Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rock n Roll Half–2012 #RnRDAL

2012-03-24 12.02.02The Dallas Rock n Roll Half Marathon is still one of my favorite races!  Even though it was unseasonably warm and the race series itself seems a bit too commercialized, it’s still my favorite.  What do I mean by commercialized?  Everything seems to cost… marathon expo parking – $10 –$15 or if you were lucky like I was… parked on the street a half mile away for $3 in quarters.  A half mile walk never seems far anymore.  :)  The runner tracking was an extra cost as well, whereas some races it’s free.  Then again, the cost is probably absorbed by the race fees.

The Expo

Cairo, Briana, and I enjoyed the expo.  We hung out with good friends, Jeff, Felix & Felix’s family.  The expo seemed to be the right size.  There were also the right mix of freebies, sales, & other booths.  Check out our little video below of the expo:

The Race

2012-03-25 07.24.23Cairo and I were hyped for the race on the morning.  It might be hard to get that teenager up for a training run, but he’ll get up for a race.  :)  Unfortunately, he was fighting a funky illness from the week where he aches and pains.  This played into the race along with the heat.

It was great to carpool with the Frisco Running Club peeps.  Taking pre-race photos and getting psyched with veteran & newbie Half Marathoners is always a favorite!  I love the way that start is staggered for the Dallas Rock n Roll Half Marathon.  It’s like you’re at the front of the line.  They start each corral off as if they were the head of the line.  :)

We started the race off with Felix and some friends from the Frisco Running Club.  My plan was to start the first couple of miles at 8:20 and then stick to 8:00 and below for the rest of the race.  I was a bit a head of the pace originally thought of, but I felt good. 

Do I Stay or Do I Go!?!

Cairo was hanging well until mile 3.5 in Turtle Creek when he tapped me on the shoulder.  He wasn’t doing well and needed to take a break.  A million thoughts ran through my head as I made the decision to press on without him.  Knowing that this was his 4th Half Marathon since November, I knew that he’d know to go to the medics if needed or he could stop/DNF when he’d see my wife at mile 7.5  I felt bad for him as he’d been sick for most of the week.  He gave me a check-check thumbs up as I ran off.


The hills and heat got me as I pushed to see Ursula and Briana at mile 7.5.  I knew that I just had to get to them and then I could have a short recovery from the hills.  I didn’t originally plan to stop, but it felt so good to do so.  After I stopped, I was reenergized knowing that I had the worst part of the race behind me. It wasn’t all down hill to the finish, but it was definitely so much better than the first half.


Check out the video below to see the break at Mile 7.5 and after the race.  Shhh… yes, I relieved myself at the median of Mockingbird & Greenville.  I guess it’s one of those things of being a guy runner.  I did it as discretely as I could.  It’s funny hearing my wife & daughter comment on my little break.  Sorry to anyone that took offense to this… it was a spur of the moment thing.

The Finish

When I was finishing the race in the last 1.5 miles, I could see Dean & Luke – another father/son duo from the Frisco Running Club.  It was so cool seeing them.  As I approached them, it was so touching to see them hold hands for awhile.  Dean was encouraging his 13 year old son Luke throughout the finish.  I ran with them briefly, but was very intent on getting another PR.  I pushed as hard as I could during the last mile or so.  I thought I might have kicked too early, but once you hit the chute of spectators, they bring you home.  I love the cheers of the crowd!

94654322I was so happy to knock off 39 seconds of my PR with a time of 1:46:00, but it was kind of bittersweet as I was worried about Cairo.  I got a text from my wife that he was going to try to finish in 2 hours.  2 hours came and went and I didn’t see him.  I tried to stay close to the finish line, but the race volunteers were trying to keep that area clear.  Finally, I felt someone hug me and tear up.  It was a worn out 16 year old.  It was all that I could do was to give him a fatherly hug and tell him that he did it!  He pushed through wanting to stop and completed what he started.  He learned a huge life lesson during those 2 hours and 8 minutes.  We got him some medical attention for the cramping and then found Ursula & Briana.

Great Post-Eats

We didn’t stick around for very long as we were ready to get out of the heat.  One of the cool giveaways at the end was Jimmy John’s Sandwiches!  Yummy!  It was so much better than the post-race food at The Woodlands Marathon.  One thing that is a bummer about Fair Park is the far trek that you have to make for the spectator parking.  It definitely felt like a mile or so to get to the car.

Even though there were thousands of runners it was so cool to see running friends and Twitter friends that I only get to see at race events like this.  It was definitely a fun and challenging event on so many levels!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pre-Race Rituals: Race Hair Cut

I love running races!  It’s what I train for, it’s what I get all jazzed up for!  The next BIG race that I’m looking forward to is the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. So, I have some pre-race rituals that I go through to get ready.  One of those rituals is a Race Hair Cut!

A race hair cut makes me feel sleeker and ready to go.  I usually get it 2-3 days before the race.  Getting the haircut makes me feel cooler for the race.  Also, if I need to wear a hat, my “hat head” doesn’t look as bad.

The great thing is that my wife cuts my hair.  I don’t need to try to schedule an appointment with someone.  I just need to stay on my wife’s good side so that I don’t have a bad race hair cut.  But, then again, she wouldn’t do that to me!  :)

Here’s a video of me getting my race hair cut before the Dallas Rock n Roll Half Marathon at Green Peridot.  This is the salon that Ursula is a stylist.  If you need a race hair cut or just tired of your stylist, make an appointment with her at 469-362-7980.

So, what are some of your pre-race rituals?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Banana Eating Dog

Peanut, our toy poodle, loves to eat bananas.  I’m sure that I found this out by accident, but when I get a banana he’s front and center.  He knows the sound that the banana holder makes when I grab a banana.  He also knows the word, banana, very well!

After Ursula watched the video she was mad at me for feeding him the seed.  Sorry, but he doesn’t seem to mind the seed.

If you’d like the way that I opened the banana, check out when I blogged about it a couple of years ago.

Is it safe for dogs to eat them?  I’m pretty sure as he’s been eating them for quite awhile with no problems and this website & others say it’s ok.

I’m looking forward to seeing my sister, Denise and her dog, Jackson in a couple of months.  After eating an apple, Jackson will be waiting on the apple core.  I think that’s funnier!  Jackson is a weimaraner and an all around cool dog.  I’d like to get Peanut and Jackson together so that they can share a fruit salad.  Nom nom nom!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pre-Race Rituals: Show me how great you are!

I’ve wrote about filling up on positive vibes before, but I cannot stress it enough.  The Marathon is tremendously physical, however, there is still a great deal that is emotional and mental.

One thing that I like to do during the final days leading up to a big race is to fill my head with positive images, stories, & videos.  Yes, I’ve done the physical training, but I can still use some mental training.

Before I get into this, I must say that I give God all the glory for the ability and the courage that he has given me.  I’ve learned so much and grown so much closer to Him through this journey.  Any accomplishment that I receive is because of Him!

Yes, there has to be some self-adoration when you try to push yourself to your goals.  If you don’t believe in yourself, then you’ve already lost the battle.

Below is a video that is one of my favorites.  I like watching the first 90 seconds or so.  Specifically I’m listening to Muhammad Ali with his “I’m going to show you how great I am speech.

This really pushed me before and during the race that I achieved my Sub-4 hour marathon time.  I had my wife watch it with me before the race.  I told her that it charged me up.  She, of course, shook her head.  Sometimes non-runners have great intentions, but don’t know what to say when you look like crap at mile 22.  I told her before the race, if you don’t know what to say, this is the best thing you can say to me:  “Show me how great you are!”

She said it once or twice and it sounded kind of funny coming from her.  However, late in the race she texted the message to me and it’s exactly what I needed at that moment.

Below is the actual speech/interview.  Way cool to see him so young and ready to take on the world!

Fill up on positive images & videos so that you can draw on them when needed during a race.  Yes, you will need them… or at least I know that I will.  My next BIG race that I will be drawing on these images is the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.  I cannot wait for this race!

Monday, March 12, 2012

He Kept His Promise

384449_234041489994112_144587302272865_685646_1135147262_nIn the fall of 2010 I heard about the Frisco Running Club.  I was running and training on my own in Frisco since driving all the way down to White Rock Lake was beating me down.  Also, I wasn’t crazy about the DRC training plan anymore.  The first couple of training seasons were awesome and I made great friends down there.  I won’t get into why I didn’t like the training plan when it changed, it just didn’t work for me at the time.

Anyways… I was envious of others that were in my DRC training group that did much better with their marathon times.  I just couldn’t finish out a race and hit where I wanted to.  I really wanted to hit Sub-4 hours.  This is what others were doing that I was training with.  It made me think: what’s wrong with myself.  I KNOW that I’m not suppose to compare myself against others, but it’s a bit hard at times.  I am a man after all and that’s just one of the stupid things that we do. 

404354_2957148853877_1416162224_33069282_1449509479_nBack to the year 2010, I met Hamlin Jones, who leads the Frisco Running Club.  While checking out the club on a Monday night he asked of my training, my challenges, and my goals.  I told him that I wanted to get my marathon time under 4 hours.  He said that he would get me there.  In the confident swagger that embodies Hamlin, he promised that he’d get me there!  I wasn’t so sure of it, but he certainly was.

Hamlin is extremely passionate about running.  He reminds me of my daughter’s club soccer coach – Coach Eddie.  The way that Coach Eddie ate, drank, & dreamt of soccer is the same for Hamlin with running.  Hamlin has accomplished a lot in his own right, but better yet, he encourages and wills other to grow in their running journey.  Check out this article of Hamlin in the Frisco Style Magazine.

During Spring 2011, I trained on my own for my spring marathons (Cowtown & Cincinnati).  I didn’t do well in those marathons.  I finally trained with the Frisco Running Club in the Fall 2011 training season.  I loved the training!  It had a lot of things that were not a part of my previous training: speed training at the track, interval training, different paced long runs, etc.  A bonus was that it was only a 10 minute drive to any of the meeting locations.

Through the Fall 2011 marathon training season, I was pushed and encouraged… I felt so much better than I felt in a long time.  I felt confident that I would hit my goal of Sub-4 hours, however the weather at the White Rock Marathon just didn’t cooperate.  Knowing that I wanted to go for it one more time with my fitness level at a high level, I set out for The Woodlands Marathon

Hamlin kept his promise - I made my goal of Sub-4 Hours!  I called him after the race and could hear him beaming with pride as if he ran the race.  It’s been days since I’ve run that Sub-4 hour marathon and I’m still on cloud nine!

If you’re contemplating joining the Frisco Running Club for your first 5K, Half Marathon, or Marathon, I cannot urge you enough… JOIN!  Hamlin and all of the running coaches are passionate about the sport and the success of all the members.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

9 & 11 Year Old Sisters Rocked The Woodlands Half Marathon #runnerds

I saw one of the coolest things at The Woodlands Marathon… there were 2 youngsters (9 & 11 years old) running the Half Marathon that made running look so effortless.  At the race on Saturday they had the Marathon runners start before the Half Marathon runners.  Of course sooner or later the fast Half Marathoners were going to catch up to the Marathoners. 

At about a 3 miles into the race, I spot out of the corner of my eye a runner that was shorter than most runners that I’d expect to see in this distance of a race.  I didn’t want to look or gawk too quickly as it might’ve been an adult that was shorter than most.  As the person passed me up, I could tell it was a youngster.  She looked so smooth and effortless.  She was weaving in and out of everyone with ease.  It seemed that every runner had the same surprised look that I had.

No less than a couple of minutes later here comes another young girl trucking along as the first one.  Us runners had the same inquisitive looks when we saw her.  I knew that they had to be sisters.

Welsch sisters

After the race, I had to look up the results to see how they did.  They smoked the Half Marathon times.  Very cool to see younger participants out there in distances longer than 10Ks and 15Ks.  I was expecting to see parents with the same last name, but didn’t see any other Welsches.

I had to look up Kaytlynn’s race results and was surprised that she has recently completed 2 marathons with times of 4:01 and 3:45 at the Houston Marathon.  Heather the younger sister knocked out an impressive 1:41 at the Houston Half Marathon.  Heather’s race results.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sub-4 Hour Marathon Accomplished

2012-03-02 15.52.17It’s been quite a journey to get to this goal of hitting Sub-4 Hours, but I’m so glad that I stuck with it.  I stuck to a great running program by the Frisco Running Club, added Insanity, and ate healthier.

Ursula and Briana came along to cheer me on at the race.  Thanks so much to them for fighting the traffic and navigating the forests of The Woodlands, TX!  It was so great to see them at every point of the race.

The Woodlands Marathon was a pretty well run race.  There are small things here and there that could be better, but all and all, I’m very happy with how it was put on.  It was a smaller race, but it had a bigger race feel at times.  The expo was a nice quaint small size.  It was held in a church, so I guess I was already at home.  :)

staircase.svg_The course itself was a 13.1 mile loop.  It was boasted as a flat race.  By comparison to other races, it was definitely flat.  However, it had this weird feeling that it was a slight incline for the entire race.  It reminded me of one of those Escher drawings.  Maybe it was the never ending trees on the left and right of ya.  It seemed like I’d see a downhill coming, but it was for a very brief moment.

For a smaller race there were a lot of water stations and cheer villages.  There were definitely some desolate areas because of all of the trees, but the amount of water stations and cheer villages made up for it.  The majority of them cheered for you if you were in a big group or coming through solo.  They were very interactive and energetic!

Below are a couple of thoughts before the race.  Bummer that the Start Line Inflatable couldn’t be in place as it was too windy for it to stay up.  A great thing about all of the trees on this course is that you minimally felt the affect of the wind.  Loved it!  The other thing about the avoidance of the wind is that it was primarily a West-East loop race.  The shortest portions of the race went north & south.

I had a game plan of hitting even splits.  I wanted to keep the pace at about 8:50 so that I’d have time for a few breaks.  If I felt better than I could crank it up.  Here I am at mile 11 after having split times of 8:53, 8:47, 8:49, 8:53, 8:55, 8:34, 8:42, 8:52, 8:46. 

You’ve got to love my laugh when my wife says that we’ll see you at the finish.  I really knew that I’d want to see them one more time.  She is such a trooper for driving all over to see me.  That was my “Oh, baby, please… I’ve got to see you one more time” look!  :)

Shortly after I saw Ursula & Briana at mile 11, I saw Stacy from work.  It was so cool seeing her as she was down here visiting family and cheering along with them.  I had a couple of laughs with them and went back on my way.

I did enjoy the 2 loop experience.  There were no surprises concerning the course.  It was definitely thinner on the 2nd loop of runners and some cheering peeps.  We ran on mostly in a closed off lane on a 2 or 3 lane road.  For the most part it felt very safe as I stayed to the middle of the lane.

Negative thoughts were creeping in my head at about mile 18.  I kept pushing them aside and running and running.  I just kept telling myself that I could stop when I saw Ursula at mile 21.  We were texting each other back and forth during the race.  Not the easiest thing to do, but I had 4 hours to kill. :)  Also, if she was going to be out there trying to find me, I needed to let her know where I was.  One bummer thing about the race was that the pace leaders dropped their signs and didn’t have any pace shirts on.  Usually as a spectator, you can look for them and kind of know when your running is coming.

I was hurting a good deal when I met up with Ursula and Briana at mile 21, but I was so happy to see them.  As I said in the video, I was only one Insanity workout from being done… I just had to PUSH THROUGH!

Once I saw Ursula & Briana at mile 21, I had two parts of the race left to go.  First part was to get to Stacy at mile 24 and the last part was the last 2.2 miles.  Unfortunately nature was knocking and I had to take care of it at mile 22.  I hate going number 2 during a race, but couldn’t hold it any longer.  I’m so glad that I took care of it.  You can only put that off for so long before… uh… you know!

It was great to be able to hand off my water belt to Stacy at mile 24.  I felt so much lighter and rearing to go for the last couple of miles.  I finished the last 3 miles with splits of 8:42, 8:40, & 8:42.  The last half mile, I had a split pace of 7:40. 

When I checked my time at the Mile 26 marker it was 3:57.  I was worried a bit and gave it all I had to get cross that finish line.  It probably looked like I was in slow motion to people watching, but I was blazing as fast as the elites.  I wasn’t trying to finish faster than the person on my left or right… it was all about beating that 4:00 mark!  It was pure elation when I looked at my Garmin and it said 3:59.  Official chip time was 3:58:59.

I’m so glad that I pushed through and knocked it out.  It was probably the toughest 4 hours that I’ve pushed through, but I’m so happy that I experienced it.

I was an emotional mess when I finished the race.  I couldn’t find Ursula & Briana right away, which was probably a good thing.  Finishing a challenge like this is so emotionally and physically draining.  Pushing out the negative thoughts of wanting to give up, go slower, and just let it go is something else.  I fed off all of the positive encouragement that I received the days & weeks leading up to the race.

Thanks again to everyone’s texts, tweets, and Facebook posts.  It was so cool to hear a tweet on my phone knowing that it was someone cheering me on.  All of the congrats I received on Facebook was crazy cool.  I love this running community!  It’s so great to see each other push through our challenges and succeed!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mission Sub-4 Hour Marathon

logoTomorrow morning I’ll be running in The Woodlands Marathon down in the suburbs of Houston.  This will be my 7th marathon since December 2009.  I’ve talked about this marathon to friends & co-workers close to me, but haven’t really blogged or tweeted about it.  I’ve been more excited about the Cleveland Marathon since that’s a true destination marathon for me.  The Woodlands Marathon will be a mission for me.

The Mission is to hit Sub-4 Hours in the Marathon.  I haven’t been talking up this marathon as much because I don’t want to jinx myself and I want to stay somewhat focused.  I really really really want Sub-4 hours.  It’s doable!  The Half Marathon PR time of 1:46 a couple of weeks ago has given me the added confidence that I need to hit it.  I just need to finish this race strong and push through!

The Dallas White Rock Marathon was really when I thought I was going to hit Sub-4, but the weather didn’t cooperate with me.  I trained really well for that race and was pretty bummed that it wasn’t the time.

I wanted to keep my training level high and run another marathon to hit the Sub-4 Hour goal, but didn’t want to run the CowTown Marathon in Fort Worth.  I picked The Woodlands since I heard that it was pretty darn flat.  It’s also 2 loops which I think will play into my favor.  I like to know what’s coming up on the race.  It’s a mental & physical thing.

Thanks for everyone’s encouragement as I’ve been training.  I’m ready to knock out this crazy milestone!