Capital 24.9 K

Here are a few photos from the weekend. Saturday started with another great run at Walnut Creek without seeing another runner. It is a terrific way for me to get a “speed” workout, because Mike drops us off and comes back in exactly 1 hour, so to do my normal route I definitely have to bust it to avoid keeping him waiting. Saturday night we went to a neighbor’s party for delicious homebrew. I snuck out early to get to bed at decent hour for our Capital 10K long run. I met Stephanie at 720 in Hyde park, and the plan was a 5 mile run to the start, run the race, and then a 5 mile run back to get in a long road run, since I’ve done nothing long on the roads in a long time, and Boston is 3 weeks away. the run downtown was fairly uneventful, but damn, it was humid. I was soaked. We were meeting Steve at Sandy’s Frozen Custard. Made it down in exactly 5 miles. Now, Friday night when I picked up stephanie packet for her, I was questioned as to why was I picking up a number for an elite runner. I told them she was not an elite, and they double checked, “nope, Stephanie is registered as an elite.” when we saw Steve, it turns out he was registered as an elite too. The 2 elites were kind enough to agree to run with me. When we entered the start, I got yelled at for trying to sneak in, and Stephanie and Steve were told they “could go where ever they wanted” due to their elite status. We had a good laugh about it. The race started, and it was rainy and oh -so muggy, but it was nice to run 6 miles much faster than I would have run on my own. I have no idea of my real time since I forgot my chip, and set my Garmin to track us from the beginning of our run. Steph said we definitely had a couple sub 8 minute miles in there, and I hope she is right. I finished just famished, stuffed a granola bar into my face (after being asked if I was a volunteer doing chip collection…why is it so hard for people to believe I actually run?) and we decided to start out run back to hyde park before we were tempted to ask Steve to drive us back. We ended up at 15.5 miles, a little under my goal mileage, but on a hot, muggy day with a big, fast effort in the middle I could live with it. I am officially on my way to Boston now.

I noticed my upcoming runs to be pretty sparse. Not sure what plans the summer holds. I have no time off, but I need at least one long weekend to escape to somewhere. Hopefully I can manage a marathon or 50K over the summer to keep my training up and keep me occupied. I will be looking over some options, and hopefully have some plans in the next month or so.


Nice spring weekend…

No big runs this weekend. It was one of our very limited warm, but not hot weekends, so I tried to be out as much as I could. Saturday I ran Walnut creek with Pancake and had a great time. I am always amazed that runners avoid this place. I did a one hour run without repeating a single inch of trail. It was really green and pretty out. Next, we went to Bastrop state park with some friends to just walk around and enjoy the pretty weather. We ate at the roadhouse, and had great burgers. the park was beautiful this time of year with dogwoods in bloom and these cool ferns everywhere that seemed out of place for texas. Got home, watched a movie, and fell asleep pretty early. Got up this am and did a road run. It went pretty good. It was supposed to rain, but it was warm and sunny so we met up with some friends at Zilker park, and I took Pancake on the greenbelt while Mike played disc golf. it was really too crowded though, due to easter, and we didn’t stay too long, plus it was getting cloudy and gross. We went to whole foods, and I had their awesome vegan burger, and now we are just relaxing at home. the weekends just go too quick.

Got a lot of races coming up, nothing too epic, but all should be fun. I really just started thinking about Boston. While the marathon is no longer a big challenge to me, it is so much fun to be there and get to do all the big city things that we do not have. I just started looking at museums this weekend, and making plans. I have the Capital 10K next weekend, and plan on making it into a long run. I am going to run to the start, run it, and run home. If the weather holds, it will definitely make it more fun. I will probably be the only 10K runner with a camelback….Then, I have the Maze 30K. I love this race and it is one of my favorite local races.

I decided to skip the Rosedale Ride. It is a lot of fun, and I want to get a little more time on my bike, but I just have too many events this month. As it gets darker later in the evenings, I hope to get a little biking in after work.

I plan to spend the next couple weeks trying to get a little road speed back to have a good race a Boston. Then, refocus on trail running.


Happy first day of spring…

Ok, stirfrys are not much of a recipe, but we are so spoiled in Austin, with great veggies year round, you don’t need to add much. This has locally grown spinach and onions. Red bell peppers and asparagus from somewhere far away. Yummy tofu too. I love tofu. I also add olive oil, tamari, and pepper. that’s it. If the veggies are good, that is all you need. I also must plug veggie Heaven if you really want a good stirfry.

I am soooo happy it is the weekend soon. It will be nice to not have a race and have 2 full days off!!! This was a busy week. This new job is keeping me busy. today I think I got seasonal affective disorder since I am in the basement of the hospital and have no sources of natural light for 10 hours a day. I will also make a plug for the Cap 10K. this year Brackenridge is the beneficiary, and even if you are a trail runner and think 10Ks are stupid, you should consider doing it. I am sooo happy to finally see adult patients getting some very much needed $$.


Good advice…

Here are some more photos from Waco 50K. Do I really wear all that crap when I run? (well, not the finisher’s medal). Looks kinda silly, but seemed so rational that morning when I was getting dressed.

I am working on making running “less” of a priority. I am doing this for personal growth reasons. It is not easy. I’d like to thing I am not obsessed, but I finish one challenge, and think “what’s next?” I think the key to me being successful is to focus living in the moment, and not planning the future.

We get a daily Mission Message at work on our email, and occasionally, I actually like them. I liked this one in particular:

When we are present in each moment, the past gently rolls up
behind us and the future slowly unravels before us.
– Rev Richard Levy

Hearing someone say “live in the moment” or “be present in each moment” may sound like just another cliché… I mean after all, when else would we be living but the present moment?

Truth be told, though, many of us live every “when” except the present moment. Think about this: Have you ever found yourself at home thinking about what you need to do at work … or at work thinking about things happening in your personal life? It can be very distracting.

Too often, we spend our time either dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

All we really have is this moment. When it’s gone we’ll never get it back. So, ask yourself: What’s important in your life? Is that where you are spending your time and energy?

Living in the moment means you are totally immersed in an experience.

The past is history.
The future is a mystery.
The only time we really have is now – just this moment.

There is no question that living in the moment is a lot easier to do during special times in your life. But we all know that most days don’t contain special events, and unless you learn to live in the moment, worry, fear, resentments or other distractions will always get in the way.

That’s not to say that “living in the moment” is easy — it takes practice because we are all used to being distracted. Make a special effort to consciously practice being totally immersed in what you are doing for some time every day.

Eventually, living in the moment will become a habit that will add happiness, enthusiasm and vitality to your days. And in the end, ask yourself what is most important to you: adding days to your life or adding life to each precious day?


A fortune cookie told me…

Yesterday was the Prickly Pear 50K in San Antonio. It’s a trail run, but the trail is pretty easy…few rocks and very flat and smooth, so it is possible to run the whole thing and never walk a step.

Stephanie and Mike both wanted to join in for this one, so it was nice to have some enthusiastic partners. Mike volunteered to help cook post race fajitas, and Stephanie wanted to run the 50K.

We started at 700 in the dark, and it was very cool. It was hard to believe we would be finishing in 90 + degrees because it felt so pleasant out. Nothing real eventful the first loop. I followed a huge group down and wrong way, and thankfully listened to another runner who said it was the wrong way, so it made it a 32.5 mile run. Stephanie wanted to run with me on loop 1, so she added the extra distance too. we also both noted the course had changed since the park had lost some tree and cactus filled trails to softball fields, so there were several sections of running a treeless, mostly dirt field. The was fine in 60 degrees, but later in the day in 90 degrees, it was not ideal.

Started loop 2 and I remembered this race does not have gatorade, but Heed. I think Heed tastes EXACTLY like mylanta…lemon-y and chalk-y, so it is pretty much undrinkable. I tried one cup of the stuff and realized I would have to just stick to plain water for this race. Heed is just terrible. Not good for a 90 degree day, but better than throwing up Heed half way in. stephanie still wanted to run with me, and I’m not sure why, since I was running about as slow as a walk pace….but I guess she had written off placing in the top 3. We rambled on, and had a fun day. 3 loops actually goes by pretty quick. we came in at the end of loop 2 and saw all the folks who had done the 10 mile run enjoying post race fajitas and beer. mike thought we were done, but I sadly informed him we had another 2-2.5 hours of running.

I knew loop 3 would slow. It was now hot, and you can’t really get faster in 90 degrees. it wouldn’t have been so bad had we acclimated a little, but this was the first 90 degree day this year. I discovered it was much better to power walk the open field stretches with the very intense sun. Plus, my running muscles were starting to hurt. One nice thing was there was a kite festival going on too, so everytime we passed one the fields we were treated an impressive array of giant, colorful kites. It made up for the lack of trees, or even grass. About half way through this loop I think Stephanie finally realized I was just too slow for her and took off. I was thankful to have my ipod, and I had enough time left to listen to a whole album, and I figured that would take me to the finish. It was somewhat of a sufferfest…..I was happy to be running, and happy to have Mike and Stephanie there with me, but it’s hard to find a way to say a hot, intensely sunny day won’t be at least a little painful…plus I had to remind myself I spend half the week completley hobbled from Waco.

Finally hit that finish, and was ready for the fajitas. Although having chugged plain water and coke all day, my stomach didn’t really quite feel up to it yet. Bummer. Stephanie and I were also informed the awards were long over, and we headed home under the impression we were amongst the very last finishers. I had a lot of fun, but felt a little bad about being so slow, and slowing Stephanie down so much. I wondered how in the heck I even managed to take that long.

I was pretty tired when I got home. I think it was more the sun than anything else. I took a nap at 530 or so, and woke up starving. Mike and I went to Kim Phung, convinced spring rolls and vermichelli would revive me. At the end of dinner I got a fortune cookie that said “If you can’t excel with talent, triumph with effort.” I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Boy, doesn’t this describe most of my running efforts.

Later that night I was checking the race results, and found out we were far from the end, and had actually both placed, winning the highly desired beer mugs that are prizes. Damn! Wish I had known that before we left. This race is one of the few I really want to place in since it has the best, and most usable awards. I felt much better after I realzied a lot of runners had fairly slow times due to the heat.

So, the end result is I will keep trying to triumph with my efforts. I am slowly accepting I am not as fast as most of my friends. It’s ok, as long as I can go home saying I gave every effort I could.

New stuff on the horizon. Gotta change gears and get ready for Boston. it is 5 weeks away, so I have some work to do. time to up the effort!


Spring fever…

It’s spring break in Austin, and soooo hard to work. south by south west is in town, and for the first time I got to attend an “official” event. One of the physicians I work with was a panelist for his blog and at the last minute we all got a pass. It was fun to be in all the hype. In all my years in Austin, I have only gone to unofficial events.

My focus this week was on recovery. I only ran 2 days. this is very unusual for me. I was pretty sore after Waco, even my stomach muscles were sore(I blame the stairs). as I type this, I seem to have forgotten, because I am ready to roll saturday at Prickly Pear. good thing too, ever have one of those weeks? I had a lot of things going wrong, and being busy, busy, busy. I think I need this 50K this weekend to work off some frustrations.

So, I enter my favorite season in Texas. It is short, but our one little glimpse of perfect weather. Everyday is one to get out and remember the long 9 month summer is around the bend. every weekend matters….because the days of hiking, biking, and just strolling will come to an end in a couple months. Running will remain, but become harder and require a lot more fluid.

Well, off to watch Lost…more news after the weekend…..


Good times in Waco?

did the Waco 50K today. this photo is of the steps we got to run 3 times, but more on that later. This is a great little local race, which most folks seem to highly underestimate. It is pretty, it is HARD, and it is well done.

Doise agreed to go with me and I was thrilled to have company. we decided to get a room Friday night to avoid a 3am wake up call. we left right after work, and as expected, traffic was awful. we finally made it in about 730, and ate at the Elite Cafe…a great restaurant in any town, but especially for Waco. The rolls were served with toasted coconut butter…cannot beat that. Then we got malts at the Health Camp, I love vintage restaurants, and this one didn’t look like it had changed since 1949. We got to our hotel room, which was actually quite cozy, and had a pretty good night sleep, all things considered.

In the am, I awoke to bad  heartburn. A late, heavy meal tends to do this to me. Bad heartburn = time in the bathroom for me, let’s just put it that way, so not the best way to start a race. doise was doing the 10 miler, which had a later start, so she was dropping me off and going back to the hotel. It was nice to do a low key, small race, I didn’t have to get to until right before the start. I didn’t have much time to think at all before we were off.

VERY cold temps had hit texas the last 48 hours or so, and the starting temp was 29 degrees. Last time I did this thing it hit 90…not today!!! The sun was out, so it was never horrible, but I did have some moments of very cold hands. I started off slow, and chatted with a lot of folks. I quickly fell in with leapfrogging with a guy named Ryan, and Charlene, who I already know from austin. the 3 of us went back and forth chatting for close to 20 miles. The course was as hard as I remembered it, but with one sadistic extra. At the end there was a flight of stairs (in the picture)..that were unreal. the picture doesn’t truly do them justice. They were hard as heck on loop one, and and loop 3; pure agony. It doesn’t even seem like the park can have them open due to safety. It seems like if you took one wrong step, it would be a tumble like you wouldn’t believe.

Loops 1 and 2 flew by. I was feeling good, and having fun , pretty much running with people the whole way. I saw Doise before loop 3, and she looked liked she had enjoyed her run, despite the stairs. I started hurting on loop 3. Mostly quads and hips…heck who am I kidding…it was everything from the waist down. I am forever grateful to Mark Lindsey for hanging with me and being a great conversationalist, and really passing the miles. We talked about everything, and time flew by. It made my aches and pains much less.

finished up and hung out for a bit enjoying fajitas and sodas. Doise had got me a latte from a local coffee shop which was terrific. she also volunteered to drive home, which was another good thing, because I was really spent. I am feeling ok now, but sooooo exhausted.

Overall, a very fun day. This was the first race in a long time I did not use my ipod. I seemed to have company the whole way, and it made for an extra fun day. despite the cold, it was just a beautiful day, and the course is really quite pretty ( I love the bamboo section). Doise and I joked about what a great little overnight trip we had to Waco, TX of all places.

One reason I keep doing ultra runs is for days like today. Yes, I had a little struggle ,but I could get over it, and I talked with so many different and interesting people. It was long enough that finishing felt like a true accomplishment. Right now, I have an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion, but I hope to recover enough to do it all over again next weekend.


Blah, blah, blah…

I’ve included this photo, because sometimes I wish this is where I was….nothing feels so freeing as going to places like this. It is amazing how easy it is to forget “normal ” life when you are somewhere this beautiful and away from it all.

anyhow, things are not bad, just the usual busy state. I am officially sick of running around east Austin alone at 5am. I miss my little running group. I’ve tried to pretend I am running in a quaint little New England neighborhood or something, but then I see an old mattress in the gutter, or a feral pitbull, and I think “who am I kidding?” This morning marked the first time I said “F— this, I just cannot do it.” I hope my early arrivals at work get a reprieve soon.

Speaking of work, lots of friends have asked me exactly what in the hell I am doing now. I still am not 100% sure myself, but here it is in a nutshell: To be designated as a trauma center you must do a registry and have process improvement. I am a trauma registrar. Right now, I review charts and collect a billion data points, some of which are purely statistical, some which are process improvement indicators. A lot of the data goes for reports I write (or am learning to write) for physician peer review. Every trauma death gets reviewed. That is why I joke it is the ultimate goth job. anything bad that happens in the central Texas area, I get to have a part in. Although I no longer take care of these patients, I still feel I have an intimate role in their care. It is quite fascinating to review the deaths, and review every detail. Some folks get plain lucky and some just don’t. There are a heck of a lot of stabbings and shootings in Austin too. Every single injury gets attention down to each little facial bone fractured. With each review, it is like recreating the whole big picture, and it is hard not to imagine the people involved. Some have crazy, screwed up things happen to them ,and I often think “That is someone, not too different from me, on their way to work, and look what happens.” the guys here from Mexico who get devastating injuries on a construction job really tear at my seemingly non-existent heart. Kinda sucks how some guy just trying to make a living, gets dealt a bad hand. But as the saying goes, bad things happen to good people.. anyhow, that is a little hint of what I am doing about 10 hours or so everyday.

I am looking forward to my little bout of 50Ks. They should help me plot my next running move. I’ll do a little something this summer…even with limited vacation time, I at least have to do a long weekend. It is too hot and too long of a summer to not escape at least once. Don’t know if I’ll do a summer 100….it is unlikely. I see new ones pop up all the time, but it seems to me like they try to out do each other in difficulty. Can’t there be more “easy” 100s? I just do not feel ready to tackle elevation and rough terrain for 100 miles. which makes me think, maybe I should just do the Texas trilogy (Sunmart 50 miler, Bandera 100K, Rocky raccoon 100 miler) next year, and take advantage of what I have in my own backyard. And, given that I will never have vacation time for at least a couple more years, it would be wise to pick races I do not have to travel to. And did I mention I am a lazy long-runner? I love doing races as long runs, so I don’t have to plan weekends to be out on the greenbelt for 8 hours. a “series” of races leading up to a goal run is a perfect way to train.

Well, gotta run, and pack some stuff up for Friday’s trip to Waco, since I start my new volunteer job tomorrow night. I am soooo sick of being the new kid, but if I don’t bite the bullet and start this volunteer work, I will never do it.

waco report to come….should be cold (cold front coming in, yuck).



The best part about living in North Austin was all the Asian restaurants close by. Now that we live east, I sure do miss how easy it was to get to the freshest and most economical food in town. Right before we moved, the Chinatown center was opening. It is a big strip mall with a grocery store and lots of little restaurants. We FINALLY went today, and I have no idea why it took us so long. It was hard to pick a place to eat there were so many choices, but we settled on TC Noodle House. I think we have a new favorite. Check out these noodle dishes…it was super good, not to mention incredibly cheap. Hitting the Chinatown center may have to be a regular weekend occurance for awhile. I also stocked up on Mochi ice cream while I was there. Mmmmm, Kona coffee and mango flavors.