Archive for July, 2011

I’ve been running early mornings for more than 5 years now.

Unless it is a race day, which typically start around 8:00 a.m.,  when I leave the house for my morning runs it is dark out.

Dark.

Basically night.

It is a rare morning when I am not out the door and well into mile #1 by 5:15 a.m or 5:20.  Unless I am in marathon training and I am running “long” meaning 15-22 miles, I am out the door even earlier.  If I’m not back, showered, dressed and ready to go to breakfast after a 20 mile run by 8:00 a.m., Joe is not a happy boy.

My stomach?  Even angrier. 

So for those extra-long run days where I might be out for 2 hours and 20 minutes or more, I’m up and out the door by 4:45 a.m.  Pretty early.

Up until a few weeks ago I never really thought very much about my safety out there.  Sure I’ve stepped on my share of stones on the trail system in the dark and rolled my ankle a time or two.  Once during a cold snap there was a patch of ice on the sidewalk in Austin where a neighbor had run their sprinklers and I took a nasty tumble.

Another time one of the footbridges I crossed had some early morning ice on it and I slipped, but for the most part I’ve always  felt very safe out there morning after morning, mile after mile.

Well when my good friend Scott Birk was killed in a collision with a motorist during a training run in last month here in Austin it really shook me.

Scott had been running far longer than I had, knew the route as well if not better than I know the routes that I regularly train on and still was tragically killed.

I have invested in a headlamp over the past year and run in a lighted vest when I am going to be doing the majority of my run in the dark along surface streets and not on the Brushy Creek Trail.  I believe that to properly train for a road race marathon, you need to train on the road, not always on the softer more forgiving trail surface.

But what if something happened to me out there?

Would anyone know who I am?  How would they contact Dawn?  Would precious time slip away before contacting an emergency contact person that could make a life or death difference?

Well on my 16-miler this Sunday I thought a lot about Scott and a lot about Dawn and Landry.  Wouldn’t I want to give myself every possible chance to survive an incident out there while I was out running or cycling?  If I passed out during a race, wouldn’t I want race officials to know if I had any allergies, or how to reach my wife by cell phone?

Of course I would.

So after more than 5 years of putting it off, this week I logged onto the Road ID website and ordered their product.

Road ID is without question the number one provider of identification wrist band, ankle band and shoe pouch ID systems for athletes in the US.  Their product is designed specifically for the endurance athlete – 100% customizable with 5 lines of text that are engraved on their bands where you can put your name, phone number, age, contact information, allergies, blood type or any other information you see fit.

Road ID Wrist Band

If you already feel like you have too many things on your wrist when you are out there like your GPS Watch, Livestrong Bracelet etc. you can opt as I did for the Road ID that goes around your ankle with a velcro strap just like a race timing chip.

Road ID Ankle Band

Or you can choose their product that affixes to your shoe laces, however for me who rotates between 4 and 5 pairs of running shoes throughout a training cycle, I didn’t want to have to try to remember another item at 4:45 a.m.  So ankle it is for me.

Road ID Shoe

The product will be in my hands in less than a week and I will be out there safer than ever hitting the roads by foot and bike in Austin.  It is truly a shame that it took the loss of a close friend to bring me to this point.  I still find it hard to believe that I won’t see Scott at IBM this fall or at the Resolution Run on New Years Day, the 3M Half Marathon in January or any of the dozens of road races we typically competed in together every year.

I have a lot of great reminders and memories of Scott Birk, but now when I cross an intersection and triple look for cars coming in each direction I’ll have a reminder strapped around my ankle of just how lucky I am to be out there doing what I love to do.

If you haven’t gotten a Road ID yet, please do so.  The folks at Road ID were actually kind enough to send me an e-mail message today confirming my order and offering a discount coupon for my friends who want to order one of their products.

Good marketing on their part of course.

Just click:

http://www.RoadID.com/?CID=ThanksJoseph8148257

Or you can enter the coupon code of:  ThanksJoseph8148257

Happy trails guys – Be safe out there.

Is it really July 12th today?  I can’t believe how fast this summer is flying by.  Selfishly, I have to admit that I am looking forward to the Fall.  This has been one of the hottest summers in Austin with the lowest rainfall since 1942.

We have been over 100 degrees more than two dozen times already and we still have a long, long, LONG way to go.

As the calendar continues to move forward there are 8 races approaching over the next 16 weeks, no two of them are the same.

July 19 – Splash and Dash (750 M swim, 3K run)

July 31 – Jack’s Generic Tri (500 M swim, 13.8 bike, 3.1 run)

August 13 – Jaylie.org 5K

Sept. 5 – Capital of TX Tri (10K relay leg)

October 2 – IBM Uptown Classic 10K

October 9 – Denver Rock N’ Roll Half-Marathon

November 6 – New York City Marathon

Obviously NYC is going to be the “A” race this Fall, along with October’s IBM Uptown Classic.  Two feature events where I hope to prepare my best, show up focused and determined and hopefully post PR’s at each race.

If I can pull that off I would achieve my most pie in the sky goal for 2011 which was to PR at every distance from the 1-mile to the Marathon. 

But there is something about doing something for the first time that takes on extra meaning.  Jack’s Generic Tri on my 44th birthday will be my first ever Triathlon.

There are not too many things that you can do for the first time at age 44 that you are still excited about, especially athletically.  I know that I am poised to make just about every rookie triathlon mistake in the book on July 31st.

No matter how much I train for the event, practice my transitions from swim to bike and bike to run, something is bound to go wrong.  That is just the nature of the beast.  It is a complicated race that tests many different disciplines and muscle groups all at the same time, and all at some level of fatigue after the swim.

I have really been hitting the swim hard trying to cram a lot of learning and improvement into the last 16 weeks.  My swim coach Claudia continues to push me and make small technical changes to my form to help me get faster.

Just this past week she changed the way that my hands enter the water at the top of my stroke and the way I catch and pull the water through and past my body as I glide.

The result yesterday was a 4 minute 15 second improvement during a 1.4 mile Open Water Swim on the lake.

Now, just the fact that I am now swimming 2,250 Meters or 1.4 miles continuously without a pause or break at this point is pretty remarkable.  4 months ago I honestly could not swim the length of our pool one time without stopping.

But to drop my time at that distance to 55:57 has me very encouraged with just a little less than 3 weeks to go before Jack’s.

I continue to work hard on my bike days and practice pushing through the low gears and staying in the aero position down over my bars on the Tri bike.

Yesterday a new aero helmet arrived just in time for me to get a few rides in it to get comfortable prior to race day.

Aero Helmet

The helmet will reduce drag and improve efficiency as I race over the course, reducing my “profile” and making me more aero.  Over a SPRINT TRI I may only pick up 30 or 40 seconds.  At the half-ironman distance, that type of reduction in drag can mean as much as 3 or 4 minutes.

In the end, it will be all about the run for me at Jack’s.  No matter how my first two events go, the run is where I am looking to make my mark.  I am going to go out with the intention of posting the fastest run time in my Age Group.

If I can swim the 500 Meters in 11 minutes, bike in 42 minutes and run in 2o:30, I’ll be looking at a total time with 3 1/2 minutes added in transitions of 1:17:00.

My stretch goal is to be somewhere below 1:16:00 on race day.

Will I get there?  Tough to tell.  I think I will know a whole lot more after next Tuesday night’s splash and dash where I get my first taste of swimming “in a crowd” with arms and legs going in every direction.

Exciting times – first birthday I can say I’ve been looking forward to in a long, long time.

Last week I spent a lot of time thinking about my Mom and her now 30-day long battle with cancer.  I thought about all of the things that she has gone through to this point which of course brought me back to this same time last year when Dom was in the final stages of his battle with the same disease.

I thought about the proper way to remember my good friend Dom who passed away on August 15th last year as well as honor my Mother’s recovery from brain surgery just 13 days ago and the fight she will be waging through 35 rounds of radiation treatments that will most likely begin next Monday. 

I was asked repeatedly after last springs back to back marathons and then again after Dom passed away, “what’s next?”.

What are you going to do now that Run for Dom is over.

My reply then was the same as it is now.  This thing is far from over.

Landry and Dad received a Livestrong Package this week

 

Dom’s children Sierra and Nico have yet to celebrate their 5th and 2nd birthdays.  They are going to be growing up without their Dad for the rest of their lives.   It is up to those of us who were fortunate enough to know Dom and love him to share his memory with his children.  So that they too know where they come from.  What they are all about, and just how much their Daddy loved them.

I said many times that, “I wasn’t sure what was next, but when the time came I would know.”

Well, it looks like the time is now and just to make sure I didn’t miss it, it knocked me firmly on my ass.

Cancer has a way of doing that to you.

So last week I spent exactly 8 hours, 50 minutes and 13 seconds training and thinking, thinking and training for my upcoming race(s).

After an off-day on Monday, traveling back from Charleston, SC we hit it hard.

Tuesday Morning:  8.3 Mile Hill Run.

Tuesday Afternoon:  1.4 Mile Continuous Open Water Swim.

Wednesday Evening:  5K Race with a 1 mile warm-up, 1.3 mile cool down.

Thursday Morning:  8.35 Mile Recovery Run

Friday Morning:  2,000 Meter Open Water Swim

Friday Afternoon:  20 Mile Bike Ride

Saturday Morning:  8 Mile Marathon Pace Run (6:54 min./mile)

Sunday Morning:  16 Mile Long Run

69 miles of swimming, biking and running with our first Triathlon now just 20 days away and the NYC Marathon looming 17 weeks down the road.

Funny how the more things change the more they stay the same.  My goal remains identical to the way I felt one year ago racing for Dom.

I might not always have the freshest legs, be feeling perfect or have the right race day mojo.

I might not be the youngest, strongest or fastest.  In fact it is a certainty that I will not every time I pin on a race number.

But I can try harder than anyone else out there.  That is the one thing that I can control.  When things get tough, I can try harder.  Not cede a single inch to the heat, hills, wind, rain, course or fatigue. 

Training for 9 hours last week.

I can do better.

I will do better.

Go Mom. 

We’re going to keep kicking cancer’s ass 26.2 miles at a time.

 

Marathoning is hard.

No surprise there right?  Lots of miles, lots of cross training.  Lots of wear and tear on the body.

Now add the fact that at 43 years, 342 days old, I have a 10 ½ month old daughter to chase around and do the occasional front porch tiling job on my own, needless to say I get sore from time to time.

Landry's first trip to the beach

In fact, most days I would say that I have some ache or tight area that I’m monitoring.

One of the things that I think has helped me stay as healthy as I have over the past several years of training for and running marathons has been the ability to know the difference between the usual “soreness” that comes from training and when pushing yourself to improve has you on the cusp of injury.

Pain and injury are very different things.

When managing an injury my advice is to head to the Sports Medicine Doctor right away.  Every day that you put off seeing an expert is one day further you are from being back out there running, cycling or swimming injury free.

When it comes to pain management, that’s all part of the game.  To improve as an athlete you need to push your muscles to new thresholds.  Run farther, run faster, run more frequently or even run two times a day.  Your muscles get broken down during these workouts allowing them to rebuild stronger than they were before during your rest and recovery days.

The price of that however is soreness. It’s just part of the deal.

If you run a 5K or 10K race and don’t feel it the next day, you weren’t really racing.

You were just running a race.

Those are two entirely different things.

So what do I do to deal with that soreness?  The same thing the vast majority of athletes do, R.I.C.E.

Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

Ever since my shin splint injury that resulted from a strained calf muscle running hills to get ready for the Boston Marathon, I have become a big believer in the Compression part of the R.I.C.E. treatment strategy.

Without my trusted compression calf sleeve from Zensah, I’m not sure I would have made it through the training for and the running of two marathons just 13 days apart for Dom back in the spring of 2010.

The only thing that I will say about my calf sleeve that is remotely negative was that it is a bit restricting and during my post-race massage after the Austin Marathon in February, the sports massage therapist told me that my “right side” was much tighter than my left from my ankle to my hip.  He thought that it was time for me to discard the calf sleeve and that I should work back to running without it.

I have not run in it since and I am now back to feeling very “even” on my legs and pain/symptom free.  If I ever feel anything in that area again, I would not hesitate to go back to my compression sleeve in a second.

Well a few weeks ago I received a message from the good people at Tommie Copper.  They asked if I would not mind trying out some of their compression gear.  Being a huge believer in the compression therapy, I jumped at the chance.

Not only does their gear feature lightweight and comfortable compression technology, the fabric actually contains Copper – which has long been believed to help stimulate immune systems and to repair injured tissues to promote healing.

I’m sure you have seen people wearing copper bracelets in the past to help with arthritis pain and other ailments.  Their Cu29 Compression Gear (Cu – Elemental sign for Copper, 29 – The Atomic Number for Copper) was designed on those same principles.

I asked to test the compression calf sleeve, knee sleeve as I had experienced some knee inflammation earlier this spring and one of their compression shirts as my left shoulder had been a bit sore from all of the swimming I have been doing training for my first triathlon.

Within a week my package arrived from Tommie Copper and I was anxious to give their gear a try.

Product Review – Knee Compression Sleeve

Knee Compression Sleeve

The first thing I noticed was how lightweight their compression apparel was.  The calf and knee sleeves were extremely lightweight and comfortable.  They provided great compression, but felt more like moisture wicking material than a stiff elastic compression fabric.

Sizing is done in 5 increments, small, medium, large, X large and XX Large, with an easy to follow sizing chart.   Tommie Copper asks that you measure the circumfrence of the appropriate body part (knee, calf, chest etc.) to assure propper fitment.  You can view a sample of their sizing chart by clicking HERE.

I noticed that my knee which was back to 100% strength running over the past two months still bothered me just a bit when I flew on an airplane.  I believe that the change in cabin pressure caused my knee to swell just a bit and that added inflammation made my left knee a bit tender.

I decided to fly out to Charleston, SC wearing the compression sleeve on my knee.  I also wore it after my two post-flight runs as well as a few hours after my 15-mile long run on Sunday after arriving in Charleston.

Due to the lightweight fabric and the comfort fit top and bottom bands that kept the sleeve in place, I honestly forgot that I had it on.  Only when I would see someone looking at it, wondering if I was injured would I remember that I was wearing it.  Part of that was due to me being in the hospital picking up my mother after her surgery.

I experienced no swelling during or after my two flights and ran back to back to back workouts of 8 miles, 8 miles, 15 miles feeling absolutely perfect. 

Two thumbs up on the knee compression sleeve.

Product Review – Compression Shirt

Men's Compression Shirt

The product I was very anxious to try was the Tommie Cooper Compression Shirt.  My shoulder was an area where I was currently experiencing some mild soreness. 

After my third swim day in a row I would notice a sore-tired feeling at the top of my left shoulder, just above my bicep.

After a day of rest, it would subside – but it was there just slightly every morning when I woke up.

I wore the compression shirt prior to my first swim out in Charleston at the Medical University training facility.  It was a fast swim workout as Coach Claudia has me focusing on improving my speed as my distance/endurance is now where we want it to be.

I did a swim workout of:

5X 100 Meter Repeats

500 Meters Free

5X 100 Meter Repeats

500 Meter Pull Buoy (all arms, no kick)

5 X 50 Meter Repeats

A tough 1.4 mile swim workout.  I wore my compression shirt to follow the next day and felt no soreness in my shoulder.

This week I swam back to back to back including my first ever 1.4 mile continuous swim, longer than the half-ironman swim requirement by .2 miles without stopping and still, no soreness in my shoulder.

Great stuff.

Conclusion:

It seems like the folks at Tommie Copper really are on to a great product line.  They managed to couple compression with Copper revitalization technology and launch a great product line.

In addition to the copper element of their fabric, the compression gear alone is tremendous.  Lightweight, extremely comfortable with a wide variety of sizing options so that you are able to really shop for a product that will fit you properly.

Compression without restriction, just tremendous.

As a reminder with any product reviews here at Run for Dom, I am simply passing along my findings after testing out a new product.  I am by no way compensated for my time or influenced by the company to provide a positive review.

If you are dealing with some nagging bumps and bruises or some chronic aches and pains related to training, arthritis, pulls or joint soreness – I think you should reach out to the folks at Tommie Copper.

You can visit their website at:

http://www.tommiecopper.com

Happy trails everyone!

Wednesday night marked the 9th race in the 12 race Sunstroke Summer Stampede 5K series.  It would be my 8th race in the series, which was my goal from the start this year.  I wanted to run enough of the races to qualify for any year-end awards I might be eligible for as the series takes your 8 best times to come up with your series average.

More importantly, I wanted two solid months of speed work on Wednesday nights to get my race legs back into their pre-Austin Marathon condition before training really got started for the NYC Marathon.

It was going to be a hot race for sure as the temperature on my thermometer in the truck read 102 on the drive over to the course.  I decided it would be wiser to drive over and run just a short 1-mile warm-up at the park than it would be to run 2 miles from the house to the race start.

Just too hot for a long warm-up like that as my core temperature would rise too much and it would hurt my performance during the race.

I had run a moderately paced (7:27 min./mile) 8.3 miles on Tuesday morning to kick of NYC Marathon training, followed by a 2,250 Meter continuous open water swim out on the lake Tuesday at lunchtime.  That’s 1.4 miles of swimming without a break, longer than the half-ironman swim distance of 1.2 miles.

I knew I wasn’t going to be setting myself up for a personal course record on Wednesday night, but my pre-race goal was to try to tie that time of 19:14 on the Brushy Creek Course.

Pre Race:  There haven’t been too many times that I knew at the start of a race that my legs just weren’t with me.  But this was definitely one of them.  I stretched, ran my warm-up, even a few strides at a quick pace, skipped and swung my legs and hips but just couldn’t shake that concrete leg feeling.

This happened at the Harvest Fest 5K last October, the Boston Marathon in 2010 and last night.  I suppose that three instances of “dead legs” in more than 40 races is not a very high percentage, but when it happens to you, it certainly isn’t a lot of fun.

Not being an “A” race, I wasn’t very worried about it, but if you are going to bother racing, you might as well race fast I figure.  The plan was to go out as I normally would and hope that my legs “snapped to” after a half-mile or so.

Mile 1:  I was chatting away with my friend Joe McClellon as the starter got us ready to go, instead of my usual squat down as a last stretch, before I knew it we were signaled to start and I was firing out across the timing mat.  The heat was pretty oppressive and I thought about what my opening ½ mile split would be.  I felt like my legs were still not all the way there and I settled into 5th position. 

At the half-mile point my watch beeped with a time of 2:49.   The identical opening ½ mile split I ran two weeks earlier on the same course, but I felt a lot different doing it.

I decided to slow down a bit and lock in to a pace that felt comfortably hard.  A runner slipped past me on my right and moved out ahead of me by 15 meters or so.  I locked in and just focused on my breathing and my stride.  At the top of mile 1 my second ½ mile split came in at 3:11.  A 6:00 minute flat opening mile, which was only :03 seconds behind my race two weeks earlier.

A decent start, but there was still a long way to go.

Mile 2:  We hit the dam and ran down through the switch back and back onto the gravel trail.  The runner ahead of me had stretched his lead out to about 25 Meters.  With nobody behind me to push me, if I wanted to “race” with anyone, I was going to have to close on the runner ahead.

My next ½ mile split came in at 3:02.  Right about where I wanted to be for that split as I had run 3:03 and 3:05 the two races before on the Brushy Creek Course over this interval.  My legs were starting to feel a little more “awake”, but I was far from crushing it out there.

As we made our way up the short hill toward the turn around point which falls right at the 1.85 mile mark on this course I had cut into the runners lead up ahead of me.

I navigated the cone, grabbed a quick splash of water at the aid station and pushed on towards the hill that would take us back up and over the dam.

At the top of mile 2 my ½ mile split was 3:08 – a 6:10 middle mile, :04 seconds slower than the race two weeks ago.

Mile 3:  As we made our way up the hill I was now just behind the runner in 5th position.  The trail is narrow here and there were runners coming down the other side of the course right at us.  I picked a wide spot and pushed past the runner, lengthening my stride a bit as I went past.

I wanted to clear him quickly and not enter into a back and forth pace-quickening duel.  This was the toughest part of the course and I needed to have a little bit left in the tank for the final push across the top of the dam.

My ½ mile split came in at 3:18, exactly the same as two weeks ago which was surprising as I felt like I was running slower.

When I reached the switch back I glanced down over my left shoulder and saw that I had opened up a :05 or :06 second lead on the runner behind me.  I couldn’t hear his footsteps I thought to myself, so if it stayed quiet behind me across the dam, I would be able to hold on to 5th place.

With nobody else to chase it was hard to stay focused on pace and stride.  I tried to think about closing out this last ½ mile as strong as I could as this might be my last race of the series.  As I reached the top of mile 3 my ½ mile split was 3:08, :05 seconds faster than the same stretch two weeks ago.

I didn’t make up all of the time lost, but I was surprised that I had thrown down a pretty solid ½ mile so late on a hot, hot night.

The Finish:  With no footsteps behind me I navigated the final turns and kicked to the finish.  The final 1/10 came in :39 seconds, which is just about spot on what I have been closing out the races in this series with.

19:18 total time, 5th place overall, 1st place Male Masters.

I was :04 slower than my goal time/course record, but given the way that I felt pre-race and the amount of training I have been doing recently including a fast paced 15-miler on Sunday, I was pretty satisfied with the result.

Post Race:  There were 99 participants out for the race on Wednesday night.  Jason, Anne and Bill from my office made it out to race, (all claiming age group awards which was pretty darn impressive), and my good friend Tom was out as well.

I ran a nice and easy 1.35 mile cooldown as we were waiting for the results to be tabulated and awards prepared, then enjoyed a nice frosty adult beverage with my friends.  (Thank you Jason!).

The race series has been great to me this summer.  I was able to get in some quality speedwork once a week for two months, spend some time with some great Austin runners, make a few new friends along the way and head off into NYC Marathon training a healthy and respectably fast runner once again.

This is going to be a special training cycle for me with my Mom battling through her treatment(s) for brain cancer.  I’ve tweaked my plan a bit, added some more miles, some more hills and another race or two to keep me honest.

It’s going to be a tough 17 more weeks of preparation, but the end result I hope will be that I stand among 45,000 runners on November 6th in the greatest shape of my life.

I will have never been faster.  Never been stronger.  Never been better trained and never been more determined.

That is the only recipe I know for how to continue to train for this particular event.

The marathon is a cruel, cruel race that does not discriminate.  There is no room for woulda, coulda, shoulda when it comes to the 26.2 mile footrace.  Whatever the clock says in November I am willing to own 100%.

The time to do the work necessary to excel that first Sunday in November is right now, not 17 ½ weeks from now.

All in once again. 

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

90 runs.

That sounds like a lot.  I guess it is when you really think about it.  I’ll go through almost three pairs of running shoes training for New York on November 6th.  There are going to be a lot of long runs, some short runs.  Fast runs and slow runs, hot runs and wet runs.

Probably not too many wet runs training this summer in Texas, but mother nature usually throws a few my way just to keep things interesting.

Truth is I won’t remember too many of them when I am standing in the starting corral with 45,000 other marathon hopefuls in NYC on November 6th.

Verrazano Bridge - Race Start

But there will be two runs that I will remember for sure.  I always do.

The first run of the training cycle and my final 20+ miler.  To me they mark the beginning and the end of marathon preparation.  Sure I’ll still have about 13 runs left after my final 21 mile long run on October 16th, but for all intents and purposes, I will be a “fully trained” marathoner after that run.  The rest of the time is spent tapering for the race and trying to peak at just the right time to run my very best marathon.

Today was run number 1 of the training cycle; just an easy paced 6.2 miles were on the calendar.

I ran 8.35 miles of hills.

Things have changed for me when it comes to NY in November.

NYC was going to be my fall marathon to build a strong base before really ramping up my training for Boston next spring and taking another shot at 2:59:59 at perhaps the most famous and prestigious marathon course in the world.

But after last week’s surgery that my Mother went through to remove part of her stage II Brain tumor, I got an all too powerful reminder that nothing in life is guaranteed.  Putting off something until April of next year when I have an opportunity right in front of me is foolish on so many levels.

Will training throughout the summer heat here in Austin be difficult?  Absolutely.

Would the mild winter temperatures that lead up to the Boston marathon be better for me to hit the long tempo runs necessary to sculpt my body into 6:52 min./mile shape for 26.2 miles?  No doubt.

But that’s the thing about the marathon.  It’s not easy.  Nothing about it is.  Not the training, not the preparation and certainly not the race itself.  It’s not supposed to be.

So if I have to carry some extra water bottles with me on my 20, 21, 22 and 21 mile long runs this summer tough cookies.

Sunday's 15-Miler in Charleston - 7:24 pace

If I have to put in a little extra effort to hit my paces during the heat of the summer, then that is what it is going to take.  I remember standing in the starting corral here in Austin back in February feeling like I was in the best shape of my life.

I was the best trained marathoner I had ever been, and I was going to go out on the course and prove it.

On November 6, 2011, I am going to make that marathoner look like it was his first rodeo.

I will be stronger.  Faster.  Better equipped and more determined than I have ever been in my life.

On Wednesday last week my mother took her first steps around the hospital ward less than a day after her surgery.  At 82 she was doing laps around the hallway and was ready to be discharged 48 hours after surgery. 

Pretty damn impressive.

Last night Landry continues to pull up on things and work on her balance, she appears to be only a few weeks away from her first steps.

In November my mother will be long past her 35 radiation treatments to knock her cancer into remission.  Landry will be walking along next to her Mom up to Central Park to see her Dad finish the NY Marathon in the fastest time he has ever run.

Today, I took my first strides as well toward Staten Island and the NYC Marathon.

Every one of them counted.  I’m now 8.35 miles closer to race day.

Can’t wait.