Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Crunch time for Keith.

Well, I intended to run with the club for their Tuesday night run, and tried to get down to Armand Bayou Elementary by 7:00, but apparently, I don't know where that is. I drove around for a while, and eventually found it, but by then it was already 7:15, and they were out of sight. So I meandered around for 4.5 miles without my watch.

It's crunch time for me at work. I've got two weeks left to turn in the written portion of my qualifying exam (I'm a grad student in biology). I have to design a set of experiments, completely from scratch, on a subject that has nothing to do with the research I'm actually involved in. At first I didn't think it was a good idea to ask students to present their proposal on a completely different field, because it just seemed like a huge waste of time to read tons of papers that aren't really related to your work. But I've actually enjoyed the break from the cutthroat world of Learning and Memory research (I'm not kidding - it really is a rough crowd to work with). I'm supposed to write this up as a 10 page "grant proposal," and then defend it in front of my committee next month.

The topic I chose was to test the recently proposed hypothesis that the mechanism by which migratory birds can sense the magnetic field is based on modulation of the light sensitivity of the birds' photoreceptors. The idea is that the biochemical pathway that underlies phototransduction (conversion of light energy to electrical activity in a neuron) is less efficient when the photoreceptor is aligned with the magnetic field than when it is perpendicular. So, with the retina being curved in a half-ball shape at the back of the eye, some photoreceptors are parallel, and some are off-parallel, and so there would be a bright spot in the bird's visual field in the direction of the magnetic field lines. So, North would look brighter, and East and West not so much.

There is a model for the physics behind this effect, which is also part of the proposal. Hopefully this topic is interesting enough to keep my committee focused on the topic, rather than bored and focused on testing the thickness of my skin.

This is what I learned today - just in case you need this information at some point:
  • You can discriminate between opsin based and non-opsin based phototransduction by Vitamin A depletion.
  • No one does Vitamin B2 depletion in the same way, which sucks because it would really help me. It might be lethal.
  • There is evidence for a photo-active non-opsin based photoreceptor in birds.

I also learned that asking people if they want to see under my bandage is funny only to me.

Rock on.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

minor embellishments

My elbow still looks pretty bad from yesterday's fall, and now its starting to swell and turn black and blue.

I guess it's not so bad, but since I've been feeling a little starved for attention lately, I'm gonna milk this minor injury for everything I can. In fact, I'm going to walk around with an oversized bandage, and some other unnecessary bandages too, and maybe a splint. And when people ask about it, I'll just say, "oh, it's nothing, I just sustained a minor injury during a typical 15 mile training run, so I just washed it off with some gatorade and then stopped the bleeding with a tourniquet made from my fuel belt, and then kept running the remaining 11 miles because that's what the schedule calls for and because it didn't even really hurt. I barely noticed it, actually. Also, I think I didn't just fall, but maybe, I think someone tripped me, but I'm not mad, though, I live and let live, that's my motto, that and 'measure twice, cut once,' those are my two mottos. But either way, I fell and slid all the way down the Kemah bridge dodging cars left and right, steering myself with my right elbow that's why I have this tiny bandage. Doctors wanted to put it in a cast, but that would slow me down, so I said, 'forget the cast, doc, casts are for babies,' and they were like 'sir, you have redefined machismo,' and then they stood at attention and saluted me as I left."

Yeah, that's what I'll say.

Rock on.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

15 miles in a cloud of dust

OMG! I wuz runnin and there was this medal ringy thingy on the road, but it wuz dark still, right, and then I guess I wuznt payin attenshun good enuff and I was all "WHAM" and everyone was all "are you alright?" and I was all "yeah, i'm okay" but on the inside I was like "man that was stupit" and now I got this razzberry on my elbow and some other tiny scrapes at varius places and stuff and then of course theres the deflated ego, which will probably take the longest to heal.

But overall it was a good run. I actually managed to get up early this morning. 4:10 AM to be exact. And I got the the park early and ran 3 miles before the group's 12 mile run. There is still a pretty decent size group, some of whom are preparing for the Austin Marathon, after running Houston a couple weeks ago, but many are just running for no specific reason.

About 1 mile into the group run is when I decided it was time to eat some pavement, but I wasn't bleeding too bad, so we continued down Nasa Road 1, over the bridge, and down the Kemah boardwalk and back. My friend Tonia ran with me for much of it, including all the difficult miles near the end. She was very helpful today, I think I mentioned before that she has the enthusiasm of 10 people. If I was alone, I might have given up and walked it in when things got difficult.

So, I brought my gf with me today, and I took some data on the bridge, like distance and elevation, so I could calculate the percent incline of the bridge. So the results say that it is approximately 80 feet increase in elevation from the base to the top, which was about 4.5% incline from the South side to the peak, and a 3.7% incline from the North side to the peak. I should probably collect these data points a number of times so I can average the results and get a more accurate result. I know the elevation data is most error prone, and considering that the reading I got at the base of the bridge said that I was 14 feet below sea level does suggest it's not perfect.

Rock on.

Friday, January 27, 2006

7.4 miles

3 miles during the wash cycle, 4.4 miles during the dry cycle.

One guy from the club emailed us about another race that I think I'll do. Has anyone done it? It's the Rocky Hill Ranch 25k/50k. I think I'd like to try a trail run with some hills and everything. I'd only do the 25k, but from what I've heard it's still somewhat difficult, and it's a little bit late in the year (April 30th), so it could be pretty hot.

It's really strange for me to be racing so much, I usually only race a few times per year, but now I've got three races planned in the next three months, and I'll probably do one of the 10k's too. I think the enthusaism of the other bloggers has rubbed off on me a little bit. I used to see races as more of an interruption in my training than anything else. At some point though, I might return to that form and quit racing for a while. There is something to be said for aimless running for running's sake.

Rock on.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Matt Carpenter goes 5 miles with keithrselassie

I'm very happy to present to you this interview with the man who wrote the book on training for the Pike's Peak Marathon, literally. I decided to send him off some questions about mountain racing, so perhaps I could get some good advice on training for Mt. Fuji in July.

The Pike's Peak Ascent starts at an elevation of 6,295 feet and peaks at 14,110 feet (7,815 feet of vertical gain), culminating in the final insult of the 16 Golden Stairs, 1/3 mile from the summit. Matt Carpenter has won the Pikes Peak Ascent 5 times, and the Pike's Peak Marathon 6 times, pulling off the double victory in 2001, winning both races on the same weekend. He currently holds the records for both the ascent (2:01:06) and the marathon (3:16:39).


What does your training consist of when preparing for the Pikes Peak Marathon?

MC: When I am really going after it I try not to have any running days under 2 hours a day. For the most part this is broken up into 2X a day running. Last year I went 5 months straight with no days under 2 hours. Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays are in the hills and the other days are running flat - usually pushing a babyjogger. Tuesdays and Thursdays are when I do the workouts required to do more than just finish the race. I am also pretty consistent about hitting the weights and sit-ups etc. on M/W/F

  • Monday - recovery from Sunday. Usually 1.5 hour easy in the morning and .5 hour easy at night.
  • Tuesday - .5 hour easy in the morning. Evening 1.5 hours: Flat speed work or flat tempo run. Winter treadmill, summer track
  • Wednesday - recovery from Tuesday. Usually 1.5 easy in the morning and .5 easy at night.
  • Thursday - .5 hour easy in the morning. Evening 1.5 hours: hill speed work or hill tempo run. Winter treadmill, summer Barr Trail
  • Friday - recovery from Thursday. Usually 1.5 easy in the morning and .5 easy at night.
  • Saturday - explore new trails day. Usually 2 hours.
  • Sunday - 2.5-4 hours long in the mountains.

But I really don't get how knowing my training can help others that do not have the same set of circumstances. Indeed, I did things a little different when I was not spending so much time behind a babyjogger. You have to adapt your training based on what you want to accomplish and what your set of circumstances are.

What advice would you give someone preparing for a difficult mountain race for the first time?

MC: First, get on the trails to get used to the footing. Also jump in some trail races even if they are flat to get used to the crowding and to single track running. Next, if you have mountains, train in them. If you don't, get on a treadmill! There is no substitute for sustained uphill running. Yes, repeats on an overpass are good but they don't give you the whole picture. Also, watch out for running steps. Yes, they will work you good but they don't put your foot at the same incline as a hill and you may find your calves cry uncle come race day! Look, if someone is really serious about training for the peak they should check out http://www.skyrunner.com/guide yes, this is an obvious plug but the guide was put together to address these sort of questions.

Does Pikes Peak still intimidate you? How has your impression of the mountain changed since your first race?

MC: No, not really. This is why for the most part I have moved on to other races. I used to lose sleep over it like I do all my races. But starting in the mid 90s the race started filling and they no longer actively sought to make the event competitive. They stopped bringing in good runners and took away the course record bonuses. In fact, once the race started filling faster they even started shutting out faster runners and the times got down right pathetic. Fortunately, they now hold spots based on bio but otherwise they don't do much to attract the top runners. Bottom line, it is a great event but for the most part it is run like a local 5k and is not much of a race. Just compare today's winning times to the 80s or 90s. True, most major races have slowed down - just look at the average times. The difference is that most races have managed to not only keep their top end but grow it! Boston, Chicago and New York are all classic examples. 2006 could be a good year for Pikes as it has been designated world long course championship status but I fear for '07 and beyond if some changes are not made.

How is the mountain running scene different than road running?

MC: There is this perception that the mountain/trail/ultra running scene is more laid back. Frankly, I don't see it in the people I hang out with. Competitive people are competitive in all venues. Sure there is a smaller feel to the off-road scene but that is just a function of them being, well, smaller... There are still all types of people at these races - some more laid back than others.

Is there anyway to prepare for the altitude of a mountain race while living 20 feet above sea level, or am I totally screwed?

MC: Some great races have come from flatlanders. The boys from Kansas used to kick some serious butt. However, and to be fair, they would come out and spend some time in the altitude. Therefore, short of buying an altitude tent the best way to combat the effects of altitude is to get in the best shape you can. From there it really depends on how your body reacts to the altitude. If you don't know, it is best to come out either 2 weeks or more before or 3 days or less before the race. In the middle can really mess with some people!

Thanks again to Matt for his time.

I think I need a copy of that guide.

Rock on.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

15 miles or so

I should quit pretending like I'm going to get up and run early in the morning. I finally got up at about 10:00, and kicked around the house a bit, and made it out to run around 1:00 PM. I can get away with this lack of discipline while the weather is nice and cool. The club did have an informal run this morning, but they were only doing 6, and I wanted to get a longer run in. Again, I'm out of sync with everybody, just like I was when the marathon program started, because I was training for NYC which was a couple months earlier than their marathon.

This 15 miler was pretty difficult, much more difficult than it should be if I'm going to run a full marathon in just 8 weeks. I even had to take some walk breaks for the last 4 miles. I ran down Nasa Road 1 and over the bridge, and down through Kemah, and back, with an extra couple miles around the Seabrook trails.

I figured out that when I'm running straight, and on flat ground, I feel pretty good. But uneven ground and even a slight camber of the road brings out all the familiar aches and pains.

I hope everyone is recovering well from their race.
Rest on.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

5 miles - tired, but no pain

5 miles around my neighborhood, no watch.

It was a little bit strange because I felt completely drained after two miles or so, with rubbery legs and everything. But after another mile, I felt good again and finished strong. It was refreshing, as I didn't have any trouble with my foot, or my other foot, or my leg, or my other leg. I guess I should still take it easy for a little while, so I don't reinjure myself, but not for too long, I'm restless.

I've been running with my GF201, that I got for christmas, and all my routes seem to be just a little bit shorter than I thought they were. It does seem consistent with the Gmap Pedometer.

Okay, I'm going to sleep.
Rock on.

Does anyone else think this is funny?

Video: Polar Bear wants to eat a small japanese girl dressed as a seal.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Guess my time

The winner gets a free antennae ball from Jack in the Box.
Guess my time for the Surfside Half Marathon - 11 February 2006
under 2:02
2:02:00 - 2:03:59
2:04:00 - 2:05:59
2:06:00 - 2:07:59
2:08:00 - 2:09:59
2:10:00 - 2:11:59
2:12:00 - 2:13:59
2:14:00 - 2:15:59
2:16:00 - 2:17:59
2:18:00 - 2:19:59
2:20:00 - 2:21:59
2:22:00 - 2:23:59
2:24:00 - 2:25:59
2:26:00 - 2:27:59
2:28:00 - 2:29:59
over 2:30:00
Free polls from Pollhost.com

The Day after

I'm a little sore this morning and there's a new pain in my foot. But's it's a different foot, and a different place on my foot, so I'm not too worried about it. It'll probably be okay in a few days.

I think the walking took more of a toll than the running yesterday. I walked about 10 extra miles after the race, backwards along the course. I saw most of the bloggers and many of the club members from CLFC. I had intended to walk back to where the CLFC tent was, around mile 21-22, and I was hoping to catch a ride back to my car, but I never found them and had to walk all the way back too. I guess I won't whine too much, because other people were working a lot harder than me yesterday.

I'm all pumped up right now, so I registered for the Surfside Half Marathon today. I think Holden's registered, and maybe Edwin too. I should probably go ahead and register for the Seabrook Lucky Trails Marathon too. Yeah, I probably should. Okay, I just did (several moments have passed from the last sentence to this one). Uh-Oh. No turning back now.

Anyhow, the club had a recap lunch at Skeeters, and there was a pretty good turnout, and everyone was showing off their marathon/halfmarathon medals. A couple of people even ran an additional 14-18 miles this morning in preparation for the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler. I still think it's amazing when you ask someone when their race is and they say February third and fourth.

Rest on.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Houston Half Marathon 2:19:27

I like to call it the Big Oil Half.

I think the splits from the automatic update thing are a little screwy. The first two (10K and 9mi) are not really chiptime, but guntime, so I didn't have a nice negative split like it says. In fact, the last three miles were pretty ugly.

And this race is actually quite a bit off my PR (like more than 19 minutes), but I have a really really good excuse. It's not that it was too hot, because it wasn't that hot, at least not for the half marathoners. And it's not that my foot started hurting, because I had absolutely no trouble with my foot or with my calf, which had been bothering me earlier this week and last.

My excuse is that I'm in poor shape. That explains why it's so much slower than a year and a half ago, and why I couldn't keep the pace to the end. I'm fat and slow, it's that simple. But, in some ways, that's actually a good thing, compared to trying to recovery from mysterious foot problems. I know how to deal with a lack of fitness much better than lingering injuries, and the fact that my foot didn't give me any trouble, is something I'm pretty happy about. Hopefully now I can resume a decent training plan.

But I have to say, after this race, I'm very psyched up about my running. When I turned the corner and came up on mile marker 11, the two leaders, Ngetich and Cheruiyot, were passing their mile 24, and those guys are extremely impressive. I taped the marathon special and got to see the race in full, and it does seem a bit unfair to hang behind someone, for the entire race, and kick past him in the final 200 meters, but I guess, if you can get away with it, why not? It's really an error on Ngetich's part to let Cheruiyot hang back and not share the lead at all for the the whole race.

But in all honesty, the bloggers, and the folks at CLFC, are much more inspirational than the elites. You guys rocked, and you rocked while having jobs and responsibilities and some pretty formidable obstacles, like losing 150 pounds or kicking your nicotene addiciton or struggling with an unhealthy fixation on bicycles. And, I'm very proud to know people who can run a 3:02:29, or a 3:32:42, you're very inspirational. I didn't want to start the listing people who impress me because someone would get left out, because you all rock.

This is for you!

Rock on.

Keith Kelleher, 02:19:26 (chiptime) @ Finish (unofficial). Pace 10:38. By Aramco, Best Buy, Active.com.

Keith Kelleher, 01:40:17 (chiptime) @ 9 Mi. Pace 11:08. Predicted 02:25:56. By Aramco, Best Buy, Active.com.

Keith Kelleher, 01:11:00 (chiptime) @ 6.2 Mi. Pace 11:25. Predicted 02:29:39. By Aramco, Best Buy, Active.com.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Last minute preparation

Well, I'm going into Sunday's race feeling like I'm almost healthy. My foot hasn't given me any trouble for a couple of weeks, and my calf, which was hurting earlier this week, has improved with this week of very light training.

The peeps down at the CLFC gave us a handout with a bunch of last minute preparatory things to keep in mind these last few days, and I thought I'd pass them on.

  • Make sure you have your packet notification card when you pick up your packet.
  • Drive the course.
  • Limit high-fiber foods that will trigger intestinal distress.
  • Hydrate.
  • Eliminate alcohol and soft drinks. (alcohol and caffeine will dehydrate you)
  • Organize your gear.
  • Don't go overboard on pasta tonight.
  • Set up an extra alarm clock.
  • Trim your toe nails.
  • Get a good night's sleep.


  • Hydrate.
  • Sleep in.
  • Last chance for packet pick-up. (bring the card!)
  • The more you stay off your feet the better you'll be.
  • Eat without stuffing.
  • Make sure you have gas in the car.
  • Lay out your clothes - pin your number on.
  • Prepare for the weather, but don't worry about it, unless you can change it.
  • Have a backup for everything possible.
  • Pack clothes for after the race, and a towel.
  • Double check the extra alarm clock.
  • Go to bed early. Even if you can't sleep, stay horizontal.


  • Get up early, with at least 2 hours to prepare.
  • Have a light breakfast.
  • Dress carefully, make sure your socks are not creased. Double knot your shoes.
  • Get some vaseline or bodyglide, if you're into that stuff.
  • Hold back at the start of the race.
  • Stick to the plan.
  • Thank the volunteers.
  • Miles 15 - 20 make you a distance runner, Miles 20 - 26.2 make you a marathoner.
  • Sieze that moment when you cross the finish line.

After the race

  • Replace electrolytes and carbohydrates starting immediately after you finish.
  • Don't spend too much time in the bath or a hot shower. Heat will aggravate any swelling or discomfort from inflammation.
  • Your first full meal should be the same kind of meal you were eating in the days leading up to the race. You are refueling. It takes 3-5 days to recover and reload the glycogen.
  • Try some active rest to help flush out lactic acid. (e.g. a light walk, ride a stationary bike, swim)
  • Get a massage, "if you can," 24 to 48 hours after you finish. (if your not creeped out by strangers rubbing you like I am)
  • The general rule for recovery is: you need one day for every mile you race to completely recover.

And, of course, you can't forget the number one rule, which is to "Rock on."


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Running Greatness is in my Future

Since running for speed probably isn't going to be my thing, and running for very very very long distances is just as unlikely, I may have to be a little bit creative to acquire greatness.

We do hear stories about people like me. Some people run marathons whilst juggling, and I can juggle, but apparently the record for a juggling marathon is still about 3:07. But I can do the Rubik's Cube. Maybe I could solve 1000 Rubik's Cubes during the course of running a mediocre marathon. I wonder what the record for that is.

Mediocrity is my downfall. I'm a mediocr-aholic. But I think combining two records would probably be the easiest way to make a name for myself. Perhaps I could run a marathon while simultaneously smoking 1000 cigarettes. Or I could run a marathon while pulling a VW bug connected via fishhooks to my back and rear end. That would get me in the papers, but I'd like to avoid the fishhook thing.

Newspapers aren't likely to print a story headlined: "Mediocre white guy runs mediocre marathon." But I'll bet they'd run a story about a mediocre white guy who ran a marathon, stopping every single mile to eat a 72 oz. steak.

Maybe one day, you'll turn on the teevee and see Lisa #or0nda reporting a story about a little-known mediocre white guy who ran the fastest thousand cigarette smokin' rubik's cube solvin' blind kid guidin' half-a-cow eatin' marathon.

It's only a matter of time before I'm world famous.

Rock on.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

My plan for the next year and a half

I ran 4 miles this evening around my neighborhood at what turned out to be a faster pace than I had planned. I meant to get up early and run, but I slept in instead. It's funny how my priorities change from the evening, when I plan my runs, to the morning, when it's time to get out of my warm Sunday morning bed. By the time I actually got out of bed, I had gotten 10 emails from the Disney Marathon, giving me split times for my friends Vicky and Tonia from the Clear Lake Fitness Club, and they had already finished!

Tonia was my training partner for many of our long runs as she was training for the MCM, and I was training for the NYCM, which were only a week apart. And now, we're both getting psyched about taking a run at the Texas Marathon Challenge next season, which consists of running 5 races of marathon distance or greater in one season.

So towards that end, I'm going to gear up for the full Seabrook Marathon this March, since the jump from 2 marathons in one year to 5, doesn't seem quite as crazy as 1 to 5.

So then, after Seabrook, of course there's 少し丘, and then the TMC.

Sounds like a lot of running now that I lay it all out like that.

Rock on.

Pictures of my baby boy

I spent some extra time with my baby boy and let him run off leash a bit today.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The end of the marathon training program

I ran 6 miles with the Clear Lake Fitness Club, for what I guess is the last official training run for their marathon program. The group is definitely a lot smaller than in July, but strangely enough, almost everyone that I actually remember from those first runs is still at it. Apparently my brain has the power to control peoples' injuries without conscious effort.

They also reminded everyone about the Seabrook Lucky Trails Marathon, Half-Marathon and Relay, that will be held on 19 March 2006. Although, I'm not sure there are very many bloggers who would want to come down and race me on my turf. That would be like racing Prefontaine at Hayward Field. But you could come down and volunteer, they mentioned that they would need volunteers too.

Coach Linda also talked a bit about mental strategies to combat the negative thoughts that will undoubtedly come at some point in the race. This reminded me a lot of the Cognitive-Behavioral stuff I learned about as an undergrad in Psychology at FSU.

Try these CBT techniques when the mental bugs bite:

Argue with your critic.
Your critic's argument is irrational. Combat it with the truth.
Thoughts like "I didn't train hard enough" are irrational. Don't try to argue with equally flawed statements like "I'm gonna win!" Negative thoughts are best combatted with more realistic dialog like "I trained as best I could, under the circumstances. I can't quit my job to train. I have so many other goals too." Is the winner the only one trained "enough?" What could your critic say to that?

Take note of your negative thoughts, but don't listen.
Disconnect your negative thoughts from your emotions. Imagine your thoughts, as if they were spoken to you, or read from a book. Visualize them written on the ground, and run over them. Leave them behind.

For me, negativity is my weakness. I'm a negativ-aholic.
Oops, I should say, "At times I can be overly-negative, but I shouldn't be because I do many things well, and people like me."

Rock on.

Friday, January 06, 2006

FW: Confirmation

I got my card yesterday (Thursday) in the mail too, which was a little surprising because I didn't register until Wednesday.

As you know, I've been drifting aboot and running aimlessly, with no clear goal, ever since the NYCM. But now I'm kicking around some plans. I'm looking forward to getting back into a preplanned schedule. I think I may train for a nice fast 10K sometime in March. Or maybe I'll try to train for the Seabrook Marathon. Okay, I guess I don't really have a clear goal yet.

From: Aramco Houston Half Marathon [mailto:support@active.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2006 4:34 PM
To: manofaction99@earthlink.net
Subject: Confirmation

Event Confirmation

BIB - 29944
Name - Keith Kelleher
Race - Aramco Houston Half Marathon -- 13.1 miles
Start Line Corral - Back
*for more information see below

Age on Race Day - 29
Sex - M
Wheelchair Participant - No

Pasadena, TX 77504

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Jon Warren goes 5 (okay 6) miles with keithrselassie

I'm honored to have gotten a reply to my interview from Jon Warren. In 1996, Coach Warren finished 8th in the U.S. Olympic Trials marathon, with a time of 2:15:59, and has a mile PR of 3:59.30. He is currently in his 5th year as head coach of Rice University Men's Track & Field/Cross Country. Also, the past several years, he has been providing the expert commentary in the Houston marathon special on ABC. He and Sean Wade are also coaches for Kenyan Way, which hosts a marathon training program here in Houston.

Do you think the average human is physically capable of running a BQ (Boston Qualifier) marathon time, provided he/she was willing and able to put in the necessary work?

JW: No I don't. I think the first constraint is mental. I have met too many people that cannot comprehend running 1 mile, much less train at all. The average human (or at least American) is close to being obese at this point and soon will be. These folks are a long way from understanding what exercise is and what it means. The idea of "training" is so foreign to them that you might as well ask if they will ever walk on the moon. I think even if these folks could get something going, it would be very rare individual who could do the work and not get injured.

I would argue however, that the average or in fact below average folks that do anything around memorial do have a chance, but they-just by being there-are way above your average person.

Do you have an opinion on if, and how, someone should change their running form? (the crazy barefoot man on the internet says heelstriking is unnatural - is it worthwhile to transition to forefoot striking?)

JW: I don't believe that any conscious effort should be made in changing adults running form. My opinion is that we run the way we run biomechanically because that is the most efficient way for us as individuals to run. There is an ideal model, and if you naturally run that way, then you will most likely be faster than those that don't. That ideal model is perfect for the person that already runs that way. His or her muscles function well in those biomechanical positions. Each person has a model that is best for them, that is how you should run.

I think the best way to change form, (assuming that it is even possible to do so at all) is to change the strength and effectiveness of the specific muscles. Hill running is easily the best method for this. It will increase knee drive and naturally allows one to get used to running with your foot strike being under you center of gravity and usually not on your heel (similar to what "crazy barefoot man" most likely espouses).

To what extent do you think performance enhancing drugs are used by elite distance runners?

JW: I think there are folks out there that cheat. But they are doing so less and less and not at the big races. The major races, Chicago, London, Boston and New York, etc really test. They do not just do lip service. The lesser ones, that pay a lot less, often to do not. (Testing is a major pain). On the track, the major championships is where you see the differences. You rarely see anymore that the best performer throughout the season is not in the hunt at the major championships in the 1500 and up. This did not used to be the case.

So I think things are OK and I hope getting better.

I do think the top Americans are clean.

What is your training like right now? Which dates are circled on your calendar?

JW: My training is pretty weak right now. I run about 35 miles a week with usually a fartlek (4 miles of 45 fast/45 cruise) and an interval session (3 x 1600 w/ 1 min, rest 5 mins, 2 x 1000 w/ 3 mins OR 8 x 400 w/ 400 jog) of some sort. I hope I can get a little better training done in '06, but we will see.

The only racing dates on my calendar are ones that pop up when I don't have weekend coaching conflicts. So right now, I have no dates circled.

What workout(s) do you think would be most beneficial for a mid-pack marathoner who wants to improve his/her marathon time?

JW: Here is one workout worth a try:

Get on an out an back course and jog out 8-10 miles. Turn around and run back the same course and gradually pick up the pace. You should try and finish comfortably (pace wise) at or under goal marathon pace. This would count as the long run.

Other than that, the best thing is to make sure that regular intervals (8 x 1000 for example) along with a medium long run (1:30) are done quite often in training.

What advice would you give a novice marathoner preparing for this year's Houston Marathon, given that essentially all his/her training is behind him/her?

JW: The half way point is 20 miles. Figure out goal pace prior to the race and run it (no faster-no matter what) until at least 20 miles. Then and only then can you think about changing pace.

Thanks again do Coach Warren for his thoughful answers, and he didn't even seem to mind that I tried to sneak a sixth question into my five question interview.

Rock on,

Monday, January 02, 2006

I suppose I'll Rock on then.

Okay, if Edwin doesn't quit, then I won't quit.

Although, I was thinking, maybe I could be a more inspirational figure if I quit running. Then, people that actually stick with it are elevated in stature. We all know that not everybody sticks with it, but maybe we could use a golden bright and shining example of a lazy quitter. Maybe I could be that lazy quitter.

By the way, I've added a small run log in the left panel, so you can see how much I don't run.

Rock on.

Resolution Poll

They should rename New Years Day to "Day for Contemplating All the Things You Suck At."

What goals do you and I have in common?
Run more
Lose weight
Set a pace PR
Set a distance PR
Avoid a recurrence of injury
Be more consistent with my training
Be a better family member
Be a better student
Be less egomaniacal
Remember peoples' names
Read more books
Learn to salsa dance
Volunteer for something
Take time to prepare healthy meals
Try to Rock On.

Free polls from Pollhost.com

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year ! ! ! also, I quit.

Happy New Year everyone. You rock!

Oh, yeah, I quit running.
I should have quit a long time ago.
I should have quit long before Edwin quit.
I'm going to change the name of this blog to ihaterunningevenmorethanjoe.blogspot.com.

I was running the Seabrook trails yesterday, and I could feel my left foot beginning to hurt like it did during the NYCM , but this time after only two miles, so I thought, "I'll just finish up this loop, it will be six miles, and I can wear my custom insoles for a couple days and I'll start feeling better and I can run again." But then I had the brilliant idea that I should just quit.

It seems clear now that I start to have foot problems when I'm running a lot and gain a few pounds at the same time. That was the case at the peak of marathon training for the NYCM, and that's the case now, with the holidays and everything. I should have taken some more time off after the NYCM, like I had planned. But I was disappointed in my time, and I thought I'd try to get back up for the Houston marathon. But I haven't gotten the long runs in, so I thought, maybe, I'll just push the schedule back a little bit and run the Austin marathon, or Surfside marathon, or Seabrook marathon. But I think, instead, I'll just quit.

Why should I train so much? I might set PRs, and one day I might be able to run half as fast as elite runners. But it doesn't matter, it's not like I'm inspirational in some way. Nobody's inspired by healthy men in the back of the pack, expectations of us are so much higher.

I hate New Years Day. It's by far my least favorite day of the entire year. Where's my "Art of Feeling Good" book? I can't find it.

Rock on. I'm not gonna rock on though, because I quit.