Day 2: Maxx is Tired

Maxx the dog struggled a little bit today. Two long days in a row may have been a bit much to ask of him especially since there were no moms, kids, or seniors to stop and pet him. He really likes that.

Still, he couldn’t wait to get started. When we got out of the car, he slid over to the fence surrounding Canterbury Park.

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90-in-90: Running + Writing

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.

***

I spend my school year with one eye on the summer, the elusive beast that I imagine will somehow be filled with time of my own that I can fill with reading and writing. Seven years into my academic career I can tell you this: the beast does not exist.

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The Thing I Didn’t Finish Today

I awoke off just a bit.

The alarm on my Xoom tablet went off: first at 5:10 and then again at 5:20. I got up at 5:40 after falling back asleep. Losing 20 minutes wasn’t a disaster — I build spare time into my race mornings — but it did set the tone.

I was rushed, annoyed, and bothered.

I showered, dressed, grabbed my Nathan as well as the assortment of little gear, and hit the road blasting Glee’s Rocky Horrow to try to change my mood.

At 6 am, the temperature was 28 degrees, cold enough to pull out my thermal gear for the first 19 miles when the sun would finally peak out and start warming things up. When I parked, I reached back to grab my equipment bag…and it wasn’t there.

The black mood came back.

There was already doubt in my head about my fitness. Less than 2 weeks removed from the St. Louis marathon, my legs and heart never felt fully recovered. Last night I started to feel normal, but I knew it was going to take a perfect day for me to survive.

Now: my mental state was shot.

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The Summer of Run: “Earned” 3

I am putting the finishing touches on my fifth essay from The Summer of Run, a 4,000-word piece about the three most important life lessons I’ve ever been taught (by men other than my father, that is).

Strangely, this has been the hardest essay to write, taking nearly 14 hours of writing, editing, and thinking time. And that just gets me to the draft stage. Here’s my favorite portion of Act 2, a story about the moment I decided to quit baseball after 11 years:

I thanked him, repeatedly, and declined. Resigned, he shook my hand, and watched me leave.

As I walked out the door, my stomach dropped to the floor and the voice inside me begged me to turn around, but my pride wouldn’t let me. I’d made my decision, I thought, and that meant following through. I’d run track my junior year, but I’d already decided I’d return to baseball in my final year, an idea Coach readily accepted when I approached him about playing at the start of my senior year in high school.

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In Which I Run The Country Music Marathon, and Find a Piece of Me

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” — Steve Prefontaine

After 13 weeks of training, I ran The Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee in 3:52:49.

It’s the best time I’ve ever run, but 7 minutes, 50 seconds slower than I needed to qualify for the Pike’s Peak Ascent, the insanely crazy race up the side of a mountain than ends with a 3-mile run above the tree line.

I desperately want to qualify for this, and I desperately want to run it. Today was not that day, though.

Instead, I found something I hadn’t expected to find.

***

My alarm went off at 3:30 this morning. To be completely accurate, 5 alarms went off at varying times between 3:20 and 3:35 this morning.

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Running Man, the 2011 Edition

The Year of Health ended just a few days ago.

If I had to add it up I’d say I came out on the plus side of things last year.

On the positive: I quit smoking 48 weeks and nearly 2 days ago. I weighed in the neighborhood of 165. I completed my fastest half-marathon ever and finished a brutally cold trail marathon in December. I even regularly breached the sub-8 minute mile mark.

On the negative: My six-week post-marathon routine hasn’t been great and I’ve put on 10 unwanted pounds. I didn’t hit my time goal on the marathon. I haven’t found cross-training routines I care for.

Still, I consider the year a success. It’s certainly gotten me ready for the upcoming Year of Health 2: Electric Bugaloo. (As an aside, Electric Bugaloo will never, ever go out of style as a sequel name. Kudos to you 1980s.) Last year was training, this year should be epic.

Which brings us to my next 90-in-90 challenge: the De-Fatman Edition.

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So New: In Which I Complete My 1/2 Marathon (17 of 90)

February 4, 2010.

That’s the day I quit smoking. Thirty-three weeks, 2 days, 9 hours and 52 minutes ago as I write this.

I was tired of feeling sluggish. I was tired of being a fatty. I was tired of not feeling my body. I was just tired. So I decided it was time to quit.

I knew I needed to two things to succeed: Commit lozenges and an exercise regiment. The lozenges were easy. Just go to Wal-greens. The regiment required a bit more mental toughness.

Fortunately, I was an athlete of some sort in a previous life so I feel comfortable in the gym. Unfortunately, I travel often and didn’t know if I’d stick to my routine as I jetted across the planet. But I did. Nearly every day I was supposed to run, I did. In Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, California, Ohio, Indiana. In Berlin, London, Sheffield, Northampton and Brighton.

And that’s when everything changed.

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So New: In Which I Run With A Socially-Networked Friend (8 of 90)

I’ve always been a solitary runner.

I enjoy hitting the road unencumbered. I love the feel of the ground against my feet. I love the sounds of nature around me. I love the solitude.

But there’s more to running that simply clearing the mechanism. (Not to go all For Love of the Game on you.)

I joined DailyMile a few months back at the behest of my pal Austin, with whom I’m training to do the Ultra Marathon. The site has two purposes: track all your training and connect you with other athletic types. It’s a social network for running geeks, mostly.

Truth be told, there aren’t too many Muncie runners on the site but I’ve been able to connect with my friends across the globe. That’s been good enough for me. But I did stumble across someone who was moving to the area and looking for advice on where to run.

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Run Fatboy Run, a Tale of Addictions

My routine has been upended.

This is neither a tale of woe nor sorrow although in the beginning it certainly sounds that way. Like everyone else on the planet, I’m prone to fits and bouts of depressive-ness. This is not one of those times.

I started running at the end of April, 564.8 miles ago. My routine has been strict, save for a single handful of days when life has escaped me for some reason. Since I began, I’ve run in 5 states, 13 cities, 3 countries and 2 continents. I’ve befriended runners across nearly everywhere I’ve gone because – by and large – runners are pretty happy people when they are running.

I devoured Born to Run. Overhauled my eating habits (save for my pizza every other week). Purchased the Vibrams and used them daily.

But the running hasn’t been enough.

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