Monday, June 29, 2009

Playing my part

The plan was to run 16 miles on Saturday and I ran most of it pretty well. Most of it.

We met at 0(my God it's early)5:30 in the morning to avoid the heat and to get some miles in before the others in the group showed up to run some shorter distances. We met out in Piedmont Oklahoma which is just west of my glorious Edmond but much more rural. We ran mostly on gravel roads and even some good-old-Oklahoma Red Dirt. I find myself falling more in love with this state every time I discover some of it's distinctiveness. Anyway, I ran very well mostly in the low 8's and some 7's for 11 miles. We stopped for water and to contribute to the welfare of some native trees along the road (we're guys, we can do that) at mile 11 and I just could get going again. My buddy says we spent 5 minutes on that stop but I don't remember it being that long. I guess the heat and the long break got to me and I just dropped my mental edge for a moment, took too long a break and couldn't get it back. I walked most of the last 5 miles and just enjoyed the wonderful Oklahoma countryside. I'm somewhat concerned that I couldn't keep my focus for more than 11 miles but only moderately because I had a lot going against me with the heat and fatigue. Get these tough runs in now in the extreme heat and 60-70's in Tulsa this fall will feel like a cake-walk. That's the theory anyway.

San Francisco is coming up soon. I can't wait! I absolutely love this race and the city. I don't know why but it just embodies everything I love about the marathon event. The city is big and exciting, the expo is down in the heart of the city and is an event in and of it's self, race morning is awesome with so many marathoners to meet and be around, the race itself is beautiful, GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, that says it all! You get to run across the Golden Gate Bridge! Did I mention the bridge yet? OK, well it's freaking awesome.

Oh and RBR, Southbaygirl, and a bunch of crazy Oklahomans will be there this year too! I get to see RBR and Southbaygirl again! Yes, I'm bragging and gloating. It is a privilege to know these people and to meet them. I still have to pinch myself sometimes to realize that a minuscule little peon of a man like me from nowhere West Virginia actually has friends all over this country who don't mind being seen with him! Last year we had the whole RBR crew (she has the greatest support crew EVER! They're crazy, but dedicated to each other and that's awesome) and Calyx and Donna. We had a ball after the marathon and it was a highlight of my life to meet them. This year we'll miss Calyx and Donna but I'm so happy Southbaygirl will make it up. There will be Starbucks, beer, sourdough, and oh yes, running. There will be running.

Think about this blogging thing we do for a minute. Actually think about where you'd be if you hadn't taken that giant leap one day and decided to put your life and thoughts out there for the world to see. I like to write about living life to the fullest and trying to experience everything you possibly can in this life, but I never could have imagined all the experiences and friends I'd have just because I wrote some garbled lines of hodge-podge one day. AND THAT'S WHAT I LOVE ABOUT LIFE! You can't imagine where the things in your life will take you. Take a wrong turn one day, say hello to a stranger, go somewhere you've never been, dial a wrong number, you never know what could come of these little events that we so often treat as annoyances. Serendipity! There are no accidents, we just need to see our lives as bigger than the last 10 minutes and the next 5. Each individual living their own desires, goals and dreams build this wonderfully elaborate system that is so complex on the large scale but yet so simple at it's lowest level. I love it. I love it. I love it. Try telling yourself that over and over. I LOVE THIS LIFE! A butterfly's wing beat in China causes a hurricane in the Atlantic! That's us! We're the butterfly! We're a part of something so much bigger than ourselves even if we were never to leave your houses, but what a shame that would be! To have a part of the most complex system ever devised and not indulge yourself in making your impact meaningful in some way is criminal.

Whew, there take that! Now the ushers will pass around the plate. We're happy to have the money that jingles but really need the kind that folds! (Bonus points if you know what movie that's from!)

Sorry for the preaching but I'm on an emotional roller coaster lately and I want to share the highs as a way to stave off the lows. Accentuate the positive right? I'm trying that theory on to see how it fits. We'll see.

Happy running to all of you wonderful people all over the world. Run fearless.

Thanks for listening.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Last week it was 171.3

Two weeks ago it was 175.8

Before that, it hovered around 178. When I say before that I mean for like the last 3 years.

Please don't hate me, I'm not bragging. In fact, I'm not sure how I feel about it. My weight has dropped like all those good habits I've tried to implement over the years. This little tidbit of my life would normally make me extremely happy and I'd be writing things like, "all my hard work has finally paid off", and "wow I can't wait to try out this new toy of a body I've been given". The problem is I haven't earned this. I've struggled with my weight for most of my life and I have wanted to get down in the 160's for so long. I've tried diets and other things over the years and it seemed that I'd never get there. After years of struggling I had come to a level of acceptance that my weight would be what it is and I'd let running regulate it. Now this happens and I have no idea how it happened. Have you ever had a goal that you've worked for and struggled with only to have something happen that basically gives you the goal without much effort on your part? I don't do well with that. I want to earn this, I want to know in my heart that I changed my diet and did the things required to earn the weight lost. Ain't nothin' worth nothin' les you paid fer it. That's my West-by-God-Virginia theory and I stand by it.

I suppose it has something to do with the heat. I'm not going to worry about it because my running isn't suffering. I'll stick by the assumption that if something was really wrong with me it would manifest itself in other ways. This must be a temporary thing.

Total change of gears....

I just finished reading book that I initially had no intention of reading at all. I was in the middle of another book and had a second book lined up when my wife suggested this book to me. I read one chapter and never looked back. I still haven't finished that first one!

Anyway, I won't tell you the name of this book because I'd lose much more of my dwindling man-hood if I announced to the world that I love reading chic/romance/girly books. (That last sentence is not an official admission, I checked with the lawyers). I do, however, want to share with you a particular part that struck me like a ton of bricks. There's a part in the story where some of the characters are making comments about how some people are just silver medalists, they try and try but never seem to get what they're working for. Well it turns out that one of the other characters is actually an Olympic silver medalist! After some initial embarrassment, they continue on their conversation about being second best. At this point the Olympian stops them and tells them they're missing the point. I am probably violating copyright laws but screw it, I want to share this.

"You're missing the point of the silver medal. Yes, I would have loved winning a gold medal in track (He was a runner too!). But I love running. I do it every day because it makes me happy. So, it doesn't really matter if things didn't turn out exactly as I thought they would in my head. I went after the thing I really wanted, and I got it. Just in a different form than I thought I would

Then he gives this little jewel,

"Fear of failure is an insidious thing. Leads people to pretend they never wanted a medal in the first place."

He then looks at the target of the previous conversation and says,

"that guy knows what makes him happy in his life. And he's balls out about getting it"

Makes me tingle just reading it again. If I could wish for one comment to be made about me in my life, I hope, I pray, that it would be something along those lines. I'd sacrifice all the victories and gold medals I could ever win to have that said about me.

Sorry for quoting someone else, I wish I had written something like that. I try to share my own thoughts rather than stealing from others but when I read that it kind of captured a feeling I've had and put it into words that I have been unable to find.

I've been running good. Easy miles on Monday, speedwork on Tuesday's, long, tempo run on Thursdays, and a good long 15+ miles on the weekends. My pace has been getting faster every week. I'm consistently in the 7's now for all but my weekend long runs. I'm really enjoying my runs too. It's back to the way running should be, show up at the track and just take off running. No pain, no getting through tight muscles, just me and my shoes doing what we love. It's the kind of running that makes you look forward to it everyday. No matter how bad the day at work is I have a good run to look forward to at the end of the day. That's better than any drug or therapy I can think of.

Thanks for listening

Sunday, June 21, 2009

RBR Ironman update

RBR is through the swim and has completed 34 miles of the bike. I'm pretty sure that information is old but it's all they got on the updates.

Send some good energy West and a good bit North!

Live tracking

RBR Rocks!!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An easy week

Sitting here tonight with The Little One watching Ice Age and pondering the mysteries of life. OK, so really I'm mind-numb, a total vegetable, drinking a nice glass of fine Kentucky Whisky, and basically wasting oxygen.

This may be the bizzaro-SaratheQueen or JenZen blog tonight. Their blogs are full of all kinds of exercise and proper dieting. Mine is full of kid's movies and alcohol. I'm providing balance in this world I guess.

I ran 16 miles on the hills Saturday and ran another 3 easy miles with The Big One on Tuesday. I took the week off from my normal Tuesday speedwork. I figured I needed an easy week. No real reason, just figured. I do that sometimes, figure that is. Anyho, my normal weekly running partners are not running this week so I may be on my own tomorrow for tomorrow night's run around the lake. I enjoy my own company but sometimes I bore myself and it's hard to keep running with someone that doesn't interest you that much. Know what I mean?

The plans for this weekend are developing everyday. It seems everyone in our running group has different ideas about what to run this weekend. It may have something to do with different training goals. It could be that they are just trying to confuse me so much that there is a small likelihood I will be able to find any one group come Saturday morning. Maybe I don't just bore myself is what I'm trying to say. Hmmm, maybe I'll go get me some personality before the Saturday. I bet Wal-Mart sells it. I think we are running 10 miles early Saturday morning. Then there is an 8K race at the lake. After that there is a {cough, cough} trail run {end cough cough} just north of the lake. Yes, I'm considering a trail run. My knees hurt already. Why would I do this? They have beer and donuts. BEER and DONUTS. It's called the Green People run and it's for some environmental charity. You can run as many laps of a 3 mile trail that you want and I'm assured there is plenty of BEER and DONUTS after each lap. So my question is (not uttered, of course) why would anyone run more than 1 lap?

My biggest challenge right now is not running but sleep. I am really struggling with insomnia for some reason. I just can't sleep lately and I'm not a good tired person. I know I'm weird but I just don't perform well when I haven't slept. Weird I know. I would give anything to lose 8-10 hours of my life in utter-unconsciousness. Not going to happen anytime soon though I fear.

I'm rambling.

I registered for San Francisco on Monday though! The 15th was the last day to register and get your name put on your bib. I realized this at about 1 AM as I was NOT sleeping. Go insomnia! Woo-hoo! Saved me about $20. Now if I get my flight booked I'll be set. I'm really excited about San Francisco because I'm going to see so many of you wonderful blog-people. I love blog people. They're the best. Only problem is that I'm much more verbose and interesting in pixels than I am in real life. I do enjoy embarrassing myself though so it's never a total loss.

Still rambling.

Nah, I'm done.

Thanks for listening

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Wee Bit of Pride

I just need to take a quick moment and share with my peeps my latest achievement.

I ran a 6:18 mile at last night's speedwork session!

Yea, I'm kinda blowing my own horn here, sorry but I can't help it.

I feel like I'm running good again and I want to shout it out.

Gimme a marathon, any marathon... Just bring it SOON!

Thanks for listening

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Boston, Boston everywhere

Well the lottery results for the New York City marathon came out this week and once again I didn't make it in. It could have something to do with the fact that I forgot to register but I think it's just plain discrimination against procrastinating-forgetful people. I may write a letter.

I had a wonderful speed workout Tuesday night where I ran my fastest mile for this year. We did a 800-1200-1600-1600-1200-800 ladder and I ran the miles in 6:28 and 6:30 respectively. Not bad for an old bald guy. Last year around mid-summer I was running 6:00-6:10 miles so I'm almost there. Wednesday was National Running day so we got together and (tried) to run around Lake Hefner. I only made 5 miles of it. I knew after step number 3 that I wasn't going to make it around. My legs were really tight and my running labored. I didn't care too much because I was still on a high from the speedwork. Thursday my small group of running friends had planned to run around Hefner again (we like this place) but I again couldn't make it all the way around and settled for 6 miles. Saturday we got together with the big group again for 14 miles around the marathon course. That was a nice easy run with lots of good conversation and relaxed pace.

I am able to explain my problems with running last week as lack of rest. I just couldn't sleep well and I seemed to be always on the go and busy. Stress in my life has a horrible affect on my running. I worry about my job, I worry about my kids, I worry about money, I worry about worrying and by Wednesday I'm sometimes so tired I just can't get one foot in front of the other. This makes a good run very difficult. I usually recover on Sunday where I sleep in and lounge all day. This recharges my batteries and I'm good to go for Monday and Tuesday. If I have a good couple days I can sometimes make it to Wednesday or Thursday before I breakdown again but sometimes I'm gone by Tuesday night. I must stop this cycle.

I say all this to explain my next discussion. Boston. It seems that qualifying for Boston is in the air again. One of my friends has committed to training for Boston and another friend is thinking about it. They both have the potential to run the qualifying times with a little work over the summer. I really want to help them both get there. They always ask me when I'm going to qualify and I laugh hysterically and say I will go watch them as a spectator and that's the only way I'll get to Boston anytime soon. I've been down this road before people and it just isn't in the cards for me. Truth is I want it so badly but not enough to give up what I would have to give up in order to make it. I need a 3:15 in order to make Boston. My PR is 3:32. In order to make Boston I would have to increase my weekly mileage quite a bit and my workouts would have to be of much better quality. Both of these things are something I'd love to do, I would love to run 60 miles a week and do it all with some good intensity. I like to eat though and my house payment is due every month no matter how much I wish it weren't. My kids like me to be around every now and then and so does my boss.

I know lots of people who juggle all this and still run extremely well but everyone is different and I haven't been able to find the balance that those people have. I'll get to Boston someday and I really hope it's achieved with a 3:15 but for now I have smaller goals. I'd like to run a sub-3:30 this fall and I'd like to maybe run the Redman triathlon too. Those are goals that are challenging but can still be achieved under my current way-of-life.

On a much more positive note, you guys (mostly gals actually) are running so GREAT! I've been keeping up with most of you through Twitter and your blogs and I must say that I'm impressed. Everyone seems to be either running PR's or training really well lately. For what it's worth, I am impressed with your improvement. I haven't been blogging that long but I have seen some of you go from beginners to pro's and it's inspiring.

Some of you inspire me with your ability to juggle hectic work lives and still find the enjoyment in running.

Some of you inspire me with hardcore gym workouts which I'll never understand.

Some of you inspire (bewilder) me by swimming massive distances, biking up vertical roads, and running trails through wilderness peaks on both coasts.

Long runs through heat and humidity while dealing with serious psychological delusions about college football teams inspire me to keep my head up and stay positive.

I've had a dream of writing a book for many years now and some of you keep that dream alive by reminding me of it from time to time. I love that and I love reading about wonderful races in Northeastern towns that I can only imagine. Ever improving races times are inspiring too!

One of my proudest achievements in blogging is that I've gone international. The world works in mysterious ways and that's ever so true in that my international flare comes from a country that I am absolutely in love with! Who could have guessed that I would have a virtual friend from the place I have always wanted to visit since I was a kid?

And, last but not least, are my local blogging friends. These are people I actually see! I've run with them, I've spoken actual words to them. What a concept huh? The list of inspiring things I see in them is way to long to list here. They are a constant source of energy and strength.

I know I don't say enough thank you's in my life. If I tried to thank everyone for all that I get from them in my life I'd get nothing done. I'm nothing without the wonderful people I'm surrounded by.

Thanks for listening.