Clean Slate

2013 is history

Now is our chance to reset our lives and make a great 2014.  For me, 2013 has been a forgettable year. I’m starting to turn the corner and move on from a life I can no longer have.  I’m moving in the only direction afforded to me: forward.

2014 is here, and I’ve made some annual goals.

More than twenty goals to be precise.  That number will likely continue to grow this month.  What I’m doing this year different than before is that I’m implementing a process that will let me do things each day that will allow me to meet those goals.  This way, I won’t have to worry about achieving these goals.  Here is an overview of my fitness-related goals.
  • current body fat is ____%; goal body fat % is ____.
  • Run a 5k, a 10k, and a 1/2 marathon
  • run a sub 25 minute 5k
  • Run 100 miles each month in 2014

The Process

The high level view of “the process” is to execute a precise plan every day to the best of my ability.  If I do this in a properly designed process, I will have a very good chance to achieve all of my goals.  Here’s an excerpt of a 60 minute biopic on Nick Saban’s process.
 
 

 

Implementation of The Process

  1. Define what success is (What is the equivalent to winning the championship game?) – For me, I broke these down into individual annual goals.
  2. Define what has to be done on a daily basis to achieve that success. For example, this meant opening up a new bank account to pay certain bills, building a training plan, and committing to that success.
  3. Do those things day in and day out. For example, Setting down and paying my bills twice a month, and executing my daily workouts.

Commitment to The Process

  • I am responsible for my own self-determination 
  • I am responsible to bring a positive attitude everyday 
  • I am responsible to have a great work ethic everyday 
  • I am responsible to have the discipline to execute on a consistent basis 
  • I am responsible to judge myself on effort rather than results 
  • I am responsible to Ignore the scoreboard – Focus on doing my job at the highest level every single moment, and the wins will follow. 
  • I am responsible to have pride in performance – doing it right every time                                  

Stop avoiding unpleasant things that are causing me misery

2014 also means that I can no longer avoid the things in my life that I don’t like to confront, because they will remain a piece of my misery until I fix them.  Nobody else is going to fix my problems for me.  
 
In 2014, It’s high time we start writing our own story, take control of our destiny, and make our own luck.  If you haven’t committed to annual goals, I urge you to commit to making some goals.  

I’m working in 2014, but I have my eyes on 2015 and beyond.  The future starts today.  Hold my hand, we can do this together.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Long Bridge, Incredibly Windy, Hatorade

Long Bridge

On Saturday I ran 10 miles.  I ran over (and back) the Garcon Point Bridge, which is close to my home.


Problems

There’s an 4.8 mile run/walk event on this bridge in October; I’ve never participated in this event.  You can read about it here if you want.  This is a toll bridge that cost $4.75 to cross in a car, so the traffic is very light.  Although it’s a two lane bridge, it’s been built to be expandable to 3+ lanes, which means there’s lots of room on the berm.  I actually start down the road a bit, run across the bridge (and even past the toll booth a bit if I want), so this has served as a nice long run location in the past.  Except for today…

 

  1. Leg Cramp – I got a sudden leg cramp on Friday at work while sitting down, of all things. I ran a couple easy miles on Friday in spite of this.  This was an intense cramp that lingers; if you’ve had these, you know what I’m talking about.
  2. Windy – it’s usually always windy here, and on many days it’s very windy.  At this location, the prevailing winds are usually either in your face or at your back.  On Saturday it wasn’t just a regular old wind, it did something like this to me:
When I woke up Saturday morning, my thigh was still sore, but I thought it would loosen up when I started running.  While running I noticed that nice boost I was getting from the wind at my back, so I tried to hold back some extra energy for the return trip, and with my thigh still hurting, I knew I’d need all the help I could get.  I should have turned around much, much earlier, but I didn’t.

It Hit Me

As soon as RunKeeper told me I hit the 5.0 mile mark, I hit the brakes and did a u-turn.  Then it hit me full-on in the mouth:
Except instead of just one hit and then they blow the whistle, it was a persistent, painful reminder that I have 5 more miles to go.
Let me tell you that I dislike hate to stop while running.  For the last 5 miles of this run, I run-walked.  I was being sand-blasted through my (substantially hairy) legs; I had a wind-burn on my face when I returned home.  It was painful, terrible, awful.  I don’t know when or If I’ll run that bridge again.

Refueling, Man versus Horse, and New Years Resolutions

HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?

Has anyone ever held your head under water for a bit longer than what felt comfortable, and your body burned to breathe?  You will instinctively fight to breathe with every fiber of your being.  Why not harness the power of this instinct?

 

Recall a moment when someone tried to take the one thing away from you that you can’t live without, and store that package away in a safe place in your mind.

When the HILL HEAT COLD WIND CRAMP RAIN SNOW FATIGUE HUMIDITY DISTANCE COMPETITOR CLOCK get to be too much, then recall that package, and use that as fuel to give you the ultimate boost.

HOW FAST CAN THE AVERAGE PERSON RUN?

Usain Bolt averaged 27.79mph between 60-80m of his 100m world-record setting pace.  Most of us are significantly slower than that.  In the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells there is an annual Man Versus Horse Marathon where a running man has twice beaten a man on a horse during the race (most believe when the temperatures are at their hottest, because humans have much better cooling systems – perspiration versus panting).  In Christopher McDougall’s Born To Run, the author presumes that early man hunted on the savanna by outlasting their pray.  

When I first started running, , my pace was 12-13 minutes a mile (which seemed pretty amazing at the time).  I’ve shaved some time off time recently by trying to do speed work once a week.  I hate speed work; but it is paying dividends.

I was listening to a podcast recently where they stated that ANYONE can run a 7 minute mile.  This was stated matter-of-factly by a respected runner.  If you would’ve told me this a year ago, I would’ve questioned your sanity.  Now, I think maybe I can run a 7 minute mile.  Is this rational thought? How fast could you run?

 

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

As the New Year approaches, increasing my speed is going to be a goal.  Do you think It would be an achievable goal to run a sub 24 minute 5K in a year (given my PB is 27+ min)?  How about a sub 22 minute 5K?  That might be a real stretch. Thoughts?
I’m quite proud that I’ve worked so hard and achieved many of my goals this year already.  One of my running goals was to log 1000 miles this year, which I’ve already achieved.
What goals are you setting this year?  Here’s a list that I’m considering:
  • run my first half and full marathon
  • run a sub 24 minute 5K
  • get/stay below 170 lbs (about 15 lbs away)
  • work toward creating solid/continuous training plans
  • work toward creating better weight training cross-training plans
  • purchase road bicycle and pursue this more seriously as cross-training
  • pursue swimming as low-impact cross-training

Off from work, out of water, streaking…what a day!

I took the day off from work

A day off for me means that, even though I wake up at 6:30 AM, I try to close my eyes and go back to sleep. Usually, I end up giving up the thought of sleeping in around 7:30.

I started my breakfast, which was my typical oatmeal:

  • 1/2 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1 tbs of (local) honey
  • 3 tsp of brown sugar
  • Cinnamon to taste

I turned on my favorite radio station via Spotify, which is currently based on this playlist I call CHILL – click it to take a peak. Listening to this led to….

More than a year after moving out of my home and away from my children, I’m still often overwhelmed with great sorrow.  But this was short-lived, because….

This weekend I have my boys

So I needed to go to the store and fill my house with snacks and food stuffs galore.

After about 90 minutes of parading through 2 stores, it was approaching the hottest part of the day (a sunny 58°F).  I gobbled up a banana, put my groceries away, and headed out for a run.

I decided to drive down the road to run a route I normally bike. 

I was planning a 5 mile run, which is borderline I need to carry water, but because of the cool temperatures, I did NOT bring water with me.  I did not feel fast today, but I felt steady and felt good, so I just went with it.  2.5 miles into it I wasn’t even beginning to feel fatigued, so decided I’d push for 10 – my only second thought was that I wished I would’ve carried some water.

The gods, they mock me

4.5 miles into my run there was a beverage truck, stopped in the middle of a residential street (doors open) delivering bottled water to a house…

The delivery man walked right in front of me carrying a 24 pack of water.  Once I reached my midway point, I turned around and tried to pick up the pace a bit; take a look at these splits:

MILE
PACE
1 mi
10:07

2 mi
10:07



3 mi
9:52



4 mi
10:08

5 mi
9:25

6 mi
9:50



7 mi
9:51



8 mi
9:47

9 mi
9:49



10 mi
8:53


1
1 mi
10:25

If you want to check out my route and other stats, visit my Runkeeper activity by clicking here.  While you’re there, add me as a friend!

After my run I had this sandwich – Yum!!

Arby’s Turkey Club

This evening there was a flurry of activities – my six had a birthday party to go to, we had dinner, and  we decorated the tree at dad’s place.

“I’m holding my candy cane up!” – Nine, as I snapped this pic, which cause brothers to mimic

We’re going streaking!!!!!

Last year I took and completed the Runners World holiday streak (30 days of at least 1 mile each day), but passed this year for some different reasons.  I’ve noticed via social media that many of you are streaking….so, why do you streak?  What have you taken away so far?

What’s your fantasy? Here’s mine.

Today I did NOT run

On days I don’t run, I think fantasize about running.  In my fantasy, it’s a beautiful summer afternoon, my clothes are soaked with sweat and I’m not sure that I can make it another 50 feet.  I push through when the heat tells me no, I push through when my mouth is dry and my body is screaming for water; I push through when the hills get too steep, when the humidity gets to be too much, and when there is no shade to be found at high noon.

All the odds are stacked against me, I will at worst crawl across the finish line, and at best some passer by will feel compelled to call for an ambulance when they see a body laying in a heap somewhere.  I finish my run a hot mess, drenched in sweat, physically defeatedspiritually renewed.  On this day, I walked through the fire and am strong.

Each day I make it through I am a little stronger.  This is my fantasy reality because I am a runner.

Today I’m not where I’m going to be when I die – I am becoming something better everyday.

Does running make you mentally stronger?  What are you willing to do to achieve it?  What are you willing to sacrifice to attain your goal?  I invite you to comment, tweet, or email me.

Now for some motivation when sleep seems like a better option.

Finally, some good advice some Britney Spears

Core Training, Beer, and Bicycles

Today was a fun day that let me do lots of fun things with my body, highlighted by a 13 mile bike ride in 80 degree sunshine!  Today felt awesome, I regret that I had to spend anytime inside, and am hopeful that it will stay warm/sunny this week.

WIN OR LOSE, WE STILL BOOZE

Today is Sunday, which means I had about 2 hours of practice with my coworkers/teammates.  Our last game this season is Tuesday.  Games have been cancelled the last two weeks due to weather/holidays, so we all needed to go out there and swing the bat and play catch some.

Most Tuesdays after our games, win or lose (and we mostly lose), we run down to Hopjacks Filling Station and have a few beers.  My favorite beer currently is Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, which they often have on tap.  I’ve been getting into the cider beers lately also.

Beer = Good

After practice and a snack, I ran to the gym to do some body-weight exercises.  I could have done them at my place, or outside for that matter, but I needed the focus that the gym offers.

NO DISTRACTIONS

I’ve come up with a simple routine, based on research, trial and error, that I’m currently enjoying.  Below are the videos to the 12 exercises I do.  Once I go through this cycle once, I repeat it for a total of 3 cycles.  I try to keep my rest periods to a minimum between exercises, saving a water break until each set is complete.
This routine takes me just under an hour.  Sometimes if I’m feeling froggy, I’ll run a bit before and/or after on the treadmill.

This routine is an evolving one.  I add and remove exercises (or add reps) when my body tells me to.

  • 20 4-count flutter kicks 
  • 14 4-count mountain climbers
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 25 crunches
  • 15 lunges (per leg)
  • 10 8-count body builders
  • 20 4-count jumping jacks
  • 15 bridges
  • 15 squats
  • 10 pushups
  • 10 4-count fire hydrants (note – my version includes a second move that is full extension of the leg)
  • 10 4-count scissor sit-ups (I really like how this video shows several different types of sit-ups!)
Bicycles
courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_bicycle

Finally, because it was 80 and sunshiny out today, I rode my bike for 13 miles.  Here’s a map of my easy ride.  Follow me on RunKeeper if that’s your sort of thing!  I was still a bit fatigued from yesterdays long run and then the gym workout though.

Wow, I’m tired, let’s watch Ze Frank’s Sad Cat Diary. Enjoy!

Emotionally Charged Running

I RUN ANGRY

D. H. Lawrence said “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”  I think of this quote often, and always just like this:

This year has been a challenging year that has included the end of my 13 year marriage to the person I thought I would grow old with.  I am a dad to three boys, ages 9, 6, and 3, and I am deeply saddened that I am unable to give them a stable family life with a mom and dad that love one another.

This year I have stayed sad too much, I have cried too much, I have been hurt too much.  I don’t believe I’ll ever get over this pain I still feel deeply everyday, but I am responding to the pain in the best way I know how: use it to motivate me to be a better man.

When I’m running, and my legs are hurting and my lungs are burning and I want to quit, I recall this pain, and it makes me immensely sad.  You can’t cry when you’re running – I’ve tried (if you can, run harder).  Instead, I use it to propel myself forward, faster, harder, angrier, with powerful rage.

With this thought I went on my long run today, and accomplished a 13.46 miles in 2 hours and 25 minutes.  The first half of this run included an extremely strong wind in my face.  Shortly after the halfway point I had to stop and fix a shoe lace, and my legs were burning already.  My mantra this run was “Is that all you have?!”  It wasn’t.  I have lots more.

Here’s the link to today’s run if you want to look at the details. Also, follow me on RunKeeper if you feel so inclined.

I got home tired, legs hurting like they haven’t in a very long time.  I showered, started lunch, then walked into my boys’ bedroom…

Being a parent is easily the most difficult and demanding job I’ve ever had.  Many days for the last 8 years I was thankful when I could sneak away and get some me time away from my children.  Now my boys stay with me every Wednesday, Friday, and every other weekend.  This weekend they are with their mom. Today, after my run, I went into their room and sat down on their bunk beds, and held their pillows close and breathed in the remnants of their stinky boy heads.  There is never a moment when I’m happy they’re not with me now.

 

I STAY LONELY…

I am a broken man.  I don’t want to give a potential partner the burden of dealing with a broken life.  I don’t think a positive relationship would result if it’s built on a foundation of my brokenness. But I am healing, very slowly.  I’m still pretty cognizant of my ‘baggage’, and wonder what I could possibly offer that special person when I have three small children who I still want to give my all to.  With that responsibility comes a financial commitment, lots of time, and the devotion of my heart and soul.  What would I have left to give?

…BUT I WANT TO TRY AGAIN

 

I’ve met some awesome people (with ovaries) lately, which demonstrates there are some great fish in the sea.  They are humans like me; they have been hurt, they’re trying to figure out life, and they’re lonely too.  I want to be gentle with other’s hearts, but fear I most often am like this guy…

Please don’t give up on on me yet!

NEW SWAG

Finally, I’ve got some new shoes!  I upgraded from Saucony Kinvarra 3’s to the Kinvarra 4.  So far, I’m extremely happy with them!

Kinvarra 3

Kinvarra 4