Tag Archives: Running

I Don’t Workout as Much as You Think

Yep, I’m training for a Half Ironman and I hadn’t run in a week and a half, until last night.  I wasn’t injured, either.  I just didn’t feel like running, or getting off the couch for that matter.

The culprit was probably the Dry Creek Trail 1/2.  It was a brutal track filled with 700 feet of gain, and I was not prepared.

So, in the days following I started to question my desires for this Ironman business again.  I thought, “What the hell am I doing, this hurts!”  Then one night I got on my bike trainer and road for longer than I’ve ridden since November and it felt damn good.  I was back!

Then I went swimming the next day and it fried my ass, again.  I wasn’t back!

I took a day off, then ran last night in the darkness doing my best to avoid wild dogs.  Six hilly loops around a .8 mile track in my hood.  I took it pretty easy and ran 5 miles in about 40 minutes.  I felt good, and am happy to report I feel good now, too.

So, tonight, I will get back onto my bike and see how that goes.  I’ll probably wake up tomorrow have a desperate urge to take the day off, but that’s why being on this Zen training plan is so awesome.  You just kinda workout when you want to.

Too bad I can’t decide which day I feel like racing the New Orleans 70.3.

Half this Stuff is 90% Mental

After a mentally challenging month I dubbed “No Run December,” I’m back on the asphalt.  The year started with a few ticklers, then on Saturday, decided to get a honest reading on my fitness. 

When I start running, I often have no idea how far I’m going.  I just take off up the street and play it by ear, but sometimes that gets me in trouble.  I don’t have mental capacity for walking back home and often find myself in serious pain at the end of runs.  I suppose that strategy ultimately helped me at Wisconsin, but it’s an entirely different deal when you are 5 miles in with four miles back to your house.   
None of it was easy, but I kept repeating, “don’t quit” in my mind.  Once you stop running, you’re sunk.   

Stopping to walk is a hard habit to break and I don’t want the addiction.  I’ve gone through some pretty intense training for Ironman, and really believe branding “non-stop” mentality into my brain was one of the toughest things to do. 

I only ran 9 miles on Saturday and half of it was hell.  The good news for me, though, is that most of my struggles were cardio.  My legs felt pretty strong and I “proved” to myself I’m still in pretty decent shape. 

Ironman 70.3 in New Orleans is the only race on my calendar at the moment and I feel relatively secure, but know I have to pick it up if I want to hit my time goal.  But, patience is the key.  We have to be patient . . . with everything. 

I have to let the story unfold.  Just because I can’t do it, understand it, or visualize it now, doesn’t mean I won’t be ready then.  I have to trust the process and peak when the time is right.  New Orleans is a race along the way, but it’s not my primary goal.  Louisville is king and I want to peak on that day.  Not now, not the day after, but on August 24th. 

But, I also want to enjoy the process.  It is a methodical journey of finding solutions and motivational tactics.  It is about sticking with the plan and believing you will rise to the challenge. 

———

Note: I sort of borrowed the concept for that title from one of my favorite Yogi Berra quotes: “Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical.”

A Moving Reminder of Boston and What Matters

I just saw a segment on The View with a victim of the Boston Marathon bombings.  Erika Brannock is a school teacher who was running toward a dream and lost her leg to the explosion near the finish line.  I stood in our break room and cried.

It rekindled a horrible memory and reminded me of the most pressing question I’ve had since this tragedy — how could anyone be so angry or disturbed to do something like this to innocent runners and the people there to support them?

Since I started running almost two years ago, one of my biggest surprises has been learning how many people renounce you because of it.  All I wanted was to feel better, be happier, and enjoy life.  For this, I’m often chastised.  “Friends” that don’t want you to find happiness.  It’s a sad blemish on humanity.

It’s not everyone, though.  More than not support my lifestyle.  Many have been inspired and tell me they’ve started exercising again because of my adventures.  In turn, their efforts push me and we’re all better off with each other.

How bad does your life have to be that you will take to violence with someone that is running?  A runner.  Winding down a road or a trail searching for peace in an confusing and overwhelming world.

Is there anything worse than someone ripping peace and contentment from your grasp?

This summer, I was on a 10 mile run through East Nashville.  As I turned down a quiet side street I stayed on the left near a curb.  About halfway down the block, I noticed a truck turn the corner and the driver literally floored it right at me until turning away and flipping me off at the last minute.  Oddly, I wasn’t scared, but I was boiling mad.  I stopped, turned around and begged him to come back so I could drop him on the pavement.

In a split second, he sucked me into his ugly world.  I was literally shaking in anger and it took 5 minutes to start running again.  But two minutes from then, I was almost fine.

Life is about movement and being free.  That is exactly what running means to me, but some people are so miserable they want to take that away.

At the end of that segment on the View, they put about 8 of Erika’s students on the screen to do a live talk-back.  These little kids were so innocent and happy.  Full of life and love.  Everyone (including me) fought back tears as they professed admiration and support for their beloved teacher.

It was a moving reminder of what’s really important in life and one that I wish everyone could could remember.  We’re all in this together.  It’s not about money or fame or power, it’s about having people in your life who love and support you, share your freedoms and give you courage to run toward a dream.

. . . Runner’s hearts are in the right place.

I’m Doing The Country Music Half

Just under a year ago I toed the line for my first 1/2 marathon a nervous child in a man’s body.  I had never run more than 8 miles and was attempting 13.1 on soon to be sweltering day in Nashville, TN.  Over 30,000 other runners stood in front of and behind me waiting for the magical moment.  And I really had to pee.

The pre-race lines were way too long and I stood in corral 16 squeezing my legs together and hoping that somehow my need for a bathroom would go away.  Then the people started moving and I followed.  It was too late now.

I crossed the start line and began to run.  The crowd and energy made me forget both why on earth I would try something like this and my urge to find a hidden tree.

The Nashville Skyline stood proud in the distance and I slogged my way toward the center of downtown.  Thousands of fans cheered and held signs above their heads and I was swept up in the emotion as I ran by my first Nashville apartment.  The Honky Tonks were rockin’ and I nearly floating as I made the turn towards the big long hill that everyone complains about.

The sun was rising and it was starting to get hot.  I ran for what seemed like forever and finally reached the “roundabout” at Music Row.  People were everywhere and the band at mile 3 was knee deep in a Stones’ classic.

This scene repeated itself for the next 8 miles and I was elated . . . until I suddenly realized my legs felt like bricks.  I could hardly move and my “swift” 10 minute pace fell like a rock to 11:30, but I kept churning.  I would not walk.

544976_3647370375478_1287674133_nIt was all I could do to stay on my feet running down the final hill and turning into the finish line chute.  Somehow, I made it, and it was the most amazing feeling.  I entered 2012 with no intention of running and less than four months later I ran a 1/2 marathon.  I felt invincible.

I have come a long way since then and have many bigger plans, but after the events in Boston and the show of community pride following the tragedy, I couldn’t stop thinking about that initial run down Broadway in my hometown.  Today at lunch, I happened to be on that very road, stuck in traffic, and wished I could just park the car and run.  Next Saturday, that is exactly what will happen.

Flying Monkey Pics

I’m in conversion hell, so this will take at least another day, but here are a few more pictures from the one and only Flying Monkey.