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from one runner to another pass it on

Archive for the category “Giving Back”

Mental Game Running Goals

On today’s 11 mile run I was focused on every aspect of my successful marathon experiences vs. the unsuccessful ones. The result being in the training before my Boston Qualifing marathons I was able to fight through fatigue. I would feel awful, but would resist the temptation to walk and keep thinking “once I am past this hill, things will get better”.

The body can do more than mind tells you from time to time and it is your job to override those thoughts to get where you desire to go. Training is as much mental training as it is physical development. The BQ goal can be lost week 1 of training if you are not focused on it from the day you start. That is not to say that one bad day will defeat you, but it is how you recover mentally from a bad experience and use that knowledge to not repeat mistakes.

Mental preparation is something that can be practiced at other times off the course. Driving to work, writing a running blog, a lifting session, etc are great opportunities to  focus on your goals and train your brain to not except less. When I have failed, I wasn’t willing to fight poor mental feelings to reach my vision.

Be strong mentally and you will find your kick.

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.

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.

Rollercoaster Ride

The following post I started to write on March 29, 2011 as I prepared to run the Fargo Marathon in May of the same year. For some reason I stopped writing and didn’t post it:

It is a cliché’ to say that life is a rollercoaster ride. We all know that things go well and then they don’t. Rinse and repeat.

I have never run a marathon with 2 good knees. I injured my knee playing basketball in January of 1991, waited to have surgery until December of the same year. I didn’t rehab the knee as well as I should and have had stability issues with it ever since. When I started getting serious about running I was always able to run straight forward without pain, but never without fear that the knee would play tricks on me. From time to time the knee would tweak while going down stairs or while playing with my kids in the yard, but I was always able to run. Now within the last year, my knee will tweak on occasion while running. Today was one of those days. It stinks. I feel like I can run the marathon

The interesting part of this finished post is that I can hardly remember the knee tweak in question as I was able to complete the Fargo Marathon that year with no issues with my knee. What I do remember is I did where a knee sleeve for both that marathon and Chicago 2o11. The curse of the knee sleeve…

This year I dedicated myself to running unaided (no knee sleeve/support) and so far it has been a success. The knee feels stronger than in more years than I can remember with no trickiness while running. Yeah it still gets weird on me at the oddest times, but if I can run with no pain in that knee I will take that deal every time.

I once heard a story about a man who was told by his doctor not to run as he had some damage floating around in there. Instead of quitting, he ran longer and imagined the pounding was grinding the debris into minute particles that no longer bother him. That man went on to be a Ultra-Marathoner. The mind wins again.

Habit of Bad Habits

To say I like to over do things I like to do would be an understatement. A lot of the good and even more of the bad. If I didn’t run I would probably weigh 300 pounds. Running makes me not want to do the bad things, but I still over eat from time to time and a day off from running makes me hungry or bored or both.

We all have different reasons to run. I love it and it loves me. At least that’s what it has been telling me lately. From the books I have read and the hills I have climbed, it has all come together to make it the most life affirming choice of this life.

The book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall notes that the ability to love and running do have a connection. Looking back on my life, I was not capable of love before I started running. Not sure if the connection runs that deep, but I am willing to run with it. Oh golly!

I didn’t care much for myself, before I starting running. I couldn’t maintain a relationship before I started running. I was only successful at escaping from my problems before I ran with them and worked them out.

Run far and find….yourself.

Bix 7 Run Preparation

Living in Mt. Vernon, Ia, I am fortunate enough to be relatively close ( a morning drive to the race) from the Bix 7 road race. Mt. Vernon is hilly, which makes it the perfect locale for training for the Bix. Sweating it out on the hills in and around  MV is a luxury and not a burden. I can’t imagine training for Bix in a city like Chicago where you are lucky to live near a foot bridge with any kind of evaluation to it. I have gone for training runs on the shores of Lake Michigan, which are an awesome sight and very relaxing, but if I want to be prepared for Bix, give me some hills.

Now I have trained in the foot hills of the Rockies in Colorado and I must admit that is where I truly enjoy running the most. Once the kids have grown maybe I will move there, but for now I will take the hills of MV to get me to where I want to go, the finish line at the Bix 7.

(see previous blog for more Bix 7 gushings)

Bix 7 Mile Race

One week from the best run road race in the USA, the Bix 7 in Davenport, IA, one of  the Quad Cities on the border of Iowa and Illinois. A challenging seven mile course, which features hills to bust lungs and test your guts. Sound fun? Well the test of the race is rewarded not with A grades, but with an awesome post race party with more food and beverage than even a big city marathon.

I could go on and on about the Bix, but words do not do it justice. Just trust me and try it sometime soon. Maybe even next Saturday July 3oth at 8:00am CDT.

So Hot Hot Hot

As I ventured out for a run this morning, my wife asked me, “Is it hot outside? We are supposed to be under a heat advisory through Thursday.” I really didn’t have a good answer for her until I got home from what turned from a 12 mile run into a 9 mile run with some recovery walking thrown in. “Yeah, it’s hot.”

My friend Ivy, who runs sub 3:00 marathon trains in the New Orleans, LA area, so I can’t really complain about the heat and humidity. I will take what I can get for long runs during this most recent heat wave and hope that the suffering done now will result in a prepared runner for the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 9th.

The years I have suffered on long runs have been the years I had my best marathons, so I will stay positive and feed off the confidence and knowledge of the past. Race day will have all the benefits handled to you: Water, Gatorade and GU shots. Maybe an orange slice or banana. Training runs always have less of the good stuff, so race day will always be better, at least we can continue to tell ourselves that.

Keep the positive thoughts and the results will follow.

Hot Day Hangover

When one hot day follows another followed by another and so on, running can put one into a state of dangerous dehydration. I am not quite sure if I hit hangover type symptoms, but I did feel weak, delirious and the sunscreen in my eyes had me staggering all over the road like a bad flashback sequence.

Cutting a workout or run short can be the right decision when  the temps just don’t allow for a healthy situation. As much as I like to push through pain and discomfort to maximize my conditioning, playing it safe when necessary is just the right thing to do for my health and my family’s security.

Question for the day: What training mistakes have you made that would help others make better training discisions?

School of Run

If Jack Black was born to play Dewey Finn (Ned) in School of Rock, I was born to run and write about it tongue in shoe, er, cheek. Being able to run is a gift and sharing that gift with others is an even bigger gift. Running is like a hilly road as it has many peaks and valleys. Setting big goals are important as goals will help keep you on the road when maybe you just don’t feel like it on a rainy day.

Sometimes those goals are met and sometimes you may could up short like I did at the Fargo Marathon. I took sometime to cry in my oatmeal, a couple of days, and then I got back to training for the Chicago Marathon. With a 18 week training program set for Chicago, I only had one week to get myself back together and get back on the horse. Mentally I feel refreshed and as determined as ever to qualify for Boston.

That is just how it works, give it your best and if your best was less than expected, get back to work, make some adjustments and  be better the next time around.

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