Sunday, December 28, 2008

ITBS and My Bum Knee

A lot of people have asked me: "What's the deal with your knee?" If you look at my race photos, I always have a brace on my right knee. Well my friends, I am a victim of Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). From Wiki:

The iliotibial tract is a superficial thickening of tissue on the outside of the thigh, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running, moving from behind the femur to the front while walking. The continual rubbing of the band over the lateral femoral epicondyle, combined with the repeated flexion and extension of the knee during running may cause the area to become inflamed.

So there you have it. I have always noticed that my right hip is like a solid piece of concrete compared to the flexibility of my left hip. As a result of this, my right knee always has some pain in it when I run for long distances (ya think 100 km or 62 miles of running is a long distance?). Anyway, I am tired of this so I really have started doing research on what I can do about this. Turns out there are some stretches you can do that specifically target that part of the hip.

So I am starting this program and hopefully I will see some relief. I will probably go to a sports Dr. after my 100km race in a few weeks and maybe have my medical coverage pay for some rehab/massages.

In the meantime, I have been doing some great cross training (biking, running and elliptical) to keep my heart in shape. Everyone wish me luck and if anyone has any good suggestions or advice, let me know and will be happy to share the results!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. Relax, take a day off from training and spend some quality time with your family.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Training Status for December 20, 2008

Today was a great day for training. It was about 80 degrees (even on December 20th!). I did a 13 mile run today and felt pretty good. Only have a few more weeks till the 100K Bandera Ultra and I am just in maintenance mode right now. I'll probably run 20 miles next weekend and do some mixed training this week (swim, bike, weights, etc.). This gives my legs a rest while still keeping my heart strong and my triathlon muscles in shape. Since I switched to a blogging system that makes it easy to upload pictures, etc. I thought I would share with you my GPS and heart rate data. I wear a Garmin Forerunner watch and it is a great tool to monitor your progress. Here is the graphical data of my run from today (click image to enlarge):

The red line is my heart rate. The blue line is my speed and the green line is my elevation.

Now here is a picture of my run from the satellite perspective. The blue line is the road I ran on as tracked by GPS. I did this loop twice (click image to enlarge):

I also wore my Camelback hydration pack during this run to get used to the feel of it. Since there are not water stops every mile, I plan on sipping from this pack as needed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blog Site Change

Hi everyone, well I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that I changed my blogging site to Google's. It is much more feature rich. Unfortunately, I am unable to pull in everyone's previous comments, but the original posts (for the most part), imported fine. So now I can post pictures and video and the comments section should be easier to manage etc.

You are going to do what? And some pics from Sunmart are posted.

Hi everyone. Well being the glutton of punishment, I have entered myself into an even longer ultra marathon. The Bandera 100 km race. It is one of the most challenging ultra races in the country. Did I mention it is the longest running race I have ever done? 100 KM = 62 miles! You can read more about this race at:

A new ultra friend of mine (hi Ryan!) told me to look at it this way; you just did a 50 mile race. Consider it training for the 100 KM race and you can just do some tapering until race time. It's good advice. Friday I ran 5 KM at my usual lazy pace. On Sunday I will run 10 miles or so. Already feel my running legs coming back so I feel pretty good about this one. I retired my running shoes and got some new trainers this week and I will likely get some trail racing shows for the race in January. The Bandera race is more hilly than the Hunstville ultra, so I need the right kind of shoes so that I don't fall as much (oh I will fall, you can count on it Tongue out).

Also I wanted to make sure everyone knew that I posted some pictures (see them in the gallery) from the Sunmart 50 mile ultra race I did on December 6th. These were taken with an iPhone during the race itself. Nice pics Ryan!. Wink The last picture is me, Ryan and Miles. These guys are the ones to blame for my demise at Bandera.

I'm in! So set the date!

I just heard yesterday that I received a slot in the Ford Ironman USA Lake Placid triathlon. This event is taking place on July 26, 2009. I am so excited for this because the event is right near where I grew up. TO learn more about this event, go to:

Sunmart Trail Endurance Run 50 Mile Ultra Race Report

Hey everyone. Well I finally completed a 50 mile running event. I went into this with low expecations, since this is the first time doing this type of race. I wanted to use the experience to learn what to do and not do. And boy did I!!! SO here's a recap:


Arrived in Huntsville on Friday afternoon. On my way to hotel I stopped at the event hotel and picked up my race number and goody bag. A goody bag is the free stuff you get from the event sponsors in exhange for your entry fee and participation. Wow you get a lot of stuff:

  • Workout bag
  • Two shirts
  • Nail trimming kit
  • Raincoat
  • mesh bag
  • Teddy bear
  • another jacket
  • race hat
  • Gels
  • Planner

I think I got double what I payed for the entry fee in merchandise. I had a huge dinner at ihop (Huntsville, TX is not that big a town. Did you know that is where they execute prisoners?)

Race Morning

Got up at 5 AM (I have three alarms going all at the same time). Went to McDonalds to get some breakfast and then got ready to leave for race site. I was pretty much all ready race equipment wise the night before. It was about 28 degrees! YOW!

The race site is in the middle of the Hunstville State Park. Beautiful area. The race was very well organized and there was a hot breakfast and coffee and cocoa etc. waiting for the racers before the start (lesson number one: find out if they are serving food at race the morning before). So I dropped off my bag of extra gear in the bag drop area, had a cup of cocoa and put some turbo glide on all my hot spot areas to avoid chafing a blisters. Then we just stood around waiting for the 7 AM gun start. They played the national anthem (standard at all races). While I was waiting around I was pretty impressed with the turnout. About a 1000 people. Then we were off!

Lap 1

This race consists of four 12.5 mile loops around the lake. It is off road and pretty hilly. there are boulders and huge tree roots on the path so you have to be careful where you are planting your feet. My race plan was to run conservatively the first 25 miles (remember the farthest I have ever run was 26.1 miles during the ironman). Then we would see how I feel and go from there. My gps watch said I was going at about a 10 min/mile pace. Pretty comfortable. I settled in and started talking to those running around me. SPoke with a guy named Ryan from Dallas area. He has done quite a few ultra's and even is a race director for his local race in Dallas. He gave me some good pointers. (Lesson two: Ask if you can wear music for the race. Turns out you can for this one. Would have made the race go a lot quicker for me). First 12.5 miles went real well and I was feeling pretty good got in around 2.5 hours. Pretty much what I was looking for. Since I was starting to get pretty warm, I shucked my racing shirt and got going on lap 2.

Lap 2

This is when things started getting a little harder. I was feeling pretty good this lap so I told Ryan I was going to skip ahead a bit and see if I could push a little. So I bid adeau and started running at a 9 min/mile pace give or take. Caught up with some faster runners and ran with them a while. This is when I tripped over a huge tree root and did a nice face plant. Besides being emberassed I was only scratched up a bit. Of course people were falling all over the place because the leaves were covering the roots and you just couldnt help but trip up sometimes. I also started noticing I was starting to get a little fatigued. Still doign OK, but definitely was starting to hurt a little. Remember, I live in Houston. We have NO hills to train on except an incline on a treadmill. I finished my 2nd lap at about 5 hours. That was when I thought I would make 10 hours my goal time.

Lap 3

So on I went to lap 3. I hooked up with Ryan again and another guy naked Miles. Since the Ultra community is small, you tend to run into the same people at different races. Miles and Ryan had run together at other races. Now I was really starting to get tired. At about mile 30, I started using Ryan's race strategy to walk the hills and run the downhill and flat areas. Of course as a result I was slowing down and there was no way I was going to make a 10 hour finish time. So now I made it 10.5 hours. It's funny how you keep making deals with yourself as a race progresses. At the turnaorund I was seriously saying to myself, "Why am I doing this? I am an Ironman darnit! This shouldn't be no big deal!" So we hit the last turnaround at mile 37.5 and I was at the point where I know that I would not be having fun anymore.

Lap 4

With the final lap underway, I was really starting to fatigue and had some pain in my knees. This is pretty normal, you just fight through it and know that it will not be forever. I fell again and this time my water bottle got all filled with dirt and leaves. So now I had to rely on the water stations for liquid. I still had my bottles on my belt, but they were full of a thick paste subdstance called "Pereptuam" and you need water to drink along with it. (Lesson Three: Not all races have water stations every mile! Carry your own water for the long waits in between.) Ryan was still feel pretty good so at around mile 40 he took off and left Miles and I in our misery. He told me later that one of the reasons he picked up the pace was because he didn't have a flashlight and at our current pace it would be nightime in the middle of the texas woods. Fortunately both Miles and I had hip lights so we would be fine. At mile forty I started feeling pretty good because I know I would make the cut off time for sure and have plenty of time to spare. We slowed down more at dusk because even with the hip lights the ground was treacherous. With a mile to go I did my usual last burst of energy sprint. I always do this no matter what so that I feel like a real racer at the finishers chute and get extra cheered on by the crowd. I ran through the finish line at 11:01 hours. Don't ahve my official time yet so I might actually have made it in under 11 hours, but hey, for my first 50 miler I was pretty happy.

Post Race

I received my finishers medal and a finishers jacket. I headed over to the food tent and had a tiny bit of briskit and a hot dog. I am never hungry after a race for some reason. Then I headed to my car and drove two hours home. Dranka strawberry milk drink and some gatoraid. After getting home I showered and went right to bed for a few hours. Got up later and had two cups of ramen noodles and gatoraid. Then it was back to bed. I am very happy with the race and with a time of about 11 hours, I will do much better next year!

Race Day is Almost Here!

Well tomorrow I leave for Huntsville for the 50 mile ultra. I am required to get a light source if it is possible that I will still be running when it gets dark. Race starts around 7 AM and it gets dark around 5ish. That's 10 hours to do 50 miles. Definitely doable, but just in case I bought this cool led hip light. You can wear it on your body and it is light enough to light up the trail at night. VERY COOL!

I feel real rested and ready. More blogging tomorrow once I check out the race site and get my final race instructions. I am sure this will be a fun adventure!


Strength Training Today

Since I am doing my taper down for the race this weekend, I did some light weight training today. I usually perform resistance training at least twice a week. Even during race season you want to make sure you keep your core strong and can push the big chain ring on your bicycle. During the off season, I will work on my strength training more intensely.

When I am less than a week out of a race, I will keep the amount of weight used during my session to a much lower weight and perform the exercises with smooth controlled repetitions. This way I still get the wonderful burn, but lower my risk of injury considerably.

I still feel great and injury free.

Sunmart Race Taper Here I Come!

Well, just a week to go and I will be in Huntsville, Texas running the 50 mile Sunmart ultramarathon. This is a great race because it is off road and the scenery is wonderful! You basically do a 12.5 mile loop 4 times. The course goes around a lake and it is well attended and managed. I began my taper earlier in the week and its going pretty well. For those of you not familiar with racing terminology a taper is the process of reducing the mileage of your training in preparation for a race. This way your body is fully rested and ready to go. Different people taper differently. I do a long taper (2 weeks) and that seems to work well for me. Ran 10 miles yesterday at race pace (which is actually pretty slow compared to pros).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a wonderful, healthy and safe Thanksgiving! I am taking the day off and eating lots of food with my family. Remember it is ok to take a day off and rest. It recharges both physically and spiritually.

Preperation for the Sunmart 50 mile race in Hunstville, Texas

As some of you may know I am going to participate in a Ultramarathon on December 6th, in Huntsville, Texas. Yes this is the city where we have a huge prison and this is also where we execute those on death row. What is a Ultramarathon you say? Well here is the Wiki:

"An ultramarathon (also called ultra distance) is any sporting event involving running longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres (26.2188 mi).

There are two general types of ultramarathon events: those that cover a specified distance, and events that take place during specified time (with the winner covering the most distance in that time). The most common distances are 50 and 100 miles, or 50 and 100 kilometers. Other distances/times include double marathons, 24-hour races, and multiday races of 1000 miles or even longer. The format of these events and the courses covered are quite variable, ranging from single or multiple loops (some as short as a 400 meter track), to point-to-point road or trail races, to cross-country rogaines. Many ultramarathons, especially trail challenges, are characterized by severe course obstacles, such as inclement weather, elevation change, or rugged terrain. Many of these races are run on dirt roads or mountain paths, though some are run on paved roads as well. Usually, there are aid stations every five to fifteen km apart, where runners can replenish food and drink supplies or take a short break.

Timed events range from 6, 12, and 24 hours to 3 and 6 days (known as multi-day events). Timed events are generally run on a track or a short road course, often one mile or less."

Now the race I am in is a 50 mile race. I am hoping to get done in less than 10 hours. It's a trail run, so I expect my time to be pretty slow as I will be dodging boulders and maybe some wildlife!

Saturday I ran a leasurely 15 miles. Took 02:30:00, so not too bad. I have this great loop in my neighborhood that is exactly 3.2 miles (that's 5 km for you racing folk). Now I am in my taper (I'll blog about that another day), so the mileage is going down, down as the race gets closer. I practiced my nutrition and hydration and I think I am fairly ready.

I do need to buy some kind of headlamp this week, because the race likely will extend into the night and the race director stated that you must have some light source if you don't finish by nightfall.

Anyway, everyone have a great Monday and check back soon for another update!

Welcome to my site!

Hello everyone and I am so proud to announce that the site is now live and I look forward to interacting with everyone and letting you all know what I am up to. Keep checking back to see updates on my training progress as well as my efforts to raise funds for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)!