Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How much further?

So i'm running at cheatham hill today, bopping along at a slightly faster pace than normal, stretching the legs after the Darkside 8 Hr run on Saturday..The sun is shining, there's actually a cool breeze blowing and the deer are out in talk back meadow..

Going down the first steep hill i pass a fellow walking, very business like, eyes forward, and as we're going the same direction and it's a bit steep right there, i continue past him without trying to say anything to him. He also remained silent..

Over the bridges, through a meadow as i listen to the children swimming in a neighborhood pool nearby i think about my day, things i did at work, people i saw and spoke with..My legs feel strong and i'm running sections i normally walk to catch my breath..i don't have to stop today..i'm running them today..

Back into the woods, up a short hill, down hill just a bit, cross another meadow and pick up the wider path to the turn around, hitting it about 30 seconds faster than normal- yeah, come on! I'm really feeling pretty good..i wonder why it's not so difficult to breathe today..i mean, it's still somewhere in the 90's, the sun is beating down, i'm running (for me) briskly, yet while i'm breathing heavy, i'm not yet gasping..

Down the hill, back to a meadow and i see the same fellow approaching that i passed earlier..We are now going to pass each other so the running rules dictate some sort of personal acknowledgement, so i look up and wave..

"how much further," he asks..

what? uh..until i finish? it's a trail, a big circle, right? ...i'm not sure what to think as i actually trip a little trying to slow down, turn around and answer as my momentum has already carried me past the walker.

"for what?" i respond, thinking why does he care how far i'm running today..

"for the farm."

oh yeah! there's a farm or something on this trail..."not much further," i tell him as i turn and continue my run. huh, i think, people come out here for something other than running..crazy..

i did manage an enjoyable run, though, all things considered.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Darkside 8 Hr Run

What a day! I really had a good time at the Darkside 8 Hr Run this past weekend and I was surprised at how well I seemed to recover afterwards..Today's Tuesday and I've got some residual soreness in my lower legs and some lower back pain but otherwise I'm doing well. Haven't gone for another run yet, though, I'm giving that another day or so, trying to stretch my back and lose this nagging pain..

For a short recap, I'll say the Darkside Running Club really knows how to put on a good event..The volunteers were plenty, the water and gatorade were bottomless, and the pizza at the finish was delicious..The venue, Huddleston Pond, is just that, a small lake / pond, surrounded by a paved path which is partly shaded throughout the day. Our run began a little late, around 0725 hrs, with the women going first under an overcast sky. I was hoping it would remain overcast and cooler than the previous week and all in all it wasn't a terrible day weatherwise. The clouds disappeared around 0930 hrs or so and the sun beat down on us the rest of the day..

I saw several people I recognized from other events and spoke with several new friends. I met Kirsten and Sam M.who were also running their first 8 Hr event. My plan was to start slowly and then taper towards the end which I stuck to fairly well; I noticed myself huffing and puffing a bit at the start and had to slooow down right away because I was unconsciously keeping up with faster runners.

My nutrition plan was to eat a Hammer gel every 30 minutes, E cap on the hour, and 15 oz of water per hour..I brought some peanut butter and honey sandwiches to munch on when I felt hungry and thought I would stay away from the cookies and other stuff at the feed trough by the start / finish line. I stuck to my plan fairly well but was unable to eat the gel twice an hour.. I managed a few hours but then my stomach got a bit queasy and I stuck mainly to liquids. I tried to monitor my stomach and eat when I felt hunger but not force anything down when I was feeling queasy. I managed two sandwiches during the day.

I was able to run slowly for a few hours, not knowing how many laps I had run by my own choice, but eventually had to give in and walk. I would then alternate between running and walking and as the day progressed my walking periods overtook my running ones..My mantra remained "Run when you can, Walk when you have to, Crawl if you must, but NEVER GIVE UP!" It worked well for me and I was even able to run late in the race.

Not having any experience at running these long events and in this kind of heat (I have always avoided running in the summer heat) I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew I wanted a challenge, which I found, and I wanted to see what my body would do under the circumstances. I feel like I did a good job with my hydration, need more work with my nutrition, and just need more time running long races..I was able to experience the peaks and valleys that come with distance running and I hit some pretty low spots during the run..At least I knew to keep moving forward because the valley would bottom out eventually and I would start to feel better..I experienced this many times on Saturday. What a relief when you climb back up to a peak and really start to feel better and strong!

Anyway, I enjoyed myself, and this type of event was fun because the track was kind of small and intimate. We passed one another constantly, there was always someone nearby to talk to if I needed to, and seeing the front runners fly past for 8 solid hours was inspiring! Having my family show up at times to cheer me on was also special..Lifted my spirits at a time I was struggling pretty badly..

What a great time, I can totally recommend any race put on by the Darkside Running Club. Really first rate people.

Looking forward to my first run this week, prolly tomorrow.. Yeah, come on!

Friday, June 24, 2011

T minus 12 hours and counting....

until the start of the Darkside 8 Hr Run!! This will be my first attempt at this distance and I'm not really sure what to expect..I've been racking my brains trying to pack, thinking of things I may need or wish I had come tomorrow and I'm sure I haven't thought of everything.
Feel pretty good today physically, tried to take it easy, sit around and hydrate and stuff..Right now I'm listening to the thunder storm approaching from the west, Thanks Birmingham! Seems all our bad weather comes from you guys! Wednesday's storm not only sent LeAnne to the hospital for stitches in her foot, but also destroyed our patio furniture and has ripped a large section of siding free from just under the roof! And of course it's at the highest point of our house, where my 6' ladder has NO chance of reaching..Hope this new storm doesn't continue to peel the siding off the house..I don't need that headache.
Back to tomorrow, so I just synced up some jams for LeAnne's ipod she's allowing me to borrow, I believe I'm packed up, just need to chill till the alarm goes off at O'dark thirty..Thanks Kirsten for giving me a ride to PTC tomorrow!
Hopefully I'll have some photos to post afterwards and will give you all the inside scoop on how tomorrow goes for me..


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Breathe in, Breathe out..Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

You may not know it, but I'm a bit of a neat freak. I love order. I crave clean. The reason you may not know it is I have learned to ignore this base impulse because so much of my life is DISORDER. Now, I'm not throwing any stones here, no secret agenda or hidden message, I'm just admitting that my life is a bit cluttered at the moment.
We live in a rather small house, which could be conducive to clean, ordered living, but we have children. I love children, but the children we're blessed with aren't exactly what one would call "neat." So, concessions are inevitably made and clutter creeps in, and before you know it we're living in a full blown attack of the messy.
What an awesome feeling two weeks ago when we had a yard sale and got rid of so much junk from our garage! I love our new garage. Toes are safe- no more knocking into things as you try to tiptoe through the towering piles of crap.
Anyway, having said all that, I came across this short article on decluttering I thought I would share.

Zen Mind: How to Declutter

Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on Twitter.
One of the things that gives me most peace is have a clean, simple home. When I wake up in the morning and walk out into a living room that has been decluttered, that has a minimalist look, and there isn’t junk lying around, there is a calm and joy that enters my heart.
When, on the other hand, I walk out into a living room cluttered with toys and books and extra things all over the place, it is chaos and my mind is frenetic.
I’ve been a simplifier and a declutterer for years now (probably 8-9 years) and I’ve gotten pretty good at it, but I’ve found that you have to keep coming back to revisit your clutter every once in awhile.
Here are my top decluttering tips:
  • Do it in small chunks. Set aside just 15 minutes to declutter just one shelf, and when that shelf or that 15 minutes is up, celebrate your victory. Then tackle another shelf for 15 minutes the next day. Conquering an entire closet or room can be overwhelming, and you might put it off forever. If that’s the case, just do it in baby steps.
  • Set aside a couple hours to do it. This may seem contradictory to the above tip … and it is. It’s simply a different strategy, and I say do whatever works for you. Sometimes, for me, it’s good to set aside part of a morning, or an entire Saturday morning, to declutter a closet or room. I do it all at once, and when I’m done, it feels awesome.
  • Take everything out of a shelf or drawer at once. Whichever of the two above strategies you choose, you should focus on one drawer or shelf at a time, and empty it completely. Then clean that shelf or drawer. Then, take the pile and sort it (see next tip), and put back just what you want to keep. Then tackle the next shelf or drawer.
  • Sort through your pile, one item at a time, and make quick decisions. Have a trash bag and a give-away box handy. When you pull everything out of a shelf or drawer, sort through the pile one at a time. Pick up an item, and make a decision: trash, give away, or keep. Don’t put it back in the pile. Do this with the entire pile, and soon, you’ll be done. If you keep sorting through the pile, and re-sorting, it’ll take forever. Put back only what you want to keep, and arrange it nicely.
  • Be merciless. You may be a pack rat, but the truth is, you won’t ever use most of the junk you’ve accumulated. If you haven’t used it in the last year, get rid of it. It’s as simple as that. If you’ve only used it once or twice in the last year, but know you won’t use it in the next year, get rid of it. Toss it if it’s unsalvageable, and give it away if someone else might be able to use it.
  • Papers? Be merciless, unless it’s important. Magazines, catalogues, junk mail, bills more than a year old, notes to yourself, notes from others, old work stuff … toss it! The only exception is with tax-related stuff, which should be kept for seven years, and other important documents like warranties, birth and death and marriage certificates, insurance, wills, and other important documents like that. But you’ll know those when you see ‘em. Otherwise, toss!!!!
  • If you are on the fence with a lot of things, create a “maybe” box. If you can’t bear to toss something because you might need it later, put it in the box, then close the box, label it, and put it in storage (garage, attic, closet), out of sight. Most likely, you’ll never open that box again. If that’s the case, pull it out after six months or a year, and toss it or give it away.
  • Create a system to stop clutter from accumulating. There’s a reason you have tall stacks of papers all over the place, and big piles of toys and books and clothes. It’s because you don’t have a regular system to keep things in their place, and get rid of stuff you don’t need. This is a topic for another day, but it’s something to think about as you declutter. You’ll never get to perfect, but if you think more intelligently about how your house got cluttered, perhaps you can find ways to stop it from happening again.
  • Celebrate when you’re done! This is actually a general rule in life: always celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Even if you just decluttered one drawer, that’s great. Treat yourself to something delicious. Open that drawer (or closet, or whatever), and admire its simplicity. Breathe deeply and know that you have done a good thing. Bask in your peacefulness.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hump Day!

OK, maybe not officially hump day, but as far as my training goes for the week, it's definitely hump day!
I went to the douglas county high school track and ran a hair over 2 miles just to keep my legs loose and ready and to keep the blood flowing. Tomorrow will probably be an easy to moderate hike after work, thursday will be spent walking and standing around at six flags with the family, friday will be spent on the couch..All in preparation for the Darkside 8 HR Run on saturday!! This will be my first ever attempt at running for 8 hrs and I'm feeling a little bit intimidated..
Here's where I whip out all my pocket excuses as to why I'll fail on saturday, stuff like a lingering chest thing which keeps me from breathing and keeps me coughing all the time, the 40 extra pounds I'm toting on my soft frame, the fact I haven't run further than 2 hours in months, etc, etc..
But I'm not going to drag out those same old tired excuses. I'm not concerned that I will be DFL from the starting gun. Nope, not me.
I'm going to run like I haven't run in years. I'm going to keep moving forward at all costs. I'm going to manage my hydration like a pro and my nutrition like Gordon Ramsey.
I will smash all of my preconceived notions as to what my body is capable of. I will enjoy myself. I will enjoy the challenge.
I am looking forward to spending time with friends Kirsten and Sam, and all the super speedy people I don't yet know.

In other news, I actually got my pipes out and worked on my 2/4 marches..Yeah, come on!

A Fresh Start

Here we go again! I've had a few computer problems, technical stuff I can't sort out, so I've chucked the old blogger and have opened this new one..Here you'll find all my current content, descriptions of ongoing projects and the photo evidence.
I'm sure I won't astound you, gentle reader, with stunning insights into the human condition, but I do hope to share my experiences with endurance events / running / adventures from the perspective of a slow runner. This idea of being a slow runner is something I continue to struggle with. I've never been fast, exactly, and still remember the frustration I felt when I tried to catch my little brother after he slapped me in the face only to have him remain just out of the reach of my outstretched fingers!! I wanted to kill him as we ran crazily through the front yard at the rock and roll HQ back in the day. I'm glad, now, that I couldn't catch him.
But I am slow, and I have gotten even slower. I'm ok with it, per se, it's just that I'm a very competitive person and it's tough to manage during a race when just about everyone passes me.
I am trying to channel that competitive drive into myself, working against myself, against my preconceived notions of what is possible for me to accomplish, rather than to continuously compare myself with all the lean, strong and fast runners out there.
So, come along as we push a boundary or two, have an adventure or two, and quite possibly kill a toenail or two.
Let's Get It On!