Run440plus's Blog

from one runner to another pass it on

Archive for the category “Rugby”

6:50 6:42 6:46 6:54 Splits

With the struggles of being an over 40 endurance runner comes the realization that you may never regain the speed of yesterdecade. I know my top speed was so 20 years ago. That being said I was encouraged by my speed workout tonight. The winter was long and frustrating. Today changed all that. The mile splits listed in the title turned months of dubious results into feelings of hope for a successful marathon.

With a goal marathon pace of a modest 7:20 per mile, the speed workout reveals the can do nature of the goal itself. If the game day magic comes through and 7:20 feels easy in the first half then I will notch it up for a second half negative split. I have learned from too many slower second halves to get too aggressive in the first half and then not have enough guts left to finish strong.

Lessons are learned hard in the marathon. Prepare, plan and hope. Be under control in the front for a better finish.

2011 Team LIVESTRONG Run – General Donation


One Hundred

100 miles over two weeks

100 days of running 8 miles or more

100 plus dollars to enter a marathon

100 meters not on the training schedule

100 words or more per post

100 ways to prepare a turkey (ok I don’t know where that came from)

100 mile ultra marathon (not in this life)

100th post for run440plus

It has been a fun ride so far and I am looking forward to the next 100 plus blogs. One marathon is just around the corner in Fargo on May 21st. Chicago in the Fall. I hope everyone has found some encouraging words and will continue their training. 100 over and out.

Thank you Jim and Margie for your contribution to the Livestrong Foundation for Cancer Survivor Programs.

2011 Team LIVESTRONG Run – General Donation

Marathon Motivations

As exciting it is to start a marathon, what we all want is to finish. It is going to hurt, you will need to mentally overcome and need to fight to the finish. Why do we put ourselves through this pain? Personal satisfaction, glory or fame? What the movie The Spirit of the Marathon has to say about why we run marathons is that once you have finished a marathon you believe you can do anything.

No matter where your life takes you, hope can be found in many different ways. Choosing to make improvements in your life starts with discovering goals and setting out to accomplish them. Be willing to fight for your goals and you will see the improvements. Hope for a better tomorrow starts with hope. Hope will lead to vision and vision will lead to the work at foot. Get working and anything is possible. Finishing one marathon might just be the start.

2011 Team LIVESTRONG Run – General Donation

Old Friend New Motivation

Stuck on cruise control. Going through the motions. The rut as high as the corn on the Fourth of July. However you want to put it, there are times when we all get comfortable and forget how to push things to the next level. I have been satisfied with my marathon training. The weather is getting better, so my times have improved as the temps rise. But I needed a push. I had become complacent.

Then out of Southern Louisiana came a bolt of lightning. An old roommate from my rugby days joined Facebook. Soon came a friend request and a “Like” on my Run 440 plus Facebook page. We exchanged short life stories and spoke of running the Boston Marathon in 2012. I came to find out that he started running in the last 2 years and smoked my fastest marathon time in both of his attempts. Running 3:05 in New York City and 2:59 at the Marti Gras Marathon 2 weeks ago.

This was the push I needed to reevaluate my training habits. To dig deep and push the pace. No excuses. My time is running out. I don’t know how many more marathons I have left and I am not going to waste the opportunities I have in front of me.

I thought of my friend’s times during my speed workout tonight. I hit the track and ran each 800 repeat faster than the one before it. After I was done, I didn’t feel done DONE, so I hit the big hill in town and ran 6 hill repeats. Pushing the pace to to reach the guts out feeling that my legs won’t provide on a flat surface.

I know I am slower than I was 5 years ago, so I have to have the endurance and I won’t get that without hard work. My speed is enough to get me to my goals I just have to have the guts to get there.

I am thankful for the help of a friend. I am hopeful to help those who want to be motivated to do great things. Give your gifts to others so to speak.

Naked Truth

You can run, but you can’t hide  from… yourself. Your body talks to you in many ways. Whether it be minor pains to cramping to outward appearance, your body will tell you the things you need to know.

The mirror can motivate you to make changes. Your heart can say slow down or speed up. Your calves can say go for it or take a break.

If you listen, you will find the answers you need to be the person you need to be. This may seem like an oversimplified message, which is the point. Sometimes if you go bare bones and don’t get overcomplicated with the processes, then the needed life changes will appear right in front of you.

So strip and learn the naked truth.

Chicago 2001 Part 2


After the first mile the course was still packed with runners. A water stop was coming up at mile 2 and I wasn’t really thirsty yet, so I decided to skip it to see if things would thin out a bit. I worked. It was like a parting of the red sea of runners. From 2 miles on there was plenty of room to breath and run at varying paces if need be. I also made up some time in the last mile and was sitting at 15:30 minutes  (7:15 pace). Now this was back when I could kick off a 5:15 mile so making up the time wasn’t the problem. Being overly aggressive in a 26.2 mile race can backfire on you pretty easily. We will see how this turns out.

Now running in October of 2001 in a big city marathon was a little scary. I remember looking up at the Sears Tower at one point and visualizing a plane flying into it. 911 was fresh in everyone’s mind and weeks before the race we weren’t sure if it would be cancelled due to the terrorist threat. So much to think about when running involves so much more than the task at feet. Part of what makes running great is the chance to resolve personal issues in your mind while running. In a marathon it is no different. I was in a less than happy marriage at the time. I may have not have found peace without running. I was able to find a clearer picture of my life and eventually make decisions which would make for a better round two on the marriage front. Now back to the marathon.

With the crowd continuing to push my pace, I was able to maintain the 3:10 goal pace of 7:15 per. I remember hitting the half marathon point and thinking this is no problem. I have got this. I was right on pace through 20 miles. After 20 miles I thought “Where is the wall?” Everybody talks about the wall at 20, where is that bad boy? 21 miles came…no wall. 22 miles came….no wall. 23 miles came and…..the hit me like a wall should like a ton of frickin’ bricks. My plan had been to run the entire distance and I say I did that, but just lifting my feet off the ground on each recoil was the hardest thing I have ever done. Getting smacked around a Rugby Pitch for 80 minutes didn’t compare to this. The body was telling me, “I hate you for doing this to me, now I am going to make you suffer!”

The last 3.2 miles I couldn’t think and I couldn’t keep track of my pace. All I knew was that I was bleeding pace like the Grand Canyon bleeds the Colorado River. Hoover Dam it all! My goal was leaving me. The dream was dying here. I finished in 3:21:24.  11:24 off of my goal. and 6:24 off of my fall back goal (3:15, Boston Q time for a 36 year-old male).

I got my finisher’s medal, a banana and a water and I limped to the meeting spot by the Al Bundy fountain. On the way I tried to throw the banana peel away and missed the trash can, just short. As I am trying to bend down (with no success) an 80 year-old lady often to and pickup the banana peel for me and threw it away. True story! I was so cramped up, I made the elderly look spry.

While waiting for Doug to bring my sweats, I told myself I was never bad word, bad word, bad word doing this bad word thing again. After Doug and Dave arrived and I was in my sweats and beginning to warm up, I started to plan for the 2002 Chicago Marathon. The disappointment of not qualifying drove me that next year.

(to be continued with Chicago 2002)

The Dream

When I was a teenager back in the 80’s I had a subscription to Sports Illustrated. Every week I read that thing cover to cover. One week there was an article on The Boston Marathon. I wasn’t any sort of distance runner at the time, but I thought that it must  be a cool thing to run The Boston Marathon. I couldn’t believe that humans were capable of running 26.2 miles at 5:00 per mile pace. The World record in the mile was around 3:45 at the time. So just over a minute more per mile people were running 26 of those bad boys.

A few years later, my hometown of Iowa City, Ia had a marathon and I went out to watch. Seeing the pain on the runner’s faces made me think that this was an accomplishment that couldn’t be taken lightly. If I was going to go for it I would have to be in the best shape of my life. During my college years my conditioning was not anywhere near what I needed it to be.

After college I started playing Rugby. My overall fitness was improving greatly. My sprint speed was at it’s best ever. In high school I had topped out at 4.8 sec for the 40 yard dash. During my Rugby days I got my 40 down to 4.5. To put that in perspective Division I football running backs are in the 4.45-4.6 range and wide receivers are in the 4.3-4.4 range. I was fast for a club Rugby team. Our coach had us run 2 miles before practice as a warm up and we probably ran another 6 miles during practice and games. I was getting a taste of the endurance factor for those kind of miles. I liked how it made me feel.

Then it was all over. I was playing basketball in a winter league with my Rugby teammates and I injured my knee that required surgery. After rehab, I reinjured my knee and I just have never had the stability necessary for quick burst and the side to side cutting that Rugby and basketball require.

Depression set in. My whole life I have had a strong desire to compete. To have the sport that I loved  taken away from me left me devastated. I started to run. My original hope was to have the opportunity to come back and play Rugby. That hope soon faded, however I developed a fondness for running.

Running gave me the chance to become healthy again both physically and mentally. I was afforded peace and great thought on long runs. Working through life’s trials are a breaze out there on the road. To those who think running is boring, they haven’t opened up their minds and let the experience take them away to places beyond mere transportational means.

I have heard the bashers say that they do not need to run a marathon to prove anything as they have accomplished plenty in their lives. I agree that I don’t have to run a marathon to prove anything. I run because I feel good about the experience and the goal of running a marathon just gets me out the door on rainy days as well as the nice ones.

I don’t HAVE to run Boston. I would just like the opportunity if my body lets me.

Post Navigation