Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dallas White Rock Marathon 2010

It was the best of marathons it was the worst of marathons. Call me Ish-Willie.

Did that get your attention? I thought I'd throw out some cheesy lines from those "other" wanna-be writers to get your appetite wet for the wonderous diatribe that is to follow.

I ran a 3:47 in Dallas today. It hurt. A lot. But I did it.

Glad the 2009 marathon season is over and it ended on a good note.

How's that for a future classic?

Thanks for listening

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The miles ahead and the miles behind

I woke up this morning to the sound of Same Old Lang Syne , a song that I absolutely love but also one that always makes me reminiscent. It got me thinking (again) about how much running is a great metaphor for life.



So many runs ended this past year and those miles are now behind us. Some of those runs were long and slow and others were short and quick. Any good plan will include both because in and life and in running you need to have balance. There will always be those courses and distances you love and run over and over, but you may never know how much you love another until you try it. The miles ahead don't have to mirror the miles behind.

There was pain in all runs and the interesting thing is that we knew there would be before we set our minds on completing the run but we did it anyway. To not make the run at all was worse than any pain we might feel during the run so we strapped on our shoes and started the journey. We embraced the pain as just a part of running (living) and also as a small payment for the wonderful joys that we find out on the course. We redefined pain and fear on those miles behind us and that allows, and sometimes spurs, us to desire those miles ahead.

The joy we feel is indescribable. That's not an overstatement if you've ever tried to describe how running a marathon feels to a nonrunner. We describe it in terms of pain and suffering and how great it is. Even as the words come out of our mouths we have to giggle at how silly that sounds but it's so true. Those miles behind us are pure joy and happiness. Even the bad ones. They are miles that made us, shaped us, and refined us into the runners (people) we are.

At the end of a run there is always some lingering soreness; a reminder of what we've done. Sometimes this soreness is extremely painful and sometimes this soreness makes us smile in remembrance of how great the journey was. Only time can make the soreness easier, either good or bad. Once it's gone, however, the desire to return to the race is still there and we begin the journey again. Maybe in a different place, maybe with a different group, maybe with a different goal, but there's always another run waiting for us out there.

Thanks for listening



Obviously we don't run for the pain. We run for those wonderful moments of exilerahtion and joy and can only be found by getting out of ourselves and discovering something new. Life and running are not spectator sports the joy is in the doing.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Explanantion (veiled attempt to restore my incoming gifts)

Have you ever said or written something that you thought was really funny only to find that it wasn’t received that way? Happens to me ALL THE TIME!

 

I really was joking with my announcement below. I heard a similar announcement and thought it was hilarious so I passed it along. Don’t worry; all of you will get the same gifts you got last year. For those of you that I gave absolutely nothing to last year I’ll even increase that nothing by 1000%! Now that’s giving!

 

Happy Holiday’s and Thanks for listening

 

 

 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

From my short run tonight

Announcement

Just wanted to let all of my family and friends know that, given the current state of the economy, the naughty/nice cutoff has been raised for me this year. Unfortunetly, none of you were nice enough to qualify for a gift this year. You all improved this year but with inflation the cutoff has reached humanly unachievable levels. My dog will be happy though.

Dallas is a week away. I'm really looking forward to a great weekend of running.

Today I'm watching the Las Vegas marathon online trying to catch a glimpse of some friends. One of them is running her first marathon and I'm so excited for her! She's going to do great and I can't wait to hear all about her experience.

Hope you all are doing well and enjoying the season. Happy holiday's!

Thanks for listening

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Onward

I'm officially registered for the Dallas White Rock marathon. I even have a hotel room and it's still 2 weeks away! How about that planning? I may be turning a corner here.

I am really considering actually running this marathon. As in running it hard and not just for some easy miles. It's my last marathon of 2009 which has not been s stellar year for Willie's marathon performance. Wouldn't it be nice to end the year on a good note? Wouldn't it? Wouldn't it?

Right now I'm relaxing on the knowledge that I can still run marathons and that I still enjoy the experience. But wouldn't a good sub-3:50 finishing time be wonderful in Dallas? Wouldn't it?

Thanks for listening


Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Thanksgiving Rememberance

Have you ever had something happen to you that you swore you would never forget only to be struck by the memory of it many years later? Today I heard a story on NPR that brought back a memory I thought I would never forget but did. I'll use it as my little way of giving thanks.

When I was a young, know-it-all, high school punk of a Willie my brother was serving in the Air Force and stationed in Japan. My wonderful parents offered me the chance to go visit him one summer and I jumped at the chance. My father went to a lot of trouble to work with a travel agency to plan the entire trip down to the smallest detail. Funny how parents get uptight about letting a teenage boy travel from Southeastern Ohio to Japan huh? Geesh, go figure. Since I knew everything there was to know about everything at that time of my life I ignored most of his planning and figured I could safely travel half way around the world on my own. Just so you get a feel for how inexperienced and unprepared I was let me just say that I had never flown on an airplane before either!

My parents got me to the airport and my first flight went uneventful which just added to my confidence that this trip was going to be a breeze. I flew to Minneapolis where I would catch a non-stop flight to Tokyo. I don't remember how long that flight was scheduled for but it was long. Real long. Really, really long. I did get to fly on a 747 though and I was excited about that for about the first 20 minutes of the flight. That excitement wore off eventually and I realized that I was flying at 30,000 feet over nothing but water for thousands of miles. My bullet-proof teenage ego was strong enough to not let the reality of this situation set in however and I remained confident. At some point over the pacific we flew over a Typhoon. Ever seen one of those airplane crisis movies where the plane shakes so bad that the overhead bins open and things fall out? Yea, that's what happened. People screamed, bags fell out, and Willie? Oh he LOVED it! Thought it was the coolest thing ever. No fear teenager remember.

So I made it through the flight and landed in Narita airport in Tokyo. In order to get up North to where my brother lived I had to get across Tokyo to the other airport, Haneda airport, where I would catch a short flight North. I vaguely remembered that I was supposed to find a bus service at the airport that would take me across town and they would speak English and be expecting me. I wasn't exactly sure where this service was located but figured I'd be able to find it NO PROBLEM, how big could Tokyo airport be anyway???

Ok so I couldn't find the bus service. Well actually I found many, many bus services but none of them spoke English or knew of me. So now I panicked. I was thousands of miles from home in a massive city and I had no idea how to get where I needed to be. That's when I met my angel.

I had seen him in the airport in Minneapolis. He was hard to miss actually since he was clearly Japanese and was wearing a "White Trash" hat and a black leather jacket. I remember laughing at him wondering whether he knew what that term meant. He sat a few rows up from my on the flight but I had never spoken with him. He saw me in the airport and I guess noticed I was lost and more than a little scared. He came over to me and introduced himself speaking perfect English. I told him my story and that I needed to get to the other airport but didn't know which bus I should take. He went and spoke with each of the bus services and confirmed that none of them were expecting me. He also discovered that the bus would take 3 hours to get across town which would cause me to miss my flight North. And just to make sure that I was completely screwed, he said they only accepted Yen and I only had US Dollars.

This is when he grew one of his angel wings. He told me that he lived here in Tokyo and that the subway was much faster than the bus and that he could get me to the other airport. He wasn't sure we could get there in time for my next flight since we'd lost so much time but he was willing to try. Since I had no other options I agreed and we set out on our journey across Tokyo together. He bought all my subway fare and even introduced me to iced coffee which at the time I thought was awful! He told me all about Tokyo and described everything that we passed. He also explained that he was an English teacher at a school here in Tokyo and that's why he spoke such good English. I actually relaxed a bit and was enjoying the trip.

When we arrived at Hadena airport I realized I'd missed my flight North. There were no other flights that day and I'd have to wait until morning to leave. Now I was scared again. My first thought was that I would sleep in the airport but a security guard quickly informed us that the airport actually closed and I couldn't stay there overnight. Now I REALLY freaked! I was going to be on the street outside the airport overnight. My teenage ego was now a crying baby boy who wanted his mommy real bad.

This is when my friend grew his other angel wing. Unknown to me, he called around and found me a hotel room close to the airport. Knowing I had no money he even paid for the room in advance! I was so relieved. I thanked my friend and caught the shuttle bus to the hotel.

It was on this ride that it finally hit me what had just happened. How could I have been so lucky to have a complete stranger just casually notice that I needed help and spend the entire day and quite a lot of money helping me across Tokyo? Oh AND a Japanese English teacher?? Really? My goodness it gives me goosebumps even 20 years later!

I can never thank this person enough. I don't have his name or any contact information for him even if I wanted to thank him. So here I sit 20 years later with my own 2 boys in the comfort of my own home and I am struck by how much this person may have had a role in ensuring my life turned out this way. It could have easily gone so much worse back then.

So this is my little way of sending out a nameless THANK YOU! I'm grateful for what you did for me and I hope you'd be happy that I learned so much from the events of that day. I learned how wonderful an act of kindness can be and how it can have impacts that you can't even fathom at the time.

Thanks for listening

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tulsa Route 66 Marathon

Hey guess what I did yesterday. You know the drill, no more writing until you guess!

Guess damn it!

That's right boys and girls (mostly girls), Willie ran a marathon. 26.2 miles of wonderfully painful foot pounding joy!

You wouldn't know it because I haven't written a meaningful word on this blog for some time but I was REALLY looking forward to this weekend. I was extremely worried that I would get sick again or I'd hurt some crucial leg part or the world would come to an end or something along those lines but nothing happened! Things may just be turning a corner for (not so) old Willie.

I had planned to go up to Tulsa on Saturday afternoon to hit the expo, drop my children's college funds on meaningless running junk, and grab some dinner. Things didn't turn out that way, however, and I never made it to Tulsa on Saturday. I had a good friend pick up my packet at the expo for me and we arranged to meet before the start so I could actually have a bib and a chip. Those are important things to have.

My truck is technically a vehicle in that it has 4 tires and an engine but, while that engine has 8 cylinders, it is currently running on somewhere between 4 and 6 of them depending on the weather. This left me with the options of either running a 123 mile warm up or begging someone for a ride to the race. Luckily I have wonderful friends and I got to ride up to the race with one of the best. I even got a pre-race meal of oatmeal and yogurt which is now my staple diet and absolutely the greatest combination of foods ever assembled! Heaven in a bowl! Oh and coffee. Always coffee. We listened to Christmas music the entire way to Tulsa because we are both complete Christmas freaks and a wonderful station here in OKC has already started playing constant Christmas music. It was, by far, the best pre-race drive I've ever had! So much fun.

We made it to the race and the nerves started reminding me just how far 26.2 miles actually is. I'm a big enough man to say that I was scared. Really scared. All those horrible thoughts of failure and pain jumped from their beds where they'd been sleeping and were like a 2 year old at Christmas. So very excited to let me know how thoroughly unprepared I was for this marathon. I concentrated on getting all my gear together and finding the rest of our friends to keep those thoughts from dominating.

I was also very excited because I was going to meet Sarah The Queen. I met her and her wonderful husband a few minutes before the race and I recognized them immediately. The pictures on her blog don't do her justice! Folks she is beautiful! The funny thing was that I felt like I knew her husband just as well as her because I'd read so much about him! It was like meeting an old friend for the first time if that makes any sense at all. They are a fabulous couple and I'm blessed to have met them. I can't say enough how fabulous it is to meet blog friends. Every one I've ever met has been GREAT!

Since I really didn't have a race strategy and I hadn't run any long runs I decided to use this race as a training run and just get the miles in. This was the first time that I can honestly say I lined up at the start with no preconceived time goals in mind. I was just out for a long run with a few thousand of my best friends. As I was standing in the corral waiting to start that thought hit me and I felt a wave of relaxation come over me. All the nerves were gone and I was really happy which is something I haven't been able to say for a long time.

The start was really crowded but I was able to get near the 4:15 pace group which is where Sarah said she was going to be. I wanted to run with her for the first 15 miles so we could chat and I could feel out my legs. I didn't see her at the start but figured I'd find her once the pack thinned out over the first few miles. I took off at an easy pace and spent the first 2 miles looking around for Sarah. I slowed up a bit to let her pass me figuring she had been unable to work her way up from the back of the crowded start. More than once I totally embarrassed myself when I thought I saw her and ran up next to some girl and looked them in the face only to discover it wasn't Sarah and that young girls don't like old, bald guys running next to them and looking them in the face.

So mile 4 came and went and I still hadn't found her. I passed a row of porta-potties and had a wonderful idea to try and kill two birds with one stone (or bodily function as it were). So I waited in line at the porta-potties and watched as hundreds of runners passed me. Still no Sarah. After I took care of some business I was well behind the 4:30 pace group and totally convinced that I now would be able to find her. I took off at a good sub-8 minute pace working my way through the crowds and looking at every young girl I thought looked like Sarah. Again with the embarrassing moments. There may be a wanted poster somewhere in Tulsa with my picture on it. "Wanted for harassing young runners".

I caught the 4:30 pace group and the 4:15 pace group and still had not found Sarah. It was now getting on about 7 miles and I had to figure out what I was going to do with this race. I rested for awhile and then decided to just run my original strategy of easy running to 15 then see what I had left from there on in. I wanted negative splits to get that extra work on my legs once they were good and tired. So I settled into a nice 8:30 pace and started enjoying the beautiful day and the wonderful sights of Tulsa. Guess what happened. Go on guess!

That's right! I caught Sarah! Turns out she entered the starting corral from the front and got caught way up front. She was well ahead of her 4:15 pace group the whole time! I love little twists like that. I changed my strategy once and again and decided to run with her to mile 15 like I'd originally planned. After all it's not everyday that you get to meet a blogging friend and I was afraid I wouldn't have any time after the race to chat so this was my only opportunity to talk with her. We chatted about everything and it was wonderful. I can't describe to you how much I was really enjoying this race. It was just a great day and I was just trying to take advantage of all it had to offer me.

Unfortunately, Sarah wasn't running anywhere near her best and she started getting dizzy. If you've read her blog you know she suffers from a heart condition that causes her to pass out sometimes. I was very concerned for her and completely scared at the same time. I'm completely inadequate at helping people when they have medical problems. I am really good at being that crazy-panicky guy who runs around screaming wildly though so that was my plan if she happened to have any problems. She assured me that she wasn't going to pass out and she was being really smart and taking it easy when needed so I relaxed a bit. I also noticed many, many medical personnel on the course which added to my relief.

Mile 15 rolled around and I thought really hard about just staying with her but I was also concerned that I was making things worse by putting pressure on her to keep going. I can also be a bit annoying sometimes and was worried I may be driving this poor girl crazy at a time when she wanted to be alone. After some more assurance from her that she would be OK, I took off at a little faster pace. We had run the half in 2:06 and I was curious to see if I could run fast enough in the second half to still break 4 hours.

I ran right around 8 minute pace for the next few miles and it felt WONDERFUL! My legs were striding out and eating up the pavement. My breathing was controlled and my back was straight and relaxed. A great running feeling!

I was able to keep an 8 to 8:30 pace until about mile 21. At that point my knees started to feel tight and my back was tired. I slowed a little but kept running. I knew this condition was all due to a lack of long runs. I just didn't have the endurance in my knees and back to make the distance. They weren't used to this much time on my feet. It's funny that I didn't get down at that thought though. I almost expected it to happen so when it did I just accepted it.

I struggled through the last few miles and finished in 4:04. I strode proudly across the finish with my head up and a smile on my face. I was happy. Happy with a 4:04. Maybe I'm starting over, maybe I'm getting older, or maybe I'm just accepting what life is giving me with a smile now instead of fighting it. I'll get back to the 3:32 I ran at this race last year but it may take awhile and who knows, I may enjoy the journey more the second time around.

Thanks for listening

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pre marathon thoughts

So I haven't written anything in awhile and to be honest I'm really
missing it. I've given you guys a long enough break and now it's time
to make you suffer at the hands of my pixel shaped thoughts again.
Life is tough sometimes which I think we all know. Everyone struggles.
Those struggles may seem trivial to an outsider but to the person
struggling they are the most important thing in the world and thus
deserve full attention. What's my point? He'll if I know other than to
convey that I struggle and I know you do also. Though your struggles
may not spur me the way they do you, I understand and am willing to
help. Even if that help is nothing more than reading your thoughts and
sending unobservable thoughts and well wishes your way.



Emotions


Running for me is a very emotional endeavor. A wonderful friend told
me recently that my emotions make me who I am and that they enjoyed
that part of me. I, in fact, hate that I even have emotions. As it is
though, there's not much I can do about it. I am me and I have deep
emotions. I cry at the end of marathons, I have a horrible addiction
to Nicholas Sparks books, I like more sad songs than happy ones, I
write a blog in order to get the mess of thoughts and feelings out of
my head. These are not things that a purely logical person enjoys. So
here is the question I have been unable to answer in all my many
years. Is it OK to let your emotions run free or is it better to keep
them under control? I'm inclined to believe, like so many other
things in this time-space continuum we exist in, that it depends. Some
situations warrant restraint while others cry out for open loop
emotions. The trick is to figure out which is which. Still working on
that one.

Fear

I'm running a marathon on Sunday. Let me say that another way, HOLY
CRAP I'M RUNNING A MARATHON ON SUNDAY! There, that's better. I haven't trained much for this marathon and I'm a little scared. I know I
always say 'run fearless' but that's mainly because I struggle (see
above) with fear so much. The logical part of my brain says that being
afraid of a marathon is silly. If it hurts just stop right? This is
simple, I don't HAVE to run 26.2, no one is making me do it. But as
you, my fellow insane friends, know it's not that simple. Dnf'ing is
worse than any pain because it lasts forever. I've set myself up for
this run and failing would be a failure of my spirit which is worse
than any outward embarrassment or shame I may feel. External impacts of
failing are not the motivating force of a marathoner. Most I believe
are motivated by an internal force of personal accomplishment and self
fulfilment. I know I am and I'm really scared that part of me could
take a massive hit on Sunday.


Well as is the norm for me lately I'm out of time. My plane is landing
and the steward is giving me the evil eye. Time is the one thing I
have none of lately. You guys and gals keep up the great running and
I'll be back to a regular schedule of writing soon. Pinky swear.

Thanks for listening

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Return to {insert something here}

Isn't it funny how you can be fully aware of something but it never seems to become real until someone else points it out?

I know very well that I haven't written a pixel-formed word on this electronic shrink I call a blog in many weeks. But when that fact was confirmed for me today by a wonderful friend whom I had seen in awhile, I immediately planned a writing session for today. I think that's call shame but since I don't get the whole "emotional" thing at all, I really can only speculate. It's hard to shame a West Virginia hill-billy after all.

So here I am! I'm writing. See I just did it again!

The tough part is to have something to write about. My subject should be easy to chose since this is a running blog. A blog about running that is. Running blog. Yea. That's what this is really.

Running. Hmmm, that's a tough subject lately. I have run. I ran today, in fact! Look at me go making blog fodder like that. I ran 4 miles at the tail-end of the 12 mile group training run. I forgot Paula so I don't know how fast I did it and I'm only guessing at the 4 mile distance. It felt good but my chest was a little tight afterwards.

I should backup and tell you (the one person left reading this blog, or you, the poor sap who typed a URL wrong and ended up here by some weird twist of fate) that the major event in my life lately has been SICKNESS! That's right people, I'm a freakin hostel for germs and viruses lately.

"Come one, Come all! Stay at Germ-de-Willie! A 5-Star luxury biological disaster that will pamper your entire microscopic family. Kids eat free on Wednesday"

If you remember (Ha!) I spent a week fighting and losing a battle with the flu. The aftershocks of that little rumble were just beginning to wear off last week. Monday I felt GREAT for the first time and I took full advantage of it by running 5 miles incredibly hard (read STUPID). Tuesday I still felt good so I started up my gym workouts again. I did a small core routine in the morning during which my core complained the entire time but finished like a trooper. I continued to feel good after work so I ran a quick 3 miles in the evening. Wednesday I went to Yoga. Take a minute and let that sink in. Willie......Yoga......Ummmmm. That's right I finally did it. I took a Yoga class and it was really cool. I did the Breath of Fire, was a Willow tree, and took the universe into my soul and then let it out many times. I went for the stretching and was satisfied with it in the end. I need stretching and will breathe the universe of Willow trees if that's what it takes to get it.
Wednesday night I ran a quick 2 miles out at the Lake and as I was leaving noticed a slight tingle in my throat. That tingle quickly turned into pain and the rest of my body joined in with gusto so that my entire carbon shell was in full chorus making Willie feel like CRAP later that evening. Those little glandy-things in my neck were (are) swollen like little rocks and it hurt to breathe. So much for being back in good form.
So now it's Sunday and the time between Wednesday night and right now is a black hole of misery that I really don't care to remember. I'm feeling better but my glandy-things are still swollen and it hurts to swallow which I guess shows improvement.

{begin whiny-girlyman section}
I really want to be well. And not just well for a day or two. Well for like a month! That would be great! Maybe I need a bubble. Willie's bubble of wellness I'll call it. Anyone got one of those? If so, bleach it out and send it to me please.

So I'm back. I've missed you.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, November 3, 2009



Map
 
Elevation (ft)
 
Pace (min/mile)
 
Splits
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
Gain
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
17' 51+0' 307.6-0.5+72 ft
27' 30+0' 098.0-0.2-17 ft
36' 46-0' 358.9+0.7-56 ft
end6' 27-0' 549.3+1.10 ft
Versus average of 7' 21 min/mile

Monday, November 2, 2009



Activity
Route:--Elev. Avg:1215 ft
Location:Oklahoma City/Tinker AFB, OKElev. Gain:-52 ft
Date:11/02/09Up/Downhill: [+433/-485]
Time:04:09 PMDifficulty:2.8 / 5.0
 
Weather:Fair
 73 F temp; 35% humidity
 73 F heat index; winds NW 9
Performance

Distance: 5.01 miles
Time:0:37:15
Speed:8.1 mph
Pace:7' 26 /mi
Calories:690
Map
 
Elevation (ft)
 
Splits
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
Gain
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 13+0' 477.3-0.8+52 ft
27' 46+0' 207.7-0.4-68 ft
37' 23-0' 038.1+0.00 ft
47' 22-0' 048.1+0.1+62 ft
end6' 24-1' 029.4+1.3-98 ft
Versus average of 7' 26 min/mile

Friday, October 30, 2009

6 Hour Race Splits

3 M Matthew Wilcoxen   31.92       33 05:57:30   
1:    8:58 00:08:58   
2:    8:40 00:17:38   
3:    8:43 00:26:21   
4:   11:04 00:37:24   
5:   10:51 00:48:14   
6:    9:18 00:57:32
7:   11:09 01:08:40   
8:    8:32 01:17:11   
9:   15:43 01:32:53  
10:   15:26 01:48:19  
11:   11:59 02:00:18  
12:    8:23 02:08:41
13:    8:34 02:17:14  
14:    8:40 02:25:53  
15:    8:41 02:34:34  
16:    8:28 02:43:02  
17:    8:38 02:51:39  
18:    8:40 03:00:19
19:   15:21 03:15:40  
20:   15:56 03:31:35  
21:   12:29 03:44:04  
22:   11:08 03:55:11  
23:    9:45 04:04:56  
24:   11:31 04:16:26
25:   11:31 04:27:57  
26:   15:10 04:43:06  
27:   10:14 04:53:20  
28:   15:37 05:08:56  
29:   10:10 05:19:06  
30:   11:07 05:30:13
31:    9:32 05:39:44  
32:    9:27 05:49:10  
33:    8:21 05:57:30 

1 Hour Race Splits

2 M Matthew Wilcoxen     8.09      8 00:57:27   
1:    7:26 00:07:26   
2:    7:24 00:14:50
3:    7:20 00:22:09   
4:    7:19 00:29:28   
5:    7:17 00:36:44   
6:    7:04 00:43:47
7:    6:56 00:50:43
8:    6:45 00:57:27 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Perspective

Sometimes things happen in this life that really put things in perspective. I can't decide if I'm more surprised at the patience of our creator or my own stubbornness when it comes to how many times I have to be shown what is really important in this world. My life is not great right now. There really is no other way to say it. It sucks in many ways. But really I'm blessed in so many more ways.

I had the amazing privilege to meet an extraordinary woman today on a flight to D.C. The conversation started out as most do with jovial banter about where you from, where you going, etc. I really enjoy meeting new people and was content to leave this one at the superficial level of airline seat companions but something changed at some point and I found myself deep in an emotional experience I won't soon forget.

This amazing woman has a daughter that composes music freestyle. No sheet music and no pre-programmer recordings. She plays all the instruments and then arranges them into wonderful compositions of boundless waves of melodies. I've always wondered about and been in awe of artists who weave their crafts directly from the heart onto their canvases. I'm not exaggerating when I say this music was good. It really was. The girl is 13! She free-flows this music and you can feel the emotion in the songs. I'm a sucker for talented people who produce honesty and beauty directly from their soul. When the structure and the form aren't studied and force-learned but are planted in the soul of the artist by the creator it stirs my soul and makes me realize how amazingly more than predictable this life really is.

That is not why this woman touched my heart however. She had a son that was a twin of her much-talented daughter. He was 13 and as wonderful and joyously intriguing as his twin. His life was taken by a virus that attacked his precious little heart. He was taken suddenly. I know all this because I shared with this saint-of-a-woman that I was worried I had spoiled my youngest son because I want to hold him all the time and did so when he was younger. We are now trying to break some of his clingy habits and I was espousing the trials of having a spoiled 6 year old when she stopped me and told me of her late son. I was stopped in my tracks. My eldest is 14. I take him for granted much more often than I like to admit. Although he is a teenager, I remember him as a small baby that had wild hair when I think of him. I remember teaching him to ride a bike and putting him on the school bus for the first time. I remember him playing soccer and I'll never forget the day we both played hookie from school and work and played a Playstation game all day. What I can't imagine is the thought of him being taken. Suddenly. How hard it is to imagine that in a few hours he could be gone? That is the one thing I can't seem to get my mind around. I can accept a lot and try to keep myself prepared for most things but that I just couldn't handle.

There is nothing you can do to reconcile the balance sheet after the loss of a child I suppose. Truth is, my heart went out to this woman but it seemed insignificant and much too tainted to be worthy of even speaking with her about it. I have questioned my worth ever since. All the selfish desires I have followed at the expense of others that I care for, all the worthless situations I've worried about, all the personal goals I've sacrificed for all seem nothing more than vapors when put up against the backdrop of what this woman has been through. I wish I could write words that could ease her pain or do this subject justice but I can't.

What I can do is ask you all to go hug the one you love. Right now. DO IT! Don't wait. Don't squander the love that's given to you.

Sorry that this post contained NOTHING about running but remember this is my psychologist's couch too.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sickness



This flu thing is really kicking my butt. I've been down since Friday evening. And when I say down I really mean down! I have become permanently attached to this bed. I'm taking every medicine/immunity booster known to man and I still can't seem to fight this thing off.

I shouldn't be surprised that I caught this thing so fast. The schools are emptying with kids going out with it. Now normally my body would be strong enough to fight this thing off and keep me from getting a full-blown case. These are not normal times for old Willie though. I'm down 15-20 pounds depending on what day I get on the scale and I haven't slept well in weeks. My diet has been abysmal and it's really a wonder I made it this long. Basically, I'm a walking (running) germ magnet!! Every little microscopic organism that can get near me takes up residence and homesteads on this nice, fertile ground right now. My immune system threw in the towel long ago and posted For Rent signs outside my nostrils and mouth.

I am feeling a little better this morning. My chest is still hurting and breathing is not quite right yet but we're getting there. I am considering ventilating the house today to see if that would help. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not perpetuating the sickness by walking around in the same disease-filled air all the time.

I'll be back to work tomorrow but running will probably wait until this weekend. It's become fall here while I've been down and it's rather cold outside for my tastes. I'm going to ease into this new season slowly.

Thanks for listening

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Valley

I should be writing a race report for the Spirit of Survival marathon this morning but I can't because I didn't run it. When the starting gun went off this morning down in Medicine Park, I was laying in bed probably snoring very loudly.

I spent Wednesday night with my boys watching TV and just lounging around. We had a good time and everyone was feeling fine. Thursday morning, however, I got a call and discovered that The Big One had come down with the flu. He went to the doctor and was cleared of Swine flu but still would be out of action for at least 7-10 days. That really sucked for him and when I did see him again on Friday night he looked horrible.

Friday night I went to Elite Feet and picked up some Hammer Gel for the race. Then me and The Little One settled in for a restful night. There was to be no rest for me though. Around 7 PM on Friday night I started getting a sore throat. An hour later I had a mild fever and started feeling achy. I took some Tylenol PM and went to bed hoping a good sleep would clear it all up.

Saturday morning I was in full-blown crappy-ass-pitiful-feeling mode. I tried so hard to not let myself get down about the marathon. I concentrated on taking in massive amounts of fluids and getting as much rest as I could. No matter what I tried though I couldn't get the marathon out of my head. I had this empty feeling down deep that knew I was going to be a DNS for this one. I told myself I wouldn't make any decision until Sunday morning.

Saturday night around midnight I knew it was over. I was still feeling horrible and had a fever. The worst part however, was my chest. I couldn't take a deep breathe without coughing. Really hard. And it hurt A LOT! My throat was so raw and sore that I had sharp pains each time I tried to cough. I knew I would have to breathe during the marathon and that just didn't sound appealing. Breathing was a problem.

So I sent the text that I was dreading all day. I wouldn't be meeting up with the group to go down.

I know it was the right thing to do and that's what is bothering me so much. When have I ever done the right thing? It's not in my nature to look at a decision and see both the right and wrong answer and choice the right one! I may be growing up and I really, really, really hate that!

So here I sit, still in bed, still coughing, still have a fever, and now with a big fat DNS in my list of past races. It rained all morning so I know I would have been miserable out there even if I had made it to the race somehow without collapsing. But somehow I can't stop thinking that this just isn't my year. So many things have gone wrong in 2009. Some I brought on myself, OK, MOST I have brought on myself but some have been out of my control.

I suppose that this is all for some greater purpose, at least I hope that it is. Out of all this bad a few good things have already come and I have to keep my faith that this is just a temporary valley and that this hill I'm on is the road out of it. As much as I hate running hills I know that they always lead to the top of the mountain and you can't get there without some amount of pain.

That doesn't stop me from wishing that this hill were smaller though.

Thanks for listening

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A good run

I had one of those runs tonight that makes me remember how much I love
running. My old gang was back together and we did a lap of old Lake
Hefner. It was a beautiful evening with crystal clear skies and cool
temperatures. I felt like I could run forever and each step lifted my
spirits a little higher.

The Big One also had another cross country meet tonight. He has been
flirting with the 20 minute barrier for his 5k's lately. Last week he
ran a 20:05 and we were all hoping this would be the sub-20 minute
day. Alas it was not to be as he ran a 20:07. On the bright side he is
consistent and we can work with consistent! So very proud of him.

I've got a marathon next weekend. The Spirit of Survival marathon is
next Saturday I think. I'm using it as a training run but still hope
to run well. If nothing else I want to get my head screwed on straight
and get back into marathoning mentally. My head has been out of it now
for awhile and I've got to get the head games down again if I want to
PR this year. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Line

There is a line on 89th street. It's at the bottom of a hill and it marks the beginning of a 200 meter distance that ends at the top of that hill. Some nice person measured this distance and was kind enough to paint the lines on the road for the rest of us to use.

It's a big hill, very intimidating when you see it from the bottom. Not big in California or Colorado terms but big by Oklahoma standards.

I have seen this hill and the line at the bottom of it many times. The first time I saw it was at mile 11 or so of a 14 mile run and it looked MASSIVE! Most of the time I see it near the beginning of my runs so it's a little more manageable. Funny how an obstacle can take on a different look depending on it's position relative to your fatigue.

This line has been calling me lately and today I answered. I decided to forgo my usual speedwork and go out and hurt myself as much as possible on this hill and finally make that line a memory. So I jogged out to the line which is about a 1.5 mile warmup and started my 10 hill repeats from this line.

I barely noticed the line at the start of the first one, I was up that hill before my body really knew what had happened. I know this because when I stopped I began to huff and puff heavily. That is my body catching up with itself and wondering WTF just happened! It felt pretty good and Paula agreed as I'd done that one in 48 seconds.

I jogged/walked down the hill and said hello to the line again. It's reply set me back a bit. "You're gonna hurt today!" Guess this line knew something about my day and what kind of mood I was in which was, in fact, no mood in which to start arguing with a line so I started my next interval. This time all cylinders were firing and all body parts had come on-line. Arms pumping, legs working, head bobbing (yes I'm a head bobber when it's hard), every molecule in my body was working together to get every other molecule up that hill. 43 seconds for that one. On the way down I was remembering Oklahoma City 2008 where I first broke 4 hours in the marathon. That wonderful feeling of having worked hard and achieved something. Wonderful feeling.

"Hey, back again huh? You can't win at this you know? I'll always be here and you'll never do enough to make this easy!" Again I ignored this taunting and set out on interval number 3. Each step took me further up the hill and further into oxygen debt. This time I noticed the dips and cracks in the road. I forced myself to stay on my toes and push off hard with each step. Form, form, form, form, keep that head down and those arms pumping. Quick feet, quick feet. 44 seconds at the top. This will pay off later, it has to. This will pay off when I'm tired at mile 20 in Tulsa and my mind wanders. I'll think of this and know I've got it in me to push on.

"I'm still here, and you look tired. This next one will be number 4, that's 1/2 a mile which is good enough for someone like you. Best not to push it too hard you know, you're not made for this." He came at me quick this time and I wasn't ready. Caught me off guard and I stumbled a bit when I realized I had reached the line. I recovered though and got up that hill in 44 seconds again. I was surprised with that time because I had to push every step on this one. I had left that zone where you can disconnect the mind and let the body run free. I was engaged and analyzing each step. Hard mentally to keep doing that.

"You're half way after this next one, starting to worry yet? You could get injured doing this. I'll be here when you're ready to quit." This was number 5 and I'd decided to take a longer rest between 5 and 6 so I wanted to get this one done! Once again he came up on me quicker than I expected but I stepped right over him as I hit the start button on Paula and charged up another 200 yards. Push this one! It's half way and there's a rest waiting for you! Push, push, push. Stopped Paula and saw 43 seconds again. Great time but now I'm really feeling it. I have never thrown up from running before, NEVER! As I walked down that hill though, I was thinking there's a first for everything.

"......wait....." I cheated myself on the break and immediately started number 6 as soon as I reached the line. No rest at all on this one. Screw that line, I can get these done and get home quicker if I stop spending so much time looking at the damn thing anyway. Up that hill, stomach screaming, legs aching, shoulders sore and tired but the body is still moving. This was pain. Good pain that I deserved. Hurt yourself like you've hurt so many others before. When it hurts, it's good. This one was GREAT in that case. 45 seconds though. Started remembering Andy Payne marathon on the way down. Remembered how it was the first time I really hurt in a marathon and how bad it felt to give up and walk the last miles. Real shitty feeling, much like hill repeat number 6!!!

I hesitated on number 7. My stomach was on the verge and something down deep said, "We need a moment here asshole!", so I stopped and bent over. Found myself looking directly at the line. That line, there's one at every race just like this one. I hardly ever notice it but it's there. That line that is the point where the adventure begins. That point where the body is first asked to move beyond itself and put into gear. That line! What is it about that line? Screw this, thinking way to much and I should RUN! Go, get up this damn hill and you'll have only 2 left. Throw up if you must but get these things done. Stop running on your heels! Get on your toes! push those arms! 48 seconds. Way to go.... you sucked on that one.

"Only 3 left, you could call this one the last and have an even mile complete. You look a little green, better watch out I'm not sure you've got 10 of these in you today." I'm not sure I'm even breathing now, just know that I've got 3 more to do and I don't care how long they take me. This hill looks steeper and longer than it did before. I chanced a look at the top and was immediately reminded why that's a bad idea. It wasn't getting any closer and I wanted to stop. Disconnect the brain and push on, do it! 47 seconds for that one but I finished it.

"Hope you don't feel good about yourself for having done 8 of these. That's nothing compared to what I've seen some people run out here." Short rest again and I was on the hill again. Felt like I was going to stop with every step. Pushed those legs to go each inch knowing that any flutter or mis-step would be enough to break the cycle and I'd be done. I was running on pure momentum and as long as I kept the pendulum swinging I'd get up the hill. 46 seconds.

"Last one, but shouldn't you really do 12 of these? Is 10 enough?"

Ran the last one in 42 seconds and jogged home.

Thanks for listening

Friday, September 11, 2009

Injuries

I am so inspired by Kristin Armstrong’s writing. She has this wonderful way of making me smile and feel pretty damn good about myself with her words. She did it again this morning when I stopped by her blog.


“Remember what you love to do. Don't put it in a chest in the attic of your being and leave it for your kids to find long after you are gone.”

That’s the kind of stuff she writes that really gets to my soul. I read those words like watching a scene from a movie, they are so vivid and I can picture the entire movie written around that one scene. I love writing like that.

Now before I get into this next topic I want to remind all of you who have read this blog for awhile that I never promised to be consistent or non-contradictory. So no laughing or snickering! For all of you who haven’t read for very long, DO NOT GO BACK AND READ ANY OF MY POSTS ABOUT BEING INJURED!

I have a few friends who are injured and are not currently running. This is a topic that is close to my heart because I know that my annual injury is just around the corner. Being a runner who can’t run is the most challenging part of running for me. I have matured (stop laughing) enough, though, to realize that what I’m struggling with is short-term loss and not significant. Having an injury that puts you out for a few months always seems life-ending but in the big picture it’s nothing more than a tiny blip on the radar.

Running is a life-long pursuit or, better yet, a way of life. It’s more than something we do it is what we are. We are runners and that means so much more than just strapping on expensive shoes and funny looking shorts every day or two. So much more in fact that when we can’t run we are STILL runners at heart. The fact that we miss it so much just emphasizes that point. I’ve said before that when I’m injured and am forced into a gym, I really want to wear a shirt that says, “I’m a runner, I don’t belong here”. As runners we don’t join gyms that we only use sporadically as a way of getting in shape. We don’t buy exercise equipment that will eventually become furniture as a way of changing our lives. We first and foremost RUN and that changes us. We may do those other things as a way to help our running but running will always be at the core if we truly find that love out there on the road. And that, my friends, makes us runners for life even through those times when we can’t.
The fact is that most of us will return to running after an injury and when we do, WOW, it’s the most amazing run in the world! We will find our hearts again and our bodies are re-awakened to the wonderful pain and pleasure of each step. Many people will never know that feeling. Some because they won’t, others because they can’t. I pray that I’ll always remember that and keep it in the back of my mind. I have this wonderful gift that some would give anything to be able to do and I never want to take it for granted.

The next time I feel down about a bad run or I’m upset because I only had time for a short run or when I get my injury and can’t run for awhile, I’ll try to remember the guy or gal in a wheelchair who’s never taken a step. I’ll try to remember the soldier who used to run and now can’t. I’ll try to remember that what I’m upset about is something that most people can’t understand and that it’s a gift that I’ve been given and one that I’m somewhat obligated to give too. I’ll try to remember the big picture and realize that I’m nothing but a whisper in that conversation.
I know whole-heartedly that it’s easier to know and believe these things than it is to actually live them. It’s the living thing that I struggle with.

Happy Birthday

On a totally different note,

IT’S SOUTHBAYGIRL’S BIRTHDAY!




Thought I’d go back and re-post this picture of us when I actually met her last year out in L.A. I’ve always liked this picture because it’s the first time I’d ever met a fellow blogger and was so blown away by how wonderfully nice and interesting she was! Pay no attention to the jerk on the left but make sure to notice the cutie in the middle!








Thanks for listening

Monday, September 7, 2009

Good Steak Running

I want to start this post off by saying thanks to everyone who commented on my last post. I was a bit surprised that everyone feels I am being hard on myself. I really don't think I am. Not at all really. I do know that my postings of late have been on the down side and I will try and work on that but, to be honest, I don't think I'm hard enough on myself most of the time. I get off so easy with me. I'm a pushover. Geesh guys, get on my case! (get it, I said get ON my case, that's funny... laugh!)

Steak

I like steak and it turns out steak like me! Being the analytical type that I am I recently engaged in a study to find the best pre-run meal. Using a disciplined, scientific approach, I experimented with different foods before each of my last weekly long runs. I gathered the data, compiled it, and developed the highly technical equation below
(The above statements are total CRAP! I just ate a steak last night and had a great run this morning. Probably won't even remember to try it again next week given my recent ADD diagnosis.)

Steak == Good Run

Now I know you lay persons won't understand that but I wanted to get it published quickly before someone like Hawkins gets to it first.

Running

I ran today! I ran 17 miles this morning and it was wonderful. It was sunny and hot and I ran with reckless abandon. I ran 2 laps of Lake Overholser and the first one was smokin! I knew I had another lap to go but I didn't care. I felt good so I went for it. I have absolutely no idea how fast I went because Paula wouldn't get out of bed this morning, wouldn't even try to turn on. Guess I forgot to charge her last night. I honestly think that I ran better because I DIDN'T wear her. Sometimes it's good for Willie to just go run without worrying about pace.

After the run I met up with some good friends and ate massive amounts of breakfast food and drank gallons of coffee.

So after all my griping yesterday I actually did get my long run in for the week. Geesh Willie, get off your case. (Get it, I told myself to get off my own case, that's funny again... Laugh!)

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My weekly summary

Is there some aspect of hurting that Barry Manilow didn't write a song about?

My wonderful week of running took a nose dive.

I did some biking on Monday, about 16 miles.

I ran speedwork on Tuesday, 3, 1 mile repeats with a mile jog in between. My best was a 6:38 which is a little slow but we were on a trail and not the track. (tracks are bad now BTW, hurt my ITB. Bad track! Bad, bad, bad. In the category with trails now. Both are dead to me!!!)

Wednesday I ran another 6 easy miles on some hills. I was really sore and tight from the speedwork so I struggled.

Thursday I was supposed to run around my beloved Lake Hefner. I only made 6 miles again because I was REALLY tight and sore. Hmmm, that sounds familiar! Wish there was something you could do about being tight. Really wish someone would invent something to STRETCH your muscles. Maybe they could even call it STRETCHING. Gee, that would be such a great idea.

Friday I rested.

Saturday I ran 3 miles at Hefner and then rode the bike from Norman back to OKC. It's about 18 miles and it was really fun. Lot's 'o hills! Quads weren't happy but they are whiners by nature.

So that brings us to Sunday, boys and girls! That wonderful day when we all run long and get reacquainted with those endorphin thingys we all love so much. Yea buddy, Sunday's are GREAT! Great days those Sundays!

Wanna know what I did today, Sunday?

NOTHING!



Well, I slept a lot, and that is something I guess.

No long run.

Total distraction for a moment
Sweet Caroline just came on Pandora Radio!!! What a great sing-along-song!!! Sorry, have to take a break and sing it.... That song just makes me feel good!

Ok, I'm back. So yea, no long run today but it's a 3 day weekend so I've got tomorrow.

Tomorrow always holds hope. I can do anything...... tomorrow. It's the one thing I haven't screwed up...... yet.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A monumental average run

This was a tough week.




It started out OK. Monday was my rest day so I didn't run at all and spent some time with the kids who had started school and come home with the stomach flu. I wasn't around them long at all since they were sick so I thought I was alright. Tuesday I got back with some old friends and did some hill repeats. They were WONDERFUL! We did 10, 1/2 mile loops with a nice strong hill in each loop. I felt great afterwards..... for awhile.


Not long after I got home that night my stomach started hurting. About an hour after going to bed I was up again. Then up an hour later. Then up again an hour later. Then up again an hour later. This went on for quite a number of 'agains' that night. Totally sucky-sucker-ness and painful-painy-lisky. My body had basically rejected my stomach and voted it off the island. The stomach, however, is firmly implanted in the body and just wouldn't come out no matter how hard my diaphragm tried to dislodge it. I think my liver saw an opportunity to get free of the alcohol soaking I've given it for the last 36 years and it may have come out. Not sure what a liver looks like exactly so I may have missed it's exit.


I was out the next day, Wednesday, recovering from the night before and trying to be the mediator for my organs as they came to terms with each other again. Don't remember much of Wednesday but I know I didn't run, or eat.


Thursday I was a little better but still not 100% so I stayed home and tried not to go crazy from boredom. If you think I'm a bad injured runner I a REALLY shitty sick person! Oh it's not pretty when I get my mind back on track but my body is still not ready to engage the real world again. I hate, hate, hate, sitting around recovering. Yea, I know, you're all totally surprised. SHUT UP!


Friday I went back to work but it wasn't exactly a good day. I was still queasy and had to take things slow. Probably not the best idea to go back but that's probably why I did it. Give me a list of ideas and I'm a pro at finding the one that ISN'T the best choice. Wish they'd had those kind of questions on the ACT!


Saturday was The Big One's cross country meet so I didn't get a chance to run that day either. Not that I would have because I had really taken a plunge both physically and emotionally by then. All the pain of the sickness and the stress of missing work and other things had taken a toll and there wasn't much left of old Willie.


So that brings us to today, boys and girls. I knew I needed to get a run in. I also wanted it to be a long one since it's my long run day. The problem was I knew I was struggling just to stay awake and vertical. Running needed to be done but I was facing a demon I'd never beaten before. I knew there was a massive fatigue wall lurking out there waiting for me. I didn't know where it was but I knew it was there because I had those defeated thoughts like, "maybe I should ease back into this with a 3-4 mile run". What that means in Willie-ease is "You can't make more than 3-4 miles so don't try or you'll get beat." I hate those thoughts. Are they my angel trying to safe me from pain or are they my devil trying to hold me back from something.


You'll be please to know that I put all thoughts aside and went for it. Not in a macho way but just in a "shut-the-hell-up-and-let-me-run" kinda way. I started out around Lake Hefner not knowing if I would make it all the way around but I didn't focus on that. I stayed in the moment and ran each step not thinking of the next.


Then it hit. Turns out that wall was sitting there around mile 3. Now I should describe this wall for you since it's very particular to me. A little over a year ago I discovered this wall in myself and it forced me to the doctor and months of inner struggling that I'm just now coming out of. It sometimes caused me to see stars during runs and basically rendered me unable to continue running. I've come to recognize when it's setting it now and that how I knew I was struggling with this week and honestly I was scared since it's always beaten me before.


NOT TODAY! I felt it coming on and I was able to slow down, stay in my head, and run through it. It wasn't easy. I actually think I got through it by telling myself I'd stop after just one more mile. Well that mile came and went and I actually started running faster!


I kicked that demon in balls and left him laying on the dam road out at lake Hefner! Never thought I'd ever say that.


So that's why I'm very excited about, what turned out to be, an average run. I got 10 miles done in 1:26 which is only a 8:30 something average but DAMN it was the best 8:30 average I've had in a long time.


I know I'm not out of the woods with this thing. I still feel it now but I'm just so happy I got through it once. I may fail miserably next time so I'm gonna enjoy the heck out of this little victory.


Oh, yea, Tin Cup was on when I got home too! Very fitting although I'm a bit too tired to watch it all. Just the thought of it makes me smile.


Ya'll are doing great and I love reading about your running. Can't wait to hear more so keep writing!


Thanks for listening

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Total Stud

Look at that boy run!
Nice Stride!

Now that's a good running form!
You've been watching The Big One run his first Cross Country meet. He ran a 20:20 and looked pretty damn good doing it if I do say so myself.
Thanks for listening


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Super Natural Running

Wonderful new theory on running. Not a big Nike fan but this is something I think I could get into.

Check it out


Thanks for listening

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The best you can say

I find myself saying the phrase "The best I can say lately is....". Sometimes life gets like that, or maybe we just sometimes see life that way. Regardless, I think it's always good to at least say the best you can. No need to say the worst. Doesn't make you or anyone else feel any better and, by God, if we're here for nothing else, we should at least try to make each other feel better.

First I have to tell you about The Big One's triathlon last weekend. It's a quick story.

It Didn't Happen.

It seems the fates had different plans for my eldest last weekend. We had gone to a local lake so he could fish while The Little One and I played on the playground. As I'm sitting on a lovely bench in the shade, I see this limping figure coming towards me. Of course I new immediately it had to be my son. Of course! He had stepped on a stick that was sticking straight up out of the ground and it had punctured his sandal and gone into his foot. PERFECT! Lot's of blood and right in the middle of his foot. He swore up and down that he would run the Tri the next day but I knew better. I loved the totally-Willie-like attitude of ignoring the obvious reality of a bloody hole in your foot and committing yourself to go run! Good Lord that's what I gave him??? My totally-screwed up view of reality and need to stand up to totally impossible odds? Go me!

So he woke up the next morning and had a different attitude. Whew! Maybe there's a chance for him yet. He couldn't walk on his foot so he determined it best not to do a Tri. Look at the logic! Ha, that 'a boy!

So that ended that adventure last weekend. We did venture up and watched the Tri. One of my good friends won the Master's division! She ROCKS!

So in my running world things are going pretty well. I'm really trying hard to get my weekly mileage up in the 30-40's. I'm also shying away from the group/social long runs. I really believe I need to get out and put in the long miles in solitude so my head can find that wonderful place it goes to on long runs without the distractions. I think I've become mentally weak. I've also started running at lunchtime which is wonderful for a couple reasons. First, because it's usually HOT and SUNNY! Love that. Second, it gets it done so I don't have to try and fit it in once I get off work. I use those runs just for maintenance miles and try to run 4-6 miles at a steady but not hard pace. Two weeks of that now, hoping it continues.

Next week I am going to start speedwork/hill training again. Tuesday I've made plans to join up with the old gang of track-junkies and get some kind of harder workout done. It will be great to get back with these wonderful people who pushed me so wonderfully through some tough track workouts last spring. They both left town for the summer and we haven't run for some time. Should be wonderful on many levels.

The best I can say right now is that I'm hanging on. I love reading all my blogging friends posts as they make the hanging on that much better. I haven't run off to Alaska, like some people!, but I know I've been absent from the virtual world for awhile.

Thanks for listening

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Fine Evening

I'm writing on my phone so please forgive my thumbs if the stumble on
these tiny keys.

It's a beautiful evening here in fabulous Oklahoma and I'm sitting on
a bench watching the sun kiss the horizon. The Little One is playing
with some new friends he just met on the playground and The Big One is
out riding my bike getting used to the gears because HE'S DOING A
TRIATHLON ON SUNDAY!

That's right, my boy is going to do another Tri. He's really excited.
This one is an open water swim which he practiced last week and was
great at and he get's to use my bike which will be a big improvement
over his last Tri where he used his mountain bike. He's been running
with the High School (Yes I have a High Schooler now, and yes I feel
horribly old!) cross country team so he should make the run alright.

I'll be there to provide cheering and much embarrasment which is my
role as his adoring father. I was tempted to do it with him but fought
the urge. This will be his moment and his glory. He deserves to have
it all to himself. I'm going to try my best to avoid the advice giving
and guiding as much as possible and let him be in control. I really
want him to experience this on his terms, his triumphs, his mistakes,
his highs, his lows. I want this to be as hard as possible and I want
him to overcome it and feel that amazing feeling of self realization
that comes from it.

We are all flawed in this life and striving and overcoming is a
wonderful way to fall in love with ourselves again and forget those
flaws for awhile. We all deserve to have the opportunity to achieve
something on our own, screwed up, terms.

Can't wait to write the race report!

Thanks for listening

--
Sent from my mobile device

Sunday, August 9, 2009

16 Miles for a start

I took a step today on my Back to Basics journey. I set aside this morning for nothing but running and it was fabulous. I had the opportunity to run around Lake Draper which has some pretty good hills, which made the run t much better.

I set out around 8:30 which allowed the sun to get really high and hot. Gotta have my sun, sorry Southbaygirl. The first few miles were just amazing. It was quiet, no traffic, and I was running down the middle of the road trying to save the ITBs. I left the Ipod at home so I could let my mind wander. I was really trying to get back in touch with that wonderful old feeling I used to get on Sunday afternoons when I started running. The road twisted and turned and I kept running, just running. My new shoes were doing fine and I was really enjoying their extra cushioning and lighter weight. I loved that I noticed that too. I realized that I had gotten so caught up in other aspects of running that I hadn't thought about my shoes in awhile. I was missing the little things about running that used to give me so much joy. Little things.

I took Paula with me but I didn't pay much attention to her. I was running totally on feeling. I wanted that time on my feet more than I wanted any special time on my watch.

I made it about 8 miles before I started to feel the heat and really start to suffer. I slowed a bit and even walked a little. I was half-way into the run and struggling. This time, though, I refused to get that defeated feeling. Struggling is something I used to do all the time. I've become arrogant enough now, I guess, that I don't expect to feel that way ever! How did I ever get that far gone? I have this bloated self-image that I'm something better than that, like I should never feel tired. Not this time, I accepted my fatigue and even embraced it a litte as a way of getting pasted it. No more denying it can happen.

After a short while I was running again. Running slowly but running none the less. I made it to the turn where the hills began and took a short break. I was pretty beat up and really sun burned. I decided that on these last 3 miles I would run the hills hard and walk the downhills and flat sections. I had run a good 12 miles of easy distance which was enough. Now I'd finish it off with some good hill work and then take the old bones to the house for an ice-bath.

The hills were marvelous! The heat was killing me so I decided to jog the downs and flats just so I could get done sooner. This made for an intense last 3 miles which was the perfect way to cap off this run.

Now here's a little more of that arrogance coming through again. I only did 16 miles and it took me 3 hours so WHY AM I COMPLETELY DEAD? I feel like I've run 2 marathons and then been run over by a truck! Am I that out of shape? I suppose I am and I need to accept it. I must learn to accept my position in regards to training (and other things) and not fool myself into thinking I'm better than I really am. I can do it now that I recognize it for what it is.

You guys and gals keep up the good training. I'm trying to keep up with all your wonderful adventures and successes, sorry if I don't comment all the time but know that I'm giving you a silent WAY TO GO in my heart!

Thanks for listening