December 31, 2008

August 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Karen!

Bill and I surprised Karen with a cake for her birthday this morning before the start of the Woodlands Fit training run.

July 24, 2008

Bellnoski, Spaulding Take on El Scorcho

Niki and Nick Bellnoski before the start of the El Scorcho 50K in Fort Worth.
Nick and Niki going strong early in the race. Nick would have to drop after about 7 or 8 legs. Niki would go on to a fourth place overall finish in a time of 4:54:16. Her last 5K was her fastest one - 26:27.
Becky Spaulding gets in a tough 25K finish after doing 20 miles on a group training run Saturday morning in Houston. She finished in 3 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds.

July 23, 2008

Battling Bloggers Fall-Winter Running Plans

Adrienne Langelier
1/18/09 - Chevron Houston Marathon

Barbara Boone
1/18/09 - Chevron Houston Marathon

Becky Spaulding
10/4/08 - Trail Twister 60K, Bryan*
10/18/08 - Palo Duro Canyon 50K, Amarillo*
11/8/08 - Rockledge 50K, Grapevine
11/16/08 - Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Half Marathon
12/6/08 - Sunmart 50K, Huntsville
1/1/09 - Texas Marathon, Kingwood
1/18/09 - Chevron Houston Marathon
2/8/09 - Rocky Raccoon 50-Miler, Huntsville

* One or the other - or possibly both!

Cassie Mondragon
1/18/09 - Aramco Houston Half Marathon
2/22/09 - Run Wild Half Marathon, Houston

Christy Gonzales
1/18/09 - Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Dave Smart
8/23/08 - EMHS Varsity Alumni 3-Mile Cross Country, Edmond, Okl.
9/14/08 - TexasMan Triathlon, Denton
10/25/08 - Hi-Fi Triathlon, Galveston

Edwin Quarles
1/18/09 - Chevron Houston Marathon

Erin Foley
1/18/09 - Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Holden Choi
1/18/09 - Chevron Houston Marathon

Jeremy Webb
1/18/09 - Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Jessica Alexander
1/18/09 - Chevron Houston Marathon

Joe Carey
1/18/09 - Aramco Houston Half Marathon

John Maloney
1/18/09 - Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Jon Walk
11/16/08 - Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Marathon
1/1/09 - Texas Marathon, Kingwood
1/18/09 - Chevron Houston Marathon
2/14/09 - Surfside Beach Marathon, Surfside Beach

Karen Felicidario
11/16/08 - Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Marathon
1/18/09 - Chevron Houston Marathon

Katy Lampson
11/16/08 - Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Marathon
1/18/09 - Chevron Houston Marathon

Keith Kelleher
1/18/09 - Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Ken Johnson
10/18/08 - Marathon 2 Marathon, Alpine to Marathon
11/16/08 - Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Marathon
12/6/08 - Sunmart 50K, Huntsville
1/1/09 - Texas Marathon, Kingwood
2/14/09 - Surfside Beach Marathon, Surfside Beach

Manny Mondragon
1/18/09 - Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Nick Bellnoski

Niki Bellnoski

Norman Langwell

Sarah Graybeal
1/18/09 - Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Tommy Stunz
1/18/09 - Aramco Houston Half Marathon

May 19, 2008

The Battling Bloggers Can Tri

So much for running this past weekend.

Our newly-minted Austinite Jessica Alexander hit the roads on Saturday, May 17 with a pair of running personal bests, then topped it off with a season-opening triathlon on Sunday, May 18.

Meanwhile, nearly half of the inaugural Battling Bloggers were in Pearland on Sunday morning, but it was Sarah Graybeal, Cassie Mondragon and Katy Lampson who completed a triathlon as well.

Seven Hills Running Club president Niki Bellnoski, 20, was the second overall female - and 12th overall - at Katy's Sunrise Rotary 5K on Saturday, May 17. She finished in 20:56 - a 6:45 per mile pace - behind Katy Seven Lakes junior Jacqueline Alnes, 15, who won in 20:21.

In the state's capital city, Alexander posted a dazzling effort of 6:42 in the Congress Avenue Mile, good for fourth in her age group, before toeing the starting line at the untimed Lone Star 5000. She converted the rising 10:30 a.m. heat into energy to blaze her way to a new personal best of 23:16.

Now that the running was out of the way, it was "tri time".

And as the Battling Bloggers tri veteran - Graybeal - at the Silverlake Sprint Triathlon showed the two rookies how things were done.

For now, she quickly admitted after the race.

Graybeal, 30, finished third in the Athena Division -- just 49 seconds from the top spot and 22 out of second -- in 1:14:15 over the 400-meter swim, 10-mile bike and 3-mile Pearland course.

In her third triathlon of the season, Mondragon, 29, was second among TIR teammates in 1:17:16 while the true rookie, Lampson, 33, the pride of Huntsville, completed her first water-borne adventure in 1:19:18.

You can read Graybeal's race report here.
You can read Mondragon's race report here.
You can read "Buoy-to-Buoy" Lampson's report here.

That same morning, Alexander was making her way to New Braunfels for the 2nd annual Skeese Greets Women's Triathlon.

In the event which featured a 300-meter swim, an 11.1-mile bike ride and a two-mile run, she was 20th in her age group out of 72 finishers as she finished in 1:12:34.

Jessica's race report can be read here.

April 29, 2008

Langwell Meets The Perrys

Norman Langwell flanked by First Lady Anita Perry and the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry.

April 28, 2008

PRs, Relays and Beating the Governor

It's not every day you get to race against the Governor, but Norman Langwell, Jr., 36, took advantage of the opportunity and beat Gov. Rick Perry to the finish line of the Texas Roundup 10K on Saturday, April 26 in Austin.

And in the process, Norman was one of three Battling Bloggers to post a personal best this weekend as he finished in 47:38.15. (Norman's son, Colton, 16, finished fourth in his age group with a time of 53:39. Wife, Millie, 34, completed the 5K in 40:23 while their two girls, Chantel, 15, and Deanna, 13, both took fourth in their age groups in 32:52 and 32:56, respectively.)

Closer to home, both Holden Choi and Karen Felicidario posted 5K personal bests at Run The Woodlands 5K #199 in 23:53 and 26:29, respectively.

Two of this year's Battling Bloggers and one who will join the team in '09 participated Saturday in the last race of the HARRA Spring Series, the Bayou Bash Relay, hosted by the Al Lawrence Running Club.

Erin Foley was on the fifth place, open mixed team, "ALRC #12", that finished in 48:15.7. Two of her teammates were triathletes Sam and Mandy Luna.

Joe Carey's "Dimes and Diamonds" - a fixture of the Bay Area Running Club (BARC) - finished second in the veterans mixed category in 55:57.8.

Also on a BARC team was Sarah Graybeal as she teamed up with the "BARC Moonstones" to finish the Rice University course in 1:16:33.5.

After attending the USA Masters National 10K Championship in Austin, captain Jon Walk, 41, drove to Oklahoma City to participate in the 8th annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and came home with his fourth best marathon time (out of 18) of 5:08:30.

It was Jon's 18th career marathon and he finished a marathon in his 11th state.

April 24, 2008

Summer CPR Class / Pizza Party Planned

Bill Dwyer, the leader of our TIR Texas Tough Throwdown competition, the "Texian Road Warriors", is in the process of looking for a summer CPR class that our combined teams could attend.

Given recent events of a runner collapsing and dying after the ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run and another runner going down on the course of the Chevron Bellaire Trolley Run 5K, it is prudent that we all consider taking a CPR class.

Whenever we find a suitable date, we'll also look to schedule - that same day - a combined team pizza party, picnic and family outing to celebrate the Battling Bloggers' victory with the $60 worth of pizza gift cards from Papa John's that we received from the Texas Independence Relay.

April 21, 2008

The Battling Bloggers Weren't As Busy

In fact, even some well-made plans went awry as Sarah Graybeal was signed up for Sunday's Battle of San Jacinto Triathlon. Having been sick earlier in the week, she decided instead to volunteer for the folks with Tri On The Run, who were organizing the race.

Our lead male runner during this year's Relay, Tommy Stunz challenged the Rocky Hill Ranch 50K course in Smithville on Saturday and returned to Lake Jackson with a 6:18:07 finish, good for 27th out of 72nd place. (Rich Martucci, 52, who was on the "Corpus Christi Roadrunners" during the Texas Independence Relay, finished seven places behind Stunz in 6:41:18.)

Like Stunz, Ken Johnson, 66, traveled west as well -- to the Cornerstone Cougar 5K in College Station. Running one of his better 5Ks of the spring, Ken finished in 31:47 and took second place -- out of three -- in the 60-69 age group.

Captain Jon Walk, 41, decided to adventure north instead of west to participate in four separate 5Ks in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. He ran a 5K in Fort Worth Friday night, followed by races in Aledo and Pilot Point on Saturday and the Rise and Shine 5K just north of downtown Dallas on Sunday.

April 17, 2008

Bloggers in Bear Country

Edwin Quarles, Katy Lampson, Jon Walk and Norman Langwell, Jr.
Saturday, April 12, Davy Crockett Bear Chase, Groveton, TX
(Photo Courtesy of Norman Langwell via Katy Lampson)

Gov. Perry Names Langwell Texas Round-Up 2008 Fit Texan

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today named Norman Langwell Jr. of Huntsville as the 2008 Texas Round-Up Fit Texan. He also named 9-year-old Kolton Allen of Lexington as Fit Kid and the Gonzales-Paul family of San Antonio as Fit Family.

“I encourage all Texans to use these Texans’ stories as inspiration to take steps toward fitness, incorporating healthy changes in their daily routine that will help improve our quality of life and ensure long-term health,” Gov. Perry said.

All recipients of the Texas Round-Up awards have displayed long-term dedication to following a healthy and active lifestyle. Langwell dropped 178 pounds in two years through diet and exercise; Kolton consistently encourages friends and family to join him in his passion for running and sports. Caleb Gonzales and his mother, Ruth Gonzales-Paul, routinely exercise together and eat a well balanced diet, which helped Ms. Gonzales-Paul shed 80 pounds.

The winners will travel to Austin to participate in the 5th annual Texas Round-Up 10K and 5K Race and Fitness Festival on April 26.

Gov. Perry launched the Texas Round-Up statewide fitness initiative and 10K race in 2004 to motivate and encourage Texans to become more active and incorporate healthy choices into their daily lives. The program currently has more than 66,000 registered participants, and includes an annual fitness festival, 10K and 5K runs and the Fit Texan Challenge, which provides resources and motivation for people trying to make healthy lifestyle changes.

“We implemented the Fit Texan Challenge to find out if people were making progress toward their health goals,” said Meredith Garcia, Texas Round-Up executive director. “We are pleased that people from many regions of the state have been participating in the program for more than a year.”

According to the Texas Department of State and Health Services, an estimated 10.1 million, or 62 percent, of Texas adults are overweight or obese, costing the state $10.5 billion in 2001. If current trends continue, an estimated 20 million, or 75 percent, of adult Texans will be overweight or obese by the year 2040, and the cost to the state could quadruple to $39 billion.

For more information about Texas Round-Up activities and programs, please visit http://www.texasroundup.org/.

Chasing Bears, Counting Pi and MS150

We had two incredible drivers for the Texas Independence Relay - Jose Ruiz and Manny Mondragon. Their support to our finishing the inaugural Texas Independence Relay was invaluable, plus they're pretty sharp guys and amazingly talented.

Aside from driving sweaty runners long distances, Jose now flies a good number of miles on a regular basis as he has recently earned his pilot's license.

Manny, meanwhile, proved this past weekend that he is a distance fiend of another kind as he completed the two-day MS 150 bike ride with Joe Carey on Saturday and Sunday from Houston to Austin.

Congratulations to the two of you for raising money for MS!

I know you're reading this and saying to yourself, "What about Cassie (Mondragon)?" (You're right, what about her?!)

I knew she liked a little country music as both she and Katy Lampson this weekend took to heart that classic Kenny Rogers song, "The Gambler".

You know the line about, "You've got to know when to hold 'em / know when to fold 'em / know when to walk away / and know when to run."

Guys. When our bodies tell us to stop, we boldly try to take them where they shouldn't go or haven't been. Yes, it's the macho thing. Sometimes we should learn a lesson from the ladies.

Fighting an inflamed IT band, Cassie knocked out the first 88 miles from Katy to the Warda Ranch (home of some mountain bike races and ultras) before being forced to call it a MS88. ;)

Nonetheless, it was a distance PR for her.

Katy picked up a nice, shiny PR as well even though her quest for the Texas Marathon Challenge was temporarily derailed. After finishing the first loop of the Davy Crockett Bear Chase Marathon, the 32-year-old decided not to aggravate a recently acquired hamstring injury and went back to Huntsville with a nice medal, a cute bear and a 12-minute PR to boot.

After having invested approximately 200 miles of training since the TIR, Edwin Quarles, 42, of Lufkin, had a nice 1:44:45 performance in the Davy Crockett Bear Chase Half Marathon to show for it. Additionally, he was the first Brazosport Area Road Runners Association (BARRA) member to cross the finish line by keeping Kelly Colosimo and Ralph Corry at bay. He finished 23rd overall.

Norman Langwell, Jr., 36, of Huntsville, started the second loop well on his way to breaking his 4-hour goal that he narrowly missed the Sunday before at the Big-D Texas Marathon by just 21 seconds.

However, it wasn't Norman's time to break four hours but he was rewarded with a 19th place overall finish and a time of 4:03:39.

Team captain Jon Walk took a week off from racing and handled the inaugural race's public address announcing duties. (To see comments on the race, please click here.)

Two weeks removed from her quarter iron distance triathlon in Galveston, Sarah Graybeal, 30, ran the Pi Mile 5K Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia at her alma mater, Georgia Tech University. Having relinguished race director's duties for the annual Yuri's Night 5K, she was free to knock out the very hilly course in 33:34.

April 15, 2008

Langelier Wins Hog's Hunt 25K to Lead Bloggers

Adrienne Langelier hasn't yet met a running surface that she doesn't like.

After winning the Surfside Beach Marathon in February and leading the Battling Bloggers of the Texas Republic during the Texas Independence Relay, the 25-year-old Sam Houston State graduate student even found the Huntsville State Park trails to her liking to win the 16th annual Hog's Hunt 25K in 1:57:46, defeating the next closest female by almost four minutes.

40-year-old Tommy Stunz ran with his 14-year-old son, Jakeb, as they finished the 25K together in 2:30:51.

Katy Lampson, 32, and Karen Felicidario, 42, set distance PRs while challenging the Hog's Hunt 50K for finishing times of 5:49:30 and 6:39:37, respectively. Lampson was 42nd out of a field of 92. Ken Johnson, 66, completed his 13th 50K in 7:47:36 to finish Roger Soler's Texas Marathon Challenge.

In Dallas, on Sunday, April 6, Norman Langwell, Jr., 36, barely missed breaking the 4-hour mark - 4:00:21 - in his fourth career marathon at the Big-D Texas Marathon.

New Battling Blogger team member John Maloney, 45, and David Smart, 47, tried out the new Muddy Trails 5K in The Woodlands giving the Team some shorter distance races to balance things out.

Maloney was impressive as he won the 45-49 age group in a time of 21:24 as Smart continued his steady running with a fourth place age group finish of 23:31. (John's son, Tanner, finished the course in 22:00.)

Erin Foley, 33, continued to work towards her return to competitive road racing with a fifth place age group showing at the Chevron Bellaire Trolley Run 5K, which is co-hosted by the running club she belongs to - the Al Lawrence Running Club.

Even though Langwell missed breaking four hours, it was a PR for him; however, it wasn't the only one of the weekend as 45-year-old Becky Spaulding shined on Sunday, April 6 at the Run For the Rose 5K.

Spaulding, who had to drop at the 43-mile mark of this year's Rocky Raccoon 50-Miler, posted a time of 26:29.8.

"It was one of those days when the moon and stars were perfectly aligned," she remarked. "I'm working hard on getting my time down so I'll be ready for next year's TIR."

And then there was the team's stubborn leader, 41-year-old Jon Walk.

He checked off states No. 21 and No. 22 in half marathons with visits to Abilene, Kansas and St. Louis, Missouri for the Eisenhower Half Marathon and the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon.

He posted times of 2:20:10 and 2:27:00 in the weekend's back-to-back effort.

April 01, 2008

Lampson, Graybeal and Johnson Pace Battling Bloggers

While a handful of Battling Bloggers convened at the Lampson Ranch on Sunday in Huntsville for the Seven Hills Running Club monthly club run, three (3) team members added to the list of quality performances that got kicked off on Saturday with Cassie's sprint triathlon debut.

Katy Lampson, 32, ratcheted down her 10K PR with a superb 55:12 showing at the ever-popular Tyler Azalea 10K on Saturday while Ken Johnson, 66, took home a second-place age group award with his 1:12:25 finish.

Then under great racing conditions in Galveston on Sunday, Sarah Graybeal, a newly minted 30-year-old, was just 15 seconds from the Athena Division podium stand at the Lone Star Triathlon Festival in the quarter iron distance, which included a 965-meter swim, 28-mile bike ride and 6.55-mile run.

Graybeal posted a 3:10:42 effort that was just 14 seconds behind League City's Cathy Modero, 42, and Houston's Jennifer Klein, 41.

She was seventh in her division in the swim with a time of 22:19, which put her behind Modero and Klein; however, she used a fourth-best division bike ride of 1:32:39 to draw within striking distance of the bronze medal during the run.

Despite pushing as much as she could with a quality 6.55-mile run of 1:11:30, she kicked off her near 10-race triathlon season with an excellent performance to build upon.

Captain Jon Walk, 41, ran the Austin American Statesman Capital 10K for the first time in four years, but was only able to turn in a 1:05:59 performance on the hilly course.

March 29, 2008

Mondragon 10th in First-Timers at Lone Star Tri Sprint

The captain of Blogger2, Cassie Mondragon, 29, is seen here just a few feet from the finish line at this morning's Lone Star Sprint Triathlon in Galveston, Texas.

She finished 10th among all female first-timers as she covered the 500-meter swim, 12.5-mile bike and 5-kilometer run in 1:32:42. The most impressive part is that she definitely set a 5K PR today -- her watch, 27:46; race split, 27:33.

March 25, 2008

Then Again, Let's Call Today a Five-Spot

When I worked in British Columbia the last two years, there's a chain of restaraunts called "White Spot" - something in the Friendly's variety and maybe even a slight upgrade from Denny's (but not much).

Today, "The Battling Bloggers of the Texas Republic" have scored a five-spot with yet another addition to our second Texas Independence Relay team for 2009.

I failed to mention that the assist on today's earlier team additions goes to Huntsville's Katy Lampson while our latest addition can be credited to The Woodlands' Dave Smart.

We welcome to our two teams 45-year-old John Maloney of The Woodlands.

If you take a look at this link from Athlinks.com, you'll see that John's times are just a little breezy. :) Not a lot of quantity, but certainly a lot of quality.

Norman, Niki, Nick, Ken and John, welcome. TIR 2009 is going to be fun!

Four More Additions to TIR '09 Team

As promised and expected, I'm pleased to announce the addition of four new team members to "The Battling Bloggers of the Texas Republic".

While I had a chance to run the captain's leg with Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon co-founder Thomas Hill, we're adding our own founder and race director to our squad - longtime former president and current vice president of the Seven Hills Running Club in Huntsville, Ken Johnson.

Ken co-founded Seven Hills in 1985 and is also a member of the U.S. Running Streak Association, an organization of runners who run at least a mile every day. He has not missed a day since December 27, 2002 and the long-distance relay will add to his vast running experiences that numbers over 370 races, including 22 marathons and 12 50Ks.

Because our team is as involved in the running community as it is, it is just natural that we add another board member in current Seven Hills president Niki Bellnoski and her husband, Nick, to the team.

Niki, who has a 3:49:21 marathon PR to her credit (San Antonio '06), is currently a student at Sam Houston State University and is majoring in kinesiology with a minor in health. She and Nick recently competed in the Seven Hills-TWRC 5K Challenge in Huntsville where Nick finished in 22:52 while Niki came in with a time of 23:09.

Nick finished the 2005 Chevron Houston Marathon in 4:22:19.

Finally, if you told Norman Langwell, Jr. that he was half the man that he used to be, I'm certain that he wouldn't take it as a challenge to his ego.

He would probably say, "You're right and thank God!" They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, these two - at this link - will probably evoke a few, I'm sure.

Norman finished his third marathon of 2008 the weekend before last in Seabrook with two more scheduled - the Big-D Texas Marathon next weekend and the Davy Crockett Bear Chase in Groveton the following week - to complete the Texas Marathon Challenge.

He also was part of the Andy Brock's "Dude ... Where's My Van?" team. We certainly didn't steal Norman; however, Norman also wanted to get the Relay firmly on his calendar and we're excited to have him join us.

March 24, 2008

The Woodlands Fat Ass 100K - Sunday, May 4

The day after the CB&I Triathlon in The Woodlands and various other greater Houston area races, Western States-bound ultrarunner Rick Cook (and potentially other local ultrarunners) will be running a 100-kilometer "Fat Ass" training run through The Woodlands.

Since the course will likely be a 10-kilometer loop, it is the perfect opportunity for all of us to put together relay teams to 1.) run against and 2.) run legs with Rick as he prepares for the "Boston of Ultrarunning", which is held this year on June 28-29 from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California.

If you're interested in participating, please let me, Rick or Bill Dwyer know.

As more information becomes available, we'll let you know.

March 22, 2008

Weekend of March 22-23

So how did the individual members of The Battling Bloggers of the Texas Republic do this weekend?

At Run The Woodlands 5K on Saturday, Katy Lampson slashed her previous 5-kilometer PR by almost two minutes as she dropped her best time at the distance to 26:10 from 28:07.

Jon Walk and Sarah Graybeal participated in the 13th annual Resurrection Run that is run on the streets of Nassau Bay, close to NASA, and Walk, who was battling off a cold, finished in 30:32 while Graybeal scored a sparkling time of 31:08.

Our most experienced team member, Joe Carey, was part of the group of Bay Area Running Club volunteers who supported On The Run's Jay Lee in putting on the well-respected event.

Cassie and Manny Mondragon, who both will run on one of our two Battling Bloggers teams in the 2009 TIR, completed distance PRs of 62 miles - bike riding, that is - on Saturday in the 6th annual Katy Ram Challenge.

The Bloggers are working on filling up their second team for the 2009 Texas Independence Relay. If you're interested in participating with us, please e-mail our team captain, Jon Walk, at walksports (at) aol.com.

March 21, 2008

Previous March Results

Lucky Trails Marathon
Seabrook, TX - Sunday, March 16, 2008

Norman Langwell, Jr. - 4:19:06.8
Becky Spaulding - 5:48:54.9 PD
Ken Johnson - 6:06:44.9

Lucky Trails Half Marathon
Seabrook, TX - Saturday, March 15, 2008

Becky Spaulding - 2:29:14.2

TWRC-Seven Hills Running Club 5K Challenge
Huntsville, TX - Sunday, March 9, 2008

Nick Bellnoski - 22:52
Niki Bellnoski - 23:06
Norman Langwell, Jr. - 24:09
Holden Choi - 26:30
Katy Lampson - 31:30 PD
Jon Walk - 37:10 PD

Bayou City Classic 10K
Houston, TX - Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tommy Stunz - 45:45.0 PR
Erin Foley - 47:44.8
Becky Spaulding - 1:01:49.2 PR

TIR 2008 Photo Page

Seven Hills Running Club vice president Ken Johnson built a photo page from the 2008 Texas Independence Relay of club members who participated on one of four different teams.

This page can be found here.