#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.

Even Vegans Think This Is a Good Idea

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Today’s Run

Time – 30:59
Distance – 3.14 miles
Pace – 9:53 min/mi
Elevation – 90 ft.

Due to an unforseen scheduling change, I was able to run tonight. With two days off this week already, I figured I would go out and push it. I put on my 180 bpm album from iTunes and took off. 5k later, and I’ve got my first run with a pace below ten minutes per mile! I haven’t done that in a really long time (like, George W. Bush was in his first term)! The thought of doing it for more than that, like 26.2, or even 100 miles, seems far-fetched right now. I’ve only been back at running regularly for two months, and it’s been consistent, which is the key. I’m excited!

If Vegans Think This Is a Good Idea, I Must Be On The Right Path

No Meat Athlete is a blog/podcast/book by Matt Frazier, a vegan runner whose work on the podcast with Doug Hay from Rock Creek Runner is something I enjoy during the commute to and from work. They have a fun rapport, good content, and a subject that intrigues me (but not necessarily my thing…yet). In the latest podcast, they talk about “10 Rules to Stay Motivated and Get Results.” Specfically, they refer to the idea that you should have a big goal…like, a really big goal…like “Run a 100 miler,” they say…

Hmm…I should try that.

*Thanks, Matt and Doug! Love the podcast! I’ve got the book and cookbook on the Amazon Christmas list!

On Your Mark, Get Set…

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Today’s Run

Time – 42:04
Distance – 4.04 miles
Pace – 10:25 min/mi
Elevation – 180 ft.

Tickets to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game tomorrow, so no run. With the off-day yesterday, I figured I best put more effort in today to get the miles. Did one “long” hill (I only have a few to choose from around the house), and I’m already starting to plan a run with lots of hills, as there are 5–6 that could be put together in a good solid run. One is going to be my “hill repeat” spot. Decisions, decisions.

A Western States Primer

The Western States Endurance Run has been around a long time. According to the official Western States website and the “How it All Began” page, the race is the longest 100 mile race in the world, and has been around since 1977, when the 1st Annual footrace officially commenced.

This race, however, was (and is) actually a horse race, originally begun, as all good ideas are, through a bet in 1955 (How many adverbs can I fit into one sentence?). The 100 mile horse race, also known as the Tevis Cup, in 1974 had one unusual participant. Gordy Ainsleigh, with the blessing and the “encouragement” of one of the Tevis Cup officials, strode to the starting line on his own two feet to run against the horses. The Cup has a time limit of 24 hours, and Gordy finished with 18 minutes to spare. The next year, another person tried (and withdrew 2 miles from the finish…which is not the only time this has occurred since). The next, another put in the effort to finish 30 minutes over 24 hours. The next year, in 1977, the 1st official race, with 14 participants and no horses (they race on a different day now), occurred.

Racers who finish in under 24 hours get a silver belt buckle. Finishing in less than 30 hours but more than 24 hours earns the racer a bronze belt buckle.

The race itself begins at 5:00 AM on the Saturday of the last full weekend in June. One must run the entire 100 mile trail without assistance beginning in Squaw Valley, California, near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, to Auburn, CA, and finish the race by running 300 meters around the Placer High School running track. It’s a grueling trail that climbs 15,540 ft. and descends 22,970 ft. By the way, that much descending on legs with 100 miles in them isn’t easier because it’s downhill. The quads have to work even harder to slow you down…

The course requires racers to FORD A RIVER at mile 78, which means there’s another 22 miles to go AFTER the river crossing. In “high water years” according to the course description, rafts are required to get across…

Temperatures can range from 20 degrees Fahrenheit to more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit…IN THE SAME YEAR. There was snow on the course last year…

Oh, yeah, and because most racers don’t even finish before nightfall, headlamps are required equipment because you will run in the dark…

So here I am. I’m ready to run a horse race (any jokes may commence in three…two…one…GO) for nothing more than a silver belt buckle. I’ll have 30 to finish, but I want that silver.

This sounds like a good idea to me.