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Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

Assorted Junk Food

Last Tuesday I was undone by one of the few food weaknesses I have – shortbread cookies.  Jess had had a little get together over the weekend with some friends and one of the items brought was an oversized Costco package of chocolate dipped shortbread cookies.

I held out for as long as I could, even throwing out much of what had been brought into my house, my kitchen; but I had been unable to bring myself to toss the shortbread.  Well, I paid for it.  On Tuesday, along with only running 1 mile for my designated #AutismStreaks rest day, I ended up eating a huge stack of those shortbread cookies.

All that yummy shortbread goodness.

All that sugar and flour.

By the end of the day I felt like doodie!

And you know what?  It was a good thing, because it made me realize just how well I take care of myself on a regular basis.  I realized that “this crappy feeling” is how a large majority of society unwittingly feels ALL the time!  No wonder kids don’t go out and play anymore!  No wonder adults come home from work and reach for the vino, the remote and the couch!  If I hadn’t run my mile earlier in the day, #AutismStreaks would have been in serious, serious jeopardy!

***

Every once in a while, if you are a generally clean eater, it’s not a bad idea to pump your body full of crap; to shock the system if you will, because it’s a good reminder of why you are a clean eater.

Try it!

You will feel like shit!  And you will so appreciate it!

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Man in the Mirror

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When I look in the mirror I do not initially see a 41-year-old man looking back at me. The man, er boy, staring back at me is still young.

But as I lean closer to the mirror, the wrinkles become more apparent. The amount of salt on my unshaven face is ever growing. The gray in my hair is spreading, slowly, but steadily spreading nonetheless.

That guy in the mirror is no longer 22 or even 32 (which is the age I always foresaw myself staying at forever). No, that guy is 41.

41.

41 is not old necessarily, but it definitely is not young anymore – and that’s hard for someone who has always had somewhat of a Peter Pan complex. All my life I felt that if you stayed young in your mind and heart, your body would reflect that. When I re-discovered running three years ago I became convinced that I had found the Fountain of Youth.

6 months into my discovery I was 25 pounds lighter, had more energy than I had when I was 20, and felt as mentally sharp as I ever had been. I was convinced that I had turned the clock backward.

The problem of course is that you can only hold back Father Time for so long. Over the last three months it has suddenly taken me longer to recover, I’ve required more energy to motivate and my cracker-jack timing has been, well, a little off. Despite all of that I continued to push myself, hard. Eventually I had to stop and listen.

During a time that I should have been at the peak of my training (70 miles per week) for my upcoming marathon at the end of the month, I was instead asleep and running haphazardly (20 miles per week). Obviously I needed a break. 6 marathons (along with training for them) in 18 months had taken their toll.

I felt old. Suddenly running wasn’t my fountain of youth anymore. It was more like the wrong cup at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

With just two weeks until the Run Around the Lake Marathon, I’m still working my way back to loving running again. My mojo (lower-case “m”) seems to be back – I was able to throw down 20 miles in 95° heat and just this morning I ran some pretty strong intervals – but it hasn’t been/isn’t easy yet.

One nice, and unexpected, thing about missing runs due to lack of motivation however has been fresher legs when I DO run. Maybe as I get older, less is more.

Under normal circumstances I think that I would be losing my mind right about now knowing just how crappy my training has been this cycle, but something Joanne over at Apple Crumbles said to me several weeks ago has kept me steady despite my lack of mileage. She said:

“As for the marathon training, you’re a seasoned marathoner. You know what to do to get from mile 1 to mile 26.2. Don’t worry”

You know what? She’s right.

And so I look at that man in the mirror. He may not be as young or as strong or as fast as he was even just 18 months ago (actually I know I’m faster than I was 18 months ago…I just may not be as fast as I was 9 months ago), but he is wiser and has the accumulated knowledge of 6 marathons under his belt.

For the first time since November 2009, I am nervous about running a marathon, but this time it is tempered with the knowledge, as Joanne said, that I “know what to do to get from mile 1 to mile 26.2”.

I will worry, but dammit if I don’t enjoy myself too. We, most of us anyway, don’t do this to finish first – we do this for fun!!!  And if I squint my eyes just a little bit, it easily takes 10 years off that guy I see in the mirror.

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Why do you run?

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No, not that View

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When I first met my wife, one of the things she talked a lot about was long-term gain versus short-term gain.  It was a philosophy of hers that applied not just to the financial aspects of her life but to life in general.

The long and short of it is that most of the time, the value of long-term gains almost always outweigh that of the short-term.  Generally speaking, if you sacrifice the long-term for the short-term, in all likelihood you’ll end up paying for it later, usually negating any gains made in the short-term.

It’s not an easy philosophy to stick to.  In this day and age of immediate gratification, we, as a society seem to have lost our ability to see down the road any further than our next meal, paycheck, trip to the mall.  It’s easy to give into the flash and dazzle of getting it/doing it/buying it/watching it/eating it now, forgetting that a few hours later, that sensation will, at best, be a dull, forgettable feeling, and, at worst, a feeling of regret and, at times, literal pain.  But memory can be short.

The long-view is hard.  Patience is hard.  It can be full of doubt and even despair.

And that is part of the reason why it is so rewarding.

Marathon training has taught me that.

***

After a long day of work or a night with too little sleep, most of us just want a little decompression time.  A little “me” time.  Time to veg, turn our brains off and put ourselves back together.

For many of us, that “me” time is usually spent in front of a screen, our mouths full of scooby-snacks.

I want to redefine what “me” time, or “veg” time is.

***

For me, whether it’s morning, noon or night, when it’s time to run, there is always, ALWAYS an internal struggle:

  • Do I run or go back to bed?
  • Do I run or do I chill out on the couch?
  • Do I run or go to bed at a decent hour?

Sometimes the balance leans toward the run, others it leans towards potatoing.  I’ve reached the point, however, where I know I will be much happier in the long run if I go for the run.  Choosing the bed or the couch may feel good in the here and now, but eventually I get restless, antsy, and sometimes downright grumpy.

Most people view running as an exertion, a time where you spend energy instead of re-charging, and on the surface they are right.  You can’t argue with physics (not in this universe anyway), and the laws of physics clearly state that to move an object you must use energy.  Even if you are able to overcome the inertial gravity of the couch or bed and get yourself in motion, you’re still fighting air resistance and gravity.

It takes work to run.

But sometimes, on a meta-physical level, 1 – 1 ≠ 0; sometimes 1 – 1 = 2. And that’s where running as the new “vegging out” time comes into play.  After a good run, I can be physically spent, but my mind is refreshed and alert.  A good run can wash away the imaginary burdens of the day and help you work through the real ones.  The blood coursing through your body and the endorphins firing off in your brain allows your mind to work on problems in the background while your consciousness only has to work on the simple task of putting one leg in front of the other.

You can get some of the same effects from sleep (and believe me, sleep is an integral part of overall health – a topic for another time), but you certainly cannot get them from potatoing on the couch with a bag full of Cheetos.

At the end of the run you get the added bonus of knowing you improved your health just a little more, buying yourself another day, another week, another month with your family on our little planet.

In the end, is waiting an hour for the satisfaction of a good run that much longer to wait that plopping yourself on the couch?  One of the benefits of marathon running has been a new ability to mentally speed up or slow down an hour depending on the situation.  Besides, the couch will still be there at the end of the day.  If you run first, you’ll smile knowing you got to take advantage of the best of both worlds.

Then you can curl up on the couch and watch a little trashy TV, you know, like the View!

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Why do you run?

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