Friday, July 14, 2017

Firecracker 5K 2017

One of my all-time favorite races the Sportspectrum Firecracker 5K in Shreveport, LA with over 3,000 other runners.   It attracts a fast field but also a ton of beginners come take part in it. 

My training had been going really great all year, including a 10:02, 3200m time trial run  just over a month before. However, just a couple of weeks before this race me and my wife came down with bronchitis. We thought it was a common cold at first but I kept relapsing after every run so I ended having take even more time off. We both saw the doctor and got antibiotics when we realized it wasn't  going away. 

The week before this race was a bit rough getting back into it as I had a few DNF's. The antibiotics made my heart rate a lot higher than it should have been. However I was off of them a few days before the race. I knew the fitness was there. 

I get in the front pack right away, however there was a Kenyan type way, way, off the front of us. However, probably within a half-mile I'm struggling to keep up. I hit the first mile in 5:03 and just behind the front chase pack now. It was a struggle after that. It's not often you hear someone say, I wanted to drop out of a 5k but today I did. I almost had to come to walk  but I managed to hold on. From the mile, I faded from 5 to 10th or 12th.   During the last quarter mile I ended up finding some legs and had a fast kick and finished 8th overall, almost catching 7th by the line. 

Racing is taking chances and making risks. Teetering on that line of blowing up. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

4th Annual Fresh 15 2017

Fresh Running group photo prior to the race.  
I look forward to the Fresh 15K every year and this year did not disappoint. We were blessed with great weather. It was 52 degrees at the race start. Megan Riaz and her team do a great job every year putting this together making it an international level type event, as it attracts a fast field, such as runners of Kenya and of course your top local runners from the Metroplex and East Texas. It also brings in lots of money for $$$ for charities every year. This year was the largest amount donated to charities.  
Good friend JT and I before the race. We seem to have started our annual cool down jog after. He's now living in Virginia and came back for this race. JT would give me a little carrot earlier in the week on a facebook posting that I could go under a 5:39 pace. 

Travis Allred and his team do a great job making sure Fresh 15 and the local races around stay patriotic with this huge flag. I stopped and took this shot on my warmup jog.
The field gets faster and faster every year. 

 I knew better to go out at that 5:15 or so pace like I did at Kilgore to Longview, just three weeks prior. This time I looked early on at what pace my watch was telling me. When we started down Old Jacksonville I settled into a comfortable 5:35-5:39 pace for the first couple of miles. I would say I was fairly comfortable for the first 3 miles or so and high fiving some of the kids at the aid stations seem to give me a mental boost of energy.

The race itself was uneventful as I was between a pack of runners in front and behind, mostly by myself for much of the race. Between miles 4 -7, I tried to start pushing the pace and James Jackson the national 15K Masters champion was who I raced back in January was having stomach issues again and I was able to catch him in the Hollytree subdivision. My pace though was staying about the same with the effort much higher.

Summer Tillson was here taking pictures and cheering us on right before the Dueling Oaks hill.

A bit of relief coming out of the Dueling Oaks Hill. 

 The last hill, which I think is referred to as "Heart Break Hill" was rough at this point. I had visions of being able to sprint at the top of this hill towards the finish line, but by the time I got there, there was none of that sprinting to the finish line. Coming up that hill with everything you got, felt like the end of a hard track session though. It was borderline if you were going to finish making it up or not.

Heartbreak Hill photo, it has to be in this blog.

 As I mentioned before high fiving the kids, feels like it gives me a mental boost of energy and they love it. I ended up beating JT's pace with a 5:37 mile average, finishing in 53:08.  My gps had the course a little longer this year with the route changes to 9.47 miles. It was my fastest pace on this course in all four years to finish 20th overall.

Can't wait for next year! 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Kilgore to Longview 11 Mile Road Race Classic

As a former member of the Longview Running Club from long ago, I'm glad the Kilgore to Longview Class is back. It was an 11 mile race that started around 1976 and lasted until 2001 when there was construction on the main route. I knew there would be a competitive field of runners. The course can be tricky at first because it's really flat that first mile and you can get going faster than you realize, at least that is what  happened to me. 


I felt I got off to a relative easy start and it didn't take long for me to settle into third behind Micah and Tomas. I glanced at my watch at mile 3, which was a probably a bad idea to do that and I saw that it said around 16:30, I knew that was a little fast and I was starting to lose steam. (After the race, Tomas said they ran the first mile in about 5:11 and I was not far behind at the time). They did a much better job of carrying out that hard pace early on. 

Between miles 4-5 my right glute, quad, and calves were all tightening up and I was slowing way down. Nick Huff caught me around mile 5 going uphill and I couldn't respond to his pass. I couldn't respond much to anything at that point. I also got passed by Martin Rodriguez, he's a strong kid, a real fighter. I got to watch him battle German for awhile when German had caught him. He would not give up, it took awhile for German to get by him. 

Before I knew it German Garcia was catching me. I ran beside him for about a mile before I fell off his pace.  This put me in 6th. 

Things were not looking good at this point.  I saw Eric Deller cheering on the side of the road and almost asked him if he parked nearby so I could get a ride back in ; ) 

However, about mile 7, a rhythm of fluidity came back. I started gaining ground on Martin. I noticed the distance of the orange cones that were marking the course, the distance was getting noticeably shorter. So every time I got to cone I kept working to make the distance get shorter between us. I finally caught him around mile 8, luckily German had worn him down enough by then, I didn't have to battle him like German did.  

German was a little harder catch, he was keeping a steady pace and it was hard to close ground on him, it took a lot of mental effort and focus to make a comeback on German. Just before we made the last turn to the finish I was gaining really fast on him and when we made the final turn which was about 400 meters to go, I pushed about as hard as I could and ended up putting 13 seconds between us in such a short distance to bounce back and finish 4th. 

This turned about to be more of mental win than a physical win, as there were so many times in the middle and end of the race I wanted to quit and drop out and save it for another day and somehow managed to bounce back towards the end.  It was a lot of fun racing these guys. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Hypnotic Donut Dash

Last weekend we went running for donuts in Dallas and we also made it a weekend family vacation by spending the rest of our time at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine with an indoor water park at its hotel.

The venue for this race was in Fair Park of Dallas. So, it was mostly flat, but that wind on the way back. It was about 42 degrees at race start. I figured I was running for 2nd today with the top Master's Runners (50 years) in the USA here, James Jackson. At least it would be a chance to PR I told myself, if I could hang onto him as long as possible without an epic blow up. There were a few other fast looking guys around too.

I lined up at the last second after a few sets of strides and off we go. I settle in around the top 7 or so at the start. I look for James but I didn't see him right away and he then he comes by. I knew not to get out ahead of him at first. Just keep close and cover his moves. It wasn't very long at all before he formed at gap, but after that first mile the gap wasn't getting any larger and just after the halfway point on our way back in a long stretch of road, I noticed the gap getting closer and his turnover wasn't quick like you would expect. I hadn't looked at my watch the whole race but I figured I'm running much better than I thought I could or he's have a really off day. We took left up a very short steep hill on our way back and I caught him. Alright, I told myself, time to floor it, no waiting around. I pushed passed him and was surprised he didn't go with me. At this point we still have over a mile to go and I'm in severe agony. A half mile out, I'm doing all I can to hang on, my arms feel like I'm carrying weights, they feel so heavy. I wanted to either slow way down or drop out, I was in some severe pain. However, I was impressed how mentally strong I was able to keep pushing despite the extreme discomfort I was in.

Just before the finish we had a  sharp U-Turn about 250 meters from the finish, I look at my watch it says 15:06, I thought yes!! A chance for a PR, I put a huge sprint effort in, collapse at the finish line and curl up like a baby. When I do stand up, I'm super dizzy! Never have I ever felt like that before from pushing hard. I just won by 14 seconds in 15:54, with James and another guy not too far behind.  The course was short at 3 miles but still a 3 mile PR for me. At that point, I knew James and a really bad "off" day and later he would tell me ALL about it.

This was a super fun race. I also participated in the "Chubby Bunny" contest. I'm a little dissapointed how I did here as I finished 4th,, the judge cut me off after I had 21 donut holes in my mouth and couldn't say Chubby Bunny anymore.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Tyler Turkey Trot 2016

This was the second time for us to the Tyler Turkey Trot as a family with Calley, Evan,  Rylan, and Noah ( a good friend of our family). The Tyler Turkey Trot always seems to bring in a few of the best runners in the area. This was just about 10 days after the Salute to Service 5K, I did, recently. 

Noah and Rylan. 
Rylan sprinting through the crowds. 

Calley pushing Evan to the finish line. 
From the start it was fast. I started in the second row to avoid going out too hard because I knew the current lack of some anaerobic work I would get shot off the back sooner than later. I got off to a decent start with the young runners quickly into the top ten. By about 3/4ths of a mile, I was in 5th where I would stay the rest of the way chasing the front pack down. I could see the lead runner through most of the race. I hit the first mile in 5:03, so the front pack must have been at least around 4:50.  We did slow down significantly after that or at least I did, anyhow. By two miles I knew I saw Miles (#1394) had fallen off the front pack and I was trying to close down on him, but by the time we neared the end it was too, late.

Miles, trying to hold me off. 

Miles got me by 12 seconds and I finished in 16:30, which was my fastest 5K this year. Which isn't too far off what I what I was doing in college and on less than half the volume/intensity. College ended for me just over ten years ago.  I've been taking a slow and gradual approach getting back into more running this year, so far it seems to be working. 

Thanks to Mike B for the video! 

We ended up 5th overall and 1st 30-34 and we like to add 1st overall Daddy to that, since the top 4 were 8-15 years younger than me. The top four included some young studs, 1st Grady Frazier, 2nd Haftu Knight, 3rd Connor Benson and 4th Miles Zeorlin.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Salute to Service 5K (3 miles)

Recently, I ran the Salute to Service 5K in honor of our veterans on September 12. It was a very small race but the fastest run race the town of Whitehouse, Texas has probably seen. We had 3 UT Tyler XC Alumni guys there including myself, Nick Huff, and Connor Benson who has one more year of eligibility for track. We also had Ironman Pro Clay Emge, Tomas Moreno from Longview, long time runner from Dallas, Clint Bell and Kenyan Alfred Kiplagat. There were  a few young high school speedsters who were looking to cash in on the teen division.  The women's side was simply a duel with fast swimmer turned fast triathlete Rachel Olson and the long time runner Sarah Deller.

At the start Kiplagat is already off the front and Huff starts out right there with him. I took a conservative approach and I was in the back of this pack of all the guys mentioned above and I was slowly building into it.

The first mile was mostly downhill but into a headwind.  I was staying behind Moreno until around a mile (I wasn't looking at my watch at this time) I finally got my Tomas Moreno and Nick Huff who fell off the front as I felt it was time to start pushing. After circling around this parking lot we ran around I found myself glancing at my watch as we were starting to head back in, I saw we were pushing a 5:10 pace at 8 minutes. This was blazing fast for me as I haven't seen a pace like that in a long time. I was hoping I could hold that up coming back to the city park where it started, however it was a long gradual hill and I started to fade.  Moreno caught me towards the last quarter mile and I couldn't quite respond to his move. I may have started pushing too early in the race for my abilities at this time. The course was just barely at 3 miles. I finished in 15:57, which was my fastest 3 mile or 5k pace this year. I'm slowly progressing in the right direction at this time! Everyone else happened to be faster  on this day too. This just shows what the power of running with faster people can do, but we are slowly closing those gaps. Kiplagat won the race outright in 14:17.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Corkscrew 5k and Electric Zombie 5K

This past weekend I went to the Kiepersol Corkscrew 5k . I did it last year and loved the challenging cross country course. This year both RJ and I both showed up again . Last year I was a new daddy and now three weeks in fatherhood, RJ is too. 

We started off and I let RJ go out front and I pulled up next to him. This time I could hear him breathing harder than me so I gradually pulled up ahead to see if he was going to come with me and when he didn't I let off a little bit then back on some. I hit the first mile in 5:25. This course is pretty fun by the way as you get to run around and through a huge vineyard. The second mile I was moving a bit faster than the first for awhile there until we got near the end of mile two when this streak of mud came up. I ran the second mile in 5:28.

The third mile was stupid hard with most of it you are climbing your way back up to the top of the vineyard. I finished the third mile in 6;18, then you have to a loop around the road finishes with a good hill at the end. I ended up with an 18:44 for 3.26 miles and RJ I believe was 19:17, so we completely swapped roles this year. Maybe next year we'll be more even. 

Then later that night we spent the day in Dallas and Fort Worth to top it off with the Electric Zombie 5k run later that night. We took Rylan, Noah, and Evan with us. 

There was a quite a few runners here who showed up, we opened up with a pack of about 5 of us. I was a bit fatigued from the morning race, so I was simply just trying to hang in there. I was breathing kind of hard, but I could hear a couple of others breathing harder. One guy, I couldn't hear at all so I thought he was going to be the one to push me. All off sudden less than a mile into it I was all by myself. The course was extremely dark besides the start/finish line. I could barely see the course or any of the zombies in front of me. I went 5:48, 5:47, and 5:32. I finished in 17:27. 

It was a fun night! Noah and Rylan were 1st and 5th in their age groups. Calley nad a great time and pushed Evan to a  44:21. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

31ST Annual St. Gregory 5K

This past weekend was the 31st Annual St. Gregory 5K Run in Tyler, one of the longest running race in East Texas. This was put on by the St. Gregory Cathedral (elementary) school, the sister school of Bishop T.K Gorman. The weather was perfect with a bit of sun at the start. We had our Bishop Gorman JV and Middle School cross country team come out. 

This was a hilly route starting at Bishop Gorman and ending on the track. This race I didn't have anyone to push me,  so at mile one I was at the mile in 5:32, I thought I was having a bad day then the steep hill, known as ChipCo hit right after that, but still by the end of mile two I went a little faster in 5:30. Then the last mile I thought for sure I was slowing down but still I found a way to run negative splits and went 5:28. The dash onto the track for the last 1/10th I got down to a 4:20/mi pace to finish the 5K in 17:10, even a little faster than the previous week on a much flatter course. 

Felipe won the mile, he's on staff at Bishop Gorman for PE and IT. 

Joe won 2nd overall today, he's on our JV team. 

These are 8th grade middle school girls, Elizabeth, Elayna, and Tori they swept the Women's overall podium running all under 22 minutes. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Tyler Gold Run 5K

This past weekend was the Tyler Gold Run 5K and Fly Tri Racing was a proud small sponsor event as it's main purpose was to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer. The Rucker's, Heather and Josh (Carthage High School Graduate) were the organizers of this event in it's second annual. They have a 2 year old son that was diagnosed with leukemia at 7 months that is still fighting it today. 

It was a very humid morning and I didn't take care of my hydration needs through the week as it caught up to me by Friday as my feet and calves were cramping doing simple stuff so I knew this couldn't be good, but I was feeling alright enough give a good effort. It doesn't matter too much as I've still been building up a strong base for next year. 

UT Tyler's Connor Benson was here, he has more eligibility for Cross Country but will finish out Indoor Track next year. Him and I went head to head, at least for the first mile we hit in 5:19 as we ran through Rudman park (concrete) trail. After that I lost ground as went out of Rudman park and onto Copeland, then to Shiloh, and back into the park to finish the three mile loop. 

Connor is a great competitor, humble and nice runner. 

Great race and well organized by the Race Directors Heather & Josh Rucker.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

UT Tyler Braveheart XC Invitational

I went back for another round of college cross country racing. This time it was the UT Tyler Braveheart Invitational 5000. Coach Bob rides up the start line on a horse dressed as a character William Wallace and we, Alumni runners are his prisoners. We have been granted the opportunity to run for freedom.

I lined up like last week in the back of the pack, I believe it keeps me from going out as fast I normally would and have to build my way up. I got in the middle of the pack and quickly worked my way up. I found myself behind Alex Wilson, another alumni runner who was 2nd last week.

By the midway point going around the pond, I was still behind Alex and could never get by him. The race was getting rather difficult for me going around the pond and I quickly lost my top ten spot. Miles Z and Gerardo, a couple of the current UT Tyler  who I ended up catching near the end of the race last week, caught me just after mile two. 


Coming up big hill besides Spur 248, I started to reel Miles Z back in but couldn't quite catch him. I was able to finish in 17:22.50. This was back to reality as it was difficult to fake my fitness through  through another mile and on a more difficult course. However, given the training I've been doing since I'm really just gearing up for next year it went really well.

Thanks to the support of my Wife, Calley. She was watching Evan tonight. My athletes I coach through came out and surprised me.