Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2011

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

October 2009 – Manchester, NH. I am running my first marathon. I have aspirations of qualifying for Boston in my first marathon. How cool would that be? Of course, I’ve only been running for a little over 11 months now. My training has been haphazard, AND I’ve had to lay off the miles in the 6 weeks before the marathon due to a possible stress fracture/probably tendinitis in my right foot. But come on! I’m excited! I’m pumped! I’ve found the 3:30 pacer and I am going to follow him for 15 – 20 miles and then drop the hammer and bring home a sub-3:20:59 and a BQ. Did I mention this is my first marathon?

I flew through the first mile in under 6:30; flew through the first half in just under 1:35 (on pace for 3:10 – Woohoo!); and then I crashed and burned, hitting a wall at 16 and halting to a dead stop at mile 20 with frozen quads. I hobbled the final 10K to still finish in 3:54, but it was not the way anyone would want their first marathon to go.

***

I’ve learned a thing or two in the almost two years since – I even managed to finally qualify for Boston a year later at Smuttynose (my 4th marathon) with a 3:19.

One of the biggest lessons that has stuck with me however, is that if one is running their first marathon and one is not a World Class Athlete like Ryan Hall or Kara Goucher, then one’s goal in a first marathon should be to Just Finish. Sure, it’s good to have time goals. Sure, if you were an All-American in the 10,000 meters in college, maybe a BQ the first time out is not out of the question.

But if you are like me, just a regular guy who happened to fall in love with running because it made you feel good, then embrace that feeling in your first marathon and go out and have fun.

Just finish.

Enjoy the spectacle of the marathon and just finish.

***

Yesterday morning I signed up for the Vermont 50. I’m not sure what I was thinking, but honestly, it’s become something that I just want to be able to say I did – I want to be able to say that not only am I a marathoner, but I am an ultra-marathoner as well.

Can I do it? Can I cover 50 miles before they shut down the course?

That’s kind of the point, isn’t it?

I don’t have aspirations for anything longer (Western States 100? No Frakking Thank You!). Seriously, anything that takes over 12 hours to cover is just insane in my book.

Have I trained for this? Nope.

Have I run trails before? Once – last weekend, and that was only a few miles.

Am I going to get to train for the terrain like I always preach? Hardly. With the end of the summer rapidly approaching, the start of school and some family obligations thrown in for good measure, I will not have an opportunity to head up to the mountains for some training.

What the Hell am I thinking?

At this point, I am thinking this:

Just Finish.

Run, jog, walk, waddle, crawl – whatever it takes.

And here’s the thing – I will not be going out fast. In fact, I guarantee that the first several miles will be uncomfortably slow.

But that’s okay, because the idea for me is to Just Finish and not worry about the racing part of it.

If I finish and I feel “too” good? Who knows, maybe next year I’ll come back and try to “race” it, but in the meantime, I will not make the same mistake in my first ultra-marathon that I made in my first marathon.

When I signed up for the Vermont 50, two words crossed my mind: “Uh Oh!”

I have four new words that I will be focusing on over the next 30 days:

Just Finish. Have Fun.

Bookmark and Share

Why do you run?

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Uh Oh!!!

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

What have I done???

And yes, that’s 50, as in 50 mile run.

Bookmark and Share

Why do you run?

Read Full Post »

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

When you are the parent of the child with special needs you gain a certain perspective on the concept of achievement.  You learn to celebrate the ordinary, the mundane, the trivial milestones, because when you are a parent of a child with special needs, you know that in some cases, the ordinary becomes extraordinary – the words “I love you” passing over the lips of your daughters, a genuine hug of comfort, an extended moment of eye contact – all of these things that we take for granted with our neuro-typical children take on a much greater weight.

When I look at runners, talk to runners, read posts by runners, I wonder if they understand that they too are extraordinary.

Recently there was a bit of a brouhaha online about a certain runner who attempts to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle.  Some of the more serious accusations thrown at her aside, one that particularly irked me was that she is just a middle of the pack runner, even slower by other people’s standards – that it was no big deal that she ran 52.4 miles (or 100 for that matter) in one day, that her training mileage was mundane compared to other, “real” ultra-marathoners.

It wasn’t that I felt she needed defending.  She can take care of herself.  What bothered me was that the idea of running 50 miles in a day, or biking 200 miles in 3 days, or running 40 miles a week was nothing to celebrate because it wasn’t serious enough.

It takes away from the “extraordinary” that every day runners do every day.

  • If you get up in the morning and run, you are extraordinary – I don’t care if it’s 3 miles or 15 miles.  How many people hit the snooze button and are now “running” late for work?
  • If you strapped on your running shoes during your lunch break, you are extraordinary – how many of your co-workers are stuffing their faces with a meatball grinder while you sweat out a quick 5-miler?
  • If you put in a short run after work, you are extraordinary – too many people are managing the stress of the day with a bourbon at the local watering hole instead of a run.
  • If you prepared for bed with a run after putting the kids to bed, you are extraordinary – how many of your fellow parents crash into their own beds or onto the couch after the kiddies are asleep?
  • If you have entered a footrace of any distance, you are extraordinary – how many people have said to you, I wish I could do that.
  • If you have run a marathon, no matter what the time, you are extraordinary – you are part of an exclusive club (around 0.1% of the population)!

Runners like Scott Jurek, Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher are all truly extraordinary.  Their feats are incredible, but here’s the thing, they obviously have physical gifts that you and I do not have.  I am truly impressed by what they are able to accomplish, but I am always more impressed with those of you who live every day lives, working towards keeping a roof over your heads and keeping your children fed yet still manage to find the time to run.

I know elitists exist in any group of significant size – those that believe they are innately better because they are faster or stronger.  There are runners that are faster and stronger.  That shouldn’t minimize or trivialize the accomplishments of the rest of the community – just like those of us with special needs should not be marginalized or trivialized in society.

Did you, will you run today?

Yes?

Then YOU are extraordinary.  Don’t let anybody tell you different.

Bookmark and Share

Why do you run?

Read Full Post »

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

Last week I awoke one day to a message on Facebook from my friend Sue.  She had sent me a link to this —>

, saying she thought of me when she first saw it.  Little did I know that Jess had posted that same video on her blog just the day before.  I urge you to watch it, but I warn you, have some tissues ready.  After initially seeing it, and wiping away many tears, I sent a “thank you” to Sue.

The next day I got a note from my friend Logan.  He was speaking on a podcast called Geeks in Running Shoes previewing a presentation he was going to give to a group from Google on the nexus of running and social media.  During the podcast he spoke of reading this blog and how it completely changed the way he sees autism – or more to point, that he now SEES autism and is less inclined to judge a family and their “misbehaving” child.

Later I received a response from Sue.  She told me that she and her family had done the Autism Walk in her hometown due in large part to the regular posts both Jess and I put up on our respective blogs.

Each of those things, the video by Lou, the presentation by Logan and Sue’s initial thought of me and response would have individually made me feel pretty inspired, but it was the rapid fire impact of those three that hit me like a Mack Truck of Good Feelings.

Suddenly my brain was in high gear, jumping from one project to another that has fallen by the wayside over the last year or two – the books I want to write (one about running, the other completely unrelated), the motivational tools I want to produce – I became even more motivated in fund raising for Autism Speaks and the spreading of the message of awareness.

But the biggest impact was on my desire to run.  It is no secret that I have been struggling to find my mojo since May.  My runs have been uninspired at best.  This past weekend I ran on both Saturday and Sunday for the first time in a long while.  I went back to basics on Saturday, pulling out my old Vibram Treks and did a nice little 5-miler into town and back.  My calves were almost immediately in pain when I got home, but I LOVED it!  On Sunday, I put on the more traditional shoes and went out  just to “run for fun”.  Shortly into my run I came across an entrance to a trail, shrugged my shoulders and went for my first trail run.

What fun!  The only downside, if there was one, was that I ended up getting lost, ending up at the same bridge over a sea of 4 foot tall grass three times before I finally figured out how to get out of the woods.  My only real worry was the 93° heat, otherwise, in the wise words of my friend Lisa (@runlikeacoyote – you should follow her if you are on twitter), it really wasn’t getting lost, it was just exploring.

Bottom line is this – I am pumped, full of energy and raring to go (though I did come to the conclusion that I am in no way ready to take the plunge on a 50-mile run through the mountains of Vermont – especially if it’s 93frickin’°!!!). Still, I feel good – terribly sore, but good!  My calves really hate me right now, but it’s good.

I’m looking forward to putting words to paper (already 1200 words in), I’m re-thinking my “why we run” project, I am setting up an appointment with a graphics designer, I’m looking forward to this October’s Autism Walk with Autism Speaks, and I have renewed motivation for spreading awareness.

AND running is fun again.

How incredible is it that one can spend months trying to find their mojo only to have it reappear thanks to three apparently unconnected, yet intricately related people.

Thank you Lou for your vision, thank you Logan for opening yourself up to awareness and passing it on, and thank you Sue for your open heart, your kindness and inspiration.

Finally, for all those who have seen Lou’s video, here’s his thank you to you.

Bookmark and Share

Why do you run?

Read Full Post »

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

I have a friend.   I have only met him in the real world once.  He was a large part of why I was able to qualify for Boston back in October of last year – we carried each other for 15 miles.  On that day he missed qualifying for Boston by seconds.  As joyful as my day was, it was devastating to see him just miss his goal.

Instead of folding up his tent and going home, my friend doubled-down and trained even harder for his next marathon, which took place in May in Pittsburgh.  His training was epic to say the least.  To put it in perspective, I just passed 1200 running miles for 2011  last night.  As of 9 days ago, my friend had logged nearly 1800 miles.

1800 miles!!!

He was a man possessed, and when he crossed the finish line in May, he WAS a Boston Qualifier.

I know the feeling – the joy, the wave of emotion, the satisfaction…the “what now?”

Huh?

That’s right.   I recently read in his final post on dailymile that he was “taking a break” from the social network to find his passion for running again.  Boy, do I know that feeling.   I was fortunate enough to have the New York City Marathon line up just 5 weeks after my BQ and then Boston 2011 5 months after that to keep me focused on my training, but after Boston I simply lost “it”.

I was rudderless.  I tried to re-focus my energy by signing up for another marathon, but in the end, I just didn’t have the same drive I had had when I was focused on qualifying for Boston.

Truth be told, I am still wandering, attempting to kick start myself again and again, but I do see signs of my focus coming back.  It’s taken my 4 months, but it’s starting to come together again.

I hope my friend doesn’t stay away too long.

His departure will send ripples throughout the dailymile community and will be felt by all.  He always had an inspirational word for his friends and his workouts were worth emulating.

***

I hope you find your passion again Brendan.  You are an inspiration to many and proof that hard work pays off.  You motivated people not by your words but by your actions.  Enjoy your break – I hope to see you on the ‘mile in October when we both start training again for Boston 2012.

Bookmark and Share

Why do you run?

Read Full Post »

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

A few years ago I heard of a race called Last Chance for Boston.  It takes place in Dublin, Ohio and used to be billed as a marathoner’s last chance to qualify for Boston.  It seemed like a miserable endeavor to me – 26 laps around a 1 mile loop of an office park, just outside Columbus, Ohio, outside, in the dead of winter.  Yikes.

As any marathoner knows, the landscape has changed.  Registration closed in just hours last year.  The B.A.A. made some adjustments for 2012 that should stretch the process out a week or two, but the likelihood is that registration will be closed within a week.  If you are looking to run Boston 2012, you must have run a qualifying time by September 19th just to have a shot at registering.

If you are like me, barely qualifying by the skin of your teeth, you may be looking for a chance to improve upon your registration slot.

Whichever the case may be, there is a new marathon that is currently being put together that, pending approval, will give you one last shot at either qualifying or improving your registration position.

Details are still few and far between, but the current particulars are this:

Date: September 11th
Format: Time TrialI’ve seen that in bike races, never at a marathon.
Size: The term “Exclusivity” is being used with the idea of a “very small field”
Towns Involved: Concord, Lincoln, Bedford and Lexington (MA)

Again, the race is still pending some approvals, but if that happens this marathon WILL be a certified Boston Qualifier.

So, who’s interested?

*I will update this post as more details come out, but in the meantime, ask around, see what you hear.

Bookmark and Share

Why do you run?

Read Full Post »

Birthday Wishes

 

[tweetmeme source=”luau” only_single=false http://www.URL.com]

Today is Jess’ “29th” birthday.

I wish I could give her everything that she could possibly want.

She actually put a list together.

Check it out

—>>>HERE<<<—

My hope is that you can help me with the last item on her list – though if you want to give her the first item, I won’t argue or say no.

Happy Birthday Babe!

Bookmark and Share

Why do you run?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: