Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Why runners usually make great employees" by Oliver Blanchard

Every now and then you run across a piece of writing that you just cant help but share. Today was such a day for me. I will not add any of my commentary because this blog post says it all. Please just click here and read on. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Goofy, Crazy or Just Plain Nuts?

This week I made a commitment to at least another year of running long and hard by registering for the "Goofy Challenge" to be held on January 9 & 10, 2010 at Walt Disney World in Florida.

So what exactly is the "Goofy Challenge"? It's a half marathon on Saturday followed by a full marathon on Sunday. Goofy, right?

After yesterday's murderous long run I have spent several hours pondering the reasons why I put myself through this. My family; wife and daughters are convinced that I have totally lost my mind. I'm not so sure they're not half right. My doctor has told me that he's not convinced as well of the same; although he's very happy with the results of my latest physical. Best numbers ever! Yeah Baby!

I remember attending a clinic prior to the first Country Music 1/2 Marathon that I ran. The speaker happened to be an accomplished marathoner and speaker John "The Penguin" Bingham. He asked a simple question: "Why are you doing this?"

One by one we were asked for answers. "To loose some extra pounds". "Because of my health". These were the most popular ones. But when he got to me I simply replied; "Because I lost a bet"!

Well, that wasn't quiet the truth. When I first decided to venture into the world of marathoning, a friend asked me if I had lost a bet. I thought it was funny then, I think still funny now. But no, no bet was lost.

So, why am I doing this? Why do I put myself through this sometimes physical discomfort, if not plain ol' pain? Why do spend hours upon hours on the road, on the bike and on the pool? Yes, I have lost plenty of weight and I've kept it off. I have lost plenty of cholesterol points, and I have kept them off. I have lost 4 inches off my waist, and I have kept them off. In my book these are all by-products of a choice I made some four years ago.

Bottom line is this: It's a challenge. It's a challenge I'm willing to put myself through. Many years ago I learned how good it felt to do something you never thought you could possibly do. And that feeling never left me. Running a half marathon, a full marathon, a triathlon of all things were not in my radar. These were things that only young, physical, athletic types did. Or was it?

So why then am I doing this? Why am I running a full marathon? Why the Goofy Challenge? Why Triathlons?

For the right to say "I did"!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Nine Weeks Down, Nine Weeks To Go

You want to know what frustrating is? Spending a small fortune on small appliances that should help you stay in line with your training then grossly miscalculating a route and ending up with an extra 2.25m on your long run! That's frustrating! But all's good! No harm done, I think.

I was pumped, really pumped for this morning's long run. My schedule said that I was to do 16 miles. And I follow my schedule, to the letter. Always have. Today's plan was to go out and 16 miles later be back home. Not the case. Not sure how it happened, not sure if I just lost track of the time/distance run or what. When I finally figured out that I had gone out to far, it was to late to do anything about it except turn around and finish the run. 18.25 miles is what I ran. And the last 5 miles were brutal. Not because of physical or mental anguish but because the mother of all head winds was my trusty companion. My pace was drastically slower, my rhythm was totally whacked. I've done some hill work for strength, and these 5m sure felt somewhat like that.

I considered my options. A). I could call my wife or daughter to come pick me up at mile 16. B). I could just do it. Although option A was looking very tempting, I chose B. I was glad I did. Now, I just hope I've learned a valuable lesson: Plan your work(out), work your plan!

The pain in the ankles, knees and calves is similar to that which I felt when I started long runs for half marathon training. I am hopeful that with time, as it did in the past, that too will go away. For now its two Advils every six hours, lots of ice and active recovery workout tomorrow. The pool is looking awfully good!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Halfway Home

Well, almost half way home. This is the beginning of the eight week out of eighteen weeks of training for the CMM - Country Music Marathon. So technically, the halfway point is the end of next week.

So far, I have logged 146 running miles, 62 bike miles and a mess load of swimming laps. The body has held on pretty darn good, aches and pains specially in the ankles and knees, but heck... what the heck! Didn't really expect anything less.

The weather, except for a couple of pretty perfect weekends, including this past one, has been pretty cold. Colder than I'd ever thought I would enjoy running in. Haven't really enjoyed running in 7° windy mornings, so I'm opting for a later in the morning run, whenever possible. Specially in the long run Saturdays.

I have joined, at times, our local running club for some runs. These guys and gals are awesome! They have it all together. They know what they want, what they're going after, and they're going after it. Their pace, however is a little faster than I'd like mine to be, so we all take off together and just out of the block, I find myself, by myself. But this is just fine, I've trained for four years alone, and alone I've like it well enough. I don't want to hold anyone back, really don't.

I have also entered a stage in my training where I've never been before. I am running miles way beyond anything I've ever done. The long runs, at times are a little intimidating to me. Just the thought of going out for a 15 or 16 mile run or beyond, is not something I ever thought possible. In just four weeks, I will hit that magic 20 mile marker. Can't wait!

Also, in the last seven weeks I have finalized my competition schedule for this year. Well, competition of sorts. The only one I will be competing against is myself. I will be running two full marathons and three triathlons. My goal for this year is to do my first 26.2 and an Olympic distance triathlon. They are both on the schedule. They are both on my sights!