Run440plus's Blog

from one runner to another pass it on

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

To Watch or To Run

I feel like going for a run, yet my favorite College Football Team is playing right now. In years past the decision would be easy watch the game and then go for a run. Today the choice appears to be leaning toward just going for the run. Really why does a 40 something year old man need to watch a football game? Why watch anything on television anyway. Why would watching anything have a prior level over doing something?

So I found a bit of solution: Write a blog while watching a bit of the game then go for a run. Doing while watching seems like multi-tasking. Anyway I still feel silly watching, so the run looks better after every passing minute. See you later. Got to run.


Dog Run Too Far

My favorite long run trick is what I call a Dog Run. Run on an out and back course and run beyond your comfort zone like a dog running away from home without much concern of making it back. Sometimes everything works out and other times even if I had 4 legs I’d still be in trouble. The point of the dog run is to leave yourself without an out. Worst case, you have to stop and walk and still cover the prescribed overall mileage set by the distance traveled to the turnaround.

The most important thing is to gauge how you feel on the way out. If it is just not your day, don’t push it. You have to make it back alive. Well duh. Sunday, I planned on doing 12 miles as I had done 11 the week before in an 1 hour 41 minutes. It was much hotter this week than last so I started off  a bunch slower than normal. The heat was taking its toll on the way out, so I decided to cut it short and turned around at 5.5 miles to at least cover the mileage of the week before.  To help ensure I didn’t die, I told my wife to come out to get me at the 2 hour mark.

I started walking at the 9.4 mark as I didn’t feel terrible, but I did feel like it was the wise thing to do. I checked the time and I had been out 1:48 at that point. I really need a drink, so I really hoped to see my wife soon. I got to the drinking fountain in town  before my wife made it to me at roughly the 2:04 point.  She brought cold water that tasted a lot better than fountain water. She asked if I wanted a ride, but I wanted to get my mileage and felt like there was no risk to walk the rest of the way home, so I did.

Try a dog run sometime, if  you haven’t already, but be smart about it. It is a great way to push your limits.

Song suggestion of the day: Rocky Mountain High – John Denver. This song takes the listener away from the time and place unless of course you are running in the Rocky Mountains.  Not every run can be in/at such a beautiful place, so music can take over for a peace of the mental side of running.

Since You Probably Won’t Read This Away….

For 40 plus years I have searched for the perfect workout to both satisfy my fitness goals and keep me entertained at the same time. Well, I finally found it…..Homeless Person Hurdles. Yeah, it’s in really poor taste and illegal in some countries, but heck why not give hope to the hopeless by bounding over a few on your morning run. Better yet carry loose change in our pockets and some might fall out mid-flight. Can you say BONUS!

This was a really poor attempt at humor, but nobody has been reading this blog lately, so I doubt I hurt too many feelings especially since the homeless probably don’t have working laptops with an active internet connections. But if you are homeless and read this blog after stumbling into a library, I am sorry.

If you actually read this far, I will say that a very high percentage of the contents of this blog are intended for the promotion of good healthy activities. Please take a look at the other 158 blog entries and I am sure if you give it a chance, you will find benefit from most of them. Peace. No humans nor any animals were harmed in the making of this blog.

An End Each or One Double Ender

My Wife makes my lunch that I take to work each day.  When she is left with 2 ends of the loaf and 2 regular slices, she always uses one end per sandwich, so I am left with 2 sandwiches that are less than perfect. Yesterday was one of those days and I thought to myself is it better to have one awesome sandwich made with 2 regular slices and one double ender that leaves that sandwich bland and not so desirable.

How does this relate to running, you ask? Well, I will tell you. Given the opportunity to have 2 weekend runs that are better than average or one awesome run one day and one less than average run the next day, which would you choose?

The last few weekends have provided me with samples of both scenarios.  I ran a 7 mile on a Saturday and another 7 miles the next day.  Both runs were fine, but really didn’t tell me much about my overall conditioning and each just kind of lasted with that just get them done feel. Flash forward to this last weekend and I purposely ran a shorter distance of 5 miles on Saturday with the intent on running 11 miles on Sunday. My only worry on Saturday was if the weather didn’t work out on Sunday, my weekend goal would be shot. The weather did cooperate and I pushed myself to that 11 mile finish and my farthest run of 2013. The satisfaction level of that 11 miler far exceeded the 5 miler, but they each had their respective purpose toward the weekend goal of pushing my limits.

This takes me back to a marathon training program that I used in 2011 for the Fargo Marathon. The planned called for weeks where the weekend runs were either twins (same distance both Saturday and Sunday) or cousins (different distances with the longer distance on Sunday).

It’s nice to have that one spectacular run, but those average or blah runs do have their purpose. Variety in training is always a good thing and not every run (like a sandwich) will be perfect.



A Kid’s Logic

My 3-year-old son just said, “I spit that out (pizza) because I didn’t want it in my mouth.” Makes sense. If all of life’s choices were that easy. Maybe they should be. Like whether to run or not. I didn’t run today, because I didn’t want to. Tomorrow I will run because I do want to.  When we complicate decisions with outside influences that hamper our goals is when things tend to be less than pleasant. Since running equates to a healthy activity then it should be farther up the list than say hitting the bar for an after work beverage.

Simple decision-making will bring those priorities where they should be every time, hence the word priorities. This may be an oversimplification, but that is the point.

Keep it simple and running will take care of you.

Song Suggestion of the day: Fly Me Courageous by Drivin’ n Cryin’, with a driving guitar riff, this song will keep you moving for miles to come.

Running, Pass It On

Over the last few months, my teenage daughters have been distance running. Not with the regularity of appointment runners, but at least with a modicum of consistency. As a parent there some habits you hope your kids don’t pick up on, but by the title and subheading of this blog, you can guess that running is not on the con list.

Whether it be friends or family, maybe even strangers that become friends, running is one thing that most (if not all)  runners want to share with others. Runners are very proud to be runners and in our runner minds sharing running is a gift we can’t deny the rest of the world. For some the discovery of how awesome running is not an overnight process. It wasn’t for me.

I never ran more than an 800 meter dash in high school until one fateful track meet where the only available varsity spot open was the 2 mile run. I volunteered so I could attend the meet even though I had been training as a sprinter. Yeah, pulling the 100 meter/2 mile double has never occurred at the Olympics nor at any level for that matter for obvious reasons.

There was one 2 mile heat before mine and I got benefit of watching my teammate go out too fast in his heat and bonk pretty early. I said to myself that I wasn’t going to do anything crazy, just take it easy and finish the race. What I found is that I  could (without training) cover miles plural. After getting lapped on a 200 meter indoor track (twice by several contestants) I didn’t jump at the chance at running 2 miles in a competitive environment ever again, but when 5Ks and other distance races crossed my mind years later, I didn’t automatically discard the thoughts as outside the realm of possibility.

The point of this all is to think about how you got into running and share that story with others. Maybe your friends will then think hey that is something I could do as well. If you haven’t made the jump to runner yet, maybe this blog will inspire you to give it a shot.

2 years ago, I didn’t think my daughters would get interested in distance running, yet it has happened, so the surprises in life are truly great joys.

Running a Love Affair

Running in the mountains, by lakes, through the woods, by historical landmarks, along rivers, on the beach, over bridges, on soft paths, on city streets, by great architecture or any where you find interesting is always a plus when running, however the running part should be enough.

Motivation comes and goes, yet when running becomes a love the environment really doesn’t matter. Rain, cold, wind or anything that can be thrown at you shouldn’t matter when you love to run.  Maybe you are not there yet with the whole love thing. Maybe you just met running and are taking it slow. Not that you are playing hard to get, but just can’t commit to the relationship until you know for sure that running is your soul mate.

I wasn’t a young man when I fell in love with running. I was in my mid 20’s when I started to run, but it wasn’t until my 30’s that I finally used the L word and have been in love ever since. Not everyone will get there, but those who do know what I am taking about.

Running Song of the Day: Walk Don’t Run – Dropkick Murphys. Title will throw you a bit, but the song has a good beat with aggressive lyrics to give you that push.

Cheaters You Suck

If I may be blunt. The headline of this post is as simple as I can put it. Beware of the rant to come. Cheaters of any kind suck. Whether it be in business, sport or personal life, cheating blows chunks. We will focus on cheating in sport as this is a running blog and the last time I checked running counts as a sport.

I have participated in sports since I was 8 years old. Never heard about steroids until high school and never have seen anyone take them nor have I ever been approached to purchase them. I played football in high school, wide receiver mainly and back in 1982 I never really saw the benefit of taking them. The steroid users back then were huge with veins popping out all over, so I didn’t make the connection to running fast, not until Ben Johnson came along.

In my 20’s I played rugby and the thought of using steroids never crossed my mind. I was never going to cheat  the game and damage my body in the process. Still in the late 80’s the users were huge grotesque freaks. I was pretty sure I played against some users, but for the most part I was still better than most of them. I was fast enough to avoid getting hit by the really big dudes and smart enough to keep the ball moving in the right direction.

My rugby career ended early due to a knee injury and again I never considered taking steroids to aid in the recovery from knee surgery. Maybe if I had a criminal mind and thought the world owed me something I would have considered cheating, but I quite simply feel that anything worth doing is only worth doing without cheating. Integrity anyone?

When I took up marathons I looked at Lance Armstrong as the ultimate endurance athlete. I read his first 2 books and was a huge fan of his. I had recently lost 2 Aunts to cancer, so his fight and his foundation really touched me. I ran the 2011 Chicago Marathon as part of Team Livestrong and felt a sense of purpose raising money for cancer survivors. Right after running the Fargo Marathon in May of 2011, I saw on the news that some of Lance’s teammates were saying he was a cheater. I didn’t want to believe it. He worked so hard. He had passed all those hundreds of drug tests or so he said. I continued to raise money for Livestrong and hoped with all my heart that the stories were untrue.

Well, we all know now that he cheated and then tried to keep his accusers quiet. Discussing. Lance is no better than an organized crime boss who uses intimidation to keep his sorry ass out on the street and out of jail. People will say he has done so much for cancer survivors and that one part of his existence is noble, but that doesn’t excuse him from being lumped in the category of scumbag cheater.

I am a parent of 2 young boys, one of which has been playing tackle football for the last 3 years.  If my sons ever feel like that they need to cheat to be successful, it is my hope that they will walk away from the sport before taking that ill-fated step toward becoming a scumbag cheater.  Just like you can’t get a little pregnant, you can’t be just a little cheater. Either you do it the right way or you are a scumbag cheater.

I will step off the soapbox for the night.


Fonzie the Good Hood

I may have been a bit delirious after an 8 mile run, while mowing the lawn. I kept thinking about having  a comedian say, “It’s not called a Fonzie scheme, it’s called a Ponzi scheme, Fonzie was a good hood.” Not sure if that ever was part of a stand up routine, but it seems to have a moral to the story. One of those “Don’t judge a book by its cover” kind of story.

Some would say that running has a Ponzi vs. Fonzie kind of rep. Most non-runners don’t run because they say it is boring. I have said if running is boring then you are not using both sides of your brain. Obviously the brain power that it takes to run is not much, yet the brain can take care of so many other thoughts and needs while running. Personally I come up with song ideas and start to solve work and family issues while running. The exercise part is a given, yet the thinking part is forgotten.

Now what does the Ponzi vs. Fonzie have to do with running at all? Well Ponzi was trying to sell you a bill of goods and Fonzie was just cool. So when someone says running is a bunch of boring bunk, you can say if you tried it, you would find it to be really cool.

Running song of the day: Feelin’ Stronger Every Day by Chicago is one of those songs that gives you a powerful boast right when the miles are taking their toll on a long run or marathon. Program it to play around mile 20 and feel the benefits.

Saturday is Right for Running

With a tight weekday schedule, the weekend opens up to get those extra miles that a lunch hour doesn’t allow. Running 4 or 5 times a week for 4 miles a pop is nice, yet I can’t wait for Saturday to get out and stretch the legs miles into the double figures.  Even though a fall marathon is not in the picture, I can feel the urge to increase my mileage and put a 2014 marathon on the schedule.

If it has been a few years since your last marathon, it is never too late to put the pieces back together and build a fitness foundation to get back into marathon shape. Seeing a 78-year-old running a marathon gives me hope that my running days are nowhere near over. Finding inspiration and motivation from others is one way to get back on track.

Whatever it takes, whenever it starts, get it going soon, like now.

Song suggestion of the day: Far Side of Nowhere – Social Distortion. Great song for running, motorcycle and road trips in general.

Post Navigation