Archive for the 'Activity' Category

30
Oct
14

Two months until Across the Years 24 hour race

This is the story of the original Strolling Jim Horse

This is the story of the original Strolling Jim Horse

Well I have been running, doing weight watchers, and really striving towards new heights this past month.  So far this month I have been able to train my mind and body pretty well with two runs in the 35-40 mile range over the weekend.  Man these runs are tough but so satisfying at the same time especially when I KNOW that they are preparing me for a much more challenging race………..Across The Years.  This is a 24 hour race and my goal is to break my previous distance record of 63 miles.  I did that in 16 hours I think so I don’t think I will be there at the moment with my conditioning but the funny thing is, this isn’t the BIG goal race for me.  This race is going to really prepare my mind and body for my favorite race of all time which is the Strolling Jim 40 miler held in Wartrace, Tennessee.  This race holds a special place in my heart.  Oh, getting off track lol.

I have a few months to prepare for the 24 hour race.  Just in case you are interested in knowing what preparing for a race like this means here is a little bullet point outline

  • Visualize the race in a quiet place AND while running
  • Losing more weight and eating healthier
  • Doing some resistance training as these long ultras take their toll on many different parts of your body especially your back and shoulders
  • Running 4-5 times per week
  • Super long run every 2 or 3 week that is from 10 hours to maybe 15 once I get closer
  • Staying positive and not letting the naysayers make me believe I am crazy for striving to be my best
  • Talking it all over with a coach once per week

And finally, just keeping on keeping on with the good habits that always create a new us!

19
Oct
14

Simple ways to get out when you don’t really want too.

Starting-Up-Is-Hard-To-DoThere are times (I had them all week lol) that it feels hard or like you don’t want to get out and run, exercise, walk, etc.  So what do you do then.  How do you trick yourself into doing what you really do want to do but don’t feel like at the time.  Well, I think you have to build a habit around the thing you want to do.  Like get your running clothes on the same way and do things that create a routine around it.  So then, even when you don’t feel like doing it, if you can START the routine your mind will kick into gear and get you through the rest of the routine/habit.  So here is what I did this weekend when I didn’t want to get out there.

 

 

 

1.  I put on my running clothes even though I kind of intended to still skip the run.

2.  I put on my running shoes even though I was laying down on the bed.

3.  I told myself, NUMEROUS times that I could just go out and walk.  (Remember, I was supposed to run but to just go out and walk STARTS the routine ya know what I mean

4.  I stepped outside to feel what the weather was like and wake the hell up

5.  I put my watch on and got Ipod ready.

6.  I started my walk which eventually turned into a run because I was now IN my routine and it all felt pretty “right”.

That’s all folks

15
Jul
14

Step by step the weight comes off

Losing weight is a son-of-a-gun!  It takes time.  It takes effort.  It takes pain.  It takes deprivation LOL.  Well you don’t have to actually deprive yourself but there really shouldn’t be anymore “eat the whole large pizza” nights. HAHAHA.  I lost weight this week and feel pretty darn good about it so I tried to celebrate the victory and reflect.  I remembered that losing weight is both a mental and physical journey.  In both aspects all it takes is one step after another.  I remembered that it takes time and patience is essential to our success.  I realized that just doing the small things right, day after day, as boring as it can get will give you the results that you want.  Sometimes the pathway to success is not so exciting and that is ok because it is not excitement that gets the job done.  IT’S ACTION.

23
Jun
14

Update on the journey

img. credit:www.tynesweb.com

img. credit:www.tynesweb.com

This is an update on my journey.  The funny thing about being on a journey, whether it be weight loss or personal growth or whatever, is that there is no end to it.  Just like the road in this picture, a persons journey is a long and eventful passing of time which makes you into the person you are.   Often times the journey takes you on a road that is up hill. LOL.

Anyway, I have kept the weight loss faith.  I have not forgotten what it takes to succeed and win some of the battles that we all have to fight.  I don’t always win but I get my share.  Since shortly after the start of 2014 I have lost significant weight, I am happy as heck with my family at home, and my journey has taken me to a place I NEVER dreamed that it would take me.  Well……….I guess I dreamed of it I just never thought it would come to reality.  The last post I wrote on the blog was in November 2011 and it was set to private because it was deeply intense and personal.  The things I wrote in that blog were things I only dreamed of, things I never thought I would experience because the things I was currently experiencing at that time were so bad that I figured I could never grow strong enough to create change in my own life.  Well, I did!!!!  Actually, I can hardly believe that I did it.  Maybe someday I will share that part of my journey with you.

On the eating and exercising front I am winning the daily battles.  The weight gained is now coming off at a good clip, my fitness level is increasing dramatically, and my mind is being refreshed with new vigor.  I never did gain all my weight back but I did gain a good portion of it.  It was hard, REALLY hard because you begin to think you are a bad person or that you are not worth what you once were.  That is bull crap.  You are worth it and you are still that same ole’ person who has desires and dreams and hopes that all things can be possible for you.  It just so happens that you are in a shell that you aren’t happy with, a shell that keeps that “good” you from coming out, a shell that diminishes the power of happiness in your life.  Sure you can still be happy and you would be better off if you COULD BE but your mind plays tricks on you.  It tricks you into believing you are LESS when you weigh more.  The sooner that you can realize this the sooner you can take the bull by the horns so you can go for it and get what you want.  Life is ahead of us, and life is really short………..I am taking the simple daily steps to get the most out of my life. 

Oh yeah, last week I also just finished my 27th marathon.  It was my slowest one, and by far the most difficult but a great victory nonetheless. 

06
Jan
11

Weight watchers: if you blow it……..hold on cuz it might not be so bad

So yesterday I had a scare at work that basically through me (somewhat unknowingly) into myemotional eating persona. LOL.  It was stressful that’s for sure and the minute somebody asked me if I wanted some fast food I hoped right on that band wagon without a thought.  Then I felt guilty about it and ate a bunch of candy.  All in all I ate 91 WW points for the day.  It was a true blow up but I stopped it after the candy since I was actually pretty dang full of the yummy fatties.  I wasn’t going to count any of those points but today I decided it is what it is and I should count it.  I turned out that it was not such a horrible blow up after all.  Sure I emotionally ate which I don’t like to get into when I can help it but even after counting all 91 points I still have 13 weekly points left.  That was a huge relief and I could have enjoyed many more hours of “NON-GUILT” if I would have just counted it right away and known the truth.  So it was a good lesson RELEARNED!!!  If you blow it, just hold on, stop, and count the calories/points.  It is usually not as bad as you think it is.  It is the guilt that you let fester that kills you because you hop right back into that bad healthy cycle.

Today was a much better day for eating.  I also ran.  Yesterday I didn’t run because of the work emergency and the mass amount of food made me to full to run.  But I was back at it today.  It was a drizzling dark night tonight with heavy heavy fog.  The run was tough, I ran faster than I normally do and I just wasn’t in to it.  I didn’t enjoy it that much but sure was happy that I did it.  Here are a couple of pics from the run.

this is what my run looked like to me. it was actually pretty beautiful and neat

02
Jan
11

Creating an atmosphere of confidence in your mind for your journey

image from studentbranding.com

I had a terrific week and a few days ago I wrote a lot about the confidence I had in running long distance training or race runs.  As I ran my 6 mile run today I thought and thought and thought about this but I didn’t know I was until I finished.  I said to myself mid-way that I should go for ten miles because I knew I could do it and it would increase my long run distance build-up faster.  I held back though.  I thought to myself that I am 100% sure that even right now I could push through and battle out a marathon finish.  I mean heck, when there is so much on the line (a finishers shirt!!!  🙂 ) you always finish.  I know I could.  Would it be really fun?  Would it be “relaxing” and benificial?  Would it foster good thoughts or bad ones?  Then it struck me about training for me personally.  My body responds well to pretty much any kind of training I think.  I recover well.  I can go a long ass ways.  But it REALLY struck my that a conservative build-up (like the one I did when I first started running) did more for creating an ATMOSPHERE OF CONFIDENCE within my own mind than it did for creating a super fit person.  Of course the super fit goes along with the running but the multiple ultras and marathons, the way I explained to myself in my writing how I thought and felt going into a race, the sense of almost scoffing at a distance (with respect though) because I had done the work in the trenches far before hand.  It struck me that the ATMOSPHERE OF CONFIDENCE in my own mind was what I need to foster more than anything.  THAT is what creates IN ME the ability to stick with it, the ability to enjoy it, the ability to endure much longer distances.  In other words, I held back.  I cherished the “small” 6 mile victory.  I saw in my minds eye the red line on my confidence meter bump up because I finished my 6 miles in complete comfort and with a sigh of satisfaction followed by a smile.  There is plenty of time to build-up to 20, 30, 40 mile long runs.  I was reminded of the times where I had a 30 mile long run and I felt this exact same way when I finished: in comfort and with a smile.  Not sore for days, happy I did it, confident I could do it again. 

 
It also then dawned on me that training (or even starting exercise for the non-exerciser) is  a work of creating that atmosphere of confidence in the mind.  Making sure to work it in a way to create small victories to maximize and ensure that the confidence builds.  The body will make the changes it needs to, but the mind almost needs to be tricked into believe in itself if that makes sense.  It may seem slow forcing delayed gratification but suddenly you end up doing 50 times more than you ever thought feeling like its easy just like that 6 mile run.  I am committed to this.  Developing that atmosphere of confidence, developing that consistency of victory.  Maybe not moving on too fast but making sure I have lots of victories along the way.  Building, building, building.
 
Hopefully that all made sense because I just rambled a lot. LOL.
27
Dec
10

A new dawn ahead: Weight Watchers, Running, and a Fresh start

A new year is ahead of us.  This year has been a very wild ride for me personally.  I have not been posting here at all for sometime for various reasons but have not stopped writing because writing is something that helps me learn about myself, my ways, and my weight loss journey.  I hope that I have not lost all my friends here.  I am going to start posting regularly again and I am pretty darn excited about it.  Please feel free to join in on my adventures for 2011. 

For starters, I have gained about 50 lbs.  Yeah that is a lot but what can I do about it now except move forward into a new and exciting dawn. 

This was during my run tonight.

Here I am just days ago during my family christmas

Running

Part of the weight gain came about because of a serious burn out on running that was largely due to personal life stuff that I described on the blog earlier this year.  I tried hard to hold on to all the running I was doing but I just couldn’t, not with the mental stress and life changes.  Plus, I was working really hard on balance. I think I went to far with it though………….LOL!  So I never stopped running but I cut way back and am currently on my way back to running more and getting fit.  Come along with me as I progress again in my fitness, endurance, and running.  I feel like I am practically starting all over with running but I am far from that I think.  Still, way out of shape in my opinion and the extra wait is not fun to run around with.

Weight Watchers

I am, as you may have guessed, doing weight watchers for the “healthy eating” portion of my journey.  I get lots of points on this new POINTS PLUS plan.  Seems pretty well.  At the current time I am not going to meetings but doing it online.  I am having good success with it so far and plan to continue that for sure.  With the exception of xmas day I am eating pretty good and counting EVERYTHING. I know what to do, I am not making excuses, and I will succeed. Soon enough I will look like this again. LOL

Stay tuned to the blog to follow my journey-a-fresh.  I am excited and I hope that my posts can help you on your own journey with real life inspiration.  IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK.  I AM COMING BACK TO MOVE FORWARD!!!

27
Dec
10

Running pics

I plan to be taking more pics of my runs.  I got a new camera for Christmas and want to put it to good use for the blog.  I am sure some will be good and some not so good.  At the moment I am doing walking, walk/jog’s, personal training three times a week, and of course building up my long run.  I feel pretty bad about not being able to run as long as I used to but I am not going to let that stop me.  I ran 18 miles six weeks ago but went on vacation to hawaii and did not exercise at all.  So 18 miles is out of the picture for now and I don’t really care much.  I am just going to start slow and move forward in small steps just like I did when I could only run one mile.  I will keep the blog updated on my running and especially with any marathons I do.  I have done about 26 or so marathons.  I plan to get to 30 in 2011.  Here are the pics from tonights run.  It was a cold and rainy time with flooded streets.  It was exhilarating really.  Went out for 30 minutes and burned around 290 calories.

Cool street lamp so I thought I would take a pic

The cold rainy night gave all the light around a golden glow that intrigued me

Main street still decorated in christmas lights

02
Jun
10

A life lesson from a “tuff” race!

 

photo by strangesports.com

So I have been thinking about this blog post for about two months now and this last race pushed me over the edge to finally be able to articulate in some form what I have wanted to say.  Most of you  know that I think ultra-running parallels life in many interesting ways.  One of the ways is the unexpected blow up.  Just reading what I just wrote possibly brought up your own sacred times in life where you experienced a “blow up”.  Not of temper, not of fire, but of life itself and the dreams that are contained within it.  Times in your life that forced a renegotiation of your goals or path.  We have all experienced this in some form or another.  But what we do with these times is what counts the most.  Avoiding times like these at all costs will not permit you to totally avoid them.  We can plan, we can hope, we can pray, but these times occur regardless.  It is possible to minimize the damage they can cause or possibly their frequency but one thing is for sure; they will happen.  And this is ok.  So I am going to write out one of these the best way I know how because I think you’ll like it and I just need to do it so here it goes.  Picture your own life as I describe the situation in running form.

Ahhhhhhh……….my goal is ahead and I have worked so long and hard and dreamed for so long about it.  I can taste it.  I can almost experience my dream in my mind just pondering on the attainment of the goal.  THAT place is so happy.  I know it will be amazing to get there and the sense of peace I will have knowing that I got my dream.  The journey has been long to get to the starting line but I am here.  I start my race with such joy and comfort knowing what my future hours hold for me.  Running in the breeze thinking how blessed I am to be able to be taking part in life like this.  I meet people along the way that improve my experience greatly.  I find out more about them as we run together.    I know that they are most likely just for a time but at this time it is great to get to know them.  As I am running I see the hills before me without fear because I know I can walk if needed or I can slow it down enough to conserve my energies.  There is no rush really, I have a long race ahead of me but the excitement must be contained so that I don’t burn out on a good thing.  I keep on just getting more excited that my dreams are ahead of my and they will become a reality.  Of course there are rough patches during the run.  My legs burn and I want to rest.  My back is tight and I want to stretch.  Many thoughts come during those rough patches that widdle my dream down to barely possible.  Then the sun shines in through the trees and my life returns as I eat some more carbs.  My mind awakens and I am in “the good” again believing all is possible.  Time moves on and on as I run.  I’m running, I’m running, I’m running.  After a long time of pursuing this dream something happens seemingly out of nowhere.  It’s the blow up.  The blow up is a devastating crushing blow to my mind and emotions.  The dream is shut down and the door feels closed.  Survival is my only thought during a blow up.  That and giving up completely.  I know the end is near enough but the short distance from the present darkness to the light at the end of my great achievement appears to be many more miles than it really is.  My thoughts change from delight in life and running to self questioning and sanity.  “Was I stupid for trying to achieve and experience great things.  Did I bite off more than I can chew.  Will I hurt myself doing this.  Am I in danger in this dark time” .  All the negative thoughts that I was able to conquer regarding my dreams before are now so consuming that I cannot shut them up.  Panic sets into me just as powerfully as the joy set in earlier in my journey.  Will I be able to get what I want so badly out of this now that attaining my original goal is impossible?????  This is where the magic happens in ultra-running AND life.  I know I can’t make it to my original goal.  I am already running longer than my goal finishing time and I have so far to go still.  What am I to do with all of this.  If I give up and quit I still have to walk to the finish because there is now way out of the race (life).  If I keep going through this blow up it’s going to hurt really bad and I don’t want to hurt that bad anymore.  If I just go slower I might as well quit!  But then the renegotiating happens.  At first I hate it because it feels weak like a cop-out but the courage begins to build again but for a new purpose.  The original goal is now very far gone but the endurance and capacity to conquer the blow up now takes precedence.  I find myself realizing that the journey could very possibly be more important than the attainment of the original goal.  The the experience of this hurt, this “failure”, this “shame” could be worth millions more than crossing the finish line without scars.  Although down and out, I forge ahead with a new but painfully real struggle.  I must not let the “blow up” finish me.  Then it hits me, “OMG………..the goal is not me.  I’m me and I don’t have to let the circumstance finish me and in fact I can let it refine me.”  My heart melts at the prospect of making it through this blow up as a better man, as a better more knowledgable runner.  I find great peace in this painful experience knowing that just making it through to the other side of it means so much to me.  And when I cross the finish line where my goal once sat waiting for me to take it, I am thankful for making it at all.  I am thankful for that pain and hurt that even though at the time seemed so intense was really only temporary as compared to the impact it will have on my future runs and life. 

So I think it is with life too.  We all have goals and aspirations and dreams.  Sometimes it is as though we are running through life so smoothly but we don’t see that huge cliff that drops off just ahead.  That cliff that swallows up so much of what we think we have in us to give.  That blow up that takes so much out of us that life seems terribly painful to keep at.  So much is possible for us.  So much is right there for us to become if we can renegotiate the path and the goals.  In a sense I feel like even though we might not get what we originally wanted, we will get the best that is attainable by moving on through the blow up.  Things get painful, and slow, and don’t work on our time line but keeping on develops in us such a tremendous power to achieve the most important thing.  That is to achieve the depth and reality of the person that we can be.

19
May
10

Very Tired but Happy Too!

Oh boy am I tired today.  I have been staying up pretty late but it has been well worth it.  So I am happy with it.  Lots of stuff has been happening of late and I really like it.  I hope to keep experiencing more and more of it.  On another note, I am totally seeing visible changes in my body when I look in the mirror.  Not huge ones but they are apparent so I feel good about it.  I am getting leaner and it seems to be working its way down from face to shoulders to arms but not to the stomach yet.HAHHAHAHA. That will come in time.  The resistance training is now cut back to two days a week becasue I just can’t do legs the way the trainer wants to and still keep my paces during my running since my legs are so tired.  Running is my first priority but I really like what the training is doing for me.  My eating is also doing well.  It’s not perfect and it probably never will be and I don’t even care if it is.  I have much more mercy on myself now.

Today I have a hard track workout.  It is supposed to be stormy, windy, and raining.  Fun huh!!!  I will be doing 20X400 meter repeats at my 5k pace.  I may not hit all the reps at that pace but will work my booty off to get it done.  These are always really hard workouts for me yet at the end I feel so good that I accomplished something hard.  Doesn’t it feel good when we accomplish something hard or difficult.  When I am done I will crumple into my truck seat and drive home feel exhausted yet exuberant about the achievement.  I will probably tell my friend and coach soon after that about the victory.  The cool this is, is that they will probably ask me how it went and to me that is special because someone cares enough to ask.  Knowing this, I also try to ask about what concerns the people I love and care for.  What they care about concerns me and what hurts them builds compassion in me.  Anyway, things are going well.  Keep on fighting the good fight of health guys.  It is so worth it.  So so worth it.  No need to give up, you CAN get to your place.

06
May
10

I’m hoping for the best!

Since I am working out using resistance training, I am hoping that it will make a difference in my journey to lose the weight I have gained.  So far I have not experienced much of a difference but I have not been eating that great either.  Eating is more than 60%+ of the battle if you ask me.  I mean heck, you can lose the weight without exercising if you have too.  I want to retain and even gain some muscle but also want to be as light as I can for the running.  I don’t really want the concentration camp look but I would like to make my running as easy and as effecient as possible.  So all in all I am hoping to shred the fat off my body, get down to a pretty low body fat %, and build up my running speed and endurance.  I think that this is all feasable but I am having a hard time being patient.  I think the fact that I know what it is like to be where I want to be makes it hard to except the fact that I am where I don’t want to be.  But I will make it to where I am going.  I will keep on keeping on.

20
Mar
10

Still running.

I did 5 miles today.  My legs are having a hard time recovering from my last two long runs.  One was 63 that you all know about and the other was 25 last weekend.  My legs felt pretty good in the 25 miler but the runs this week were damn hard.  My legs felt like lead and they felt like that were straight all the time stiff like.  But I am still out there.  I am still going for it.  I am still in great shape.  It was a beautiful day this morning during my run.  The sun was in full effect, motorcycles were out enjoying the warmth, people were dressed in slightly warm weather clothes.   I saw each of them as I tromped on by them as I took one smooth step after the other.  The air was refreshing and crisp.  I listened to Mariachi music for the whole run which put a romantic touch to the time outside.  So although my legs are mourning the abuse for a bit, it was an extrememly great experience to have on this wonderful day

10
Jan
10

strong 6……8……..14………41.5

I had several days of heavy running.  I feel really good about it.  I discovered much about my body, my running, and my emotions.  I had a great experience doing all of these runs.  Extra special though was the LOOOOOOOONG one.  I of course LOVE those long runs.  I mean, sometimes I don’t look forward to them but they are so good for me I think.  I have to concentrate and push and step and walk and run and eat and drink and do it all again and again.  Pain comes heavy, easy , then nothing, then elated joy and amazement, then back do boredom, and on and on.  As many of you have read my knee has been bothering me.  I have never been injured.  I am still not injured thank GOD.  And for some odd reason I don’t push if I think I am about to be injured which has saved my running life many times.  This wisdom is contrary to my normal obsessive desires but I have such a desire to be a life long runner that I don’t want to jeapordize my future in running.  Not that I have a future competitively but I want to be able to run looooong in to the future you know what I mean.  It is an important activity for mind and soul and body for me.  Here is a picture of my knee and where it hurts.  Then I will tell you about my 20 miler turned 14 and then my 40 miler.

So there is my knee.  HA!  I thought I did not have really hairy legs.  Weird.  Anyway, on Saturday night after work I had scheduled a 20 mile long run.  I headed out and my knee hurt from the start.  It does not hurt real bad but I know that my knee is there if that makes any sense.  I had a couple of fast spurts across the street and a jump up to a curb that hurt VERY bad.  This caused alarm in my little heart and I called it short at 14 miles so that I did not do any damage that would hinder my ability to run 40 the next day.  Basically, I knew I could have finished the run if I shortened up my stride, went slower, and babied it but I did not want to chance it because the 40 is the staple of my running diet for the 100 mile race prep.  So on to today.  I got up at 7 a.m.   I had a fabulous mental and emotional break through.  It was exhilarating.  I was so happy to realize the things that I realized.  I felt totally liberated for the moment so I figured that would be a good time to go tackle the mental and physical trials of a 40 miler.  Once again, I headed out and my knee hurt right away.  It hurt a little more than the day before but I shortened up my stride and slowed it down a bit like I realized I could.  One step after the next, I made it to the marvelous moment at 1:54 into the run.  THAT IS RIGHT.   YOU HEARD ME RIGHT.  I RAN IN A BIT OF  PAIN FOR 1 HOUR AND 54 MINUTES BEFORE THE JOY CAME.  AT 1:54 ALL MY KNEE PAIN WENT AWAY.  NO MORE.  IT WAS GREAT. I proceeded to keep on keeping on until I reached home at the 41.5 mile mark.  I had to go that extra 1.5 just to put a middle finger up to my current life events.  I also went that extra 1.5 as a show of gratitude for those same life events.  I hate them but I appreciate them.  Does that make sense to you guys.

BIG MISTAKE OF THE DAY

I drink hammer nutrition perpetuem for my calories and hydration during my longer runs.  I usually use the orange flavor.  No problems at all.  This time I only had the delicious flavor of LATTE.  It tastes great but it has caffeine.  Lots of it.  So image drinking like a four shot every hour for 8 hours straight.  I almost had a fit out there.  At the 6.5 hour mark I could not take anymore in.  It was just to much caffeine for me and I have a HIGH tolerance as it is.  By the time I hit the 7 hour mark I was collapsing bad.  No water, no calories, and still running.  At the 38 mile mark I was dizzy, just about to throw up, and barely making it.  I did make it though.  I kept on.  Readjusted.  One foot in front of the other until I finished.  Then I had a king size fast break candy bar.  MMMMMM.

Total miles: 41.5

Total calories burned: 6,528

Total calories eaten: 2,080 (not enough)

Total hydration: 147 ounces

I was victorious again.  I only have 27 days until the starting line of my 100 miler.

07
Jan
10

Totally bummed but keeping on.

Shooting very sharp pain stabbed me right in the mid-left back last night during my run.  I was kicking butt on my 6 mile speed work run but at the 3.5 mile mark I was stopped dead in my tracks.   I had to walk home.  I think it was a cramp or something.  Not an injury I don’t think.  I felt so out of shape and fat and discouraged after that.  I normally don’t have two runs that I cannot complete in the same week time frame but this week I did.   Me long run of 35 miles last Sunday was not completed nor was my full 6 miler.  This is ok in the long run of my journey but it still stings the esteem a bit.

I also had this horrible dream about the 100 miler that I will be doing.  I scared the heck out of my.  I think a nice dream about the end of the world or some evil thing chasing me would have been better.  In my dream I started out at an 8 min. pace for the first ten miles.  Got totally exhausted, fell asleep in some thatch roofed hut, got up to finish the race and collapsed at the 30 mile mark.  Woke up feeling like poooo after that.

I move on from all of this though.  Keeping things in perspective helps.  I can run 20 miles without any soreness or hardship.  Even 40 miles is not so bad anymore.  I am actually in good shape even if my feable mind can’t see it for the time being.  My eating is improving a lot.  I also discovered AGAIN that eating in my truck is VERY VERY EVIL.  HAHAHAHA  Can’t do it and be successful.  “Auto” eating is not good for me.

25
Oct
09

Are slow running “back of the packers” real marathoners to???????

SJ40 me runningHere I am somewhere in the middle of running 42.2 miles back in May.  During this race I ran, jogged, walked, hobbled, limped, etc.  I PR’d this race but still finished hours behind the leaders and the “real” competitors.  Did this simple fact nullify my effort???

HELL NO!

Neither does the fact that 1000’s may finish in front of you in a marathon.  A blogger dear to my little old heart recently posted on the topic of being a “plodder” or “back of the pack” runner in a marathon. There is heated debate on this topic because many  “purists” feel that finishing a marathon beyond 5 hrs is not really running a marathon and some would even say that you are not really finishing a marathon if you finish that slow because you are not giving it your all.  Here is what I have to say on this topic.  I am so glad for ringmasters post because this is a topic that is highly meaningful for most people who aspire to running a marathon.

You see, it is somewhat of a recent trend that non-competitive runners and/or people would even attempt to run 26.2 miles.  Prior to these present times, marathoners were a fringe group of crazy people who were mostly competitive runners that wanted to test their (“their” is the key word here) limits and abilities. Since they were of a competitive nature they were also very interested in how they measured up to other runners partaking in the magical distance.  These people were well versed in shorter distances and wanted to move on to longer ones.  Now, however, people from all walks of life and from a vast array of athletic backgrounds desire to tackle the marathon. WHY?!!!  The reasons are the same!!!  This new group of people want to test their (“their” is the key word here) limits and abilities.  These are people who for whatever reason, had a light bulb experience, that lead them to believe that they too could push themselves beyond their current comfort zones.  They believe that by pushing, even if it is just once, beyond what they think they are capable of, that life will somehow be better.  They will be better.  They will believe in themselves just a little more.  They want to grow just like the “original” fringe group.

Here is my answer to the criticism of the “back of the packers”

  • The purist group says that if you don’t run the whole way and suffer, you are not “running” a marathon. To me this is like saying when you take a day off from running you are not really a runner.  If you don’t run at a 6:00 pace you are not a runner.  This is saying that if you don’t run like I do, then your running efforts lack validity. I can promise you one thing, I have finished faster than 1000’s of people in marathons who never walked a step.  I have never run a marathon without walking and this includes my fastest time of 3:33.  I actually had “non-walkers” say they wished they could finish as fast as I did.  Running is personal and you are the captain of your running ship.
  • The critics say that slow back of the pack runners are just showing up. Well no duh!!!  And in fact, I find that this is actually the truest of all victories in marathoning.  Reaching the starting line is the biggest victory because just getting there means that you have experienced a transformative process on your body and mind.  That is right!!  You have been through and experienced the same process that the front runners went through to get them to the starting line.  We all walk the line of belief and doubt, time, endurance, work, family, etc. to get to the start.
  • The critics say that 5+ hrs is not the “best that you can do”. My first marathon was 5:45 I think.  Was I lazy?  Was I “just showing up”?  No!  I truly did what I could do with what I had in my little box of running experience.  I could not have done better on that day and at that time.  Of course, once it is over, it is easy to say “what if…..only if…..” but you can’t change WHAT IT IS.  This is an area of big concern to me because it is SO CLOSED MINDED.  Everyone has different natural abilities.  One person said that if you are under 50 and give it your all you should finish below 5 hrs.  BWAAAAAAAA HAHAHAHAHA!  This must be coming from someone who has forgotten or with more natural ability then they think they have. Finishing 26 miles, especially in under 5 hrs, WILL TAKE TRAINING.  You don’t just go out and do the best you can do when trying to tackle a new and longer distance especially if the gap is from 0 to 26.  Most people who are in good shape would just totally bonk out and fail if they just did they best they could do without consideration of training.  And one more thing, pushing HARD WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO PUSH HARD COULD BRING ON INJURY.
  • The critics say that 5+ hour people ruin the magic. I am sorry but everyone is responsible for taking and holding on to their own magic.  Not a single person nor anything in life can take the magic away from your marathon finishing time except you.  If you run marathons simply for other peoples recognition of the magic, then this is not healthy either.  If a 3 hr person is standing next to a 6 hr person and they are both talking about their experience to a non-runner, there should be no reason that 3 hr person should feel cut-down.  Sure, the non-runner may think that it is not that hard when looking at the slower person but who cares what they think.  You know what it took to get you to your time.  Non-runners didn’t do it for you.  Slower or faster runners didn’t do it for  you.  Others perception of marathoners didn’t do it for you.  You did your marathon in your time because you wanted to do it and you did it the best way you knew how.
  • The critics say that 5+ people should not get a reward for their “easy” effort. This just cracks me up.  Do you know how many marathons I have done and didn’t even pick up my shirt or medal.  These are nice keepsakes but the best keepsake of all is the little increase in the “I believe I am capable to…..”  meter.  To say a slower runner should not get rewarded just says to me that the critics are mad that their “fringe” group is just not so “fringe” anymore.
  • It’s all by degree……….. What if a nice person were standing there listening to a critic (I have observed this in real life).  The critic talks about each of these points of why a slow runners are not real marathoners.  Then, the listener sarcastically says, “well, I just finished my first 100 miler last month.  I don’t think any type of marathoner is a real runner. HAHAHAHA”  What about this???  This person was joking in order to make the point that running is running and running is done by degree.  What one person thinks is lazy and easy, another person thinks is out of this world difficult or impossible.  In fact, the honest truth is, that most all fast marathoners would never even dream of running beyond 26.2 miles.  Does that make them less of a runner.  Does it take away from them or add to the ultra-runner.  NO.  We are the captain of our own running ships.

My story and progression.

Since I started running, I have been in all kinds of “fringe” groups.  I have done many marathons in 5+ hours.  I have done many below 5 hrs and on down in the the 3 hr range.  I have moved on into the “fringes” of the distance running world by running ultra-marathons.  One thing I have learned along the way that is essential is that one person’s journey cannot take away from another’s.  I have had people tell me that “back of the packers” ruin the marathon only because they don’t think I am or have been one.  I have bragged about my 50 mile runs only to have a very nice and humble “old timer ultra-runner” chuckle and then tell me about there 2nd place finish at the Badwater 135 mile run in death valley.  Did this guy mock me and tell me that I was nothing.  Heck no.  YOu know what he did, he sent me a personal email telling me it was an honor to share the road with someone who had had the drive lose weight and get healthy the way I did. Now this is the right way for the fast and slow runners to react.  Running is special and running is a privilege.  Some people don’t get the opportunity to run marathons even if they wanted to.

Like I said before, I have run marathons from 5:45 through 3:33.  I started somewhere.  I started with my first one.  I did the best that I could do with the knowledge and body that I had at that time.  What was the difference between 5:45 and 3:33.  Strategy, training, and physiology.  My strategy was different.  My training was different.  My body was different.  Did my 5+ hurt less, no not really.  Did my 3 hr make me happier, no not really.  Did my fast one make me discount the slower ones that I had run or the slower ones that people ran that day.  No, in fact, I sat and watched the slower runners come in with much emotion as they toiled within themselves to finish the last miles.  They looked just like me.  They suffered, they triumphed, the endured, they persisted, they finished.  I started out with a 2 mile run one day and ended up finishing a marathon 7 months later.  It was a life victory and nobody can ever take away from it or add to it.

ON THE FIRST WEEK OF OCTOBER 2007, I BECAME A MARATHONER IN 5 HRS AND 45 MINUTES.

05
Oct
09

Marathon #20. Portland Marathon

marathon-signWell, well, well……….  This marathon was a totally different experience.  It was not even slightly the same as other marathons that I have run, even other Portland Marathons.

It was a mighty good challenge to say the least and I am very happy to say that I got a new PR and actually finished in like the top 10% of all runners.  That was something very pleasing and new to me.  I ended up with a time of 3:33 for the marathon.  This is an improvement of 25 minutes compared to my former personal record marathon time.  For that day, on that course, using the strategy I used; I COULD NOT HAVE GONE FASTER.  That was it.  I gave it my all.  I have had to fight off the disappointment of not finishing the marathon with my goal pace range of 7:30-7:50 miles but I am trying to focus on the positive.  In the last 10 months I have went from a 4:14 (9:41 miles) to a 3:33 (8:06 miles).  This is a vast improvement and my hard work paid off very well.

One mistake that I made was to try and do the marathon using the strategy of the Pace Groups.  They use an effort based model where each mile is run in a different time in order to create the same “feeling” or “effort”.  This is not how I have practiced.  I always run mile goal paced miles strictly within my 7:30-7:50 range.  Using the pace group strategy I was doing some miles in the 6’s and that just was to fast for me even if it was only for one mile at a time.  I normally stick to my plan, go slower on the uphill and make up for it going down the hill.  This has always worked out well.  I should have been more confident in my own plan.  I may not have finished with a 3:20 (the pace group I ran with) but I would have probably finished better than I did.  But like I said, I did the best I could with how things were in reality and I exploded my previous PR.

Running a marathon faster like this is totally different than what I am used to.  It is not as enjoyable to run like this but it has it’s own special appeal and allure.   It is very satisfying in it own way.  For one, you run along side some very focused people and you are just going, going, going, very focused like.  There are also WAY MORE SPECTATORS.  This was shocking to me.  Usually by the time I go by most of the spectators are gone because there person has already passed through.  Being in the top 10% made it that 90% of the people had not yet passed through so 90% of the spectators were still waiting.  And that was a lot of family and friends.  It is fun though, they call out your name (it is on the bib) and it is motivating.

Overall I am pleased with how things went.  I am also sore as hell today.  Much more than normal. 

Here I am waiting for race walker champion Tammi.  Fellow blogger who won the race walk division.  I am also getting teared up by watching everyone push through and finisher their own marathon

Here I am waiting for race walker champion Tammi. Fellow blogger who won the race walk division. I am also getting teared up by watching everyone push through and finisher their own marathon

28
Sep
09

Progress in running and marathon #20

portland-marathonI have been waiting for this moment now for a long time To be exact, I have been waiting and running now for 2 years and 7 months.  For some reason 20 marathons is a major milestone in my head.  It is a big deal to me.  Not only is it a big deal to have 20 marathons under my belt, but this will be the first marathon that I really go for it.  It is also neat that for my first goal paced marathon and for my 20th marathon, I will be doing my 3rd Portland Marathon.  It is kind of an anniversary marathon I guess since it was my first marathon ever back in October 2007.  My time in that first marathon was 5:45 or so.  I can’t exactly remember now but I am pretty sure it was in the 5:40’s.

There are many areas of running that a person can see improvement and I am going to share some of the growth in running that I have experience.  My goal is to inspire hope that sooooo much more is possible for us than we think when we are first starting out.  I remember that when I first started out with a long run of two miles that I wanted so bad to someday be able to run a mile in the 7 minute range.  Now I will be trying to run a marathon with 26 consecutive miles in that range.  I hoped to be able to run a marathon in about 6 hours, now I will be running one in hopefully half that time.

My goal was to run injury free and still love running after a long time.  I have done this.  I have not sustained an injury nor have I given up the most basic of exercises.  Despite my general sense of low self-esteem, I have been proud of what I have accomplished with running and weight loss.   This is possible you guys.  It is possible to be transformed from an overweight person who hates exercise to an athlete with many accomplishments.  Here is a little bullet list of what is possible.  At least this is how it worked for me.

  • All out mile: 9+ min., 7:52, 7:07, 6:56, 6:41, 613, 5:41 is now my new PR.
  • Half-marathon: 2 hrs, 56 min, now it is 1:32 (7:02 pace)
  • Marathon: 5:45, and my new PR is 3:58.
  • 50K:  5:35 to a new sub 5hr
  • 41.2 miles: 7:51 to a new 6:56
  • I breathe about as hard running 8:30 minute miles as I did running 13:45 minute miles in 2007.
  • My legs heal faster and my soreness is gone on the third day compared to being sore for almost 6 days after my first marathon.
  • I increased my long run from 2 miles to 50 miles.  That two miles seemed just about as hard as 50 at the time, at least mentally.

I am a new man.  I hope that this little changes that I have made can inspire you to believe that you can make sure strides yourself.  Thanks for listening.

17
Sep
09

Wonderful way to do speed

I had a speed workout planned for the track today.  I did not want to do it at all.  Not so much the running but the track.  I just did not feel like running on a track today.  It gagged me actually.  The track seemed so repetitive and boring.  This is not normally how I fell at all.  But does this have to stop a person from doing a track/speed workout.  NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  What did I do instead???????????

I actually did my exact track workout on the road.  This is possible because of my little friend Garmin 405.  You can also do it with another little friend called Polar Watch.  By using one of these friends, you can monitor your distance, interval time, lap time, and current pace.  So I did just that.  I had to do 12×400 at my 5k pace which is 6:08.  So I went out during my lunch break and did a nice warm up before diving into some hard running.  I did 1:30 minutes of my 5k pace and then I walked for one minute.  1:30 minute run and 1:00 minute walk.  That is what I did for 12 reps each.  Now the relevance of 1:30 is that at my 6:08 pace that would mean I would have run about 400 meters (1/4 mile) in that time.  It was a joyful time and I felt extra smooth today.  I focused heavily on what it “felt”  like to run this pace.  The sound of my feet and their rythm.  The sound of my breathe and it’s ability to mold into the rythm of the feet.  The sound of the wind.  The way my muscles felt when they contracted.  The way my shoes felt on my feet.  The way my arms moved.  Anyway,  I think you get the point.

I also had a great eating day yesterday and am doing very well today too.  I have once again took up the purpose of quitting the chewing tobacco.  This is going as good as I can expect it to be going.  Only one day so far.  AGAIN!  🙂

15
Sep
09

Emotions got the best of me

emotional-eatingYesterday I let my emotions get the best of me as far as eating goes.  I did not really eat a bunch of junk food like pepperoni or candy but I did eat a lot of stuff high in points.  My wife even mentioned it and that kind of made me want to eat more actually.  Mainly I ate croissants.  Four of them actually.  With ham and cheese. 

That was yesterday though and today is a different day.  Can’t do much about yesterday can I.  Can’t change a darn thing.  However, today will become yesterday pretty soon so I better make the changes now so that I won’t have to want to make changes to my yesterday again.    Sounds funny and circular, but it is true. 

My legs are a bit sore today but not to bad at all.  I will do an easy run on Wednesday to start out this weeks exercise.  Not particularly looking forward to it at the  moment.  Feels good to rest for a bit.  I bet though, that by tomorrow I will be ready to role again.

14
Sep
09

Marathon #19 is in the bag!

skagit flats finish line

My 19th marathon went just as I expected.  It was a no-frills “long run” as my final long preparationg for the Portland Marathon.  I usually will do my 100 miler pace on these “long run” marathons but this time I didn’t.  I walked every 15 minutes for about 1 minute.  I also found that my legs and body are more comfortable at a faster pace rather than a slower one.  The slower one conserves energy but at the same time makes my legs feel tired too.

washingtonSo I had to work on Saturday and the marathon was on Sunday in a town 4-5 hours north of my home.  I got off of work at 5 pm and then had to take my wife to her annual employee appreciate party at one of the doctors house.  So I did that, had some food and fun, then left for Burlington, WA around 7:30 pm.  I finally arrived at my sisters house at around 10:30 (she lives about 45 minutes south of marathon start).  I talked with her and her husband for an hour and hit the hay.

Woke up bright and early at 4 am, had coffee, ate two small chewy granola bars, and waited for our time of departure.  My sister took me to the marathon and was amazed at all the “regular” looking people who were running it.  By regular, she meant people who were not “rail skinny” like the elite distance runners you see on TV.  Yep, that’s right.  We are just regular people conquering the miles.  Doing what we can with our regular bodies.

I finished the marathon in 4:10.  I did 10 minute miles for the first ten miles.  I did 9:30 minute miles for the second ten miles.  Then I did 8 minute miles for the last six miles.  I was a hot sunny day and the marathon maniacs were out in full force.