Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2011

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5D

So with Harold Camping telling us that the Apocalypse is 5 months away and that Judgement Day did in fact happen on May 21st, I’m left to wonder, were any of us saved?

Camping came to the date using the numbers 17, 10 and 5; 17 representing heaven, 10 representing completeness and 5 representing atonement.

Well, I have a theory. I think that some of us were in fact saved. Just like Camping used religiously inspired writings to determine the exact date, I have used my own religious sources to determine that if Judgment Day did in fact happen and if the Rapture and the Apocalypse are going to happen on October 21 then it is obvious who is among the saved.

If you look at any painting depicting the Rapture (go ahead, Google it), you will notice one thing in particular – every person rising up to Heaven has a runner’s body. Therefore, one can assume that if you are a runner, you have a pretty good shot at being called up.

Need more proof?  Here are a few more numbers to chew on. We keep hearing that it is estimated that 10 – 15% of the “believers” will be saved. We also keep hearing that the number of those saved will be approximately 200,000,000 people.  There are about 1.6 billion people in the world who run to some degree (courtesty of Yahoo!). If we take the average of 10 – 15% we get 12.5%. Guess what 12.5% person 1.6 billion is?

You guessed it, 200,000,000!

More proof?  According to Christopher McDougall, our species was “born to run”.  Therefore, it is how God made us.

So, to stay pure, we must run.

Still not sure?  Let’s get back to Camping’s numbers – 17, 10 and 5.

If you add 17 and 10 you get the approximate distance of a marathon. Many first-time marathoners will tell you that “completing” (10) a marathon has a euphoric, almost “heavenly” (17) feel to it. This distance is, according to some scientists, the average distance ancient persistence hunters may have had to travel to chase down their prey, usually within a 5 hour stretch.

Get it? The answer, just like Camping’s “indisputable” mathematical proof is so obviously clear: if you have run a marathon in under 5 hours, you will/have been saved.

If you qualify, you are part of the R-un-apture and you will be let into Heaven.  If not, get to work – according to my sources, there is an extension for those willing to run a marathon before October 21st…but you better do it in under 5 hours, otherwise you will be forced to suffer the Runocalypse.

a la NYCM's I'm In Stickers


Bookmark and Share

Why do you run?

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Spring of 1992 was the last time I remember being Angry.

Yes, I’ve been mad about things many times since, but not since that Spring have I been truly, blindly, enraged.

I have a pretty long fuse – probably longer than most people’s (maybe too long).  I don’t tend to get Angry – I mean really Angry.  “angry” yes, “Angry” no.  When “angry Luau” makes an appearance, it can be unsettling, not just for me, but for those around me who, for the most part, never see that side of me.

After studying Kung-Fu as a youngster for over 10 years I learned a few things, but two things apropos to today’s post were 1.)the need to stay calm and 2.)fear of what would happen if I didn’t.  During those 10+ years, I got very good at what I did.  I have spent a lifetime since avoiding physical confrontation for fear that in the midst of anger, I would do something that I would regret for the rest of my life.  Twice in my early 20’s, things got out of hand, people got hurt, I swore to be more disciplined.

Recently, we (my family) have had to deal with some things, some people that have really tested my fuse.  There have been moments when I have come close to losing it, but the remnants of my training have prevailed.

What does this have to do with running?

Everything.

I have not actively practiced Kung-Fu in almost 20 years.  Any martial artist will tell you that when push comes to shove, the muscles remember, but I have not had the benefit of the daily workouts, the daily meditations, the daily focusing – that is, until I discovered running a little over two years ago.

Much like the martial arts, regular running is about discipline – whether you are a marathoner, a road racer or you run simply for the health benefits, running regularly is about focusing, achieving and getting the body to push its limits, to do something that you would not normally do in today’s society (a sad topic for another post someday).  When taking it up to the marathon level, running can also be about maintaining a certain level-headedness when every fiber in your being is telling you to stop.

As much as Kung-Fu helped me lengthen my fuse over the course of 10 years when I was younger, running has done the same over the last 2.  The discipline obtained from running 20+ miles many times over has carried over into my non-running life, the part that must remain calm when anger is trying to rear its ugly head.

I still fear anger, as I did when I was younger.

Though I do not like to run angry because of the heightened potential for injury, I do find that running is a great outlet for those negative feelings.  The rhythmic beat of running is conducive toward a meditative state that allows one to work through the anger without letting the anger grab hold of your core – much like the meditation sessions we would have in Kung-Fu class.  Running also provides a heightened physical state that allows one to have the physical reaction of anger in a controlled way, sweating away the negative energy.

I have been mad and angry these past couple of weeks, bordering on Angry – people do crappy things; but running has kept me grounded.  Running has kept me focused.

***

Sadly, running has not stopped me from feeling overwhelmed at times.  Running has not stopped the tears – in fact, there have been runs that ended in tears as the emotion of trying to understand why some people do what they do pours out with my sweat and eventually gets to me.  But the running I do has channeled the potential Anger, harnessed it and used it for the power of good (specifically and hopefully taking me to a BQ-5*).

***

Whether it is running or swimming or biking or boxing – hard, physical exertion can go a long way toward managing, channeling and potentially harnessing negative emotions like anger, much like Tai-Chi.  With the path our lives took over the past few years, Lord knows what kind of person I would have evolved into had I not discovered running.  The outlet that running has provided has been a Godsend.

I may not be a religious man, but Lord, I want You to know I am thankful.  Thank you for the gift of fleet feet, emotional running and cleansing sweat.

*A BQ-# is the new designation I have seen floating around due to the new rolling registration for the Boston Marathon – the different levels being BQ-20 (qualifying by more than 20 minutes), BQ-10, BQ-5 and BQ.  The higher the number, the more likely you will have the opportunity to register.  My goal this summer is to achieve a BQ-5 so that I may register for Boston on the 5th day of registration as opposed to the second week where there is the possibility that registration will already be closed.

Bookmark and Share

Why do you run?


Read Full Post »

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5D

Leading into Sunday morning, I had run 42 miles for the week.  For me, that’s a lot.  During the peak of my training for both Smuttynose and Boston I hit 55 miles per week, but I don’t normally live in the 55 – 70 mile per week range.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever hit more than 55 miles in a Monday to Sunday stretch.  By Saturday afternoon my right knee was feeling a little wonky (yes, non-runners, that is a technical term).  When I woke up Sunday it was downright aching.

I stared at my schedule:

17 miles.

I had been here before.  Achy knee, long mileage, determination.  I had powered through it and then proceeded to have to take a week off from running.  I knew that I shouldn’t run but I still reached for my shorts.  Fortunately for my knee (but unfortunately for my little one) Brooke had been up sick that night.  The double-whammy of my restless sleep and my achy knee finally got the better of me and I went back to bed.

When I woke up at a more decent hour the knee hadn’t improved.  In fact, in addition to the achiness, it now had a clickiness (yes, that’s the technical term for that).  I sighed.  Maybe jumping up to the 12/70 plan* wasn’t such a good idea.  Maybe training for another marathon so soon after Boston wasn’t such a good idea.  Maybe I was going to need to take a little time off.

The fact that I felt a little under the weather didn’t help my mood.  Nor did the fact that Brooke had been the target of teasing on Friday help either.  I was mentally, physically and emotionally down shot.

I looked at my knee – pissed and pissy.

***

As I looked at my knee though, I realized that my stretching routine had gone by the wayside.  Yes, I stretched my quads and my hammies; my calves and my lower back – but I had essentially stopped doing —>>>THESE<<<— two stretches on a regular basis.  They were the two stretches that got me out of my endless cycle of running long miles and knee pain.

I immediately did the ITB stretch, held it for 40 seconds and …presto!… almost like magic the achy knee went away.  Had it not been already mid-morning, I would have slipped on the running shoes and been off for my 17.

The achiness stayed away for most of the day, finally returning in the evening.  40 seconds later and relief was once again mine.

After putting the family to bed, I decided to make up at least some of the miles I missed in the morning.  Due to time I only got in 9 miles, but I’ll take it.  Afterward I made sure to stretch.

It is obvious to me that the ITB tightens when the mileage gets high, but as long as I do —>>>THOSE<<<— two stretches, hopefully I will be fine.  The question becomes, “what is the mileage limit that those two stretches can counteract?”  When I was training for Smutty and Boston I peaked at 55 miles per week in both training cycles.  My current plan has me peaking at 70 miles.

70.

Wow!  That seems like a lot of miles.

You tell me if I’m wrong, but for now, I think I’m going to stay the course and continue to up the mileage (in conjunction with the stretches).  If the knee does not improve with the stretches, I will dial it back.

What would you do?

Bookmark and Share

Why do you run?

*The 12/70 plan is the 12 week marathon program I am following that starts at 55 miles per week and peaks at 70 miles per week.

Read Full Post »

How Many?

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5D

Bookmark and Share

Why do you run?

Read Full Post »

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5D

Last Monday night I went to the Sox game.  I went with one of my best friends, who was in from Texas.  The game itself was miserable at first.  The Sox, who had finally reached .500 a quarter of the way into the season quickly went down 6 – 0 early to the Orioles.  In the end however, the Sox battled back and eventually won on Adrian Gonzalez’s walk-off hit off of the Green Monstah.  During the game I downed 4 hot dogs, an Italian sausage with peppers and onions, a few beers and two larges slices of pizza (one pepperoni and one veggie) – I was a junk food eating machine.

What the hell does this have to do with running?

Hold on.  I’m getting there.

The game was nearly 4 hours long, ending after 11PM.  I dropped my buddy off at his hotel and didn’t get home until close to midnight.  By the time I fell asleep, it was nearly 12:30AM.  Not good on a school night.

When the alarm went off at 4AM, I felt like crap.  I mean, I really did not feel good.  The food and the beer had done some very funky things to my system, and my whole body was rebelling against me.  As I struggled to the bathroom to change, my stomach gurgled, my head pounded and my gut just hurt.

I put on my running clothes and stared into the mirror.

What are you doing, man?

I had no answer.  So I started to take my running clothes back off to head back to bed.  As I began to take off my shorts though, I thought, when am I gonna make up the mileage? I had 12 miles on the schedule and honestly, there was nowhere else in the week to put them without throwing the whole training week off.  So as crappy as I felt, I pulled the shorts back up and staggered downstairs for a run.

I lay on the ground to stretch and closed my eyes.  The room felt off-center, tilted.

This is NOT going to be good.

I took a deep breath, decided to skip the stretching, skip the outside and just hit the treadmill.  At least this way, if something went terribly wrong I could run to the bathroom to throw up instead of on some neighbor’s lawn.

The first few miles were tough.  My legs were still a bit beat up from my impromptu attack on Heartbreak Hill on Sunday.  Combine that with the processed food hangover and the mild alcohol headache and it was a perfect mixture of nausea and pain.

FUN!!!

Within minutes I was sweating.  At the time I wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing.  Normally when I run, I don’t start to sweat for a good 10 – 20 minutes.

This was too soon.

But I quickly realized that as I sweated more and more, I began to feel better and better.  As painfully slow as the first 6 miles felt, I could feel myself purging the toxins out of my body with each step, with each drop of sweat.  By the time I reached mile 7, I was in cruise control, covering the last 5 miles feeling great and refreshed.

And so I was able to take on the rest of the day much differently than had I gone back to bed.  I am sure that if I had given in to the siren call of my pillow (and believe me, my pillow sings beautifully), I, along with anyone else who falls victim to those dreaded singing bird women, would have spent the whole day feeling like a big pile of poo.  Instead, I was able to flush the toxins out of my system and actually enjoy my day – refreshed, purged, cleansed.

The next time you drink a little too much or eat too much processed food-substitute, think about curing that hangover with a run.

It works!


Bookmark and Share

Why do you run?

Read Full Post »

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5D

I really hadn’t planned on being here, yet here I was, at the starting line, wondering what the heck I was doing.

Having just come off my first heavy mileage week since late March, I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to react.

They felt heavy.

What the heck was I doing hopping last minute into a half-marathon?

***

One of the things I “love” about the half-marathon and marathon distance is that at some point, if you are a mid-packer like me, you will be tested.  It is not a question of if, but one of when.  Usually the test comes in the second half of the race.  In a marathon it is often during the last 10K (though mine at Boston came at 17).  In the half, I usually find that I must overcome my brain somewhere around miles 9 or 10.

Yesterday my test came during the first 4 miles.  I had jumped into this half-marathon on a whim.  I hadn’t trained for it, AND I had just started a new training cycle that already had me at over 40 miles for the week.  That isn’t a lot for some, but it is a full week for me.  My legs. were. tired.

As the starter yelled, “Go. Go! GO!” I got sucked out by the front of the pack.  I had run into RaceMenu/Mix1 teammate Greg (when he showed up I joked that everybody’s projected finish had just dropped one spot) and had made the mistake of hanging out with him near the start.  When the starter yelled go, I knew to let Greg go (he’s fast).  I didn’t give chase and I thought I was running at a smart pace.  Because of the threat of rain, I had left my iPhone (my de facto GPS device) at home, so I had no idea really what my pace was.  As we passed the first mile marker I tapped my watch and looked down.

6:09.

Um, what?!?

My goal for the half-marathon I had signed up for 2 weeks from now was to run 7:00 minute  miles (and that would be an almost 2 minute PR).  I had no business running a 6:09 first mile in an impromptu half-marathon.  I slowed myself down a bit which resulted in me watching several runners pass me by.

It’s never a good feeling when you get passed, even if you know in your head that it is the smart thing to do – it is discouraging at best.  As the faster runners continued to pass me, I quickly spiraled into a dark place wondering what I had been thinking.  I hit mile 3 in 20 minutes flat, but my legs felt like rubber.  I was spent.  I had gone out too hard, too fast and with  little over 10 miles to go, I was done.  By the time I hit mile 4, I actually had thoughts that maybe I needed to stop road racing – for a while anyway.  What was the point, really?  I mean, seriously, I am not fast enough to have a shot at winning any of these races; why in the world was I putting myself through this kind of hell?  Miles 4 and 5 were significantly slower and I started to think about walking or quitting.  The problem of course is that if I did that, I was stuck in the middle of nowhere and I’d still have to make my way back to the start.  On top of all of that, my right foot fell asleep between miles 4 and 5 (and would remain so for most of the race) and it felt like I was running on a stump of a right foot.  Yes, things were moving along swimmingly.

When I hit mile 6 I looked at my watch.

41:59.

Just under 7:00 per mile.  Granted there were still 7 miles to go, but a PR was not out of the question.  We were almost done climbing Heartbreak Hill and I notice that I was now starting to pass a few people.  I saw Greg coming in the other direction.  We slapped five as we passed each other.  He had a good 40 – 50 second lead on the second place runner.  Encouraged, I tried to quicken the cadence a little and push up the hill.  As we hit the turnaround and started heading back, I saw one of the runners who had passed me early on off in the distance.

I stopped thinking about my sleeping foot.  I stopped thinking about the pain and how tired I was.  Instead I focused on this runner’s tan shirt.  There were other runners in between us, but for some reason I did not want to lose to this guy.  It was time to go to work.  He was to be a good 75 – 100 yards off, but I slowly started to reel him in.  Coming down Heartbreak, a young kid pulled up next to me and I latched on.  Moments later I heard a loud, booming, “LUAU!!!”  I looked to see Kim from Tales of an Endless Runner working her way up Heartbreak.  I yelled back and carried on.  Running downhill felt good.  I finally caught tan shirt at around mile 8.  As I started to pass him, he surged, as did young kid.  I pushed along with them.  Tan shirt briefly opened up about a one meter gap before fading.  Young kid and I pushed on.

I still felt terrible.  My legs were sluggish and my breathing was labored.  My mindset, as it had been from about mile 5 on, was “just finish”.  Forget the PR, just finish.

I kept thinking if I could just hang with young kid, I would be all right, but I very quickly realized that in this particular case, youth was going to win out.  At mile 9 I felt young kid quicken the pace.  He was trying to reel in a group that was about 50 yards ahead of us.  I thought about coming along for the ride, but I knew I had spent my surge energy catching tan shirt.  I quickly glanced behind me to see if anyone was closing on me and saw no one.  I decided to keep my pace and let young kid go.  It was a move I would partially regret later.

When I hit mile 10 I looked at my watch.  70:16.  I started to do some math.  My PR was a 1:33:14.  That meant if I ran the next 3.1 miles in just under 23:00 minutes, I could PR.  My heart and my brain went in two different directions.  My heart said, “GOGOGO!!!” where my brain said, “be smart, run smart!”

I divided 23 by 3.

7 2/3.

7:40.

But that doesn’t take into account the extra 0.1!

23 divided by 3.1 is…

oh crap! too hard. I can’t even do that when I’m not running.

I arbitrarily assigned the 0.1 mile stretch 45 seconds.

22:15 divided by 3.

3 times 7 is 21.

that leaves 1:15…divide that by 3…that 75 second…25!

7:25!!!

I need to run 7:25 pace the rest of the way to hit a PR!!!

Yes, this is what was running through my brain as I covered mile 11.  When I hit the mile marker I looked at my watch – 7:18 for mile 11!

Re-calculate! 

Nononono!

Just run!!! Keep pace.

Mile 12 came in 7:19.  1.1 miles to go.  If I could just maintain my pace I would beat my previous best.  I looked ahead.  I had pulled within maybe 75 yards of the guy ahead of me (young kid has disappeared out of sight).  I thought about trying to make up 75 yards over the course of a mile, but I was spent.  That said I did manage to pick up the pace.  With less than a few hundred yards to go, I heard RaceMenu Chief Alain cheering me in.  There was no one behind me and there was no way I was catching the guy in front of me, but I picked up the speed with one last push.  I knew the PR was mine.  As I made the final turn and ran through the chute, I saw the clock – 1:32:23 – a PR by 51 seconds.

1:32:23 - 22nd overall, 4th AG, 51 second PR

I. was. beat.

Alain handed me a mix1, congratulated me on my PR and told me that Greg had won the race in a course record 1:14.  Man that guy is fast!  Greg and I posed for a picture for our sponsors.

So, I finished in 1:32:23, 22nd overall and once again, as it seems to be my fate in these things, 4th in my age group, just off of the podium.   Maybe if I had chased young kid back at mile 9 – 10 I would have caught the 40-something that finished ahead of me – of course, maybe I would have crashed and burned before even making it to mile 11, who knows.

I’m glad I chose last minute to hop in on this half-marathon.  I’m glad I passed the test early on in the race.  Did I learn anything? Maybe that even when it feels like it’s all going down the tubes, if you put your head down and battle through, sometimes good things can happen.   Makes me feel pretty good going into the Boston Run to Remember Half Marathon over Memorial Day Weekend in 2 weeks.  That race is MUCH flatter than this was, so I’ve actually got a shot at another PR.  We shall see.

***

On a tangentially related note, it seems that Sunday may have been National PR Day.  Many of my running friends scored personal records in the races they ran, none more joyous to me than my buddy Brendan (@mainerunnah on Twitter) who ran the Pittsburgh Marathon and got his BQ in a 3:19 finish.  Those of you who read this blog regularly may remember Brendan from my Smuttynose BQ.  At that race we were both shooting for 3:19’s as part of Team Kinvara, but he unfortunately came up 33 seconds short.  Getting the text that Brendan had achieved his goal actually brought a tear to my eye.  Congratulations Brendan, you have caught the Unicorn!  I will see you in Hopkinton in 2012!

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5D

My brother-in-law, RB, emailed me a few days ago.  He had decided that this was the year he was going to scratch “Run a Marathon” off of the bucket list.  He came to me looking for a little advice on the how and what to do over the next several months.

I essentially wrote back with the following list plus a link to Hal Higdon’s Novice Marathon Training Plan:

  • Your goal in this marathon will be to “just finish”.  Currently your base of 18 – 20 miles per week means that you need to concentrate on the distance of the marathon as opposed to speed.
  • Your most important workout every week will be your long run.  You can skip the shorter runs here and there, but you shouldn’t miss more than 2 long runs for the whole training cycle.  And you CANNOT miss your two longest runs (18 and 20).  Those two runs are key to giving you the mental confidence of finishing a marathon.  There will be a point in the marathon when you want to quit, but if you have these two long runs under your belt, you will be able to draw on the experience of running them and finish.
  • Your long runs should also be run a little slower than what you are used to running (10% – 20% slower than what you anticipate your marathon pace to be).  If you don’t know what your pace will be, just make sure you are running at a pace where you could carry on a conversation (at least for the first 14 – 16 miles).
  • If you have the desire, join a running social network like dailymile.com.  It’s an easy way to keep track of your training and I could hook you up with a lot of my running friends who would give you support throughout your training.
  • Running shoes.  Whatever shoes you believe you will be running the marathon in, use them for your long runs.  And then get a fresh pair of the same shoes maybe 4 weeks before marathon time and do maybe 4 or 5 runs in them to break them in.  Your feet will thank you.

When I first started running regularly, I leaned a lot on my friend MK.  He was and is a huge wealth of knowledge.  Unfortunately, when I first decided to give the marathon distance a try, neither one of us had run a marathon yet.  I wish I had had the resources I have now at my disposal.

So with that said, I would like to ask you, my readers, specifically those who have run marathons, to help me out.  Whether you are a serial marathoner (as it seems I am turning into) or a one-time marathoner who is just happy to get the race off of the bucket list, I would like to elicit what advice you would have given yourself when you first set off to conquer this magical distance, knowing what you know now.

My hope is to make RB’s first experience of 26.2 miles an positive one.

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: