IMG_3360.jpgThis picture was taken during week 3, on a 7.5 mile run that included 8 hill repeats. This was what the sky looked like when we started the hill repeats. Had to take a picture. It was one of those moments when you’re so thankful that you fought through getting up early enough to see the beauty of the skies.

We had to be flexible this week due to both of us traveling on the weekend. Our “normal” schedule is to run Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday (long run). This week, however, we switched Friday and Sunday so that we didn’t have to scout out places to do hill repeats and a long run while out of town. Worked out great for me, because I found myself in far Southeast Georgia on Sunday morning. Flat, flat, flat! I suppose I could have worked something out on the treadmill as a last resort, but what a pain. Easier simply move the days around a bit. We elected to do our long run early Friday morning, making Sunday an easy 40-50 minutes. Which I was able to accomplish!

I’ve found in training that flexibility is important. Having a plan is important, too. Priorities have to be outlined. However, my job takes me out of town on weekends frequently. Thankfully, my running buddy is flexible. We’re able to work things out.

I added cross training in to the mix this week. I had to fight through some insane soreness on my Tuesday and Wednesday runs, but I got through it. For my cross training, I have returned to Camp Gladiator. I’m doing camp on my “off” days. It’s a one hour boot-camp-style workout. It’s great. The trainers are great, and the workouts are full body.

It made me feel GREAT to get back to camp. Still heavier than I would like, but I feel progress.

Speaking of heavy, I’ve continued to slowly lose weight. It’s going slower than I would like, but since January first, I have lost 32 pounds. I need a bunch more off of me to make this upcoming marathon more enjoyable. I feel like I’m in the fight of my life in many ways. I’ll post about all of that shortly.

All in all, training is going very well. No injury. Foot feels good. I’m loving the fact that I’ve consistently exercised for four months.

FUNDRAISING! I’m running this marathon with Team World Vision. Here is my fundraising page.  My goal is $3,000. $50 will provide clean water for one person! Please donate. Please donate. Please donate.

RECAP
Monday CG
Tuesday 47 minutes
Wednesday 27 minutes
Thursday CG
Friday 7.5 miles including 8 hill repeats
Saturday Rest
Sunday 42 minutes

In my next post, I’ll address the pacing issue. Thanks for reading.

 

This week was a good week.

Tuesday = 46 minutes
Wednesday = 27 minutes
Friday = 44 minutes
Sunday 6.3 miles

Total miles = 16.1

I think I mentioned that we are training Galloway style. This week (and last), we did no breaks in the shorter (27 minute ) run, with normal breaks in the longer and the weekend long run. We intentionally ran a hilly course on Sunday, and it felt OK.

Steve got pretty sick midweek, so he unfortunately missed the Friday run. He was OK by Sunday, so we had a good morning. Cool, clear skies. Beautiful morning.

I had a 3.2 pound weight loss over the last 2 weeks. Not as aggressive as I would like, but I’ll take it. Celebrating every victory.

This morning, (Monday), I started back at CG (Camp Gladiator), which will be my cross training activity for the duration. I’m planning on three times per week on our Sunday run schedule, and two times per week on our Saturday run schedule.

This week, due to my weekend travel schedule, we will be moving our weekend hill workout / long run to Friday morning. Thankful that Steve is willing to adjust with me on that. That will make it easier to get my run in on Sunday while I’m on the road.

I don’t have much more to say for this one, except that I made my marks this week, and that feels really good. I also set up my fundraising page (hint) for World Vision. I have a goal of $3,000, but I’d really like to blow right past that. So help me!

I’ll try to update mid week with some really profound stuff. No promises.

Today concluded week one of training for the 2018 Chicago Marathon. Since I’ve been a negligent updater, let me catch you up.

I completed the Chicago Marathon in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Late in training for 2015, I developed plantar fasciitis. I had registered, but I was unable to run. I did accompany my daughter Clayre to Chicago, and I cheered her on as she ran a beautiful race. I dealt with the plantar fasciitis for about a year, getting discouraged, and continuing to gain weight.

That year, 2016, was a pretty bad year for our family. We dealt with job loss, a down year for my business, and the worst day to date of our lives when we lost our precious four-year-old friend Caiden in a tragic drowning accident.

None of those things are excuses, but that didn’t stop me from slipping into old habits of overeating and becoming more and more sedentary. Soon, the thought of exercising and running seemed too daunting. One thing led to another, and I found myself very discouraged and sad toward the end of 2017.

When I would see people out running, a part of my heart would hurt as I recalled the feelings of freedom and accomplishment that running has afforded me in the past. Sometime in December 2017, I made up my mind that I was going to get back out there again, and that I was going to do it slowly and carefully. In discussing this with my daughter Clarye, she reminded me of the Galloway method of marathon training. She had experimented with it, and she encouraged me to check it out.

She let me borrow her Galloway book, and as I was reading it for the first time, I was encouraged that I could train that way more effectively. I talked it over with some other runners, knowing that some “serious” runners don’t endorse it (what’s new?), but I determined to give it a try.

I’ve already completed 11 marathons, and for this 12th, I didn’t see any reason not to shake things up a bit, push past my objections, and try to train in a way that will allow me to enjoy not only the process but the race itself.

I also joined up with a new running buddy, Steve, a fellow band parent, who happens to be the dad of my stepdaughter’s boyfriend. We knew each other casually, and when he saw that I was running, he asked me about it. He decided to start training with me, and he determined to run his first marathon this year as well.

So, on January 8th, we started base training in order to be ready to begin training this past week. We started slowly and carefully. We’ve both got a substantial amount of weight to lose (I’ll speak to this later), and we wanted to be very careful about avoiding injury. Along the way, I began sharing with Steve everything I had learned about running a marathon.

By the time the first weekend of April arrived, we had extended our long weekend run to 9 miles. We built this up slowly over three months. We’ve consistently run 4 times per week, doing some walking on off days.

I feel that this has been a huge success so far this year. I’m still battling the mental game of running more slowly than I have in the past. But I’m leaving that up to smart training and continued weight loss. I don’t really have a time goal for Chicago. I mean, I do, but I don’t. My goal is to finish well and enjoy the process.

For the four or five of you who read this…I’ll write more about the struggles. I’m sitting here today, though, feeling like I’m on the right track for the first time in two or three years. I can only thank God and my support system, specifically, Marla, Clayre, and Steve.

Recap of this week:
Monday 47 minutes
Tuesday 24 minutes
Friday 45 minutes
Saturday 6.1 miles with 5 hill repeats

Steve and I are both feeling good about this first week. 25 weeks to go!

Five-Day Discipline

August 20, 2017 — Leave a comment
Last week’s five days of waking up by or before 5 AM was a success. It reminded me that I am most present, productive, and hopeful when I get up early.
I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. Waking up early used to be my routine; my normal. I am not going to go into all of this in detail at this time, but I have allowed the various trials of the last 14 months or so push me further away from things that are important and that really matter. I’ve been down about it. I’ve been embarrassed about it. The slide started before last summer, clearly. But the harsh realities of very difficult situations afforded me the opportunity to disconnect from important things. More detail later, as I gain the ability to articulate these things more openly and less emotionally.
As I began to contemplate how much work there was to be done, I would become easily overwhelmed. I shared these things in counseling, and with some close to me. When I chose getting up early as a five-day discipline, I knew by Day 2 that getting up early was a key that was unlocking a door. For the first time in months, I felt truly hopeful. I recognized that if I could achieve this very small goal for such a short time, that I could relearn how to build upon it.
I got excited about the future. And that felt really good. None of the circumstances weighing on us right now changed at all. We still have very full plates, and much of what we get to face daily is difficult. But my outlook is different.
So, I’d say that getting up early is a keeper. It’s important to me, and even when it is hard, it’s worth it. For me, anyway. I’m not saying everyone needs to do that. I’m saying that I need to. It’s what truly works best for me. I now need to consider what I will add to this routine in order to come back to health.
I am not saying, things like “I’ll work out an hour a day forever,” or “I’m going to run several more marathons,” or “I’m going to eat in the most disciplined way ever, every day.” What I am saying is that I see the foundation again. I’ve touched it. And I am excited, for the first time in many months, to build upon it.
Short commitments to experiment with what will work for me. That is what I’m coming to understand part of the beauty of the five-day discipline to be. Many thanks to my brilliant son-in-law, Daniel Turner, for introducing me to this. It has been a fun adventure so far.

Try Again?

January 27, 2015 — Leave a comment

The thing about blogs is that thinking about updating them is not the same as actually updating them. I’m working on it, really. I do have some stuff I want to share. Hope I remember to do it.

Connections

August 3, 2014 — Leave a comment

This may be a bit of a ramble.

I used to insist on music while running / training. The first challenge I issued to myself when transitioning from obsessed walker to jogger was to run the length of one song on my iPod. It didn’t kill me. That turned into running. 

One of the reasons I used to always run with music (and still sometimes do) is that I simply have a very strong connection to it. I’ve been somewhat of a musician since age 10, and it is an extremely deep and important part of my life. I connect much of life to music. This connection is just natural to me. 

Another reason music became so much a part of running for me is that I found I could distract myself by striding to its beat. It became easy to keep moving at a steady pace by simply making sure that my foot came down with each pulse of what I was hearing. When I started trying to improve my skill, I chose music that was moving along at 150 to 170 BPM (or could be subdivided into that for you music geeks). I made playlists grouped by BPM’s and then arranged the content for what I thought I might like. 

For example, I once made a play list called “Last 10K” that I planned to turn on at the 20-mile mark of a marathon when I was tired and needed some inspiration. I got pretty detailed with this, but soon I noticed that when I didn’t have music playing, I was struggling. That’s not really good. 

Nowadays, I run with music only if I’m not running with others, and not even every time I do that. Because of this, my days of running with music seem more special – a treat – a relaxation, etc. and i’m not that worried about the BPM’s anymore. If it is under about 160, I just tell myself to run faster than the music.

I almost always listen to a specific playlist on Sundays. I call it “Jesus.” I love my Sunday morning Jesus music runs. When I hear or buy a great worship song, it goes in my “Jesus” playlist. Then on (especially) those Sunday morning runs, I just shuffle it. Sometimes, those 30-minute to 90-minute runs are some of the sweetest times of worship that I have. 

And that brings up for me the other connection I wanted to highlight – that of running and faith. That is the deep one. I don’t want to make too much out of running as a spiritual exercise, but there is a deeply spiritual component for me. Analyzing it too much can take some of the joy out of it, but here are a few of my thoughts:

1. Running represents overcoming. 
Long distance running is about endurance. It is about staying with it, no matter what, overcoming obstacles, fighting mental battles, and pushing to finish something. There is a lot of faith stuff wrapped up in that. 

2. Running allows meditation.
From deep thoughts, focused prayer, problem solving to simple mantras, running allows some deep thought time. When I choose to use that deep thought time for the high purpose of communicating with God, thinking deeply and slowly, and dwelling on faith matters, it is a good. good thing. At times, it’s been an escape – but more often than that, it is an entrance into welcomed thought time.

3. Running allows for purposed activity.
Through great organizations like Team World Vision, running also allows me to use my effort to raise awareness and resources for things like clean water projects, child protection, etc. Some of my marathons have been connected to this great cause. While I don’t believe charity is the only reason a person should run…and I don’t believe that not running for charity is a selfish endeavor, genorosity is a loving and good thing. It is a joy to have a hand in providing clean water to people who need it. Want to donate?  Hint, hint…here is my fundraising page for this year’s Chicago marathon

4. Running fosters community.
The running community is a good one. Sure, it has its problems, but it presents multiple opportunities for character development too. There is a sense of how we are all in this together, and there is the opportunity to allow grace to others, to work together, to avoid comparison, to be humble and to help and inspire others along the way. Any worthwhile community has this, and it is true of running as well. I’ve had good long talks with people while on a run – helpful, deep and real conversation. I’ve learned to put up with people and allow them to put up with me. I’ve made friends running, and I have deepened friendships that way as well.

5. Running can be a spiritual as I make it. 
What got me thinking about all of this was being in church yesterday and worshiping with the song “Forever Reign.” I think that one single song carries the most meaning for me when connecting running, faith and music. When we worship with that song, I can close my eyes and almost feel myself running as we sing the words

Oh I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

I feel motion, and I see roads ahead of me, and somehow there is the great connection to life in Jesus, and life left to live, and what I’ve run from, and on and on and on. 

That simple song that I’ve run to 100’s of times (it’s in my playlist multiple times) brings me to a place where I can connect it all. A place where things are right, and good, and holy and wonderful. A place of longing, of a journey, of the race that I’ll someday finish, of God’s goodness and love, of contentment…well, you get the idea. 

Running isn’t everybody’s thing. It’s not even really possible for everyone. I’m very thankful, though for the season I’m in – one where I still feel the presence of God on the run – and I can celebrate it. For now, it’s where I am. 

 

Mid to Late Summer

August 2, 2014 — Leave a comment

Normally, July is kind of a slow month for me, but this year it has been very busy. Consequently, I haven’t updated here very much. i think I was out of town all but one weekend in July with business and family travel. It was tough on my training scheduled. Some weeks, I succeeded and other weeks I missed some workouts. 

I’ve made all of my long runs, though, and things are going fairly well. 

I am loving my training group. If not for that, I think my weekend long runs would be much more difficult. I’ve had to make one by myself, but I got through it. So here is a shout out to Luke’s Locker Marathon Training.

We are 10 weeks out from Chicago. The mileage is getting longer now. The speed work is getting more intense. I’d say it is getting hotter, but it isn’t. We’ve been blessed with very mild temperatures overall this July. My confidence level about meeting my goal is in a good place right now. 

Challenges right now (besides my schedule) include frustration with not losing weight as fast as I would like. Constant struggle. Most often, I feel somewhat defeated. Celebrations, business travel, stress…all the triggers are there in abundance. I need discipline and patience. 

This week is vacation, so I’ll be doing a 16-miler by myself. I’ll be ready. More on that in my next post.