Mmm…granola???

IMG_1018Rest Day!

Running today would have set me up for a 6-run week. I’ve got tomorrow and Saturday all planned out, but I need to get a little work done for my Master’s. That, and get my wedding ring resized (again). Looks like I’m not running today.

Off-days are hard sometimes. The lack of endorphines is something that can be difficult to process. It really messes with my head sometimes. I’m dealing, though. It’s something that I need to learn. Not everyday can be a run day (crazed Running Streaks not withstanding…seriously, check these folks out, they’ve been doing this a long time!).

Having said all that, and despite my up and down mental state due to a chemical imbalance of positive hormones, I’m still feeling good about my runs and ready for tomorrow. Another solid breakfast of Greek yogurt and granola is on tap…I have a nearly inappropriate desire to eat those two things every day for breakfast…

We all must have our obsessions…

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Runner Seeks Companion(s)…?

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Is anybody out there?

Today’s Run

Time – 55:06
Distance – 5.03 miles
Pace – 10:58 min/mi
Elevation – 244 ft.

It was supposed to be an easy run, until I dropped a 9:49 for mile 5…um…okay.

Let’s Meet Someone New

I went running today with a local group. It was my first run with them, and there was a bit of a crowd. Probably in the neighborhood of 15–20 people were hanging around, getting ready to go out for the run. It was an out and back, and I think that it maxed out about 7–8 miles. I signed the waiver, said hi to the leader, and stood for the group picture. Then we were off.

I’ve gotten used to running on my own. I start off easy and try to work into my pace in order to keep down the Exercise-Induced Asthma and side stitches. It works for me, and I can usually negatively split my runs.

As the group steadily pulled away, I realized two things. I hadn’t actually met any of them, and I wasn’t as fast as they were. I was concerned and a little annoyed, because the group didn’t quite seem welcoming. I will admit that I didn’t put forth a lot of effort, so it’s not like it was all on them. I just didn’t know what to expect. Dynamics in these things can be very different depending on the group.

But I kept running and followed the roadway out to the path. It was a trail I knew well, so I was planning to enjoy my run either way. Then I started to pass people who had turned around or were still going my way. And they were all super friendly! Lots of hellos and waves to make me feel like I was a part of the run. Very cool!

I caught up to a couple of people and then met up with a guy (let’s call him “Mike”) and we ran together for about 3 miles. We talked about our kids, my weight loss, his runs over the past year, and other miscellaneous topics. I had forgotten how much fun it was to run with other people. Mike needed to slow down with about a mile to go, and I latched onto another guy who had passed us. Suddenly, I was doing 8:15 pace and feeling REALLY good. It wasn’t something I was going to do for an hour, but there might be a 5k in there somewhere. That’s very intriguing.

Overall, a good group. They meet regularly and run local, which makes for a good time, and supporting the local group is always important. I’m looking forward to doing it again next week.

Maybe, next time, I’ll say hello first…

I Tell Myself One Thing

Today’s Run

Time – 45:22
Distance – 4.45 miles
Pace – 10:11 min/mi
Elevation – 171 ft.

Follow up to yesterday’s off day is a hard run today. It didn’t feel very good, but I was able to go the whole time and push the pace till the end.

church-chapel-house-of-worship-religion-40783Running Hard

I don’t look like a runner when I go out. I shuffle a lot. I don’t pick up my feet very much, and my shoe soles will scrape the ground now and then. My face scruntches up and I get a weird grimace every once in a while. I don’t run fast, yet. I work hard to keep a moderate pace. I’m definitely a back of the packer. I know that I don’t have the mechanics for a 4:xx/minute mile.

My wife tells me she’s worried about me running the 100 miler when the time comes. I’ll admit that I’m a little worried, too. I’ve seen the long end of 8.5 miles so far. I know that I can do more, and I’m ready to keep working at it. It’s a long way to go to get there, though.

I’m seeing little changes along the way. The weight/body changes are unbelievable. Having always been a fat guy, it’s strange to see bumps/ridges/lines where there was always bulk. The backs of my hands have veins, tendons, and muscles. My neck has only a little bit of skin under my chin, and I can see my Adam’s Apple (no pun intended) for the first time…ever. My calves ripple when I walk.

These are all simple things to many people, and something that one could take for granted. But I had two separate heart scares in a year back in 2014. I ended up in a hospital 4 hours from home without my wife and family nearby for an atrial fibulation event, and then had another one on my birthday the same year. I was 35. I’m not supposed to get these kinds of things.

Every time I go running hard, I think about my daughter, and how I’ve promised myself I’ll walk her down the aisle of her wedding. When I see the bones of my knees, the curve of muscle in my arms, or the narrowness of my waist, I think about holding grandchildren one day. I’m working for those things.

100 milers are proof that I can be healthy enough to get there. They are not the reward, though. Life is. That’s why I keep telling myself one thing:

“I will run today.”

Another One in the Books

Today’s Run

Time – 37:10
Distance – 3.22 miles
Pace – 11:32 min/mi
Elevation – 126 ft.

Sometimes you just go out and run easy. Do 3 miles or so to work the legs and recovery from the previous day’s run. Today was that day.

Putting Down the Mark for the Day

I ran today. I didn’t think about it too much. I didn’t consider the ramifications of going out and moving around at 5.2 MPH for 35–40 minutes. It didn’t phase me that another 3 miles today would make nearly 17 miles for the weekend.

I wasn’t running today to exorcise the “Fat Kid” demons. I didn’t need to run off yesterday’s cookies and ice cream (because I got a treat after the long run). It wasn’t in celebration of being down 122.8 lbs. as of this morning.

I’m a runner. It’s what I do.

And THAT feels really good to say.

I’m coming for you, Western States.

#BraveLikeGabe

Today’s Run

Time – 1:36:09
Distance – 8.63 miles
Pace – 11:08 min/mi
Elevation – 274 ft.

Long run! Farthest so far and a good time. I was able to go the whole way (except for having to stop at several lights near the end due to traffic…better safe than sorry!) and afterwards I was tired! It certainly took a lot out of me, but, then again, I am just getting back into this craziness. I’ll have an easy run tomorrow, and next weekend another 90 minute long run goal. No new miles to add on to the next long run, but running the same time goal to keep up the improvements.

Find Inspiration Where You Can

Consistent running is a rhythm. It’s about finding ways to stay engaged in the moment and motivated to keep going out for a run. There are days where it seems silly, or the excuse is readily available, or the tiredness of the legs is just dragging on you. I’ve done a lot of running in the past, so I know that those days are shortly ahead. This blog is one way that I’m planning to use to get out the door. If I have to write a post, then I have to run. It can be just that simple.

Another way that I know works for me is to be motivated by things I find. I like to look for videos on YouTube or Vimeo (track down Billy Yang…you won’t be disappointed). I read books and magazines (I have two magazines on my nightstand and a slew of RSS feeds in Reeder from online sources, including Trail Runner Magazine and Ultrarunning Magazine). And I look for stories that I help me to see the importance of the run, and yet, how much it doesn’t need to rule my life.

Gabe Grunewald is a Brooks-sponsored athlete and runner in the middle distances. She’s been a runner-up at the 1500m at the NCAA DI Nationals. She’s been to the IAAF World Indoor Championships. She’s run at numerous US Olympic Trials and National Championship meets. And she’s had cancer. Four times. And is still taking chemo.

More precisely, this summer at the US National Championships, she had two weeks of chemo, then ran a 1500m heat at the meet. She has her own official “bad ass” thread over at LetsRun.com.

Gabe’s perspective is uplifting and focused. She knows that it’s not always wine and roses, but she’s a fighter. Her Twitter feed is on my reading list. It’s a reminder that running is fun, goals are important, and LIVING LIFE is what matters most.

Her story can be seen here:

Go Gabe!

*As a professional runner, her income is limited to sponsorships. There’s a donations page for Gabe’s medical expenses available if you would like to help. Find it HERE.

Can You Hate Running So Much You Fear It?

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My Hot Rod!  Can you tell we like blue?

Today’s Run

Time – 58:36
Distance – 5.10 miles
Pace – 11:30 min/mi
Elevation – 226 ft.

Relaxing easy run tonight. Felt good so I took the long way home, which turned into 5+ miles. Got my new Hoka One One Clifton 3’s today, and it’s true: they are like running on marshmallows. Very comfortable shoes. I was worried that the smaller drop (the height difference between the front of the shoe and the back – i.e. the downward tilt of the shoe towards the toe) would cause Achilles pain, but I’m good. I can keep running in these for a while. Going to try and squeeze in the long run tomorrow morning, maybe with the folks at RunWell.

Fear of the Fat Kid or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Run

Being the classic fat kid, I hated running in P.E., when I was playing basketball, or pretty much any other time. It wasn’t fun, I suffered from Exercise-induced Asthma, and had all of the other fat guy ailments, like sweating profusely for hours after moving around or just getting warm, not enjoying the situation, and general grumpiness about the whole thing. Then I found triathlon.

I like to ride my bike. Like, a lot. Like, A LOT. It’s easy for me, the fat guy, to go fast. I get a bunch of freedom of movement and speed without all the work. And the wind in my face keeps the sweating down. Little victories everywhere.

Turns out I like to swim, too. My brothers and I spent a bunch of time in the pool as kids. I taught myself how to do laps in the pool (You get a bunch of time to think when staring at a lane line for 30–45 minutes, it’s actually quite relaxing).

So, I’ve got two of three sports down. I just need to figure out how to run. Enter pain, suffering, and a desire to do well. I started with the old Jeff Galloway run-walk method. I found a treadmill at the YMCA, set it for 1 minute of walking and then 1 minute of running, and made it go for 20 minutes. Then I did it again later that week. And twice again the next week. And the next. Then I went to 2 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking. Later I increased the running again. And again.

It got easier. I got faster, but not much. I kept going, and then I raced. And I raced again. Then I went 13.1 miles…twice…three times. I could do this, I realized. And if I kept running, good things would happen with my health.

But I didn’t keep running. I stopped for a while. Lots of reasons caused me to stop, and many were my own fault. The pounds packed on, and I didn’t run.

Now I can run again. I realize now that I like it. A lot. Like A LOT. And here I am with THE GOAL. I’m not hanging up the bike, but it’s getting relegated to “cross training” for the time being. 5 miles today, more tomorrow, and again on Sunday (if the legs feel good).

I’m not afraid of 100.