store in a few hours. Freezing! Had the wind not been at 30 mph the temps would have been bearable, but with the windchill factor the "real feel" was in the teens. I would even take temps in the teens just as long as the wind wasn't blowing.

We headed up to Sutton Woods seeking shelter from the wind by running amongst some trees. It kinda worked. We ran four times around the 1.5 mile loop before calling it a day. On the last loop Scotty wanted to work the straights and I was happy to oblige. The final 600-800 meters were run with the wind at our backs so the quicker pace was a nice way to end a cold run.

In un-running related news, I've been reading Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health by Gary Taubes. The back cover tells us "for decades we have been taught that fat is bad for us, carbohydrates better, and that the key to a healthy weight is eating less and exercising more. Yet despite this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes argues that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates, like white flour, easily digested starches, and sugars, and that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number. In this groundbreaking book, award-winning science writer Gary Taubes shows us that almost everything we believe about the nature of a healthy diet is wrong." Pretty legit. I'm only about a 1/3 of the way through the book and I've already learned about initial studies on cholesterol conducted around the world and how they shaped the US governments recommended serving guidelines.

Look for this guy the next time you're in a bookstore.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a piece that I found poignant concerning cholesterol and fat. The author is talking about different types of cholesterol (HDL and LDL) which were only discovered after using some hi-tech ultracentrifuge to separate different densities of cholesterol molecules. I'm just going to throw the passage out there because I don't want to explain anything else due to my lack of understanding. Here it is, "The observation that monounsaturated fats both lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL also came with an ironic twist: the principal fat in red meat, eggs, and bacon is not saturated fat, but the very same monounsaturated fat as in olive oil. The implications are almost impossible to believe after three decades of public-health recommendations suggesting that any red meat consumed should at least be lean, with any excess fat removed."

Now here's the good part, "Consider a porterhouse steak with a quarter-inch layer of fat. After broiling, this steak will reduce to almost equal parts fat and protein. Fifty-one percent of the fat is monounsaturated, of which 90 percent is oleic acid. Saturated fat constitutes 45 percent of the total fat, but a third of that is stearic acid, which will increase HDL cholesterol while having no effect on LDL. (Stearic acide is metabolized in the body to oleic acid, according to Grundy's research.) The remaining 4 percent of the fat is polyunsaturated, which lowers LDL cholesterol but has no meaningful effect on HDL. In sum, perhaps as much as 70 percent of the fat content of a porterhouse steak will improve the relative levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol, compared with what they would be if carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, or pasta were consumed. The remaining 30 percent will raise LDL cholesterol but will also raise HDL cholesterol and will have an insignificant effect, if any, on the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL. All of this suggests that eating a porterhouse steak in lieu of bread or potatoes would actually reduce heart-disease risk, although virtually no nutritional authority will say so publicly. The same is true for lard and bacon."

I'm not making this stuff up. This guy is my hero. He's essentially recommending that we all consume more porterhouse steaks and/or bacon. Often. Da WeeMan is probably on his way to the butcher right now!

It's Not So Bad

Time: 46:31
Distance: 7 miles

I woke up a little later than expected because someone didn't give me a wake up call this morning. I heard the wind blowing and checked the weather which confirmed my suspicion of it being nasty out. I was hesitant to leave the house but when I did my mental state was prepared for the worst. There were thoughts of running on the treadmill, but I didn't want to pull a DeCoste this early in December. I took a spin through campus and ran past Norman High School before dropping in on the new apartment. The running wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. At one point I even took off my cap for a few minutes because I was warm, it must have been the Jilane like hot flashes. I needed to hurry home and the 25 mph wind at my back the final 2.5 miles helped the cause. Had I known the weather wasn't too miserable I would have got out the door earlier and run a bit longer.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Rain is Coming...

Time: 56:09
Distance: 8 miles

I met Scotty D over at the track for an evening/night run. Just as we were arriving we spotted Aldwyn Sappleton who had just finished his warmup. He's an 800 meter runner and probably does speedwork 5 to 6 days a week. Tonight he had some 2 hundos to run. We also spotted Jessica Eldridge who had a 35 minute run so we invited her along through a spin in the streets. Despite the easy pace my quads were still sore. Once we got back to the track Scotty shed his shoes and put in another 20 minutes on the grass infield. I jogged with him before suiting up for the walk home.

Running Sideways

Time: 69:26
Distance: 10.58 miles

I got back out on the Dead President's loop this morning for some time outside. I read that the weather here is supposed to get rather terrible here tonight and through tomorrow. The biggest complaint about the run was the wind (20-25 mph) out of the south. The portions along Robinson heading west and the return trip on Brooks were rough. However, both were better than running directly into the wind. The severe lean into the breeze is definitely not good running form. Both of my quads are really sore for some reason. It feels like a ran a hill workout recently which I definitely have not. Norman has negative if anything in town.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Week in Review

Time: 632:18
Distance: 92.44 miles

A pretty good week since being back in Norman. The body feels good and the training has reflected that. I need to start making my morning runs a little longer, I'd like to see them in the 65-75 minute range. It's easy to put in 60 minutes in the morning and it won't be too difficult to stay outside for a mile or two longer. I know that I will have to restructure the training when I start doing workouts, but I don't really want to start doing workouts either. I've enjoyed pushing the latter stages of the run once I'm warmed up and start to feel good.

Duck Pond Crew

Time: 91:02
Distance: 13.33 miles
Pace: 6:50

I took charge for this morning's run and rounded up Norman's finest for a spin through Sutton Woods. I invited a group of runners to join and I was pleased with the turnout. The group included Jerry Faulkner, Adam Cohen, David "Carrot Top" Wrenn, Cole Crosby, Andres Gonzalez, Stephen Pyle, Josh Heimbach and Andrea Larabee/Jenny Graef (kinda). Noticeably absent from the run was Scotty D, but that is a tale for him to share. We started just after 8 am and headed over to the softer surface for a few loops. I wasn't too concerned with the pace given the excessive celebrating that took place last night at Logan's. In case you live under a stump, OU won the Big 12 Championship in typical fashion by becoming the first team to ever score 60+ points in 5 straight games. Our defense might be decent but the offense is unstoppable. Sam Bradford took control and never looked back. Speaking of Sams and continuing to ramble, I made a new friend last night by the name of Sam and he was sure to supply the tequila shots. They weren't Patron shots, but after a certain point it doesn't really matter. The splits on the run go a little something like this: 7:58, 7:26, 7:31, 7:16, 7:17, 6:20 (I was catching up because I had to pee), 6:37, 6:40, 6:26, 6:21, 6:24, 6:17, 6:15, 2:09 (.33 miles).

There was a good buzz this morning. It was great that those who came were just as eager to run with others as much as I. I miss the days of running along the Blackstone Blvd in Providence with a group of 20, clipping off the miles and taking control of the roads for an hour during the afternoon. This run doesn't compare to the Brown days, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dead Presidents

Time: 67:01
Distance: 10.58 miles
Pace: 6:20

I got back on an old loop that I used to run quite a bit last fall and winter. Owen has had the luxury of running on the loop and he is also partially responsible for the route's name. The loop gets it's name from all of the elementary schools you go by which are named after... yup, you guessed it... dead presidents.

I wanted to get in a bit of a better effort this morning since I would only be running once. Tonight some of the OK Runner crew is going out to eat at Gaijin Sushi I will be spending time drinking Asahi and eating Psycha-D rolls instead of putting in mileage. I'll take the latter choice any day. Back to the run, I started comfortably and felt really good because I went to bed embarrassingly early. Maybe I should do that more often, probably not going to happen. I was listening to some tunes but was also getting bored so I put a few calls out to mis amigos. I rang O-burn to see if he was still alive, he didn't answer so I figured he was surely dead. I called Meagan but she didn't answer either. As a last resort I gave Tom McArdle a ring. Surprisingly, he answered despite my call waking his lazy ass up. I guess that if you're not getting up to run, there is no real point in waking up and we all know Tom McArdle rarely runs.

The chat was good but then it ended a little abruptly. I think it went something like:
Tom: Okay, I gotta go, I'm freezing.
Jordan: Why? You're at home.
T: I know, but I'm standing here naked. I need to shower.
J: Thanks for that.
T: (laughs) Yea, okay. I'll call you back.
J: (hangs up and proceeds to puke violently)


The pace was feeling comfortable around the 40 minute mark and I was wanted to press. Meagan gave me a call from an event she was working and we got to chat for a few minutes. The splits show how I roll: 7:24, 6:56, 6:41, 6:47, 6:39, 6:14, 6:02, 5:50, 5:44, 5:35, 3:03 (.58 miles or 5:15 pace).

Friday, December 5, 2008

Get Me Home!

Time: 48:27
Distance: 6.62 miles
Pace: 7:19

I needed to get home from the store this evening so what better way to do it than with my two legs. I left just before 5 pm and had a little bit of daylight to work with. I didn't feel great on the run mainly because I didn't have a lot to eat. I felt lightheaded a couple of times but as I was venturing through campus the body was feeling good. The splits will show how I felt 7:58, 7:06, 7:21, 7:27, 7:06, 7:04, 4:23 (.62 miles or 7:02 pace).

Lloyd Noble Route

Time: 57:15
Distance: 8.85 miles
Pace: 6:28

This morning's jog was a pretty standard loop through the streets of Norman. I decided to run the loop in reverse for some reason. I visited some familiar sites, but didn't see any familiar faces. There aren't that many characters out on the streets to make my runs truly laughable. I listened to some tunes and put the miles in solo. My splits were 7:28, 6:50, 6:31, 6:20, 6:22, 6:26, 6:11, 6:00, 5:02 (.85 miles or 5:57 pace).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Rabbits of Sutton Woods

Time: 60:55
Distance: 9 miles

I'm not exactly sure how far to call this run because it started out very slow and ended uptempo. Scotty D and I drove away from the west side in search of a place to run that would block some of northern wind this evening. We considered the GT (grass track) or Sutton Woods. We settled on the latter because it provides a 1.5 mile soft(er) surface loop and wind blockage. Both of us were pretty stiff at the start of the run and we gradually eased into a few opening loops around the pond. The pace was gradually picking up (maybe it was just getting darker and we were running the same pace) and my legs were feeling pretty good. After looping through the frisbee golf course we headed over to Griffin Park and found a couple select soccer teams practicing. We figured they were a select team because nobody would willingly participate in 30 degree weather for giggles.

We started running around the soccer fields because they were lit for the soccer practices. The fields are built on three levels which gave us a few 15 meter bursts of high-knees on our roughly 1,000 meter loop. The pace continued to drop and we ran our last circuit in 3:52 which was significantly faster than our first 4 or 5. Scotty and I had both read an article in this month's Running Times about learning from elites. One observation the author makes is how elites vary the pace of their runs greatly from run to run and during runs. I figure I could start incorporating that into my running. For instance, I could start out a pace comfortable to DeCoste or Da WeeMan and end at a pace consistent with Bekele or Geb.

Cccccoollldddd

Time: 55:46
Distance: 8.65 miles
Pace: 6:27

The future apartment will be above Mister Robert's Furniture

The run this morning was cold, not "8, Feels Like Minus 3" cold, but cold. I think it was in the teens with the "real feel." I went out on the roads and looped through campus to start. Next I headed downtown to drop off a rent check to my new landlord/slumlord. I was in a hurry to get back to the Lodge to get things ready for work so I didn't have time to pick up a key. The splits on the run were: 7:30, 6:51, 6:32, 6:30, 6:25, 6:15, 5:57, 5:57, 3:46 (.65 miles). I like seeing the pace drop without consciously trying to make it happen, hopefully that is a sign of fitness.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Himalayan Adventure

Time: 43:47
Distance: 6 miles

Tonight I went on a run with Scotty D. and Holly from Holly's pad. We headed out Hwy. Symmes and hit up campus with some loops around the track. Nothing occurred during the run worth noting other than the wind. It was pretty real. The final few minutes of my run this morning witnessed the arrival of a northern front that stuck around all day. Tonight the wind was strong out of the north which made running east/west pleasant, and north/south a push/pull type of thing.

We topped off the evening with our 'sticking trip to Himalayas Indian restaurant/buffet. I've heard the Himalayas are where the earth and sky meet. Holly and I had never been to the restaurant before and I'm glad we chose to venture away from some of our other mainstays. I was surprised the naan, chicken tikka masala, paneer, dal, rice and more had a good amount of flavor. Sometimes restaurants in Oklahoma that serve food other than burgers, pizza or steak, dumb down the flavor so that it's not as intense. This may have been partly the case, but overall Himalayas served a great meal for our group of 6.

Twinnings English Breakfast

Time: 47:50
Distance: 7.11 miles
Pace: 6:44

Got out the door this morning and put in some good time on the feet. I was listening to some tunes as I ran in to campus and I felt really comfortable. I might even say that I felt exceptional. Thoughts crept into my head that suggested I should put in a hard effort along Pickard St. As I crossed Lindsey St. the pace dropped and I continued to press. The stretch is a mile long and I tried to gradually tighten the screws the whole way. The Garmin tells me I clipped off a 4:50 mile which I'll take. The effort felt harder than 4:50 but I guess it's the first time I've run under 5 minutes for a mile in quite awhile. Splits on the run were: 7:48, 7:01, 4:44 (.68 miles), 4:50, 7:01, 3:16 (.47 miles), 6:40, 6:08 (.94 miles).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Brookhaven Night Run

Time: 43:57
Distance: 5.75 miles

Scotty D. met me over at the store this evening for a short run through Brookhaven. We started out with a little bit of light but ended in the dark. As we were running along Rock Creek down in the flats we spotted Tollie Bibb and Robert Flagler who were just finishing up their run. We had the wind at our back for the first half of the run and fought it on the return trip. Not a whole lot of entertainment during the run, but it was done.

Norman Meanderings

Time: 55:58
Distance: 8.49 miles
Pace: 6:36

I was feeling good back on the familiar roads of Norman this morning. I got out the door and put in just under an hour on a loop that had no particular route. I ran through campus and wandered around the neighboring streets just to kill time. I ran downtown at one point to see if my new apartment had a rent drop slot, couldn't find one and then proceeded to run home. I hit some blazing quick splits of: 7:26, 7:01, 6:39, 6:37, 6:23, 6:33, 6:20, 6:06.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Meagan's Old 'Hood Loop

Time: 60:20
Distance: 8.04 miles
Pace: 7:30

Meagan and I drove from downtown Ft. Worth, Texas to the Rivercrest area for a run she used to do with friends when she lived here. The run was standard on a loop that started at the Rivercrest Country Club and then ventured through a cemetery before coming back along the river. It was really windy today and I wasn't interested in trying to push the pace or take the lead. I tried to draft of Meagan for as long as possible, but that's like trying to draft off Ari Zamir. We finished up "Hidden Hill" that was lined by homes the size of the house/compound out on the Long Seekonk Route we used to run at Brown. Just as the hill was getting really steep I gave Meagan the Lance Armstrong/Jan Ulrich glance and proceeded to dust her to the top. It's the little victories on these easy day runs.