Monday, December 21, 2009

20+ mile White Rock day, 16.5 mile long run

Paced a friend of mine through the 1/2 marathon last week at White Rock, ran around another 2 miles or so looking for my ride, who then took me to the 20 mile mark of the marathon to run the last 6 with my boss. All told, close to 21 miles total last Sunday.

Had a decent training week, getting geared back up and then yesterday did a 16.5 mile long run at 6:50 pace. Getting pretty fit, ready for track season!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

DRC 1/2 Marathon!

I felt really great coming into this race. I got some good speedwork in and sharpened up for the last few weeks, so I knew I could race well.

My goal was to run 6:00 minute pace, so the plan was to go out somewhere between 6:10-6:15 for the first two or three mile and then to start rolling after that. The adrenaline got the best of me, though, and my miles were as follows:

1 - 5:59, 2 - 6:02, 3 - 5:53, 4 - 6:01, 5 - 6:01, 6 - 6:08, 7 - 5:57, 8 - 6:05, 9 - 6:17, 10 - 6:15, 11 - 6:20, 12 - 6:25, 13 - 6:21, .1 - :37

After the first mile at the pace I wanted to average, I decided I better go ahead and commit to trying to maintain the entire race at that clip. As you can see, at the end of mile 8, I hit the wall pretty bad and was just happy to finish up at the pace that I did - 6:07 avg pace. The course was hillier than I thought it would be, but I am happy with the overall result.

I got 15th place overall, out of more than 3,000 runners, including 2nd place in my age group (25-29).

This has been a great year of training, giving me a good base going into the winter and spring track season. Next up, 10 days of rest and relaxation before getting back at it with some extra speedwork for my mile race indoor at Arkansas in January. I'll definitely run the turkey trot (8 mile) in Dallas on Thanksgiving and then the White Rock 1/2, but those will be more of easy runs instead of hammering.

I'm really excited about revving up the speedwork for track season.

I'd be more excited if we can win a state championship in XC in two weeks, though!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Longest training run ever, ready to sharpen up for Nov. 1st...

I was excited yesterday because I went 7 miles out and back for 14 total, hitting the first half of the run in 51:04 and coming back in 47:48, an average of 7:03 for the whole run. This is the longest run I've ever done, which felt great.

I ran the 1/2 marathon in March in 7:08 pace, so it's fun to see the benefits of hard training. Today, I was on a 6 miler and thinking that maybe my mileage may have been off. So I got on the USATF "Map my run" page (http://www.usatf.org/routes/map/)and charted out my 7 out to make sure. It was actually 7.25, so my run yesterday was 14.5 miles, averaging 6:49 for the whole thing, 7:03 pace for the first 7.25 and 6:31 for the last, including a 6 flat last mile.

I am starting to think that progressive runs are really great workouts and should be a part of any distance runner's workout regimen. They start out easy, but you always feel sharp and fast at the end.

2nd to last mile repeat workout tomorrow; countdown is at 19 days until the DRC...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mile Repeats, 10 milers and the DRC 1/2 Marathon


My training has really progressed as well as I could have hoped for when I started getting serious about running again in January. From 10-12 mile weeks at 8:00-8:15 minute pace to 45-55 mile weeks pushing sub 7:00 pace for the majority of the miles, I really feel strong and ready to run some fast times.

One of my goals was to be fit enough to run the varsity workouts with the guys on the cross country team. I started out doing mile repeats at just under 6:00 pace with 5-6 minutes rest in between. I am able to consistently hit sub 5:30s on the repeats now with under 4 minutes rest, helping our #5 runner close the gap to our frontrunners in the process.

Something else that I really missed in these years of fitness limbo was the ability to run 10 miles at a decent clip, reasonably comfortably. This past weekend, I ran the OSU Jamboree 8k in the University division. It was a painful experience but also a fun one. I wanted to run somewhere in the 28 minute area but ended up running 30:15 (6:03 pace) after drastically underestimating the course. That was the most difficult, demoralizing course I've ever experienced. In the end, I really wasn't too disappointed with the time. The soreness set in directly afterward, despite a good 3 mile cool down. We got back home late Saturday night, and I planned to get a 10 miler in on Sunday morning. I was really sore as I set out, but I made it a point not to look at the watch until the run was over. I ran as comfortably as possible, finishing up in 74:14, a clip just under 7:30 pace. I was excited, specifically because I never picked up the pace at all and stayed in my comfort zone the entire way.

At this point, my confidence level is at a high going into the DRC 1/2 marathon November 1st. The goal is to run sub 6:00 minute pace, which would be a shade under 1 hour, 19 minutes. That would put me over 14 minutes faster than the 1/2 back in March, which was 1 hour, 33 minutes. If I get 8-10 miles in and feel great at pace, I would love to be able to put my foot on the gas a little bit and dive a couple of extra minutes under 1:19.

The summer base and fall training will give me a decent background for a spring season that will see me attempting to run the mile/1500 at various track meets. I think the whole project is really a two year plan leading to the spring of 2011 to really run a fast mile/1500. After that, who knows? I am most certainly not going to be lucky to hold on to any speed I might still have for much longer, and I'm definitely not getting any younger. The next step would be to really get serious about the 1/2 marathon and focus on that year-round.

I heard a great quote the other day from Mark Wetmore, the coach at Colorado. He said, "If you are not enjoying the journey, chances are you're not going to like the destination." That's probably an accurate assessment. I'm really enjoying the journey, so I hope I am content with the destination.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

3 Adventurous Years (this is an epic tale)


On August 12th, 2006, I began a lifelong journey with my best friend, Jessica as we exchanged vows and started our marriage. We celebrated our 3 year anniversary yesterday with lots of rest and relaxation but before I get into that, I wanted to take the time to chronicle what all we have done over the course of our first 3 years.

I still wonder sometimes how I got so lucky to marry such an amazing woman. We were initially very cautious when we first started dating. We were both coming out of long relationships but had known each other since 7th grade. We didn't want to ruin our friendship, but we also didn't want to lose a chance at something special. Finally, we made it official, knowing we would end up sticking together forever.

When we got engaged, I was teaching at our alma mater, Poteet High School in Mesquite, Texas. Jessica was working at an insurance company as a supervisor, making great money but hating the job and being very unhappy at the end of the day because of it. We talked about her finishing school, which had been something she had wanted to do for a while. I was secretly rooting for her to choose a career in education, and it looks like I may get my wish. :) We knew it would take a lot of work and would be tough with one income for a while, but we made the commitment and decided to take our show on the road to Lubbock, Texas!

I enrolled in a post graduate teacher certification program at Texas Tech that gave graduate hour credits since I was not fully certified yet. Jess enrolled in classes with the Human Sciences department and after some research, decided she would be interested in pursuing the teaching aspect of it in high school. That semester was so much fun. We rented an apartment with our adopted brother, Dwayne and another one of our buddies, Andy. It was funny because it was the same apartment complex that I had lived in my sophomore year. We both got jobs at Blockbuster Video, making barely sufficient money and watching lots of free rentals! During our Lubbock tenure, our good friend Andy was abducted by World of Warcraft, an apparently widely addictive online computer game, and we scarcely saw him the last month. By the end of the semester, I had interviewed at a few schools in Lubbock ISD, but nothing really came to pass, so I started looking back in the metroplex, and we made plans to come back home. Our plan was to buy a house, rent Dwayne a room, and live the American Dream if I could only land a job.

I interviewed at Rowlett High School and accepted a job as a Spanish teacher, which lasted all of 8 days due to certification conflicts with Tech. Region 10 (my teacher prep & certification place) said they would give me a certificate in English, so I decided to go for it. Now all I had to do was find another job, in the middle of January, in the middle of the school year.

Throughout this process, we were living with my grandparents in Oak Cliff. Jess was taking the commuter bus out to UNT for school from downtown Dallas. I would drop her off in the morning, go substitute or whatever I had going on during the unemployment phase, and then pick her up between 4 and 5 in the afternoon. We got to know the downtown McDonald's quite well during this stretch.

The girls' basketball coach at Poteet when we went there was still there my first year teaching but left at the end of the year to take a job at Royse City. As she was on her way out her last day, she told me that if I ever needed a job to give her a call. Royse City had posted a middle school Reading position, and I called her to see if there was anything she could do. We were in Oak Cliff, not anywhere close to Royse City, but a job was a job. I was subbing at a few places, including Royse City when I landed the English job. The head of Human Resources told me that if I "didn't pass the certification test in April, I would not have a job in the fall." No pressure or anything.

We started looking for houses about a month later. We liked the idea of living in Forney, because it was about a half hour from both Royse City and Dallas. All the while we were looking, I was studying my butt off for my certification tests. One of the best weeks of my life was the second week of May in 2007. I got my test scores back from the English, Language Arts & Reading 4-8 test, passed it with flying colors, drove to Lubbock to get the rest of our stuff (we were still paying partial rent there), took the Pedagogy & Professional Responsibilities test at a computerized test site in Lubbock (the second cert test educators must take), passed that one, too, brought our stuff back home, moved it in to the house (a day before the actual closing date, yikes), and closed on our first home the next day. WHEW!

We had a great time fixing up our house that we had bought as a foreclosure. We changed up all the lighting fixtures, painted, and really put a lot of love into that house (we'll talk more about that part later ;) ). The '07-'08 school year was great because I got my first head coaching job as the cross country coach at Royse City. Towards the end of the season, we brought home our first child, Tony, the catahoula/greyhound puppy from Edom, Texas. We fell in love with our Tonyboy from the very beginning. He is really a great dog. He loved playing in that backyard at the Forney house.

In the springtime, we started with our baby talks. Always hearing that financially, "you're never really ready to have a baby," we figured why wait? So in March, we started trying. In early April, Jess took a pregnancy test, and it turned out positive. We were going to be parents! We talked about names and decided on Cecelia Raine if it was to be a girl and Declin William if it was going to be a boy. Jess had attended a presentation at UNT (where she transferred to from Tech) about natural child birth and had decided she wanted to do it. I was a little apprehensive about it at first because I was concerned about Jess's safety but after doing some research of my own, I was on board. We attended some child birth classes that were geared toward natural child birth, and it made me feel so much better. Women had been doing it like this for hundreds of years, so why not?

During Jessica's pregnancy, which went very smoothly, the school year ended and an opportunity presented itself at a new school district in Collin County. The Lovejoy Independent School District started its secondary program three years ago, and this year will be the first year they graduate a senior class. The head cross country and track coach has been a good friend of mine for a while and someone that I look up to as a coach. He was the head coach at Highland Park High School (vomit) and even though I hated the school, I always had a great deal of respect for his program. He was looking for an assistant coach so Jess and I talked about it and because of the great academics the district was known for, we thought it would be great for our kids to go there. We came to an agreement and decided it would be best to put the house up for sale and head North.

Just as Jessica was finishing up her 8th month of pregnancy, we sold our house, thanks to our wonderful Aunt Julie, who was our realtor through the sale. It was October, and Jess was due on Thanksgiving. We found an apartment in Allen, Texas, and Dwayne decided to move to Oklahoma.

My first year at Lovejoy was absolutely unbelievable. The high academic expectations made me a better teacher (6th Grade Pre-AP English), and I look forward to many more years with the district. I am also the head middle school cross country & track coach at Sloan Creek Middle School and an assistant at LHS. The cross country season was a blast and for the first time in the school's young existence, we qualified the varsity boys and girls cross country teams to the state meet (with NO seniors). As the state meet approached, Jess was about ready to have our first little one. Instead of driving down to the state meet with the team, I drove down with Dwayne on that Saturday morning and drove right back.

A week later, at 1:30 AM on Sunday, November 23rd, Jessica's water broke, and we were on our way to the Birth & Women's Center in Dallas. Jessica was heroic during the labor and at 6:56 AM, Cecelia Raine Allen was born. Our great friend, Carter Rose was our birth photographer, and he really has a gift for capturing some amazing moments. He made a great slideshow which will help us relive that day for the rest of time. I already had that week off for Thanksgiving, and I took the next two weeks off to stay home with our new little angel.

For the next few months, I was the proud papa around work, emailing pictures of Cece to everyone up at school. Jessica keeps an amazing website that keeps up with the day to day of our Cecegirl. I wrote an update for each of her months so far that can be found on the site as well.

Eight and a half months have really flown by. Cecelia is getting to be a big girl, pulling up to a stand, crawling around the whole house, and making cute faces and sounds all day long. She is a joy to be around.

This summer, I got a part time job working at Luke's Locker, selling running shoes, which is extremely helpful with the discount and my progressing redemption of my running career.

So here we are, 3 years later. Yesterday, Jess and I got a couple's massages (and became members at Massage Envy), went to eat at the Butcher Shop downtown, grabbed a coffee, went to see 500 Days of Summer (fantastic, by the way), and then stayed at the wonderful Hotel Belmont in Dallas. It was a wonderful, relaxing celebration of our 3rd anniversary. We had a wonderful breakfast this morning, and then took off to go pick up the family.

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I would be nowhere without my wife, my angel, the love of my life, Jessica Ann. We are blessed with a beautiful family with Cece and Tony and have unbelievable support from our wonderful friends and family. Here's to our third year of an awesome marriage and to many, many more. Jessica, I love you so much. To those of you who read this, I'll try to update the epic each year and hopefully still be a blogger in 2059.




















Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Transformation

WOW! I came across these pictures of me from 2007, almost exactly two years ago. Thanks to the wonders of exercise and somewhat healthy eating, I look a bit different! I still have a ways to go to reach my goals, but it feels great to start getting fit again!

Before


Now


Varsity Boys' Taos Distance Camp

The second week of camp was lots of fun, as we took the varsity boys the week of July 19th. Going back was easier this time because I knew what to expect. It didn't take me long to get acclimated to the altitude since I was there just a week prior. We encountered some nasty lightning on Tuesday afternoon, as lots of the storms start right there at the top of the mountain in the ski valley.

Speaking of the ski valley, we took a great hike from there up to Williams Lake, which was at over 11,000 feet elevation. I got some great pictures of the trip, including the Rio Grande River Gorge, which we visited on Monday and the bonfire on the last evening. The entire trip was full of beautiful scenery that can hardly be captured on film.

I'm looking forward to getting back to beautiful Taos next year, but this time with the Allen ladies in tow! It's a great chance for the kids to grow together as a team, and it makes for some great memories!









This is a picture of the road that led up to the ski valley. We ran 4 miles up the last day and 4 miles back down, a whopping 8+ minutes faster than the week before!

Monday, July 13, 2009

JV Boys' Taos Running Camp


Last Sunday, the Lovejoy Leopard JV boys loaded up into a 12 passenger van en route to Taos, New Mexico for a week of running at an altitude of over 7500 feet. It was an 11-12 hour drive through beautiful northwest Texas (sarcasm) and northern New Mexico (not sarcasm, actually beautiful). I knew it would be both a fun but difficult week, because I hadn't been away from my girls for that long.

We stayed in a cabin that was halfway up the mountain toward the ski valley, and there was no cell service unless you went all the way to the top (4 miles from the cabin). It was hard not talking to Jess some days until about 6 pm her time. I think Cecelia grew about a foot while I was gone, but she was so excited to see her daddy when I got back! :) I am traveling back out next week for the varsity boys' camp and it will be tough again, but at least this time we will know what to expect. I think I'll plan better this time for calling back home.

The running in Taos was great, with a low in the upper 30s to low 40s in the mornings and highs in the afternoon in the mid to upper 80s. I think it hit the 90s one or two days but with the dry climate, it was fantastic weather. I got a good 40 miles in in 5 days, though it felt like 60 at sea level with trying to adjust to the elevation. The last morning, we continued the tradition of the run to the ski valley. It is 4 miles up from the cabin and goes from 7200 feet or so all the way up to over 9000 feet. It was VERY tough, taking me 35 minutes to get all the way up (almost 9 minute pace) but only 27 minutes to come back down, with the help of the nice downhill on the way back.

The kids had a great time and set some good goals for the upcoming season and the next few years. It was an excellent team building exercise. The only downside for the kids was the inability to take me down in ping pong, and I was the camp champion!

At this point, my running is going very well, too. I'll get another 50+ miles in this week and hopefully get over 50 again next week at elevation. That will set me up for some 60 mile weeks in the next 3-4 weeks and 70+ after that. I am running a 15k on Saturday, so we'll see how that goes.

The picture gives you some insight into where my loyalties now lie when it comes to choosing a training shoe.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

50 mile weeks and moving on up...

I'm settling into my summer training routine, and I'm right on schedule. I just finished consecutive 50 mile weeks for the first time since probably 2001 or 2002 (if I ever did consecutive weeks at that mileage then at all). My long runs are up close to 11 miles, on their way to 15ish by the end of the summer.

The team did their first uptempo workout of the summer, running 1 minute hard / 4 minutes easy x 5 or 6. I got 5 in and felt pretty good. I've been looking forward to getting some uptempo stuff in, so I was excited to put the pedal to the metal a bit.

This week has me on pace for about 50 or so again but in only 6 days as I took a break Sunday after about 12 straight days of running. We leave Sunday morning for the JV boys' training trip in Taos, NM, so next week should be a bit tougher at a higher altitude. I'm hoping to push into the mid 50s to low 60s in the next 3 to 4 weeks and ultimately get to 70 mile weeks by mid August.

July 18th is my next road race, the "Too Hot To Handle" 15k, so that should be fun (and smoldering hot). I'm going to try to be more consistent with updating my training from here on out.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lovejoy Country Run 5K

It's been a pretty good training year so far, though just last week I was feeling pretty tired. I have done no real speedwork, so yesterday's race gave me a pretty good idea of how far I've come since I started running again and better yet, it gives me an even better idea of how far I have to go.

I was discussing a little bit of strategy (if you can call it that at my current fitness level) with Greg, and he suggested that I hold back a little the first mile and then try to run negative splits the 2nd and 3rd miles. I guess that plan completely slipped my mind because when the gun went off, I strode right up to the front with the leaders. The first quarter to half mile may have been a bit too fast, causing me to slow down the next half, putting me at 5:54 a mile in. Normally I think this pace would be fine, but it probably should have been a bit more even.

At the halfway point, I was actually in 4th place but by the end of the 2nd mile (6:12 mile, 12:06 total at the check point), a few people passed me, and I felt like I was fading rather quickly.

I faded a bit more before trying to gather myself for a mini kick at the end and crossed the line in 19:01. I had envisioned running low 18s or better, so I was a bit disappointed, but it honestly is a good start and with the training I have planned for the summer, I really believe I can get much faster. Conversely though, I won my 25-29 age group and brought home a medal! :) That's pretty good encouragement I think.

If you want to see real pain, watch my finish here. It shows the winner, who beat me by about 1:40ish, but Jess did some pretty good camera work, and you can see the times as the runners cross. (I got 8th overall).


video

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gas left in the tank?

Friday provided me with a hint of hope that I could actually get things going and run fast again one day. We held the 1st annual Swine Flu relays at Lovejoy High School since the regional meet was pushed back. The kids were scheduled to run fast on Friday before all this flu hysteria let loose, so we let them. They got all suited out in their uniforms, and we had a nice little round of time trials.

On Thursday, Greg asked me if I could run a 56 second 400 to rabbit the 800 guys through the first lap. Hesitantly, I said I could. I was admittedly nervous, though that is somewhat embarrassing to say. I had to borrow some spikes and while I was warming up and doing strides, I had the feeling it would not go well. The gun shot off for the 800, and we took off. Through the first 100, I felt pretty smooth, so I settled in to a nice relaxed pace. One of the guys had gone out really fast and actually was in front of me, so I had to step on the gas in order to fulfill my end of the rabbitting bargain (I realize "rabbitting" is word likely only used in running). We flew through the 200 right at 27 seconds, and I was still not feeling too bad. The lack of speedwork (for about 8 years) starting setting in at about 270ish and as we came through the 300 at 42, I knew I was running close to empty. I kept trucking but started telling the guys to start passing me up. As soon as they passed me at about 370 or so, I stepped off the track, just in time to hear their time as they came through the 400, 56 seconds. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could still get up and go a bit. It worked out, too, since our district champion 800 runner ran a PR of 1:57, which was the goal, and our district runner-up ran a new PR of 1:59.9. It was a good run for the 800 runners.

Our 300 hurdler girls still had to run, and I also wanted to help them out as well. Though it would have been ridiculous for me to run hurdles, I thought I could at least run with them in the next lane and give them pointers as they were going. This occurred about 10 minutes after my 56 second 400 attempt, so I was pretty gassed. Our district champion hurdler ran a PR of 46.6 with me running right alongside her, which was fantastic, though I once again found myself wondering how I ever did some of the interval workouts that I did in my previous life.

By this time, my calves were barking like hound dogs, but we still had our 1600 girls left to run, and Greg asked me if I could help pace it as well. I knew the middle 2 laps of the 1600 were the hardest, so I volunteered for that. Our district champion 1600 runner ran right at her PR of 5:33, and I was able to pace her through the middle 800 in 2:50, a struggle, especially after the previous attempts to catch a glimpse of the glory days.

While my mileage has receeded the past few weeks as fatigue has set in, I still was encouraged by my mini workout on Friday. We have the Lovejoy Country Run 5K this coming Saturday, and I'm hoping to run under 18:00. This would be very close to a PR, though I would say I never ran to my real potential when running cross country in high school.

I've enjoyed getting back into the swing of running and have some goals in mind for the next calendar year. They include running the "Too Hot To Handle" 15K in July in 6:10 - 6:15 pace, running at the OSU Jamboree 8K in October (brutal course) in under 28:00 (possibly a stretch), and the ultimate goal is to run sub 6:00 pace for the White Rock 1/2 marathon in December. If all of these things go according to plan, then I am planning on running a few 1500 meter races next track season, including running unattached at the Texas Relays.

Since I quit running in college, this is the most serious I've gotten about it again. I love long runs and just being decently fit. Encouragement will be welcome as I take on these lofty goals, all the while being a father and a husband. Luckily, I have an awesome family and have nothing but support from my wonderful wife and though she does not understand the concept of support, I know Cecelia is rooting for me, too.

Have a great week!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dirty Running Laundry & Worn Out Shoes

This is a good combination for me. It gives me at least a slight sense of accomplishment, the feeling that I've been working pretty hard and being consistent. As we speak, I am washing a load so I'll have some clean running gear for tomorrow's run.

During the summer, I bought some Nike Lunartrainers, some very lightweight running shoes that have been great. However, since I put a pretty good amount of miles on them, they wore down, so I had to get some new ones. I stayed with the same model of shoe but went with different colors this time. Now I have two pairs that I can rotate out, so hopefully I can go longer before buying the next round.

Things are going pretty well. A few weeks back, I got sick for a few days, just when my mileage was at the highest it has been in several years. I went ahead and took a whole week off to make sure I was better. I am planning on training with the team when we start summer workouts, so I figured it was best to get some rest anyway. I'm working my way back up, and I'll get 70 minutes in this Sunday. Next race up on the agenda is the Lovejoy Country Run, sponsored by Luke's Locker. This is just a 5k, but I hope to run a decent time and hopefully get me in a good frame of mind going into the summer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rock to Victory 1/2 Marathon...

I ran my first half marathon on Sunday and had a blast! I was curious to see if my training is getting to the point that I'd like it to be, and I was pleasantly surprised at the race. The longest I had run going in was about 70 minutes, about 9 miles, so I was a bit nervous.

My plan was to try and average somewhere around 7:30 per mile for the whole thing and through 6 miles, I was about right on but started feeling really good. So for the next 6 miles, I averaged in the mid 6:40s and started really reeling in some of the people toward the front of the pack. After 45 minutes and change for the first 6, I went just over 40:00 for the next 6. Unfortunately, that was about all she wrote for me, and mile 13 was about 7:00.

I ended up 5th in my age group (25-29) and 62nd overall out of more than 1200. Now, feeling much more confident about where I am with my fitness level, my new goal is to average 6:00 per mile for the 1/2 marathon at White Rock in December. While I've enjoyed getting back into shape, now it's really time to start hammering out the miles.

This blog will begin to lean more toward my running since we now have a fantastic website ( www.ceceliaraineallen.com ) to chronicle the life and times of our little angel. It will be a good way to keep myself accountable for my workouts, so I'm looking forward to it!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

3rd Month of Fatherhood







I still find it hard to believe that I've been a father for 3 months (officially tomorrow). Day by day, Cecelia is growing and changing, developing her own little personality and expressions. This past weekend has been my favorite so far, the best two days (other than the "Big Day") I've had with my little girl. Yesterday morning, I tried to let Jess sleep in as much as possible, since she takes care of her all day during the week. We had a ball, and she had plenty of smiles and little giggles for daddy. We were up at 5 AM (if memory serves), back down at around 6, then back up around 8; each time, getting a little snack and then singing and playing. It's safe to say that Cece loves her daddy, which suits me just fine. :)

She's also becoming little miss independent. Playing on her little gym mats, sitting in her bumbo, and relaxing in bed, watching her mobiles have become some of her favorite things to do when she gets bored with mommy and daddy holding and talking to her. Songs from both of us bring loads of smiles and good times. It's becoming obvious that she has taken to the singing and should one day challenge daddy in a karaoke showdown (though we all know who would win that battle).

One of my favorite snapshots of the weekend came this morning when I was holding her, and we were having a conversation. Suddenly, she wasn't looking at me anymore and had become focused on my shirt. I realized I am wearing my USA Olympic shirt with the rings on the front, and it all became so clear to me: Cecelia Raine Allen, 2032 Olympic Medalist in the 5,000 meters or 10,000 meters. Mark it down; by then, I should be a halfway decent coach.

I can't wait until she can run around with me at cross country meets, yelling for our runners. I'm not saying that I am going to force her to be a runner but by keeping her options limited, I should have a really good shot (really, I'm kidding... or am I?).

I'm more in love with my family every day. I'm still amazed daily at how wonderful my wife is. Jessica does so much for us; she truly is Supermom. Cecelia is such a little angel, too. Every weekend, I find it harder to go back to work because it's so much fun hanging out with her. I'm so lucky to be part of such a great team!
Oh, I don't want to end this without giving a shout out to Tony, our little buddy, for being such a great dog. His protective side has reared its head, as every little peep that goes on outside our apartment invokes a bark from the little guy (as I write this, he's growling at something going on outside right now, no joke).
Overall, I truly feel like the luckiest man in the world. I hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jessica + Josh = Cecelia

There has been much debate about who our beautiful daughter looks like. It's amazing to watch her grow and develop her own little features. You be the judge, but I think she is a perfect blend of us both!





Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hey Slug, Don't Tilt











Dear Uncle Slug,

Don't tilt. Hang in there. Grind it out, and tear 'em up.
Love, CeCe

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Indoor Junior World Record and Get Rick Rolled...

Last weekend, German Fernandez, a freshman running superstar at Oklahoma State University broke the junior world indoor record in the mile, running an impressive 3:56.50 at a track meet at the University of Arkansas.

Understandably, the running message boards were buzzing about the performance. Someone posted "I want to see the race." A response was "dude, it's been posted for a while" and posted this link. What was to follow was quite unexpected for most, I'm assuming.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0

This was the funniest thing I experienced all week. By the way, congratulations German on a great race. He must have a pretty good coach, too.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2nd Month in the Books







Well, it's been two months (and a few days) since we had our little Cece Queen, and things keep getting better and better. Since we've started to develop a pretty good routine, everything seems to be more organized.






Bath time is still my favorite time because she seems to love it so much. She's all smiles and likes to kick her feet in the water. The baby conversations have become more in depth for infant talk. She coos and smiles all the time and gets a real kick out of it when we try to mirror exactly the sound that she makes. Sometimes, she starts kicking her legs wildly when she figures out that we're doing the same thing she's doing.

In the books I've been reading (The Joy of Fatherhood and So You're Gonna Be a Dad), she's ahead of a few milestones that they say happen in the third month. During the 3rd month, she's supposed to be able to put pressure on her legs if you hold her up, and she's been doing that for almost a month already. This is a good thing, especially because she's a future cross country state champion. The sooner we can get this standing thing down, the sooner we can get out on the track for repeat intervals and some long runs around Allen, Texas. (Just kidding, Cece Girl, you are more than welcome to try out other interests as well as being a superstar runner :) She's now weighing in at 10 lbs, 12 ozs and is 22.5 inches in length. They say she is in the 50th percentile for both, which we think is just perfect!
I still think brown with hints of pinks and purples looks best on her, although she looks great in anything and rather enjoy getting her dressed up for Kodak moments. She may be the most photographically documented child in history.

All in all, I'm still really pumped up about being a father. We're having more and more fun with her, and I look forward to getting out and doing more things as a family. So, stay tuned as I make efforts to continually update the Chronicles of Cecelia Raine!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Indeed...


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Favorite Movie Moments...


One great moment can change the way you look at a movie. There have been several times over the years that I've thought to myself, "That was a really great scene." That being said, here are five of my all-time favorite movie moments...
(In no particular order)

1. Coffee Scene in Heat...

Okay so maybe all of these after this one are not in any particular order, but this scene is my all-time favorite for sure. Al Pacino plays a cop (Vincent Hannah) and Robert De Niro plays a thief (Neal McCauley) in this genius matching of wits, directed by Michael Mann. This movie doubles as also being on my top movie list, staying at #1 for years. After several attempts to no avail to catch McCauley in the act of a big heist while keeping him under surveillance, curiosity gets the best of Hannah and he pulls McCauley over on the highway. As McCauley readies his gun, he rolls down the window to hear "How ya doin? You wanna get a cup of coffee?" McCauley responds, "Yeah sure, let's go." They talk about there respective places in the world and the intriguing aspect of it is that essentially, both parties need each other to survive in the world. At one point in their conversation over coffee, Hannah says, "You lookin' to go back?" (to prison). McCauley responds, "You see me doin' thrill-seeker liquor store holdups with a 'born to lose' tattoo on my chest? I am never goin' back." "Then don't take down scores," Hannah retorts. "I do what I do best," McCauley says, "I take scores. You do what you do best, try to stop guys like me." Classic...

2. Bus Scene in Almost Famous...
This one is about a young kid trying to make it as a reporter for Rolling Stone. He gets an assignment to cover a band called Stillwater and gets to go on tour with them. I really enjoyed this movie; Billy Crudup is one of my favorite actors (biased possibly because he played Steve Prefontaine in Without Limits) and after his character goes missing and runs out on the band, everyone is mad at each other and sitting in complete silence on the tour bus. The radio is playing and "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John comes on the radio. One at a time, they all start singing in and when the chorus starts, they are singing in unison, "Hold me closer, tiny dancer!" It's a memorable and incredible scene because you can see and feel the tension on the bus fade away as they join in together in singing the song.
3. Piano Scene in Big...

I'm willing to bet that this scene would make many people's top list. As we all know (or better), Tom Hanks plays a 13 year-old kid who wishes to be big, only to wake up as Hanks. He scores a job working at an agency that markets toys. He runs into the president of the company at a department store by chance, and they start talking. Hanks starts telling him about some of the things he thinks are wrong with the toys they market (his real age helps his expert insight) and as they are walking, they happen upon a life-size piano. Hanks starts walking around on it and begins playing it with his feet. The president joins in and before you know it, they are jamming with the whole store looking on.

4. Speech in Braveheart...

This movie is Mel Gibson's classic epic about Scotland's William Wallace (played by Gibson) and his effort to lead his country to freedom over England. Just before a major battle with England, in which they are outnumbered, Wallace must convince the restless Scots of the importance of freedom. "I am William Wallace, and I see a whole army of my countrymen here in defiance of tyranny. You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What will you do without freedom? Will you fight?" he shouts at them. One responds, "Against that? No, we will run, and we will live." "Aye, fight and you may die," Wallace continues, "run, and you'll live, for at least a while. And dying in your beds, years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our FREEDOM!!" The Scots then get pumped up and go on to defeat a much larger English army. Truly great scene...

5. McDermott goes bust in Rounders...
Matt Damon plays a law student (Michael McDermott) who plays poker for a living in this great flick. The opening scene shows him scrapping together cash from his hiding places in his apartment to go play in the big game. As the narrator of the film and main character, Damon does the play-by-play in a big hand with $30,000 in front of him. As the hand sums up (they're playing hold-em), the board shows A-9-8-9-3 with three spades. McDermott holds A9, figuring to have the best of it with a full house. The 3 that hit the board at the end was a spade, so he figures the other guy in the hand hit a flush draw. He announces, "I'm gonna go all in cuz I don't think you have the spades," trying to bait a call, thinking he surely has the best hand. "You're right," says Teddy KGB, played brilliantly by John Malkovich, "I don't have the spades." He starts to put his money in and McDermott narrates, "I know before the cards are turned up." Malkovich reveals pocket aces, a bigger full house than McDermott's. The despair of the major loss of $30,000 is written all over Damon's face as he looks completely in shock (as any of us would after losing that kind of money).

For argument's sake, there is a better scene in Rounders, but I didn't want to give anything away. That being said, there are also several scenes that came to mind but since they would give away the ending to anyone who had yet to see the films, I neglected to add them.

Feel free to reply to give some of your favorite movie scenes!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Resolution

In yet another attempt to return to the level of fitness attained when I was in college, my new year's resolution for 2009 is to run no less than 2 miles for all 365 days of this calendar year. For a while now, I've had an interest in running half marathons; while they are 13.1 miles and simply 2 miles per day will not sufficiently prepare me, I figure committing to AT LEAST 2 miles per day will help me get into a routine.

Running 2 miles is not much of a challenge, but with the hectic and, at times, demanding schedule of raising an infant, it could prove to be much more difficult than trying this feat in any other year. I guess the good thing about posting this on the blog is the possibility of people (the 2 or 3 that actually read this thing) keeping me accountable.

My other resolution (the one that Jessica says is more realistic) is to be more organized at work. While that is a general idea, more specifically, I would like to have the upcoming week's materials for class prepared on the previous Thursday. If I can have all that done before the week begins, it should make for a smoother work environment and give me the chance to refrain from working at home.

I love the renaissance that each new year brings. Good luck to all with resolutions for this year!

Happy 2009!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Pictures of CeCe





































Here are some of my favorite pictures of our precious little angel.