Archives For Running

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!

USA! USA!

January 15, 2012 — 1 Comment

Yesterday, I was privileged to be in Houston to watch the Olympic Trials for the Marathon. Wow. What a morning. 

I had never really been to a running event like this before. It was amazing. 

I was pulling for Ryan Hall, Josh Cox and Deena Kastor, the three runners whose names I was most familiar with. I learned about some of the other runners while there. This marathon stuff is still kind of new to me. 

One of the things I like the best about was simply witnessing running up close. We were at times only a couple of feet from the runners while they were on the course. It was great to be able to watch their form and see the expressions on their faces and to cheer them on. 

It was a blast to cheer for them and wave American flags and be proud of them as they prepare to represent our country in this awesome event. 

I took away a few other observations as I reflected on the experience.

(1) The marathon is a long distance. It’s an event to run 26.2 miles, no matter who you are.

(2) Give it all and never give up. It was apparent by only a few miles into the race that the majority of the field was hopelessly behind. As the gap widened early in the race, I thought about how it feels to know so quickly that you have no chance. These runners continued the race as if none of that mattered. They kept giving and going with nothing to gain except a finish. Well, that and a really good marathon time. Just not a good enough time. This really moved me and inspired me.

(3) Women run smart. It was really cool to see the women start out a little slower and gain speed with strategy. It’s also fun to watch the men out of the gate, but not as fun to watch them try to maintain that insane pace. It’s all good, though.

(4) I have something in common with these people. There is no comparison between runners like me and runners like these folks, of course. But it was really cool to realize that the event I was was watching is an event I have participated in. That at least establishes a strong connection to it. It made me want to run more. To train harder. To become a better runner. It was awesome to see these champions show us how it is done. 

(5) I love the running community. I have found the running community to be mostly accepting and encouraging. Yesterday felt like we were all on a big team – Team USA. As I have participated in marathon running, I have found the participants to be very encouraging. People pull for each other and celebrate achievements together. I love it. 

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I am more eager than ever to watch the Olympics this year and cheer on these and other amazing athletes. I’m so glad I was able to make this trip and witness such greatness. That’s my daughter Clayre who talked me into signing up for a marathon and who invited me along on this trip. 

 

The Biggest Loser

January 6, 2012 — 5 Comments

I am watching NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” this season. It’s been a while. 

Back in 2007 and 2008, when I was at my heaviest, my ex-wife and two of my children would watch this show. It thoroughly annoyed me. They seemed really caught up in it, and I just didn’t get it. Looking back on that experience now, I realize that the show was a constant reminder of my overweight and out of shape condition, and that is why it annoyed me so much. 

Sometime in 2008, I finally summoned up the courage to change my lifestyle toward something more healthy. This was different than previous attempts to lose weight. Yeah, I was the yo yo dieter, and I had been up and down significantly several times over the past 20 years. More on that to come in subsequent posts – it isn’t the point here. 

I changed my diet slowly, but I also started going to the gym and working out on the elliptical trainer. Things slowly began to change. Then in the Fall, our five drivers / four cars situation left me stranded at home every day. I worked from home, so this wasn’t necessarily a problem – except – it became my excuse to no longer go to the gym for workouts. 

And then a realization.

I lived about eight tenths of a mile from the gym. Certainly within walking distance. 

And so, I started walking. That is when everything really began to change. I started walking three to six miles per day in addition to the elliptical. And the weight started coming off. I began to feel better. I would walk at nearly every opportunity. 15 minutes at a time or an hour at a time. I also started watching “The Biggest Loser” with my family. I kept walking.

Soon, an idea came to me. Why not try to “run?” I tried to surrender this idea back to its source quickly, because I didn’t like running. It hurt. It killed my shins. It made me breathe hard. I hated it. 

But I decided to try to run the length of one song on my iPod. I did it, but I thought I was not going to recover. I thought, “Greg, you just cannot run. Simple as that.”

That very night was Biggest Loser night. And guess what I saw? They got those people up out of bed and told them that they were going to run a half marathon. I was shocked. And annoyed. But this time, I was also motivated.

This was my thought: “If those people, all of whom are fatter than you and in worse shape than you can run a half marathon, there just can’t be any physical reason that you cannot run a couple of miles. This is in your head, Greggo.”

The next morning, I got out of bed and made a decision. I decided to run for 15 minutes away from my house, turn around, and run back. 

And I did it. 

And it didn’t hurt that much. 

And then I got in the car and drove it to see how far it was. 

And it was 2.5 miles. 

And that’s when I started running. And that was over 100 pounds ago. And four marathons and a half marathon, some 5K’s and a 10K ago. 

I love “The Biggest Loser” because it proved to me once and for all that my mind was really the only obstacle between my unhealth and my improving health. The difference in my hating and loving “The Biggest Loser” was the way I thought about it.

I love it now. 

After a multi-season break, I’m back at it, watching and pulling for the contestants, getting involved in their stories and remembering where I came from and where I’m going. 

I need the inspiration as a part of completing more of my goals. Five marathons this year. Strength training. Winning the ever-present food battle. And learning to help others on their journeys. 

 

Welcoming 2012

December 22, 2011 — Leave a comment

In 2011, I completed three marathons. That makes four total. I feel great about that.

So what about 2012?

I am planning on five marathons, and six if I am really lucky. Three of the five are relatively local to me (Cowtown, Oklahoma City and White Rock). Two involve travel (San Francisco and Chicago). I’m going to start registering for New York this year. Maybe by miracle I will get to do it this year.

Marathon training for my first marathon in 2012 started this week. Here is the timing of the planned marathons:

Cowtown (Fort Worth, TX) – February
Oklahoma City – April
San Francisco – July
Chicago – October
White Rock (Dallas, TX) – December

This year’s overall goal will be to continue to run with good endurance while bringing down my overall time. I have the patience, will and determination to do this. And with God’s help, I will do so.

Here is to an activity-filled 2012!