Attack mode…

June 15, 2010

My training plan is set and it should be buried due to some kind of freak injury in about eight weeks, but…

The local 1/2 Marathon is now on the agenda for this upcoming Labor Day Weekend.    Since my work day is much longer…leaving the house at 5am and getting home between 6:30 and 7:00 pm, training should be a challenge.

My training of choice has normally been longer and slower runs, but I just don’t have that kind of time, but I need a challenge…of a physical nature.

I am already working on a few new creative writing challenges that are showing some signs of promise and making me some extra money on the side as a bonus, so why not throw $75 away on a long run on the hardest concrete ever made.

I have run on a lot of surfaces, but the concrete on the boardwalk is definitely built to last and the only break you get from the concrete is when you are running on the asphalt, which is softer…but only because it melting under your feet.

But I will love every second of it and get a shiny medal and t-shirt as a prize.

Challenges are what drive me and it has taken me a few years to figure out that I am happiest when I am chasing something.

During baseball season, I remember telling the kids that I would rather see them go down swinging at a questionable pitch than to stand there and watch a god one go past them.   To go up there and attack the ball since they were the one up there with the bat.

I adopted that line of thinking when I signed up for the 1/2 marathon two years ago and things have been looking better for me…despite a decrease in pay and an increase in hours with the new job.

I am the one carrying the bat…

I am in attack mode.


A Reward

November 29, 2009

It is official…

I am now registered for the local Marathon here in March.   It was already a plan, but holding off on the actual registration has been bugging me for the last couple of weeks.

Recent events (mother-in-law having a stroke,  major repairs at the rental property and a monster of a storm) had put a huge damper on any running for the last couple of weeks.  It has felt good to get back out on the road this past week and feel good while doing it…

Running relaxes me.

It is me and my body…alone.

Unless a car invades the crosswalk while I am still there.

Last year, I felt like I needed to run the Marathon to prove something to myself.

What I did prove was that “gutting” out a Marathon is not a smart thing to try to accomplish.  Signing up at the last-minute was a silly move on my part.   The 1/2 Marathon was sold out in Late January and, in a rash on-line moment, I signed up for the big daddy.

An unmentionable physical ailment also keep me from running for most of the last two weeks before the race to compound my lack of a solid training plan.

Not this time.

I have a training plan, but it is just a guide to keep me moving in the right direction…it is nothing to get too obsessive about until March.

Running is a release for me, and this time, the Marathon is a reward and not a challenge.


Just a little faster…

September 21, 2009

I have been running at a pretty regular pace for a year and a half now…my road runs stay between 8:30 and 9:00 minute miles…regardless of the pace.   I might hit a short run at about 8:00 minutes a mile, but it is rare.

My body, through my doing, has programmed itself at that pace.     I have trained for a Marathon and two 1/2 Marathons at that pace…and I run the actual races at 9:00 to 10:00 paces.   It was like I run out of gas.

The past couple of weeks have been a  little sluggish for me and my running, so we are changing things up a bit.

I am going to completely start from scratch running again.   Just like I did in April of 2008.

The only difference here that were going to crank things up a notch.

So today, I started with two miles at a sub-7:00 pace.   It felt like a comfortable pace.  Two miles in 13:47.   I used to run a timed two miles in the Army every month.  My personal best is 10:16, but I only ran that time when someone was running faster.   Until that point, I was a 11:15 guy…so motivation has a lot to do with things.

I don’t plan on ever getting to that point again.

It was fun today and I am a bit excited about running again…but the last time I did this I vowed to not run in any races.  Three races later, here I am.

I make no such promises this time.


Weight Issues on Vacation

August 17, 2009

I was able to go for three runs on my seven day vacation.   All of them between 6-8 miles each and the same routes that I ran when I was in high school.  

Due to some “bathroom issues” that have plagued me since childhood, (information from my mother and sister regarding similar public bathroom issues for decades) I limited my food intake but a couple few evenings with former classmates increased my alcohol intake…tenfold.

After a week of being away from home, I still came back three pounds lighter than when I left…

…and that was after reintroducing myself my my “own” bathroom.


Balance

July 21, 2009

I hinted at what draws my attention the other night on TB’s Radio show.

I have been on an excellent three day period of exercise.   Both running and lifting and it feels very good to get back on track in that part of my life again, but my little green and blue books have not been touched since that happened.

My running hasn’t been very far…or very fast, but five miles is five miles (and about 600 calories) and it is good to have some of that familiar soreness in my body that I seem to crave.

Yesterdays five miles was combined with enough heavy lifting to cause some soreness in my shoulders today…I like that feeling.   

My lifting had been slowed down by an injury obtained during an “incident” with someone I work with occasionally.   It turns out that i am still having some trouble with this right hand.  I only feel it when I am trying to perform a “curl” and it is at the base of my thumb.

Not being a “weightlifter” I am not sure what normal weight for me to use curling would be, but I perform three sets of five reps when I curl any weight.   Usually 80-100 pounds (single bar for both arms at the same time)…it depends on how I feel that day.   Even at this point, the 80 pounds causes me some pain in that hand.   It is better now than when I stopped lifting a month ago, but it is still there.   Yesterday, I was forced to go with 70 and 10 reps…and the discomfort was manageable.

I would really like to come up with a routine, system or a way that allows me to focus on multiple “free time” things at the same time…but looking back on it all now, I see that the increased focus on comedy happened right after the hand injury and now that the hand is healing, I am working back into “exercise mode”.

I guess we are all looking for some kind of balance in our lives…


Why I stopped running…

July 19, 2009

This is a true story…I posted in on my blog, but think it might deserve to be here too.  It is really why I stopped running in 1994.

After giving up running almost fifteen years ago, about a year ago, I started again…getting myself back into shape and keeping from having to buy new pants…call me cheap.

I stopped running about 15 years ago.

It turned out that there was a new sport developing among teenagers close to my house…and it involved two teams. One team was composed of a vehicle full of teenagers and the other being various innocent runners, bikers, walkers or, as they were referred to by the kids…targets.

Before getting out of the Army, I had been running for years and had even recently completed a Marathon a few months before this first “incident.”

I would always run on the sidewalks with traffic at my back…and this evening was no different.

It was a muggy July evening at I was running at my normal rhythmic pace. I had this way both breathing that was almost hypnotic…

“Shhh…Shhh…Pffft…”

“Shhh…Shhh…Pffft…”

(Two breaths in through my nose and one long breath out of my mouth.)

After a few miles of this breathing, a person really gets “lost” in the pattern. The miles can really add up and any pain can be erased by both the pattern and the good supply of oxygen supplied to the body.

On this night, I was running with traffic zooming at my back…

“Shhh…Shhh…Pffft…”

“Shhh…Shhh…Pffft…”

“Shhh…Shhh…Pffft…”

THWAPP!

Down I went. Something hit me in the ribs. For all I knew, I had just been shot. Five years overseas in the Army, including some time in the desert and I had come back without an injury. After a week in the resort town of Virginia Beach, I was down.

I sat up and felt my ribs…sore…but no blood.

Looking on the sidewalk, I saw what hit me…an empty bottle of Miller Lite.

 Damn kids!

It took about ten days before I was both healthy and brave enough to get back to running again.

But this time, no running with my back to traffic. I would face traffic so I could see what was coming…

“Shhh…Shhh…Pffft…”

“Shhh…Shhh…Pffft…”

“Shhh…Shhh…Pffft…”

I saw it coming this time…even before the bottle left the little Ranger truck.

Before they let go of the bottle, I dodged left, leaping off of the sidewalk and even changing my pace to throw them off…

WHOOOSH…the bottle wasn’t even close this time.

“HA-HA!” I exclaimed…out loud even.

Facing traffic was the perfect plan.  I was surely too smart for these under-aged drinking teenagers. Back to running and after about another 1/2 mile…

“Shhh…Shhh…Pffft…”

“Shhh…Shhh…Pffft…”

“Shhh…Shhh…Pffft…”

I had my rhythm back and my pace was picking up…

“Shhh…Shhh…Pffft…”

“Shhh…Shhh…

THWAPP!!!!

Right in the neck.

They won and for 15 years, I retired from the game.


Weird Tan Lines?

July 13, 2009

So…

You want to exercise outside in the sun?

Want some advice?

1.   If you want to avoid odd tan lines, consider sandals SOMETIMES.   I have a thing about seeing feet, mine included, my feet never see the light of the sun.

2.   If you are going to consider doing many years of running (and a few years of marching) make sure you are prepared to have some feet that have seen better days.

Check out these ugly feet and weird tan lines pointed out to me this evening by my daughter.  This is not something from this weekend even…my skin is permanently discolored at this point (and a couple of other places that will remain hidden from view.)

DSCF3192

DSCF3188


No Finish Line in Sight

July 5, 2009

I’d like to talk a little about Goal Orientated Training and motivation today.

Goals can be very good things to have in our lives and achieving those benchmarks we set for ourselves can be very rewarding, but those same goals can prove to be a detriment in more ways then one.

By today’s standards, I have always been in decent physical condition.   But since 1994, when I left the Army and the semi-pro football team that I coached and played for, things had gotten a little different for me.

From 1990 to 1994, I would put on 25-30 pounds before football season and take it off once football season was over.   I would do this for the extra size…since I am naturally VERY small.

Entering Army- October 1989-  5’7″ 137 pounds.   28″ waist.

Leaving Army- July 1994- 5’7″ 150 pounds 29″waist.

D-Day (started regular exercise)- March 2008- 5’7″, 180 pounds 32″ waist.

For the 14 years between leaving the Army and D-Day, I had tried to get back into “shape” but had failed in every attempt…until I set a goal.

One week after I donated every pair of pants I owned that were less than 32″ in the waist, I decided that I was going to start running again.   Not necessarily to change anything about me, but to just to get back into shape.  

To ensure that I would stay focused, I signed up for a half-Marathon shortly after that point.   There was a desire to run in a race, but subconsciously, I knew that I needed a boost.   Every other time I tried to get back into shape, an excuse to stop would follow shortly after.

If I signed up (and paid) for a race, there was goign to be motivation to train properly to ensure I could actually run on race day.

It worked…or…it made ME work.   As the race drew closer, so did my intensity and I finished the 13.1 mile run in a respectable time…

I tried to keep running after the race, but noticed that the motivation wasn’t there.   By that time, I was already “swimming” in my size 32’s and new pants had to be purchased or I would be mistaken as a gang-banger with my underwear hanging out.

I felt myself slipping again…until I signed up for the full Marathon.

Another goal…

Other than some injuries obtained during training, everything went smoothly for the race at the end of March.

But here I am again…there is no finish line in sight.

This is where goals are a mixed blessing.

Having a goal to strive for is a great motivation factor when it comes to weight or conditioning, but what happens when those goals aren’t there?

For me, I joined a gym and still tried to run about 20 miles a week while finally mixing in some weight training.  

Losing weight or fitting into a smaller pants isn’t cutting it anymore. 

I am there.

Reaching those goals were important for my physical and emotional health, but the danger in not reaching those goals were even greater.  Not physically, but psychologically…

Goals can be very dangerous.   Thinking back, I was a twisted ankle or a sore knee away from falling short and failing in a goal that I had invested so much time, energy and effort in completing.

Sure, the end result worked for me, but I know that if things would have worked out differently, I would have gone to a place emotionally that would have set me back.

Now, when asked (and sometime even when I am not asked) about health and weight issues, the first thing out of my mouth is to make gradual lifestyle changes and not to set too many specific goals.

Not reaching goals (especially weight) can be a tough pill to swallow after a week of near-fasting and tiresome exercise.

So, after a couple of weeks without exercise, I got back on track this weekend…without a specific goal.

Just to go for a run, get some sun on my skin and enjoy the daylight by myself.

It felt good to get out there…and I tried hard not to look down at my watch to see how I was doing…but I failed in that goal.

Monday will find me back at the gym…but without a finish line to run towards.  

I know my 32″ pants are still too big and my 30″ pants are a little too small…but I couldn’t tell you my weight…I don’t really care, but…

It is tough being a “31” in a “30-32″ world.


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