Red Light! Green Light!

I am into week two of my half marathon training.  Week One ended with a great 5 mile run this past Sunday.  It was as if I could run forever.  There is no explaining it.  It was pure running joy. And even though I am pretty new to running I understand that those days don’t happen that often.  Onward I go….with no expectations of seeing a day like that anytime soon.  If it happens, so be it.

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STOP!  This is a constant statement of my brain to my body.  It is a powerful word…and even I don’t actually stop, the brain has won.  It effectively has slowed me down or made me believe I can’t.  I know there is more in me.  But why does my brain not allow me to reach that potential that exist?  Why is the light always red?  I want it to be GREEN!  The light needs to be green.  I need to defeat the mental block that IS me currently.

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But how?  How do I turn the red into green?  How do I win against such a powerful foe? Certainly many people do it.  Why can’t I?  I ask this question often.  Why can’t I?

I obviously don’t have the answer to that question at this moment.  I don’t know why I can’t push myself outside my comfort zone.  I don’t want a green, yellow, and red light.  I want all systems go.  The brain, the legs and the breathing.  GO!  You have the ability.  GO!

If only it were that easy.

I thought week one of half marathon training was a success.  On to week two.  My base runs are all 4.2 miles.  This week my long run is schedule for Sunday.  It will be six miles.  My weight is down to 163 lbs.  That is a four pounds loss since February 1st.  Acceptable.The gym is incredibly important as I work to increase my core strength.

So onward I go.  All systems are ready.  Just need my mind to cooperate!

Till we meet again.  Shoo Runs!

Good day.
Ron

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Half Marathon Training

Today is the end of Week One of my half marathon training.  Today, I run 5 miles.  That is the longest distance I tackle post injury.  And I am excited about reaching this distance.

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Seconds before my injury.

Post injury you ask?  The picture above is from a 5k I ran on Sept 13th.  As I crossed the finish line I heard a pop. Ruptured plantar fascia.  1.5 months on crutches.  Nearly four months of no running.  So, I grabbed a gym membership and started working on core strength.  That is what I did for the ending months of 2015.  It was my first experience with gym membership and after wading through tons of info on the web I settled into a consistent weight training regime.

During my time off running I managed to go from 153 lbs to 171 lbs.  Yea me!  Ugh!  As I began running again in mid January I was very cautious as to my running future.  My goal is to reach around 150 lbs by summer.  After a few weeks of running I decided to chose a goal to reach. That goal is a half marathon on May 1st.  Run for the Zoo in Albuquerque to be exact.  That, along with a second trip to Tempe to race in Pat’s Run at Arizona State. So the goals are in place.  I will listen to my body (especially my left foot) and adjust goals if necessary. I am moving forward with cautiousness and excitement.  And most of all, I want to enjoy the journey.

So as week one ends today I find myself pleased with where I am running wise.  No reason to look back and wonder what would have been had I not been hurt.  Just look forward. Understand how blessed I am to be able to run. Period!  Many people can’t.  Most people won’t.

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Running at the Bosque

My goal in 2016 is to Enjoy the Journey.  Stick to my running plans and everything else will take care of itself.

It truly is that simple.  One foot in front of the other.  Enjoy.

Off to week two of half marathon training.

Till we meet again.  Shoo runs!

Good Day.

Reflection

I lost a friend last week that I have known since second grade.  A good friend.  Hard working….fun….life of the party.  He was only 51. His passing was expected.  But yet still hard to comprehend much less digest.  Here is a little post I wrote for a running group I am part of.  Reflects my current state of mind.

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I probably shouldn’t post this but I am. This is probably not the right platform for such thought. I find myself in a very odd mood the last couple of weeks. I have always a thinker and a dreamer…..and losing a great friend at such a young age has me thinking about my own mortality and regrets. Quite honestly I am angry. My friend suffered for a long time. He was diagnosed with MS 17 yrs ago…spent the last 8 in a nursing home. The last two of those unable to speak and to even sit up. He leaves behind two kids….19 and 17. I don’t know the kids but I know their pain. I lost my father at 18. I know all the holidays with him not around to share. The wedding….your kids being born and subsequently growing up. All without a father to share those happy times with. And no father to call for advice when times are tough. Sure…my friend’s body is no longer a hostage to MS. He can now fly…free from suffering. As is always stated in times like this…he is in a better place. While that may be true, I feel the better place is here on earth, healthy, living a “normal” life watching his kids grow into adulthood.

Running is an odd thing for me. I don’t know why I have grown attached to the sport so quickly. Perhaps it is the “what ifs” I associate with it. Could I have run in the sub 6 minute range as a 21 yr old with proper training and knowledge? Could have I received a scholarship outta high school had I known I had this ability? Am I totally wrong about all of this and none of this couldn’t have happened cause it didn’t happen? All things I have pondered the last week.

Running has done wonderful things for me in the brief time I have been at it. In an odd way it has given me a purpose I suppose. But I now understand 2015 a little better. I need to enjoy this activity. Enjoy each step whether it is progress or not. Professional triathlete Andy Potts has a mantra each year. So I am doing the same for 2016. And it is a simple one…..ENJOY each step. Fast. Slow. Healthy. Injured. Depressed. Happy. Just enjoy. Cause I am lucky to have the ability to run and all the positives and challenges that come with it.

Sorry I rambled here. Suppose it was needed. This is all I will say about this topic. I knew this time was coming for a long time but I was still not prepared. I MISS my friend. It’s just that simple.

Till we meet again.  Shoo Runs

Ron

I Just Want to Run

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No…I have not been here in a while.  I haven’t been in the mood to write.  I am not much of a blogger.  The evidence is here.  I haven’t posted in over a month.  That is ok. I entered the online world of running to search for running tips or information for the “average runner” from the average runner.  It was interesting little journey.  Being an over 50 male I mainly felt out of place. But I looked around and tried to find anything to help me with my running.  Over time, I became disillusioned in the online running community and thus my interest in blogging about my running journey waned.  Then why am I hear writing this now?  Cause I just want to run.

On my first 6 mile run on May 25th I felt discomfort in my foot which I would soon learn was plantar fasciitis.  I did the various stretching exercises found on the internet and kept running.  A month or so later with no end from the pain in sight I went to the Dr. His recommendations. Stretching.  I took a few weeks off and it did feel better.  Yet on my first returning run after the break the pain quickly returned.  So I eased up on the running and worked harder on stretching. Then it happened.  September 13th in a 5k race. While sprinting towards the finish line in front of a 12 year old I heard a pop. Ruptured plantar fascia.  Crutches for a few weeks….NO running for 12 weeks.

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Should I have been running?  Do you attempt (successfully) to out sprint someone the last .2 miles of a 5k at the age of 51?  Why be so competitive?  Why set such lofty times when you are “old”?  You can’t run that…..only people in their 30s shoot for those times.  I heard it all.  From friends, prospective coaches and strangers.

I just want to run.  I just want to inspire others to run.  Or to inspire others to do what others tell them they can’t. Cause you can.

I still believe in what I believe.  I believe in ME!  I believe I can run a sub 20 5k.  I believe I can run a 1:30 half marathon.  I just need time.  And a great training plan and execution of said plan.  Will I find that?  I don’t know.  There are thousands of different training plans and running schedules to follow.  Which one do I chose?

Maybe I will find what originally brought me here.  A plan for an average runner recommended by an average runner.  I suppose time will tell.

I am 51.  Currently broken.  But I believe.

And I just want to run.  Hopefully that can inspire someone.

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This photo was taken right before I heard a pop!

Till we meet again.  Shoo can’t run….but he can work on his mental toughness.

Ron
Shoo Runs

When DOUBT Creeps into Your Brain

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I have done lots of things that people thought I could never do.  I have also dreamed of doing things that others thought I could never do.  I believe in goals.  I won’t set a goal that is not attainable.  It may need lots of training, direction and effort to get there but certainly reachable. And most days I do believe in myself.  Age doesn’t matter to me.  I know I am older.  But I believe what my body has the ability to do.  What younger people do or don’t do has ZERO bearing on what I believe I can do.

Doubt.  Creeped into that little brain of mine.  It started this week after taking 3 weeks off due to PF.  Then someone showed me times of what younger people are running.  Hmmmm  And what does that have to do with me and doubt?  It kinda hit home.  The training runs this week have been tough.  I have made them all just at a conversational pace.  That is all my body has to offer at this moment.  So that has my already fragile mental state even more shaken.  Doubt in my abilities has seeped into my cranium.  I don’t think that I doubt that I can reach certain time goals that I put in front of me.  I believe I don’t have the discipline or direction to reach them. I need help.  I never look at my age.  I feel my body.  I feel where I am.  I think that I am only a beginner and this is only my foundation being poured to support what is to be built in the future.  But I am neither an architech or a builder.  I am just the pieces that need to be assembled.  I need direction.

So when it was shown to me that my goals are very ambitious and are what those in the thirties are doing it increased the self doubt that I have currently.  It made me think “am I fooling myself?” I am inexperienced.  I don’t fully understand the whole concept of proper training.  At times I lack motivation.  I lack direction.  The one thing I do believe is I possess talent and ability.

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Right now though, I am filled with doubt and struggling to decided how to proceed forward.

Oh and I suck at blogging. This blog has ZERO direction.  No regular time schedule and no audience!

But I do have kinda cool socks.

Till we meet again.  Good Day.

Ron

How to become UN-lame?

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I have been absent for some time. Call it what you will…..too busy.  Lack of focus.  Life got in the way.  All possible acceptable reasons for not blogging.  For me, it is lack of effort.  One of my weaknesses in life.  I lack effort.  Or as I call it “I am lame”.  I have lots of potential.  I never reach it.  I know where I stand.  I understand what I do and where I end up.  But I never have the ability to fix my “lameness”. It is NEVER that I want to be lame or not do things I find necessary to find personal fulfillment.  Something is missing that I can never pinpoint nor fix.  It is hard to accept cause I do demand things from myself.  Like not being lame!

So, I have not posted in some time.  I have NOT run in over 3 weeks. My last run was a strong 8 mile run at a moderate pace.  The day after I saw an orthopedist about my foot and the diagnosis…..I have plantar fasciitis. My heel hurt after a run on May 25th.  I thought that my shoes had reached their mileage limit.  The shoes were at approximately 300 miles at that point.  So I purchased a new pair and kept running.  The pain was nothing overbearing.  Just bothersome. And a week before my 8 mile I ran a 10k at a strong race pace.  And the day after it hurt.  At that point  the foot pain became a pain in the rear.  I was pretty sure it was PF from my internet searches.  So that brought me to the aforementioned Dr.

That was three weeks ago.  I start training for the Toughest 10k in Galveston tomorrow.  That run is on October 18th.  These three weeks have brought lots of thought about where I am as a runner. The overall consenses I have reached is I am an underachiever.  LAME.  Talented?  Yes.  I run fast.  I have “potential”.  I can reach goals I have set for myself.  Though some have shrugged when I say what I believe I can run cause of my age.  That gives me more reason to reach.  However, I have to fight through something within me to really put out EFFORT.  To work hard.  Have I not worked hard from that very first run on January 6th to now?  No…I have worked pretty hard.  And I am somewhat proud of where I am and what I have done.  I can do so much more.  Looking at the effort I see so many do daily has shown me I am way behind in effort.  And I am cheating myself and those who support my running.  And that is sad.  There is nothing more maddening than seeing someone who has talent and not push it to the maximum.  That has always pisses me off.  In these three weeks I realize I am that guy.  I have the fast gene.  I know there are lots of people out there would love to have the paces I can put up with only 8 months of running under my belt.  I am cheating myself and those who support me.

I need to change.  I need to challenge myself more.  I need to be patient.  I need to put out EFFORT daily.  Not just race day but EVERY day.  I need to do those BORING stretches.  I need to do that pain in the ass core strength work outs.  Speed work I LOVE so that is in my favor.  I need to put out max effort each and every day.

If I learned anything in these three weeks of not running is that I do LOVE running.  I do love pushing myself on race day.  I do love seeing that time improve from race to race.  But what I also learned is that I am cheating myself.  And in the way that I have always complained about others who have talent that I wish I had.

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I have to somehow change.  Starting today.

Till we meet again.  Good Day.

Ron

Why?

I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks.  NOT GOOD!  Oh well.  No excuses I suppose.  I have been busy with a new project I am taking on.  And I have been doing lots of thinking while I run.  I am not a runner who runs with music. So I THINK.  Some days I don’t think I am a runner at all.  But whatever I want to call myself lately it is filled with regret and anger.

I recently bought the move McFarland USA. I am a big Kevin Costner fan.  And in this movie he didn’t disappoint.  The movie is great.  A must see.  But it really got me thinking. On runs of course!  About running.  And running in my past.  Running from my past.  This movie made me think of my younger days in school.  But before I talk about that….you must know I am a life time underachiever.  At most everything.  Professionally, I haven’t had much success.  I had all the tools to succeed. Just never did.  Athletically, I had lots of skills as they say. But I also had non supportive parents.  One was an alcoholic.  That didn’t help.  Then or now. I ran in the military. Afterwards I biked religiously after watching Greg Lemond win the Tour de France.  Then one day on NBC I watched this thing called Ironman. I drouled and dreamed watching Dave Scott and Mark Allen duel it out in Hawaii. Little did I know all I had to do was move to Boulder CO and join the tri frenzy. Oh how the internet would have helped me then. But those were just passing dreams…or so I thought. So I did nothing!

So back to McFarland USA.  In lots of ways the movie shows how lucky Coach White was to have those particular kids in his program.  And while that is true, it is the opposite that is more important.  They were lucky to have him as a coach!  After I watched the movie I thought “Hey I never had a coach find anything in me?”  I tried hard in PE.  I ran fast…I took all the activities serious.  I loved PE. Why didn’t my coaches see what I had athletically?  Looking back at it logically…..running may have not been that big back in the late 70s early 80s.  I never heard of cross country in high school.  We had a team at school, that I know.  And I wanted to be a football player.  A mean, aggressive linebacker.  All 5’6″ 110 pounds of me.  See the lack of success on the football field now?  I had a “runners” build.  How ironic huh!

I am not saying it was my coaches fault for me not finding my running ability in school. Who is to blame?  My parents?  Maybe no one is to blame.  It just is! That is hard to swallow though. I would have loved to have a Coach White to find something in me.

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I have been running angry lately.  And I shouldn’t.  I have been running with regret lately.  And I shouldn’t.  I am getting faster but that doesn’t really equate into much at age 51.  However, what running does for me is this.  For some reason I have worked harder on running than anything in my life.  I have stated this before!  Now in some ways that can be a sad statement.  But it is a true statement.  Running has given me something I haven’t had before.  Funny thing is I don’t know exactly what that is. Yet I feel it.  I feel different.  Not just physical, but mentally and emotionally. Something is moving and shaking in me.  Perhaps it is important that I find out what. Perhaps not.  Maybe it just is what it is.

My journey is up to 6.2 miles so to speak.  My current destination is 13.1. I am still in my neophyte stage as a runner.  Though I have been running since January…I really didn’t start training till after I ran my first run (Pat’s Run) in April.  That was my first race.  And there something clicked.  With all this said, I have so much more to reach my potential.  I have two enemies that are in my way.  Myself and time.

I need get past the anger and the regret.  I need to embrace what I have and live in the moment. If I am indeed running from my past….I am going pretty fast and running into an uncertain future.  And running sure beats walking.  And I feel pretty damn good!

Maybe this is my beginning.  Yeah, let me say that again with more confidence.  It is my beginning.  Of what. I have no EFFING clue.  I will tell you when I RUN into it!

For now.  I run.

Till we meet again.  Good Day.

Ron

Running with your Kids. New Training Cycle

Training   I took my planned week off training after running 4-6 days a week since January.  I completed my first 10k on the 21st and today I started my second training cycle for the next 10k.  I have high expectations for myself.  I am a lifetime underachiever and want to make running different.  I have potential.  I just need to dig down and work it out of me.  Some may be turned off by this competitive drive.  I understand that.  But this is what is making me happier than I have been in a long time.  This is giving me a sense of accomplishment I have missed in the professional arena. Right now this is good for me.  I will continue to work hard, to grind as I call it.  Push myself to reach my potential.  And whatever comes out of that I will live with.

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Kids and Running I read a blog about the joy a mother gets pushing her kid in a stroller. I thought how cool that must be to start that type of bond.  I started running when my kids were older.  However, I am lucky to have one that ran cross country in high school.  We talked about running together at Pat’s Run in Tempe for some time.  Finally, we I started running at age 51 that little dream was realized this April. My very first race when I returned to running was with him.  We enjoyed a wonderful extended weekend in the Phoenix area that culminated with Pat’s Run in Tempe.  This is us at the finish line.  Yes he did beat my by over two minutes but it was so neat to take this picture at the finish line. He has run one half marathon at a great time of 1:32 (7:02 pace) 7th overall finish at Run for the Zoo in 2014.  A memory for a lifetime.  Though he is planning on moving to California our plan is to run together again next year.  Stay tuned.

HannahMy daughter with her cool Skirt Sports shirt I bought at their HQ in Boulder

My daughter is leaving soon for college at Oklahoma State in Stillwater.  She has slowly warmed up to running as a hobby to replace her lifelong participation in ballet theatre.  Though she wants to keep up with some form of dance she is hoping that running will somehow fill that void of no longer being on stage.  She came to one of my runs recently and caught the bug.  Since then we have run together a few times.  It too has been a great experience to run with her. This is a picture I took of her this week at a local park.  She is up to two miles and if she can get a little more disciplined she can be a great runner.  I am very happy that she is running and looking forward to running a 5k with her in the future. It is not the same as pushing them in their strollers, but it is cool thing to experience together.

Today   My return to running today up into Bear Canyon was very powerful.  I needed the time off to rest mentally and search what course of training I need going forward.  I felt strong as ever and have analyzed that first 10k and understand the ups and downs that is running.  Today proved what I can do and furthers my understanding that I have so much more in me. I am down to 155 pounds.  I am more determined than ever and can say I am enjoying this addictive hobby.  It has given me hope.

Till we meet again.  Good Day.
Ron

Race Recap in one word: HUMBLING

Well yesterday was my first 10k after an 8 week training schedule.  I really worked hard leading up to yesterday and was very proud of the progress I have made along the way.  I have slowly upped my best times in each race and on my training runs over 5 miles I have run I have done them in a good pace 8:15-8:30 with lots to spare.

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Race recap:  HUMBLING.  Best way to describe my run yesterday. I weighed 157.8 (lowest weight yet) and felt good but anxious for the race, which was a 7pm start. There was a great crowd despite the unseasonably high temp (101 at the start)…probably for the free pizza and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  I chatted with a couple of people I have met through these races and soon I was on the course.  My goal was 7:45 per mile….which I thought was reasonable considering everything I had done up to this point.  I ran quicker than my goal that first mile then slowed a nice 7:50 pace at mile two and by mile three I realized I had nothing left in me.  Unfortunately it was a slow decline each successive mile and I fought through to the finish line at an extremely disappointing 54:40 for an 8:48 pace.  Humbling.  I don’t have a clue what happened.  I won’t make excuses either.  I am simply not ready for a 10k at under 50 minutes at this point in time. That is my initial assessment.

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Side notes.  The ice cream was great.  My new Janji running shirt was great.  I love the look and feel of it.  And it was very hot and I didn’t notice the shirt all race….so I know it did its’ job.  I did finish tops in my age group 50-54.  That was surprising though I am pretty sure a gentleman in the 55-59 group finished ahead of me.  My 12 son came watch me run and was all pumped about all the kids his age he saw run.  He says he wants to try the next 5k.  That would be cool if I can get both my 18-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son running with me.

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Looking ahead:  I am going to proceed with my planned schedule.  I will start another 10k training cycle that will include strength training, which I did little of preparing the last training cycle.  I am going to skip a 4th of July run and instead of a 10k on July 12th run a 5k instead. That is due to the start time of the race which is another evening start.  I will run my next 10k on August 8th with a morning start.  I think that will be the best option for me at this point in time considering yesterdays results.

I will take a couple of days off from running and learn some exercises that will help me overall. There is only one thing to do and that is to work hard.  That is what I plan to do.  And to enjoy myself……which I must say I have been.  I will get over the results of this run and learn from it. Next time it will be different.  That I know.

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Oh, I purchased this book on Amazon though I see no half marathon in the near future. I look forward to reading it and seeing what I can use to help me improve where I am today.

Till we meet again.  Good Day.
Ron

10k Weekend Outlook

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Looking Ahead   All the work is done! I have the next two days off before Sunday afternoon’s race.  Very odd that they would schedule the race for 7pm here in the desert.  The last couple of days the temps around 7pm have been in the low 90s.  The temp the last two mornings have been in the high 60s.  Go figure.  I am as ready as I can be for Sunday.  I am confident I will hit my goal time Sunday barring some unforseen injury on the course.  I am happy with where I am and looking forward to more improvement starting Tuesday.  I will start an advanced 10k training regiment and explore a possible run at a half in October.  I’ll see how July goes before deciding.  I know at this point I want to run a half marathon.  Whether that will be at the Duke City Marathon in October or Lost Dutchman Marathon in Arizona in February. I don’t want to run a half just to run a half.  I must be at a point where I am able to recover quickly and run at a pace I feel I am capable.   Along the way I want to increase my 5k and 10k times.  I will add more strength training including some weight lifting.  I don’t see a marathon in the near future.  But I do see a continued healthy lifestyle that include heavy doses of running.

Looking Behind  I am happy with where I am today.  January 6th I weighed 183.6 lbs.  Today I weighed 158.7 lbs.  I stopped my coke drinking habit and have only had one coke after Pat’s Run on April 25th.  The only chocolate I have had is Dove’s dark chocolate in moderation.  Hey you must have one vice RIGHT?!  I eat up to 7 fruits and veggies daily.  Lots of eggs and whole grain bread.  It has been a crazy transformation eating wise.  And you know the funny thing.  I am enjoying the food I am eating just as much as all the junk and fast food I once enjoyed.  In January I couldn’t run a mile. Up to this point I have run 7 miles twice in training. I feel better mentally and that says lots for this ACoA.  All is good.

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Blogging  Some days it is hard to sit down and write.  I am a kind of no-nonsense boring guy.  So I am not sure why anyone would want to follow along.  And as far as reading blogs….I find it difficult cause the majority of blogs are females…..and most younger than me.  So that makes me feel uneasy.  I have stolen borrowed training tips from said blogs and enjoy the stories I have read. Also I must say I admire the community feel and the friendships I see forged through the blog-o-sphere.  It is very cool.  But there is certainly a lack of male bloggers out there.  And the few I find tend to be ultra running guys.

I guess I have rambled on enough.  I am present in the moment and anxious for Sunday to arrive.  I look forward to my 10k in my new Janji running shirt!!

Till we meet again.  Good Day.
Ron