Saturday, March 31, 2007

Expanding Your Horizons

Today my older daughter and I spent the day at the University of Central Florida's Expanding Your Horizons program.

The program description:

The UCF Expanding Your Horizons Program aims at introducing Central Florida girls to exciting careers in Science, Math and Engineering fields. With the gracious support of women engineers in our community and UCF students, participants will get to experience a taste of college life during their visit to the UCF Engineering Buildings, hear about exciting opportunities for women in engineering, and participate in “hands-on” science and math activities!

My company is this year's event sponsor so I got to welcome all the girls and adult attendees (parents and teachers) to the event. I also was a speaker for the adult program and spoke on "Technical Degrees Open Many Doors." Since my technical degree (Mathematics) has led to jobs as teacher, engineer and currently program manager, I was a good candidate for this talk.

What was very cool was that I had the opportunity to inspire teachers and parents to encourage the middle school girls they work with to keep working their math and science skills because it can lead to better job opportunities down the road. All this while exposing my daughter to the possibilities in the math and sciences.

The keynote speaker is the engineering manager at Universal Studios in Orlando. They design, build and maintain all the rides at the park. How cool a job is that!

A career panel session was held where 6 women answered yes or no questions and the girls had to guess which one was the computer engineer, which one the mechanical engineer, the biologist/zoologist, etc. One was a mechanical engineer / beauty queen. The girls were so amazed that a beauty queen could also be an engineer!

It was a lot of fun for both of us!

Friday, March 30, 2007

It's All Good!

I had a marvelous date with my best friend (aka DH) this evening! Just dinner and a movie, but it is always good to take a break and reflect on all the wonderful blessings in our lives.

Just a quick update: No running today but I ran with my daughter yesterday. We did a nice easy 2.5 mile run. Her heel has been a bit sore since the race last Saturday - and by the end of our run yesterday, she was hurting. Today she was limping around school. We are not sure what it is but we are taking a break to see if it will heal up on its own. I think it could be bruised from the race which was run partly on brick streets. So I told her we are taking a short break from our runs - we will try biking to cross train instead. We have been recording our runs so stay tuned for upcoming podcasts with more great facts!

Computer / Podcast update: I was not pleased to hear that my computer was STILL not ready today!!! We are getting a backup drive on our network soon so I plan to begin hosting all those files on there so I can access them from any computer in the house! In the meanwhile, it looks like next week before we get the next episode out :-(.

But it's all good! We will be online soon, and we shall continue to run strong!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My number 1 priority...

I got the news yesterday that one of the things I was working on at work needed to be my number 1 priority - and that we were going to do what it takes to make the deadline. So I "saluted" smartly and set off to make it happen, adjusting my other activities.

Today I got the news that the other thing I was working on is my number 1 priority - and that we had to do what it takes to get this completed for the deadline. So I "saluted" smartly as I headed home to figure out what we need to do to make it happen on time.

Understanding, of course, that when the second one became number 1, the first one is still number 1.

Don't you love it when that happens?

At that point, you let the managers you work for fight it out....and meanwhile try to do both items.

Well, that called for a nice easy long run. I got home today and wanted to just get out and do a few miles nice and easy. In fact, my goal was to keep my heart rate at an aerobic pace and see how far I could go without a walking break. About 4.25 miles later I took a break to talk with another neighborhood runner I had not seen in quite some time and we walked together for about .25 mile catching up. She was walking her dog and doing her warm up walking. It was nice catching up. I sprinted the last .35 mile home for a total of 5 miles and 1:00:44. Average heart rate was 158 bpm.

That was a great run! I was nice and relaxed. Afterwards the family went out for a bite at a new Outback Steakhouse that opened about 3 miles from our house. And now I need to go to bed, as soon as I spend some time on my number 1 task(s).

Computer update: Still no computer :-(

Foot update: Foot did fine for run today. We will see how it feels tomorrow. I am planning a couple of miles with my daughter again.

Hope all is well out there!!! Live strong!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Running, Computers and Feet (a quick update)

Running: Had a nice 5K run today. I set the Garmin up for 33 min or a 10:38 min/mile pace. Was a bit slower - did it in 34:04 min, about a 10:58 pace with avg heart rate of 163 bpm. I also felt tired today, kind of like I did at mile 2 and 3 of the 10K. I wonder if I am not eating the right energy foods before the run.

Computer: Motherboard for my computer still not in today. Will be a few more days before I get my computer back! I can blog but can't do audio editing (sigh!). Hopefully some news soon.

Feet: My foot was pretty sore after the 10K - it hurt later that day (I ended up icing it) and it was a bit sore the next day. I wore the "sock" last night and it felt basically the same as it does when I don't wear the sock (keeps foot bent so tendon remains stretched at night). I will need to discuss this with my PT tomorrow.

Life: Busy and I am feeling like I am not doing something that is fundamentally important....time for a cup of hot tea and quiet time to ponder. You will hear lots of sounds from my camping trip in the next podcast, many of them bird sounds. I think I need some time to listen to the birds in my back yard!

So, that my quick update in a nutshell. Sending upbeat, happy running vibes to all of you. Run / or relax well!! :-)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Winter Park Road Race - Race Report

Race summary (with official results):

Winter Park Road Race - 2 miler and 10K
Sat, March 24, 2007
Time: 7:00 am - 2 miler, 7:30 am - 10K
Weather: about 62 deg F. / 60% humidity

Daughter Finish time for 2 miler: 21:59 min / 10:59 min/mile pace
Div place: 22/41

My Finish time for 10K: 1:07:22 / 10:50 min/mile pace
Div place: 100/153

Today's weather was perfect for a race. Not too hot (for this thin skinned Floridian) at about 62 degrees at race start. The sun came out and made for a bright end for the race.

Today was incredible for many reasons. First, I ran into my friend Shirley who was working the computers at the finish line. Shirley had to be there this morning at 5:30 am (I was just getting up then) and this afternoon she is participating in a virtual triathalon by Simply Stu. Check her website out for more info! Swim, bike and run!!

Next, I got to meet Maddy!!! Maddy and her friend Kelly met us at our pre-determined location. By then we needed to head to the 2 mile starting line to get my daughter ready for her run. On the way I introduced Maddy and Kelly to Shirley! Then we headed to the start for the 2 mile race. My daughter just took off to line up and was out of sight before I knew it. She was ready to go! I was able to cross a block over and catch her about a mile into the race. She was running right along with everyone else. I then caught her at the finish line. She finished strong at 21:59 - a 10:59 min/mile pace - faster than our training runs. She got her finisher's medal and was so proud and excited!!!

At that point I had to quickly get to the 10K start area around the corner. My daughter hung out with Shirley. I was able to find Maddy again (the pink bandana was easy to locate!). We chatted a bit more until a lone saxaphone played the national anthem and the race was started. She and Kelly quickly ran ahead of me. I hoped to see them at the finish.

I had my Garmin set on a training mode - targeting a 1:10 finish - which translated into a 11:15 min/mile pace. The view of the Garmin just showed how much distance was left and what my avg pace was. I also had it automatically lapping the miles so I knew as I went how fast my miles were going.

The race: I used a Podrunner mix at 175 bpm to keep me moving (and it did just that). I was feeling kind of tired and running out of steam around mile 3, which was a little disappointing because I still had half a race to go. Then it dawned on me that the gel I intended to take before the race was still in my pocket!! I decided to take it at the next water stop and see if I could get a finish kick from it.

As I continued to run, people continued to pass me. I am not a fast runner and it is hard to watch folks go by, but I knew I couldn't run faster and finish strong, so I held back and tried to just enjoy the people out to watch the race and the beautiful Winter Park scenery.

Around mile 4 was the water stop, and as I struggled to get the gel opened I took it with a cup of water and was on my way. About a mile later I started to feel a bit better - I think the gel kicked in toward the end, which is what I was hoping for.

About a mile out my Podrunner mix finished, so I loaded up another one, this one 172 bpm. I was wearing out a bit and the slightly slower pace was good. As I was finishing the last mile or so, I kept trying to imagine where I would be on my normal runs and how I finish those up. I had to work on keeping up the pace but I was able to do it. Just ahead was a race walker that I decided I was not going to allow to beat me to the finish.

Coming down the last quarter of a mile, I finally passed the race walker. Maddy and Kelly were on the side cheering me into the finish line! As I made my final kick, the Garmin complained about my red lined heart rate (exceeded 180 bpm) and I saw the finishline clock at 1:06 and change!! What a great race!

Shirley was right at the finish - my daughter, who had been giving out medals to the finishers (she got bored and wanted to help) had my medal, but had stepped away to use the porta potty. I finally caught up with her as she was returning to her post, and received my finisher's medal from my daughter. Wow!

After that, we couldn't find Maddy and I failed (yes failed) to get a picture of Maddy and I. So we will need to plan a reunion some time. I did some audio recording during the pre-race period, so hopefully you can hear about Maddy on a future podcast.

Garmin Splits:

Mile 1: 9:55 (a little fast)
Mile 2: 10:38 (better and still ahead of pace)
Mile 3: 10:38 (how is that for consistency)
Mile 4: 11:29 (got a little tired at the halfway point)
Mile 5: 10:58 (Gel kicked in)
Mile 6: 10:40 (hanging in the last mile)
Finish: 1:06:21 total (last .2 was at 9:18 pace)

Avg pace: 10:42 min/mile, heart rate 167 bpm
Max pace: 8:02 min/mile (whoa, I can run that fast?), heart rate 182 bpm (yep, red lined on the finish)

Now here is something strange. I stopped the Garmin about 30 sec after finishing, and I could have sworn the clock was 1:06 and change when I crossed the finish line. But the official results had me finish in 1:07. Ah well. I was excited that my goal was to beat 1:10 and I did just that!!

My heel was a little sore by the time I got home but not too bad. I took some ibuprophen and did some stretching. I am not sure I will get a run in tomorrow - but today was great. It was the longest run I have done since the marathon.

Thanks to Shirley for meeting us and hanging out with my daughter, and to Maddy and Kelly for meeting us too! Here is hoping my refurbished computer comes back soon so I can get episode 2 of the podcast out and begin work on episode 3!!

Run strong everyone!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Good News and Bad News

The good news is that I will be getting an upgraded computer. This is because of the bad news that my computer issue is that the motherboard is fried. Other good news is that all my data is perfectly safe on the hard drive. Other not as good news is that it will be a few days more (up to a week) before I get my computer back (sigh)!

So its back to blogging the old fashioned way before the next edition of Running Adventures is out.

I am very excited about tomorrow morning's race and also a chance to meet Maddy. I am also excited that my daughter is going to brave her first real race on her own for the 2 miler. It will be an early start for the day, but it will be a fun one. Stand by for a fun race report!

My friend Shirley will also be there, working the race. She usually helps with registration and the timing computer at the start / finish line.

See you with the race report!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

An Enforced Break

I can't help myself. I get excited about doing something and I just spend a bunch of time on that. Lately that "something" has been the podcast. I am 85% complete on the next episode and was going to wrap it up last night but my computer had other ideas. As I turned on the computer and was about to download my latest run from my Garmin, the computer just shut off. It just powered down. I checked everything...and finally concluded that it was probably the power supply and it needs to go to the repair shop (sigh!).

So instead of working on my podcast, I was in bed by 10:30 pm - something I have needed to do for about a week now. Leave it to life to force you into doing something you should be doing anyway!!!

Run report: I ran nearly 2.5 miles with my daughter on Monday and another 2.4 miles yesterday. Our runs have been really nice, some of which I am sure you will hear about on future editions of the podcast. She is really coming along. We are considering having her run the 2 mile race on Saturday. My struggle is do I run it with her, then do the 10K or let her go it alone? The 10K start time is 30 min after the 2 miler, so it will be over. But I am not sure I am ready for 8 miles yet.

After yesterday's 2.4 miler with my daughter, I felt really good so I went back out for another 3.1 and used my iPod with Podrunner running at 180 bpm - the highest rate I have every run (175 has been my limit to date). I held the pace up for most of the run and had to struggle a bit at the end, redlining the Garmin heart monitor above 180 in the last tenth of a mile. When I can finally download the Garmin data I can figure out my overall pace for the run - but I think it had to be near 10 min miles. I need to get my 5K down to 9:40 per mile to break 30 min (something I intend to finally do this year!).

Foot report: PT on Monday went well. My next session is Friday. I finish up next week. I still wake up with some ache in the morning but it is not nearly what it used to be. It doesn't hurt at all when I run - and after yesterday's workout felt pretty good.

So I apologize for the podcast delay, but I must warn you, I could not keep it to 15 min - it will be more like 25 min long this time. Too much good material from the camping trip!

It looks like Maddy and I will be hooking up on Saturday at the Winter Park Road Race. I am looking forward to meeting her. It is always good to meet in person the friends I have met online.

Run strong everyone!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Busy Life and a Return to Epcot

(Picture: My approach to the finish line of the Disney Marathon after running through Epcot)

Wow I feel like I have really been away from my blog (and everyone else's). I have tried to at least be reading them.

Things have been a bit busy. After our return from camping, I had to return to work, but things also got busy in the evenings. Today, to wrap up the kid's spring break, we went to Epcot. I hadn't been there since I was running the last mile of my marathon in January. And it all came back to me. I looked down the walkway and could remember running there.

By the end of today, my feet felt similar as well :-) - lots of walking. The heel held out OK. And it was a really nice visit to the park - not too crowded (which is what I was worried about). Disney is no fun when it is loaded with people. We didn't feel rushed and didn't stand in too many lines. The kids had a great time with the Kidcot activities. They get to decorate a mask and at each country they get a stamp on the handle and a "charm" to hang from it. They really enjoyed having their names written on the back in Chinese and Japanese. We had dinner in Germany and enjoyed the show there. We also got a chance to ride on Soarin', probably the toughest ride to get on at Epcot. We got fast passes when we arrived this morning (around 9:30 am) and came back at 1:00pm for our ride. By then, they had given out all the fast passes for the entire day.

Phew! I have more material for the podcast which I am hoping to get out sometime in the next week, so be on the lookout.

Running has been going well! So far this week I have run 14 miles and I am planning a 5-6 mile long run tomorrow. Next Saturday is the Winter Park Road Race - a 10K! I don't expect to set a PR there but just plan to enjoy the race! Maybe Maddy and I can hook up there! It is so great to be back on the road again!

Run strong everyone!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Respect the Alligators

Just a short post to say I am back and feeling great!! I will be posting more on my runs, hikes and walks while camping, to include an incredible 4 mile run this morning where I saw 7 deer among other things. I recorded some interesting material for the podcast as well!!

Everyone seems well....Congrats to Irish Blue on her race!!! You are going to be so ready for that Half Marathon. Also, to Susan for bouncing back so quickly from her marathon and already out there training for the next race!!

I miss the woods already, but it is good to be home!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Quick update: 3.07 miles in 32:26

Just a quick post to mention my run late today of 3.07 miles in 32:26 - a 10:33 pace :-). Foot feels good! Avg heart rate was 167 bpm.

I am a running fool!

See you all soon!

Into the Woods

Our campsite at Paynes Praire Preserve in January 2006

This weekend we are headed into the woods! Not like the play (If you have ever seen that one - if not, it is rather good) but for camping. Talk about adventure!

Actually, we are seasoned campers - and have camped at this location before (as you can see from the picture). We are going back to Paynes Prairie for 4 nights of hiking, biking, running, campfires, s'mores and hanging out. This is going to be fun! We don't rough it so much - we have a pop-up that is very comfortable. It has heat as well as air conditioning. What we lack is a bathroom - so sometimes it involves late night or early morning walks to the restroom facility located a few hundred feet away. The restrooms here nice with hot showers (and the occasional bug that flies in).

Of course, one of the rules of camping is NO COMPUTERS, TVs and similar electronics. We are out in the woods, afterall, to get away from such things. I will bring along my Garmin - just so I know how far I am running when I go. There are some nice trails there so I am looking forward to a run through the woods without the noisy cars in the background. I will also bring the iRiver as well and record some material for the podcast.

I wanted to mention that another running friend of mine, Shirley, who also ran the Little Rock Marathon. Read about her race on her blog. She had a problem partway through the race with a little rock....but finished up the race anyway. Way to go Shirley! 29 states down, just 21 to go :-) (she has the goal to run a marathon in all 50 states, I think before she turns 50). Only three more marathons to go this year (along with 2 half ironmen, 1 olympic tri and a 100 miler bike race). No slacking here :-)!

I want to thank Susan and David for their comments on the podcast! All feedback is welcome. You can post with the show note blog entry or email me at Thanks especially for the encouragement to actually do the podcast from a whole bunch of folks!

I also want to say hello to Kevin and he continues his quest to be on blogs and podcasts around the world! :-) Thanks for YOUR encouragement. Hang in there as you train, become a new daddy AND see a daughter married this year. Talk about a life marathon!

So I will be off line until next Wed evening. See you all next week, and in the meanwhile, run well everyone!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Running Adventures Episode 001 - Run, Run Far Beneath the Sun

This is the inaugural episode of my new podcast "Running Adventures." I must warn you that I am not a professional audio technician and so the sound quality is not always great (built in mike seems to overmodulate) but Audacity sure makes mixing easy :-).

In this episode I take you on my first run since returning to the road after time off for my plantar fasciitis. You will also hear parts of a run with my daughter who has some interesting facts to share.

The intro music is a piece called "Super Soul" by 4Saisonz, the ending music is from the song "Adventure of the Deaf Dreamer" by Josh Woodward. The featured song is called "Run" by Mieka Pauley. All are from the Podsafe Music Network.

For more on Susan's marathon read about it on her blog.

My plan is to produce this podcast about once every 2 weeks as time allows. I didn't intend to feature music, but the piece in here fit so well I couldn't resist.

If you don't have a podcatcher you can listen to it on here.

Here goes nothing! :-)

Monday, March 05, 2007

On the road again!!! :-)

On Thursday last week, I found out that my orthotics had finally arrived!!! I didn't have an appointment with the PT until Monday, but they said I could swing by and pick them I picked them up that day! I started wearing them Friday and on Sunday, I went for a run! It was felt so good to be out there. It was an easy 3 miles. Afterwards, my foot did ache a bit so I iced it, stretched it and took good care of it. My daughter was excited at the prospect of being able to run together again - and I was going to run with her early today - but decided to wait until after my PT appointment this morning to get the official word about how much running I can do and when.

At the PT appointment, I told her what happened. I admitted that I didn't slowly break in the orthotics (you are supposed to wear it for 1 hour one day, then 2 hours the next day, and so on). I just put them in my shoes and started wearing them. She said that was fine as well as they felt ok (which they did). She just cautioned me to take it easy, and stretch, stretch, stretch and massage. She then asked me when I was planning to run again. I told her tonight with my daughter, and she said that was great!!!

So yesterday I ran 3.07 miles in 37:25 min with a stretching break halfway through. Today, I ran 2.32 miles with my daughter in 31:29 min (running 2 min and walking 1 min) with a stretching break halfway through. I did some audio recording during both runs so I have lots of podcast material. The quality actually sounds pretty good. I am hoping to finish up my first episode sometime this week.

Tomorrow is elliptical with strength training, then another run on Wed.

After such a long break (a month) of not running, I feared that the habit and enjoyment for running I developed while training for the marathon last year would be lost. This was not at all the case. It was even more enjoyable! I suppose knowing what I was missing made it feel so much better when returning to the road.

It is good to be back!

Oh, and if you haven't already done so, check out Susan's blog "I Run For My Life" and read about her incredible marathon this past weekend (way to go Susan)!!!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Good Luck, Susan!!!

I made a quick audio post on my podcast to wish Susan in Arkansas the best of luck as she runs her very first marathon in Little Rock tomorrow morning. We will all be thinking of you tomorrow! Run strong :-)