Lotto Winner!!

I’m happy to announce that I will be running Houston Marathon 2011! I checked for confirmation while I was in San Francisco last week. At first, I was ambivalent, “Oh, look,” I said to my brother as I pointed to the computer screen, “I’m selected to be in the marathon.”  He enthusiastically congratulated me without the confetti.

It hasn’t dawned on me that I was one of those blessed to run Houston until yesterday.

As I’ve been working on my base mileage, I’ve been researching different marathon plans. I’m thinking of following Bob Glover’s 16 week training schedule: building from a 20-mile-a-week base (for at least one month) from his book “The Competitive Runner’s Handbook”. Glover’s plan consists of three 20 mile long-runs, reaching to 40 miles as the peak mileage. I would have two off days, Wednesday and Sunday which I will use as either rest days or cross training.

I will also run my first half-marathon hosted by Koala Health and Wellness & Luke’s Locker on October 24, 2010, which falls in the fourth week of the marathon plan. I will use it as as a bench mark, figure out calorie/fluid intake, and will count as a long run. Ok, come to think of it, I did run 13.1 miles during the Austin Marathon but it doesn’t count because it was in a marathon and not as a seperate event. Pretty stoked 13.1 miles, baby!

I’m super excited because now my family and friends can come support me and I am able to run my city.

My goal is to come to the starting line in January 30, 2011 healthy with a crazy look on my face and a smile that says it all: thank you God.


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Gloria in excelsis Deo

I had a pain radiating from inside my right glute muscles during yesterday’s run. The pain started during mile 3, a 2 out of 10 in pain scale, and radiated down to the lateral side of my knee. My first reaction was: “Oh no, not ITB!”. I should have stopped and walked the rest of the 3 miles back to my car but I’m stubborn; 6 miles in the book isn’t the same if I walked half of it. That’s what we call “rationale thinking”, one way to sabotage a marathon training season.

The pain died down as my run progressed. I started coming up of diagnoses as I passed the familiar trees and bridges. By mile 4 I narrowed it down to either ITB or my piriformis muscle.

Close to the end of my run I was eager enough to do strides (rationale thinking, remember!). Thankfully, it didn’t make the pain worse.

When I came back home I had trouble walking, leaning towards my right leg. Think of how a pirate walks, swaying side to side. The only thing missing in the picture was a parrot sitting on my shoulder.

Well, I looked in my running book and the internet and confirmed my diagnosis: piriformis syndrome. I was happy it wasn’t ITB but at the same time it left me wondering how long will it take to heal.

Presently, one day after my run my piriformis is doing ok. Yesterday, I did a couple of stretches and with the help of my personal masseuse who is always on call a.ka. foam roller, I rolled the daylights out of it! I feel I can run tomorrow but I’m holding off till Friday — need more observation time for said excited marathon newbie patient.

By the way, today is “Music Wednesday”.  Here’s a song I discovered by Vivaldi “Gloria in excelsis Deo”, Latin for “Glory to God in the highest”. It’s epic!!! This is what heaven must sound like, or at least close to it.  I will be blasting this in my car to help me get ready before my runs.

Run for the glory of God 🙂

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Which way…

Guess what’s around the corner?

The Houston Marathon 2011 registration opens this Tuesday (July 27, 2010). Of course I will sign up even though this year it will be lottery based for the first time. What does this mean?

It means that even if you sign up between July 27th-August 12th 2010, you will not find out if you can run the marathon/half marathon until August 17th — by email notification. To taste some of the different opinions of the move toward a lottery system checkout:
Houston Marathon goes to lottery system for entries
Runner’s World Forums “Houston now a lottery”

I’m partially dismayed I may not be one of the lottery winners [by some algorithm of chance]. There’s a number of reasons why I want to run my 2nd marathon in Houston:

  1. As a Houston resident and native I’d love to run 26.2 miles across my city for the very first time.
  2. My parents, brothers, family and friends can watch and encourage me and the rest of the runners in beautiful-below-60’s-January-weather [haha] without having to leave “Houston city limits”.
  3. I don’t have to spend money going to another city and pay for lodgings+food.
  4. Go to Mass at Co-Sacred Heart Cathedral in downtown after the marathon.

If I don’t get a spot I will most definitely run the Austin Marathon 2011. Surprisingly, they are celebrating their 20th anniversary, corresponding to their marathon date February 20th 2011.

I LOVED my running debut in last year’s Austin Marathon. The volunteers were great, awesome and friendly runners [one lady stopped and asked me if I was ok when I sat on the side of the road nursing my flaring ITB; offering gummy bears and bananas which I declined], the entertainment alongside the road was sweet [gave high fives to a toddler and to a dressed up gorilla, a cow clunking its cowbell, indie bands playing]. beautiful scenery, and the HILLS…the hills ruled! In addition, the awesome “Austin Marathon sports backpack” [proudly sport wherever I go] and high quality tech-tee finisher swag was icing on the cake.

So what’s it gonna be? My answer: Either Houston or Austin, my friend. Just like Bach’s Cello Suite No.1, the beginning, middle and end will always be sweet.

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Reflections in the rain

Usually, Wednesdays are my off days because I go to church later in the evening. But I skipped yesterday’s workout. So future entries for Wednesdays will be reserved I guess for musik/pictures/poems. We shall see!

I accomplished 6.1 miles today in the rain. Beautiful were the grey clouds and the temperature dropped to 77 F — a relief from the 90s. The smell of Earth infiltrated my nostrils. The winds rustled through the trees as if beckoning me to keep going. The rain fell down everywhere; pitter patter pitter patter like a hypnotizing metronome. And the river to the left of me maddingly rushed forward.

I ran into a couple and as I approached them I said, “Beautiful day!” They both said, “Yes”.

Then I encountered wild rabbits along the trail and squirrels. There were a few bike riders as well and one runner that I’ve seen before like 3 months ago on the trail. We both waved at each other 2 times as we crossed each others path. It’s kinda cool seeing a familiar face again.

Running in the rain made me think of those frogs in the desert that hibernates under the sand and only come out when it rains [which is a rarity]. The frogs then start mating and they lay their spawn in the lakes of rain that are formed. I saw it on a nature show one time. Pretty nifty how God created so many creatures.

Overall, the run went well. Did a couple of fartleks. I was catching my breath at the start .24 mile into the run even though my pace was 11:30/mi. In addition, my calves started getting heavy in mile 4. I should have eaten breakfast and had a heavier meal than 2 packets of instant noodles and better hydration.

In the evening my dad asked how my run went. I casually replied, “I did 6.1 miles in 1 hour and 10 minutes.”

At the time I thought nothing of it. 6 miles. Big deal. I take it for granted. Upon further examination, can you believe I ran non-stop? If you asked me 2 months ago if I could do 6 miles I would have pointed at my left knee and share with you my ITB sob story.

Please God, do not let me take your gifts for granted. Thank you for today. It was amazing.

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Fueled by da Spirit

I ran 4.55 miles yesterday on a secret trail I’ve found near my home that’s only a 5 minute walk. Here are my split times:

  • Example Mile X (xx min: xx seconds)
  • Mile 1 (11:19)
  • Mile 2 (11:32)
  • Mile 3 (11:13)
  • Mile 4 (11:23)
  • Mile 4.55 (5:38)

I am so stoked because my split times averages to 11:30 per mile. Factoring in the Texas weather during the summer with its lovely humid weather and hot tamale temperature, I’d say I am on my way to a 10 min/mile marathoner.

The run felt great like I could have run another 2 miles as I reached the door to my house. I tend to associate with my body’s signs if there’s any pain, numbness, lungs about to explode while running. In my head-to-toe assessment I found my breathing was doing fine at 1 breath per 4 strides. My right calf is still cramped like it didn’t want to stretch from last Friday’s run with my cousin (6.11 miles; average pace 11:30 seconds). I think the calf soreness is due to my Thursday run when I almost tripped over a tree root when I went trail running. I caught myself before falling face first but my right ankle sort of twisted and I landed heavily.

Thankfully, I have my own massage therapist that answers my phone calls in the late nights when I suffer from self-imposed insomnia (reading St. Thomas Aquinas work Summa Theologica), who happily lives in my living room: the foam roller. I’ve had it since I got the ITB and let me tell you, for $19 it does a pretty good job to remove those tight muscles. In my case, ever since I changed my stride to land on the forefoot and 180 cadence, my quadriceps and calves are usually the toughest hit targets.

This week’s long run will be 6 miles this Saturday.

Love all around!

P.S. The 5:38 pace that I kept for .55 mile isn’t an anomaly — I like to go ALL out in the end like I’m spreading my wings basking in the Holy Spirit’s light.

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post-post rehab running.

Alright the title of this entry is “post-post rehab running” because just when I mentioned I was clear from the woods of doom and gloom [last post] I succumbed to the ITB monster again. It didn’t want to go away forcing me back on cross training on my bike which I sorta dislike but content that at least the ITB lets me outside in the sun.

So my last post was a little bit on the impatient filled with optimism that I am juice. Now I can safely vouch that I have been officially running starting May 1, 2010. I started running and walking the first week and now that it’s June 7, 2010 I’ve been successfully running pain free! I’ve increased my mileage to 4 miles with my long runs to 5 miles.

My goal this summer is to increase my aerobic fitness by building a solid base mileage that will allow me to train for the Houston Marathon 2011 in January 30th successfully by being injury free on race day and to run the course instead of just finishing [as in my 1st marathon].

If there’s one thing about running it’s the constant learning and all the information that’s available on the internet from the experts, elites and people who just love to run. I started reading about the usage of heart monitors and the different zones to maximize aerobic fitness, lactate threshold and muscle formation which are all components to make a runner awesome!

I have to leave but I will write more about heart zones and my training plan for tomorrow entry. Until then, God Speed!

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Told me to go to rehab/I say no-no-no

Since February 14th of 2010 I’ve been plagued with iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) on my left knee; I’d rather call it the-little-friend-that-never-ceases-to-go-away.

So far with cycling 14 miles as cross training, doing core exercises, changing my running form by using my forefoot and stride rate to 180 BPM and lots of of time with the foam roller, the ITBS has almost packed its bags and ready to leave…although it didn’t want to leave just yet as it moaned in yesterday’s 4.78 mile run (interval of 2 minutes running with 1 minute rest). I was obliged to scoot at the edge of the road and squat on my right leg while placing my left ankle on my right knee — giving that iliotibial band a good push towards the door of don’t-you-ever-come-back-#$*!

Running for 2 minutes and having to walk for 1 minute hurts my ego as I see people pass me by. It’s like I’m screaming that I am too weak to even jog. But I’ve left my pride a while ago to cure this ITB plague. I basically took 1 mile of running for granted. 5 miles of running — no big problem. Now that I’m at square 1, building up my base I’ve come to appreciate each footstep, the wonders of how my body works in rhythm to push me off the ground ever moving forward towards that poetic sun.

I’m still not out of the woods just yet. This week my goal is intervals of 2 min run/1 min walk.

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