City Staff seems bent on eliminating races in Austin

March 26, 2009

The City Council will hold a public hearing on April 2nd. Come to the meeting and show your support for races, events and the charities that benefit from them and e-mail your City Council today to vote AGAINST the draft ordinance.

I was able to attend the briefing by Assistant City Manager Rudy Garza to City Council. The long and short of it is if you like races (5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, marathons, triathlons) and want to keep seeing them in Austin you need to tell the City Council that you do NOT want them to vote for the draft ordinance and additional elements (ROW, Timeline). The ordinance as written makes the majority of races (Austin Marathon, Capital 10k, Nike Human Race, Capital Texas Tri, Si Labs Relay and any race that uses the dog pound loop) in violation of the ordinance, meaning the only way they can be approved is with an appeal to City Council. How much more obvious can it be that the goal of the ordinance is to get rid of races in Austin when every downtown race is now an exception.

City might just kill races anyway so I guess not being able to run isn’t the biggest issue for me

March 25, 2009

Been a crazy day with the hail and everything. Then I started hearing about the new proposals from City Staff on how to handle events and more specifically races in Austin. You can find details of the latest information and stay updated here:

In case you’re looking for a form letter I put one together 🙂

Where to submit:

Subject: In support of races and events in Austin and against City Staff recommendations

Dear City Council Members and Mayor,

I’d like express my support for races and events in Austin, downtown and throughout the city. I’d also like to voice my disapproval at the current recommendations you are considering for the following reasons:

1. The current plans ignore some key proposals from the downtown special events task force.
2. The current plans lead to a further increase in the cost of races. A number of races have already been canceled in the past two years, impacting local charities. The Right of Way Management Office’s interpretation changes of regulations in a manner inconsistent with other cities in the state and country and the current proposal will further compound this issue.
3. The current plans will eliminate a larger number of races in Austin, unless the races are treated as exceptions. This will either eliminate the races or increase the burden in managing this process.
4. The current plans discriminate against moving events by restricting street closures specifically for them even though these be managed to reduce their overall impact relative to fixed events.
5. The city staff has not effectively engaged the community to solicit input and kept it updated on proposals.

I hope you will show support for the events and races that are a large part of the character of Austin and enjoyed by tens of thousands of Austinites and others yearly and not vote to approve the current recommendations for handling events.

Best Regards,

Here’s what I ended up sending today in case you want to use any points:

Dear City Council Members and Mayor,

I’ve sent multiple e-mails in the past on special events in Downtown Austin (included below for your reference). I and many others have attended many of the Task force meetings. It was brought to my attention that City Staff will be making recommendations to you tomorrow at 2:00 pm and that these recommendations are different from the task force recommendations, both of which many people have concerns with.

I’ve heard rumors (barricade the night before, races only on holiday weekends etc) about the staff recommendations and am alarmed by the rumors. What’s more significant is the process from the task force, to staff to the public doesn’t seem to be transparent. I and others don’t have any information and have not been kept up to date even with a lot of effort to remain involved.

I’d like to request the following of you:

  1. To postpone the current plan for an open hearing on this topic on April 2nd. There is not enough time for us to effectively analyze and provide feedback on the final task force proposal and city staff recommendations.
  2. To share in a public manner the different recommendations as soon as possible so we can share them more broadly.
  3. To start scheduling open hearings on this topic at the end of April.

I wanted to thank a couple of you, Mike and Brewster specifically, for your direct responses on this subject in the past.

Given we just went through a week of SXSW I’m sure you’ve gotten your fill of positive and negative feedback on downtown events. As much as I wish my drive home was faster last week trying to get through 5th and 6th street I thought the inconvenience was a small price to pay given the benefits of such an event to the city and number of people that take part in the event. This isn’t a simple issue and a proposal that says x# of events on Sat, or Sun doesn’t seem effective. If an event is held when there is little to no traffic and the event organizer can clear the roads before that time why is that treated the same as another event that blocks traffic for 6 hours on a Sunday during a holiday?

I hope you will take a forward looking approach to this issue that accounts for the growth of commerce in the CBD, considers population density, explores ideas on pedestrian only zones, and examines the overall impact of events versus some of the more reactionary and short sighted proposals that have been considered in the past.  I’ve attached a spreadsheet that lets you model what you think are the major factors to consdier, weight them and then run actual events through this to see what the outcome would be. This isn’t a final answer but more of a way to ensure we’re consdering the multiple factors by importance and priority and then putting in the right manageble process to manage events and races.

Best Regards,

Fun times and getting back on the horse

March 22, 2009

Thursday wasn’t exactly a great day for running since that marked the realization that my right leg has an issue that I likely won’t be able to overcome for the Boston marathon but the weekend was nothing but fun. After work on Friday I went to the Fader Fort at SXSW. We saw a few bands which was entertaining. Then the next day got to sleep in, woke up at 9:00 instead of 5:00. Went to try and get in line for the Rachel Ray party, which wasn’t successful. One the way there there was an “altercation” (not our fault of course), that resulted in the person that out of the blue came at one of the people I was with being put into a police car and a 15 minute delay … just enough for us to be too far back in line for the Rachel Ray party. The evening involved watching Sylive Lewis and Kanye West … all for 8 dollars!

Today was my attempt to get back on the horse since I decided that Boston is out. It was yoga, tomorrow will hopefully be another core class and yoga as well as mapping out a plan to ease back into my training and fixing the problems and imbalances with my legs.

Sticking a fork in it

March 21, 2009

Time to call an end to this training season for me, and I’m surprisingly good with it. The tendonitis in my right foot that came on after the Tuesday workout (which went really well) and prevented me from completing the workout on Thursday hasn’t gotten much better. With only four weeks left till the Boston Marathon and the time I’ve missed with training this season I don’t see myself being able to recover, get my fitness/endurace back to a level to race in Boston. I’ll see how the leg recovers and then decide if I’ll run Boston as a fun easy long run, go to cheer the team on or stay in Austin.

This has been an interesting season, I’ve suffered more from inflammation issues than anything else and it’s been one leg, to the other and then back. I would have thought that not being able to hit my goal at Boston would be upsetting but it really isn’t. The thing I truly enjoy about running is seeing what I can push my body to do. Well, this season I learned that I need to do something different to sustain my training to meet my goals. It’s that psychotic love of the pain and learning, ups and downs that makes running so great. If it went well all the time I wouldn’t appreciate it as much.  Overcoming this new challenge and figuring out my way through this current plateau is invigorating.

For all of you on the team, I’ll be picking your brains about what you do and try some different things out … and I’m going to enjoy seeing you guys crush Boston just like you did CIM.

Peroneal Tendonitis

March 19, 2009

That’s the latest. Enough said.

Not much time left

March 18, 2009

Peroneal Tendon

Today we found out what our bib numbers and Corrals are for Boston. I’ll be in Corral 2 this time. When I ran it before I think I was in 7 or was it 4, anyway this is much further up. There are only a few weeks left now and I haven’t run much since January. I did manage the long run this weekend and last but that’s not much and I know my endurance isn’t where it needs to be. My left leg had been hurt and now I unfortunately have something in my right leg from compensating … specifically I think it’s my Peroneal Tendon. I can’t really do much but try and keep going at this point. I did manage the 5 x 1 mile at CV pace (15k pace) on Tuesday fine, decided to take today off to see if I could get the inflammation under control and tomorrow is a 10 mile progressive pace run. I should have a better idea about how much of an issue this is going to be … there just isn’t much time now so any more issues are going to put my goals in even more doubt.

Good 27+ mile run with the team

March 15, 2009

This was my first week back up on my mileage in the 70 mile per week range and my second run over 14 miles since January. February was spent dealing with my left leg which had a lingering injury that moved down the outside of the leg, around to the tendon sheath and then into the posterior. This has left my endurance and speed off where it needs to be so the 27+ mile run today was going to be a challenge. It was even more challenging for the people doing the real workout.

The “real workout” was a downhill run from North Austin down to some hills that included Red Bud, Stratford and Barton Hills. At mile 20 you hit the track at Austin High and ran 6 miles on the track. The first two miles at marathon goal pace, the next two at half marathon pace and the last two at 10 k pace … followed by a cool-down and soak at Barton Springs.

Since I’ve recovering from injury Steve gave me an out and wanted me to run the 6 miles at marathon goal pace. I’m still not sure what exact shape I’m in. When we did this workout for CIM I couldn’t keep my paces after a mile and a half, I mean I couldn’t keep MGP, I was running close to 8 minute miles towards the end instead of my 10k target of 6:10 … so let’s say that in addition to the injury/recovery phase I’m going through I also had some mental demons today.

I’ve decided I’m not in a 2:50 marathon shape, probably somewhere between a 2:52:30 and 2:55 marathon on a good day and a good course so I decided to try for the 2:52:30 based marathon pace which is 6:35 minutes per mile, or around 1:38 minutes per lap on the track. Here’s how the 6 miles went:

Lap1   Lap2  Lap3   Lap4   Mile Time
1:38    1:38    1:39    1:40    6:35
1:38    1:40    1:38    1:39    6:35
1:37    1:38    1:38    1:38    6:33
1:40    1:38    1:38    1:38    6:34
1:38    1:38    1:39    1:38    6:33
1:40    1:40    1:37    1:35    6:33

When I was running the miles I didn’t really feel like I was hitting the paces. I knew that Mike and the 3 hour train were going to be going from a 6:50 to a 6:30 to a 6:10 pace so I expected them to start passing me and Mike did come charging by the last couple of miles. The support on the track was great, Ruth, Steve and Karen were spread out on the track with words of encouragement and some tips (move your arms … thanks Ruth). All in all I’m happy with where I am, I wish this pace felt easier but this is where I am, a little over a month left for Boston and to figure out my plan.

Also, thanks to Mike, Damon, Kristen, and Jason for the company throughout the run. There were others there too but these are the folks I ran most of the run with together. The positive thoughts helped me with the miles on the track as the mental demons surfaced. I couldn’t give up on my 6 miles at MGP when everybody was giving everything they had for the “real workout”. Nice job out there today. And remember we just ran a sub 3:30 marathon today on our long training run … ok if you don’t include the water breaks 🙂

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