Posts Tagged ‘2013 Houston Marathon’

The marathon is a serious race.  It demands a serious approach to training if you want to run well on race day.  It takes a serious effort to run to your potential.

For the 0.5% of the population who can claim to be a marathoner, describing the final 6.2 miles of the race as “serious” is a tremendous understatement.

For most of us however, we are running marathons for our own personal reasons.  Very few of the athletes who toe the line down in Houston this January are there because it is their “job”.  Sure some are there to chase prize money and awards, but for the vast majority of the field they are racing one of two people.

The marathoner they used to be – hoping to better their PR (personal record) at the distance or

The marathoner they think they have the potential to become.

For us that means racing the clock and breaking through the three hour barrier.

If I had my choice of winning an age group award in Houston and running a 3:02 marathon or finishing 25th in my age group with a time of 2:59:59 the choice is an easy one.  I am fortunate enough to have plenty of nick nacks, medals, trophys and ribbons from races in the past.  What I do not have however is a 2:59 finish to my credit.  Not for another 3 months anyway.

There are a few things that I have been trying to remind myself during this training cycle as I know it may be the last “serious” one for quite awhile.  I have been telling myself to focus my effort and my mind only on the workout in front of me.  Do not look ahead to bigger weeks, races, long runs or my highest mileage weeks.  Just look at the workout immediately in front of me and give 100% effort.

That does not mean that I am going to perfectly nail each one of the remaining 73 runs and 759.30 miles left to go.  In fact, I know for certain that I am not.  Training has a way of breaking you down to build you back up.  There are going to be quite a few times when my confidence is shaken by a “poor” workout.  But there will also be many times when I feel invincible after a workout that I really hammered away at.  The key is to take them one at a time and not get too high or too low.  The truth like most things in life is almost always in the middle.

I’ve also reminded myself to be humble and grateful for our good health.  We have been training hard now since April 2, 2011 with no injuries.  3,635 running miles without taking any serious time off due to a training injury.  The longest streak by far in our time as a runner.  Add another 2,962 in the saddle and more laps in the pool than I know how to count and I am enjoying quite a run of good luck and smart training.  I am going to treasure these next 759 miles on the way to Houston and enjoy all of them.  Hot, cold, wet, dark, windy, fast and slow.  They are all part of the story surrounding race day.  I am going to love them all equally.

But the one thing that I needed to be reminded of on Sunday night by my daughter Landry are two key lessons that every marathoner should remember.

1.     No matter how many times you get knocked down.  Keep getting back up.

2.     Remember to have fun.

If you want a visual of what I am talking about – click below to see Landry practicing her tumbling.

http://youtu.be/tmrcisak2w0

It is so easy to get caught up in your emotions on race day, especially when things don’t seem to be going your way.  Whether you catch a bad break with race-day weather, which has happened to us quite a bit actually when it comes to this distance, or things out on the course just don’t seem to be coming together for you.  You have to keep fighting.  The pain of missing a goal narrowly is going to stay with you much longer than any physical pain you are experiencing trying to hold on to race pace.  Don’t let the fact that you’ve gotten knocked down keep you there.  Gather yourself and keep trying, keep pushing, even when things seem impossible.

That describes just about every great success story.

More importantly however is that this is all “supposed” to be fun.  If it stops being fun, why on earth would we be teeing this race up for the 9th time in 6 years?  What else do we have to prove to anyone that we haven’t already?

I told myself after the Kerrville half-ironman that I would not get back on my bike until I felt like “I missed riding”.  I wanted my first post-race ride to be for the joy of it, not out of some kind of training obligation or duty.

On Monday afternoon on a beautiful Austin Fall day I saddled up and went out for a quick 20-mile ride over the hill route on Parmer Lane.  No real time goal or pace in mind – just a hard ride because I missed it.

Distance: 20.26 mi
Time: 55:59
Avg Pace: 2:45 min/mi
Avg Speed: 21.7 mph
Elevation Gain: 623 ft

Best training ride I’ve had in a long, long time – and the first thing I thought of when I hit the driveway at home and kicked out of my clips was, “Man, that was fun.”

I’m determined to remember that as I glance down at Dom’s initials on my Houston race flats and point to the sky as we cross the starting line at 7:00 a.m. on January 13th.  At 10:00 a.m. I am going to point skyward as well as a final thank you to Dom for helping put me in position for this moment, to go out and run the race of my life.

The only question that remains is whether or not we are pointing from the finishing chute or the race course.  The marathon is an unpredictable race.  I’m not entirely sure where we are going to be when we cast our eyes skyward, but I do know this.  It is going to be fun finding out.

Thank you Landry for the reminder on Sunday.  You are the best little girl any Daddy has ever had.

Daddy’s Girl carbing up

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  For the Houston marathon this January I took an honest look back at our race in New York City to come up with our battle plan for our next marathon.

I analyzed my New York race, looked at my splits, where I was at the half-marathon mark 1:29:45 and what I needed to do to close things out sub 3:00:00.  I really like where I was through mile 18 of the race, at that point the climb up the Queensborough Bridge and the rolling hills on 5th avenue and into Central Park just proved to be too challenging for us to hold pace.  As sub 3 hours slipped away at mile 22 we simply “relaxed” a bit and ran smooth to the finish.

The variables that I wanted to tilt in our favor for our next attempt at breaking 3 hours were:

1.     Weather.  I wanted a winter marathon at sea level.  Lots of “air in the air” and the chance for low temps. and low humidity.

2.     Early Start.  As much as I love the fanfare and “big event” feel of Boston or the NYC Marathons it makes it tough on the athletes.  Your schedule is disrupted, you race later in the morning, you need to eat more prior to the race, expend energy getting to the starting line etc., etc., etc.  I wanted a 7:00 a.m. or 7:30 a.m. start, a short walk to the starting line from my hotel and no plane rides prior to the race.

3.     Flat/Neutral Course.  I was looking for a course that kept climbing, and especially late climbing, to a minimum.  To this point I have trained for and ran hilly marathon after hilly marathon.  I am considered a strong hill runner in Austin and it has proven to be benificial for me fighting it out for Age Group awards locally.  However, in the Marathon we are not racing for Age Group Awards, at least not at large races.  We are racing against the clock and running hilly, challenging courses like Pittsburgh, Austin, Boston, New York has not played to our advantage.  For our next shot at 3 hours, I wanted to run a flat, fast course.

4.     Pace Support.  The last piece of the puzzle for me was relying on a runner I trusted to set the pace for me.  I wanted to literally leave my watch on the desk at the hotel and run this next marathon completely by feel.  No obsessing over splits, each mile, what does it mean if I’m :10 fast or :10 slow?  It puts a lot of stress and pressure on each mile, instead of allowing me to just relax and run free and easy for the first 16-18 miles of the race, then dig in and run the final 8-10 miles truly as a “race”.  Dig in, fight tooth and nail every mile to the finish.  Look at the clock and whatever it says when we cross the line we know it was all we had to offer.  2:59:XX, better or worse, I am willing to own it.

My plan for this last piece was to run Houston alongside my friend Brendon Cahoon from Austin.  Side by side, shoulder to shoulder, mile after mile 1 through 25.  I was going to shut down all of the sensors around me and just tuck in next to Brendon and run my race.  I would only glance at the course clocks at each mile marker in Houston and have a rough idea as to where we were with respect to our overall pace.  When we started mile 26 it would be every man for himself to the finish.

Virtually assured of being out-kicked by Brendon to the finish, I would still be in line to run the mile of my life until the final 385 yards approached.  Those last 2/10 of a mile run themselves in the marathon, no matter how much suffering you have done to that point.  I was going to count on the rush of the crowd, the approaching finish line and finishing chute to spur me on to close things out sub 6:52 pace if not faster.

With all of these variables tilted in our favor – Houston seems to be the perfect spot for us to have our breakthrough marathon in our 9th attempt at the distance and run a new personal best.

Sadly, Brendon is not going to be able to race with me on 1-13-13.  He is still struggling with Plantar Fasciitis and will not be able to resume training in time for race day.

We will be alone once again in Houston.

It is amazing that in a race with more than 14,000 competitors you can be lonely – but that is exactly how it will be for us in January.

Only 254 runners finished the 2012 Houston Marathon with a time of 2:59:59 or better.

140 of those runners finished sub 2:55:00 meaning that they would be almost 3/4 of a mile ahead of the runners finishing just under 3 hours.

That turns the marathon into a race of 100-125 people for us after mile 20 of the race.  Smaller than a local 5K race.  It is at that time when the distance starts to take its’ toll on your body and you are starting to have trouble staying mentally strong that having someone by your side can make all the difference in the world.  It becomes a mental game as much as a physical one at that point, which is what makes the marathon such a special distance to race.

Perhaps we will find a runner on the course to run alongside and help push us through those closing miles.  Perhaps not.  But right now it looks as like we are going to be on our own down in Houston.

It’s not the way we drew up the plan early this summer, but it is what it is.  As I ticked off our “first” run of the Houston training cycle on Monday I ran alone on the Town Lake Trail.  passing runners, walkers, joggers and quite a few dogs out for their morning walk.  We pushed pace on Monday and ran hard to the finish of our 8-miler.

6:59, 6:44, 6:47, 6:45, 6:39, 6:35, 6:38, 6:36.

Pretty solid start to the cycle.  80 runs remain and just over 834 miles to the finish line.  We are going to run the vast majority of them by ourselves.  At this point, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

On to Houston.

Houston Marathon Start

Not too long into my transition from “runner” to “racer” I learned a valuable lesson. Don’t spend any time looking behind you as something back there might very well catch you. When I am racing I am all eyes forward all the time. I’m looking ahead to the athletes in front of me, the next curve to the road or the next hill to be climbed. I don’t get caught from behind often, in fact I don’t remember being passed once on the 4-loop run during the half-marathon portion of the Kerrville Half-Ironman.

Finishing with the 6th fastest run time in the event, my memory is probably pretty spot-on, as the runners who were faster than me were also in front of me from earlier waves and/or stronger in the swim or on the bike than I was.

But after a race I do like to take a few days to let it all marinate a bit, remember the things that went as well as or better than expected and file those away for the next race. More importantly of course I try to honestly evaluate the rest of the race, the parts where I perhaps could have done things a bit differently and how I can improve the next time I am faced with the same challenge.

Wins from Kerrville clearly were:

1. Our training plan – I did not do what many athletes do when preparing for their “first” new endurance event such as a half-marathon, marathon, triathlon, half-ironman etc. and that is to look for a published training plan put together by another athlete, coach or “expert” to tell them what workouts to do on what days to prepare. I may not have ever toed the line at a half-ironman before, but I have trained for numerous races including a couple of Boston Marathons, a New York City Marathon, many half-marathons and a handful of short course TRI’s. I knew my fitness level and skill set going into training for Kerrville and I decided that I would know better than anyone else what I needed to do to be ready.

I created my grid, placed my workouts on the calendar and went to work. 3 swims, 3 bikes and either 4 or 5 run workouts every week depending on the schedule. That amounted to 10 or 11 individual workouts every 7-day period, with enough work across all three disciplines to either maintain or improve our fitness level, endurance and racing economy. I built up our mileage sensibly and made sure I had numerous swims, bikes and runs that exceeded the distance required to cover for that discipline on race day. Peaking with three different 3,000 meter swims vs. 1,931 on race day, a 20-mile run and several 16-18 milers vs. 13.1 on race day and several rides between 56 and 60 miles vs. 56 on race day.

Planning the work and then working the plan is part of every successful race I have ever put together. Kerrville was no different.

2. Race Day Nutrition Practice – I made sure to practice the type of fueling that would work best for me on race day during my long rides following my long swims on Saturday mornings. I monitored closely the amount of calories I took in at home after my swim, and the fluids and nutrition I took on the bike to reach the house feeling like I could hop out of the saddle and still be ready to knock out a long run without bonking. I ate the specific sports beans, including the flavor, stinger waffles and mixture of EFS, Gatorade and Water that I would carry on the bike in Kerrville.

I did not want to take any chances with race day nutrition and risk an upset stomach or an empty tank with miles to go on the run. We came pretty close to threading the needle on this one in our first attempt at the distance.

3. Transition planning and set-up – I took a lot of time prior to the race going over in my mind all of the potential problems I could run into on race day regarding my transition areas. Specifically I asked what I’m sure were “irritatingly stupid first-timer” questions of my friend Erin who had completed Kerrville last year, and numerous triathlons over the years including a full Ironman. By the time race day arrived I knew exactly how I wanted to set things up, what gear I would race in and where the potential “gotchas” might be as I perceived them prior to the event.

Of course we still had a timing chip issue, but I’ll save that one for the Misses section below.

4. Swim preparation – I am not a strong swimmer. This is a fact. Despite being able to swim somewhat far, I am not a fast swimmer, nor do I have a ton of open water/racing experience. You can swim all the laps that you want in the pool with a roped off lane and a thick black stripe to navigate by on the bottom, but swimming in open water in a crowd is different. Very different. Knowing that this was going to be my longest ever swim in competition and the fact that it would be our first wetsuit swim I needed to log some long swims in my suit to get ready for Kerrville. In 100 degree Texas weather, this was not going to be easy.

I swam several times at Deep Eddy Pool in Austin, which is a spring-fed outdoor pool with water temperature at 68 degrees year round. For those workouts I swam long and steady, no intervals or speed work, just non-stop steady swimming up to 3,300 meters. Just 500 meters short of twice the distance we would need to cover at Kerrville. I also shared a lane whenever possible with another swimmer to get some practice “swimming close” to another athlete. In hindsight these workouts were as beneficial as any of my other swims leading up to the race as I entered the water perhaps as calm as I ever have for a triathlon. I still had the usual nerves, but I was able to push through that initial uneasiness and post my fastest swim per 100M than I have at any triathlon in the past regardless of distance.

We are still not a strong swimmer, but for the first time the hole we were in after getting on the bike was not so large that we could not dig our way out of it. We were able to make the podium with a strong bike and run, but most importantly our swim kept us in the game. They say that you cannot win a triathlon in the water, but you can certainly lose it there. I would agree with that sentiment. We did just enough to give ourselves a fighting chance, and on race day, that is all any of us can ask for.

5. Race plan – Again, without a playbook to go by or any experience at this distance, determining our pace goals for the swim, bike and run was going to be challenging. I poured over the results from last year, compared my performance in previous triathlons to the same athletes at Kerrville in 2011 and tried to determine a rough estimate of what we might be capable of. I spent some time really thinking about pace vs. effort and just how hard I could push on race day. I knew that given the adrenaline rush of race day and the hopefully cooler temperatures that my “times” may be faster than my summer training paces given the same “effort”. The key is to not get scared and back off of your effort just because the numbers on your bike computer or your run watch are sending you signals that you are moving quickly. Monitor effort and ensure you are metering out your reserves according to how much “race” remains is the key.

You can race harder than you train. That is what training is for, especially training through fatigue. That is also the purpose of a proper pre-race taper.

6. Race Execution – Having a good plan is one thing, executing it well is something else all together. Back to my race report, as Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Having my race plan committed to memory and being committed to it – meaning that if things started to go wrong in one event I was going to stay calm, focused and stick to my plan in the other disciplines was a key on Sunday. At the end of the day the goal was to race all 70.3 miles no matter what happened out there. But a huge contributor to our final race result was my choice to go with the bike when it was coming “easy” to us early and not let it get into our head that we had finished the bike leg more than 8 minutes faster than we anticipated.

The plan on the run was to settle into a pace I could maintain for the opening 10-miles and that is what we did. Yes it got difficult in the end, but having the confidence to stay steady and not tuck tail and fold the tent was a critical piece in finishing the race strong. There were some dark moments fighting into the wind on the looping run course, but knowing we were on track to finish out the race on our terms was a big win in our first half-ironman.

The Misses in Kerrville:

1. The first 200 meters – If we are going to ever really make some serious noise in the Triathlon we are going to have to become a much more aggressive swimmer. :30 seconds before the horn as I was treading water behind the starting line. I looked around in the water and fond myself in the front 20% of the pack. I decided to move to the back, dropped 10 meters to the rear and started swimming about mid-pack. The distance I gave up and the “track position” was one thing. But the mind-set was something entirely different. I got passive. I decided to just go with the group instead of hammering out and making the swim my own race.

It took that other athlete’s kick to my face quite literally to wake me up and get me going. Thankfully he knocked a little sense into me and reminded me that I was in a race. Next time we are going to tap into that mindset at the start of the swim and compete from the horn to the shore. At the end of the day the difference over that 200 meters amounted to not even :40 seconds, but it is not in my nature to race that way. I need to be aggressive, set the tone, push myself and outwork the other athletes. I’m never going to be the most talented swimmer in the water. But I can work the hardest.

2. The chip – I need to make sure that I am aware of everything going on around me in and out of transitions. Whether someone else is pulling off my wetsuit or not, I need to be much more dialed in mentally and should have made damn sure I did not run into bike transition without my timing chip. I own that one 100% and if not for my amazing wife, we would have been an official “DNF” according to the event timers. As it was we finished in 5:06:57 and a 3rd place podium Age Group Finish.

3. Bike Transition – I did not practice pulling my bike off of the rack with the two water bottles tucked into my behind the seat bottle cage. The bottles were too tall, I needed to then push the bike out backwards which jostled off my front aero bottle. The strap came undone, I had to re-secure it and the entire fiasco cost me :30. At the end of the day the :30 seconds did not cost me placement in my age group, but I did finish just :01 seconds out of 17th place overall, finishing 18th. Without that slip up, I am one place higher in the final standings.

It is amazing that you can race 70.3 miles over 5 hours and it all comes down to :01 second – but that is the way the triathlon goes. Next time I will know better.

Other than those three misses, we had a pretty clean first half-ironman. Our clothing choices, shoe choices, nutrition, hydration, race plan, execution all really came together for us. My final glance over the shoulder at Kerrville is a very positive one. As we leave Triathlon season until 2013 and now shift our focus to the Houston Marathon in 14 1/2 weeks our eyes are firmly on the prize.

Sub 3 hours in Houston. Nothing else, and I mean nothing else is even remotely on my radar. We are going to race on Thanksgiving and again on December 7th at the Lights of Love 5K to benefit Ronald McDonald House here in Austin and on those days, in those moments we are going to push it as hard as we can and try to lay down a special effort. Thanksgiving will be our first 5-miler, so a PR will be established one way or another. At Lights of Love last year I missed my 5K PR by just :05 seconds. I would like to set a new one this year at that distance on a fast course for a great cause.

But both of those races will really be just a part of the journey on the way to Houston. Wednesday morning we went for our first run after the Half-Ironman, just 6.2 miles to knock the rust off and take some inventory. The legs felt strong and I closed with a final mile in 6:59, just a few ticks of the watch above marathon goal pace.

84 runs and 869.90 miles to go until we cross the finish line in Houston. Some of those miles will be fast, some will be slow. Some will be easy and some will be tough. There will be hot miles, cold miles and miles in between. I am going to get rained on for certain more than once and maybe even a snowflake or two. At the end of the day they are all going to lead to the same place. The starting line outside of Minute Maid Park in Houston on January 13th. 14,000 runners will be there all hoping for a personal best. Some of them will make it, some of them will not.

With good luck, good health and good weather I hope we get the chance to one more time see what we are made of. Days like last Sunday in Kerrville tell me we have what it takes to dig deep and grind it out when times are tough.

But right now we are a long way from the glamour of race day. We’re just a spot-light on a dark trail in the morning running along Brushy Creek 3 1/2 months away from race day. These are the runs that make all the difference.

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Kids are the best.

They are so full of lessons and positive examples of the way us “grown ups” should operate it is truly amazing.  All you have to do is take a moment to really watch the way they attack a new challenge, overcome obstacles, pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep trying until they get to the finish line.

Whether that is trying to avoid getting knocked over by a small wave as it deposits them on their rear end, take the stairs by themselves when a hand is at the ready to help them or even trust that even though Dad might be trying to make me eat something I know I’m not going to like …. I’ll give it a shot anyway as he wouldn’t let me down would he?

It’s a delicate mixture of fear and bravery, wildness and wariness, attempt, failure and “stick-to-it-iveness”

As I spent time with Landry this week I paid a little extra attention.

I watched the way her eyes lit up when faced with an exciting adventure.  Whether that meant meeting a 2,000 pound draft horse in downtown Charleston, holding tightly onto the spool of line on a kite flying higher than anything she has ever seen or running headlong towards the Atlantic Ocean and waves crashing onto the shore.

There were times when things did not go necessarily according to plan – the outcome did not match her expectations – but time and time again she did what kids do – at least what my kid does – and that is reevaluate, reload and attack once again.

This week my guaranteed entry to the Houston Marathon was approved.  What will be our third real attempt at breaking the three hour mark in the marathon.  In February 2010 the combination of us being slightly on the outside looking in of that potential, coupled with a hot, humid windy day on our Austin Course resulted in a best ever effort at the time, but not really close to 3 hours.

Later it was New York City where for 22 miles we went toe to toe with the marathon only to falter late as the cumulative effects of the bridges, crowds and a hilly course resulted in another Personal Best by more than 7 minutes, but still not quite the result we had hoped for.

Boston was next, but that flight never even got off the ground as 87 degree race temperatures turned that “race” into nothing more than a glorified 26.2 mile training run.

But here we stand once again after having gotten knocked on our ass quite frankly each time we have chased this goal since 2010.  But like my daughter I am ready to pick myself up, dust myself off and get after it one more time.

They say that nothing ventured nothing gained – in this case I couldn’t agree more.  There will be plenty of runners in Houston next January that reach the Mile 25 sign in 2 hours and 50 minutes with 9:59 to run the final 1.2 miles.

Most will make it, some will not – but in Landry’s Daddy’s case that is where it is all going to come together.  If our plan for once goes the way we hope I will glance over at my good friend Brendon Cahoon who will have run stride for stride next to me for 25 miles.  We will look at each other with a knowing gleam in our eyes and from there to the finish it will be every man for himself.

When he looks into my stare he is going to see the same thing I see when I look into Landry’s … the look of someone who knows that despite previous experience and all evidence to the contrary, this time is MY TIME.

That is going to be the greatest 1.2 miles I have ever run, and those 9 minutes and 59 seconds are ones I am going to remember forever.

A few weeks ago in Boston I was preparing for my “last” marathon.  I spent the previous 24 weeks working harder than I ever have before training for the dastardly 26.2 mile test.  I was fit, focused and ready to lay down something special on April 16th.  Hoping to break through the 3 hour mark, but more than that, hoping to run one last marathon and run a “best ever” race.

As the forecast for race day started to soar from the 50 degree temperatures that are “normal” for that time of year in New England to a ridiculous 87 degrees for race day, my hopes for Boston were dashed.

I put on a positive face.  Enjoyed the day with fellow runners and friends who had made the trip to Boston and made sure that Dawn, Landry and I had some fun over marathon weekend.  Tuesday after the race I took a walk through Boston over to the North End by myself.

I had a great Italian lunch, chatted with some locals, stopped by Maria’s Pastry shop for some pistachio green leaf Italian cookies and took in a beautiful Boston day.  I went to see the Red Sox play at Fenway that night.  I caught a foul ball at the game.

One Wednesday morning I flew back to Austin and put the116th Boston Marathon behind me.  It was time to turn the page and move on to a season of Triathlons and our first attempt at Iron Man 70.3 this fall.

In the weeks since Boston as I have started training again, running in the morning, cycling in the afternoon or doubling up with an early run and a late swim my body feels like it is hardening even more.

My legs are strong, my shoulders and back are broadening.  I can literally feel myself growing stronger.

All the while as I am running alone at 5:00 a.m. there is a little voice inside of me saying the same thing over and over and over.

“Marathon”.

“Marathon”.

“Marathon”.

The race just won’t let me go.

I’m not sure if it is the fact that I like thousands of other runners were robbed of their “race day” in Boston this year.  Or if I truly believe that I am running out of time to make a legitimate attempt at running a sub 3 hour marathon.  Perhaps it is a little bit of both.

But I just can’t seem to set the marathon completely aside and focus my training and racing on other goals.  Not yet at least.

For me the marathon is no longer about finishing the race.

If I can finish two marathons in 13 days for Dom and subsequently finish a marathon in 87 degree weather – I know I can cover the distance.

Now the marathon has become more than just an endurance test – it is a matter of will.

The will that the distance exerts on the runner – punishing them mile after mile until the body can no longer function as it had hours and miles earlier.

The will that the mind exerts on the body, asking for more, more, more until that final mile marker is reached and there is just 1.2 miles left to go to the finish.  It is at that point that the race reveals its true beauty.

How much do you really have left?

How much are you willing to endure?

How badly do you really want this?

The answer for me is that I want one more chance.  I want to train, prepare and show up to one more starting line – the only thing I hope for is that I get a neutral day.  Cool temperatures, a fair course and a chance to finally do my thing.  Race to the limits of my abilities and training.  Be the best that I have ever been.

There are no guarantees in life.  Even fewer in road racing.  Weather, injury, illness can and will happen far more frequently than any of us would like.  I have started and finished 8 marathons in the last 5 years and have had good weather in two of them.

Statistically speaking, that is not a very good batting average.  But that little voice is still calling out:

“Marathon”.

“Marathon”.

“Marathon”.

So with Dawn’s blessing, we are going to give this one more shot.

January 13, 2013 – Houston Texas.

1-13-13

Not the luckiest of numbers if you believe in that kind of thing – but nonetheless we are going to play the odds that on a January Day in the great state of TX we are going to get cool weather.  Race time is 7:00 a.m., again right in our wheelhouse.  The course is laid out in a figure 8, so that any wind on the course should help in one direction as much as it hurts in another.

The terrain is flat.  The course is said to be fast – although it has a lot of concrete, we’ll have to train for that variable and toughen up those legs coming off our IM 70.3 training.

We will have 11 weeks to prepare for Houston after our Half-Ironman. 

254 days away.  We’re going back one more time.