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Archive for the category “Livestrong”

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.

 

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7th in 11

2011 Marathon season is coming to a close and as I look back I could have done a lot of things different and maybe would have come through with more desired results. Oh such is the life of a marathon runner.

Chicago Marathon training – I didn’t run fast enough

Fargo Marathon training – I didn’t run far enough

Two big vastly different mistakes with similar lack luster results.

One the bright side I finished my 7th marathon with no career DNF’s. 2012 will not bring a Boston Marathon, however I just want to run and enjoy the experience. Priorities may change, but one thing stays the same – honest effort and an honest life. Ok that may be 2 things.

Runner Cancer Survivor Dies

I am at a loss for words. I didn’t know this person personally. He didn’t coach any of my kids and we never shared a conversation, but I knew who he was and his influence on numerous high school athletes in Eastern Iowa. What he did for me was open my eyes to randomness of cancer.

I have known smokers that got lung cancer, but Gary Stamp was a non-smoker and avid runner who would carry a garage bag and would pick up cans and trash while running. It just didn’t make any sense to me that Coach Stamp would be diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer last spring.

It was the push that I needed to try to help make a difference in the lives of cancer survivors. If my running could help raise money then it was something I had to do. If I am afforded the opportunity to live life to the fullest, then I can afford to do something for those who have hit a few setbacks.

Running the Chicago Marathon as part of  Team Livestrong was rewarding in so many ways. As I look to 2012, I look for other opportunities to run and give back along the way.

Coach Stamp died today. My daughter missed the opportunity to play softball for him by a year. She is very sad. I hope someday she will know the influence he had on our family and others will be everlasting.

Chicago Marathon Results (The Band was Good)

I think I ran 30 miles today. 26.2 would have been enough, but the bobbing and weaving had me spent by the half marathon. I ran through 22, but walked a bit after that when my good knee decided to shout at me and say enough was too much.

I really shouldn’t complain, I finished my second marathon of the year. I participated in something not everyone has the opportunity to do. I am thankful and will continue to plug away, lose a few more pounds and find a trail marathon to do in the spring.

The Expo, the experience and the Band was good, so I will put this one on the plus side for fun and overall enjoyment. I will say that I was good as retired from marathon running somewhere between 22 miles and 30 minutes after the race, but before a press conference could be organized, I recanted and started planning the next one. My priorities have changed from Boston Qualifying to finishing as many different marathons as possible. New York anyone? Big Sur?

Chicago Marathon Bib Number 5945

The pursuit of a Boston Marathon Qualifying time begins at 7:30 CDT in Grant Park, Chicago, IL.

Training went well. The carbo loading is going well. I feel fit and relaxed.

I hope everyones’ training went well as well (can you tell) . See you all on the streets of Chicago or in Charity Village as part of  Team Livestrong.

Good Luck and run free.

Chicago Marathon Weather Looking Warm

Marathon weather is a major concern and this year’s Chicago Marathon is shaping up to be on the warmer side of the scale of ideal marathon conditions. 55-74 is the forecast for Chicago for Sunday. Those temps may be nice for everyday life, but for a marathon be careful.  Be prepared to suck down that Gatorade and water in bunches. Make sure to have enough salt in your system as concentrating solely on water can cause you to become salt deficient and cause major problems. I counter act this by going heavy on the Gatorade and lighter on the water on marathon day.

With no rain in the forecast, it does make for easy race day clothing decisions, so that is a plus.

Good luck and see you all at the finish line!

Chicago Marathon Blog 2 Weeks Left

One long run left before Chicago. 20 miles tomorrow and I will have a total 4 runs of 20 or more while training for this marathon. Peaking at 22 miles over hills I feel strong both physically and mentally for this one. Fargo I used a different training program, which only took me to 16 miles for a long run max. This time I went back to what has worked for me in the past, which meant fighting through the end of long runs over hills to give me the confidence that on the flat city streets of Chicago, I will have more than prepared for the distance and mental challenge that comes somewhere over 20 miles.

My first marathon I hit the wall at 23 miles. That year I trained up to 20 miles, so the next year I trained up to 24 miles on a flat course. My 24 mile run really was a 14 mile run with 10 miles of run/walking, but it did put me over the top mentally. I told myself that Chicago would cooler both temperature and atmosphere wise. Chicago would give me everything from a support perspective that my training run didn’t: Gatorade, loud people cheering, others running along and pace teams.

That year I qualified for Boston for the first time without hitting the wall. That 24 mile training run really blew, but it got me where I wanted to go.

This year the 22 miler was over hills and it was rough near the end. I ran it the whole way, so no run/walking and it did give me confidence that I can keep plugging away at mile 20, 22, 24 and all the way through 26.2 on the flat streets of Chicago and get me where I want to go….. you know, the B word again.

Boston Registration Opens Chicago Shut out

I signed up for the Chicago Marathon the first day it opened back in Feb.  My hope for Chicago was a Boston Marathon Qualifying time. Then came the changes announced by the BAA that the registration time would be Sept 12th and only the fastest qualifiers would get to register first. I am pretty sure Boston will close by the time Chicago comes around on Oct. 9th.

I  am frustrated with the timing of everything, but I do like the new standards and will push harder in my training to make my goal.

If I qualify for Boston 2013 with my time in Chicago, I will apply for a Charity Entry into Boston 2012.

Things may change, but the ultimate goal stays the same.

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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