Thursday, May 19, 2016

"A Passion for Leadership" by Robert M. Gates

This is a fantastic new book by Robert Gates, the former U.S. Defense Secretary, CIA Director, and President of Texas A&M. His most important lesson for any reform minded leader is to never take the foot off of the gas pedal for change.


I take enormous personal pride in being on stage for what was his first big reform at Texas A&M University (you'll have to read page 42 to find out what it was).

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rock n Roll Washington DC Marathon Post-Race Report

I had a very strong marathon on March 12th in Washington DC. I was able to finish about 5 minutes ahead of my previous best. Plus, I was able to stop and take several stretch breaks during the race.


Some of my post-race thoughts:

a) I was able to finish with some power. In fact, my average pace the last three miles was the fastest of the race. It hurt like hell, but there's no better feeling than finishing a marathon and being the one that is passing others instead of being passed. A big shout out goes to Hanson Coaching for their training plan. They promised that their approach prepares you to finish with some power and they were right.

b) The race sponsors did a much better job than they did in Savannah last year. I had no problem with getting water, gatorade, or finding a rest area during the race. Post-race support, sustinance, and aid was flawless as well.

c) The two big hills in this race were just unmerciful. The first was a ~200 foot climb over a third of a mile up to Calvert Street from Rock Creek Trail, starting at mile 7. The second was a ~100 foot climb over a half mile as you enter Fort Dupont Park, starting halfway through mile 23. Other than that, there were modest rolling hills the first 12 miles and the last 4 miles of the course. Most of the middle was flat.

d) Access to the DC Metro made getting to and from the race an afterthought. It was much better than having to walk a mile and a half from the finish line to my hotel in Savannah.

e) The Morton's Neuroma in my right foot continues to be a challenge. I have found that it is related more to the constant pounding of a run as opposed to tighter shoes. It's doesn't flare up at all on 10 mile recovery runs, but any tempo run will trigger it after 6 to 8 miles. That's what happened during this race. My toes started tingling after 5 miles and the intermittent shooting pain started around mile 9. But (and thank goodness) it became totally numb starting around mile 18 and I was able to finish without any more problems. I'm headed back to doctor this week.

There's no doubt that the age-old adages about marathon running rang true for me. As the race begins, the pre-race excitement will cause you to start at a much faster pace than you had planned. Half-way through the race, you're beginning to wonder why you're doing this. Five miles later, you're thinking that there is no way you will be able to finish without walking it in. After toughing it out, starting around mile 22 or so you start feeling like it's possible to have a strong finish. The last three miles, if you are pushing the pace a bit, are excruciating but you feel some relief once you can see the finish line. Then, five minutes after finishing, you're thinking lessons learned and applying them during the next one.

For me, it's time for a eight to ten weeks of well-deserved downtime starting after the annual Chick-fil-a Half Marathon on April 9th. Then, it's on to the NYC Marathon this fall.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Things to Do Between Now and November 6, 2016


My top ten list for a successful 2016 New York City Marathon, in no particular order.
  1. Drop 10 pounds without losing any muscle.
  2. Buy 20 week, 45 - 65 mile/week training plan from Hanson's Coaching Services.
  3. Complete running assessment with Jimbo Wood.
  4. Decide on a target pace (4:00 or 4:15) after this week's marathon in DC.
  5. Make plane reservations, hotel reservations, theater reservations, etc.
  6. Figure out some way to deal with the pinched nerve in my right foot.
  7. Spend about 8 weeks cross-training, swimming between April 10th and June 3rd.
  8. Try not to to alienate wife, family, friends, and dogs when I am running all the time
  9. Don't be grumpy at work when I am tired all the time
  10. More importantly, don't get hurt!
Training starts on June 6th.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

This is What Blessings Look Like . . .

Not a bad Christmas holiday: saw the grandkid and kids, went to church with my mother, had several meals with my brother, saw Star Wars 3 times, ran 37 miles, watched many a crappy bowl game (and enjoyed a few good ones), moved furniture throughout the house at the behest of my wife, read 'Hansons Marathon Method', taught Sunday School today (and prepared readings for next week), saw Concussion today with Gail  and tonight we've watched The Intern and now we're watching The Martian. Tomorrow, meet with the boss and my peers and have got to get on with preparing for class next week. This is what blessings feel and look like.