Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What I Love and Hate about Running, Round II…

I love that after a 20 mile run I can eat pizza without guilt, I hate port-a-potty lines

I love the volunteers who tend the water stations, I hate the mess I make all over myself trying to drink after mile 15

I love the excitement of the marathon start, I hate thinking; “wow the finish line is really a long way away.”

I love the crowd support, I hate the guy at mile 18 cheering “your almost there.”

I love getting a new pair of running shoes, I hate retiring my old comfortable and trusted pair…we’re friends!

I love the colorful/creative marathon ads, I hate when they make you search the fine print for the location

I love that they have photographers taking our pictures as we run, I hate that they are so expensive that I can’t afford to buy them, because I really WANT too

I love that everyone can run a marathon, I hate that I’m routinely beat buy some really old and really young people

I love the running community, I hate that I did not start running until I was 35

I love blogging about my running, I hate finding spelling errors after hitting “POST”

What do you love and hate about running…let me know! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Places I WISH I Would Have Run…

During a 20 year military career you get to see a lot of the world.  Over my time in the US Air Force, I was deployed or stationed at some truly wonderful locations.  Some of these locations offered some of the best and most scenic running venues any runner could ask for.  Unfortunately for me…there were a few places I did not get to lace up the shoes and go for run.  Here are the places I wish I would have run.

-- Edinburgh, Scotland, I thought it would have been so much fun to run the streets of around the castle and the hustle and bustle of downtown.  I did get to eat the hagus…joy, do what?

-- Ireland, the rolling green hills were so beautiful.

-- Akrotiri, Cyprus, a great place for some wonderful beach runs.

-- Wake Island, not much on the island but it would have been fun to run it.

-- Rome, Italy, what can I say how great it would have been to run around the Coliseum.

-- Athens, Greece my biggest running regret of all time.  I stood outside of Olympic stadium and so wanted to jump the short fence and do a lap on the track…running in the foot steps of the immortals.

Where have you been, but did not get the opportunity to lace up your shoes and go for a run?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My marathons, a look back…

As I approach my sixth marathon, I find it hard to believe I ran one let alone five.  My mind is often draw back to when I toed that first marathon starting line and thought “Can I really do this” and the excitement I felt when seeing the finishing line.  I find that even after five successful 26.2 mile adventures and thousands of miles of training I still wonder “Can I really do this” and seeing the finishing line, no matter the race length never gets old.  Here is a look back at my previous marathons.

First, Shakespeare Marathon, 2005:  You'll never forget your first kiss, your first car, or your first puppy and you'll never forget your first marathon.  Seven years ago I had the wild idea of trying to push my body to the point that I could run 26.2 miles.  And after nearly 900 miles, five races, three 20 mile runs and all the lonely cold damp runs in the wee hours of the morning, I was standing on the starting line...full race report can be seen here.

Second, Richmond Marathon, 2005:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY…How many times are you able to run a marathon on your birthday?  Coming across the Runner's World advertisement for this marathon and noticed the date...I knew I had to run this race.  Add in that Runner's World staff was named Richmond the “Friendliest Marathon” and I was sold for my second marathon.  I ran a best time…full race report can be seen here

Third, National Marathon, 2009:  A little gap in between second and third marathons. I also had a drop off in performance.  Training for the first two, I ran in the mornings, getting 7+ miles in a day.  2008 saw my USAF retirement and my civilian career.  With the new job my running time moved from the mornings to late afternoon. This move left little energy for my runs.  The result was slower times, yet this was a great run around our capital!

Fourth, Shamrock Marathon, 2010:  My 4th and slowest marathon...I was under prepared for this one.  In the six months leading up to this marathon I was only able to surpass the 100 mile per month benchmark twice.  Not only did I hit the wall, but the wall them collapsed and fell on top of me.      

Fifth, Richmond Marathon, 2011:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY X2, my 5th marathon and second opportunity to run Richmond Marathon on my birthday...full race report can be seen here.

And that brings me up to less then 25 days away from my sixth marathon adventure, Shamrock Marathon 2012.  This run will be special as I’ve been training with a good friend Susan C. and this will be her first marathon.  Wish us luck because I’m sure as we stand on the starting line, I’ll quietly once again wonder “Can I really do this, again?”

Sham Rock On!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ryan Hall, Running with Joy

In high school, I hated reading and more so I hated book reports.  Today I enjoy reading very much and enjoy letting known my opinions on these books.  The lesson here is if we are interested in the subject matter…we may find a love for something we once dreaded.

Ryan Hall may be the best American born long distance runner to come along in the last decade.  An American marathon medal in 2012 rests squarely on the shoulders of the London bound men’s team.

The professional athletes world is so much different then the 9 to 5 of us mortals.  I find it fascinating when we get an opportunity to look inside their world.  Hall offers us a glimpse inside his world, the world as a professional runner and as a Christian.  Both were inspiring to me and very informative on what makes Ryan tick.

Amateur runners may assume that running for a profession would be so easy, everything is set up for you to run and you’re getting paid to do it.  This book confirms, although we both run, the amateur and the professional, we do so in two totally different plains.  Ryan provides a day by day glimpse into this part of his world.  He outlines his training program leading up to the 2010 Boston marathon, not only commenting on his training but also on the pressures and fears that go along with competing against the worlds best long distance runners.  For those of us who find it a challenge to get in our daily workout, Hall goes to great lengths detailing his two a day workouts, giving mileage, time and types of runs.  The book offers a unique perspective on a life centered on getting in the miles compared with the average runner who must squeeze in miles between work, home, errands and all the distractions of life.  Ryan not only defines his workouts with the measurables (distance, speed and time) but he also lets the reader in on the mental aspect of trying to get your body to perform at world class level day in and day out.  After reading this book I find it insightful that the elites struggle with both physical and mental performance as well.

In the book, Ryan also comes clean on how running effects his out look on life and of himself.  Yet he also offers a great point of view that God gave him the gift of being a world class runner to inspire others and not to measure himself or be defined by his performance.  The “joy” of running is something we all have and Ryan highlights that when we run for the joy of the run, not the reward at the end of the race we are truly able to reach a higher level of performance, and that does not always mean being the first one to break the tape.  Ryan finds for himself and points out for his readers that God wants the best for each one of us, and we need to see ourselves through God’s eyes…not by the time on the clock, the position we finish in a race or by the world standards imposed on us.

Who is truly the winner?  The natural athlete who has everything going for them and finishes the race first, or the middle aged women who over came cancer, ran in the wee hours of the morning while holding down a job, and won her age group at a local 5k?  The truth is we all win some and we all lose some.  Victory is in the joy!

Ryan Hall’s Running for Joy is a very good read, I highly recommend it.

 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:35,37 NIV

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Marathon Running, what not to do…

Once I decided I wanted to run a marathon, I dived into learning as much about the race as I could.  And after 11 years of researching, reading, understanding and experiencing five marathons (best: 4h10m) I feel like I know a little about what I’m doing.  Even thou I have stayed at a few Holiday Inns, I’m not a coach and in no way do I claim to be an elite marathoner but I do claim to be a pretty fast “Back of the Packer.”

Now realizing that knowing what to do and doing it is always the struggle of getting maximum performance out of any athlete.  I figured I would share with you what I’ve learned that I should NOT do before my next marathon, but can’t seam to stop myself.

Diet Mountain Dew, there has got to be a better drink then this leading up to a marathon, but try as I might to get on a good hydration plan I always find myself downing large quarantines of dew.

Stretching, I know I should and I do sneak in a few good toe touches and deep knee bends before a race but can’t seam to fit a stretching routine into my regular workouts.

Chocolate Fudge Covered Pop-Tarts, Yes I know Power Bar has spent thousands, maybe even millions on sports nutrition, but nothing tastes better race morning.

Core Body Workouts, Again I’ve read and understand that overall body fitness will improve marathon performance, but I’m not a sit-up and weight lifting guy…I like to run.

Oreos and Milk, The best recovery feeding time is within an hour after your long run…and boy do cookies and milk taste good about then!

Ideal Body Weight, last but not least…my ideal body weight (5’7”) is 147 pounds.  Okay I’m not ready for the Biggest Loser yet but I have not weighed 147 pounds since graduating from High School back in 1982.  I need to lose a few pounds but I’m afraid I’ll never see nor want to see 147 pounds again…thinking 160 would be a improvement. 

So there you have my keys to avoiding peek performance and remaining at the back of the pack.  In all honesty, I really need to stop some of these habits to not only run a better marathon but also to live a healthier life.  But at mile 25 the promise of a handful Oreos is just the right motivation to keep me going!

I’ll try to do better…

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 NIV

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Run with Raven

My wife and I booked a KLOVE friends and family Christian music cruise out of Miami Florida a year ago.  During the course of the year I looked forward with great anticipation to the great music and fellowship but also to run in a new city.  When thinking about where to run, it hit me.  About three years ago I read a story (Marathon and Beyond, Nov/Dec 2009) about a guy who has run on Miami’s South Beach for 37 years straight, never missing a day.  Not only does this guy run every day but he runs 8 miles every day…come rain or shine, broken bones or hurricanes; The Raven Runs!

After a quick internet search (www.ravenrun.net) and re-reading the article I just had to meet up with the Raven and run.

Super Bowl Sunday my wife and I arrived headed to South Beach and planned to be at the 5th street life guard station at 4 p.m. and at a little after 4 p.m. Raven showed up.  At first I was a bit stand offish, but once I introduced myself Raven greeted me and talked as if we were old friends.  Raven is a character, but also one of the nicest people I’ve met.  On this day 8 runners showed up to run with Raven, 6 repeat runners and two newbie’s, Roberto S. and I.  Once everyone was ready to roll, Raven got us running on the North route.  We started at the 5th street life guard station going south to the Pier then we turned north to 47th and back south to 5th.

Raven has run with over 1500 different people during the 37 year streak and it is uncanny on how he remembers the details of everyone.  As we headed south to the pier Raven began his roll call.  For each runner he gave a 20 second introduction ending with their “Raven run” earned nickname.  For us new people he introduced us to the veterans by name and asked a few questions to help him give us nicknames…if we earned them by finishing the 8 mile run.

During the run Raven told some interesting stories, 37 years on South Beach allowed his path to cross with a lot of locals and a few celebrities.  My favorite story was about Muhammad Ali and The Beetles.  Raven told a story about when Ali met the Beetles for the first time back in the day, he was then Cassius Clay, and the Beetle a little known English band, Ali commented to his trainer Angelo Dundee after meeting them “Who where those four wimps”...Raven said I’m sure Ali knew who they were a few years later.

Running on the sand was a bit taxiing, but after talking with a raven run veteran “Hitter” we picked up the pace and logged a few extras blocks as we finished ahead of the group and ran back to finish 8+ miles with Raven and the rest.  When all was done Roberto earned his nickname “Ballpark” and after a little prompting from my wife Raven named me “Cledawg”….a fitting name just the same.  I was the 1,531st runner to run with Raven, I hope with good health, and GOD’s blessing Raven will be going for a good long time.  I plan to be back and run again with Raven.  

If you’re ever in Miami go run with the Raven.  And tell him Cledawg sent ya!

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV

Saturday, February 4, 2012

January A Look Back…

With the start of every New Year comes the “New Years Resolutions,” the listing of New Goals and New dreams.  And although I had a good 2011, 2012 looks to be even better on the running front.  My goals for 2012 are as follows:

Run 3 marathons
Run 1500 miles this year
24 hour run with 75 miles
Run a 20 miler once a month
Race at least once each month
Not miss a scheduled training run
Not have more then 2 days off in a row without a really good reason
(i.e. marathon or ultra recovery)

And the biggest goal, get my friend Susan C. thru her first marathon.

So one month into 2012 let’s see how we are doing.

1500 Miles run:  To reach 1500 miles I need 125 miles per month, In January I ran 144.1 miles over 19 days, with 19 extra miles, I’m on target, so far so good.  January’s runs included one race, a 5K, the shortest run at 5 miles, two long training runs, 16 and 20 miles, and never going more then two days in a row missing a run.  It was during the 16 mile long run that I went over 9000 miles during my running career (since Aug 2000).  I did miss one scheduled training run, and that was to perform a good deed for a friend.  I’m going to give myself a mulligan on the missing training run.  I would say January was a success.

Run 3 marathons: I’ve run five marathons in my career, the most in one year being two (my first and second) in 2005.  I have not run a full marathon so far, but I’m signed up to run the Shamrock Marathon in March.  I’m actively seeking a second and third marathon for 2012.  Susan C is on target and plans on running Shamrock for her first Marathon.

24 Hour Run, I’m mentally checked in but have not registered yet.  I have talked two other running pals into running this event with me and have a support plan in place.  My goal of 75 miles looks reachable.  I’ve run this twice before never going the full 24 hrs, I’ve reached 50 miles in 12 hrs and 52.5 miles in 16 hrs.  This year I want to be in the event the entire 24 hours and I’ll adapt a new approach; running 10 minutes and walking 5 with limited time off the course.  Just need the cash!

It’s February let’s get busy!