Run440plus's Blog

from one runner to another pass it on

Archive for the category “Have Fun”

A Few From Fifty

Wow, it has been a few years since I posted last, a few years since   I last ran a marathon and just a few months before I turn fifty. I suppose it is as good time as any to get back in the swing of marathon training and writing about it.

I entered the Chicago Marathon lotto and will find out Thursday April 21st if I got in (or not). If that falls through the back up Marathon is the Quad Cities Marathon. The  QC is only 2 weeks earlier than the Chi so my training schedules are pretty compatible.

Winter training has laid down a stable foundation and my long runs have been at over 10 miles for more than a month now. Feeling healthier than the last couple years heading into spring training, so this should be a good year.

Looking forward to more of these updates. Talk to you all soon.

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Sweet Home Chicago Marathon

Some things are just made for each other. Peanut butter and jelly. Front doors and welcome mats. Nights and moonlight. Long strolls along the river with a loved one. Chicago and the marathon.

I probably biased on this subject. I have only run 7 marathons and 6 of them were Chicago Marathons, but like all great fits, we tend to stick with what works for us. Those jeans that have been broken in just right are hard to get rid of.

If you have run the same marathon more than once, you know what I am talking about. Large city marathons have their challenges and knowing what to expect from traffic to the expo, to the aid stations, to finding your friends/support team after the race, all factor in on the overall enjoyment of the event.

I have discussed some of the tricks of the Chicago Marathon in past blog entries, so I won’t rehash those here. The point of this post is to find what works for you and run with it. Chicago is my fit. I plan to run it again next year and the following year. This was a down/off year for me, but I have that bug in my brain to get back to Chicago and finish a few things.

I hope you find your Chicago whether it’s called Napa Valley, Olympic, Nashville, Rock and Roll or Peanut Butter and Jelly Marathon…. now there’s an idea.

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.

 

 

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.

Mile High and Higher

As kids, my parents took us to Colorado on a family vacation. We found a basketball court and played around for a short while. Short because we felt the effects of the thin mountain air. Today the experts call it “altitude training” back then we just called it “sucking wind”.

My best marathon was after some mountain runs, so I feel like it helps to work out at altitude, however there were several other bonus attributes (lowest weight and overall conditioning) at that time, so the results are not scientific. I can attest to running in the mountains to be much more difficult than running at sea level, so that is all that is important. Like riding an old heavy steel bike compared to a new high-tech light one, the hard makes all the difference. I’ll take the hard every time in training to make the final event feel easier in comparison, which does wonders for the mental aspect of competition. To struggle in training makes it much easier to be run relaxed when it counts.

I was fortunate enough to hit the mountains of Truckee, CA over the weekend for the first time in about 10 years. My lungs burned as I ran up from 6,600 feet to around 7,600 feet. I got in about 15 miles over 3 runs (pulling a double on Sunday) in 2 days. Not a lot of miles for a weekend, yet the inclines were brutal, so the miles weren’t my main objective, survival was.

I have a cousin who lives in Monmouth Lakes, CA, which is where many elite marathon runners go for their altitude training. 8,000 feet in city and only up from there in the mountains. He says he can feel a big difference from Truckee to Monmouth Lakes. I sure would like to visit and give it a test. Maybe next year.

Now I am back home to 95 degree heat. Will have to see if heat is more of a challenge than hills and thin air.

Off for a run. Talk to you all soon.

36 Again

To be 36 again. Huhmmmmm, that would be a trick. I remember going to the official time checker at the after party at the 2004 Chicago Marathon. The guy entered my information and said, “3:14:11, great job!” He then gave me high five and I felt pretty darn awesome for the rest of the evening.

Flash forward 9 years and that marathon time is a distant memory. 2 more Chicago Marathons sub 3:28, but never close to another Boston Qualifying time. Yeah it hurts, especially since both times I qualified for Boston, I didn’t go to Boston. Sure I am part of the group that can called themselves BQs, but to never have run Boston still stings.

50 is rapidly approaching. Do I have one more shot at Boston? Maybe, maybe not. What I do know is that running is a lot more relaxing now that it is just about my sanity and overall health. Would I like to line it up in Hopkinton and take that hilly trek into Boston? Sure, but will I lose sleep over it? Probably not. Could I take any more wishy with my washy?

After 4o running takes on a different meanings and that is okay. I think.

Move or Bust (Bust a Move)

As this blog has been geared for the plus 40 crowd of runners, we can see or feel that some days are more difficult to get moving than others. My daughters got me motivated to get out for a long run on Sunday,  followed by my youngest son wanting to go for a walk and then my wife wanting to play tennis in the afternoon. All of which had their hurdles for this oldish man.

To my surprise my body was able to handle all of the activity in a relatively short period of time. Can’t say I will be doing a triple like that again anytime soon, but the point is that one won’t know what one is capable of until one gets out and does it.

The next day was a bit a chore to get moving again, but I was able to get for a 4 mile lunch hour run, so I must not be too bad off.

Keep plugging, keep running.

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.

Smile Maybe Even Laugh

A co-worker of mine (before he knew that I am a runner) said to me, “I don’t understand runners they always look so miserable when they run. I have a neighbor, who runs all the time and he never looks like he is enjoying himself.” I said you probably see him at the end of a run and no runner looks like they are enjoying themselves at the end of a run.

After that conversation I made an effort to think back to when I first started running. I starting running to fill a void that injuries had created. I couldn’t play rugby anymore and I needed a stress release. In the beginning I didn’t love running, but I grew to love it fairly quickly and it became part of my lifestyle. So if I love running, why don’t I appear to love it when I do it? I set out to make a change.

Now I will break out with a goofy smile or even laugh while running. I will admit it wasn’t natural at first, but the more I did it, the more I felt better about my running. I have been able to overcome “bad patches” aka times you feel awful when running by smiling and/or laughing. I even have received such a rush from doing so, that the top of my head tingles and I forget all about any pain or discomfort.

At a 10 mile race earlier this year, a fellow runner told me I was the most relaxed runner he had ever seen. Maybe this smiling thing will change the perception of us by non-runners, who will then join the crew.

Give it a try and see how you (and those who see you running)  feel.

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