Monday, February 23, 2009

Run Wild Half Marathon !!!

Few weeks back one of my friend from Rice talked me into running "Run Wild Half Marathon". I was happy to see few BCRR members (Kathy Mahon, Lara Allen, Cathy McGlohn, Rosie Schmandt, Deborah Touchy, Fred Steves, Hardeep Thind, Bonnie Jo Barron and of course me) running this race. Hardeep also ran Park to Park race the day before. This was one of the smaller races and less than 300 people participated in it. John Phillips was helping organize the race and his heater was much appreciated before the start of the race.

The race course consisted of three 4.37 mile loops on Allen Pkwy with few under passages making it nothing but flat. However, the weather conditions were perfect for racing and small running crowd made the experience much more fun. Overall, the race was very well managed. They had water/Gatorade stations every two miles. The "5th" mile marker was placed incorrectly because I ran mile 4-5 in 9:15 and 5-6 in 5:14.

I had failed to run 3:30 in Houston marathon and I went into this race to attempt 1:38 or less. Good weather conditions and plenty of rest/slacking after Houston marathon made sure my legs felt fresh and I ran my PR of 1:34:41. Surprisingly, I won my first age group award. Bonnie Jo Barron and Fred Steves also won their respective age group awards. After race party was fun with some food, hot/cold beverages (No beer) and free complimentary chair massage.

If half marathon is your favorite distance then this might be your race to set a PR. Look out for this race next year.

All photos: courtesy of

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why I missed the Park to Park 5 miler ...

Plane Ticket: $294, Bed and Breakfast: $150/night, Running trails in Sedona, AZ at daybreak: Priceless

K. Mahon

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fall marathons… NYC, Chicago marathon registration open.

I know most of you are just recovering from Houston, I still am, but it’s not too early to think of running your next one in the fall. The famous destination or event marathons that I’d include are Boston, NYC, Chicago, Marine Corps(D.C.), LA, Big Sur, Disney, San Diego. Of those NYC, Chicago and Marine Corps are run in the fall. They’re spectacles in themselves. There have large field of runners, packed spectator lined courses, and interesting locales. Plus, there’s more than just the race. D.C. our capital or NYC, the Big Apple, and Chicago the Second City all have some terrific sights to see.

While Houston is big and things are done bigger in Texas, Chicago and NYC with over 40,000 runners are really BIG. For Chicago or NY they’re maybe millions of spectators lining the course. I’ve done NY and Chicago and they’re great. I’ve run some sleepy marathons recently with barely a soul watching which is fine if you like running for hours and only thinking of running. If you like people cheering you on early or in the middle when you realize there still are 10 more miles to go or at the end where you need every bit of encouragement then these races are just the tonic. Both NY and Chicago have you run culturally diverse neighborhoods where the faces and storefronts change by the mile. Let’s not forget pizza. NY thin slice crust and Chicago style with it’s thick crust. Go do Marine Corps and make a trip to Air and Space or have a talk with your Congressman or maybe Pres. Obama.

For those of you looking to complete their bucket list of marathons, registration is now open for these races. Chicago registration is now open and NYC just did this week, Marine Corps open a little later Apr. 1. There is a lottery for NY and Marine Corps and Chicago stays open until it fills up. The one downside is that the prices have been going steadily up. NYC and Chicago registration are $150 and you’ll have to find accommodations at a hefty price unless you have a cousin Vinny(check Facebook and maybe find an old college classmate).

For those of you who are more worldly and wealthy you might consider doing Berlin in September with a group of BCRR-ers led by Brenda Gonzales.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wallowing, But Not in the Mire

The Buffalo Wallow was held on Saturday February 7th. This is one of my favorite races for several reasons: 1) It is different; it is a cross country course that has a variety of terrain, 2) Because it is a cross-country course, it can be affected by the weather. There have been times when the race is run through large mud puddles which can be very difficult to negotiate as you run up a hill. But that can be fun!! There have been times when the weather is damp and cold. Yesterday, the weather was perfect, probably around 60 degrees at the start. However, because the weather has been so dry, the ground was very hard, almost like concrete. I noticed my ankles were sore this morning.

Another reason why I, personally, like the race is that I run more competitively when there are hills and varying terrain on the course. I don't usually beat anyone who normally beats me in a race, but I get much closer.

For some reason, while running the race, I got a bit nostalgic. I realized while running in a pack with people like Mark Fraser, Richard Verm, Scott Bounds and some other non-BCRR runners like Roger Boak, Victor Aguirre, John Polisini and John Shepperd, that I had been running these races for many years and that I'm usually in the pack with these same people. I think it is cool that each of us have stayed relatively competitive together over the last several years.

I have run this race enough times to know you have to pace yourself. A lot of people run up the hills hard and eventually burn themselves out and struggle to the end. I felt good that I had paced myself well enough to finish strongly and even beat couple of people I normally wouldn't.
Interestingly, I received an award for allegedly finishing second in my age group. However, there was something very fishy. It was hard to hear the awards announcer, but it appeared that he called out two set of awards in my 50-54 category. Sure enough, when I looked at the results, I did not finish second; I finished seventh. This is a very competitive field.
Now, however, it's back to normal road races for awhile and I will be watching some of these guys from further behind!!