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3.12 miles in 29:21 @ 9:25 pace and 172/194 bpm for 443 calories

Early Saturday morning, Phil and I drove way south (i.e. south of I-635!) to run the 2008 Jogger Egg Nog’r 5K.  The race is a Dallas tradition, typically run in cold weather, and the big draw is the three different types of egg nog served at the finish line: regular, with whiskey, and with rum. If you don’t like egg nog anyway, drinking it at the end of a race hardly seems appealing. But if you are an egg nog fan, you’re probably like most people and still a bit skeptical—who wants to drink a thick, creamy beverage after a hard run?  Well, I love egg nog, and now I can say definitively that I love it even more after a race.

It was not particularly cold when Phil and I arrived, but a huge crowd had already gathered, including a junior-high boys cross-country team in full uniform and seriously warming up.  Phil and I jogged for a half-mile or so to get loose, laughed at the guy wearing nothing but a huge cardboard Christmas present (he was fast!), and lined up to start.  The race itself was relatively uneventful. Phil and I ran together until the very end, where he really pushed the last 100 yards or so and I couldn’t catch up.

After the race, I had three plastic cups of egg nog (1 regular, 2 with rum), a banana, and a cup of gatorade. When I was drinking my egg nog, another runner commented about how he could never drink egg nog after a run, and we joked about it a bit.  Later, when Phil and I were walking back to our car, that other runner (Phil, do you remember his name?) chased us down (“Hey. Hey! Hi guys!”) and persistently engaged in conversation the whole way (“Yeah, I work for Mary Kay, and they’re really into running there. Do you guys run with your coworkers? Really? Interesting!”).

I’d definitely run the Jogger Egg Nog’r again.  It was a good end-of-season race and fun to run it with Phil!


5.69 miles in 1:05:21 @ 11:29 pace and 152/170 bpm for 897 calories

One of the most important muscle groups for endurance athletes is the heart and lungs—the muscles that define aerobic capacity.  Simply put, aerobic capacity is your body’s ability to transport the necessary amount of oxygen to your muscles for them to operate efficiently for long periods of time.  Aerobic capacity is also called “base” for short and is often referred to as an endurance athlete’s “engine.”

The thing about growing your aerobic capacity, also called “base training,” is that unlike other sports which require high-intensity weightlifting or sprinting or other workouts, base training is a slow and grueling activity where you purposefully keep your heart rate low for extended periods of time.  Mark Allen, six-time Ironman World Champion in the 90’s, wrote a great article where he describes the base-training regimen he used at the start of each season: “During those first few months of training, I would literally have to walk up even the easy hills on my runs to keep my heart rate from going too high…”  That’s right, the Michael Jordan of triathlon walked up hills during run training for months at a time before going on to win one of the world’s toughest endurance races six times—including a five-peat!

What I’ve found is that base training requires a great deal of patience.  Why?  Most athletes love to train, and the natural inclination is to get out there after a day or two off and really push.  But if you want to go race an Olympic triathlon that requires you to exercise for three hours straight, or a half-Ironman for six hours, the last thing you need to do is train at top speed.  You must have the discipline to watch your heart rate and put in the miles, and you have to enjoy slow and steady progress.

Today, for me that meant running a bit over five miles at 11+ minute pace (very slow!) to keep my average heart rate under 160.  You’ll notice in my summary line at the top of each post I list two “bpm” (beats per minute) numbers—the first is my average heart rate and the second is my maximum heart rate for the session.  You’ll notice that the the slower I run, the lower my average heart rate.  I don’t stare at my watch the entire run so I don’t hit my exact heart rate target (today was a bit too slow for example) but I get close enough to train my base and hopefully grow my “engine” to where I can run longer and longer races.

6.22 miles in 1:13:12 @ 11:46 pace and 148/163 bpm for 904 calories

Maybe it was the constant Facebook updates from my sister Debbie about running in the bitter cold up in Minneapolis.  Maybe it was that I wanted to see how warm my cold-weather running gear could keep me.  Or maybe it was just the urge I had to get out and run.  But on Tuesday morning I ran a little over 6 miles in about 27-degree weather.  It was cold but I warmed up and actually felt fine after about 15 minutes.  Because of all the ice on the sidewalks, I ran the majority of the run on the grass, which definitely slowed me down.  But I really didn’t care about maintaining my pace—I was much more worried about slipping and so I deliberately took it easy.

I wrote that I felt fine for most of the run, which is not entirely true. There was one part of me, which will remain nameless, that actually got cold enough to cause me a bit of pain during the run and substantial pain as I thawed out.  Why didn’t anyone tell me about this common male running problem before I tried my first below-freezing run?  Luckily I recovered 100% and I’ll be adding an extra strategic layer of clothing the next time I run in the cold.

9.53 miles in 1:45:00 @ 11:01 pace and 159/176 bpm for 1,419 calories

I had two sources of inspiration for tonight’s run.  First, I watched the Ironman Triathlon World Championships on NBC before my run, and I got fired up seeing Craig Alexander run down his competition to win.  Running is my worst of the three sports and I have no chance or intention of actually winning anything in triathlon, but it’s still awesome to see the top athletes perform.

Second and far more importantly, I found out last week that Nelson Montalvo, a friend and colleague from Sapient and Bright Corner, died in a traffic accident at the age of 33.  He was a talented and passionate technologist and a kind-hearted guy, and I personally know at least a dozen people that will miss him like I will.  God taking him from us so early has me convinced that there are some hard-core coding challenges to work out up in Heaven. Seriously though, I’m trying to stay as light-hearted as possible about it because that’s what Nelson would have wanted, but it’s really hard to understand how it could have been his time to go.  Nelson and I were the closest when we were working together, and I know it’s selfish of me but I really wanted to work with him at least one more time.  So today I ran without music and spent my 1:45:00 remembering Nelson and pushing myself just a little harder.

7.06 miles in 1:18:25 @ 11:07 pace and 160/173 bpm for 1,059 calories

Well, so much for my running streak idea.  I just don’t think I’m cut out for it, especially in this cold “off-season” and with my sister advising me to steer clear of it in the comments of my last post.  Today’s run comes four days after my previous one, but happily with a much less sore body at the end of it.  We’ll see how well I keep on schedule between today and the half marathon.

9.09 miles in 1:41:30 @ 11:10 pace and 156/170 bpm for 1,371 calories

I went on my longest run yet (105 feet longer according to my GPS watch!) but unlike my last 9-miler, I haven’t been running as much recently and I definitely felt it.  By the eighth mile my right knee started to get sore and even after I had showered and stretched I was sort of limping up and down the stairs.  By the end of the next day my knee was fine, but it reminded me that if I want to keep increasing my distance up until my January half-marathon then I need to squeeze in more short runs to keep my body conditioned.  With more people I know setting running-streak goals for themselves, perhaps I need to consider running every day, even if it’s just a short jog up the street and back.


  • Highest weight: 228 pounds
  • Lowest weight: 187 pounds
  • Current weight: 216 pounds
  • Started training: March 17, 2008
  • First Sprint: June 26, 2008
  • First Olympic: May 17, 2009
  • First Half: TBD 2011
  • Longest swim: 2.05 miles
  • Longest bike: 63.57 miles
  • Longest run: 13.33 miles