Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Something New, Something Old

I've done enough to know I miss it, and I love it. So I'm BACK!

Effective Jan 1, I will be launching my Peak Performance Run Coaching program.

As a runner, I have committed to over 54 years of running and over 116,000 miles. As a Coach, I have successfully guided an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, Boston qualifiers, numerous collegiate and high school All-Americans, countless State Champions, and plenty of people who just want to find their Peak Performance Edge.

In 1990, I became a Level II certified coach by The Athletics Congress (now the USATF) in the distance events. And while I imagine that certification is too worn out and cobwebbed to still be official, that knowledge is here to stay. Not mentioned in all of this is that while I left the organized world of coaching almost thirty years ago, I never really left coaching. I've focused on the occasional adult runner who needed some training advice, as well as working with family and friends when needed. Time to step up for real.

The website is up. All that is left is a few disclaimers to be written and posted and we'll be good to go. You can get a sneak preview of it all at: www.yourpeakperformanceedge.com

My goal is simple: just like in my sales teaching and coaching, I want to bring out the best in people pursuing something they love. Sounds pretty cool to me.

I look back to the many people that first influenced me to follow a coaching path. Fabulous and giving mentors like Al Pingel (my first high school coach), Dick Swanson (my college coach), Dr Joe I Vigil (the smartest coach I know), Jerry Quiller (who hired me for my first college coaching experience), Jack Daniels (a mentor to all), and Gary Wilson (an fantastic role model). They laid the foundation of my expertise. Today I find inspiration in the coaching of people like Mike Smith at NAU, Lance Harter (at Arkansas), and Mark Wetmore (at Colorado).

I'm excited about adding this fun to my life plate.

Run on (and be coached.......).

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Finish With A Bang! 2020 in 2020!

So, with 26 days to go in 2020, I made a decision. I am going to run the year. While I have spent the last few months analyzing my miles in the hope that I would reach 2000 for the year, I have now shifted to that wonderful concept of running the year you're in. It's 2020 in 2020 and ending the year with a bang.

As has been mentioned in this blog on several occasions, I determine a good running year to be a minimum of 2000 miles. And between a bad knee and this whole pandemic thing, I would consider that a milestone and a heck of an accomplishment.

I'm so tired of hearing that people just want this year to end. You know what? While this year has been tough for a lot of people, there is still much good in this world, so much to be thankful for, and countless blessing to look forward to every single day. And I am taking advantage of these last few weeks to close this sucker out with my own personal bang.

When April 1st came around, I was averaging a mere 90 miles a month. On that pace I would have ended 2020 with barely 1000 miles. That would have been borderline shameful and my worst mileage year since 1967, high school, when we didn't run year round. Since then, however, it's been almost 200 miles a month and a nice turnaround of the mileage year. Instead of Corona-settling, I have chosen to draw my own line further out than where it should have been simply because I'm feeling like ending this year kind of spunky (not to mention with a bang)!

So, as I attempt to end 2020 with a bang, I leave you with the deeply profound words of Marshall, Ted, and Barney: "Bang, Bang, Bangity, Bang, I said ah Bang, Bang, Bangity, Bang."

Run on.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Catching Up..... BORING!

BORED after reading this post

It's been quite awhile since I last submitted to this blog extravaganza!

Mostly, it's been pretty boring out there on the trails and roads as I trudge along in my pedestrian manner. Also, with no races and pretty much no races in sight, it's boring out here.

A few things to mention: first, and foremost, my knee has been consistently okay. Not great, not super, not look out Eliud Kipchoge..... just consistently okay. I think the knee has leveled off mostly because I don't overly stress it. My pace is slow, easy, and never creates anything close to high pounding or overstriding. Also, being down 37 pounds now hasn't hurt either. Less weight pounding with every step is always a good thing.

Next, it looks like, barring the unforeseen, I might get to 2000 miles for the year. With about six weeks left in 2020 (the banner year for all kinds of CRAP), I'm at about 1760. If I can continue to roll through the 42 mile weeks (which is the norm lately), I'll make it. As I have said many times on these pages, 2000 miles in a year generally means I had a pretty decent year of running.

For most runners, the last 8 months or so has been a challenge to navigate. Cancellation of races has created situations where many "serious" runners are struggling to find the motivation to maintain fitness. Those new to the sport find it difficult to set goals, and stay committed to just the process of getting out there.

For me, the biggest challenge, actually, has been the knee thing. I don't have a problem getting out there every day as this running thing is my refuge, my escape from the world's garbage. So in 2020, with it's never-ending supply of garbage, getting out the door to go on a run is often one of the highlights of the day. The knee has just created a situation where almost every run is the same as the last. No pace changes, no drastic terrain variations. Just me in the Cherry Creek State Park, or the trails near Tagawa Gardens. Don't get me wrong, I am THANKFUL (which is a great thing to be) for my daily jaunts no matter what.

Last, but not least, I have been enjoying the cooler temps during the early hours. This hot summer type days dripping into September and October were kind of a pain (global warming I'm sure). Nonetheless, the 32 degrees during this morning's run was great!

So, that's pretty much the update. Got some news coming soon, but no spoiler alerts to share at this time.

To you and yours, Happy Thanksgiving. Stay Safe. And Run On!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Pops and Buckles: What Happens to My Knee

I was running down the Kestrel trail in the foothills near Boise last night and it happened: my knee popped. Then a minute later it did it again. Then three minutes later, it half buckled. Well, I can handle the occasional pop (even though I haven't had one in weeks), but the half buckle is almost as scary as the full one.

Pops.... Buckles..... what's this guy talking about? Pops and Buckles are the weird things my left knee does to get my attention and remind me that Dr Brian Larkin wants to replace it. AND, they are the things that make me think that this rude, invasive, knee replacement might have to happen.

First, Pops. I don't know why I call them pops because nothing is actually popping. What happens, in my mind (a dangerous place) is that I over extend my knee and it causes a bone on bone shot up my leg. OUCH. They only last a second, but are pretty alarming. Generally, I can have an occasional pop and it's not a big deal. Three or four over a short time span, however, makes my knee progressively sore.

Two things: first and foremost, the bone on bone thing is real. There's not much attaching the bottom of my knee to my shin (the song "the shin bone connected to the knee bone" is, indeed, just a song). Second, as my Ortho Doc Andy Parker says, "Over extend? HA! You couldn't over extend your knee if your life depended on it." Too much arthritis, too much inflammation. Nonetheless, my over extension happens sometimes when going downhill, or when I try to lengthen my stride (go faster).

Buckles are different. Appropriately named, a buckle happens when my knee actually buckles. All support vanishes, the knee decides we're going down, and makes its attempt at causing Rich to take a tumble. Luckily, I'm still coordinated enough, or intuitive enough, that I rarely go down (fall). Only fell twice in these last few years of this knee journey.

I suppose it could be said that this, like many pain and discomfort things, is in my mind. Part of the brain's job is to receive sensation from the body. Maybe David Goggins could skip right through this. Maybe I could skip right through this. But I don't. The Pops cause alarm and I always use them to alter pace and footstrike. The Buckles are just plain scary.

On the bright side, as I have lost weight, they don't occur as much. Well, that makes perfect sense as the amount of impact for the knee to absorb is lessened by weight loss. So there is a part of me that thinks that with enough weight loss, this problem could be nearly eliminated. We'll see.

Yesterday, when the Kestrel trail provided some pops and a half buckle, I think it went better than usual. I said OUCH (and a few other things unwritable), and then walked for about four or five minutes. Started up again and had no further issues (only had ten minutes to go).

All in all, it could be worse. At least I'm still out there.

Run on.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Today I ran 6 Miles....

Today I ran 6 Miles. No big deal. I do that often.

Today, however, followed a 58 mile week and put me over 1200 miles year to date. Now, THAT, is another story.

In all of 2019, I logged 1106 miles. It was my worst mileage year since high school (back when we just didn't run much in the off season). Most of it was about this knee replacement saga. Arthritis everywhere, not much holding the bottom of my knee together. That's the story, anyway.

So, I've always had this arbitrary, self imposed target of a minimum of 2000 miles in a year. If I got in 2000 miles, it meant I'd had a "serious" year running.  Well, if the next four months are like the last two, then Boom, Bam, What...... we just might hit it. Emphasis on the What??????

When I began 2020 and mostly when the pandemic hit, I pledged to myself that maybe, just maybe, I could still run. Maybe if I ate healthier, weighed less, I wouldn't need some metal contraption violating my body to make it happen. Thirty (30) pounds later, I'm getting closer.

Thirty pounds is barely halfway to where I want to be, but I feel like I am on the right path; the running path. And MAN...... I love the running path.

So it's time to step it up. Time to eat even better. Time to exercise even more.

I've got a surgery to postpone for years.

Run on.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

54 Years Down.....

So, It's August 12th, my 54th Runnerversary is today. 54 years, that's 115,410 miles as of right this second.

Today was a trail run. Why a trail run? Well, Trails are better. I love trail runs for a multitude of reasons. I love them because of the scenery. I love them because of the challenge, I love them because they're less crowded. I mostly love them because of the Earth. The Earth? Yep.

The thing about trails is that there is no buffer. Run on a track: buffer, run on asphalt: buffer, run on concrete: buffer. Trails have no buffer.

You, by the way, you (and me) wear socks, shoes.... buffers. Buffers between you and the Earth. It's easier to live with that buffer, I guess. I'm not much of a barefoot kind of guy.

It's okay, most people rarely think about the buffering of running and running surfaces. Most people run to compete, run for health, run for some other reason. Me, I stopped running to win, place, or show 40 years ago. I stopped running to PR 30 years ago (although PRs can always be personally instituted - this is my 10K PR for this calendar day of this year in my life on this course, wearing my red shorts.... you get the picture). Now, I began running 54 years ago because A) it looked like I could be good at it, and B) I liked the way it felt.

As mentioned, I ceased being good at it long ago, but I SOOOOO still like the way it feels. I can be having a bad knee day (something that happens with more regularity than I like) and begin by walking. I can move along at a decent clip, by the way, but it just doesn't feel the same. Then, all of a sudden, I make the move that breaks me into a run and BAM!!!! Everything changes. It feels different in my legs, it feels different in my feet, it feels different in my head, and mostly it feels different in my heart. It's, as they said in Sleepless in Seattle....... magic.

Almost eight years ago on the day I hit 100,000 miles, I wrote this:

"Running was/is a simple activity, cyclical in its nature. One foot placed in front of the next in order to move forward: to cover ground, to open my mind, to allow me opportunities to escape my troubles or celebrate my triumphs. Mostly, to connect me to and strengthen my relationship with this planet upon which I exist. For that, I am ecstatically, humbly grateful."

And I am still. 

But back to the original question, why is the trail better? Simple, No buffer. It's me and the Earth, this planet we live on. It's me being connected to and receiving strength from this place where we all live. It's that place where neuro-scientists are beginning to discover for real what many of us have known all along: it's where the world slows down, makes sense..... something about lateral eye movement they're finding. It's the place where I can be me and no one else's opinion or judgment means diddly squat. It is, as Simon Sinek would say, The Infinite Game.

So today, I celebrate this milestone. I'd like to think I could celebrate 21 more of these..... we'll see, right?

Run on.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

My First Races OR How I Became a Runner

Was listening to a podcast the other day and the runner being interviewed was talking about his first races in school. It got me thinking about my introduction to running and racing before I ever put a uniform on my body. FIVE races in five years. And I remember WAAAAY too much about each.

It was fifth grade and the culminating activity of the national physical fitness test: the 600 yard run. My gym teacher Mr. Wenzl had us primed and ready to run this monstrously long distance TWICE (I guess they figured if the first time didn't kill us, they'd try a second). The "track" was simple. We ran the bases of the hardball field. 90 feet to each base, made for 360 feet or 120 yards per lap. Five laps made 600 yards. And without ceremony, we were off!

I have no idea what my time was for the first go round. I do know, however, that I WON! Ah, the taste of victory was divine, short-lived, but divine. I say short-lived because since I had won my "heat," I would be placed in the second running with Larry Roma, who no one had told me was the school record holder. Well, I broke Larry's record with a quick 2:06. The problem was that Larry broke Larry's record with a 2:04.

In sixth grade the much awaited rematch was set. We both ran easy in the first running knowing the big matchup would be coming. The"final" had me taking an early lead only to have Larry come up on my shoulder with a little over a lap to go. Well, sorry Larry. I'm not sure if I had my Wheaties that morning and you did not, but I was not to be denied smashing through the finish at 1:58.

Next came Junior High. We were a 7-9 grade school and while we did the obligatory fitness test jive, we also did a thing called, are you ready for this, The Distance Run. WHOA, that seems intimidating. Turns out that the "distance run" was about 3/4 of a mile (which by the way, made it more than twice as far as the measly 600).

Anyway, 7th grade, I won with a 4:26 breaking the 7th grade record and coming up 2 seconds short of the record for the entire Junior High. In the 8th grade..... well, in the 8th grade I ran 4:00 "shattering" every record (closest guy was my buddy Steve Sly who was 20 seconds back). 

9th grade, well 9th grade changed my life. I had always thought I'd play baseball in High School. I was a very good pitcher and an excellent hitter. My Dad, with all of the optimism of a Dad, thought that baseball might be my ticket. Turns out he was wrong. And so was I.

I ran 3:36 that day and the next day the High School cross country coach just happened to show up at Jr High PE class to chat with me. That was all it took to win me over. I became a runner that day.

(By the way, on a side note, as much potential as I had, my youngest son Ryan was scary...... 6:22 mile as a first grader)

115,000+ miles later, I still look at it as the best decision I've made.

What's your story?

Run on.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Running in the Pandemic: The Success of the Infinite Game

In his book The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek, pontificates about the differences between the finite game (one which has set rules and a scoreboard), and the Infinite Game (which is flexible and looks at the big picture).

During this pandemic, there is a great many runners/racers/people in general who are extremely frustrated with the lack of competitive opportunities at this time. Without the chance to compete, without the chance to see yourself in relation to the/their scoreboard, the process gets fuzzy and sometimes not so motivating. Because they often see themselves in relation to the scoreboard, this time can be frustrating and even depressing.

On the other hand, because I cannot compete even if I wanted to at this moment, I have no such expectations of my running, and haven't for sometime. Within the non-confines of that mentality, I am able to flourish in this environment. Without question, I have done my best running of the last few years in these past three months and feel little other than optimism about the coming weeks/months/year. I have no small picture other than the individual run and the big picture has endless boundaries.

By the way, this doesn't make me better, smarter, or anything than anyone else, I'm just settled into a different perspective. Would I actually like to be getting ready for a fall marathon right now? YOU BET! That however is not in the cards in the foreseeable future until my impending knee replacement and LOOOONG recovery. So maybe I am better able to roll with the pandemic punches because it's the only place I fit. 

I have to confess, however, that I am more comfortable in the infinite game anyway. I see my life as mine and yours as yours. In order for me to have something, it doesn't mean that you get nothing. I like to think the glass is half full for everyone, if you know what I mean, or if you choose to see it that way. The beauty of that philosophy, too, is that it doesn't leave a place for jealousy, envy, and all of the crappy self image issues that go with those things.

Anyway, the running has been pretty good the last two weeks. 52 miles last week led to 53 this week, and as I write this I am sitting at 900 even for the year. I had pictured this all going much differently. As I am losing weight, I am having less problems with my knee. As I have fewer knee problems, the more I enjoy being out there, and the spiral goes UP!

So, I hope your running is bringing you whatever it is you'd like in this very weird time. I'd like to think things will be more normal soon.

Until then, run on.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Juice Time and two Streaks

I had that experience again where I decided I was massively discouraged about the weight loss part of all of this transformation stuff, so I decide to get on the scale when I feel I'm at my heaviest. If I do it that way, I'm not as surprised if I see a bad result on the scale. So, I jump on saying "223" out loud, only to find we are at 214.8. Well, that's good because it's lower than I thought, but it's bad because I feel like I wasted a week with not zeroing in on better eating habits.

But, this week..... the dreaded juicing begins. Five days for this first cycle: 2 plant based juices a day, one "shake," and a salad or other non/low-caloric meal. Maybe then we'll "shake" this thing up. My hope is to have the juicing result most men my age and size have which is a significant drop on the scale in a short time. I'd love to sacrifice a bit and drop another 10-14 before the end of this month. Once at 199, only 30 pounds to go. The original quest began here: http://runspittle.blogspot.com/2020/05/transformation-day-one-or-so.html  Only takes some discipline, right?

The juice recipe, for anyone interested, is: two handfuls of organic Kale, two handfuls of organic baby spinach, 2 or 3 organic granny smith apples (according to their size), one lemon, a half of a pineapple, 3 good size organic carrots. All of this makes a "bag," and a bag makes two large glasses of juice (one for Linda, one for me - she's been doing this for months). The juicer is an Aicok slow masticating juicer and it is excellent. The shake/smoothie is the Fat Flush Body Protein recipe (yummy stuff) from Uni-Key.

52 miles in the book last week. Hit the halfway point of the year at 807 miles. Hoping to get to about 1700 by early December when it's knee replacement time. It's still SOOOOO slow, though. The upside, however, is that whenever I'm beginning and I make that move from the walking to the running, there is a very cool feeling that comes over me. It's hard to describe, so I'll leave it to another day, nonetheless, a good feeling to be in the running motion, no matter the speed.

The meditation is going extremely well. While I seem to be riding a running streak of 68 days, I have a meditation streak of 69. As previously mentioned, I use the Headspace app and while a little tricky getting into the groove right away, now it is a part of the morning.

Saturday, I went to Magnolia Road in Boulder. No, not to run, silly, I went to support my fabulous grandson, Mason for his 18 mile run. A couple of observations: 1) it was packed and there was auto/truck/motorcycle traffic everywhere. Too much in fact (of course at some point coming home we figured out that the Independence Day weekend may have been a factor), 2) LOTS of runners out on a gorgeous day, 3) Next time, maybe in two weeks, we will start earlier. It got hot too fast 4) and most importantly, Mason looked awesome. Ah, I remember the days when an 18 miler in the mid 6's was a piece of cake, and it was a nice memory. Being young, fit, and fast is a fleeting gift. I hope he enjoys it (in fact I hope he savors it).

All in all, everything is good. Work is steady considering that this is usually a slow time anyway. Life at home is fantastic. All is good.

For you, stay safe and run on.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Wow, It's been two weeks.....

Hoka One One Rincon
Wow, It's been two weeks since the last post. All 6 of my readers must be thinking I'd disappeared.

The reason for my prolonged absence has been that, for the most part, it's been two weeks of kind of simply going through the motions. 41 miles last week and 41 miles this week is only moderately acceptable. Of course it's WAAAAY better than 20-30 miles like in January, February, and March. SO, I'll take it.

My knee has, as well, been uneventful. Sore often and with that funny feeling sometimes like the knee is unattached at the bottom (which is a VERY weird sensation). Nonetheless, not debilitating and not massive amounts of pain. Okay for now.

Found a nice knee strap on Amazon. It's the Hueglo. They come in a two pack and actually are 1) massively cheap, and 2) work better than any other full or half brace I've tried and WAAAAY better than RockTape. Plan on testing it with a step up in the running this coming week. Here's the link if you need lower knee support:   https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RHZMVKJ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1.  Two for $11.98 can't be beat.

Also rocking a new pair of Hoka One One Rincons. Finding me knee liking my old Hoka Cliftons more than my Nikes lately, I decided to give these new Rincons a try and so far..... real good. I'm liking the cushioning, especially in the forefoot, and once I stopped tying them quite so tight on my left foot, they are fantastic. PLUS!!!!! They were a Father's Day gift from my wonderful sons, Matt and Ryan.

Have been pretty steady on the Plant Based diet. The occasional cheese enters a meal every so often and maybe an egg or two drop in once a week. If the truth be told, I actually had Ginger Soy Salmon last week as a treat and it was delicious. On the whole, however, PlantPower rules.

Totally an epic failure in the weight, core, stretch category though. Yikes, it can't be that difficult to walk down to the basement every other day, can it? Well, we'll work on that.

However..... ROCKING the meditation practice. 61 days in a row and really liking it. Headspace app and Andy Puddicombe are fabulous. I'm really enjoying working my way through mindfulness and focus things that I have always been fairly good at naturally, but the techniques have been great at creating a discipline to the way I handle thoughts and emotions.

All in all, feeling great in the pandemic and shooting for being in the best shape possible come December and the knee replacement.

Stay safe and run on!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Day 42: Miles, Milestones and Adjustments

It was a fine week in the mileage world. 52 for the week, crossing 700 for the year, and blazing by 115,000 on the lifetime count.

While none of these miles and milestones actually get me too excited, I'm more optimistic that I have had an extremely mediocre dietary week and still lost a pound. That, more than anything else has me ready to make some adjustments in the week to come.

First, I haven't been to the gym in 5 weeks. You COULD blame that on the Coronavirus except for one minor detail: the gym is in the basement. So, since I have a difficult time going down those stairs, I have devised a new program to make it a more one stop sort of thing. Every other day, we'll, lift, do core, and stretch, all in one sitting, so to speak. Sure, that will work.

And then this is the week to pull back in the diet reins and get a little purer with what I eat. Who knows, maybe even the juicing week....... or at least five days. We'll see.

As far as mileage goes it's slow and my knee is sore. Having said that, I just don't care too much and head out there with that expectation. Good days become twice as good then as they're a surprise. As far as the replacement of said knee, it's looking like December will be the right time from several standpoints: mostly work and fitness.

Passing 115,000 miles, while nice, was just okay. 120,000 will be cooler, but the upcoming biggie will be 124,274.2, which will be 200,000 kilometers. I don't imagine being around running long enough for 150,000, but who knows, right?

So we stay the course. How about you?

Run on!

Monday, June 1, 2020

Day 29: Re-Calibrating

Not really much to report on Transformation Road. Optimism rules.

I call it transformation, what it really seems to be is more of a re-calibration. It's not that I am desiring to be someone new. This has always been me on the inside. I'm mostly attempting to regain the physical part of who I used to be. Hopefully that makes sense.

Anyway, five straight weeks of 40 miles or more, an addictive meditation habit, a plant based dietary focus, and more pounds left by the wayside (or maybe the weigh-side) has me optimistic for the upcoming summer. I went sub 220 yesterday (219.2) and I was pretty happy about it. So that's 21 pounds OFF! Crazily, but awesomely: 50 to go.

While the weight loss isn't necessarily the primary focus, it is the manifestation of the healthier way I am choosing to be in the world. I'm fortunate to have good genes and have exploited them for years. No, not alcohol or drugs, just the other things almost as bad: Big Macs, six packs of Pepsi, Five Guys, and the like. The 3 P's made the world go round: Pepsi, Pizza, Pasta. Now it's salad, plant based soups, vegan enchiladas and the like. Frankly, I'm not sure why I waited so long. It has not been a difficult move in any way. I guess that's why it's working.

Running still sucks as this knee just has too many miles on it. The replacement will probably be happening in December now, given that's the best time for me to take 4-6 weeks off for the toughest part of the recovery. We'll see how it goes, but it sure can't be any worse. I am optimistic.

Actually, I AM optimistic and for whatever reason, certainly not my upbringing, I always have been. AND, I'm psyched. Things are on schedule.

Everything will be all right. And, as Patel, the manager in the Marigold Hotel movie said, “Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it is not yet the end."

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Day 18: Well, THAT was a surprise!

I'd just got in from 5 miles in the Cherry Creek State Park, which was GORGEOUS this morning. Barely a cloud in the sky, cooler temps than the previous two days, and a nice chat with my youngest son, Ryan.

So, I send him off to head to bed (he works nights at Amazon) and decide it's shower time. I'm feeling a little down, slightly stressed, monstrously fat, and as I peel off my clothes, I'm thinking, "I'll bet I've actually GAINED weight the last couple of weeks. While I've gone like 96% plant based, I'm munching too much at night and still throwing in the occasional egg or cheese something. Let's say I'm less than perfect. 

I figured, I'm already crabby, I might as well suck it up and hit the scale and pound that extra nail into my little pity party coffin. So as I stepped up, I said, "233-34." I don't know about you, but when I am expecting a bad result on the scale, I like to say it before the scale does. I think it's to lighten the bad news. So, I step up...... the scale says 224.0. What??? That cannot be. I got off and did it again..... 224.0. Huh?????  I showered, came back out: 224.0. Huh.......... Okay.

So with a little bit of goods news (that's 17+ pounds in about 5+ weeks), I was ready to recommit to doing even better. Haven't lifted in a week. Got to get on that. Haven't done Yoga with Adrienne in about a week. Got to get on that. Need to try the 5 days of juicing....... we'll see (oh yeah, I mean, Got to get on that).

On the less than perfect side, the knee thing has become a fairly constant source of pain. At this point it seems like I really need to focus on the icing to reduce inflammation. Got to get on that. 

All in all, I guess the transformation is moving along nicely. Day 18, almost in the books.

Happy almost Memorial Day. Gonna miss the Bolder Boulder this year.....

Run on.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Day 13: Things are happening!

Plant Based Stuffed Peppers
Things are happening.

Not today. I mean, things will happen today but I just woke up so not THAT much has happened. But the week in general, has been pretty positive.

No specifics yet, but I'm either losing significant weight or redistributing it. Pants that seemed snug, or downright tight are now loose. A pair of shorts I hadn't worn in a while began creeping down my hips making movement interesting. When they settled in halfway down my rear end, I resembled a gang member, or maybe a plumber. I spent the day pulling them up (I now have a weird new found respect for anyone who actually wears their pants that way on purpose - not easy). Anyway, weight check is at the end of NEXT week. I'm preferring spreading that out as to not get discouraged by a bad day here and there.

Most everything was a little more challenging this week as I worked a BUNCH. Virtual meetings, live online classes, and the prep for them made little time for other things. What suffered the most was Yoga with Adrienne. I hope Adrienne understands, but some of what she's asking me to do is taking adaptation and some of the soreness that goes with that is keeping me from participating. And of course, I'm busy (sounding like a victim here and it's all her fault!!!).

As per usual, the running has good days and bad, but I'll still turn out about 45-48 miles for the week and I guess I'm okay with that. I still envy those who are out there cruising at any speed on knees that don't look like they hurt, or pop, or buckle. Eh, we'll fix that soon enough.

In the diet world, I'm maintaining my plant based focus. I made my not-quite-world-famous enchiladas earlier in the week and it gave me the idea for some plant based stuffed peppers. I created a "stuffing" sort of based on what we like in the enchiladas. All in all, they were great. There are a few things I'll do differently from a spice perspective next time but they were definitely a treat. Might not let them cook so long either.

The thing that seems to be blossoming the most is my commitment to, and enjoyment of my meditation practice. In fact, just the words "my meditation practice," are beginning to feel comfortable. While a big goal of meditation for many people is peace and/or calmness, I'm really getting into the mindfulness component and working on my ability to recognize and reign in the distractions in my head. 

AND...... I finished a book. While that may not seem like much of an accomplishment, I'm pretty cranked up about it. It seems that I must be picky when it comes to books as I acquire them thinking they're going to be fantastic, only to find that most authors write 200 page books and should have stopped at 100. Maybe a personal problem. Who knows?

Oh, by the way, the book was North by Scott Jurek.

So the "transformation" continues. Stay safe and run on.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Day Seven: Three Discoveries

Yesterday morning I began the first sentences of an update. Upon review, it was merely going to be a whinefest about my knee. It has not been a good knee week. So, upon even further review, I'm glad I didn't finish and publish it.

The week hasn't been that bad I suppose. Come sunset, I will have logged about 47 miles or so (not totally sure because it's only sunrise and who knows what the day holds). I will have also committed to my transformation for a day over a week. So a bad knee, while no fun, can be counter-balanced by some good.

So, back to yesterday. I hit the bed Friday night with legs that were just plain dead. I mean, finished-a-marathon dead and I had only gotten in 10 miles. I knew my resting heart rate the next morning would be sky high and my planned easy day was going to be miserable. 

Then, I woke up. 

I guess my first discovery wasn't actually a discovery, rather a reaffirmation, or re-discovery. The Merriam-Webster dictionary says that a discovery is, 
"an act of finding out or learning of for the first time." So, by definition this one maybe won't count as this particular discovery has been discovered before. AND......, I should add here that dictionary.com says that discovery is, "the act or instance of discovering."  REALLY?  That's as good as they could do, defining a word by nearly using the exact same word? Lame. I digress.

As mentioned a few posts ago, I track my resting heart rate. The target for a while has been sub-50. Unfortunately, once hit, I jumped back to 51, 52, and was totally ready for a 56 given the state upon which I called it a night. But there it was...... 47. The first step in re-discovery/discovery #1: our bodies are amazing recovery machines. I did my yoga and felt great and felt equally fantastic for my entire five miles. Sore knee? Not me.

Discovery #2 was, perhaps only moderately ground breaking. I have run in the Cherry Creek State Park thousands of times since moving to this area in 2004, or maybe it was 2003. I know this place like the back of my hand. Yet, yesterday, I discovered a new trail. Not like, new-new. I'd seen it existed before I had just never actually ran it. It was fabulous.

It's a wonderful time right now in the CCSP. Spring has things blooming all over the place and a little snow melt in the hills is filling the streams and turning them into wonderfully noisy things, like little kids when they're playing and having a blast. 

I was pretty sure that this "new" trail wasn't going to be long and I had a good idea where it emerged. Nonetheless, I was surprised how just getting off the main trail a little brought about so much silence, so much peace. I like that. Some nicely placed log jumps, a small meadow, and it eventually paralleling the creek, made it WAY fun.

Discovery #3 came about as a complete surprise and a result of Discovery #2. I was about 150 yards from my newfound trail intersecting the main drag when I had to maneuver a thigh-high log obstacle. I stepped over, looked ahead, then looked back and thought, "this would be a good place for an outdoor meditation." SO.... long story short, that's what I did. It was completely and amazingly different.

I've seen those people along the trail meditating on the rock, the tree, the ground. They always looked artificial to me, like they wanted to be seen meditating out in the wilderness. But, oh well, no judgment here. Just do it. Who cares who sees (now I know that's how those "artificial meditators thought about it too - maybe Discovery #4?)?

Normally I do my meditation practice in my office. It's isolated from the rest of the house and as such much quieter. When Andy (Puddicombe, founder of Headspace), says to be aware of the noises around me, 99% of the time there is nothing there. But out in the wild: birds, the creek, the occasional airplane, the leaves in the breeze. So what was I supposed to do? Should I have deserted my breath and zoomed in on the babbling brook seeking a connection with each drop of water making its way downstream? Was I supposed to block it all out, but in my mind ruining my whole great idea to meditate in this beautiful setting?

So, I did both. It was great. Don't know if it was right or wrong, I only know ta it was perfect for me right at that moment. That is what meditation is about, the moment.

The rest of the run was just me, my thoughts, my at-least-for-the-day good knee. Nice. 

Three discoveries. AWESOME day.

Run on.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Day 3: The Other Side of Hydration

Water, Water, Everywhere, but man I gotta pee.

In one easy sentence therein lies the downside of hydration. I mean, I've done this before and I knew what was going to happen if I drastically increased my H2O intake. Unfortunately, knowing is not coping.

So, today I went for 6 miles at about 11:45 am. Shouldn't be a big deal, right? Well, it is if you've already consumed 70 oz of water. There are runs you could take where having to pee three times wouldn't be a big deal and there are runs where finding a place to go ONCE would be a monstrous challenge. Today, was the latter. The answer? The answer is better planning of the delicate balance between run, water, pee. 

I have the evening nailed. I tend to stop drinking around 6:30 pm and generally make it through the night without incident. So, it's just a mater of properly managing the run with the hydration. I'll get it. Is this getting too personal? We're all runners here, right?

In other news, the meditation thing is getting much more comfortable, but the yoga on day 3 has hit the wall. My body parts this morning were saying, "Hey, we know what you're trying to do here, but NO, we're tight and tired and we like it that way." Knowing as I do the tight gap between gotta and wanna, I press on.

Had a very rough day running yesterday. My knee actually buckled out from under me three times. The first was bad enough that a passerby biking lady asked if I was okay. Hmmmm, I've been better. 

So everything else is great. I won't do a weight check until Sunday but am optimistic about the week's results. 

Much to be grateful for, and I am.

Run on.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

BONUS Day One recipe!!!

Holy Buckets!!! Made this plant based enchiladas tonight and it was delish!!!

1 can of organic black beans
1/2 can organic corn
2 cups almond cheese 1- cheddar 1- japlapeno
3/4 cup cooked rice
3/4 cup chopped red pepper
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup cilantro
1 TBSP Vegan butter
1 tsp organic oil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 small lime
1 can Organic enchilada sauce 

Organic corn tortillas

  • Heat everything on a large skillet (except rice and cheese) until colorful and ready.
  • Mix in skillet makings with rice, and cheese and wrap in tortillas.
  • Cover in enchilada sauce and cheese to taste and bake roughly 25 minutes at 350 (mine was at 5700 feet altitude). 
Add topping to taste (Linda smothered hers in more cilantro - I went for shredded lettuce).

Transformation: Day One, or so.....

This picture from 2000 hangs on the fridge
and in my office. Roughly 175 here.
It was Gary Vaynerchuk who said, "Document, don't create." So here it is, the documenting of my transformation. I'll more than likely be chronicling here twice a week or so. I like this venue because this documenting is really for me rather than some public hype thing. Given RunSpittle's moderate readership, I'll be safe here. So, here goes.....

If we were being completely true, Transformation Day might have been about ten days ago. 
Or it might have been Tuesday. Anyway, Since the outset of the pandemic, I have eliminated red meat and chicken from the home menu. In the last ten days I have gotten much tougher on the cheese and sugar stuff. Yesterday, I have decided that between now and my birthday (Nov 6), I will undergo a complete physical/health transformation.

This decision has been stalled for some time. But a meeting of various forces interconnected in the universe brought it to the forefront yesterday. I blame three people: My wife Linda, Rich Roll, and Scott Jurek. My wife has been 99% plant based for way over two years (occasionally having the cheese cheat). Her hounding and semi-preaching may have paid off. Roll and Jurek just happened to show up yesterday at the right time (and maybe I blame Lindsey Hein's Friday podcast with Jurek too).

So, back to Tuesday. Tuesday evening, after a long week of weird back pain, the real pain hit. And it hit hard. It took me all of five minutes to remember 28 years ago...... kidney stone. It was a ROUGH night. The next day was greeted with LOTS of water and a mild WebMD recommended pain reliever. The pain was a hair stubborn for a few days, but in the end subsided through daily drowning. I guess THAT was the thing that really put me over the edge.  My dehydrated, junked out, sugared up body needed an intervention.

So without lingering around the negatives, here's what happening:

1. I will, of course, continue Running, Jogging, Walking. After the last few weeks, I'm easily at 40-45 miles a week and will hover on either side of that fuzzy line for awhile. A bright thing that has been a result of the last five weeks of mileage has been a nice drop in my resting heart rate. In my young fit skinnier days, I'd sit around 42 ish most of the time. Lately, a well rested night was a 52 or 53. It has slowly been coming down to where my first sub 50 reading was yesterday, and today we hit 47.

2. Weight. It's GOT to come off and so far is. Three weeks ago, I was at a robust 240.6. Usually in my twilight years, I've ranged between 225-35. The highest I have ever been was 245 SO...... too close for comfort. Last week 235.8, today 229.6. The goal, if I were being honest, is 169 by my 69th birthday (seems like an easy matching).

3. WeightS. Yeah strength training and some hip flexor work (found a great routing on youtube by NAU coach Mike Smith).

4. Water. Half my body weight in ounces. Easy, making the habit happen.

Crow Pose by Adrienne
Maybe Later!
5. Plants. I'm not committing to anything really other than staying away from meat, dairy, sugar (processed), soda, and general bad things. I don't plan on giving it a label as to not upset any carnivorous friends and relatives. The five day juicing is coming as well, maybe this coming week.

6. Supplements. While plants can reverse all kinds of ailments, I'm giving my knee extra help with Glucosamine. The rest of me is adding B12, C, Zinc, and D something that I don't remember right now. 

7. Meditation and What?????. I've dabbled in the Headspace app for over a year, but have really found myself getting into a nice groove the last week. I'm finding some nice tips for better focus and it's been really helping in my world of ZOOM classes. And WHAT? Yoga with Adrienne. FINALLY found a nice beginning yoga routine that should really help physically AND mentally. My goal is to do the Crow pose by my birthday.

All in all, I may do all of this and be hit by a bus on Nov 7. No problem. I'll be a gorgeous corpse......

Friday, May 1, 2020

Grateful Running in the Pandemic.

It's interesting the subtle change. It's not just today or last week, because it can also happen in that race when, for awhile, you've been reduced to a walk. You're going along and you think, "well this isn't so bad," OR you're thinking, "Man, walking sucks." Then all of a sudden, the walk becomes a jog, a run, a jaunt..... then in that next moment, it's completely different and you know it.

In the weeks when my "someday to be replaced knee" reduced me to only walking, I had decided that it was okay. Walking was exercise, right? I could burn calories, cover some ground, get some exercise and take care of this movement fix I've had since childhood. That would all be just fine. Then...... one day I had the urge. I broke into a jog and everything changed, everything.

I can't really describe it. And there are plenty of people who feel the same way about walking, or riding, or maybe even skipping. But I don't. To me, I can't find the walk rhythm, no flow, over stride, not sure what to do with my hands and arms. Running, it's different. It feels different. It sounds different, and even when done as slowly as I am presently doing it, it LOOKS different. And at this time, after all these years and all these miles, it's like home. The run makes the exercise okay. 

In fact, the run makes the world okay.

So on this May 1st, 2020, I am GRATEFUL that somehow I have brought myself out of the walk world and am back where I belong.... in the run world. It's improved my attitude, it's made me easier to get along with, it's given me a more positive outlook (which is hard to do because I'm pretty positive), it's made this pandemic easier, and it's, frankly, just made me feel like me.

The day I ran my 100,000 mile I wrote, "Running was/is a simple activity, cyclical in its nature. One foot placed in front of the next in order to move forward: to cover ground, to open my mind, to allow me opportunities to escape my troubles or celebrate my triumphs. Mostly, to connect me to and strengthen my relationship with this planet upon which I exist. For that, I am ecstatically, humbly grateful."

It's still true.

I've read the social media posts of the elite and "serious" runners who seem to be uncomfortable just running during this time of doubt. They lament over missed opportunities, races cancelled, medals lost. I get that, I really do. If I were elite and saw the Olympics being moved from my grasp and placed in this unknown spot, I wouldn't like it either. In some cases, significant income is being lost, and I wouldn't like it either. Not just elites, too. If I were faster, well trained and was missing the chance to run Boston, Chicago, London, Berlin, New York, I wouldn't like this a bit. My memory is good enough to remember THAT kind of serious and I wouldn't have liked it at all.

But maybe, just maybe, if that stuff is all our wagon is hitched to, well, we've grabbed the wrong wagon. At least that's how I see it. And maybe, just maybe, that comes from the years of having to find the bigger reasons to engage in this activity because being fast went by the wayside years ago. HA, maybe it's jealousy. Couldn't tell you for sure. And in the end, I guess I can only do me.

But in the end, I'm really thankful I found this incredible activity so many years ago. And I, like all of you, have no idea what tomorrow brings. Whatever it brings, I'd like to greet it running; fast, slow, real slow......... I don't care.

I'll greet it whatever way I can.

Run on.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Movement Breeds Optimism: Less Bored in the Pandemic....

It's been a month since my last post and everyone who thought this Corona thing would go away "quickly," whatever that meant, is still trying to get their bearings. Frankly, since day one, I decided I wasn't going to get it and have done everything I can to make sure I didn't. So far...... Awesome.

My work has been crippled immensely b y this thing. When you travel and teach large groups for a living, an annoying thing like a Stay at Home thing can be a challenge. Nonetheless, I have moved a bunch of gigs and delivered some online, so hopefully, I won't be begging for money anytime soon. On the upside, I've become a more than competent Adobe Connect/ZOOM guy and that has made the transition a little better. I still get to teach - one of the things I love to do.

Speaking of things I love to do, where things have changed the most is in the running. A month ago, I wrote this, "It has been a struggle to walk/jog (lovingly called WOG), as it is SOOOO boring beyond all belief and other forms of aerobic activity just don't do it for me. Having said that, the last two weeks have seen a considerable uptick in my wogging, strangely associated with the Coronavirus."

Since that writing, my weekly mileage has "soared." 
Week ending 3/22.         30 miles
Week ending 3/29.         38 miles
Week ending 4/5.           34 miles
Week ending 4/12.         40 miles
Week ending 4/19.         37 miles (with a day off)
This week on track for 42-44 miles.

The best part of all of this has been that the WOG (walk/jog) has become a JOGALK (jog/walk pronounce that however you like). I've been a 5 min on 5 min off guy, a 10/2 guy, and everything in between. Today it was 53 minutes straight. What's changed? Honestly I'm not sure.

Maybe my attitude has changed, maybe I've been able to find ways to ignore the lack of knee stability. Again, not sure. No matter what it is, I'm liking it. It is so much easier to run than to walk. I confess, walking SUCKS and I'm not sure how people do it and I'd love to totally discard it from my activity protocol but I doubt I'll make that complete transition for a long time.

In the meantime, I'll take it. Movement Breeds Optimism. And I like that too.

Run on.    

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Bored Running Update amid the pandemic.....

Kind of bored. Not like going out of my mind crazy bored, but mostly just bored. Not like sheltering in place bored, just bored. Bored like a guy who does this "be in the house" thing all the time when he isn't traveling and teaching. You know, bored.

I'm so bored in fact, that having crashed the 30 mile barrier this week, I wondered how badly this running year is going compared to others. But first, let's catch up:

My knee is "stable." What that means is some days are good, some days are not so good. I passed on the Dec 1 knee replacement date. The reasons are chronicled here, https://runspittle.blogspot.com/2019/12/yesterday-i-woke-up-on-couch.html, so no need to dwell.

The sensation in my knee is different than ever before: a lot of the time it just feels like there is nothing holding it together. I'll pivot and it seems like it's either way behind or way ahead of the rest of me. Weird. It has been a struggle to walk/jog (lovingly called WOG), as it is SOOOO boring beyond all belief and other forms of aerobic activity just don't do it for me. Having said that, the last two weeks have seen a considerable uptick in my wogging, strangely associated with the Coronavirus.

Anyway, having CRASHED the 30 mile barrier this week AND..... having logged a whopping 219 miles so far, I thought I'd take a peak at the past and the miles logged between Jan 1 and the first day of Spring. In five year intervals, here goes:

2020.             As mentioned 219 miles
2015              414 (some time off with a bad hammy)
2010.             474 (long runs on the South Platte 14, 15, 15)
2005.             425 (seemed to be a good bunch of runs on the Highline Canal)
2000.             Wait for it.......779 miles. Enough said
1995.             906 ( lots of 18-21 mile runs, two weeks of 90+ miles. Mostly driven by my Wednesday run with my buddy Amy, always either side of 20)
1990.             406
1985.             502 (lived at 7600 feet)
1980.             465 (Had only been in Colorado a bit over a year)
1975.             761 (Young, fast, and fresh out of college. Would be the year of the 1:02:01 12 mile race)
1970.             501 (In my first ever collegiate indoor season - actually ran an indoor steeplechase - no water jump obviously - ran 9:38 - crazy)

So obviously, my best years were in my 40's - 1995 and 2000 (life begins there, right?). The best ever was 1976 at 1002 on the way to a 3802 mile year and some great races. THAT would have been the year to run a marathon, but they weren't exactly having one every weekend in the 70's. Did run a 20 mile "paced time trial," at least that's what I called it, in 1:49:04. Wrote in my log, "felt pretty good."

While this was a nice boring jaunt into the past I am 99% looking straight ahead. Hell bent on getting this sucky knee out of here and moving to the next chapter of RUNNING , whatever that might be. 

Run on (and stay safe).

Running Bucket List? Yeah, I've Still Got One.

June has arrived and the weather has made a change to FABULOUS. Moisture and chilly was much of May (sounded like Yoda said that), but the w...