Sunday, January 28, 2018

If You Thought Last Week Sucked.....

The real long road of running
WOW! Another crappy running week. 34 miles. No long run. No tempoish run. Not much fun. Too many runs in the dark. 

The culprit? Work.

Work? Yep, work. In case you don't know, I train/teach/facilitate/instruct sales courses (mostly real estate, but other industries too). I've really only ever done two things in my work life; teaching and real estate. When I am working, it usually means one of two things: I am actually in front of a group of people (anywhere from 12 to 1200), OR I am preparing for being in front of a group of people. When prepping, the running thing is easy. With a little self-discipline and effort, "being" a runner is a piece of cake. I get up (usually between 5 and 6), I work for a few hours, I run, then I work. Life is simple. Life is easy.

When actually fronting my work, it's a different story. Those days the work is rigidly scheduled and runs must fit around the work. Half the year that means running when it's dark or cold, or dark and cold. It means running when I'm groggy or running when I'm tired. Tired is, at this stage of my life, an understatement. When I am in front of a group, I work, and I work hard. If you're in my audience, you get all of me. I pour it out to you. And these are most often full day or two day courses/classes. So, there's not much left, I'm tired. 

By the way, if I were younger: 35, or 42, or even 50, this burning of the candle at both ends might not be as big a deal. At 66, however, with 111,000 miles on the transport mechanism, it is. AND..... with age comes slowing, which means it takes LONGER to get in the miles. When I was in my twenties, a one hour run yielded 10 miles (or more). Today, not as many. That takes time, and TIME is the critical variable. I know you know this, but there are 24 hours in the day and I, or you, have yet to figure out how to create more (I'm working on that, but even Einstein, Edison, or Gates failed on that one).

Don't get me wrong. I AM NOT COMPLAINING (Did I emphasize that enough?)! The lack of time is a wonderful bi-product of being busy, really busy, and the beginning of this year has exploded. In all of last year, I taught 79 days. So far, on this writing January 28th, I have 74 already booked, and I haven't really begun focusing on the booking thing. I think that's absolutely awesome because I LOVE what I do and I love placing my wife and myself in a better financial position. It also means, however, that choices must be made; priorities must be shuffled. It's all about adaptability: physical, mental, emotional.

In the end, I run less and maybe, just maybe, I'm not as prepared for that race as I'd like to be, or maybe, as in the case of the Canyonlands Half in Moab in March, I have to skip it. I think I'm okay with that. At least for now. I think..... maybe.

In the course of 51 1/2 years, my relationship with my running has been an always evolving thing. I've run to win, I've run to race, I've run for weight loss, I've run for sanity, I've run to think, I've run to create. I've run, at times, for all of the above all at the same time. In the end, what's most significant to me is that I've run. And...... I will tomorrow.

Run on.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Snow Day? No Way! AND..... a Lousy/Busy Week AND.... The Return of the CAT

It has been a moderately crappy/busy/uneventful week. Not in all aspects, by the way, mostly just in the running arena. On the whole, life is great and I am extremely work busy. That is a good thing. 

When I am busy, it usually means I'm traveling. If I'm not cross country traveling, it's metro Denver traveling. Frankly, that's the worst kind. Flying somewhere and scheduling runs on the road is, for the most part, easy. I book flights to accommodate my life/running, book hotels near running places, and schedule time to get it done! Around town, though, the 1+ hour drive to get to a class 45 minutes ahead of time, can make for some EARLY morning running. This week was that week (meaning that two of the runs were the 5 am type), the one where every drive was long and running was something done in the darkness. Nonetheless, 38 miles AND..... a self proclaimed recovery week (it was supposed to be next week, but whatever, right?).

BY the way, I'm not complaining, or if I am, TOO BAD, because my schedule is flat out crazy until the end of May. It is my hope, of course, that by the time May arrives, the schedule will be jam packed until December. That is the nature of trying to run a successful business: work happens. I will adjust, knowing that light will slowly come to the morning a little earlier, and my ailing knee will feel better so that I get in more miles per hour. 

All is good. Actually GREAT!

My 38 miles this week were moderately spread even. Four days of 5 miles, one 3, and a 7 and an 8. Nothing spectacular, just trying to stay in the habit and log some miles. I'm also venturing into what I lovingly call the Pit of Misery, the basement. It's where the workout crap resides: that stuff that helps us work on strength, core, flexibility. And I need, D) all of the above.

So, today my run was highlighted by a so called winter storm warning: snow. In the park, or anywhere devoid of cars, winter running is what it was today: FUN! Snow, crispy cold, breaking the trail, plodding along...... FUN. I had an absolute blast today trudging along the trail and logging the miles when no one else was out there. I can't imagine retreating to the dreadmill just because of some snow (unless, of course speedwork or a tempo of some kind were scheduled). Snow Day? No Way!

The fun, however, ends when needing to "share the road" with our vehicular friends. In fact, fun can lead to sad, scary, bad news, accident.

In the public interest, I submit and oldie, but a goodie RunSpittle post, the C.A.T. system. The C.A.T. is my little system for staying safe when I need to be out there with those crazy, lovable drivers during snowy conditions. Here you go:



The C.A.T. System.  I approach my winter run with two irrefutable rules: 1) Vehicle vs. Rich = Rich loses (the same goes for you), and 2) something I taught my sons at a young age, for your safety, you assume that if someone is behind the wheel of a vehicle, they are an asshole. In deference to those rules, I run the sidewalk whenever I can. Often times, especially when the storm is happening during the run, the street can be the safest place. It is that occurrence that activates the C.A.T. System.


C. Car.  I ALWAYS run FACING traffic. I joke that I do this because I want to see the look on the drivers face when he/she hits me. In reality I face traffic because, yes, I want to see them but mostly because I want them to see me seeing them. As a vehicle approaches, I try to identify something about it. Is it an SUV, a truck, a little compact car? Right off the bat, I equate the type of car with the driver's potential ability to maneuver. Next I check speed and control. Is their speed appropriate for the conditions? Are they under control? If any of these checks create nervousness, I retreat to the sidewalk or anywhere well off the road.

A. Awareness. Once the car has been evaluated, I look at the driver to see their level of awareness. Are they on the phone? Do they appear to be seeing me? Do they look petrified? Often I will wave at them (a hello wave, not some other gesture) to capture some semblance of awareness. The other part of awareness of course is activating my own heightened awareness. I don't wear headphones when I run, but if I did, I surely wouldn't be doing it on the winter street run. By the way, just following the C.A.T. System will elevate your own awareness. Again, if their lack of awareness or my own nervousness about them sends me a red flag, I retreat.

T. Tires.  C and A have taken all of a couple of seconds. Most often the car has to be evaluated and awareness activated very quickly. In traffic (more than one vehicle coming), I multi-evaluate. Finally, as the vehicle gets closer, I lock in my sight and complete awareness to the TIRES. It's mighty difficult for that vehicle to slide your way without the wheels locking, so my eyes become totally fixed on the tires. I've escaped a few incidents in my time because I saw it coming before even the driver knew it was happening. Any indication of locking wheels or a loss of control sends me retreating as well, and as you can imagine, QUICKLY. The biggie here is simple: PAY ATTENTION and assume they are not.

Mostly, remember our formula.... Vehicle vs. You = You Lose! 100%.

Run on (carefully).

Sunday, January 14, 2018

T Minus 15: BORING!

T-minus fifteen weeks until the Eugene Marathon and I have to say that this week has created a more hopeful attitude about the journey ahead. While it was far from a perfect week, it has ended on a high note and for that I am thankful. Yesterday (Saturday) I ran 10 miles. I wasn't supposed to, theoretically it was scheduled as an 8 mile run. But I just felt so darned good that I kept going.

This 10 miles wasn't a PR (don't think I'll ever run 51:45 again), it wasn't even anywhere close to being fast. What is turned out to be was a run of 10 miles without significant knee pain. Haven't had one of those for a while.

What this means, hopefully, is that slowly the knee re-therapy is beginning to take effect. Not like, I'm ready to run a marathon tomorrow, take effect. More like I might actually be able to train for one. AND..... After appreciable effort and a plethora of youtube videos, I have found the Rock Tape protocol that seems to work best. Looking at the taping as a short term psycho boost. For now, I'll take that.

All in all, 43 miles logged and building to 45-48 next week. Feeling confident about a mileage increase as the last four days were 7, 4, 10, 7 with no ill effects. Hoping to stay on a healthy path.

Boring this week? Yep, sometimes it is. Not a fan of drama anyway.

Run on.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Every-Other-Step at a Time

I know from experience that it will be this way for a while: the fear, the gingerness (is that a word?), the focus on each and every time my left foot hits the earth and engages everything that happens up to and beyond my tender knee. Am I slapping my foot down with too much force? Is it going to buckle THIS time? Have I maneuvered one more every-other-step on the road to pain free? Scary stuff when it's your knee. Scary stuff when it feels out of your (my) control. Scary stuff, this every-other-step fixation.

So, this first week of 2018 is in the training log and all is progressing "nicely." Nicely means this: the goal was to run every day, log 35 miles, do my "square one" knee exercises consistently, and get in a run of 7 miles. The actual week was 38 miles with a 7 AND an 8 thrown in for good measure. So, I'll take it. In fact, the 8 mile run, which was today, was highlighted by feeling BETTER as the run went from 2 miles to the end.

I consider one of my strengths to be self-awareness. Self-Awareness comes in several packages: physiological, emotional, cognitive, spiritual. And while it's often easier for an athlete, a long time runner, to be physiologically self aware, I think I have taken this to an entirely new stratosphere. 

I DO NOT, you see, want another knee problem. And, while straddling this fine line between strengthening my knee and using my knee to do this thing I love to do, I'm finding my conscious fixation (translated: OVER fixation) with every other step to be absolutely fascinating (in a weird way). Foot strike becomes really significant; the running surface becomes really significant; flat, uphill, or downhill becomes really significant. Every-other-step becomes really significant.

I guess in a way, this is an easy thing. After all, every-other-step means I have this over-fixation just 50% of the time. The other half, I have off, right? Well, I'm finding that assertion to be false as preparation for the next foot strike becomes almost as big an obsession as the actual foot strike. Wow, sounds exhausting. WAY better than sitting on the couch, though.

Next week is supposed to be a 40-42 week. Hoping for a double digit longer run next weekend, AND..... with sixteen weeks to go until my re-entry in marathon world, it's time to get serious about visits to the pit of misery. But, more on that later.

Thanks for reading. Run on. Oh AND....... saw this today and loved it:



Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Thanks @running_usa, I'm Inspired to Reflect

Had the pleasure today to "chat" with a pretty incredible young woman today on Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/running_usa/ is where you will find her "running_usa." Her goal is to race in every state in the good old USA, and it appears as though she is well on her way. 10 down, 40 to go. AND..... she has also run in some pretty cool spots outside of our country. Thailand, Japan, Cambodia, the Greek Islands; just to name a few. Follow her at the link above (and follow me on Instagram if you'd like at https://www.instagram.com/runningrich/).

So, anyway, it got me thinking about my own journeys as a 51 1/2 year runner with a few miles on the Nikes (111,000+ give or take 15) and where that whole thing has taken me. Turns out I have raced in 20 states (plus the District of Columbia, and Canada several times). It's about a fifty/fifty split between races from my collegiate career, and races as a marathoning old man.

After pondering the racing world, I thought I'd look at which states I have simply run in (sorry English teachers). Oddly, that one was pretty easy as every state in which I have taught a seminar, I have run. That would be 45 (plus DC). The ones missing are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Mississippi. Looks like a trip to New England needs to happen.

I have to confess to having run in some pretty cool places in the good old US of A. Upon reflection, here are some of my favorites (in no particular order):


  • Mesa Trail, Peak Trail, Barr Trail, right here in Colorado (not to mention my backyard, the Cherry Creek State Park)
  • Nisene Marks State Park and the whole area around Santa Cruz
  • Moab and the Grand Canyon
  • The Strand near San Diego
  • The trails around Chatanooga
  • Pre's Trail and Hayward Field
  • Flagstaff
  • Central Park, NY
  • Belle Isle, Detroit
  • Mosca Pass and the Great Sand Dunes 
  • Sleeping Bear dunes in Traverse City
  • Chicago Lakefront
  • Jemez Valley and La Luz trail, New Mexico
  • The Mall and C & O Canal Trail, Wash DC
  • Boston Marathon Course
  • Porcupine Mountains and Pictured Rocks Lakeshore trail, Upper Peninsula, MI
  • Oak Mountain Park, Birmingham, AL
  • Flagler Beach, FL
  • Na Pali Coast Trail, Kauai
  • Grand Tetons & Yosemite
  • the Mikelson Trail, SD
  • Wolverine Peak Trail, Anchorage, AK
"Just to name a few?" I'm sure I am missing some great places, but this is my inspired list for now. Thanks @running_usa! I needed that.

In other news, most of my New Years cynicism has stalled, making way for some semblance of optimism. A few decent runs this week and knowing that no one gets ready for a marathon in 17 1/2 weeks by moping around has been enough to ignite a few sparks. Still pretty pissed about the downside of a "surgically repaired knee," but it's nothing that some pain free runs won't cure. 

So check with me tomorrow. Supposed to run 7-8, all right here near home. We'll see how it goes.

Run on