Posted On September 1, 2009 By In The Phish Bowl And 612 Views

September 2009

TRIVIA QUESTION: What is the life expectancy of a red blood cell?

Local runner EDDIE “FAST EDDIE” PASCACIO died of cancer Sunday, Aug 23rd. He is survived by his wife, JENNI, also a runner. “I miss him immensely,” she wrote. “It is with a very heavy heart that I must deliver the news that my companion, best friend and soul mate went to be with our Father in Heaven last night. I still cannot believe he is gone… Though I am constantly reminding myself to celebrate what we had as I know it was really special. I am so thankful for every moment of the time we shared though I wish it could have been much longer. We always thought we would be together for a very long time and would pass together just like in the movie, ‘The Notebook.’ He is the love of my life, my soul mate and he will always be in my heart. I will miss him every day of my life. Eddie is in a better place where the suffering has ended and where he can have eternal happiness. I look forward to the day that I can join him again and be by his side. I am sure he was greeted by his grandparents, family and friends who have passed before him and that he loves dearly. Thank you all for the love, support and prayers. We love you all and are so thankful for each and every one of you.” Eddie, who grew up in Dallas, was known as a fun loving distance runner who was offered a spot with Dallas’ pro soccer team, The Sting, before the sport of running found him. It was not uncommon to find him with a carton of chocolate milk and a box of powdered donuts after long or hard morning runs. Close friend and running partner, SCOTT HUGGINS, who trained with Eddie for their first marathon, commented, “Those were fond memories. I tell you what, you run 80-90 miles a week for an entire summer, all with the same person, you certainly get to know him in ways that are unexplainable. I would go months without talking to him. But once we connected it’s like we were never apart, at all. This one is really hard for me.” FRANCES MCKISSICK wrote, “Very tough news..So very sorry;” LARRY PAO, “Eddie was the real deal and everyone will miss him.” DENNIS CHUPP said, “Fast Eddie was a good friend of mine and I will miss him a lot. We used to run relays together and hang out after foot races, he was a fun guy. Keep running, Fast Eddie!!” BYRON BENOIT commented briefly, “I will always remember Eddie, Scott Huggins, and my trip to Colorado for that half marathon. Run on, brother Eddie.”…. ….Local swim great and coach, JOHN UNDERBRINK, 51, died on Aug 2 from a heart attack. From the Dallas Aquatic Master’s web site: “Swimming became a passion for John in high school that continued in college. He did not achieve his best swimming times, however, until he was 25, while coaching and swimming for the local YMCA. This led him directly into Masters swimming where he hadn’t stopped working out for more than 30 years. In college he coached age group teams to put himself through school, but his heart has always been with Masters Swimming. With his wife Charlene, he formed and coached his own Masters team from 1983 to 1986, then got a ‘real’ job designing toys. John has always coached Masters Swimming a few days per week and very much enjoyed coaching Dallas Aquatic Masters at Greenhill in the mornings.” Bobby Patten commented, “John had a positive impact on many masters swimmers, both as a coach and a swimmer. A gifted coach and a wonderful person, he will be missed.” The funeral was held Aug 10 at St. Joseph in Richardson. “In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The John Underbrink Memorial Fund. Please make checks payable to Charlene Underbrink, 1901 Drexel Dr., Richardson, TX 75081”…. ….A bike ride to remember cyclist CHRIS HIPP took place on Aug 6, at White Rock Lake. About 100 cyclists participated in the bike ride around the lake to share stories about the great cyclist who used to live here with LORRAINE SNEED. Sneed was in attendance, along with Richardson Bike Mart’s JIM and RHONDA HOYT, DAVID RICHARDSON, ROBERT REVEAL, MAX MILEY, and many stalwarts in the local cycling community. Hipp had been in a race while staying in San Francisco recently, when he fell, hit his head, and died. BILL SHORT organized the informal ride on short notice out of respect for his friend…. ….The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported a 59 year-old man was struck head-on last on Aug 15 by a drunk driver. The 27 year-old driver drifted across the street and hit the cyclist. RONNIE MONROE KELLER’s body struck the windshield, went over the top of, and crashed through the back window before coming to rest partially lodged in the back seat of the car, police said. The cyclist ended up lodged in the back seat, bleeding to death. Police found the critically injured cyclist in the back seat of a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier. Police arrested 27-year-old VINCENT PAUL RIOJAS, who was hiding under a parked vehicle in the area. He was charged with intoxication manslaughter, resisting arrest, and failure to stop and render aid. He was also wanted on an unrelated felony warrant. He remained in the Grand Prairie Jail on $150,000 bond…. ….Triathlete and TNT-Tuesday Night Track runner TERRENCE TIPPITT crashed on his bike Aug 22 so hard after hitting a pot hole on Winsted, he flipped over his bike, cracked his helmet, received a concussion, broke some ribs, separated his AC joint (shoulder), “and has road rash everywhere.” “Oh, and a black eye!” his wife, Emily said. It was thought he also broke his neck and punctured his lungs. He had just finished going over the same section of road while completing a 75 mile bike ride. Terrence had a bad bike wreck during the 2007 Tour d’Paris when a dog came at him. His wife responded with the reasoning of a rhetorical statement, “Why running is better than biking! He’s just thinking it’s a day or two. It has sunk in. He’ll be out of the pool [Dallas Aquatics Masters] awhile and I hope off the bike forever!!! He’s OK, so long as he doesn’t try to move.”…. ….Distance runner RITA PALACIOS was driving back from Austin on Saturday, Aug 22, and had a nasty crash. According to friend MICHAEL SMITH, “An axel came off a trainer in front of her, she swerved to miss it, and went off the side of the road, a 40-foot drop. She broke both bones in her left arm. Yesterday they did surgery and put pins in her arm and in a cast. Left knee is going to have reconstructive surgery soon and has a boot on her right foot. They care flighted her to Temple. She was unconscious, so she missed all the excitement.” Rita very often ran in the morning at White Rock Lake with DAVE DOZIER’s group…. ….DARLENE HESS, who was hit by a car while cycling says “Good x-rays yesterday. [Aug 13].” She was released from the back and neck braces, and is once again allowed to drive. “FREEDOM! But certainly with caution.” She is encouraged to do water aerobics (“anything in the pool would be good. Doctor said I should start ‘USING’ my back as much as possible as that is how I will get my flexibility back”), and walk before starting to run, again. “I’ll try the bike when I am emotionally ready.”…. ….Local distance runner ASHLEY POWELL is leaving her position with the marketing group working with Runner’s World and Running Times. She’s joining ERIC and SHARON LINBERG in a new sports marketing group handling sponsorship for races called DFW RUNS. The company had a booth at the 2008 DWRM. They plan to be at the DRC Half. Meanwhile, Ashley is running 20-25 miles a week for fun. However, she is signed up for the 40 mile High in the Sky ultra run in West Virginia, June 2010. Known to have a penchant for pool running, she says she hasn’t been in months. She has also started rowing, and added weights to her routine. “I’m working in running, but I’m really not, I live in a unique world.”…. ….WHITE ROCK LAKE TRAIL PUBLIC MEETING. You are invited to a public meeting regarding the White Rock Lake East Side Trail Designon Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. at Winfrey Point 950 E. Lawther Road.” Reginald V. Hurd, District Manager, Dallas Park and Recreation Department (214) 670-8885…. ….The Dallas Parks and Recreation Dept. have raised their fees for running participants to use White Rock Lake from $1 to $2 per runner, a 100% increase. Rental fees for facilities have also gone up, despite Winfrey Point being declared substandard by the Dallas Fire Department for not meeting fire codes. (A wedding reception was recently closed down this summer after fire marshals cited the building’s fire hazards.) Renters of the facilities have the responsibility of the building’s operations, including bathrooms. The city is not held accountable for such break downs of equipment. The results and concerns should be obvious. With less people using the lake, Dallas’ reputation as a “fat” city could be furthered. With the increase of facility fees, there will be fewer events and opportunities for the surrounding public to take advantage of White Rock Lake. The increase of fees is supposed to filter down to better services, facilities, and friendlier personal. But that remains to be seen…. ….Prior to the Cooper Summer Sprint Triathlon in McKinney, July 25, DAVID and AMY BALIS made a bet as to who would have the fastest second transition, known as “T2.” It is the time when a triathlete leaves his bike and begins his run. The loser had to spring for dinner. Amy was no competition to David’s superior swimming. But he can also bike and run, placing 2nd overall in the triathlon that day. So T2 became the bet between them. Both had to change out of biking shoes to running shoes. Amy’s time of 58 seconds was just a tad slow to David’s 30 seconds. David won the bet but both said dinner at Abacus was great. Another bet continues for Blackland Triathlon, Sept 7, in Plano. David’s 69 yr old dad will also be doing the race to keep everyone honest. “It will be a Balis family event,” the couple said. Both kids, Amy, David, his dad, plus David’s sister is flying in from NJ…. ….Another couple, TODD and KRISTEN WARNER CODISH bet dinner over who would have the faster time at the Prairie Man Off-Road Triathlon, Aug 16. “Winner! Winner! Chicken dinner!” screamed and joked Todd, 48. “I had a lot of anti-inflammatories. But more inflammation than anti-inflammatories!” Todd won 1:39:29 over Kristen’s, 29, time of 1:48:15 total time. She had him by almost a minute when they began the bike leg. But Todd beat her by 6 minutes on the bike alone. On the run, Kristen gave up another 4 minutes. Kristen won her age group, while Todd placed 3rd in his…. …“Nice looking home inside, back yard was a bit boring. Neighborhood was weak looking, too. Tell the owner great job on the two Ironmans!” Those were the comments left behind on July 26, by a prospective buyer of a house Ironman TRACY CLEVELAND is selling. The potential buyer saw two pictures of his Ironman Triathlon finish that Tracy left hanging up…. ….SOPHIE RUTENBAR, originally from Richardson, 25, swam the English Channel in 14 hrs., 33 min. on July 14. Water temperature was a relatively balmy 62 degrees. In her preparation, Sophie, who now lives in England, contacted DAM Coach LIANA MCSTRAVICK to swim around Lake Ray Hubbard for a few hours. Liana trained ANNE SCHUSTER to cross the 23 mile channel between England and France, Aug 26, 2007, in 11:53, with a water temperature of 58. Anne was The Phast Times News feature story in the Feb 2008 issue…. ….JOAN STEPLER, 45, realized her dream of qualifying for the World Championship Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon this coming October. She did it at the Lake Placid, NY Ironman race, July 28, by placing 4th in her age group. Her time for the 2.4 mile swim (1:24:04), 112 mile bike (6:06:44), and 26.2 mile run (4:00:14) was 11:41:26. “All my lucky stars aligned,” she said. “I pulled it off.” Her friend, and mentor GINGER TURNER SPANSEL was equally excited. “She did it! She dug in to pass one more girl in her age group in the last mile.” This is her third year in triathlons, and only second Ironman distance race. She did the Canadian Ironman last year. Athletes usually have to wait many years over many races to qualify. “I’m really over whelmed by the thought of it all right now, but after a short recovery period I’ll have to get my head on again and train, train, train!” Good competition, a tough course, hot, humid, and windy weather conditions made her victory sweet. “Even the veterans said it was one of the toughest years on the bike. Many suffered, including some top contenders. I raced with a plan and stuck to it. On the last turn-around of the marathon, about a mile out from the finish, I saw a woman in my age group in front of me and told myself to go get her. That’s exactly what I did and she didn’t even challenge me. I raced on to the finish not looking back to see if she was chasing me, and beat her by one minute. And that was exactly what I needed.” “I’m just so proud of her,” Ginger said. “You know how it is. You talk someone into giving the sport a try and they just excel at it. She started swimming with me in February 2007 and had never done laps in her life.” Joan placed 2nd in her age group at the Kansas 70.3 Half Ironman Triathlon last month. “I knew she was going to have a good Ironman. At Kansas, she got off the bike and ran 7:39 miles for the half marathon! It’s just been two years since she did her first triathlon.” Joan lives in McKinney where Ginger used to live. Ginger now lives in the Carolina’s. “I sure miss my friend.  She’s the best friend I’ve ever had. When we talked just after she finished, she asked me if she should take it [the Ironman slot] if she got one. I said ‘You HAVE to. You never know when you’ll have this chance again.’”…. ….DAVID RICHARDSON, 42, was also at the Lake Placid Ironman. But he wasn’t as happy. “Good until mile 90,” he said. Then he got a flat tire, and a bad call on penalty. “It cost me about 18 minutes on the bike. Then several port-o-let visits early in run made it a long walk. Great town, and course. Just not my day.” Dave’s times were 1:00:22 (swim), 5:35:38 (bike), 5:20:05 (marathon), for a total of 12:05:56…. ….Tiny, little MOLLY TUCKER, 13, won another race overall at the Race Against Hunger 5K on Aug 8. Her time of 20:30 was off her PR of 18 minutes set a year ago. LOWELL COPPEL, 36, who was second in his age group, barely beat her by 8 seconds. Her next female competitor was Master’s winner, ELIZABETH RUDY, 51. An interesting note of a trend we’ve seen and documented here at The Phast Times News is, there were more women then males in the race. Women out numbered the guys, 92-79. Wake up guys…. ….DAN HALL was feeling well trained on Aug 8 when he won his age group at the McKinney Historical 5K and the Let’s Party 5K, also in McKinney. Besides both being on the same morning, they were both in McKinney to make his traveling easier. Dan’s times were slightly a minute apart. DAVID HARTWIG captured hearts and imaginations when he raced in five local 5K’s in 1997. He was subsequently featured in The Dallas Morning News and Runner’s World…. ….THE DAYLIGHT TO DARKNESS 5 MILER began despite some startup problems, Aug 19, 7 PM. KEN ASHBY and MARCUS GRUNEWALD made sure the course was marked. With Race Director JAMES THURSTON standing alongside, DAVID HARTWIG started the race. “It’s not a race,” David pointed out. “There are no permits, no awards.” But there were results. Problems began when the Dallas Parks and Rec Dept didn’t return phone calls for permits to hold the race. DP&R director JILL BEAM was unavailable for comment. Though only 30 people raced, volunteers were in place, and results were done by finishers handing in index cards. A banner over a truck signaled the finish line, all to keep the race alive. Hartwig called it “The Unofficial Bandit Daylight To Darkness.” “It was basically a really well organized and timed training run with results,” David said. “One of the very few evening races. We intend to do it next year.”…. ….At the Let’s Party 5K, Aug 7, in McKinney, former pro runner KYLE HEFFNER competed, and won the Master’s title in 18:59. Kyle has run 2:10 for the marathon and was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team. He is known as having one of the closest finishes in the history of the Boston marathon…. ….Master’s runner/triathlete BILL SHIRER missed most of the spring with a torn Achilles that needed surgery. But he’s been able to get back on his bike to train once again, hoping to enter some of the local runs in the fall. His wife, CHRISTINE SHIRER, is training for the Iron Star Half Ironman Triathlon, Nov 8, in Conroe…. ….HELP WANTED: The Texas Club is looking for a spin instructor, and treadmill running instructor to fill in. Contact Regina Coreil, 800 Main Street, Dallas, 214-761-6309, CK Sports is looking for part time help in their store. Contact Connie Kelly 8880 State Hwy 121, #164, McKinney, 75070, 214-383-0088, Cooper Fitness Center at Craig Ranch is looking for Running Pro. Contact Kelly Warrington, 7910 Collin McKinney Parkway, McKinney, 75070, 214-383-1004,…. ….JOHN TRIMBLE went for a run while in CO. He was vacationing with his family. Distant storm, sprinkle, deluge, lightening, covered face, lay in a ditch, ran to a barn…. ….MEREDITH FOSTER was halted during her training run in Hawaii recently due to a hemp festival. She wasn’t sure why the street and sidewalks were blocked with people just standing around, until a police officer explained the problem. Rather than hang around a while herself, Meredith turned and headed back…. ….Local champion Master’s runner SHEILA NATHO is getting into shape for the fall race season. “I hope to be somewhat in shape by September. I ran 20:12 [Aug 6] in Philly on a course with one huge hill and it was about 75 degrees. So, I am getting there.”…. ….TEAM AZTECA now has a web site, “Vinny and I are working on it and filling up all the info,” says Jose Castro. “This is our thing and I hope we get all kinds of pics and results for the fall, The Trot, The Half a few short ones and of course the Dallas White Rock Marathon.”… ….RON ROSSETTI is working hard for the Relay for Life. He may sign up for the Ultra-Centric in November, too, “If I can get my miles up. I can raise a boatload of money for the American Cancer Society, under the name ‘Team Guido.’ I’m not going to use my name anywhere other than Team Guido. I want it to be about hope, about overcoming the odds, about a good cause. NOT about me. He can be reached at:…. ….The Red River Classic bike ride in Sherman, Aug 15, had the cyclists do multiple loops of the Austin College track before getting on a sidewalk to start the bike ride. The track was being torn up. Either this was a bad need for a photo op for the organizers, or inexperienced organizers with a poorly thought out ride start plan.

Trivia Question: What is the life expectancy of a red blood cell?

Answer: A red blood cell lasts 120 days, according to medical web sites. This is important because any training one does will fade as the red blood cells die off. Simply put, any training you did in January is totally gone by April. However, some have suggested they are only good for 72 days, meaning you only have 10 weeks between workouts before the body loses the training you did. The good news, two million new red blood cells (new recruits ready to be trained) are made each day. Red blood cells are filled with hemoglobin. These cells are the principle means of delivering oxygen, taking it up in the lungs, and bringing it to the body’s needed tissues (for an athlete, the muscle). They also remove the carbon dioxide wastes that result from metabolism.

“Now go into the world in peace, have courage, hold on to what is good. Honor all men, be just, and show kindness. Strengthen the faint hearted, support the weak, help the suffering. Love, share, and believe. And may grace always be with you.” Stay active and I’ll see you in The Phish Bowl. THE BEE KEEPER

Fast Eddie: An Appreciation

I’ve made a little bit of space, here, for a friend of mine I lost this weekend. A little bit of space for a little guy with a big smile and a bigger heart who I never got to feature in The Phast Times News, though he deserved it, or run with him enough.

I can’t get his face out of my mind. I see him laughing and pensive, between thoughts. Eddie Pascacio was a nice guy. He was kind to everyone around him, even if they treated him bad or said something that hurt. He was very humble. Few knew he was asked to play professional soccer, here in Dallas, no less. …I miss him already.

I can’t remember how I met him. Eddie was always there, running with us. I was training Scott Huggins for his first marathon in Chicago ‘98, when Eddie joined in. I thought it would be good for Scott to have a training partner to share the weight of the miles and fatigue.

Eddie was good. Real good. He could take a beating and never really told you how hard it was on him. His black thick hair and olive skin from Sicilian ancestors would give no quarter. Only later would it leak out of him as part of another story. It was by accident that he let it slip that after our 4 am runs at Norbuck Park for tempo runs or Flag Pole Hill for hill repeats, his usual breakfast was junk food. A carton of chocolate milk, and an entire box of white powdered donuts, almost daily, and he was still losing weight.

He did his first 100 mile week under me then, alongside Scott. It was brutal. But the two of them were bonded at the hip, and were like two soldiers preparing for, not battle, but the whole war. They were sore and tired, and questioned their own sanity as well as mine. But they wanted more of it, whatever it was, apparently living by Friedrich Nietzsche’s quote, “That which doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” They would have drank battery acid if I asked them.

Eddie was generally quiet, never the center of attention, but always part of what was going on; the good, the bad, or the ugly. He met Jenni when I was coaching both. They married a few years later and continued to run and stay active. He doted on her, and she on him. He loved their dogs, talking about them a lot.

Eddie recently started coming back to TNT-Tuesday Night Track again, after many years off. He wanted to be in shape again. His email address was “Run Fast Ed.” He was one of the stalwarts of the workouts, 10 years before. He willingly sacrificed his own workouts to help some others I was coaching, who, because of his humility, couldn’t really appreciate the talent that he was, and still could have been. They were too caught up in their own drama and world to really notice the sweet guy Eddie was to everyone. …To everyone. He shared himself with us all.

…I don’t think I ever saw him in anything but running shoes.

As Dennis Chupp said, “Run fast, Eddie. Run fast.”   PTN

Nikki Davis: Confessions of a Coach

Well, El Scorcho seriously messed with my mind and was kind of cruel to some of my body parts! The race is awesome, but it is an adventure race. Considering all the training I’m doing, with one big goal in mind, I shouldn’t have signed up for this one! My feet and thighs hurt! I guess running on dirt trails, instead of the hard streets, that I’m used to, really caused my feet some pain. I will be fine and will not back off my training. But it did leave me with an unexpected mental burn out.

The first thought that crossed my mind, after finishing old El Scorcho, was “Man, I don’t want to run for two or three weeks”. I haven’t experienced that feeling in a long time. Right when I’m starting to feel good about truly following my training schedule (still minus the bike rides), I go and think it’s a good idea to run some crazy race at midnight ! The good news, if you want to call it that, is being burned out is part of training and part of being a runner.

My solution,as always, has been to show up for my training runs, no matter what, and run (unless I’m seriously injured). My next step was to Google “mental burn out for runners”. I found a few good links – see below. Also this reminded me, when I’m training for one big goal, I need to be careful to pick races that are in-line with my ultimate goal. I can assure you, an adventure race like El Scorcho was not in my training schedule to become Boston Qualified. Take a few minutes to look at some of the links I have included. There is some good information, regarding “Mental Burn-out or Mental Blocks” for runners.

Wednesday: We haven’t done speed work in a while. I wanted to get everyone back in the groove. I had a group go out for two miles with an easy warm up and do “Jungle Runs” on the way back. Jungle Runs are a good fun way to introduce speed work. The really good stuff will be coming in a few weeks. OK, you will hear me tell you to go out slow and come back fast. That’s known to be a perfect way to run a race. The problem with most runners is they don’t train that way.

The truth is just this: the way you train will be the way you perform come race day. In most cases, if you start out too fast then you will struggle coming in. So, my hope is that by training you to go out slow and come back fast, you will perform this way on race day. Trust me, you’ll be glad that you did. Sadly, I’ve run too many races where I spent all my energy on the first half and had to crawl to the finish line with my head down in shame. It feels a lot better to finish strong!

Newbies are rocking! I asked Steve to do five repeats on the trail, he did 10! Not knowing Coach Kristi had the group start with a 1 minute walk and a one minute run. I advanced Barbara, who was on her second day of running, up to a one minute walk and two minute+ run. She held up great. Charlie’s wanting to run until he can’t breathe, but he’s doing very well. Newbies Rock! Remember, the key to your success is showing up for workouts. You are doing AWESOME!

There’s no doubt in my mind now that my coach is crazy when he is preparing my training schedule! I’ve accepted running six days a week, including 15-18 miles every Sunday, nine mile tempo runs, and speed work. I’ve even accepted the bike riding, although I haven’t be able to do it! I have to tell you, I am proud of myself this month. I’ve followed the schedule for the entire month of July-Yippee! Coach Bryan has been able to follow the schedule since May, including the darn bike rides. Guess what? Coach Bryan has gotten faster and is going to improve even more. Now let’s talk about the August Schedule. Just when I started thinking I might be getting a handle on this training, my coach hit me right between the eyes! First, he starts off with a comment of “Yep, time to buck up, girl.” Boy, a lot of thoughts came to mind after he said that, like … maybe I’ll take some boxing classes and I’ll show you “buck up, girl”. It’s probably best that I not share all of my thoughts here. Anyway, he added eight hill repeats building up to 21 . Yeah, right. Then, a Saturday long easy run with my Runwell Group and follow that up on Sunday with my normal 17-18 mile long run!?!

WOW! That’s all I can say right now. WOW! Can I do this? That was the question racing through my head. Can I really do this for five months!?! He sent the schedule out the day after I watched “Iron man” on TV. That’s called perfect timing.

What these athletes do is amazing! What’s even more powerful is the way they do it! Each one has a story, their own story, and each story is just as powerful.

On the first run of our Newbie Series, Coach Kristi asked the Newbie Group, what is your #1 reason for running? Each newbie answered and each had a reason and a goal! Don’t forget that reason, write it down! Your mind will play games with you and try to talk you out of the workout needed that day for you to reach your goal. Each time I receive my new schedule, my first thought is; “How can I do this”? Then, I complain to any one that will listen for at least a few days! But then I do it! I will write once again: One of the greatest things about runningis the self-discovery and self-confidence that comes from getting your body and mind to accomplish what once seemed impossible. So each month, the answer to my question (after a few panic attacks), is “Yes, I can do this”, one run at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time, and now one hill at a time. Guess I better go hit the Hills!

I don’t want to get too excited, but I think I have had a little mental breakthrough! Yippee! (No – not a Mental Breakdown!)

Thank Goodness, I was ready for one and I’m sure most of you who have been listening to me complain and whine about my training were ready too. Just recently, I had a really bad running experience. I was beaten down by the run. I barely held my tempo pace!! I was almost in tears my last mile fearing that I will not be to able to hold up with this kind of training.

I was in fear that I might have taken on more than my body could handle. I was looking on line yesterday at advanced training for runners and my training is more than that!

Right now, I’m not for sure if it’s mental or physical. If it’s all mental, I need to work through it. If it’s physical, I need to change it. If it’s physical, then we (my coach and I) need to adjust my schedule. I decided not to say anything to my coach for another month and to continue following the schedule. I just can’t tell the difference right now.

So instead, I emailed one of my good running friends, who just happens to have a lot of running experience. He had great words of wisdom on my last breakdown – that time it was physical. I wasn’t fueling my body properly. Well, his response got me again!  MARCUS GRUNEWALD, Dallas White Rock Marathon Race Director, told me, “You’re a tough cookie – I bet most of the despair is mental. What you need to do is take a few more breaks in the other areas of your life. Assign one of the RunWell nights or mornings to someone else so you don’t have to be there, and sleep in! Go get a massage. Take a night off from all other distractions, put your favorite music on the radio, cd player, whatever, grab a cup (not bowl) of ice cream, and veg on the couch. All of this will refocus you mentally and physically. You MUST have more immediate rewards for all your hard work”

Shazam! That hit me hard! I’m still laughing at most of my “despair is mental!” It’s what I needed to hear. The mind is a powerful thing! It can work for you or against you. I mean I’ve always known that, but now I really know that! The next run was with my Runwell group. I did an easy three miles. It was the first run in months that my foot didn’t hurt!

The next morning was hill repeats at Flagpole. I didn’t know if anybody was going to meet me there. I knew it would be dark (I have great fear of running alone in the dark). I thought, I’m not going to worrying about that. With all the things that have happened in the last few weeks on my runs, I thought “bring it on.” I’m just going to focus on running the hills! I did all eight repeats. I think I could have run a few more! It was hard, but it felt good! Guess what? My foot didn’t hurt, again!!!!

There’s no doubt that when you are training, especially for a specific goal, you have to be focused and remain committed. However, it’s important to reward yourself. I was running in the AM and the PM, running to work, writing about running, watching people running, getting my bags packed for running, shopping for running fuel, thinking of how to train Runwell Runners to run better, and getting to bed early for a good night’s rest to run again tomorrow! Run, run, and run some more! Well, no wonder I was mentally running out of strength!

If you run yourself into the ground – You will never get to run your race!

So, on that note, what are you doing to reward yourself for all your hard work? I wish all this wisdom was coming from me, but it’s not. Although, it is passing through me. However, I’m wise enough to listen and willing enough to try some new solutions.

Marcus also gave me several great tips on how to immediately reward myself after a hard workout or a tough week of training.

Here are some good suggestions:

  • treat yourself to a cup of ice cream
  • chill back on the couch and listen to some of your favorite music
  • read a non-running book :)
  • be a couch potato for a night
  • get a pedicure or manicure
  • have a girls night out or a guy’s night out or both!
  • get a massage!

So, don’t skip your rest days and make some time for the fun stuff. It has totally changed my attitude. (That’s right – totally.) The next night for my easy run, I actually ran easy. I knocked out my 18 miler!

Well sort of. I’ve been hitting a mental wall at 16 miles, but this time, I went at a slower pace and managed to get through the last few miles without hating everyone I could see or think of! Isn’t that nice? Yippee! I took myself to a Sunday afternoon movie: “Julie and Julia” – a super sweet and cute flick! And just by rewarding myself, that in itself has helped me refocus mentally and recharge physically on my training. While I’m scheduling out my week, I’m going to be sure to include a few hours of “Me Time.”

I would like all training participants, who are training for the White Rock Marathon, to sign up for the 15K on Labor Day – if you can. This will be a good race for everyone to run and see where you are at and what we need to work on for you to hit your Marathon Goal. If you sign up early, it’s only $25. There is also a 5K for the Newbies and a Half Marathon, if you would like to join in.

Again, this race is NOT a “Goal Race,” so don’t try to put a time on yourself. Use it as training run. Run it hard and let’s see where you’re at!

“It’s time to buck up guys and gals!” I’ve been dying to say that to you, ever since my coach said it to me! But seriously, it’s time to get focused! You need to become close friends with “Time Management.” Take some time each Sunday to review your training schedule for the coming week. You need to make sure to schedule all of your workouts, get rest, have some family time, fuel yourself like an athlete, and give yourself some “Me Time.” There is time for everything, if you plan for it. The journey is about to begin, so let’s make it a good one! I will leave you with one more thing – a quote from Elvis: “The mind is a powerful thang. It can work for you or against you, be careful how you use it!”

16 Weeks and Counting!

It’s been one week since my last Confession, and I’ve been all about rewarding myself for my hard work outs. Now this is rare, but I was trying to be a wise student, by rewarding myself after my 18 miler. I was lying in my bed, watching TV with my laptop snuggled right up against me when I got a disturbing email, “You’re going solo now, better find another training partner.” It was from my coach. What!?! Then, I saw a post on Facebook by Coach Bryan, about how he injured himself at kickball!?! Yes KICKBALL! Isn’t that what you played in the 1st grade or something? I mean “Kickball!” What the… Oh no, Coach Bryan is a running machine! Bryan has been a soccer coach and a player for over 25 years, and then added running a few years back. His running career has been so impressive with all the breakthroughs he’s had. He’s been my hero in our training to get to Boston. Watching his improvements, by him simply following the training schedule (hmm, which I still might have issues with), has been inspiring for me and so many other runners. And now he is injured! I felt really bad for him. The whole group has been worried and upset. Okay, now we can all breathe a little easier – Coach Bryan went to the doctor and this will only a be a small set back. He’s just out a few weeks! He is an awesome runner with a good base and he will only come back stronger! Thank goodness!

Again, something I learned from the “El Scorcho Midnight Hell Run” (and by the way, my foot might never be the same), I have to be real careful with races and other sports I engage in while I’m in training. Marathon training really puts your body through some stress. So, think twice before you sign up for a race, run trails, go mountain biking, try hang-gliding, enter an ultimate fighting contest, and I can’t believe I’m adding this sport to the list…Kickball! I’m sure Coach Bryan’s Kickball days are over, just like my midnight trail days are over – well, that is until I complete my goal race. I’ve gotta run. Run Always. Runwell.

Your Coach, Nikki,

Words with Lewis George

Lewis George is one of the area’s most prolific race directors. He has a race during almost every month of the year. In the months he has a race, most of those months have two races. He currently has 10 races per year, with a goal of 15. “I’ll be back next year with some new events.”

If you see him at the start wearing his trademark ball cap and sunglasses, he’s helping in almost every aspect of the race, seconds before the gun goes off. After 15 years, he’s now part of the fabric of DFW running. That also means he occasionally has a conflict with some of the other area races and directors.

The first race he directed was in the late 1990’s. He just produced his 100th event. He’s started over 30 events, most of which don’t exist anymore. “I just gave up one this year, and lost $10,000.” That keeps him pretty busy.

He used to actually participate in all the area races. He’s done over 250 events, placing 4th in his age group most times. But, no longer. “My son didn’t like the baby jogger.” And, his discretionary time has been greatly shortened. Now, he goes to the gym for an hour and a half each day.

Recently, The Dallas White Rock Marathon group announced they had secured the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon for a half marathon next March. Lewis George, 62 (just celebrated his birthday July 1), was one of the people bidding to bring the Rock ‘n Roll franchise to Dallas in place of his April race, The Texas Half. There’s also word Don Lucas of Luke’s Locker was vying for the race.

PTN: Was there a conflict with the Rock ‘n Roll people siding with the Rock to Victory Half Marathon instead of your race?

LG: Starting the conversation, I believe, Dallas White Rock Marathon doesn’t want anyone in the market but them. They only talk to me when they want something from me. Or feel intimidated by me. I only want my little niche. I never wanted any of my races to be a big race. DWRM is predatory towards me. I’d get nervous if Big D [marathon] got too big. In 2008, there were 3,400 [entrants]. My goal is 3,000-4,000. I moved it back two weeks [to not conflict with DWRM.]

PTN: And they heard you were bringing the Rock ‘n Roll group in?

LG: I approached them in january. They did not come to me. I went to themDWRM people freaked out. They didn’t want them in town. But DWRM gave them that event. Rock n’ Roll was coming to town no matter what. They’re desperate for markets.

PTN: What happened?

LG: DWRM got wind I was talking to Rock n’ Roll. They began to avoid me. Then they were frantic to get together for a meeting. I didn’t want to lie, but couldn’t talk to them. I was under a contract.

PTN: With?

LG: With Rock n’ Roll. Under normal circumstances I’d talk to them. I’ve always had a friendly relationship with DWRM. They’re the kings. The DWRM was talking of three other events with Rock ‘n Roll. But, there’s nothing special about of them. There’s nothing special about me. But that’s OK. Big events are getting to be a hassle.

PTN: Was there a “bidding war” between Rock to Victory, the race the Rock n’ Roll people would take over, and Mellew Productions, your race production company?

LG: DWRM gave that event to them for free. Or close to free. They brought in the mayor and the city council. I can’t do that.

PTN: How close was Mellew Productions to joining up with Rock ‘n Roll?

LG: Pretty close. Within days. We were pretty far along. I turned their first offer down. It wasn’t enough money. There’s a part of me that can work within the corporate market. I’ve become so independent. I was the only one they would have allowed to keep all my own events.

PTN: How do you think you are perceived?

LG: I’m not the most well liked guy in town. I don’t have any apologies be cause I’m independent. I’m not in the “In” crowd. I don’t hang out at White Rock Lake.

PTN: You learned and used to work close with James Thurston, right?

LG: James Thurston was a genius. He just doesn’t know how to sell his product. It’s easy to be a smart marketer when you have money. I talk to James all the time. …All things come and go.

PTN: What are costs like for a race director?

LG: This business is run by the charities. Eighty percent of the events don’t draw more than 300. I learned very early I wouldn’t succeed if I depend on runners. I learned to turn to the women and get them to participate. That really hurt James. His product got diluted, costs have gone up. For one of my races in 2003 it cost $22,000. This year it’s over $40,000 just for police. It’s part of doing business.

PTN: Can you clarify more?

LG: I try to keep my prices low. The DWRM and Austin [marathons of this type] are so high priced. Mine are a bargain. I don’t apologize to it. How many cities can you go to and run a marathon every month? The only reason I have a 5K is to make my events look complete. I talk people out of it. You’ll see fewer 5K’s this year than ever before [at Mellew Production races]. They are the cheapest to produce, $7-8,000. The Freedom Run 5K cost $30-40,000 to produce. I spent well over a quarter of a million on the Big D Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K. DWRM is close to $500,000. But they have base money in the bank account. My Texas Half and Big D are going to be OK. March is the most unpredictable months for weather.

PTN: Want to elaborate?

LG: There’s a dirty secret in this business. Part of the profit is the 20% that don’t come out for a race [despite registering and paying]. They don’t show up. There are no refunds in this industry, so that’s profit. That’s why they create caps, to sell out. So they know there will be a 20% profit. There are lower on-site costs. I’m just the opposite. I want runners signing up late. Rock ‘n Roll, they’re people with capitalist ventures. They were the first for-profit venture.

PTN: How do you think they’ll do?

LG: Research shows Rock ‘n Roll brings in a lot of first timers. They do it and then they are done. If 20% don’t make it, I’m hoping those people use their training and bring it to the Big D Marathon. I have 10-15% growth every year. It will never be a 12,000-15,000 person event. At best, it will be 7,500. I don’t have an expo, tech shirts,… I’m not going to do those things. Fifty to sixty percent of the people come to an expo, get their number, and get out. I’ll be strong, because I’ll offer something different. I got a real sense of what my business is, and am geared toward a certain product and person. My relays are starting to see the light of day.

EDITORS NOTE: After this interview, the Dallas White Rock Marathon Race Director was asked when he was in contact with the Rock ‘n Roll group. “It was in February 2008 that I met and started discussions with Peter Englehart from Falconhead Capital. Falconhead Capital is the investment group that bought both Elite Racing (owners of the Rock ‘n Roll race series) and the Competitor Group (local sport magazines across the nation and the Muddy Buddy race series).” Thus, this deal between DWRM and Rock ‘n Roll was already sealed long before George indicates he contacted the Rock and Roll organization.”   PTN

Chris Phelan has written, laid out, photographed, and published The Phast Times News since 2001. He’s crisscrossed Texas on his bike three times, swam 5 miles across Lake Ray Hubbard three times, completed three Ironman triathlons, and has represented the US in completion three times, and run with the Olympic Torch. He maintained All-American status for five years and has also biked across the country, 3600 miles in 30 days. The running/triathlon coach has PR’s of 2:27 marathon, 15:40 5K, 3:55 at the Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred, and 10:00:52 Ironman. Chris is the only person to have won overall and Master’s at Dallas’ Crosson Dannis road racing series, DRC road racing series, and the USAT/SMW duathlon series. In 1988 he began Dallas’ oldest track workout, 1998 started north Texas’ first treadmill class, and 2003 he founded the world-wide Ride Of Silence. He’s been twice nominated Master’s Road Runner of the Year, highlighted in a variety of magazines and is frequently asked to speak at camps and organizations about fitness. Outside of swimming, biking, and running, Chris has summited several mountains including Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro.