Mike the photographer

When I went on my medical trip to the city of Valladolid this spring, I met Mike the Dentist. He and I ran together several days during the week. We have casually kept in touch since then. He has given me race reports on his recent half and full marathon races. I look forward to reporting to him on my running of the Indianapolis Marathon. When we were together I was still planning to make a spring 2009 marathon my first full mary, but have since decided on a fall race.

He was snapping some great pictures of a girl in a tortilla factory. I jumped in front of the camera and got shot too.

If you are looking for someone to follow on flickr, Mike tends to have great shots in his photostream.

Week 5

Week 4
I was to run 5 easy miles. I did not quite make 5 miles, nor were they easy. One of the problems with having a hotel with a view in a town in the mountains is that means the hotel is at the top looking down. Not so bad when you are starting your run. But somehow you have to get back up to the hotel.

I tried a stab at getting to my original running route that I planned for the previous Saturday. As I pointed out then, getting from the hotel to where I wanted to run was just about impossible. I did manage to get across a couple major roads without dying, but could not manage the third. I chickened out.

I only managed 3.6 miles at an 11:25 pace. That is about a minute per mile slower than I should have been.

Supposed to run an easy 5 miles. The village we were in for camp just did not seem like the type of place that would accept a white guy running through the streets in the morning. I let peer pressure keep me from running. And I was fine with that. Besides, all of my running has been done at 2,000 feet or lower elevation. We were over 7,000 feet when at camp. As a point of reference that is higher than Denver which is where many athletes go to do high altitude training. It is the same height as Flagstaff where I once ran a track meet in high school in which we watched people pass out on the track because of not being acclimated.

Five easy miles was the prescription. I ran 5.22 miles in perfect timing. Plan called for 10:32 per mile and I ran 10:29 miles.

Week 5
Monday: 2 miles easy at 10:26.

Wednesday: 6 miles of tempo run at 8:56 pace.

Saturday: 12 mile long run.

Parque Plaza Sesamo

Plaza Sesamo is the Mexican version of Sesame Street. I am not sure if Plaza Sesamo is used in other countries, but it is filmed in Mexico City and is quite popular here. In Monterrey is a theme park that is based on Plaza Sesamo.

We arrived at the park Saturday morning shortly after it opened at 10:00, but since we did not have a printed copy of the online promotion, we either had to find an Internet shop to print the coupon or pay an extra $30 for the family to enter the park. The promotion we saw online did not say we needed a coupon and therefore we thought it was just a standing promotion. I spent almost an hour running up and down the streets near the theme park looking for an Internet cafe to be able to print the coupon. Since I went through all the work, I printed a couple of extra ones and handed them out to others in line.

The theme park itself is pretty small and it is geared towards young children as you would expect. We were a little disappointed that every time we saw one of the Sesame Street characters walking around they were walking with a handler who was trying to rush them off to a show or something. The characters never had time to stop for a photo. It was not until after we were leaving the park that we saw a few characters who had time for a photo shoot. Then our kids were not interested in getting a picture with them. Our daughter was scared by the larger than life version of the Muppets and our son is too old to be interested in a photo with them. I felt a little awkward getting my picture taken with them by myself, but at least we have a photo to show the kids later.

There were only a couple of rides that were of real interest to us as older people, but our daughter was thrilled with just about all of them. One of the neat things that they have done is make the rides accessible to all ages. We were able to ride the majority of them with our daughter. We did not have to stick her on a ride by herself with the exception of a couple.

The water park section of Plaza Sesamo was great for all ages. We spent the majority of our 7 hours in the park playing in the water. They did a great job in building play areas for small children as well as having a good amount of thrilling water slides. Though we are in the middle of the summer, it did not seem that the crowd was as large as they could handle. Some of the areas were packed, but many of the lines were very short. Much shorter than they were prepared to handle.

Our one major disappointment with the park centered around the difficulty of finding information on the website. It would have been nice to know that I needed to print out the online coupon to get the good price which would have saved an hour walking the streets looking for an Internet cafe. We also specifically looked on the site for the clothing requirements in the water park but did not find them at the time. Unlike the general public, we prefer not to run around mostly nude. We always wear a shirt and shorts at the beach to protect our white little bodies from the sun as well as maintain a bit of modesty. My wife and daughter were not allowed in the water with a shirt on. My son and I ditched our shirts at the bottom of the stairs and slipped them on after each ride. We ended up having to buy a suit for our daughter and I gave my lycra shirt to my wife. The lycra is permissible, but not cotton. Every time she wanted to get in the water she had to prove to the life guard that the shirt was not cotton. All of that could have been avoided if they would put their clothing requirements on the website in an easy to read manner. The requirements are there, but they list the rules for each attraction separately instead of just giving a general set of rules. By the time you read through several pages of rules for a bunch of rides and you finally get to the water park rules, your eyes glaze over and it is easy to miss. But there is no mention in the rules that lycra is a permittible form of clothing.

All in all it was a very fun day. We have not been able to see as much of Monterrey as I had hoped, but we certainly feel like we have had a great vacation. Even though we are here for a reason, it has been nice to be here a couple of days early to relax and enjoy a few days as a family.

Running around Santa Lucia and Fundidora

Yesterday we visited the two parks Santa Lucia River Walk and the Fundidora in Monterrey, Mexico. Today I took a couple of incredible hours and ran around these two parks a few times.

I needed a 10 mile run for my long run of the week. I had planned to run near our hotel. This route was recommended by a few people over at Run the Planet. The route they recommended seems to be quite popular since 3 different people mentioned it. That route is also conveniently located just 2 kilometers from my hotel. But, after driving around yesterday, I found out that those 2 kilometers might as well be 200. There is no way to cross over the major highways that I would need to to get to the start of the route. I could have driven there of course, but that kind of defeated the purpose for finding a route near the hotel.

After visiting the two parks yesterday, I really wanted to run there. But that meant a 20 minute drive and I did not have time to get there, run and be back before we were scheduled to do an outing this morning.

I decided to run this evening after having spent the whole day with the family in a theme park. Who’s bright idea was that? I figured if I could have gotten a nap then the late running would not be that bad. No nap happened.

I wanted to do the run anyway and with the family tuckered out and ready for bed when we got home this evening, it was a perfect time to run. So I got ready and headed out the door and back to the area where we had spent the last 2 days. The theme park we went to today is also connected with the two parks we were at yesterday.

Not knowing the mile breaks, I decided to not do my normal Galloway run/walk plan. I just ran straight through. That also meant that I really don’t know exactly how far I ran tonight. It was somewhere between 10 and 11 miles, so I logged it as 10.5.

I started off by running through the Santa Lucia River Walk. I ran down one side and discovered a service road that is used for vehicles and therefore is less crowded by pedestrians. Even though it was a vehicle accessible road, there were no cars there. It was a totally safe place to run without worrying about cars at all. I ran to the far end of the park, away from the other parks, and then back.

*Warning: This is not a recommendation!* While running I decided to do something that may end me up in a hospital, but I am not really too concerned about it. I decided that since there are no vendors in the park, and I knew I would be thirsty, to take a risk and drink from the public water fountains. This is Mexico after all, and we are always told to not drink the water. We drink so much bottled water it is even a disgusting thought to me that I actually drank water out of a pipe all my life in the US. Yuck!

I went against all conventional wisdom and drank the Mexican tap water. I have a few things going for me though. First is the fact that I have lived here for 4 years and have only been sick because of parasites/amoebas one time. Secondly, according to something we were told several years ago, the number of different strands of e-coli in the water increases the further south you go. Theoretically, if I am somewhat immune to the bacteria in Yucatan, there are far fewer bacteria in the water in Monterrey since it is so much further north. Whether all of this is true, I don’t know, but I also don’t anticipate getting sick over this.


I ran around the Champ Car race track at Fundidora 3 times adding a little to each lap by running off the track and into some of the walking paths around. These extra paths are where I was reminded that Monterrey is not a flat city. I got a little bit of hill work in tonight. Since I don’t ever get to run hills, I did a few little ones, but took them easy.

I also ran through the river walk a couple of times.

I highly recommend that if you get a chance to run in Monterrey that you make these parks part of your trip. I would have to admit that they would get boring to run all the time, but if you were running shorter 30 minute runs, you could easily vary your route and run through different parts of the parks several times before you had to run the same route. There are plenty of places to run hills, but you can also stay in very flat areas easily.

This ranks up there with the most memorable runs I have ever done. Of course number one would be the run in Long Beach that I have mentioned many times, but tonight’s run would take a close second. It was very nice to run without having to worry about getting run over by cars.

Week 4

Week 3
3 mile run was the prescription. I ran my standard 5K loop. Nothing special to report about the run. I just took it nice and easy like the plan calls for. I ran it in 10:06 per mile and the plan was 10:32 per mile. So I was pretty close.

5 mile run with 3 miles of tempo work. I ran my 1 mile warm up and immediately jumped into my tempo run. I was not able to get down to the 8:57 pace that I was supposed to have. I averaged 9:26 per mile. I need to separate my warm up from my tempo pace. When I was running with Jeff regularly I would run 1.6 miles easy and then take a 10 to 20 minute break before our run which was essentially a tempo run at 8:40 per mile. I never seemed to struggle much, but I am sure that 20 minute break helps a lot.

10 miles at a 10:32 pace was the plan. I ran an incredible run of 10.5 miles which I will write up in a separate post to tell you all about it.

Week 4
Monday: Easy 5 mile run at 10:32.

Wednesday: I think this is a 5 mile speed run. I don’t have my training plan with me (I am away on a trip), but I do know it is a 5 mile run which I will do at an easy pace. I am in camp and will be running at 7200 feet above sea level. I hope I will have time to get this run in, or at least a 3 mile run.

Saturday: We will get home from camp on Friday night and I look forward to a step back week of just a 5 mile long run. I will need it after the week of camp. I did not make the training plan do this, it just happened to fall at the perfect time.