When I don’t have time

I want to do amazing things, when I don’t have time.  Planning.  Tomorrow.  Later. Future-tense.  I will get this cleaned up, weed-whack the yard, wake up early and run. I’ll finish making the brochures, design a booklet, work on a project, search for caterers.  

Starting next week, I’m off carbs!  Going to sit down and write up a schedule for home-gym workouts.   It’s going to be life-changing. It will be amazing. 

Someday, I’ll call the library and see about reading to little kids. That would be fun. I’ll raise money to fight cancer. 

But right now, I’m at work and I don’t have time.   Worse, I won’t feel like doing anything when I do have time.  I’ll buffer with alcohol, entertainment, food.. anything to while away the hours so I can go to sleep too late, dehydrated.  

Still dreaming about what I will do, tomorrow. 

“Just 30 minutes”

Not much time, is it?  Half an hour?  Phhht.

When I asked my wife about her run, that was her response to me: “It was just 30 minutes”. I could hear the shrug in her voice.

Pretty cool, huh?   A couple of months ago, thirty minutes was Mt. Everest.   Unimaginable. And here she is, reeling off a thirty minute run with a shrug.   Now don’t get me completely wrong here; she did quickly follow that with, “It was still hard” but that vanitas came too late – she can run thirty minutes and she knows it.

She also said that she can remember when TWO minutes was difficult and ominous.

Guys – you got this.  You CAN do this.   Whether it’s two minutes or 4 hours, if you put the time and commitment into it, you will eventually reach your goals.   Brush whatever excuses present themselves right to the side and keep going.  Get out there and get after it.. you WILL succeed.

Don’t believe me?   Just look at my wife.   She inspires the hell out of me.. how about you?

Embrace the ‘Suck’

“Left calf.  What is that pain there?   I think you’ve pulled something.. you sure you want to run?”

What does it mean, dear runners, to be mentally tough.   We congratulate ourselves on thriving in a sport others use as punishment.  We build daily miles and weekly miles and we race.   Eventually, we enter the next level.

First there was, for many of us, the 5k.   What everyone in our community was calling an ‘Easy Race’ or a ‘Fast race’ was for us something completely different.   We weren’t used to running with so many people.   We started off way too fast and we didn’t even realize it until about the half-mile mark.   There was no idea of strategy or planning – it was an ‘easy fast’ race after-all, right?   But we learned and we got better.   Toward the end, the finish line not too far away, we wanted to quit – a long time ago – but one foot in front of the other and we pressed on.   We ran into our mental wall and we kept going.   We had to keep going and we did and.. we thought we were going to die.. and we kept going.    And we crossed the finish line.

“There’s no shame in walking.   You can stop you know?   Just a five minute break and you can start again, fresher, stronger, faster”

The 10k.   I was passing people until this one woman.  I pulled up next to her and started to pass but she sped up and stayed even with me.   Then she started to pass and I stayed even with her.   We called a kind of truce, I think.   We stayed together, stride for stride, for most of the last half of the race.   Other people saw our pact and tried to join in.  Hangers-on stayed with us for as long as they could but it wasn’t long enough and we outstripped them all.   Then, in the last quarter mile, she put me in her rear-view mirror and I never saw her again.  I gave in to the doubts.   “I had run too fast and now it was time to pay.. I had to slow down”.

The mind is a slippery little punk.

But I keep coming back.   Running 10ks and now a half-marathon and I’ve discovered something.   I’ve learned that I still don’t know what I’m really capable of.   Without the mind-chatter, what might I have achieved?   If I had not listened, where would I be now?

Today I listened to the Marathon Academy podcast.   They talked a little bit about being ‘mentally tough’.   Anticipating the mind games you will play with yourself and having a ready defense against them.   Body feels out of sorts, it’s too early, it’s too cold/hot, you’re sick, it’s too late.. oh go on and take the day off; the list goes on and on.   The mind is nothing if not creative in it’s myriad excuses.   But are you ready to face those excuses when you’re running a new distance or a new time?   What will you say when your mind tries to betray you with; “You’re not going to make a PR anyway so why not just slow down and enjoy the run?”.

It can be a dicey thing trying to figure out if you really are injured and need to stop.   The pain is real enough, isn’t it?   But is it real or will it work itself out if you keep running?   Almost always, it works itself out for me, whether it be my shoulders or knees or calves – and besides, I tell myself, I get to take the next day off.   And so, I make a deal.    But back on point, if you want to write about injury and how to avoid it, by all means go right ahead – just don’t do it here.   I’m not advocating running through injury, I’m advocating running through the excuses your mind can make up to get you to stop – they aren’t always the same thing.

Bottom line is you have to leave it all there.   All of this is your decision.   You can take it easy or you can take it on the chin.  There’s a point at which ‘taking it easy’ means you aren’t really a runner.   Maybe you’re cosmetic; you wear tights and a headband but you don’t work out.   You don’t have a clue what it means to suffer and put yourself between the hammer and the anvil.   You have no idea what it means to say “Keep going” when your mind is screaming at you to stop.

“If you can force your heart, and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone, and so hold on when there is nothing in you, except the will which says to them, “Hold on!”. “

The mind games always come.   What is your plan to deal with them?

I’m cheering you on!

The 2012 Buckelew Farm 5k was my first official run.   Of course, I started off too fast and felt like I was going to die when I crossed the finish line but I surprised myself too when I found some gas in the tank for a healthy sprint past the clock and the little blue mat.   My time, let’s just say, wasn’t anything to write home about.  At least, it wouldn’t have been had this not been my first race.   My wife was there to cheer me on and that meant the world to me.

After several races, it was time to do the New Years Resolution 5k and that’s where I met Karen.   An older woman who raced easily and really challenged me, I spoke with her a bit after the race.   She ended up telling me something I’ll never forget; When it comes to having friends who won’t race with you, “..then maybe it’s time to find new friends.”.   Of course, she didn’t mean you can’t be friends with non-runners but she did mean that I could reach out and make new friends while waiting for the gun or just out and about in the community.   This makes a lot of sense to me.

That’s pretty much how I met Steve.   We were gearing up to go on Dave’s MLS 10k, standing there next to each other and sharing some small talk.  He offered his hand and introduced himself, we wished each other luck and off we went.   But it wasn’t what happened before the race that really set Steve apart – it was what happened after the race.

He found me after he crossed the line and invited me to come cheer with him.   We backtracked just a little bit and started cheering on the runners still coming in.   At first, it was uncomfortable for me.   Outside of my comfort zone for sure, I squeeked encouragement and clapped a bit but overall, I was pretty unsure.   That was ok.

I met up with him again at the Cross-Country 5k.   When one of the guys complained that he got lost, we decided to backtrack a bit and cheer the ladies while making sure they kept to the path at some tricky spots.   We split up a bit but could hear each other roaring out our encouragement; “You got this!” and “You ARE Awesome!!”.

And I tell you, when a runner smiles at you when you’ve been cheering them on, it feels great.   You feel like you’re doing something to help them out, maybe distracting them for a second from the trials of running.   Maybe you’re affirming who they want to be and the goals they’ve set for themselves.   And you get excited, and you cheer louder and more sincerely – and as they keep coming, your smile just get’s wider and wider.

This last race we did was the Dr. Gann’s Diet of Hope 10k.   I was slapping high-fives just after the finish line waiting for my buddy, Steve.   When he came in, he needed some time to cool off and I met up with some other friends for a bit.   Not too long after, I went looking for him; ‘Where could he be?’, I thought.

Well, he’s probably cheering people on – so I made my way back to the finish line and didn’t see him.   Then it occurred to me, he’s probably further along cheering people down the final stretch.

Sure enough, I saw him there in the distance facing away and cheering the runners that were still making their way down that last leg of the race.   We shook hands and started screaming our heads off; “You ARE awesome!”, “Way to go!”.. “You’re my hero!”.

UPDATE: 4.16

For what feels like the last 3 months, I’ve been stuck between 170 and 175; lately even up to 178.
I’ve been so active, it’s somewhat difficult to believe I’m not down to 165 (my ultimate goal) yet. Riding to/ from work (6 miles/day), running ~30 miles/wk, yoga 2x/wk; still not enough! While I do plan on upping my activity to prepare for Mt Lemmon half-marathon (first official one), I think the solution lies in my diet… Still.

Alchohol, specifically. I’ve been drinking too much in an almost daily basis. Sugar too and, yes! I admit it: GRAINS!
So here we go:
– alchohol on sat only.
– 1 bowl of oatmeal/breakfast per day (total daily grains)
– use sugar substitute/drink more water.
– no food after 6pm (1 carrot maximum)

Ill check back in next Monday or Tuesday.

Ah, Monday AM

It is 4:11am and getting ready for my ride into work. Still not feeling quite right after the oriental salad with its super-sweet dressing on Sun.   While Sat I was bursting with energy, since that sugary mess, my stomach felt like there was a rock in there and have been feeling lethargic.
I cooked a ton of stuff yesterday; dinner for tonight, Trail Mix and Protein Bars for Snacks and Salmon for Lunch – I’m not feeling too hungry.
Down to 12 smokes/day.
First yoga class tonight – nervous and excited.
Just an update; I better get going!
Tachüss!