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


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,


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!)


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.


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?


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.