Twists and turns added to Congress Avenue Mile

I have always wanted to run the Congress Avenue Mile. It seemed like such a cool course. Starting at the Capital Building and running down the six-lane Congress Avenue, slightly downhill for about 1200 meters. It sounded like great fun…but when I arrived in Austin, I found out the disappointing news. Fox7 anchor, Dennis de la Pena, told me the news on Friday afternoon that Run Tex had to change the course due to Paramount Theaters having an earlier permit to use the upper portion of Congress Avenue. So Run Tex did what they could and made an out and back course with four turns and with the second quarter slightly uphill. This is not what I expected for the course, but after feeling “deflated” on Friday – it was time to center my focus to run under 5 minutes on this new course.

I won the Master’s Heat in 4:50 (the heat was 40-59 years old). Right behind me was Austin resident, Ros Hill, who also felt “deflated” on hearing about the course change. Ros and I did a cool down run together. He showed me the “old” course and the University of Texas football stadium. It was inspiring to meet Ros as he coaches older athletes to reach their own potential, can still dunk a basketball at 48 years old, and has a passion for art as well. I love the logo on his shirt for the older athlete “45 and Up.” I will have to return to Austin next year for the Congress Avenue Mile to not only defend my Master’s title, but also to finally run the “old” course from the Capital building .

I flew back to Florida on Saturday afternoon to prepare for two races next weekend. I race The Ogden Mile in Wheeling, West Virginia on Friday evening and then race the Memorial Mile in Boardman, Ohio. This will be my quickest turnaround time for recovery between two events this summer. My plan will be to “go low” on their quick course in West Virginia and hang on under five minutes in Ohio.

I have been having problems with my racing orthotic over the past month as it is not providing enough support. I actually ran the Congress Avenue Mile in my heavier training orthotic as I was feeling tightness in my heels due to plantar fasciitis (I had a bad case of it in 2003 after trying a light, small heel racing shoe). I do not want to feel that discomfort again, so I am trying to “nip it in the bud” and rebuild a new racing orthotic this week. Thanks to my sponsor, Faklis Orthotics, I will be pain-free very soon.

Greek hospitality for race #1!

Tarpon Springs, FL made the ceremonial first race a very special day. The course went from Faklis Department Store to the Sponge Docks. Twenty minutes before race time Fox News Show “Good Day” ran a LIVE feed to the start of the race. So I had a 4 minute interview with Good Day anchor, Ray Collins.

Vasile Faklis who put the whole event together said a few words, Father Michael blessed the proceedings, and Mayor Beverly Billiris inaugurated the event. The race was filmed by Bayou Productions. The film crew at Bayou Productions used a “clown car,” an electric, cool golf cart that goes 30mph down the road, to shoot the race. We had a police car leading the race and a policeman on a Segway following the racers. 

Running with me in the event was a few of Tarpon Springs finest young athletes: my race pacer was Anthony Velardocchia, a former Tarpon Springs high school cross country and track athlete who is now the assistant coach and will be attending Hellenic College in Brookline, MA in the fall.  We were graced by two beautiful runners, Marianna Karavokiros and Kailand Cosgrove. Marianna is a Tarpon Springs high school student who is a member of the Greek Junior National Track and Field Team. Kailand is also a Tarpon Springs  high school student who is a member of Team USA Triathlon team and is ranked #1 in the world in her age group (14-18) by USA Triathlon Association.


I followed Anthony down to the Sponge Docks and finished in 4:42. During the closing ceremonies, Tarpon Springs showered us with Greek gifts as we all received unique “Art In Granite” plaques to commemorate the mile event and Mayor Beverly Billiris donned each runner’s head with a traditional olive wreath.

I wanted to thank everyone involved with the event. It was truly a spectacular beginning to our summer journey. I could not have chosen a better place than Tarpon Springs to host the event and make us feel part of their close knit community.

I finished the day with a book signing at Faklis Department Store, lunch at the Greek Pizza Kitchen, and a boat tour of Tarpon Springs. Well, it’s 1 down and 19 more to go…see you all in Austin!

45th Birthday Time trial

A few of my friends got together to celebrate my 45th birthday on April 10, 2008. We started the morning at the Booker High School track doing a 1200 meter time trial trying to establish the rhythm I need for the mile. You will hear from a couple of my training partners who are turning 50 in 2008, Wayne Lee Johnson and David Putnam. Also, you will hear fom the Training Consultant, Ray Helsing, and watch Kim Sheffield, 40-44 Indoor National Champ in the 800 and mile, perform a few medicine ball exercises.

Back from Portugal

Sekyen and I just returned from Portugal where I had my two-day corporate speaking presentation. It was great to share The O’Meara Process with people from all over the world. We had participants from China, Singapore, Czech Republic, Russia, Italy, U.A.E., Germany, Indonesia, Thailand, and USA. The volcanic island of Madeira gave me an opportunity to alter my training regime a bit and run its mountainous terrain. Now it is time to recover from the international travel, get back into my training routines, and prepare for my upcoming race schedule.

While I was gone, I read that Joan Benoit Samuelson (a Bowdoin alum as well) broke the U.S. womens’ 50+ record in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Qualifying the day before the Boston Marathon in 2:49. Sekyen and I had the fortunate opportunity to visit and run with Joan last summer in Maine. She let me know that breaking 2:50 was her last goal in her fabulous running career. I am glad to see that she met her aspiration.

Also, my youngest brother, Marc, (the Nutrition Consultant for the One Mile Runner) ran his 12th Boston Marathon in a row – breaking the 4 hour mark in 2008. Congrats Marc!

With just 10 days to go to my first race in Tarpon Springs, Florida, we are looking forward to beginning our journey…

Tarpon Springs unanimously approves ceremonial race!

 The city commissioners of Tarpon Springs, Florida unanimously voted to approve the funding and the organization of The One Mile Runner ceremonial first race of the 20/20/20<5@45. On Saturday, I traveled to Tarpon Springs to meet the mayor of Tarpon Springs, Beverly Billiris. We decided on the time of the event = 8:00am on May 10th and went over other particulars for the race. Beverly is very supportive and is a huge assest to the city of Tarpon Springs. The race course is going to begin outside of Faklis Department store and finish at the Sponge Docks of lower Tarpon Springs. My pacer for the ceremonial race, the fastest future priest in America -Anthony Velardocchia, and I did our sprint work on the track at Tarpon Springs High School. It is great to workout with Anthony. He has a positive spirit and we are working on our pacing during the first part of the race. I wanted to thank in advance all the residents of Tarpon Springs who have supported and welcomed me. Tarpon Springs is my home city for the 20/20/20<5@45!