Category Archives: Gary

Thanksgiving Week 12 miler


This morning’s final long run was a big success.  I met my friend Tiffany and her husband on campus for a route I haven’t done yet.  We ran west to the Shoal Creek trail, connected to the Lake Trail for about 6 miles and then turned around to come back.  It was a hilly challenge but I enjoyed the company (we chatted about the loss of Hostess, basketball, school, Christmas break and the Austin marathon), beautiful temperatures and talk of what to eat afterwards for the last 3 miles – chocolate milk (mine, a mocha) and breakfast tacos of course.

12 miles of Thanksgiving.

Quickly becoming a post-run ritual. Especially with Tiffany and Brandon.

I would like to dub today the official start to my Thanksgiving week.  Yes, I’m aware Thanksgiving is only one day (this coming Thursday), and yes, that maybe I should have started this past Thursday.  But from today until next Saturday I’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving.

Really, it’s something I try to do daily.  Being gracious is such an important characteristic and I think it lends to a happier and more content lifestyle.  If you spend your time being thankful for what you have, you have less time to be upset about what you don’t have.  I also saw the quote somewhere

“What if you woke up today with only the things you said “thank you” for yesterday?”

Well, I wouldn’t have much.  So, join me.  Starting today (don’t wait until Thursday!) think of something that you’re thankful for.  Write it down if you want to.  It can be simple (the clothes on your body) or pretty profound (your relationship with someone in particular, a secure job etc.).

Today’s Thankful: My body.

Grateful for this running machine

And I’m not talking about in a vanity kind of way.  I mean all the way down to the intricate physiological systems I’m learning about in my classes.  I’m thankful these processes continue while I’m sleeping, studying, running, driving and all sorts of other things besides thinking about the rate of epithelial transport due to secondary active transport……I mean seriously, can you imagine if we had to think about existing?  Think about every heart beat and firing the SA node and the depolarization of the atria and ventricles…no way.

Thankful for the athleticism

I am also thankful for my healthy body.  Healthy meaning free of disease.  Free of famine.  Free of disability.  Healthy meaning fit and strong.  I am thankful for my legs that took me on twelve rolling miles of hills through the beautiful city of Austin this morning.  I’m thankful for my arms that allow me hoist and carry heavy loads of textbooks and backpacks.  I’m thankful it sticks with me when I put it through long runs, tough workouts and that it adapts to the difficulty to become even healthier.  I’m thankful through times of “unhealth” and bad decisions (sleepless nights, poor eating, stressful situations) it remains resilient and able to bounce back.

I think far too often in my industry there’s infinite comparison to other athletes or models that clients desire to look like.  There needs to be more time appreciating the athletes that we are, and are becoming.  It’s been a long path to this discovery, and it’s never easy to be satisfied with yourself (for one, people may perceive you as cocky) but let me tell you I have never been happier than when I’m satisfied with my body.

Someone will always be faster, stronger, thinner, fitter and more beautiful than you.  As soon as you can accept that, and be proud of your fitness or your body how it is, and the dedication you have to continue to improve, you will find insane amounts of peace and happiness with yourself.

It’s a delicate machine and I continue to be amazed the more I learn in my classes.  Take time today to appreciate yours, and make a commitment to take care of it – either through healthy eating, daily exercise (doesn’t have to be a twelve mile run everyday ;), a daily walk will do wonders).  It’s your home, your health and in a small way, your happiness.

What are you thankful for today?


Run for the Water 10 Miler


Today’s race took care of a few things – it helped me get my October half-marathon miles and was the second race of the Austin Distance Challenge I’m semi-committed to.

When my alarm clock went off at 5:45 am, Not quite hungover.  5 hours of sleep.  Hungry.   Chug water.   Make oatmeal.  Eat banana.  Bib.  Gary.  Shoes.  Long sleeves.

That was literally the thought process.  No complete sentences whatsoever.  I was surprised to be hungry since I devoured leftover pumpkin pancakes when I got home from yesterday’s music festival.  The music festival was an inopportune scheduling of several Texas Country bands that played all afternoon and much later into the night than I anticipated.  It resulted in more drinks consumed than I had planned (this didn’t worry me too much since last race’s PR was a result of tailgating the day before…) and standing for 6+ hours.  Not exactly textbook race prep.  But I’m no elite so I’m not about to pass up some live music to be “race ready”.


It was chilly in the warmup mile to the race and Lena and I discussed our goals for the race.  I was shooting for under 1:30 and she wanted to go sub-1:20.  I told her the key for both of us, due to the length of the race and the reputable hills, would be to start out slow and work on negative splits.  We arrived with 4 minutes to gun time so had to climb in the back of the corrals.  We slithered through as much of the crowd as we could but still ended up one minute behind the actual gun start time.  I think that was a good thing – it kept my first mile in the 9 minute average because of all the people and I was able to feel strong throughout the entire race.

The miles

A tour of the course for those interested 🙂  And you get to meet Gilbert, master of the Gazelles.

Split Time Distance Avg Pace
Summary 1:24:07.8 10.06 8:22
1 9:07.5 1.00 9:08
2 8:35.1 1.00 8:35
3 8:33.4 1.00 8:34
4 8:35.6 1.00 8:36
5 8:33.2 1.00 8:33
6 8:20.6 1.00 8:21
7 8:08.1 1.00 8:08
8 8:01.0 1.00 8:01
9 7:50.9 1.00 7:51
10 7:59.8 1.00 8:00
11 :22.6 0.06 6:42

I felt surprisingly strong and steady throughout the course.  The first 2 miles were pretty flat with the first mega-hill coming around mile 2.  There was another flat stretch and then 3 miles of rolling hills along the lake.  It was a beautiful neighborhood street with the lake to my left and gigantic lovely houses to my right.  Some hills were short and steep while others were longer and gentler.  I mostly tried to focus on running on my toes up the hills and keeping a steady pace with my feet and breaths.

The downhills came with the ups, and were just as tough.  Not in the same way though….my whole philosophy with downhills (and I repeat this to myself every time I encounter one) is to “lean into them and just go, let gravity to the work”.  Some of those downhills were so steep though.  I actually saw myself falling a few times (and given my recent running to injury ratio I wouldn’t have been surprised) as my legs got away from me but luckily it didn’t happen.

The concerts yesterday provided much of the music for the race.  I’m on a streak of running without headphones but I sang to myself the lines I could remember from yesterday’s festival.  The rest of the time I was lost in a blur of thought about running form, breathing rhythm, cowboys, school and sports (Colts and Longhorns won; Grizzlies start this week!).

We were out of the hills by mile 8 and the flat stretch of road was so beautiful.  The rising sun and cityscape in the background only enhanced the natural beauty of flat roads.  I felt strong still all the way to the end though noticed some knee pain creeping up on me, I think from the out of control downhills.  I finished strong with a time of 1:24:05 (official chip time), a PR by more than a minute!

Race Stats

Total 10 mile Finishers: 1928

My Place: 583 (30%)

Age group: 34/140 (24%)

Gender: 186/1048 (18%)


Between the 10k and this 10 miler I’ve done some pretty good chowin’ after races.  The Distance Challenge tent always has homemade cookies, breakfast tacos, Longhorn bars, pretzels and protein shakes (don’t care for their particular kind).  I grabbed as much as my hands could hold and found a place to sit with Lena.  A hot shower and a mega-nap awaited when I got home.  After I hung up today’s accomplishments on the fridge of course 😉

The most recent PR bib gets the front.

2 of 6 Distance Challenge Magnets!

Also – for my October 13.1, I counted the mile we ran to get to the course and then this evening ran 2.1 additional miles before dinner.

RRS 1st 5 Miler – 2012


I finally ventured out past the parkways to one of my favorite lunch spots yesterday – Cheffie’s.  Normally at a restaurant, I find one dish that I order everytime but at Cheffie’s I have trouble picking one dish. This time I went for an old favorite that I had sort of neglected for a while.

The Traditional Spinach Salad.

Mmm Spinach.

I like to eat the spinach leaves first and save all the toppings for last – on this particular salad anyway.  It had a spinach base with candied pecans, goat cheese, bacon, hard boiled eggs and red onions.  This is a very decadent salad but I definitely enjoyed it – especially the combination of creamy, sweet and salty.

The best for last.

Tour de Memphis: Food Edition – YoLo

Happy Girls

I had to ditch the plans to go downtown to the new pizza place for dinner and instead joined some friends for food on the patio of Young Avenue Deli.  I had  a beer and a hummus appetizer plate – not my usual pizza pre-race food but I was ok with that.  The weather was great and I love sitting outside in Midtown.

I made up for the lack of pre-race pizza by adding Yolo to the agenda.  Sometimes on nights before long runs I’ll grab a cup of fro yo but I’m not sure I’ve ever done it before a race – now I have!

Heaven in a cup.

Tour de Memphis: Fitness Edition – RRS First Miler

I love to race when I’m in town, and often schedule visits to Memphis around running races.  I’d have to say this morning’s five miler in Bartlett is my least favorite Memphis race but it was a perfect morning.  The temperatures were definitely not August-like – more Octoberish.  And that is a welcome change.  I rode with Russ to register early and since I knew I’d be awake for 90+ minutes before a 30+ minute run, I ate a Nature Valley granola bar.

I ran this course twice last year in this same series – the Road Race Series – put on by the Memphis Runner’s Track Club (if you live in Memphis and you run, you should absolutely consider doing it) and I remembered the course being very boring (in the sense that we’re running through an unfamiliar neighborhood) and very zig zaggy.  Lots of turns.  I did not remember the ups and downs of the first couple of miles.  My PR on this course last year (and for the 5 mile distance) was 39something (you can tell I’m not a real runner, I don’t remember my PRs…) and although I always shoot for a PR, today I really just wanted to stick to a tempo pace of 8:15 and try to focus on monitoring my watch.

I did very well on the first 3 miles – staying at under an 8 minute pace and backing off as my speed crept up into the low 7s (it’s very easy to be swept away into the flow of things).  Somewhere in mile 4 I started to get a side stitch, which I blame on a few things.  1 – my lack of pizza the night before  2 – my addition of Yolo the night before and 3 – the granola bar I ate on the way to the race.  I normally don’t eat before runs and I think my stomach didn’t like the food in there.  I stopped for a quick bit to stretch it out (literally about 3 seconds) while I grabbed a sip of water and went on to the finish.  Here’s Gary’s report:


Avg Pace
Summary 40:12.9 5.06 7:57
1 7:51.8 1.00 7:52
2 7:45.6 1.00 7:46
3 7:44.1 1.00 7:44
4 8:04.5 1.00 8:05
5 8:22.3 1.00 8:22
6 :24.6 0.06 6:31

I’m very happy with my early negative splits and my overall pace.  I clearly need to work on my tempo-pace endurance to help me keep a sub-8 in the final miles.

And I would like to send a BIG CONGRATS out to Becca and Jen who both had incredible personal bests this morning – I was so happy to be there for those, and am looking forward to a celebratory drink 🙂

Tour de Memphis: Food Edition – post-race.

I made plans to meet Russ and his family at Celtic for brunch but we weren’t going to be eating for a couple of hours after the race finished so I grabbed a Mocha (2% milk and half the pumps of chocolate (2)) from Starbucks and spent some quality time on one of my favorite things in the southern world – the porch swing.

View from the swing.

Race feet.

We enjoyed brunch on the patio at Celtic.  I’ve spent plenty of time on that patio but had never had their brunch and it was delicious.  I ordered the vegetable omelette stuffed with cheese, asparagus, tomatoes, onions and mushrooms and a side of soda bread.  There was a celebratory bloody mary on the side too.  It was delicious post-race food and wonderful company and atmosphere.

Hard-earned brunch.

Now I think I’ll return to the porch swing until dinner and drinks at a very important stop – Alchemy :)!  It appears I’m crossing things right off my goodbye list, what I haven’t shared yet is the rapid rate at which things are being added – including an extra day to my Memphis itinerary (thanks Russ and Princess).