Posts Tagged ‘Houston Marathon’

Sunday morning with the sun still below the horizon in downtown Houston the gun will fire and the sound of 30,000 feet striking the ground will start as runners fire out across the mat at the Chevron Houston marathon.

Or 29,998 feet anyway.

Our two feet will be just starting to mill around the house in Austin, TX.

The bad news is we are still on the shelf from a strained Achilles tendon as our training for the Houston marathon was just entering its final stage and into the taper.

The good news is we are close to being back to running.  Very close.

I have regained the flexibility and a great deal of the strength on my left side.

I can now stand on my left foot only and balance with my right knee pulled up high to my chest like a runner would in a toe-off sprint position.

A week ago I could not balance on my left foot for more than a second.

I can now raise my entire body weight up onto my toes standing just on my left foot.

A week ago I could not.

There is no more “pain” in the Achilles or left foot area – I am close.  Very close.

What remains now is the fear that I am not 100% and the residual doubt about how those first strides are going to feel.  What taking on an incline is going to do to the area, am I going to aggravate the situation further or will I continue to move forward and back to full recovery without setbacks.  The unknown is what is ahead of us.

Runners can’t stand the unknown.

As a group, I think we would rather try and fail then simply never find out – and that is what fuels runners on race day to test their limits.

On Sunday without me there, a 45-year-old runner from Virginia Beach is going to cross that start line and run the race of his life.  His text to me said:

“I’m going for it.  If I blow up, I blow up.  Nothing to lose”.

Typically when I put a training plan together, in the footer of the document I will put an inspirational quote for me to look at every morning when I cross off my run, swim, bike ride, strength training session or rest day.  I read the words and think about them for a moment, helping them build my confidence and focus day after day until race day.

For Run for Dom I had a quote from Steve Prefontaine, for Austin it was a quote from Dom, for Boston last year, Bill Bowerman.

As I put my training plan together for the Pocono Marathon on May 19th in Pennsylvania – I added a new author to the bottom of the page from Virginia Beach.

Steve Speirs – “I‘m going for it.  If I blow up, I blow up.  Nothing to lose.”

Exactly right Steve, my sentiments exactly.  You do your thing on Sunday.  I’ll follow suit on May 19th.

Knock ’em dead my friend, I would give just about anything to be there with you.

The Houston Marathon is in 11 days.

I still cannot walk without a limp.  Running, which I attempted briefly on Tuesday is pretty much a joke at this point.

I was not able to make it two houses down the block before I had to shut it down, tuck tail and hobble back to the house.

To say that I am frustrated would be a colossal understatement.  After more than 600 days of injury free running and racing we are officially injured.  This is not just the traditional aches and pains associated with the marathon taper where your body begins to heal itself from all the intense training.  I’ve been there before and have dealt with that.

This is completely different.  Our left foot/Achilles tendon is tender, inflamed and cannot push off or flex the way it is meant to.  Even walking right now is difficult.  Sadly, there will be no marathon for us next Sunday.

There is a small part of me, the competitive side, that is still holding out hope that my body is able to heal itself and the pain will vanish just as quickly and unreasonably as it arrived.  But with each passing morning when I open my eyes, flex my foot and it feels “perfect” – I realize when it hits the floor and I take my first step to the bathroom that another 24 hours has come and gone and nothing has changed.

From a fitness standpoint I am riding the TRI Bike up on the trainer to keep the legs moving and our cardio in decent shape.  After missing the last 10 days or so of running, I am probably losing just enough fitness that we would be on the outside looking in at a sub 3 hour marathon next Sunday anyway.

But it is funny when something that you love to do is taken away from you.  I just want to run right now.

A mile or 26.2 miles – fast or slow – it really doesn’t matter.  I just want an opportunity to pin on that bib and try my best.  There is only a handful of people on this planet that truly care how fast a race I ran down in Houston.  But I know a lot more who would be disappointed in me if I didn’t show up to try.

Right now, 2013 is not exactly starting out the way that I had planned.  I am holding off on looking at other races, trying to determine when and where I can “jump into another marathon” and try to run my time.  Until I can run past the neighbor’s house down the block and not wince in pain with ever step – that is just pure folly.

But one day soon I am sure I will be able to.  Runners get injured.  That’s just the reality of our sport.

Runners also go a little bit crazy when they can’t run.  That is another reality of our sport.

I’m trying my best to just keep it all in perspective.  Not get too down.  After all there are far worse tragedies in the world than me not getting a chance to run in a marathon next weekend.

Then I think of all the early mornings I dragged myself out of bed to run 10, 12, 16 miles before work.  Run two-a-days on Tuesdays.  Hill Repeat after hill repeat.  Interval work, marathon pace runs and raced my ass off to prepare for next Sunday.  All for naught.  So blame me if you will for being a mixture of angry and frustrated right now.

Not breaking 3 hours I could live with.  No shame in that, it is something that very few marathoners and especially 45-year-old marathoners ever do.

Not getting a chance to try?  That one stings a little bit – I have to admit.

If things do not improve and we don’t make the trip down to Houston this year we’ll simply defer until next year and we will reload and go for it again I suppose.  For those of you who will be racing next Sunday do me a favor and leave it all out there on the course.  When the marathon starts to push you, push back.  Don’t give an inch and remember how much you love to run.  How grateful you are for the opportunity to be there.  How lucky you are to be in that position with 6 miles or 4 miles or 2 miles to go.

Wish I was going to be there with you.  Kick asphalt.

Upon crossing the finish line on Sunday morning around 10:54 a.m. our 2012 race season was over.

13 events in 12 months starting in Miami, FL and ending in the small town of Shiner, TX.Shiner

It was by far the most diverse season I have ever completed where instead of the usual mix of 5k, 10k, half-marathons and marathons we competed in:

1 six-runner 200 mile team ultra marathon from Miami to Key West.

3 Sprint Triathlons.

1 Half-Ironman Triathlon.

2 5K Races.

1 5-mile Race.

4 Half-Marathons.

1 Marathon.

We ended up with a podium finish (Top 3) in 8 of the 12 events and set 6 PR’s along the way.  If you would have told me at the start of 2012 that we would have stayed healthy all year, logged more than 2,600 miles running and more than 4,200 total miles swimming, biking and running I would have thought that we had a successful year.

But having success show up on the race clock the way that it has as the calendar has tacked one more year onto this 45-year-old endurance athletes machine – I have to admit that I am pretty happy.  That is tough for me to admit as I believe that there is always some room for improvement, always a small thing — or sometimes a big thing — that I can or should be doing to continue to swim stronger, bike harder, run faster.

I am going to spend the time after the Houston Marathon recovering from the race doing exactly that.  I will start to put together my race calendar for 2013 and see what challenges lie ahead.  There will be no more marathons for me in 2013 after Houston.  We are going to get that event out-of-the-way early on the 13th of January.  I have an idea about where I want to focus my energies as I would like to take a serious run at my 10K PR of 37:30 at next Fall’s Luke’s Locker Uptown Classic and I would like to break 18:00 minutes in the 5K with our new PR sitting at 18:02.

Those two seconds are eating at me just a bit after last Friday Night’s Lights of Love race.

From a triathlon perspective, I do not see another Half-Ironman out there this coming year – although a return to Kerrville is not entirely out of the question.  But right now I feel like focusing on track work and improving my top-end speed is where I am headed in 2013 – having never really dedicated my training to that pursuit.  A sub 5:00 minute mile in May at the Congress Avenue Mile is something that is rolling around my head right now, but again, I think the goals for the year will come into focus after we reach that finish line in Houston.

Goal setting is something that I think is important whether it is in business, athletics or life in general.  Normally I would be going through that process leading up to New Year’s Eve for the coming year.  But this year things are a little bit different.  I set up 2012 in such a way that our race season would end exactly 4 weeks prior to the Houston Marathon.

Nothing left to distract us.  Only 26.2 miles and 179 minutes and 59 seconds to cover them in.

That is all I am thinking about right now.  Finish off this last week of endurance work which started with a 16 mile Tuesday morning run and will finish on Sunday with our last 20+ mile long run of the training cycle.

Then we will start the taper and get our body and mind right for the toughest race of our life on 1-13-13.

We have set PR’s in the last 5 individual events we have competed in.  Sprint Triathlon, Half-Ironman, 5-Mile, 5K, Half-Marathon.

The last two races quite frankly were among the most perfectly executed races I have ever run.  My previous 5K PR had stood the test of time for more than 27 months and over 15 attempts at knocking it off.

The Half-Marathon PR in Shiner on Sunday might have been my best “race” ever given the course, conditions and my previous PR set so close to my max potential in Virginia Beach last spring on a near-perfect day.

1st Place Age Group

1st Place Age Group

Now there is just one race on our calendar.  The first time that has been the case in more than two years.  The distance that has at times toyed with me, sometimes beaten me, but has never broken me.

The marathon.  This time is our time.

Houston.  You most definitely have a problem.

It’s race week!  Well, not Houston Marathon Week, but we are racing on Thursday morning at one of the larger local events of the year here in Austin – the Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot 5-miler (8K).  The race has been run in Austin every year since 1991, 22 years and counting.  It is a race where just about everyone who is a member of the running community in Austin is out to battle some monster hills before settling in for a day of overindulging and Football.

For a variety of circumstances, travel, training, recovering from NYC Marathon I have never had the opportunity to compete in the Turkey Trot – but this year everything seems to have worked out perfectly including race day falling during a cut-back week in my Houston Training.  After consecutive hard weeks pushing my weekly mileage to 67 and then 70 miles it was time for me to cut back the volume, recover a bit and then push even further over the next two weeks.

After 21 tough miles on Sunday I am taking a rare luxury during marathon training – two consecutive days off, then a short shake-out run tomorrow morning in my marathon race shoes that we will be making their maiden voyage at the Turkey Trot and we will be ready to race hard on Thursday.

The 8K distance is a unique one where it is of course just about 2 miles longer than a 5K where the approach is to simply hammer away from the gun to the tape essentially at lactate threshold for the entire race, hanging on by a thread to the finish.  You can’t go all out in the 5-miler, it is very similar to the approach for the 10K or 6.2 mile race where a solid start, strong middle and finishing kick are the recipe for success.

The Thundercloud course complicates things even further as it packs in some of the steepest climbs on our downtown race courses into just 5 miles.  The course starts on the 1st Street Bridge and after only 400 meters or so heads straight up Lavaca to 15th street.  15 blocks of steady climbing.

A left turn on Enfield (15th) – takes runners up and down the steep hills featured on the Austin Half-Marathon Course.  Some of the steepest hills in the city both up and down.

Then a downhill stretch along the frontage road of loop one before runners make the left turn onto Cesar Chavez and finish the race much like the Run for the Water 10-miler with a bit of a twist.  Instead of finishing on the bridge the runners must run the length of the 1st street bridge, then make a hard right turn onto Auditorium Shores and finish in front of the Long Center.  The same finish line for the SI Labs Marathon relay or the Austin Triathlon.

The course covers roads that I have traveled numerous times, cobbling together parts of the Austin Marathon, Austin half-Marathon, Run for the Water and SI Labs Marathon Relay – but never all in one race.  I have a loose game-plan for Thursday rolling around in my head right now – but like any first time race I am going to have to run this one by feel for the most part and lock in with a group of runners that I feel are of similar talent.

We typically fare well on hilly courses and with the temperature climbing over the next two days – estimated at 65 degrees at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday for the later race start, it is not going to be an “easy” day out there.  I like where we are right now however from a training perspective.  I am not sure that we will lay down a “low time” on Thursday, sub 30 minutes or anything like that.  But compared to other runners in our age group – I expect to perform well.

Thursday is one of my favorite days of the year.  I already have the stuffing ready to go, the meatballs and escarole cooked for the Italian Wedding Soup and all that is left is the turkey, mashed potatoes, mushrooms and cranberry sauce.  We are going to start the day with a great event, and with a couple of days off this week to prepare, we should be able to put together a solid effort.

This is going to serve as our first test of the training cycle to evaluate things and see if we have our speed and endurance where we want them to be on the road to Houston and our attempt at punching through that 3 hour marathon barrier.  Test #2 will come on December 7th on a Friday night running in the Lights of Love 5K for the Ronald McDonald house.  18:15-18:20 will be the magic number there.

The final test will be a week later at the Shiner Beer Run Half-Marathon where if the course measures correctly in the first running of the event, we will be gunning for something around 1:24:15-1:24:30.

If we are able to hit those marks we will be ready to rumble down in Houston.

Three races to serve as strong indicators as to our readiness for battle on January 13th.  It all starts on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

Boom goes the dynamite.

Last week was a 67-mile training week featuring 6 runs spread over 5 run days including 4 quality workouts.

Two 8.5 mile runs on Tuesday with 10 of the 17 miles at Marathon Goal Pace (MGP) or better.  Thursday’s hill repeat session and 10 miles on Saturday morning with the middle 5 at or below Marathon Goal Pace (6:52).

Those four workouts were really the bread and butter of the week accounting for 37 of the 67 total miles.

On Wednesday we ran an easy 10 at recovery pace and then on Sunday we had our second 20-miler of the training cycle.  Only 4 long runs over 20 miles remain before we strap on our race flats and go toe to toe with the marathon down in Houston for the 10th time.

Training all week went according to plan, I crushed my quality days and as I hit the driveway on Saturday morning all that remained was a nice long run to wrap up the week.  I then made a rookie mistake, my first one of the training cycle.

I took something for granted.

I underestimated how challenging a 20-mile training run can be at the end of a hard week of training.  Throughout the day on Saturday I didn’t really pay attention to how much I hydrated, what I ate or how much time I spent on my feet.  I went about my business as usual, played with Landry and Saturday evening Dawn and I went out to eat.

Instead of making sure I fueled properly, we went to a new Seafood restaurant, where I had some salmon, steamed white rice and asparagus.  I did not bother to pick up a bagel to eat on Sunday morning before I left for my run knowing we did not have any at the house.  I didn’t pack any gels with me for my run and I decided I would drink at the water fountains along the way, no reason to bring my hydra-belt with me.  I’ve done a ton of these runs I thought …

The temperature at 5:00 a.m. on Sunday was already 68 degrees with 88% humidity.  18 mile an hour winds were blowing from the South as a cold front would be arriving late Sunday night dropping temperatures on Monday morning all the way down to 44.

I thought about pushing my run to Monday as I will be off from work the next three weeks, but instead, I again decided that the run was really no big deal.  Just 2 hours and 40 minutes or so of running relaxed.

As I settled into the first mile I knew it was going to be a long morning.  My legs were still sore from the mileage earlier in the week and took until the middle of mile two before they loosened up.  I had to push hard into the wind to keep pace under 8:00 min./mile and on the miles where the wind was at my back the heat and humidity was stifling.

I ran the standard 8-mile out and back loop that I run on Tuesdays, then ran on to the trail and headed due south into the wind to the furthest point of my route from home which would take me out to mile 14.  Then I would just have 6 miles home.

The miles ticked by slowly and by mile 13 I really felt out of gas.  My pace was holding steady, but my shorts were soaked through, sweat squished in my shoes with every stride and I was working much, much harder than I felt like I needed to in order to tick off 7:50’s.

The last 5 miles felt much like the final 5 miles of the marathon.  Heavy legs, depleted energy stores and all you want to do is get to the end.

As I popped out of the trail I hit the 20-mile mark 1/2 mile from home.   Instead of tacking on another 1/2 mile I decided to walk through the back of the property and up through the green belt to the house.  Put a fork in me, I was done.

As I went through the back gate and out to the driveway to retrieve my water bottle I had left for me to get a drink from at mile 8 Dawn and Landry were in the driveway watching for me to come down the street at the end of my run.

I still brought the run in on my target time.  2 hours 38 minutes and 23 seconds vs. my planned 2 hours and 40 minutes – but it was a humbling run.  It was probably the best thing that could have happened to me as it served as a great reminder that none of this is easy.  Certainly race day down in Houston is not going to be.

I need to remember that “training” is just part of this.  It is also important for me over these next 9 weeks to dial-in my nutrition.  Make sure I fuel properly and I treat every workout seriously.  There are no layups when it comes to a 20-mile run at the end of close to a 70-mile training week spread over only 5 run days.

This week we stretch things out just a little bit further to 70 miles and a 21-miler on Sunday.  We won’t be making the same mistake we made this week as we are going to get our rest, run easy on our easy days, hard on our hard days and treat Sunday like a dress rehearsal for race day.

Fueling strategy, hydration, electrolyte replacement – all things we need to dial in for Houston.  We have 4 more runs like this to get it right.  The marathon sent us a message on Sunday.  It is going to be waiting for us on race day with no sympathy, no special treatment and no mercy.

Make no mistake.  We will be ready.

12 Weeks until Houston.  I am finally in the place that I want to be during marathon training.  Firmly in the now.  Not looking too far ahead and perhaps more importantly, not looking behind me.

Frank Shorter once famously said, “You should never run a marathon until you have forgotten your last one.”

There are a couple of ways to interpret Frank’s remark.  The first time I read it I thought that he must be talking about the fact that the marathon being such a unique race takes a tremendous amount of effort to prepare for, get mentally checked-in, race and then recover from.  It is such a draining experience for the athlete whose goal is not merely to finish, but to run the race as close as possible to their maximum potential, that you need to not only physically recover from the race, but you really have to get your mind right before you tee it up again.

I still believe that is the main point that Frank was trying to make.

Lately however I have found new meaning in Frank’s comment.  With the NYC Marathon now less than 2 weeks away I have continued to replay that race over in my mind on training runs over the last month or so.  Despite the fact that I finished Boston in April, I consider NYC to be my “last” marathon.  Yes, I earned a finisher’s medal in Boston for the second time in three years and covered every step of the storied course from Hopkinton to Boston.  But with race day temperatures reaching 87 degrees, I did not “race” Boston, I merely “ran” it.  Still an accomplishment, but never for one moment on April 16th did I feel the intensity of race day.  I simply left Hopkinton at a comfortable training run pace, dealt with the course, the heat, the need to hydrate and fuel to the best of my abilities, high-fived kids along the route, flirted briefly with the coeds at Wellesley and hung on through Brookline past Boston College to the finish.

NYC was my last Marathon and it was my best ever.

What I am realizing is that when you look back fondly on a great performance that can be a dangerous place to be preparing for a marathon.

The marathon is cruel.  The distance is significant.  The training is tough.  The race is tougher.

You have to not only put in the work prior to the event to put yourself in a position to be successful, but you have to prepare mentally for some of the toughest miles you will ever run.  If your “memory” of marathon glory is too fresh, if the only thing you can draw from is how exhilarating it felt to cross the finish line with a new PR in hand then you are not going to be in the right mindset to battle through the pain and fatigue it takes to get there.

I’m not sure if it has been the increased intensity of my run workouts over the past couple of weeks that have flipped the switch from Triathlete to Marathoner or not, but with each passing workout I feel like my mind is getting closer and closer to where I want it to be on race morning.  Tempo miles, hill repeats, long runs – it is all building toward a crescendo that on race morning down in Houston we are going to attack the marathon like none of the other 9 that have come before it.

All it really took to get me there was the look on Landry’s face as she was preparing for her first “Fire Truck” Race at her friend Levi’s Birthday party on Sunday.

Go Big or Go Home

If I have ever entertained the thought, “chip off the old block”, seeing that photograph brings it home.

In 5 Weeks we will be racing on Thanksgiving morning at the Thundercloud Subs 5-Miler.  16 days later the Ronald McDonald House Lights of Love 5K, 16 days after that the Shiner Half-Marathon and then 4 weeks after Shiner we will be in Houston.

4 races, 4 opportunities to leave it all out on the course and go after a PR in the 5-mile, 5K, half-marathon and marathon.  Approximately 5 hours and 14 minutes of racing where we need to be focused throughout, race with passion and determination and in a word, fearlessly.

Running that close to the ragged edge can be a bit scary.  It also has the potential to create a race where you go out too hard too early and fade badly at the finish.  Very true.

But I also know that failing to go all in and playing it safe is a recipe for the average to slightly above average performance more times than not.

Frankly, I’m not interested in that.

If we blow up down in Houston, miss our goal and struggle to finish the race, I’m prepared to pick-up the pieces after the race and figure out where we go from there.

The one thing I don’t think I can live with is driving back to Austin and looking Dawn and Landry in the eye knowing that I was too scared to go for it.  We’ve got 12-weeks to make sure that on race day we’re prepared for the toughest final 10 kilometers we have ever run.  We’ll be ready.

After last week’s “recovery week” from the Kerrville Half-Ironman the calendar flipped to October 8th and the Chevron Houston Marathon is now front and center.

We didn’t do a ton of work last week, just runs of 6.2, 8.6, 10 and 12 miles with a 20-mile easy bike ride thrown in on Friday afternoon to work out the last bit of soreness in our quadricept muscles.  Amazingly as early in the week as Thursday I felt like I had not even raced the weekend before.  Some of that is due to the fact that we might have “over-prepared” slightly for the race.  By that meaning that most HIM training plans have a little bit less volume, especially from a run perspective.

The other piece is that swimming and cycling, no matter the speed and intensity are just simply easier to recover from than high-mileage racing in run only events.  The pounding on the muscles and the residual soreness just isn’t the same when you are in the water or in the saddle compared to hammering away over asphalt and concrete in 7-9 oz. racing flats.

But that is what we are preparing for now as the Houston Marathon becomes front and center.  Our next “A” race, and more than likely our only “A” race in all of 2013, falling in just the second weekend of the new year.

2013 is going to be a year of re-evaluation for me as it pertains to training and racing.

My thought right now is to spend the year focusing on shorter distance events, 5K/10K and potentially a late fall half-marathon to try to take down our PR’s in each of those distances.

18:12, 37:30, 1:23:46.

All very solid Personal Records for a 45+ year old runner.  But in each of those races, the NOCC Balance 5K the day before I became a Dad, the 2011 IBM Uptown Classic and last spring’s Shamrock Half-Marathon in Virginia Beach I know there was the potential to run faster if I had executed a slightly different race plan.

The other factor I know will make a difference in my shorter distance race times is true speed work.  To this point I have focused my “speed” work with an eye toward longer distance events like the marathon.  I run up-tempo hill work and repeats, but my repeats are 1-mile in length.  I do not do track work out of fear of injury, and do not do shorter intervals such as 400’s and 800’s that will provide a huge training boost in my ability to race short distances at a faster leg turnover and pace.

The other factor is Landry is fun.

Every day she is getting into something new, whether that is swimming lessons, tumbling class at school or just her wanting to play outside, feed the ducks, go to the zoo or hang with Mom and Dad.

Reducing my training volume will of course free up more time – but being an early morning runner, that will not make a huge impact on the amount of time I have to spend with Dawn and Landry.  The fact is, most of my miles are logged while they are still asleep.

But the recovery from those longer training runs is a different story.  After a 20 or 22 mile training run, I’m just not up for a whole lot the rest of the day on Sunday.  I spend time relaxing and recovering instead of chasing my 2-year-old around the house.

Shortening those “long workouts” will allow me to be much more “active” on the weekends and in turn, have a lot more energy to chase Landry from activity to activity.  The speed work will also help me catch her sometimes …

But we’re not hanging up the marathon flats just yet.  Houston in 14 weeks demands a focused and well executed training cycle and that is exactly what it is going to receive.

The formula will be very similar to what we did to prepare for New York last year and Boston this past spring.

Doubles on Tuesdays – 8.3 miles in the morning another 8.3 with 6 miles at tempo pace in the afternoon.

Mid-Week Long run on Wednesdays.

Thursday Hill Repeats.

Cross Training on Fridays.

Marathon Pace Run on Saturdays.

Long run on Sundays.

One change in this year’s marathon training is I won’t have the luxury of running a tune-up half-marathon 4 weeks before the event.  This has helped me get that “racing mindset” locked in just before the taper, which is helpful as running long on Sundays has a way of lulling you into a slower training pace typically :40 or so slower than marathon goal pace for me.

I really liked the tune-up half-marathon that would allow me to run 13.1 miles at :30-:35 per mile faster than marathon pace.  It served as a great confidence booster as well as a tough workout to more or less “finish off” the training cycle.

With 14 weeks to go to race day instead of the typical 18 I am used to, I just can’t make that work this time.  Instead we are going to run more marathon pace miles on our Saturday workouts to mimic the demands of race day over far more miles than we have done in the past.  It is a subtle change in preparation, but one that I believe may very well make all the difference come race morning on January 13, 2013.

The fact of the matter is we are within a whisker of hitting our goal for the marathon.  We do not need major fitness gains or endurance improvements.  Our VO2 max is where it needs to be.  Our lactate threshold is in the correct range.  Our previous race performances indicate a marathon potential of 2:55-2:58.  Our endurance right now is better than it has ever been coming off of last weekend’s Half-Ironman.  We are beyond healthy at this point knock on wood.  Right now we have absolutely not the faintest niggles, sore muscle or nick.  We are perfect heading into Houston Training.

It’s just a matter of sharpening the sword and getting our mental game ready to run the smartest 20-miles we have ever run on race day, followed by the 10K of our life.

If we are able to execute that plan and the fickle Texas weather gods cooperate I believe we are going to be ready for our breakthrough performance in the marathon.

Houston, on January 13 you most definitely have a problem.