French Toast Half Marathon

Posted: September 26, 2010 in Pace and Racing
Tags: , , , , ,

I was kicking around the idea of stretching my scheduled 12-mile run on Sunday morning a little bit as the reduction in training intensity this week had my legs feeling really fresh and rested.

On the eve of turning 1 month old, little Miss Landry slept through the night from 10:30 p.m. to 5:20 a.m. – giving Dadathoner and her Mom a really great night’s sleep.  South Carolina’s loss to Auburn must have been too much for her.  She’ll have to get used to heartbreaking defeats if she is going to be a Gamecock fan.

Dad & Landry - Saturday Night Football!

So as I was loading up my hydra-belt with water and Gatorade, it seemed like a good morning for a half-marathon.  As I walked toward the front door through the kitchen, I saw the fresh loaf of Texas Toast on the counter that would become a French Toast breakfast in about an hour and a half.

That was the last piece of motivation I needed.  As I stretched my calf muscles against the garage and looked up at the still flag lying limp in the breezeless morning – it was a done deal.

The first running of the unnoffical, unsanctioned – French Toast Half-Marathon was set to begin.

Surprisingly, I have only run 13.1 miles once before at last January’s 3M Half Marathon.  I have of course run full marathons as well as many training runs longer than 13.1 – but for some reason, the half-marathon and I just haven’t connected lately.

The Harvest Moon was still high overhead as I left the house in the pre-dawn light.  Truly a beautiful morning with virtually everyone in Avery Ranch still snuggled up in their beds I was able to log close to three miles before I saw another human being.

My plan for the run was to take the early miles nice and easy, running at Austin Marathon Goal Pace, then gradually ramp up the intensity as I hit the rolling hills over miles 3 through 6.  Not an ideal “course” for a half-marathon, my training route would take me up and down 425 feet of elevation change.  So a “Fast Time” was not really on my mind.  I just wanted to run comfortably and ramp things up a bit at the end of the run, finishing off a great week of training.

I had a new companion with me on my run on Sunday as all of the rain, sweat and heavy usage proved to be too much for my old-generation iPod Nano.  It “gave up the ghost” with two miles left on my 8-mile run on Saturday.  Knowing that I was “running long” on Sunday, I needed to find a replacement.

Dawn and I took Landry on her very first trip to Best Buy and we picked up an 6th generation Nano.  She was an absolute angel, not a peep out of her as we did our shopping.  She is definitely a bigger fan of riding than sitting at red-lights, but aren’t we all?

8 GB hard drive, which can hold up to 2,000 songs – the new Nano is SMALL.  Crazy small.  After moving over my playlists to the new device, it was ready for its maiden voyage on Sunday.

How is that for small?

Very different than previous versions with no navigation wheel – the Nano now operates much like the touchpad on the iPhone.  Very easy to use and even has a built in Pedometer.  Amazing.  Tucked into my hydrabelt, I never gave it another thought throughout the run. 


As the miles ticked by and I reached the half-way point I began to think a bit about our upcoming race in three weeks at the IBM Uptown Classic, and Austin Marathon training that will formally begin the very next day on October 18th.

Marathons now mean Dom, and I spent a few miles this morning thinking about the last six weeks and how much I know Val, Sierra and Nico miss their Husband and Dadda.  I thought I realized at the time just how tough it must have been for Dom to think about missing out on all of the things that Sierra and Nico will see, say and do over the coming years.

After just one month with Landry, I can’t imagine her growing up without Dawn and I, nor can I imagine not having her in our lives.

As I hit the last major climb on my run I started thinking about how much stronger I have been running hills since incorporating hill repeats into my training plan.  I started envisioning how I can incorporate those hill repeats in my ramp up to the Austin marathon, which features a hilly course.

I shook loose from thoughts of February around mile 9 and with four miles to go I began to increase my leg turnover, gradually at first and then a bit faster as each mile ticked by.

At the start of mile 12 there would be one more hill to climb that would take us to 12.6, then a half-mile descent back home.  I did not want to glance at my watch as I am trying to get in tune with body and how it feels running faster than 7:00 minutes per mile pace.  I am going to need to lean on that experience at IBM, chasing after that 6:26 pace over 10 Kilometers.  Mile splits on Sunday were:

7:39, 7:30, 7:23, 7:27, 7:18, 7:22, 7:18, 7:13, 7:11, 7:08, 6:45

Finishing kick produced a closing 1/10 at 6:06 pace.

Total time 1:35:37, just 3:35 off of my race time at 3M last year of 1:32:07.

As I hit the driveway there was no race clock, no attaboys, high fives or finisher’s medal.

There was something better waiting for me however. 


The first “French Toast Half Marathon” was in the books.  Next running will be in two weeks if anyone is interested.

First Place Award - French Toast Half Marathon

  1. onelittlejill says:

    Wait let me get this straight- she sleeps through the night and doesn’t cry in public. And she is that cute. Wow- you two have it made with that little one!

    I am so happy to see how much you are enjoying Landry- you have had a tough year and deserve all of this amazing’ness!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Jill! I know, how lucky are we! Landry really is doing so great, we are all very, very happy. Even Kayla decided to lay down next to her on the floor this morning for a little snooze. Very cool.

      It has been an interesting journey in 2010 for sure. It looks like the last four months are going to be pretty special. Best to you out east Jill! Phils magic number is now 1!

  2. Jodi Higgins says:

    Love the French Toast 1/2 Marathon! Great job this week! By the way, I still want French Toast! And that Landry couldn’t be any cuter! Love that picture of you two!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Thanks Jodi! I do like to “reward” myself on Sunday mornings with a great breakfast – one of my favorite things about running long on Sundays.

      Great job this week and congrats again on that new 5k PR!

      • Jodi Higgins says:

        Thanks again Joe! By the way, I just checked the official results and I ran a 13 second PR. My time was actually 22:48 not 22:54!! Thanks for being my voice of reason during training. I definitely trust your plan!!

  3. I’m a fan of races named after breakfast foods. Perhaps I need to enter an Omelet Half-Marathon shortly. You could consider making this an annual event, seems a good time of year for a half-marathon time trial. Well done Joe, nice job on the generally-progressive splits.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Greg! Great to hear from you – I really am getting excited about perhaps incorporating some kind of “food” along with the 5K we will be trying to put together for Dom next August.

      Being in Pittsburgh we could certainly pick the Perogi 5K or something to that effect, maybe Sierra and Nico’s favorite breakfast food ….. definitely something to think about! Take good care my friend, best from Austin! J

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