Going into this race, I really didn’t know what to expect coming off my ultra the week prior. Well, okay that’s not entirely true. I knew it was going to suck and that there was a 95% chance that it’d hurt.
I also came in dead last, which really didn’t surprise me. This was a small, small race and done in junction with a triathlon as well. I am not sure how many runners did just the half marathon, but I’d estimate MAYBE 50?
Either way, I wasn’t coming into this race looking to hit a certain mileage, I just wanted to finish — and then of course my usual goals of not dying, pooping my pants and uncontrollably crying (also known as “losing my shiz”) half way through the race. I really just wanted to finish and hopefully not have my legs kill too much afterwards.
When I got to the Oval my friend Jim was there already putting miles in for his marathon training. He’s training for the LA Marathon so he’s got plenty of looooooong runs needing to be done. It was nice having him around because he’s always a great conversationalist and when I’m hurting I need a conversation to keep me distracted form the pain.
The race started at 8am — along with a number of pacers. Something I had a hard time wrapping my head around because they were all just running around in circles. I kept up with the 2:45 pacers for a few laps, but I’m not really sure I was on their lap? And, then I followed the 3:00 pacers before doing another lap with the 2:45 pacers — all while having brief conversations with the 2:30 and faster pacers. I lost track of where I was and just counted laps.
But, it was nice because a number of my friends were pacing it. And, apparently after talking to a couple of them, they all came in on time. Which seemed somewhat impossible to me as an observer. LOL!
The last 15-20 laps I was joined periodically by Jim, but also my friend Chad. I was grateful to have both there, because at this time I was really hurting. I needed 47 laps for the race, but when I hit the half way mark I needed to recalibrate. And, having Chad and Jim there really helped A LOT.
I focused on my walk:run lap ratio — walked one, ran three — and just distracting myself with conversation. It’s really a tactic I’ve learned in my ultra running, especially in my training at the Oval and at the race last week. I really dumb down the running and just focus on the basics. Forget about the pace or speed — essentially, I just run … stupid.
So, I ran stupid.
And, I did it.
Like I said, it was tough. Even right now as I am typing this my feet and legs hurt. They’re pretty sore. But, I did it. And, that’s all that matters.
(NOTE: I was informed that I wasn’t the LAST runner in the half marathon. Whoever it was — ROCK ON!)
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for me. Besides figuring out this whole Hashimoto’s Disease out — I’ve been dealing with a beastly bout of bronchitis. I feel lucky it hasn’t been the flu, but that hasn’t stopped the fatigue of restless nights from coughing up a lung and a half.
I thought I was turning a corner after sleeping most all day on Sunday, but I ended up coughing all night Monday night and skipped work. It’s been frustrating, because I’ve wanted to get into a good rhythm with my workouts and runs. But, I don’t have the stamina or lungs for it — yet. And, I just need to be patient.
But, while I’m somewhat impatient to get back into my groove — I’ve really been focused on the adoption of my gluten and dairy free diet. It’s been tough. I won’t lie. I haven’t been as aware of labels and food content under any diet. But, this isn’t just a diet — this is my new lifestyle.
I wouldn’t say I have a specific diet down at this moment. To be honest with you I’m kind of trying things out to see what works best for me. I’ve been trying gluten-free breads and other foods to kind of see what I like. And, I won’t lie — not a huge fan of gluten-free bread — or at least what I’ve tried.
I’ve been sticking to a lot of what I ate while doing Whole 30 — and I think that’s where my focus will be mostly on my diet. Meaning, a lot of salad, steak and sweet potatoes — not to mention fresh fruit and veggies.
But, for now, I really want to see what I like and don’t like within the realm of gluten and dairy free foods.
One of the biggest omissions in this new lifestyle is that of cheese. I love cheese. I love it. And, I miss it. I’ve had some tips on vegan cheese that’s a good substitute. I haven’t tried those yet — but, I am sure I will get around to it. Especially when it comes to nachos.
Anyways — this is transition isn’t easy,
But, this week being sick and not able to get a whole blown workout regime in, I’ve had to focus on my diet. Which I think is a blessing in disguise, because focusing on just the food has helped me kind of further — process — what I am going through. Mainly, that this is a new lifestyle and my decision for food need to be precise.
Plus, I need to find that rhythm that works for me and I think I am getting that down a bit better. Not to mention changing my thought process so I’m not focusing on what I CAN’T eat and what I can or should so I can feel better.
I guess in a way, I’m approaching this like any other race or new distance. I’m starting it in slowly — learning, experimenting and doing — while mentally and physically preparing myself for the long haul. While there is no finish line to all of this, the mentality and approach is the same. This journey just happens to be longer than any race I’ve run before.
Anyways — I’ll keep updating you on all of this throughout the next few weeks and months. But, while my focus has been acclimating myself to the new diet, I’m also focusing on my training and fitness. I’ve got a few looooong runs and races coming up that I want/need to be ready to tackle.
This weekend I am running the Olympic Oval for 5-6 hours, hoping to get in a good 20-25 miles. I have the Jackpot Running Festival in about a month I want to get a couple more looooong runs in before I tackle the 12 hour race. And, since you won’t find me running outside right now with the air and weather — I’m taking it inside.
There is a group of runners meeting tomorrow morning at the Oval at 6am and — well — just running. We’re running circles around the ice sheet. It should be a lot of fun. There is quite a group gathering that should make it fun. It won’t be as big as the New Year’s Run Resolution, but it’ll be a party.
Besides Jackpot, I also have my self-supported 50 miler in March and the Salt Flats 50K in April. So, I’ve got some training to do. And, not that I am getting past this stupid cold and bronchitis — I’m feeling up for the challenge. Not to mention now that I am fueling myself even better.
It’s been a fun, frustrating and kinda long week/weekend for me. I started if off with a lot of good plans and goals and then it kinda of puttered. I don’t know if I would say it was a bad thing, because it was time spent with family and my Grandma. Her days might be numbered and the feeling of being close to family right now feels important to me. Hence, why I didn’t get many miles in this week, which I feel somewhat bummed about, because I went into the week very motivated and excited.
But, these kind of weeks happen, right?
It’s not like the week was a total wash though. The miles I did get in were totally quality miles. Some physically and some mentally. Reese’s Run at the Olympic Oval on Thursday was just awesome. I mean remarkably awesome! There were a number of assisted athletes both young and older that had the opportunity to be pushed during the race. I ran with my friend Josh, whom I am running with during a number of races this year. It was even his first race.
Then on Saturday a group of us did five miles down Big Cottonwood Canyon. We set out to do a 10K, but we realized on our way up the canyon that we couldn’t park on the side of the road in fear of being towed. They do this during the winter months to avoid accidents in icy or snowy conditions … but … when it’s 65 degrees on a February weekend day there SHOULD be an exception, right?
Either way, the run was good and it killed my quads. Which pain is good. It’s telling me something I need to do more of, right?
This is a run that I hope is a last tradition here in the Salt Lake City area. This was the first year that Extra Mile Racing put on this kind of event. Basically, it is a half marathon (or three hours all you care to run) event at the Olympic Oval in Kearns. It’s specifically designed and tailored towards assisted athletes (meaning athletes that need assistance running with either an person or in a wheelchair/stroller). Reese’s Run was designed not only as a race for these athletes, but as a fundraiser to help these athletes get the equipment and chairs they need in order to run more.
I first got involved in the assisted running community this past May when I met Elsha. Since then I have friended a number of other people within the community. I have ran with Reese Thorne (the namesake for this run) a number of times as well. I’ve found that though I run a TAD slower pushing these strollers, that it changes the dynamic of running. It’s no longer a solitary sport, it’s a team sport. Sure, I push, but they pull me along just as much. Whether it’s Elsha’s candid friendliness or Reese’s pure joy of running it has enriched my running experience tenfold.
That’s why I can’t imagine NOT being a part of this part of the running community. Besides running with Elsha and Reese, I had the opportunity to run with my friend Josh at the run on Thursday night. This was his first race being pushed. We’re still working on getting him a chair that works for him, but he had a BLAST! And, like anyone that has the name Josh he’s a pretty funny guy! (he’s a comedian don’tcha know?). We’re planning on running a number of races together this year starting with the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon in May. But, something tells me we’ll be running another race MUCH earlier than that. We’re both HUGE Disneynerds as well, so we are planning on going to at least one Disneyland race sometime within the next year.
But, I was just very touched with everything about this race. The pushers were amazing, the pushees were even more amazing and the people who came out to support and cheer on the athletes was beyond awesome. One mother made a number of signs to hold up at passing runners. I can’t understate how awesome it was.
I really can’t wait for the next Reese’s Run and I hope there’s another one done this year. This can’t be a yearly event, it has to be a bi-annual event. Just sayin’ …
I think some of my frustration for my running came a little from my run down Big Cottonwood Canyon. We were planning on doing a 10K down the canyon, but since we couldn’t park on the side of the road we had to find an open lot and run from there. Which wasn’t that bad, because I still got some fast, yet quad-hurting miles in.
I don’t know why I complain about that? I think part of it may be my marathon-mentality of getting miles in rather than a good workout? I don’t know. But, with transitioning myself from marathon running to half marathon and speed training I mentally just have to let that go. I am not sure when that will come, but I think I just need to focus on the balance between speed training, having fun and racing. That’s probably where the key to breaking that mentality lays?
But, who knows? That just sounded good on paper.
Okay, back to Saturday’s run. Since we weren’t putting a 10K in, my goal was to run my 5 miles under an hour. Last year this wouldn’t have been a problem, but with my health issues and non-speed training during November and December I thought this would be a good goal that would push me. And, well, it did.
The first half mile was up hill to make sure we got at least 5 miles in from that point to the mouth of the canyon. I won’t lie, that climb was STEEP! And, mentally, I was just got ready to run it. But, I mall-walked it and then at the turn around just let gravity do its’ thing. Which, being a bigger runner … I love!
The first mile I averaged about 13 miles including that run uphill, but my second and third miles were under a 10 minute mile, which felt AWESOME! I hadn’t seen those in a long time. I wanted to try to keep that up throughout the rest of my run, but that didn’t happen. So I just tried to push myself a bit beyond comfortable and that did the job.
There were a couple parts that broke my stride because of safety issues, but I finished my five miles under my goal at 59:25 minutes. I can’t complain about that! Now to just build upon that …
THIS WEEK’S WORKOUT PLAN
This week’s plan is two fold. Since I don’t have time for a loooooong run on Saturday I am going to have be consistent with my miles throughout the week. I would like to get a total of 15 miles in running and another 5-8 walking. I just feel the need to start getting more miles in. I think part of that has to be the awesomely good weather we’re having, but secondly, I just want to get this weight off that I’ve found while trying to work through my thyroid and testosterone issues.
I have an appointment in a couple of weeks for the testosterone so hopefully I can find a solution. I know they are intertwined with how I feel. I would just love to get rid of about 25-30lbs. Because I feel the difference. Well, and I know the difference. But, I am doing what I can on my part with eating as good as I can. I tend to follow the 80/20 diet, but maybe I should buckle down on that more? I am not sure? But, the focus on my diet this week is to fuel my body correctly and with good whole foods. Meaning, cut out a bit more of the sugar. Or at least be cognizant of it in what I eat.
In addition to running and eating, I am also focus on a being consistent with a weight-training plan and doing a weight-circuit three times this week (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday). I’ve lost a lot of muscle memory from the low-testosterone, but I am just going to do what I can. And, I know my body will respond. Maybe not as I would want it to, but at least in the right direction.
MY GRANDMA UPDATE
My Grandma is back home. I believe I mentioned this on Friday. She’s doing relatively well. She still isn’t eating much, but has been drinking which I guess is a good sign. It’s hard to say which way she will swing, but personally I think her days are numbered.
So the focus is more on enjoying the time we still have and talking about family and memories. As depressing as that may sound there is a simple joy in it. I’ve always loved the time I spent with her eating lunch, talking about life and laughing about this and that. I’ve had a special relationship with my Grandma in that regard.
Whenever that time comes, it will be sad to part, but knowing how much joy I’ve gotten out our relationship brings me a lot of peace.
But, in the meantime, the focus is life, happiness and joy.
MY 2015 MILEAGE
Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015
2015 Training Miles – 54.85 miles2015 Walking Miles – 18.0 miles
2015 Race Miles – 19.35 miles2015 Total Miles – 92.2 milesMonthly Total Miles for 2015January – 78.8 milesFebruary – 13.4 miles
When I begin my journey over five years ago, I really didn’t just begin a weight-loss journey. Sure, over the past five years I’ve lost 180lbs., but that wasn’t my focus or point of my journey. When I made that decision to take those first steps, I was really telling myself and the world that I was starting to be an ACTIVE participant in my life.
I have been extremely lucky and blessed over the past five years. I have gone and seen places I never dreamed imaginable, met tremendously awesome people and experienced many wonderful moments that I will always remember.
Mainly with the belief and resolve that I was no longer going to let the world pass me by. I wanted to be the person that wrote my own destiny. I wanted to be the one who took me where I wanted to go. And, quite frankly, I was sick of not living life. Not just to the fullest, but … at all.
I have been very lucky to have running in my life. I am even more lucky to have the body and health that I have, sure I still deal with health issues here and there, but I still have the ability and capacity to do what I want to do and go where I want to go.
The body is an amazing thing.
And, I’ve been thinking a lot about the body as of late. I used my weight as an excuse for a number of things. Heck, I remember when I used it as an excuse not to workout … because I was … well … fat. What a great excuse, huh?
But, more than just where I’ve come from and where I am now … I’ve been thinking a lot about the miracle of the body and how despite perceived limitations one can soar. And, over the years I’ve had many people in my life show me there is no such thing as limits.
One of my best friends Jordan was one of the first to show me that limitations are man made. I met Jordan while at Salt Lake Community College I was involved in student government and was sitting on a committee interviewing for new senators. Jordan came in and interviewed for a position.
He could have probably been easily dismissed because of perceived perceptions, but I will never forget his interview. Here was this young 18 year old man with cerebral palsy that has the most infectiousness attitude, optimism and love for people. You could tell that he fully believed in himself and didn’t see the person that the world saw.
Jordan and I quickly became close friends and over the years we’ve gotten even closer. I will always remember him confiding in my his fears, especially those of not ever getting married or having a family. Where is he now? Married and has a beautiful daughter. I have no doubt this happened, because he didn’t see how the world saw him. He pursued his dreams and fought through a lot to get there.
Even in the running community I have seen these examples time and time again. When I first met Elsha back in May of last year I had no idea how my life and running was going to change. Elsha who was born with muscular dystrophy doesn’t have the ability to use her arms or legs. But, has that stopped her from being a participant in life?
And, I wouldn’t be writing this post if I answered that rhetorical question with a resounding, “YES!”
Of course that hasn’t stopped her from being an ACTIVE participant in life. In fact I’d probably say she lives more than most people. Not only does she run, but she is an accomplished artist that makes Christmas cards for charity, she raises money for children in Africa, she even sponsors a child through school in Africa. This doesn’t even include her love of U2 and relationship with Bono and the band.
Elsha is simply an amazing person.
The relationship that I have had with her introduced me to many other assisted athletes, especially that of Reese Thorne. Reese doesn’t walk or speak, but he sure loves to run! Through the couple of times that I pushed Reese while running I love seeing his smile grow large and feet kick out of his chair.
That’s when you know he’s loving the run.
Seeing that joy and being able to give Reese that joy has solidified and deepened my love for the gift of running. As cheesy as it might sound, I run so they can soar. And, there are many times my pushing them is because of the pull of their undefeatable spirit and will.
See I told you it sounded cheesy. But, it’s true.
How often do we hold ourselves back from being participants in our own life? How often do we tell ourselves that we can’t do something because of some lame excuse? I call it lame, because there really isn’t a worthy excuse for living your life. Not, necessarily to the fullest, but even living it on a half empty tank of gas is pretty dang awesome!
So why not go for it?
I look at my inspiring friends’ examples and wonder how I can sit back and just let my life pass me by. If they can overcome what the world sees as limitations, why can’t I overcome what I see as my own limitations? Because, really, limitations are just lies we either tell ourselves or believe that come from other people.
So what’s holding you back? What’s keeping you from your dreams? What’s keeping you from flying? Soaring?
Nothing has held back my friends Jordan, Elsha and Reese and I look to them for strength when doubt creeps in my life. Because, I know if they can overcome ANY obstacle in order to be an active participant in life … so can I.
For those that are interested on Thursday, February 5th at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns there is a fundraising run being ran by Extra Mile Racing called Reese’s Run. It is an indoor half marathon specifically for assisted athletes like Elsha, Reese, my friend Josh and others.
The race is open for anyone to run along with these awesome athletes. It’s $25 per pusher and $5 for the assisted athlete. Even if you don’t want to run the whole half marathon you can run as much as you want, volunteer, cheer on the athletes or simply make a donation.
You can register for the race by clicking on this link. Come run!
There’s also a GREAT article written by one of my running group members, Arianne Brown, on KSL.com this morning about this race and Reese. Check it out!