McKinney Run Project

I’m not a fast runner and (these days) not much of a strong one. But I make up for it in creativity & curiosity! Like my 2016 project, where I began to run unique streets in McKinney, TX.

Awhile back, I read an article about a New Yorker named Matt Green, who is on an epic quest to walk every single block in New York City. On this thing called the Internet, you can learn more about him.

Matt has rules, as do I. The main driver of these rules are safety and consistency.

  • The map doesn’t represent every run I’ve done, just the unique streets I’ve touched. Oftentimes, I had to repeat previously-trodden paths, in order to reach new streets. Sometimes, I repeated runs on the streets closest to my house
  • The map isn’t meant to be 100% accurate. It represents the streets I’ve touched, but not which side I ran on, what corners I rounded, etc. For consistency when drawing the map, I marked my routes on the south and/or west sides of streets.
  • I only ran on roads that appear in Google Maps with a name. Although Google Maps might show alleyways, private drives, etc. all of these are skipped
  • I will not run every McKinney road. Not every road in McKinney is safe — for example, no way I’ll be going near US Highway 380. In general, if the road has a sidewalk, I’ll attempt to run it

Here’s what I knocked out so far (all years included):

When I first started, I just started running and figured out the streets to touch as I progressed. As I chewed up the available inventory by my house, I had to better organize my plans. For starters, I now have to drive to starting locations, in order for the miles to actually apply towards mapping new streets vs. just getting to them. In addition, I’ve had to draw out the routes in advance, in order to keep the actual boots-on-the-ground process from being too chaotic. For mapping, I currently use the dynamicWatch application on my Garmin Forerunner 235 to map out several potential routes in advance (either in 4 or 6 miles distances), then I just pick from one of these.

Personal Records

Distance Result
1 mile 00:07:22.8, Plano Pacers Millet Mile, 2016/06/25 @ Plano, TX
5K 00:24:46, Shannon Brewery 5K, 2015/03/14 @ Keller, TX
5mi 00:48:35, Dallas White Rock ‘n’ Roll 5 Mile, 2015/05/02 @ Dallas, TX
8K 00:42:03, Plano Pacers Holiday Hustle 8K, 2016/12/31 @ Plano, TX
10K 00:53:55, Plano Pacers Fresh Start 10K, 2017/01/28 @ Plano, TX
20K 2:05:12, Tour des Fleurs 20K, 2009/09/20 @ Dallas, TX
Half-Marathon 2:03:35, Dallas White Rock Half Marathon, 2010/12/05 @ Dallas, TX
20mi 3:23:51, ASICS Texas Twenty, 2006/11/11 @ Dallas, TX
Marathon 4:59:03, White Rock Marathon, 2006/12/10 @ Dallas, TX

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio and Dallas Marathons In Conflict (UPDATED)

The Metro PCS Dallas Marathon, which has long drawn runners from across the state, will face competition on race day in 2013.

The San Antonio Marathon, part of the popular Rock ā€™nā€˜ Roll series of 32 races, recently moved its date from Nov. 17 to Dec. 8 in direct conflict with the Dallas race.

Competitor Group, which owns and operates the series, proceeded with the date change despite a contract with Dallas expressly forbidding the group from doing so.

The move has stunned Dallas race organizers and disappointed runners who have participated in both events in the same marathon season.

I ran Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio (RnRSA) half in 2011. It turned out to be a brutal day — beating sun, high humidity, and no wind. The conditions were so taxing on athletes that they drained the water stops of all their fuel. Halfway through the race, even though I was on a PR pace, I basically quit and ran/walked to the end. My promise to my family to always take care of myself took precedence.

It may sound dramatic, but I was lucky to survive that day. As I approached the finish line, I was overcome by a swarm of emergency personnel. They were rushing to assist Jorge Fernandez, the runner who collapsed past the finish line and subsequently died. My first guess as to the cause was heat stroke, which was later verified. My second guess is that I’d never run the race again unless the date shifted.

From what I read, 2012 was just as steamy. Although there is a non-complete contract in place, RnRSA did right by their runners by moving the race to cooler December. You might think their parent company Competitor is solely focused on profits, but you will find it hard to persuade me that their participants’ health isn’t also a top concern.

Update 2013/01/24: as just as quickly as I post this, Competitor caved and reset the date for their race — which now conflicts with another of their events.

2012 Training: Hooking up with enduraLab

enduraLab Banner

I consider myself an athlete, as should anyone with as many accomplishments under my belt (3 marathons, nearly a dozen half-marathons, an amateur soccer championship). However, much of that was accomplished by natural talent vs. preparation. I’m naturally lazy and for years have gotten away with it.

Even though I am older, I’ve still got the power to my body less than ideal yet still wake up to pound out a great run. However, it’s time that I do more to achieve my potential. I’ve always wanted to be 80 years old and running a marathon — the twist is that I want to be the strongest, fastest, and happiest I can possibly be while doing so. This is a new paradigm for me.

Like most people, my wife and I both come from families where we don’t take health for granted. We regularly pledge to always take care of ourselves, as we owed it stay alive for each other as long as we can. This has become more paramount as we’ve had children.

Having kids slowed us both down on that pledge. Any parent will tell you about the yeah-duhh tradeoff we make between doing a workout vs. a night of extra sleep. But it easily slips into eating your kid’s Pop Tart vs. some scrambled egg whites, etc. It’s time to not only get back on the wagon, but to be more the driver and less the passenger.

I work best when made accountable for my actions. And if the accountability doesn’t exist naturally (work deadlines, for example), then I must force it. In the past, I did this by joining the excellent running programs at Luke’s Locker & signing up for races far in advance. Later I volunteered to coach in those programs.

This year, my accountability is The enduraLab and its amazing athletes. While I’ve always been interested in their offerings, the distance to their gym (Ft. Worth) was prohibitive from McKinney, where I live. I will be participating in their online training program, where their roster of experienced coaches is accessible with just a few keystrokes. The amount of resources which will be at my disposal is exciting. And the goals they’ve help me craft, while aggressive, will be great new achievements.

I’ll talk more about The Lab, my goals, and the overaall experience over the next several months, as they not only help me prepare for my fall and winter races (including the New Year’s Double) but also get me to a better place athletically than I was just a year ago.