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My Run Journal – August 2012

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8/20
It’s time to get back to it. I haven’t run since the first of June, and it’s starting to affect me more than just physically. Lately, I’ve been stressed. crabby. grouchy. tired. inpatient. short-tempered. snippy. basically just difficult to live with. I just jogged two miles, and I couldn’t even make 1.5 miles without having to walk. Weak. I have 9 weeks to go till my next half marathon, and I’m determined to come within 5 minutes of my time last October. That’s gonna require some serious dedication. I think I’m up for it. Let’s roll.

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I’m a Runner Now

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As I sit here in the front yard on this beautiful spring evening, the sun is setting.  The birds are singing.  The neighbors are mowing their yards.  The children are playing in the cul-de-sac, giggling those carefree laughs of innocence.  Off in the distance, the faint sound of the ice cream truck playing its familiar summer tune rings softly in the background.  It’s a beautiful opportunity to sit and enjoy life.  To reflect on the day.  To relax and rest.  And yet, I find myself longing for something more.  Something is missing.

It’s been a little over a year since I started this run journey.  Run journey…it seems odd to even call it that really.  It’s not so much a “run” journey, per se, as it is a “fitness” or “health” journey.  I try to do other things to mix up my workouts…swimming, strength training, stretching and circuit training.  I’m open to any kind of workout really…anything to break up the monotony.  It’s just that running is what’s finally motivated me to keep going…the catapult that’s launched my passion and resolve to improve my overall fitness and level of health.  So a run journey is what I shall call it.

Which is still odd to me, really.  I mean I’ve always hated running.  And yet, here I am, only two months shy of turning 39, and I just recently “retired” my first pair of running shoes.  I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to say I love running or that I even enjoy it.  I still really don’t like it much…which is, I suppose, an improvement over hating it.  It’s really more about how it makes me feel that I enjoy…that I know it’s helping me shed some pounds…how much better I feel about myself after I’ve logged some miles…and that I know the long term benefits far outweigh any negative I can ever conjure up.

As the sun drops behind the neighbor’s house, and the day draws near its end, a coolness fills the air.  The warmth of the sun now gone, I sit in the shadows of a day now also gone. I’m feeling a sense of loss.  I’ve missed an opportunity.  I have a longing deep within to take today back and start again.  To start it the way I know I should have.  To start it the way I really wanted to.  To start it with a run.  And that’s when it hits me.  That longing to run…that desire to be out there pounding the pavement…that internal passion to want to subject my body to pain…it all adds up to one thing that I’ve been fighting for a year now.  I’m not who I was a year ago at the start of this journey.  I’m a runner now.

And still, when I look in the mirror, I don’t see a runner looking back at me…at least not in the sense of how I picture a runner.  So, I have to ask myself…when did this happen?  I mean, I don’t really believe I woke up this morning and said, “I’m a runner.”  I think this has been a slow onset, one I should have seen coming…but didn’t.  I guess it’s kinda like how you would cook a live frog without him ever knowing he’s dinner…not that I’ve ever boiled a frog.  But I can imagine that rather than tossing him right in the boiling water…where he would simply jump right out, you’d put him in a pot of cool water and then slowly bring it to a boil, so that by the time he knows he’s dinner, it’s too late…he never saw it coming.  That’s kinda how I feel…like someone tossed me in a pot of cool water about a year ago and has slowly been turning up the heat on me.  I adapted to my changing environment with each slow adjustment, and now I look back and realize I’m not who I was a year ago.  I’ve changed.  I’ve morphed into something new.  Without ever seeing it coming, I’ve become a runner.

A few weeks ago, I was driving around town doing some errands, and I had to have passed a dozen or more people who were taking advantage of the cool weather to get their run in.  Fellow runners out there logging their miles. It wasn’t until after about the fourth runner that I realized I was even doing it.  Until recently, when I saw a runner on the road, I would quietly think to myself, “don’t know why you’re out there doing that!  You won’t catch me running unless someone bigger than me is trying to kill me.”  But today, I caught myself doing it…what I would imagine other runners do when they see a fellow runner.  I was checking them out.  Several times, I was actually staring…intently focusing on their stance, their stride, and their attire…what cool accessories were they wearing that might make my runs easier?  What kind of outfit is he wearing?  That hat looks nice.  Those shoes look worn…I bet her stride would improve if she bought a new pair.  Nice sunglasses…I need to get a strap for the back of mine too.  I think that’s when this little thought hit me…Whoa!  I’m a runner now.

And what’s even better is that my NE and SI want to run with me.  NE and I ran together earlier this week for the first time…a little over 1/4 mile on two different occasions…and SI joined us for just under 1/4 mile.  Bubba, watching you run that lap all out as fast as you could was glorious and encouragingly exciting…to know you both wanted to run it to be with me makes me want to bring y’all out more often, to begin fostering in your young lives now a desire to be healthy and active.  To reinforce to you that I’m not who I was.  I’m a runner now.

So as I sit here in the shadows of having recently finished my second half, I’m looking to the future…to my summer and fall schedule to see where I can fit in two more by the end of the year…and how I can get 4-5 in next year…maybe even a triathlon.  I just typed out the word “half”.  That I’m now typing out the jargon of a runner, and not just saying it, has to scream I’m not who I was…I’m a runner now.

That feeling of getting out there and pushing past that initial pain threshold to reach a state of acceptance.  Acceptance that this is the new normal.  Acceptance that this is what it’s going to take.  Acceptance that I’m not who I was…that this is who I am now…I’m a runner now.

Love,

Dad

Pass or Be Passed

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Running in long distance races reminds me that life isn’t much different. In a race, you’re either passing or being passed. Sure, there are some you’ll keep pace with…for awhile. But unless you are running the race together from start to finish, you’ll eventually lose them, whether by passing or being passed. Pass, or be passed. Run your race your way, but be mindful of what’s ahead of you…plan your pass, so you don’t get tripped up. And be mindful of what’s behind you, so you don’t get tripped up. Know where you’re coming from, and know where you’re going. Pass or be passed.

Keep your head up, and your eyes fixed on the prize. There will be times when life just sucks the energy and will to keep going from your body. Your body and mind will want to quit, and it’ll be a constant mental battle to keep moving forward. You’ll have to push through the pain…of loss…of rejection…of illness and injury…of disappointments. But you gotta keep moving forward, because God has great things waiting for you at the end of your journey. Pass or be passed, but keep moving forward.

There will be times when holding your head up is gonna be hard. It’ll take all of your energy some days. But keep your head up. You never know what cool things God has planned for you to see and do along the way. The view will not always be beautiful, but there are amazingly beautiful things to be seen in everything…if you have your head up to notice them. If you can keep your head up, you’ll see the guy dressed in a cardboard robot outfit running beside you. You’ll see a group of firefighters walking together in full turnout gear for a cause…meant to inspire and motivate. You’ll see half a dozen police officers in full tactical gear walking with a purpose. You’ll see a blind man, holding onto his friend, pass you. You’ll meet people who will want to help you along the way…let them…it feels good to help others, because we were made to give…so don’t deny someone else that gift. God has plans to prosper and bless you…to see you succeed. To reward you with riches beyond your imagination. All you gotta do is believe it. And keep your head up. You’re either passing or being passed. So pay attention.

Love,

Dad

My Run Journal – May 2012

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“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Neale Donald

If you’ve found this post and want to go back to the beginning of my running journey,
start here.

Click here to see my April 2012 Run Journal

5/5
God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. Today’s half marathon in Indy, the Mini 500, was grueling and painful, and a privilege. I started out the first mile at a 13:40 pace and felt really good. I slowed over the next 7 miles, barely holding a 15:00 pace through 8 miles. At 8.5 miles, I hit the wall, and had to slow and walk. Honestly, I was pretty much walking already…my mind just didn’t know it yet. For the last 4.5 miles, it was all I could do to jog .1 mile at a time, fast walking twice as far. I finished, though. And I’m happy with that…because God is happy with me for living outside of my comfort zone. I enjoyed crossing the field of bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, along with the sights of downtown Indy.
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My official time was 03:28:42, burning over 5100 calories. My heart rate was over 85% of my recommended max heart rate for over three hours. Aye carumba!

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Time to rest up for the Joplin Memorial Half Marathon in two weeks.

5/6
My body is SO sore! I need a chiropractor and a masseuse on call after a race. Today, it’s 45 minutes of stretching and a 10 minute walk on the treadmill. Ouch!

5/19
Ran a 5K with dad today in Joplin…the inaugural Joplin Memorial Run. Enjoyed it. I’d signed up for the half marathon, but hurt my neck earlier in the week and didn’t want to risk making it worse. I enjoyed the run with dad. He says I pushed him to a little faster pace, which ended up being a personal record for him, and third place in his age bracket. Seeing the whole family at the finish line cheering is on was awesome! It was a good run and workout. Felt good to get moving again after the half in Indy two weeks ago.

5/21
Good workout at the track with a friend. Jogged 1/2 mile, did some ab work (crunches, planks and scissors), followed by 10 sprints up a 20 yard, 30 degree hill. Very winded after. Jogged another 1/2 mile and walked 1/2 mile to cool down.

5/22
Nice 45 minute workout at the track. Four 100 yard dashes, 4-40 yard sprints, averaging 8 seconds, and 1/2 mile jog. NE was with me for most of it, and SI came in at the end for a lap around the track. Nice to run with my boys. Earlier today, NE and I ran 1/3 mile around the block at his request. As long as they enjoy running with me, I’m in.

5/25
One hour total body workout at work with the fitness trainer. Abs and core muscles, cardio and legs. My legs were (and still are) jello, and I came as close to puking as I’ve ever come without actually blowing chunks…I’m sore already, only 6 hours later, and loving it.

5/27
1.5 miles on the treadmill in just over 18:00, alternating every .25 miles between a 6.0 and a 3.5 speed.

5/29
1.5 miles on the treadmill…intervals of .25 miles at a 6.0 speed (10min/mile) followed by .25 mile or less at a 3.5-4.0 speed, starting with .33 mile at the 6.0 speed. Check out my new goal in My June Run Journal

Love,

Dad

I Am New

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Afterthought to my 4/30 My April Run Journal entry…

I have NO DOUBT that I will receive that strength from above in God’s timing for His glory!  Literally, as soon as I finished writing that entry, I was reminded of this when the song “I Am New” came on my iPod.

“Who I thought I was and who I thought I had to be, I had I give them both up because neither were willing to ever believe.  I am not who I was.  I’m being remade.  I am new.  I’m chosen and holy and I’m dearly loved.  I am new.  Too long have I lived in the shadows of shame believing that there was no way I could change.  But the One who is making everything new doesn’t see me the way that I do.”

I’m done making excuses for who I am and how I run.  I run slow.  I’m overweight and not in as good of health as I want to be.  I run slow.  I can run farther, longer and faster now than I could a year ago.  I can run farther and longer now than I ever thought I could.  The double digit miles I log weekly pale in comparison to what my naysayers do.  I’m done making excuses for who I am and how I run.  “This is who I am now.  I’m being remade.  I Am New!”

Love,

Dad

My Run Journal – April 2012

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“The distance between dreams and reality is called Discipline.”
Unknown

If you’ve found this post and want to go back to the beginning of my running journey,
start here.

Click here to see my March 2012 Run Journal

Here it is April 2nd, just one short month until I run a half marathon in Indianapolis. I am not physically ready. Mentally, I think I’m getting there. I’ve accepted the reality that my pace will be slow…slower than my last half marathon back in October. The simple truth of the matter is that I’ve not trained as stringently as I did for the last one. I’ll pay the price for that on race day. The lesson I’ve learned in this is to never stop running. I have to have perpetual forward motion. I have to have another goal lined up before I accomplish the one I’m working toward. So, crazy me…I signed up for another half marathon only two weeks after this one. No break for me. And that’s a good thing actually. Back in 2000, when I lost 65 pounds in 12 weeks, I took a week off to celebrate and rest up for what was to have been another 12 week program to follow. Remarkably, that week turned into a decade. So…no rest for me. Not if I want my dreams to become reality.

4/2
Outside at grandma and grandpa’s house. 5 miles took me 1:18:32. Pretty weak at a 16:00 per mile pace. The dirt roads and the hills around here are crazy.

4/16
6 miles outside in 01:32:12 – 1800 calories

4/17
5 miles outside in 01:15:26 – 1325 calories

4/20
8 miles from work to home after shift change. 01:56:50 and 2260 calories. The first half was a 14:00/mile pace, done in 55:40, so I slowed down in the last half. Rainy and a cold 53*. Tried out some new calf compression socks. I like them. My levels of perceived pain and exertion were both lower than normal, and now as I write this several hours later, my legs aren’t as sore as they normally would be. Almost got hit by a car while crossing the busiest intersection. I had the walk signal, but some yahoo turning left on solid green was paying more attention to her cell phone conversation than her driving. Job security, I ‘spose. Maybe I should have gone with the neon green compression socks instead of the black. 🙂

4/30
What better way to end the month than with a 2 mile jog on a cool evening? Yeah, a 3 mile jog would have been better, seeing as how that’s what I set out to do. Truth is, I’m not mentally in the game. I’m gonna need some serious strength from above to pull
13.1 miles outa my rear end on Saturday. To see how it went, check out My May Run Journal

Love,

Dad

My Run Journal – March 2012

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“True strength comes when you’re tested.”
Theodore Roosevelt

If you’ve found this post and want to go back to the beginning of my running journey,
start here.

Click here to see my February 2012 Run Journal

March was a pretty crazy month…about as busy as my February. I did a pretty poor job of tracking my running, and it took awhile to break through that wall I was hitting at 2 miles. I think what finally did it was getting outside. I hate the treadmill. With a passion. When I’m running on the road, I run a slower pace, but it’s more enjoyable, and I don’t feel the pain as badly. It’s a more realistic run for me. I certainly haven’t done as well running with consistency as I should be. For most of March, I hit it only 2-3 times a week, and I tracked it even less. Below is a brief summary of the last few runs.

3/20
Outside
Mile 1 – 14:20
Mile 2 – 14:45

3/21
Outside
Mile 1 – 14:10
Mile 2 – 29:50
Mile 2.6 – 39:30

3/22
Outside
3 miles on the high school track

3/24
5 miles on the high school track

3/28
40 minutes leg and abs workout

3/29
Outside
Mile 1 – 13:50
Mile 2 – 14:30
Walked 4 minutes at mile 2
4.5 miles – 1:05:16
1179 calories

My overall per mile pace is pretty weak, averaging 14+ minutes. But I’m moving, which is more than I was doing this time last year. I’m starting to see the pounds dropping again too. It’s helping that a friend from church has been running with me every now and then. We’ve been meeting at the high school track a couple nights a week. It’s nice to have someone there pushing me to keep going. He’s not really even pushing me, so to speak…just having him there makes the run easier and motivates me to keep going further and faster. With a month to go to my next half marathon, I definitely gotta keep going. To continue with me on this journey, read My April 2012 Run Journal

Love,

Dad

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