Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tulsa 2010

I ran the Tulsa Rt. 66 marathon last Sunday. This is my favorite marathon for many reasons, not the least of which is because it's close to home but not close enough that it feels boring. It's like a travel marathon without the expensive hotel and plane ticket. I also usually run good at this one because it's the first Fall marathon that I run and the cool weather helps.

I had no expectations for this other than to have fun and enjoy the pain I knew was coming due to my lack of training. I often say that to truly enjoy marathons you need a healthy dose of self-dislike because it makes the pain bearable. Well I knew this one would require some serious pissed-off-ed-ness at old Willie for me to get through. Let's just say I had a lot to draw from lately.

One really cool new twist to my experience was that my oldest clone was running the half marathon at Tulsa this year too so I got to share the day with him. As much as I don't want him to be anything like me I do like having him around because we have so much fun together. He is still my son and I have to get on him sometimes but mostly we share the same sense of humor and enjoy the same things so it's like having a perfect friend. I do hope he gets the running bug.

So my son and I rode to Tulsa with 2 of my best friends who were also running the full marathon. We had a great time listening to Christmas music and chatting about most things running and some things not. I've had some of the best conversations with these people and this time didn't disappoint.

So the marathon was fairly straight forward. I hooked up with the 3:50 pace group at the start and ran just in front of them for most of the race. I figured 3:50 was about the best I was capable of right now so I was glad to see that the pace felt comfortable. It was a beautiful running day which means it was overcast and cool. I love the sun but since I'm out of shape I needed all the help I could get and the overcast was probably good for about 10 minutes off my time that day. I can enjoy my wonderful sunshine sometime when I'm in a better running form to enjoy it.

Here is the thing that got me that day and the reason I needed to write this post. Around mile 14-15 I ran by some fire trucks and saw a man performing CPR on a runner who had collapsed during the half marathon. I had never seen real CPR before and I was shocked. Stunned really. The runner lay motionless on the ground while a fireman was violently pressing his chest in an attempt to save this poor man's life. I had so many thoughts at that moment all of which, I'm sure, were fatigue induced. Had this man just died? Was his spirit hanging around watching this? Did he know he was gone? All these weird thoughts raced through my brain as I continued running. It was as if I weren't really there but I was watching myself see all this. Very, very weird.

I will admit that, although I focused on this site for the next few miles, by mile 18 I had forgotten about it and was concentrating on the pain in my legs and knees which had become vicious by then. I was really feeling the lack of endurance by mile 20. I felt I had the energy to go on and run strong but my legs weren't ready for the beating they had taken and each step was hurting. I knew this was coming so I took it very well and walked a little to stretch things out. I ran when I could and walked when I needed and finished in a respectable 3:57.

After the race I met up with my son and our running friends for our post-race lunch and beverages, not remembering at all the feelings I'd had about the CPR incident. It wasn't until later, when I heard the man had died, that I remembered those weird feelings and I really thought about what I'd seen. I'm not going to say that it was a profound moment in my life and that I'm a changed man because of it, nothing that dramatic or cheesy. It was just an experience that I had and I'm not sure how to take it or what to do with it. As I remembered that scene I was struck with the thought of what this man was planning after the race. Was he planning to meet his family and friends for a beer? Did they have dinner plans in Tulsa? I wondered if he had checked out of his hotel room? All these mundane things that I plan and do around a marathon and I never once stop to think, "what if I don't finish this thing?". That's not something you plan for, nor should you! I suppose it's supposed to be weird and unusual to deal with the mundane things after a tragedy. That's why it's a tragedy. I had just never thought about it before like I did on the race course last Sunday. I wish I could say I am going to contemplate this event and re-evaluate my ways but that isn't me. In fact, it sounds silly just to type it. I had a glimpse into a tragedy and it had an impact on me. What that impact is beyond the ones I've shared here I don't know.

Thanks for listening

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My old friend

I have a wonderful friend in the running club who hosts a brunch every year following a 5K that is run very near to her home. The food is always outstanding at this brunch so I always attend. This year I figured I should run the 5K also since I've never run it and I always feel a little guilty about showing up for the food without running.

My training plan has 1 speedwork session every week and I decided that this 5K would fill that requirement so I skipped my normal Tuesday night track session and held off until Saturday morning where I could get in 3, 1 mile repeats with 0 seconds of rest between. Perfect! I had done this before using a free 5K that was held every Wednesday night over the summer months. It was a small affair used by the racing production company to train their new people on the timing equipment. All you had to do was show up and be their guinnea pig and you got a free, chip timed 5k.

My best time at those summer races was a 20:36 which I was extremely please with since I don't normally run 5ks. I was hoping for a similar time this morning but it wasn't meant to be. It has turned cold here in the midwest and my lungs haven't adjusted yet I guess. My lungs got tight around the 2k mark and just wouldn't let me get a good breathe for the rest of the race. My legs felt good but the lactic acid built up quickly since the muscles weren't getting all the oxygen they needed. I ran good, the breathing never got really bad and I was able to finish in 21:05. I very happy with that and I think it still qualifies as a speed workout since I worked very hard to get that time even if the time itself wasn't as good as it could have been. It's all about effort I suppose. It's been a long time since I've had a full-on asthma attack. So long, in fact, that I couldn't find my inhaler when I went to get it. I had to buy one of those horrible Primetine mist thingys. I hate those things! They give me a headache and make me sick but at least they help me breathe.

In other news, I've decided not to run a marathon while I'm in California next weekend. My father is coming to town next week and will be leaving on Sunday so I just can't bring myself to leave before then. So I'll just get in some wonderfully warm runs in the high desert. At least it better be warm. Please make it warm while I'm there. Please.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Inspiration Sandwich

I ran tonight. Fast.

I've been reading a book called Inspiration Sandwich to my youngest clone for the past few weeks as a bedtime story. He picked it out of our bookshelf because it has wonderful colors on the cover and it looked like a children's book. After reading many of the chapters I've concluded that it is more of an adult book. Actually an adult-who-wants-to-be-a-child book. PERFECT Willie reading material! Wish I'd found this book years ago. The author's name is Sark and I may be in love with her. She has that wonderful childlike attitude that is so easy to love.

I'm traveling to California (again) for work and am considering jumping into a marathon while I'm out there. I have a link to on my desktop right beside my business travel arranger link. Anytime I get notice of a business trip the first thing I do is check for marathons in the area I'm going. I love that! I'm heading to the L.A. area this time and I have work on a Monday so it's the perfect opportunity to travel on a Friday or Saturday and run a Sunday marathon then head to my meetings on Monday. It just so happens that Malibu is having their marathon on the weekend of my travels. I'm very tempted. The only thing stopping me is the $143 entry fee! That's pretty steep even for a late entry. I hope they put wine in their gatorade, and not cheap Boones Farm wine either. I want the good stuff for that price.

I'll keep you posted on what I decide.

Tulsa marathon is in 2 weeks, Memphis in 4. If I run Malibu that would be 3 marathons within a months time. Marathon Maniacs here I come!!

Thanks for listening

Friday, October 22, 2010


I don't deal with it well.

The 24 hour race is tomorrow. I'm not running it but 2 of my favorite people in the world (besides the 2 little people who resemble me) are and I was very excited about helping them. I want to take care of every little detail for them so they can just show up and run the race. That was my goal but today I ended up being the one who had to be taken care of. Multiple problems arose that were beyond anyone's control and pushed me over that edge of having too many things to do at once and I lost it. I became a blabbering idiot and not a very nice person to be around. I just wanted so badly to take care of everything and it just wasn't going to happen today and I never found the strength to accept that and deal with it. I failed myself today not because I didn't do the things I wanted to accomplish but because I didn't deal with reality well.
I used to be able to deal with these things! But not anymore. No, not at all. No, no, no.

OK, so when I say I used to deal with stress well, it wasn't really me that was dealing with it, it was the medication I was taking that dealt with it. Actually it just made it so I never felt any stress. Wonderful stuff! That is until you realize you're not feeling ANYTHING anymore! No stress but also no emotion, no joy, no guilt, nothing, nada. Couldn't deal with that kind of living anymore so I got myself off them.

And now here I am. Stressed out and pinging off the freakin walls every time I have more than 2 things to do. And you know what? As sorry as I am for failing today, I can't help but be a little bit happy that I actually FELT something! It was real, it wasn't covered up, I FELT it! I don't like that I didn't handle it well but I felt it and I recognize that I felt it and I can learn from this. This is called living. I'm going to do more of it from now on I think.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Here I am sitting on my new back patio watching the birds that live in my shrub-like thingy (I'm not a plant person) that is growing all over my back fence. The birds have been nice enough to not care that I moved into their space. They go on with their bird activities without regard to my existence. I like that in a neighbor.

I saw that Starbuck's new theme is "take comfort in your rituals" and as much as I hate to give in to a marketing slogan, I have to admit that I can relate to this one. I'm finally back on a marathon training plan and have now had 2 good weeks of training and I am starting to feel like my old marathon running self. Things are a bit different on the outside now but inside I'm getting those old wonderful feelings of contentment that come from keeping to a running schedule. I never stopped running through the transitions of last year but it was more of an escape from things than a goal in itself.

What I really like (because I'm a complete sap) is that, even though things are completely different now, I can still make those old rituals fit into this new world. I see that as both progress and as a confirmation that those old feelings were real. I lost many of my behaviors (for the better in most cases) along the way but I have kept a few and I hold those few in high regard now. They are my treasures of life that I keep in a special place and, while I may forget about them during the trials of life, will always return to eventually. They are comfort.

I'm training for the Memphis marathon on December 4th. It's a hilly course from what I here so I'm not looking for a PR but most a return to good marathon running. Along the way I'll run the Tulsa Rt. 66 marathon in November as a training run. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for listening

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


The big one ran an Olympic distance triathlon last weekend. That's 1/2 mile swim, 24 mile bike, and a 10K run. Needless to say I was, and am, a very proud father.

I think what I was most proud of was that he hurt a little during the race. I'm always proud of him no matter what he does and I love it when he wins something. What I've been waiting to see is that look in his eyes that says he has earned something.

There's a big difference between winning and earning although the two can occur at the same time. So far in my son's young life I have only seen the winning. That's not to say he has won everything. I've seen his failures too but win or lose it was always something external to him it seemed. It wasn't something that he internalized or became epic to him. It was just something he did. The earning is something that I couldn't help him with. I could give him advice (although he rarely listened) on how to succeed or how to do his best but I couldn't help him get to that place where he worked for something meaningful to his inner soul and overcame the external obstacles and his own internal doubts to achieve a goal. No one can help him do that, he had to do it himself and it finally happened I think.

He is a wonderful kid and I want him to find himself and his inner strength. I hope this was the first step towards that.

Thanks for listening

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Diet is important

I spent last week in upstate New York for work. Normally I would be writing to you about all the hills I ran and all the many miles I got in. Not this time.

This time Willie was a bad boy.

A very bad boy.

I was there 3 nights and I ate like crap and drank like a fish each and every night. Couple this with very little sleep (funny how the drinking and lack of sleep always go together) and I was a mess by the time I finally escaped back to Oklahoma.

No running for 5 days and nothing but crap for fuel make for a hesitant body prior to a 10 mile run. It was like dragging your dog out for a badly needed walk in the rain. They know they need to go but just won't step out the door. I convinced myself that I needed a bit of punishment for what I'd done and this shamed me out the door this morning to meet the group at 6 AM for 10 miles. I think I sweat beer and chicken wings all morning in the 85 degree weather. Yes, 85 degrees at 6 AM! It's F-ing hot here in Oklahoma.

I made the 10 miles at a pretty good pace which I attribute to 5 days of rest. It was good punishment and I accepted it like a cowering Catholic School boy doing his penance. I'm hoping this puts me back on track although I'm planning to take it easy for a few days to get back in the groove.

Thanks for listening

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Notice the cowboy reference in the title? Yeah, someone got on my bad side the other day by implying that I couldn't be a "man" because I took my son back-to-school shopping while my girlfriend mowed my yard. She likes to mow, I like to shop. BITE ME!

After San Francisco I've been hearing those old voices in my head. You know the ones that start up when you see pictures of a place in the world you've never been that go something like, "I wonder if they have a marathon there?". I even caught a news store the other day that said air fares were extremely low right now and I spent the next few hours trying to find a marathon at one of the cheap fare destinations. Currently I have marathons planned for October, November, and December but I'm desperate to find one in September because I'm afraid a 2 month break is too much! Basically.... I'M BACK! I have that itch again to run. I love it.

During my break from blogging I completely lost that itch to travel and run marathons and I was afraid it was a life change that would last. I try to accept those life changes and see them as not losing something but as gaining something new but it's still hard to chew. I love running marathons and traveling as much as I can but if you don't have the inner drive it because a horrible struggle and just not worth it.

I like being back. My wonderful running club has started their training for the fall marathons. They are only up to 8 miles for their long run but we had over 200 people show up at 6 AM yesterday! These things are growing every year and it's great to see and meet new people. I had a good 8 mile run with my old friends yesterday. Everything on my old body is working well and the heat makes it wonderful to run hard and get those endorphins flowing. I absolutely love finishing a run drenched in sweat to the point that it looks like you just got out of a pool. I don't particularly like my smell while sitting at Starbucks afterward though. Oh well, I suppose that's just part of the experience.

Thanks for listening

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Share the Road: A Rant

I've taken all I can take and I just can't hold this rant in anymore. I know a lot of you are cyclists as well as runners so this may offend you but... Why do cyclists think they own every inch of pavement in the world?? And why are they such a-holes about it?

If I've seen you coming at me on your bike for the last hundred yards and have gotten out of your way you don't have the right to scream at me when you finally get your head out of you ass and looked up when you're 2 feet away. I'm sure you were surprised, but it wasn't my fault. That makes you an a-hole. Actually it makes you an arrogant a-hole.

If you're riding side-by-side with you buddy on a narrow trail where it's common for people to be riding and running in both directions it would be nice if one of you would move over when a running is coming the other way. You don't have to, I will move over to the grass to be sure I don't get tire makes up and down my body, but it would be nice.

I love that you yell "on your left" when you pass me. I really do. But please don't scream it and follow it with an insult to my mother. I'm just running I don't mean to piss you off with my presence.

I would never write complain about these things if they were isolated incidents. These three things have become common occurrences on my runs where cyclists are common. I like to think that I don't hold hard feelings towards anyone but I must admit that cyclists are not my favorite people. I've gotten to the point where I avoid them and don't like to be around them not just out on the roads. I hate that and I don't want to feel that way.

Thanks for listening

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Finding that balance again

My running club kicked off their fall marathon training today and I didn't make it. It was only a 6 mile run but I still felt a little twinge of desire to be there with the group and get those miles with company. Since my life has changed I have found it increasingly difficult to make it out and run as much as I'd like. I will not complain about this because the reason, or reasons, I can't make it are my children. I love spending time with those 2 copies of me and I would always (and have always) choose them over a run any day.

In the past I've always had a balance between the two desires even if it was a stressful one. I didn't mind leaving the offspring for a few hours to run some miles because I knew I'd come back to them. Now I feel like I must be with them every minute they're here because there will soon be a time when they're not here. That not here time works well for getting those runs in but since it's summer I'm trying to have the kids over as much as possible so the lack of balance is an issue.

I'm not complaining about anything here, just expressing some feelings. I love my kids and I love running and the balance will come I'm sure.

Thanks for listening

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer of the watermelon II

Where did I leave off... Oh yes, the expo. I'm poor now. That's the basic point here.

After the expo I set out on an expedition to find the San Francisco Whole Foods. I knew they had to have one since this was Mecca for Granola people and everyone knows Granola people love Whole Foods. I found one a few blocks from the expo and entered the bliss of breads, salads, wine, cheese, and every other wonderful thing that wonderful people can make from wonderful food raw materials. One day I've got to figure out how to do these things but for now I'll rely on Whole Foods and Little Caesars for sustenance.

Later that day, after a nap and some fantastic TV from the 3 channels I had in the Ritz, I was lucky enough to meet up with some fellow bloggers for dinner. It was great to see Penny again and I also got to meet AKA Alice and Meg Runs! Total score for meeting wonderful people! We had a great dinner and I laughed very hard the entire night. It's funny how I've become comfortable meeting bloggers since that first time I met Penny. I was so nervous that night I couldn't speak and now I actually look forward to it. Bloggers are wonderful people.

I got to bed late that night after what was probably my 2nd taxi ride ever. Yes, I'm a sheltered person. Sue me, I like the subway!

Race morning came quickly and I was up and in my Landrunner shirt before 5AM. I was supposed to meet RBR and Penny at 5:15 somewhere near the bag drop. I was a little late. RBR was as gracious as ever in her texts asking where the #$%^ I was! She's has such a way with words. I love that about her. I always learn some new way to offend people when I see her. I have considered bringing a notebook or a recorder. She is such a wonderful teacher.

There was a bit of confusion about which wave we were in. Ok, so we knew which wave we were supposed to be in but we didn't want to be in that wave. Do you see the problem. SUPPOSED and WANT. Those two words have always caused me problems. We did eventually end up in our assigned wave which started somewhere near San Jose. No kidding we were in the very last wave. That's what happens when you register the day before the race. After having done this for many, many races I feel that I should get a preferred starting spot because I paid more to be in this race than 90% of the other entries. Just a thought.
I ran with RBR and another friend who had come out from OKC to run this race at the last minute also. Did you catch that? I RAN WITH RBR. Yep, that's right, after last years confusion that mistakenly forced me to accidentally leave her after only 25 feet, I actually ran with her this year. For awhile. We caught AKA Alice as we were approaching the bridge and RBR left me for better company. All in all, I'd say we ran 15-16 miles together. Yeah, that sounds right...

The Golden Gate was as beautiful as ever and it still hasn't gotten old running across it. I still got goosebumps when we ran out on it. It's just such a great thing to be out there in the traffic lanes running between the Pacific and the bay. In true 80's lingo, it's way cool dude!

I continued to run with my friend from OKC until 13 miles where I decided to see if I could pick up the pace and run a great negative split. I had many reasons for this but the most compelling one was to finally run the second half strong. I've always struggled on the second half because the hills beat me up so much on the first half that I just have nothing left for the last miles. I was also completely committed to looking at mile 24 through 26 and giving it the finger! Last year those miles completely destroyed me. Absolutely my worst 2 miles of running ever and I was going to get my revenge.

I was able to pick up the pace a little but I still held back for awhile because I wanted to finish stronger. I wasn't wearing Paula so I don't know what pace I was running but it felt good and strong and that was all I wanted that day. Time was not a factor for me, all I wanted was that good feeling of finishing a marathon with strength and I was doing it. No walls, no deep emotional dips, no bent-over trudging along. Running with my head up and back straight with some dignity.

Mile 24 came along and I looked in it's #%$(ing eye and gave it the finger. That mile has haunted me for a year now. It was the symbol of how I saw myself and how I felt. I needed to put it back in it's place; make it just another single mile of the 26.2 I could run. I did this that day.

If mile 24-26 of last year's San Francisco marathon were the representation of how I felt for the last year then mile 26.2 of this year's marathon has to be the symbol for this year. I crossed the finish line with strength and my head up. I didn't raise my hands in celebration as I normally do but I looked around and took in the moment with the respect that this course and the trials of life that it represents deserves. It was a good year.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer of the watermelon

Hello world.

It's been quite awhile since I've last put pixel to LCD and to be honest I'm a little scared. I fear that I've lost the ability to communicate my thoughts using this forum and that whatever I write from here on out will be rubbish. I want so badly to write something eloquent and meaningful.

Then I remembered that all I really have to do is write what's on my mind. Relieve that pressure that's been building between my ears by putting thoughts out for the world (OK, so maybe just for the few of you left reading this blog) to read. That will be fine.

So last week I got the word that I would be heading to California for work. It was a last minute thing but I always enjoy going to California so I don't mind the short notice. My first idea, once my travel arrangements were made, was to text my good friend Penny and see if she could meet me on the LA beaches for a run. I usually get to stay one night near the LA airport which is just a short hop from the beach and the wonderful, star-laden, beach front walky-runny sidewalk thingy (technical term).

Penny quickly replies that she would love to but will be in San Francisco all weekend. Bummer! Oh wait, isn't there a marathon in San Francisco soon? THERE IS! In fact it's this weekend and that's why Penny is up there! I'm quick like that you see.

This was on Monday and I was leaving on Wednesday for LA. Somewhere between getting to California and spending 2 long days in the dry desert sun, I changed my return flight origin from LA to SFO, bought a ticket from LA to San Francisco ($67! Score!!!) for Saturday, and began the search for a hotel room. The hotel always takes longer because I didn't want to get a car (driving in San Francisco SUCKS!!!, ask RBR) so I had to stay somewhere near the starting line and I didn't want to spend $1000 a night. Eventually I took a chance on a hotel 1.5 miles from the start that was offering a $65 a night rate. That's frighteningly cheap. I was frightened, but figured it was just for 2 nights and it was just me so what the heck.

Once I had everything arranged, I finally took a step back and realized I had to actually run a marathon in a couple days. I hadn't done that in awhile, in fact, I hadn't run more than 13 miles since fall! Crap, this might hurt. My mind took over though and I remembered that I'm bullet-proof. That helps with situations like this.

I made it to San Francisco on Saturday and discovered my hotel was wonderfully old and classy. I don't suppose most people would like it but I immediately fell in love with it's old, 50's era charm. I had my own bathroom and the bed was comfy. I even enjoyed the ride in the very old elevator. Everything about the place screamed that this is where Willie belongs.

I spent some time and huge amounts of money at the Expo. I decided since this was my 3rd year running this race I should probably have some memorabilia from it.

I'm going to finish this tomorrow.... Goodnight everyone. It feels good to be back writing.

Thanks for listening

Monday, July 5, 2010


So I'm on vacation now officially. My toes have touched sand and my ass has been in the ocean.

After spending 2 days in the car driving across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, I decided that I should get a long run in as soon as possible to stave off atrophy in my legs.

I set out on a 12 mile run up the beach-side road at 6 AM while my kids were still asleep. It was quiet and lonely and lovely. A nice easy run that my legs were aching to do. They seemed to have a great desire for every step. So much better than sitting still for 10 hours a day. I didn't see many other runners at first so I had time to get my mind settled and make it concentrate on nothing but the task of putting one foot in front of the other.

Eventually I came upon a wonderful man who I ran with for a few miles. When I say ran with, what I really mean is that we ran beside each other. He with his headphones on and me with my mind clear and disinterested. After a few miles, I began to wonder about this man. I wondered what his story was. Was he a resident of this island or was he also a visitor? My mind eventually gave up the wondering and began to make up his story for him. His name was Henry and he was a Korean war veteran (didn't look old enough for WWII). He was here on vacation with his wife, Audrey. They had been high school sweethearts, been married forever and raised 4 kids. He worked as a pipeline repairman in the oil fields of Texas since he returned from the war. Retirement is looming and he was deep in thought about what he was going to do with the rest of his life and how he and Audrey were going to spend their golden years. His oldest boy, Lyle, ran his own business in Iowa and had invited Henry to come up and help him run the company. This appealed to Henry because he wasn't sure how long he could survive just sitting around East Texas with nothing to do. Iowa wasn't his first choice in retirement locations however and he was apprehensive about working so closely with his son. The weight of this decision and the weight of the years of hard work showed in his running style. Leaning slightly forward, looking almost bent over, he shuffled along at a good pace but it looked labored. He liked running for the feeling of accomplishment it gave him when a good run was finished. He got little satisfaction from his work lately and desperately sought that worthy feeling any way he could nowadays.

So I had this entire story written after only a few miles. I never spoke to this man. Mostly because I didn't want to bother him and partly because I didn't want to find out the truth about him and ruin my story.

On the way back, I noticed a street that ended at the ocean-front. The funny thing I noticed about this street was that it was named "West Summer". I'm at the Atlantic Ocean and this road ended at the ocean front. West Summer? Where the heck is East Summer, Africa? You can't more East in the United States than the Atlantic Ocean. I supposed there was someone running up the African coast by "East Summer" road and wondering the same thing.

I'll be at the beach for the next few days.

Thanks for listening

Monday, June 14, 2010

The heat is on

Someone turned the heat on in Oklahoma again. It's about time. I got the final confirmation of the return of summer when I ran on Thursday evening and I saw sweat flying off my hands with each stride. It was heaven. When I finished I looked like I had just climbed out of a pool. 6 miles and I felt like I had run a marathon. AWESOME!

My eldest child is away for the month of June and I miss him already. He stresses me out with his absent-minded ways, he causes me pain every time I look at his un-cut hair, he annoys me to no end with his constant requests to practice driving, he give me a heart attack when he actually does practice driving. I love it all. Is that what love is?

I'm hoping to get a running routine back soon. I've been stuck in a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday thing for awhile now. I'm really struggling to get any kind of mileage in for the week. I need to get my arse back in the gym and get my legs out on the road more. Soon.

Thanks for listening

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I've had this lingering pain in my knee for awhile now. I hurt it on a 12 mile run when I decided that I would run sub 7 minute miles for the last 2 miles of the run. It felt great to run that fast but as soon as I stopped both of my knees were throbbing. The left one healed quickly but the right one is still giving me pain. That was 4 weeks ago.

This knee pain is interesting in that it isn't something that stops me from running. I'm the biggest wimp of them all when it comes to pain but this pain is something I can run through. It just bugs me during the run and causes me to limp for a few hours after.

So in true Willie form I decided to make this pain go away with the help of vitamin-I. So I started taking Ibuprofen before my runs and I had no pain for a few runs. My theory was that since I could run through this pain and it wasn't getting any worse I might as well mask it. Why be annoyed?

As with most of my plans it worked for awhile but failed miserably in the end. The problem wasn't my knee though, it was my stomach. I hadn't taken Ibuprofen regularly for a long time and it seems my stomach had become happy with not having this drug around. I, of course, didn't come to this conclusion myself. I had to be told. I was taking massive amounts of Tums everyday and was still having heartburn during my runs. It took my fabulous girlfriend to finally put two-and-two together and remind me that I had started taking Ibuprofen at the same time my heartburn started. So I stopped taking the pain killer and have run heartburn free ever since.

My knee pain, however, is still lingering.

My point here is concerning the importance of feeling. I spend a lot of time and money trying to cover up feelings in all aspects of my life. The perfect example of this is described above. In trying to cover up a pain I ended up creating yet another pain that I tried to cover up. This chain could have continued until I was covering up so many pains I would have forgotten what I originally started covering up.

Feeling is an important part of being human. Every feeling means something and has a root cause. Covering up these feelings is, in some ways, betraying the gifts of being human. Pain, fear, love, anticipation, irritation, frustration. Both humans and animals can feel these things but only humans can feel them and understand them and possibly learn from them to make ourselves better.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A new first run

I ran 6 miles tonight in my new shoes and it felt wonderful! It was like running on a cushion of air. I can't explain to you how different it felt to run tonight. I guess I was so used to pounding in the old shoes that these felt like a whole new experience.

I suppose that just proves the old saying that you never know how good you got it until you don't have it. I would add another line to that and say that you really realize how great it is when you lose it for awhile and then get it back. Our bodies are wonderful at adapting to circumstances and they will make do with whatever we give them for as long as they can until something just gives out. Tonight I think I heard my knees sigh and say thank you. They get a bit of break, call it a vacation.

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Natural Running goes too far

There's this big fad in running right now that involved running without "real" shoes. There's some book that promotes the belief that you should run naturally, without the aid of cushioning or motion control. I find this mildly interesting and must admit that it has some valid reasoning behind it.

I, however, readily accept that I'm a lazy American and that my feet are, and have been, spoiled. If I had been running barefoot since I was a kid I could probably go out and run a marathon without shoes but I haven't therefore I won't. Maybe one day I'll take the time to try this idea but if I do I figure I will have to take it slow and re-learn how to run. I'm not interested in that right now so I'm sticking with my shoes.

This is the point where you say, "Damn Willie, where are you going with this?". I know that you are saying that because that's what I'm thinking. Oh yeah, now I remember. Since I recently became poor I haven't been able to buy new running shoes for over a year now. I've been rotating between 3 of my old pairs, the best of which has 4 marathons on them. I knew I was heading for disaster in doing this but I figured this was the closest I would get to trying this "natural" running theory. I wasn't concerned about my old shoes not giving me the motion control that I need since I wear orthotics which handle that area nicely. The area that bit me is the lack of cushioning.

I'm bigger than your average runner (too many donuts and too much ice cream) so I need some cushioning. I don't look for those super-duper cushioning shoes but just some form of shock absorbent material between my feet and the pavement. It turns out these old shoes just aren't doing it for me. My Thursday evening run hurt my knees horribly and it was only a short, easy run. I felt good but could tell that I was really pounding my legs. By the end of the run I was in real pain in both knees and knew that I had pushed these shoes too far.

So natural running is out the window for Willie. Shoes are a necessity for me. Maybe I'll cut down on the ice cream and donuts. Nah, probably not going to happen.

Thanks for listening

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I was recently lamenting my dismay (please note the words lamenting and dismay in the same sentence) with Brooks discontinuing the Infiniti model shoe which is my all-time favoritest shoe.

sidebar: I haven't actually bought these shoes for a few shoe cycles but that was only because Brooks limited the available colors of the Infiniti to puke orange and ass-colored something else.

So I was talking about this when someone mentioned that they buy their shoes online because they can still buy older models. What a brilliant idea! The Internet! Why didn't I think of that? I'll tell you why. Because I have a deep love for the local running store. Any local running store. There's just something special about having a place to go and talk running with people who share my passion. The local running store is like a favorite bar that you go to see those people that know you and you know them. You could drink at home but it wouldn't be the same would it?

So now I have a problem. I found my favorite color of Infiniti's online and they have my size but my guilt has kept me from clicking that little "buy" button. What should I do? I pose this question to the few of you who still bother to come by and listen to my dribble.

Thanks for listening

Sunday, May 9, 2010

OKC Memorial Marathon 2010

The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon seems to be my new nemesis. In true comic book fashion it's one of those rivals that was born out of a friendship and love first. I love this marathon, it's my (current) hometown marathon, it gives me the opportunity to meet celebrity runners, and it lets me call it "my" marathon.

Beginning last year, however, it stopped loving me and began to fight me. If you remember last year, I ended up in the medical tent following the Memorial marathon and had an absolutely horrible experience. I wrote this off as an isolated incident and could easily explain why it happened.

After running a 3:37 at the A to A marathon a few weeks before the Memorial, I had high hopes for running a decent time and enjoying a great day with "my" marathon. It didn't happen that way. I tried hard to stay up with the 3:30 pace group but lost them around mile 15 and never recovered. I don't have much to say about the experience other than to say I finished in 3:51 and was lucky to have achieved that time. Massive stomach problems plagued me throughout the race and for many hours following the race. It was a beautiful day and the weather was perfect for a PR but "my" marathon bit me....again!

I'm trying to convince myself that "my" marathon still loves me and that she's just raising the bar and beckoning me to a higher standard of performance the way a true love does. This feeling is competing against the feeling that "my" marathon has rejected me for some crime I have unknowingly committed against it.

It's hard to having something you love cause you trouble. I think that's the hardest kind of trouble to deal with. You care about it so you can't just write it off or deal harshly with it. You have to find a way to resolve the conflict with as little collateral damage as possible because you can't imagine living a life without this thing in it. Stupid love, makes things so difficult.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I've had my moments.

I may not look like much now and I may not feel like much ever, but I've had my moments when I did things that I never thought I could do. Unfortunately those moments span both sides of the line that separates good and bad. Also unfortunately I remember both the good and bad moments with the same level of detail and clarity.

I've run 17 marathons in my running life. There was a time when I never thought I could 26.2 miles.

While I was running those 17 marathons I lost a piece of my life that I'll never get back. There was a time when I never thought I'd ever give that piece up.

I've met many wonderful people in my running life, people I now consider dear friends, people I never would have imagined being friends with before.

I've also lost many friends along that same journey and even made a few enemies. There was a time when I couldn't have imagined having enemies.

This is life. This is my life. I'm living it and I'm learning it. I hate that I've done some things and I wish I could take those moments back but I can't. I also love some of the moments and wouldn't trade them for all the gold in the world. Someday when I'm lost in this world I'm going to remember some moments and they are going to be all I have. My hope is that the moments I remember will make me happy. Maybe that's the sign of a life well lived.

I have many stories to tell about my recent runs but if I'm ever going to get back to writing I need to write what's in my heart at the moment and get it out so it doesn't clog up the channel. This song hit me today and I felt the need to write down these thoughts. It's a start, I'm trying, I've missed it.

Thanks for listening

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A new PR

Anyone ever been to Groveton Texas?

Me neither. Well not before a few weekends ago anyway. I can now scratch that metropolis off of my list of places to see before I assume room temperature.

I have this amazing friend who is from that area and she invited me to come home with her and run the Davy Crockett marathon. I, of course, jumped at the chance to take a road trip and spend the weekend with someone special and their family. The opportunity to run another marathon was the icing on the cake.

Fate had different ideas though. Remember that whole Run-a-hard-marathon-when-I-didn't-really-expect-to thing I wrote about a few weeks ago. Well that little race, no matter how wonderful it might have been, took a lot out of me and I just couldn't bring myself to run a full marathon again that quickly. Oh, and there was an itsy-bitsy problem with my knees. They hurt. Quite a lot actually. So I decided to run the Davy Crockett half marathon instead.

So we packed up next to nothing and jumped in the car on Friday afternoon and headed south. I adore road trips and I loved this one even more because my new car (yes, I gave up the truck) has a very cool radio that includes an LCD screen where you can watch DVDs! Completely illegal and really quite dangerous but still very cool. Good thing Texas is flat and the roads are straight. We watched Seinfeld episodes the whole way. Made one quick stop at Whole Foods in Dallas because it ROCKS and made it down to Chester TX later that night. I'd like to tell you where Chester TX is exactly but I'm really not sure myself. It consists of about 4 houses and a barn loosely grouped together to form a town.

So the next morning we get up and head to the starting line which is on a high school track surrounded by dirt roads. It wasn't until I made my way to the starting line that I realized I might actually be a contender for this race.... brief intermission for a movie quote.... I could have been someone, I could have been a contender...... Ok, I'm back. So the race starts and I'm like in the lead pack. The lead pack consisted of me and 2 other people BTW! So now I'm really freaking out because I start thinking about my horrible lack of experience at being the lead runner! What if I get lost? Holy crap!

Luckily this young guy wearing a full body leotard looking thingy takes off and leaves us in the dust. Whooo, thank goodness. After a few minutes it's just me and one other guy running together for 2nd place. We wind our way through the country roads and out onto a state highway. We're running a good pace of about 7:30-7:40 per mile which feels amazingly comfortable for me. I eventually talk to the guy and he turns out to be really nice. We chat for most of the rest of the race.

By the turn around (it was an out-and-back-course BTW) the leader is looooonnnngggg gone in front of us and there is nobody within striking distance behind us. Now I'm wondering how how the race with this guy is going to go. Neither of us seemed to be fading so I figured he'd be there with me until the end. Factor in the fact that I have no kick and have ZERO experience in actually racing and I was making myself content with 3rd place for most of the 2nd half of the race.

Somewhere about mile 10 I start to hear footsteps behind us. At first I thought it was just the wind or something but eventually I'm convinced someone is catching us. DAMN! 4th is unacceptable! I can't get this close to actually placing in a race and miss it by 1 stinking spot! I start to get upset as my whole strategy of cruising in to a 3rd place finish goes out the window and I have to actually consider racing this guy for 3rd.

This little segment of the story is for all my female friends out there. I hope this motivates the crap out of all of you!!!
Those footsteps I heard were actually from the first female runner! Remember when I said no one was in striking distance of us at the turnaround? Well, I wasn't lying, she wasn't close at the turn around. It seems she was taking the first half easy and then kicked in the afterburners for the second half! She blew by us like we were standing still. She threw some words at us as she passed us but I cant remember what they were. She was amazing!

So that left the 2 of us guys with our now deflated egos in our hands to race it out for 3rd place. Around mile 11.5 I was really cramping up and was struggling just to hold our current pace so I decided that racing just wasn't going to happen. I had a marathon in a few weeks and there was no need to hurt myself just for a 3rd place finish. I let the guy get a few steps ahead of me as we turned off the state highway back onto a dirt road headed towards the finish.

As I was easing up to give my legs a break I noticed that I was now catching this guy! I know for sure I was slowing but he was slowing more! I eventually caught and passed him and that really boosted my spirits so I pushed passed the pain and picked up the pace again. This was my one shot to beat this guy and I had to take it. The dirt road was his demise but it was like heaven to my aching knees. That soft dirt took away the pounding and I was able to run those last miles faster than the ones before it.

My friend dropped completely off the pace and I cruised home to my first ever TOP 3 FINISH!! It was extremely cool to actually compete for an overall position and it felt wonderful to actually RACE! I was on cloud nine for the rest of the trip. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.

My finishing time was 1:32 which was a 6 minute PR for me. I hadn't run a half marathon in awhile so it's not that shocking of an improvement but I'm very happy with it.

So guess what? I'm back on the half marathon plan again. I'm planning to take the summer and try and break the 1:30 barrier for the half. No marathons for me until the fall, probably Tulsa.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for listening

Friday, April 2, 2010

Just when I've got a plan

Over the last few weeks I had been thinking about dropping out of the marathon routine and concentrate on 1/2 marathons. I had (notice the past-tense) many reasons for this decision. Included among them were:
1) I'm tired
2) My last couple marathons have taken a larger toll on me than the ones before
3) I'm tired
4) 1/2 marathons are only 1/2 as long as full marathons

Backed by these iron-clad reasons I decided that after the OKC marathon I would take the rest of the year off of marathons and train for 13.1 mile races.

All that went out the window, though, at about mile 4 of the A2A marathon last weekend. You see, the A2A marathon is a point to point course that runs Southward and we had a 30-40 mile-per-hour North wind on Sunday. This wonderful, God-sent, wind was pushing me along nicely at a 7:44 minute per mile pace and I was feeling great! Feeling great at a marathon I had only planned on running for training and hadn't considered ever running hard! So of course I had to run the rest of it hard. I had no choice. The running Gods had given me perfect conditions and I've learned over the past few years that you just don't cross the running Gods.

So I decided that I would attempt a PR and I set my mind on the task at hand. It was WONDERFUL! I felt like a marathoner again. I was pushing myself and myself was responding. I found a new running partner around mile 9 and she pulled me through to mile 19 at a wonderfully fast and steady pace. I went through 20 miles in 2:44, which is my fastest 20 miler ever!

I set a 20 mile PR during a marathon!!!! It was deliciously painful. The harder I pushed the more my body responded. I hadn't felt like this in over a year. It was just like I remembered and it was intoxicating. I had a PR in my grasp and was seriously considering the possibility of breaking the 3:30 barrier.

That's when my legs finally woke up and realized that they were taking a beating. Remember that I hadn't really put much thought into this marathon? Well part of that non-thinking was the decision to wear shoes that were 2 years old. They are wonderful shoes and I've put tons of miles on them so I figured an easy 26 more miles wouldn't hurt. I didn't anticipate running this hard and the toll that would take on my legs without having some good cushioning between my feet and the road.

So after mile 22 each step I took starting sending sharp pains from my knees to my hips. As I continued on the pain got sharper and my pace slowed to a crawl. Even at that crawl my lower body was screaming for me to stop. It's funny how easily my mind slipped out of the euphoria of a possible PR and into survival mode. My finishing time didn't even enter my thoughts those last few miles. All I could think about was how much my legs hurt. In hindsight that was probably a good thing since any mental depression would have added to my pain and it would have been harder to make it.

The race finished on a high school track and they made us run a complete lap to reach the finish. The problem with this was that Paula told me we had run 26.2 miles well before entering the track! That last quarter mile put me at 26.6 miles and my legs did NOT need any additional mileage that day. I finished in 3:37 which is my second fastest marathon.

So here I am with a great race under my belt and that old feeling of joy that comes from a nice, painful 26.2 miles. Just when I decide on something I have to go and have a good race! Oh well, I'll roll with it and see what OKC brings. If it goes well, I may be forced to continue with marathons this year.

On the plus side, my knee hurts now and I can't run for a week or two. Maybe this break will put me back in the 1/2 marathon mode. Oh, who am I kidding, it'll heal quickly and I'll be running again soon. Heck I'll probably break that 3:30 barrier this year. Shucks...

Thanks for listening

Thursday, March 4, 2010

That other type of running

I reacquainted myself with an old friend the other day on a short 3.5 mile run. The friend was a podcast I used to listen to on my long runs called Phedipidations by a wonderful runner named Steve. It's a wonderfully goofy little podcast made just for long runs. He'll pick a running related topic and discuss it while on his weekly long run. It's like having a good friend beside you who talks to you while you run. The best part is you don't have to contribute anything to the conversation which can sometimes be a problem when you're trying to breathe. I like to breathe. It helps me run. Maybe it's just me.

Anyhoo, I was listening to this podcast and his topic was ultra-marathoning. This is not something I'm overly interested in but I listened more for the company than the topic. During his discussion he mentioned something, however, that got me thinking (amazing I know!). He mentioned something about some people running and using their bodies and some people running and abusing their bodies. His point had something to do with either managing your energy so you cross the finish line upright and strong or just pushing yourself to the edge where you crawl across the finish line and die.

I found this interesting because he was obviously touting how good it is to be in the first category. Being good enough to manage yourself, your energy, and your body to get the maximum performance from it. But my thoughts were on the second category. The one that involves pushing your body and spirit to the edge and going past your energy reserves and your body's limits.

I guess that's how I've always seen running. As a quest to find that edge. A way to see how far/hard/long your body can last. And really it's much more than your body. It's your mind and spirit that you are pushing. I'm a die-hard believer that the body can accept much more than our minds and spirit will let it and I like to see hard far I can push that. I suppose this has a little to do with a deep-rooted dislike of myself. Not in a harmful, crazy-insane way, but in a constantly self aware and self evaluation way. I'm happy for my successes and I do believe I'm a good person but I also know that once you stop analyzing yourself and get comfortable with yourself it's very easy to slip into a stagnation of ego that's hard to break out of. Being aware of, but not constantly focused on, your own faults and limitations is a good start to improving them. So I see running a physical way to test these limits and find out where I stand at any given time.

Maybe one day I'll switch over to that other sort of view on running. I know I've felt it a few times. On the 2 marathons I've run extremely well in, I had a great sense that I was running within myself and had managed my body well. My finishing times reflected that and I was running strong when I crossed the finish line. Those were good experiences that I wouldn't trade for anything but they were noticeably different than my usual running experience. I guess you'd say I slipped into those while seeking the other.

Thanks for listening

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Walk to Remember

I did something yesterday that I've never done before. I swept the course for a 25K race. I ran with the last person in order to tell the water stops when they could breakdown their stop. I suppose I was also out there to find any struggling runners who couldn't go on. Luckily I never had to do that.

The day turned out to be absolutely gorgeous! A little cold at first but the sun was out all day and eventually beat out the cold and made it warm. I waited a few minutes after the start to try and find who was actually the last person in the race. I Thought that part would be easy but as it turns out it wasn't. I had a couple friends who forgot to get a chip and didn't realize it until after the gun went off. They had to go back to the table and get one. So as I was running with, what I thought was the last person, I looked back and saw other "bibbed" runners behind me. Damn, I thought, I'm failing at this already! I stopped and waited for them and was overjoyed to find that they were some of my best running friends whom I rarely get to run with anymore. So that was a nice little reward.

Eventually they passed the runner in front of us and went on. I spent the rest of the day walking and running in the wonderful sunshine with this wonderful athlete. We didn't speak much because I didn't want to interfere with her race. I did get the chance to watch her as she struggled through this distance. I shouldn't say struggled, she wasn't having a bad day, this was her normal pace so she wasn't struggling anymore than you and I struggle through a typical race. She ran when she could and walk when she couldn't. She never quit, she never stopped pushing herself, she was racing and, at least in my opinion, working harder at it than the guy who won the race. I believe I saw the dedication and self-drive in her that I have been missing in myself for some time now. I saw that determined look that comes when you are racing nobody else but yourself and the clock. That race when the world around you stops and you are just aware of each step.

Since it was an out and back course we got to see everyone as the came back towards the finish. Many of the front runners congratulated this wonderful woman and gave her words of encouragement. I honestly believe those that encouraged her did so because they saw themselves in her. For those front runners it was a "them" that was a looooonnnnnngggggg time ago but I suppose everyone starts out slow even if they were 2 years old the last time they ran that slow.

So I ended up walking/running 15 or so miles yesterday. At some point in the race I met up with my very best friend in the world. She was out on a training run but decided to walk with me instead. I have to say that looking back on the day it was almost perfect. At first I was a little sad that I wasn't running the race but in the end a sunny 15 mile walk with a wonderful athlete and a great friend was so much better.

Thanks for listening

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I've lost it

It's gone. I have no idea when or where it went but it's most definitely gone.

I'm talking about my writing. Both the desire and the ability seem to have left me. I still love running and I have many things I could write about but every time I sit down to put my screwball thoughts into pixels the words just don't come. There was a time when the words came easy and I had trouble picking one topic to dance out on the keyboard. Now that dancing has turned to simple walking and there is no feeling in the pixels.

Maybe it'll be back or maybe I'll find it somewhere along the road. For now it's enough just to keep up the experiences even if I can't get them out to the few of you who still read this blog.

Keep running strong and keep a smile on your face.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Not so good

So here's a post I wish I didn't have to write. I'm going to write it
however because it may be the one thing I need to do to get me out of
this. I didn't want to run today. Did you catch that? I said I didn't
want to run today. I had the chance to run and I stayed in bed
instead. My heart and body were tired. I just felt burned out. This is
not the kind of thing I should be writing a few days before a
marathon. Could cause some problems.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Me, talking

Hello blog world. What's happening out there?

Not much here, after a few great weeks of good runs I'm having a light one this week. The weather and other commitments have kept me from running a lot this week. Amazingly I have accepted this very well. I'm only mildly more insane than I was before I started this week. Look at me go!

The Austin marathon is next weekend. If I remember correctly a marathon is 26.2 miles of running. Wow that's a long way! Anyone ever run that far before? Could really use some pointers. Do they give you a bike or something in the middle? Hope there's a Starbucks on the course.

I have another confession to make to you. I do this because we are so close and personal. This relationship of ours is the only kind I'm really good at so I'm trying to nurture it with communication. Ok, back to the confession, this is tough for me. Whew, here goes.... I like Nicholas Spark's novels. There I said it! I feel so much better. Did you see that they made a movie out of Dear John? That is one of my favorites too! Gotta see it soon.

I'm rambling now (actually from the beginning) so I'm going to stop and watch The Office. You guys and gals stay classy.

Thanks for listening

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another week down

Another great week of running for old Willie. Somehow I've gotten used to running in the mornings. I suppose, like so many other things in life, it's all about motivation. Lately I've been on this kick of wanting to run everyday of the week and those morning runs are the only way to make that happen for me.

I ran a great 10 miles this morning with the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon training group and, once again, pushed the pace for the entire run. I'm beginning to look forward to these long, hard runs every week. I'm back to my old plan of 1 speed workout, 1 tempo run, and 1 long run a week along with those easy morning runs thrown in for good measure. The difference is that the long run is now done at a challenging pace and is no longer an easy distance run for me. I think it's really helping me settle into the faster pace. This could be total BS but it's working for me so I'll ride it out and see where it takes me.

We got hammered with ice and snow this week in the greater Oklahoma City area. I had to leave work at 11 on Thursday and worked from home on Friday. What this means is that I put my pajamas on Thursday at noon and didn't take them off until Friday at about 4 PM. I actually got a lot of work done from home which is amazing considering I stopped at the wine store on the way home Thursday to stock up on "necessities". I did miss my Thursday run but I knew it was coming so I put in some extra miles Sunday through Wednesday so I could take Thursday and Friday off without impact to my training or my mental state.

I'm running the Austin marathon in a couple weeks and I'm hoping for a decent run. I've never been to Austin so I'm also looking to have some fun in, what I'm told is, a great town. That shouldn't be a problem since we've got a great group of runners going down. I believe we could have fun at an insurance seminar.

You guys and gals keep your heads up and keep running. There always seems to be a light at the end of every tunnel and there's some love to be found in everyone. Keep your ego low and your sights set on others.

Thanks for listening

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sticking with what you know

There are many things in this crazy world that I just don't understand. I'll never understand why hulu-hoops are so damn fun for instance. For the most part I don't worry about not understanding things. I've come to accept that I'll walk through life in a daze regarding some things. They just aren't that important to me so I don't take the time to find out about them. Some things, however, continuously frustrate me because they are important to me and I just don't seem to understand how to do them.

I guess in Willie's world it's OK to not understand something as long as you haven't tried to get it. It's NOT OK for Willie to try to figure something out over and over again and still not get it. This just will not do. No no, will not do at all.

The most common of these things that stump me fall into some type of category dealing with an emotion. Damn things those emotions! Both good and bad, I just don't understand them.

Maybe that's why I enjoy running so much. It gives me a simple opportunity to experience some emotions but I get to do it on my terms. It's a personal thing that doesn't require anyone else to be involved. I can have really high highs and really low lows and they are all self-induced. For the most part I still don't totally understand why they come about but I can spend some time trying to figure that out without causing someone else any problems. It's my chance to learn in a controlled environment if you will.

Now I won't fool you into thinking that each run is a science experiment. Most of my runs are filled with a whole lot of sweat and nothing more. But every now and then I get the chance to learn a little something new and that's pretty darn cool.

Thanks for listening

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wow that was fast.... but not fast enough

I had a great run on Saturday. It was the group run with the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon training gang. We ran 12 miles on the Oklahoma City river trails. I'm not a big fan of these trails but yesterday I really enjoyed them.

I hooked up with a great friend who pushed me through every inch of those 12 miles. He kept speeding up and I kept hanging on. I started worrying about the pace around mile 2 and it got worse as we continued. By mile 7, though, I got that crazy-Willie-screw-it feeling and stopped worrying and just went with it. Don't know why I always equate running with bull riding in those situations but I do and my standard saying/thought is "if you're gonna ride, ride it till she bucks you". So that's what I did. Luckily I didn't get bucked and I made the 12 miles in 1:31 minutes. I was beat-up and beat-down and dead tired the rest of the day but it felt great and I'm so pleased that I was able to do it.

Now here's the depressing thought I had later that night. We averaged around 7:30 per mile on the run and it was extremely hard for me to do that. My Boston qualifying time is 3:15 which is 7:28 per mile. So if I could run that extremely hard pace I ran yesterday for another 14.2 miles I still would NOT qualify for Boston. Ha! A nice reality check for Willie. Oh well, I like running well and I'm still blessed that I can do it so screw Boston.

Thanks for listening

Monday, January 18, 2010

Brief rant

The worst thing about getting older is nose hairs.

WTF?? Where did these things come from? Didn't have them when I was younger, why now?

Thanks for listening

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Coming up for air

I hope to never stop learning in this life that I lead. Fortunately my absent-minded nature provides me limitless opportunities to learn new things about myself.

I would like to write here that I'm not one to be given to getting caught up in things to the point where I don't see the world around me as it truly is. I would love to say that I always keep my head and wits about me. Sadly I can't write these things because that would make my fingers out to be liars and my fingers don't deserve that kind of scorn.

So here's the question I'm struggling with: At what point should you question your wants and desires? It's OK to want something but every now and then you should take a moment to stop and question that desire to make sure it hasn't become something damaging or disruptive. If you've changed your life and attitude significantly as a result of something you want is it a good change or a bad one? It's foolish to not ask these questions periodically and I haven't been very good about analyzing myself lately.

A harsh but effective way to force this analysis is to take away the desire. It's almost impossible for me to do this on my own accord but the object of my desire sometimes forces my head above water to take a breathe of self-analysis. It takes me some significant wrangling with anger and disappointment before I understand how beneficial the loss is but, in the end, I usually end up seeing the light and making some meaningful changes. I'm stubborn and childish that way.

Thanks for listening

Sunday, January 10, 2010

So Far

So far it's been a good year for Willie.
My running looks like this:
Sunday - Yoga
Monday - I think I ran but can't remember, i.e. I'm FREAKIN OLD!
Tuesday - 5 miles on some good hills
Wednesday - 4 miles around my neighborhood
Thursday - 4 VERY COLD miles in the morning and Yoga in the afternoon
Friday- Rested
Saturday - 8 EXTREMELY COLD miles with the marathon training group

I'm hoping to get out later today and add some to that. Running is enjoyable and I'm actually looking forward to the miles. I've been trying to run the weekend training group runs hard (sub 8 minute pace) and use the weekly miles to recover and get some time on my legs.

In other news, things have settled into a routine pace again. I'm learning how to do this life and what I mean by that is that I'm really not good at it but I may be able to see where I'm going now at least. I have some wonderful people around me that are patiently teaching me. Couple this with 2 wonderfully understanding children and there is a bit of light shining through. Running is my therapy

Congrats to Southbay girl for running a great race today. Also congrats to RBR for finding the courage to register for another one of those swim-ride-run things. You gals are keeping me going and I can't wait to read all about your adventures.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010

All things must come to an end and just this week the year 2009 did just that. It ended. As a fitting tribute to 2009 I decided the best way to witness the end was to run through it. So a few of us got together at our beloved Lake Hefner at 11:45 and took off running into the night. It wasn't a fast run and it wasn't a long run it was just a run. A run with a few friends of like mind who wanted to do something to see the old year go and usher in the new one. We talked a lot and, at least for me, thought a lot. All in all it was a wonderfully joyous and sad moment all wrapped into a frigid few miles.

We met again at 11 AM on New Year's day to run some quality miles with a larger group. It was still cold and we all struggled a little (read that: Hung Over) but we were out there, running, because that's what we do. After the run the TRI-OKC club was holding a Polar Bear Plunge at the lake and I made the horrible decision (read that: Peer Pressure) to participate. I'm not sure what the actual temperature was at the time I stripped down to my running shorts and entered Lake Hefner but I know it was really cold. I went in all the way to my neck just to be sure I felt the full experience. I'm glad I did it but it did hurt more than I anticipated.

Saturday, January 2nd, was the first day of the OKC Memorial Marathon training which my running club sponsors every year and is the program that began my participation in the club a couple years ago. We had another HUGE group of people show up in the freezing single digit temperatures at 7 AM to run 6 miles. I decided to run the short distance at a hard pace just to determine my current fitness level. I ran with my good friends Bill and Dave who set a deliciously fast pace. The answer to my question is that I'm not where I'd like to be but I am not as far removed from the goal as I feared. More miles and a little speedwork and I can get there.

I hope all of you out there in blog-land had a great Christmas and New Year. If you made resolutions I hope I can give you some help in keeping them this year. I don't make resolutions at the beginning of a new year but I do strive for continuous self-analysis and improvement. One thing this has led me to is the realization that the thing that makes me happiest is to give encouragement to others. My life goes astray when I'm too focused on me and my needs. My goal is to provide more to this small section of cyber-space than I take from it.

Continuous Forward Progress my friends, thanks for listening