Thursday, April 26, 2012

Flame On

To really stretch myself, sometimes its gotta hurt. If it doesn't ever hurt, I'm probably not pushing the edges, finding limitations. This goes for events like Trail races but it applies to work and other personal life stuff too.

Today at work, I bumped into a lot of stuff. Ouch. The people who consistently fly under the radar, don't care for people bumping into them and their world. They give you dirty looks, mostly.

EB White once said: I wake up every day determined to both change the world, and have a helleva good time. That can sometimes make planning the day difficult.

I say: succeed spectacularly or fail just as spectacularly. Flame on, flame out.

I guess I had some of both today. Now excuse me whilst I put some burn cream on the scorch marks.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


One thing you can say for any enthusiastic amateur athlete. They don't sit around much.

Physically, it's easy for us to build good habits and keep them going. We make time for our runs, work outs, apply ourselves toward goals and aspirations. We apply ourselves, overcome the initial friction of getting the ball rolling. Once a body is in motion, it tends t stay in motion.

The physical is easy for me, and no issue to over come any laziness; I see the benefits, I get grumpy when I go too many days without physical exercise. When inertia starts to set in, I overcome it. I push that rock up the hill, and keep pushing it.

Other forms of inertia, however are harder to overcome. For example, right now my reading list keeps piling up, my personal goals of where I want to direct my mental energies are, well, lacking.

How to overcome this?

The nature of my athletic endeavors has many peers. Easy. Nothing like a race on the schedule and a weekly (when I can make it) run with a group of friends.

But I have nothing in that regard for the mental and cerebral pursuits; personal development. I thought maybe I had found something over at Project Reason, but it hasn't bore the fruit I thought it would.

I am not exactly sure where to turn to next. I do know that if I don't start looking, questioning, bumping into stuff, nothing is going to happen. I gotta be careful not to get lazy about it.

Life usually doesn't happen when you are sitting around. You have to make it happen. Getting started is the hard part; overcoming the friction of the initial inertia.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Simple Plan

I don't usually write about my running escapades here. Usually reserve that for race reports over at the LPTR site. But there were things that happened that were important to me. So I thought I would ruminate on a couple things. The race was last Saturday, down in Clinton, Illinois. 30 Miles, three 10 mile loops on a really nice trail around a lake.

Like many people who start getting into a sport, I've been guilty of over-complicating mine. Trail running. It's not really all that hard to understand. But we add all this stuff: shoes of every type, hydration packs, nutritional stuff, supplements, pacing advice, yada yada yada.

So, in my approach to this race, I tried to not talk too much about it. As I drove down with 4 friends, I pretty much kept my plans to myself.

I have trouble doing math while I run, so this one was going to be simple, keep it simple, 3 - 10 mile loops, 10 minute miles. 100 minutes per lap. Now that's math I can do. Simple. Strategy was simple. I was going to FORGET every last mile I ran, and focus instead on the one in front of me. I can't make up time, I turn my back on it and stick to the plan. 10 minute miles. End of story. I took some advice from two runners I admire very much.

The first piece of advice I took was from Joel. "Skip food, a 50K is too short to even need it". So I did. I took 5 gels, one every 50 minutes or so. No Heed, Powerade/ Gatorade. Nothing but water, and I ditched the Camelbak and went with a water bottle. Aid stations every 5 miles, I didn't need more than 20 oz in between. Read: Simple.

Second piece of advice. Double D says, "Go out at a pace, and stick with it", and I think something about hanging on late when you have to. Sometimes I run too slow at the start, thinking that conserving energy will make it easier later. So far, that has never worked for me. Ever. All that happens from running slow is I get even slower. Read: S-L-O-W-E-R. Start slow and then taper off. My legs have a tendency to seize up when I run that slow. I can never get the cadence back again. So, Go out at a brisk (for me) pace, and HANG ON. Thanks DD, it worked very well on this day.

Here are my splits. I can honestly say, the only race I ever ran more to plan was my 2006 Chicago Marathon (in which I ran near perfect splits for 8 - straight 5K's. None varied by more than 30 seconds).

Lap 1: 101 minutes (1:41)
Potty break: 3 minutes
Lap 2: 100 minutes (1:40)
Lap 3: 105 minutes (1:45)

Total: 5:09, 11th overall out of 90 or so, 1st 50-59 AG out of 16.

This was the first time I came in first in my AG. It was the highest I ever placed in race, percentage wise.

I do have to say though, the proudest moment I had all day was when my fellow LPTR's (who came in 1st, 2nd, and 4th overall) gave me a HUGE cheer when I got my award. Even more than winning an AG, even more than placing high overall. Thanks Joel, Kevin, and Christine, as well as Hans and Jeff. Second to that would be this. I had a simple plan. And I executed it, nearly perfectly. A personal thing like that has elegance that's hard to describe.

Running is good right now.