That Wasn’t Pleasant

Today’s Run

Time – 39:01
Distance – 4.25 miles
Pace – 9:11 min/mi
Elevation – 121 ft.

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The first real sunshine in 10 days means that it’s time to go running. This was the first run in almost 2 weeks, and I paid the price for it. Nothing too hard or too fast, but I’m definitely going to have to work to get my legs back. Pace was bearable, and I wasn’t pushing too much.

A series of unfortunate delays

I’ve been asked by friends and acquaintances more than a few times over the last 2 months, “What happened to the blog?” There’s no one answer to that, of course, as life doesn’t really consist of one thing.

  1. We bought the house and moved in, which has been an adventure, to say the least. Moving everything you own every 2–3 years gets really old, and this time seemed to take a lot longer than most. Maybe that’s because we know we won’t have to do it again for a long time, unless the unfortunate happens. Until then, we’ve got a house! It fits our family just right, is in a decent neighborhood for running, and a great neighborhood for everything else.
  2. It’s been raining more this spring than I can remember, and I have NO motivation for treadmill running. That doesn’t help at all, and so I’ve left a lot of running days on the table.
  3. I’ll be skipping the marathon/half-marathon this spring. All of these other things have required that I jettison a couple of items, and this is one that has to go. I’m disappointed in myself, but I know that, based on what my running is really starting to look like, I’ll be pleased with the times I can put together when I get the next race in.
  4. My Master’s thesis has been postponed to the fall. This just hasn’t been able to happen due to work and family needs, and was the other thing that I’ve pushed off, besides the race. I go to a great school, and my advisor and the department chair have been helpful with getting my schedule adjusted. I’m very grateful.
  5. Finally, there’s the family. Because of all the things that I haven’t been doing, I’ve been spending that extra time I’ve had with them, and it’s been amazing! Baby Girl is growing so fast! Little Buddy is turning into a whole new personality, thanks to time in the program at his school! The Teenager is 15 now, and we talk about cars, which is scary to say the least. And, above all, I’ve gotten more time with The Wife, which makes me happy.

All in all, the trade off between running and life has been worth it. I’m okay with the way this has gone, even though I’m not getting out the door or blogging as much as I would like. The running hasn’t gone away completely; I’ve run 12 times in the past 8 weeks, so I’ve been getting it done a little bit, but nowhere near the numbers I’d like to see. I’m 187 miles behind pace for 1500 this year.

It’s time to get back on track.

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How I Got to Blogging

Today’s Run

Time – 42:42
Distance – 4.4 miles
Pace – 9:31 min/mi
Elevation – 165 ft.

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Would you believe I still have one of these?

Easy outside run in the sun. Turning for home, I was going into a 20 MPH headwind uphill. I’m pretty sure that I may have moved backward on one or two strides. It was amazing! The legs feel good, although, 3 days in a row is making them tired. I’m under on mileage so far this week. I’ll need either another bigger day or an extra long Saturday or Sunday to make up the distance. I’m falling behind a little on my goal of getting to 50 miles/week by the end of the year. I’ll have to work up to it in January.

Writing a blog

Content every time I run can sometimes be difficult. I enjoy writing, as it gives me the motivation to keep learning about myself and my running, as well as a way to express my ideas about what’s going on. Additionally, it’s good practice for my Master’s work and my writing on the side. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, in one form or another. First it was stick figure drawings and basic stories, then action/adventure tales, and on from there. I was into sci-fi as a teenager, and that added a new dimension to what I’ve done. That genre is all about imagination. School led to essays and research papers and non-fiction, which then led me to discover blogging. And here I am.

The tools of my blog are pretty simple. WordPress.com for the hosting, a URL through GoDaddy.com, and Byword for the typing. I use Pexels.com for some of my free stock images, and the rest I take along the way.

I useStrava.com for recording the runs and keeping track of the data. I wear HOKA ONE ONE shoes because they are the most comfortable and supportive shoes I’ve found, and ASICS clothing because it’s been a staple of my running, and the running community, for many years.

I’m not paid to advertise, I don’t have any sponsorships, and ad revenue from this blog can be measured in pocket change. I use this stuff because I like it, and it works best for me. Your mileage may vary.

In the end, though, the running is all mine. Whether it’s running shorts and cushioned shoes, GPS watches and software, blogs, images, and words on a page, I’m still getting out the door and running. It’s not easy every day, and I’m certainly not a fan of some of the other things that come with it, like sore legs, constant hunger, and the dry knuckles from the cold. I do, however, love the feeling I get at the end of a run, when the tiredness gives way to the feeling of accomplishment and the sense that I’m adding to the pages of my running book.

In the meantime, I’ll keep putting my runs out there, and I’ll keep hitting the road and racking up the miles. For those of you running, keep it up! If your not a runner, find something you like to do and keep doing it! Enjoy!

Welcome Back to the Land of the Living

Today’s Run

Time – 1:00:13
Distance – 5.9 miles
Pace – 10:03 min/mi
Elevation – 158 ft.

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Baby Girl has arrived!

Today’s run was COLD! 15–20 MPH winds, temperatures right around freezing, and no sunshine make for a brisk run. It felt good to get back out there after 5 days off. No pain, it wasn’t too difficult, just freezing! I even threw in a 8:57 mile accidentally, just for fun I guess.

Where have you been?!

So, The Wife delivered Baby Girl on Tuesday afternoon, after a strange delay due to a procedural issue at the hospital. It was nobody’s fault, just a momentary issue that was resolved reasonably quickly, and then we were put back on the schedule for the afternoon and, voila, we have Baby Girl! She’s beautiful, happy, and home. Both she and The Wife are doing just fine, and we’re all adjusting, including Little Buddy and the Teenager. Glad to be back to the start of normality. Now, on to healing for The Wife and getting back on schedule for me, which will require a whole new schedule…

Good Food FTW

Today’s Run

Time – 1:20:47
Distance – 8.4 miles
Pace – 9:43 min/mi
Elevation – 215 ft.

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Something of a change…

This is my third run this week under 10:00/mile pace. Time to slow down! I cut my long run mileage by 25 percent for today’s run. Intentional easing off this week to give my body a break before I ramp up to 35–40 miles/week in the next block. I tried to run today a little harder than the “easy run” pace that I’ve been working with lately. This (along with a serious headwind!) caused a slow 5th mile and I dropped pace by 40 seconds/mile. I was able to pick it up after that and finish around the run’s pace for the remaining miles. Long run pace should be a little quicker than yesterday’s run, so this was good. I didn’t bring water or food, and I was feeling it by the end. All things being equal, I was able to make it the whole way without too much trouble.

I Continue to Bury the Lead

Post-run today, I weighed myself and the first number on the scale was a “1”! This is huge for me. I’m super excited that the months of diet, exercise, and changes and choices are coming together.

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The Big Moment!

The obvious question might be, “How did you do it?” I’ve talked about it in the past in other blog posts. I’ll say this. Weight loss can be done via exercise, if you are willing and able to do enough to overcome what you are eating. That’s how I lost 65 pounds 10 years ago. Certainly, running has helped me get these last 10–15 lbs. off in the last few months. There is something else, though.

If you fill the engine of your car with bad fuel, it will seize, the internal components will fail, or the engine will just not run with it’s best efficiency. You can’t burn calories long and hard enough if you don’t have good fuel to burn. You’ll eat up your engine, get injured, or worse.

I’m no medical doctor, and I’m certainly not an expert at this, so take what I say accordingly, but this is what I do know. Good food = good body. If you eat correctly, your body will respond as it is supposed to respond to good food: It will run right, burn energy as it needs to do so, and will change in shape.

I once heard something, “Exercise creates the shape of my body. Diet is what I wrap around that shape.” In other words, exercise creates muscle, but if you eat garbage, you’ll be covered in garbage. The first thing I noticed when I changed how I was eating was that the dry patches on skin on my elbows went away. I didn’t change how I was scrubbing them, and I didn’t add lotion to my morning or evening routines (in fact, everything I had been trying didn’t seem to work). Once I started to eat correctly, my skin cleared up, my body responded by burning off the fat and getting rid of the crap that had been hiding out inside of me.

“Healthy food” is becoming something of a misnomer. “Good food” is something that you can recognize when you look at it, instead of having to open the seal (you know, for “freshness”) to get a peek. It resembles what it looked like when it was growing, instead of being manufactured. “Good food” tastes delicious when it’s all you eat, instead of filling your diet with sugars and fats to add flavor (or hide the mechnical taste when it was assembled).

Just my two cents…

Running from the Monster

Today’s Run

Time – 43:46
Distance – 4.30 miles
Pace – 10:10 min/mi
Elevation – 183 ft.

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Got to run outside in the dark today on campus. The local university is reasonably well lit and there’s enough sideways/roadways/bike paths to make any run relatively safe. Glad to get outside again, as I realize I haven’t run on roads since Sunday’s 10 miles.

Running in the Dark

I spent a lot of years being afraid of the dark. I still get nervous when the lights are off and I come up the basement stairs. This the result of an overactive imagination and years spent trying to avoid horror movies but being unable to look away fast enough.

I’ve lived with a lot of crazy, and creepy, images in my head for a long time. This is only relevant because I now find myself running in the dark. I’m not running from the dark anymore, though. I don’t have to hide, because I’m too busy moving.

Tonight’s run ending with long strides and strong legs. I powered up the last hill to the house fast. Strava says it was my 3rd best mile time ever, and at the end of a 4 mile run.

Getting stronger is fun…and it means I can outrun the monsters…

Vacation is Over…Again

Today’s Run

Time – 58:13
Distance – 5.51 miles
Pace – 10:34 min/mi
Elevation – 219 ft.

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Really, this was just a better version of yesterday’s run. 5 miles feels a lot easier than it used to feel. Now I just need it to go 20 times as far, and I’ll be good.

First the Running Vacation…Now the Work Vacation…

So sad that I have to go back to work tomorrow after an 11 day vacation. It was nice to have the time off and spend it with my wife and kids, but I’m excited to get back to the job. I enjoy what I do, and I feel good about getting to do it everyday.

Running continues to prove things to me that I didn’t know were true. I ran 5.5 miles today. This, after running 5 miles yesterday, and 6 miles the day before that, and 4.5 miles the day before that. 21 miles in four days seems crazy to me. It’s not compared to some, but the fact that I can do it, and that I ENJOY it astounds me.

I can remember having to run the mile in high school and being the second-to-last guy to finish, every…single…time. The guy who finished behind me hada medical reason he couldn’t run, so he had to walk the whole thing. I was just slow. Really, really slow. And now I run…a lot…

I’m pretty excited about that, too.

Outrunning Lions

Today’s (Yesterday’s) Run

Time – 55:15
Distance – 5.06 miles
Pace – 10:55 min/mi
Elevation – 140 ft.

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I wasn’t supposed to be running yesterday. Instead, I skipped the day before to pout about my vacation (I’ve got to be honest with myself), and then I went out late last night to get it in at sunset. It was COLD. Not like coat-and-hat-weather, but I was not soaked in sweat when I was done. The Fall is definitely here. And it felt good to run for a while. I definitely needed to get out, especially as our vacation has been cancelled due to the Hurricane Irma. Our prayers are with everyone in the path. Health and safety!

Looking for Someone to Devour

I have a problem. Some people know about it, some don’t, but it’s an issue many people deal with on a regular basis. It comes and goes with me. I get 3 or 4 months of distress from it, and then it will go and ease off for a year or two. Sometimes the bad times are longer. Sometimes the good times are longer. But I can guarantee that it will happen that at some time I will cycle back through the good and bad.

This is not to complain, or to preach my story, or to push my thoughts on others. But I will say this. Running helps. (Yes, I know that is a shocking concept…)

I think the more important point is that running, which helps, isn’t helping just because I get an endorphin rush and then it gets me normal. It doesn’t work like that. The chemical imbalances do not get righted that easily or quickly. They come back.

Running is the coping mechanism. It’s a tool in the toolbox to deal with the struggles. It provides a sense of accomplishment. It moves the body and the mind to a different place, because sometimes a scenery change helps more than anything. It gives me time to find perspective.

Not every run is a good run, which is the risk. Bad runs don’t always help. But there is no fix. Medication treats symptoms, not the underlying problem. I have an imbalance, and I always will. I’m okay with that. I’m not perfect (just ask my wife and kids). But I am a person that can understand my problem and can work to live with it. That is my goal. Sometimes, resolution to a problem is knowing how to live with it effectively.