Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pre-Marathon Workout: Filling up positive vibes!

positive-thoughtsIn less than 5 days I’ll be running my 6th marathon… CRAZY GOOD!  I’m excited for this one!  I feel like I’ve trained pretty well and kept my eating under check.  Now it’s time to fill my head with POSITIVE thoughts.  There’s the physical part of running and then the mental part.  The mental part will come in at about 20/22 miles where negative thoughts will try to creep in.  You’ve got to have a game plan to squelch them!

So… this blog post is really for… filling up positive vibes! 

Write it down

I’ll be writing positive things on my arms so that when I get stupid later in the race, I can look down and repeat what’s on my arm.  These are short, simple things that will mean a lot when I need them.  Here’s some of the things that may or may not be written on my arm…

I’ve done this in previous marathons and it really helped.  Here’s a link to all kinds of Running Mantras.  Find one or two for yourself.

Push Through

When training, I pushed through!  I did this because I wanted to get stronger, but also to use the positive mental recollection of pushing through when I didn’t want to.  This training season was the first time that I did track workouts.  There were several times that I didn’t feel like I could do that last lap, but I pushed through!  It was such a victory when I did push through.  I’m going to be leaning on those positive mental pictures. 

3 Races… 3 PRs… shooting for a 4th

While training with the Frisco Running Club, I’ve gotten faster and stronger! If you live near Frisco, come join us! Below are my 3 most recent races… all 3 are PRs. Not, by a few seconds, but by minutes. :)

  • DRC Loop 15K – 1:17:45 at a pace of 8:20. My previous 15K PR was 1:20:39. I beat this one by 2:54.
  • Gary Burns 5K – 23:56 at a pace of 7:42. My previous PR was 24:57. I beat this one by 1:01.
  • DRC Half Marathon – 1:48:04 at a pace of 8:17. My previous PR was 1:49:52. I beat this one by 1:52.

My favorite way of keeping up with all my previous race results is AthLinks. This website collects all of the race results and gives you some cool stats. The great part… it’s free!

Yep, shooting for a 4th PR here.  I have no doubt that I’m going to hit it unless something crazy happens.  My current PR is 4:18.  I’m going to beat that and then smash it as I want to get under 4 hours. 


I constantly visualize what it’s going to be like crossing that finish line completing my goal.  It’s such an awesome vision that I want to keep running to it.

I’m also excited that my son, Cairo will be running his second Half Marathon.  It’s wild to think that he’ll be out there on his own out of my sight.  Usually, when we run together, he’s next to me or out in front of me where I can see him.  He’ll be finishing way ahead of at my half way point.  He’s going to have such a great time.  He’s stronger than he realizes!

If this is your 1st or 21st marathon, I believe it’s important to arm yourself with positive thoughts to beat down the ugly ones.  The ugly ones will be there… get ready to beat the crap out of them!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cairo’s First Half Marathon!

Cairo-Mark-AfterOK… as many know, I ‘m super proud of my son for knocking out his first Half Marathon.  Yes, I’m proud of his time, but most of all, I’m proud of him for sticking to the training plan.  It was rough for this teenager to get up for the early morning workouts which start at 5:30am.  But he did it and can see that commitment pays off.  This is a life lesson that some of us don’t learn until it’s too late.

He’s come such a long way!  When we first started on his base mileage, he was barely holding a 10:30 minute/mile pace for 3 miles.  While running those 3 miles he needed 2-3 breaks.  From there to running a Half Marathon with no breaks at a 8:15 minute/mile pace.  He finished the Half Marathon in 1:47:42!  That’s crazy cool!

I’m bummed that he didn’t place for his age group.  He came in 4th.  Yes, I know, we should be happy with him finishing his first Half Marathon.  It’s just that I knew that he had a chance.  Below are the standings from his age group.  As you can see, there just aren’t that many teenagers running Half Marathons.


A Little Race Recap

0053-knock outBefore the race, I warned Cairo about the hills in the neighborhoods and the last big hill would be the spillway after mile 8.  I told him that we’d start at a steady pace of 8:30 or so.  I was running faster than that and he was definitely running faster.  We were really caught up in the start of the race, but we were feeling good.  After the second mile, he was about 20 yards ahead of me.  I didn’t actually catch back up to him until we got the hills in the neighborhood.  While running behind him, it was so cool to see him interacting with the crowds.  He was pumping his fist and giving a YEAH when he heard someone yell out Frisco for his shirt.

I was doing pretty well holding onto the 8:15 pace, but the hills were really beating me down.  After the spillway, I was just willing myself to finish this race to completion.  I knew that I was ahead of a PR time and could not let up.  It became a countdown to the finish… only a 5K to go… only 17 minutes to go… only 4 times around the track to go… only a 400m to go, and then sprint it out for the finish.

Cairo and I ran together until the end when we had about a quarter mile to go.  Cairo started his big kick at that point.  I was definitely not ready to kick that early.  It was great to see him stretch it out at the end.  He finished 20 seconds sooner than I did.


I was determined to PR this race. It was not a matter of IF, but HOW FAR below my Half Marathon PR of 1:49:52 that I would go. My mind has shifted from IF to HOW FAR after reading a fellow runner’s post on one of her recent races. You can follow her on Twitter. She’s definitely worth the follow… great inspirational & motivational posts!

During some races at the very end, I’ll do some math and figure out if I stay on a certain pace that I’ll get a certain time. I didn’t do this, I just wanted to give it all that I had and finish strong. When I saw the clock it was past 1:48. I sprinted to the finish so that I could be below 1:48:30. I was really surprised to see the actual time was 1:48:04. So close to being below 1:48. The last time that I PR’ed the Half, I didn’t think that I’d be able to beat that time. This time, I know that I can get faster and beat it.

I was pretty emotional at the end of the race.  Seeing my son kill his first Half Marathon!  Seeing him go from barely holding onto a 9:30 pace for a 4 mile race to scorching a 8:15 pace for a Half Marathon!  Seeing the huge smile on my son’s face after he welcomed me to the finish line!  Thinking of all of the mornings that I drug him out of bed!  Setting a solid PR for myself at this challenging Half Marathon by almost 2 minutes!

Cairo-Mark-UrsulaOur embrace after the finish was so worth all of the training!  These experiences are never really experienced by just sitting on the couch.  You’ve got to push yourself to have them.

I love the knock out picture above that we had when we finished the race.  It was definitely fun clowning around after we finished.

Thanks to my wife, Ursula for coming out and supporting Cairo and I.  It was a huge boost to see her at the finish.

It was also great to see work running peeps… Chris, Brandon, and Brandon’s family.  It was great to catch up with my other running friends… Felix, Michelle, Stacy, Mark O., and so many others.