Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Disney World Marathon - 30 days and counting...

November 9th, 1989, will always be known as the day the Berlin Wall came down. On a slightly less historically relevant note, January 10th, 2010, will be known as the day I ran my first marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon. Why do I compare thee? Because so far, to date, I have never hit the wall...

There are a few things that all runners , and many non-runners, have heard of. We have all heard the term "Runners High". We have all heard about the races we run. The 10k, the 5k, the half marathon, the marathon, even the 50 yard dash.

Some of us will know more of the technical terms like "Tempo Runs", "Hill Workouts", and "Interval Training". But the big one, the one we all wish we didn't know, is "Hit The Wall". Hitting the wall to a runner, would be like removing the tires from the wheels on a race car, with about 20% or 30% of the race left. It becomes a completely different race. Instead of worrying about your speed or your pace, you start to worry about weather you are going to be able to even finish the race...

Or so I have been told.

28 days from now, I will catch the red Eye from here to Orlando. We will land about 9:00 in the morning. The plan is to spend the day at Disney World, and then get to bed early. I will need to go for a run the morning we get there. That ought to be fun. Throwing on the kicks and heading out after about 10 hours of travel.

But before that, I have four weeks of training left... I will wake up sometime around 5:00 am 17 more times between now and race day. I will strap on my shoes, layer on my running gear, and hit the streets four times per week for the next four weeks. I will run 105 training miles between now and then. Yet, I will never hit the wall.

Tomorrow morning I run 12 miles with my long run group. If you read this tonight, 12/11/09, please send me an e-mail, and tell me to make sure to dress warm and kick butt! ( )If you read this tomorrow, shoot me a message and ask me if I actually got out of bed (not a chance in h e double tooth picks that I will miss this run), so give me props on my morning 12, it's gonna be cold. If you have my cell number, send me a text.

29 days from today, I will wake up in my hotel room in Orlando, and not go for a run. The only Saturday in the last six months that I get to sleep in and not feel guilty about. I still don't get to sleep in. You don't go to Disney World to sleep in...

Next Saturday, three weeks out from the race, we run 20 miles. Both the longest distance I will run during my training, and the longest distance I will have ever run, up to that point. Those are the mornings that I lose sleep over. It will give me a decent gauge on how my race is going to go. I think I will get a little taste of the pain that will be involved. I will get to work on the mind games that will hopefully enable me to keep my mind on the prize... and off the pain.

Between now and that 20 mile run, I will run five of the seven mornings. Those are the runs that I sometimes struggle with getting out of bed. A little help is always appreciated... ( Facebook message). I am somewhat confident that I will be able to run the 20 miles. It's the training runs between now and then that dictate both my pace and my pain that I am not so sure about.

When I get up on the Sunday morning of the race a month from now, it will be more like Saturday night. The race is at 5:40 am, and you have to be in the lot at the park by 3:00 am to get on the ferry and make sure you are there on time. With the two hour time difference between Phoenix and Orlando, that means I will need to leave my hotel by midnight or not much later (AZ time), to be at the starting line when the gun goes off... WTH!?

What time do you need to go to bed if you need to be up by midnight?

About two weeks out from the race, I will start to taper my training. That means that I start cutting back on my mileage. My Saturdays will go from 20 miles, to 10 miles, to six miles. After building up in miles every weekend for the last six months, it will almost feel like cheating. It will be a nice change after averaging over 80 miles per month for the last half a year.

By Christmas weekend we will will be down to about an hour and a half for my long run. I don't know if that will be enough to burn off the turkey, gravy, and hot toddies I plan on consuming over the holidays. Shoot me some inspiration to get out on the streets and run off some of that extra insulation I will be packing on ( Twitter ).

With 30 days to go, I am starting to get both nervous and excited. I am starting to think that I will actually be able to do this. But I am getting nervous about how I will react when I hit the wall. I have talked to people that hit the wall at mile 13, mile 17, mile 22, mile 23, mile 25, and just about every other number between 11 and 26.2. You know who I have never spoken to? I have never talked to the guy that didn't hit the wall. No one has ever said that to me.

Will I be the first? Will I be the only person in the world to run a marathon and not hit the wall? My guess is not. So the real question is: How am I going to respond when I hit the wall? Will I step up, or will I fall apart. Will I dig deep and fight through it, or will it grab my by the throat and shake me like a little rag doll?

When my knees start to shake, and my hips start to burn, or my calves cramp up into a bag of knots, what am I going to do? My question is "If you have been running along at your goal pace, and you hit the wall, how do you keep going and reach your goals? How do you not give up?"

I get to spend 4 full days in the happiest place on earth. (Adam Dopps, now that you have been running 4 days a week for the last 6 months, where are you gonna go? I'm going to Disney World) Now, with that being said, 30 days from now I AM going to hit the wall. I will, at some point, develope concrete sacks for legs, and rubber bands for lungs. I will reach the point, that I will question my metal.

The other thing I know is that when I am running that 26.2 miles, 30 days from now, I want to be able to look back and think about some of the things that I heard from you readers. I want to get 300 e-mails, facebook messages, blog comments, or tweets between now and then. When I hit the wall, I will start running your comments through my mind. The funny ones. The inspirational ones. Even the ones calling me an a$$hole. Actually those are the ones I love to think about when I run. I want to prove them wrong.

About 100 people per week read this blog. Send me a note. I want to have a lot to think about that day. I need to have something to laugh at during my training runs. I want to have something to thank you for when I'm done.

November 29th, 1989, the wall came down. January 10th, 2010, I will be breaking down another one. And I will be thanking and thinking of you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stop Thief! Come back with my dedication!

This is the 3rd time I have started writing this posting in over a month. I have a hard time writing about my running when I am not happy with my commitment level of running. I obviously need a running partner. I am having a difficult time holding myself accountable to get my ass out of bed and go running. I have been averaging three runs per week for the last two weeks. I went two weeks without running at all, before that. My upcoming trip to the Walt Disney World Marathon is going to be hard for me.

Very Hard...

My goal for this blog is to accomplish three things:
1. Entertain you, the reader.
2. Motivate you, the reader, to get out and run.
3. Motivate me to get out and run.

I apologize about this one in advance. This one is all about number three. I am in need of some motivation.

11/13/09 I grew up in Seattle. Of the 40 years I lived there, the year I lived in a warehouse loft downtown next to the Kingdome was my favorite. I now live in downtown Phoenix. What can I say... I like the night life baby... so the song says.

When I got the chance to watch the world series a few weeks ago in a bar in the upper east side of Manhattan, I took it. When it was over, and the bastard Yankees had won the final game, I went to Times Square and celebrated like I was one of them. What do you care about this? Not much, except I was supposed to get up the next morning and go running in Central Park.

It didn't happen.

If you would have asked me before hand, If I had to choose between running in Central Park or whooping it up in Time Square, I don't know which one I would have chosen. But, as they say, hind site is 20/20.

A few nights later, when I got the chance to check out the Irish Pubs of Downtown Boston- have you ever been to Boston?- again, not much of a contest. The next morning when my wake up call came and I was supposed to go running along the beautiful waterfront (think Boston Tea Party), I instead called the front desk and asked them to give me another call in an hour.

The same story played out the night I had the chance to go to Newport, Staten island, and Philadelphia. Long story short, I was on the road for 12 days... and I didn't run once. Not to mention i have put on about 10 pounds in about 30 days...

If you are the type of person where sticking to an exercise program is difficult, like I am, well, every day you put off starting up again, you are one day closer to never doing it again. This is the stuff that was going through my head on the flight back to Phoenix. I had eight ours of travel time to stress about what I had just done to my marathon training. I have been training for the Walt Disney World Marathon for 6 months. Could I have ruined my chances in just two weeks?

When I landed in Phoenix, I had a 2 1/2 hour drive up to Prescott where my wife was working for a couple of weeks. Just what I need. Two more hours to do nothing but stress out about my long run the next morning. I haven't run in two weeks, and I am supposed to do 14 miles the next morning. 14 miles. That is longer than I have ever run. I am in panic mode. What does missing that much of your training do to your abilities? This is all new to me. I have no idea...

As I started to get close to Prescott, I realized a couple things. One is that it is well over 3000 feet in elevation. And the other is that there is not one single block that is flat. There is no way I am going to find somewhere that I can run 14 miles up here that isn't constantly up and down hills.

12/3/09 That was two weeks ago. The next morning I ran laps around the Mall in Prescott, the only flat area I could find. Sears, Pennies, Dillard's, Barnes and Noble, Michael's, Bed Bath and Beyond. Sears, Pennies, Dillard's, Barnes and Noble, Michael's, Bed Bath and Beyond.

Lap after lap after lap.

Every single time I got to Pennies, I would look off to my left across the parking lot at my car. It was everything I could do to keep going instead of turning to my car and giving up. After about 13 laps, I did just that. I gave up. I had run just over 6 miles.

I ran 4 miles the following Wednesday. Three days later, I got up and went to my Saturday Morning Running Group for my weekly long run. We were scheduled to go 16 miles. I had run a total of 10 miles in three weeks, and was about to try and run 16 miles.

I usually run alone on these runs. I know that the whole point of running with a group is so that you don't have to run alone. I don't know, there just isn't anyone there that runs my pace, and I always want to try to run at my goal marathon pace during my long runs. My pace is not fast, it is just my pace. But that morning I asked a few of the people that I knew ran together as a group, if i could run with them.

It was a long 16 miles, but thanks the Harvey and Chelsea, I finished. It was good to run with a group. The next weekend my long run was supposed to be 12 miles. I did not run with the group. I ran on my own. I ran 9 1/2.

Day after tomorrow, I am supposed to run 18 miles. There are two things I know. Number one, I need to run with people. I can't depend on myself to get out there without motivation. Number two, my race in January is going to be hard. Very hard.

Again, I apologize for this one. I apologize for being a slacker with both my running, and my writing. I will try to be funnier with the next one. Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My first half marathon...

When I woke up this morning and looked at my alarm clock, I was a disappointed. 3:14 am. O.K., that sucks. The race is still 4 hours and 16 minutes away. It is a 15 minute drive from my house. Why am I awake? Why am I thinking about the race? Why can't I go back to sleep? Why did Kathleen comment on my Facebook page that there was going to be a hill at the end of the race?

When my alarm went off at 5:30, I think I had been asleep for about 20 minutes. Not a great way to rest up for my first half marathon. I got out of bed and went out into the living room, and it was still pitch black outside. I got down the box of oatmeal, and made myself some breakfast. I was trying to do everything right. I had drank a full 16 ounces of water when I woke up in the middle of the night.

I was filling my glass up with water at the fridge as I heard a bunch of yelling from outside. Now remember, I live on the 10 floor of my building, and its 5:30 am. It sounded like an argument, or a homeless guy screaming in the wind, or a party. You never know what it's gonna be downtown. I went to the window and looked down to the parking lot. I was about to open the door out to the balcony when something went flying through the air into the darkness below.

What the hell?

I went out on to the deck and realized that the noise was actually coming from the balcony of the unit directly below me. Now, these guys have already earned a little bit of respect. It's 5:30 in the morning, and they are still going strong from the night before. They are so hammered that they are launching full cans of beer from their 9th story balcony at their OWN truck below. This is the best morning ever.

The best part was listening to their college age alcohol induced debate... "No man, you gotta throw it higher to be able to get it that far." "No, you just gotta throw it harder." But my favorite was: "I don't know man, from this high, you might break the window"...

Ya think?

I said "Hey fella's, do me a favor" and they all looked up at me like deer in headlights... "Could you guy's just dial it down a notch, and for sure... no more launching beers at cars."

"Sorry man, but it is our truck" I'm guessing they aren't science majors.

"I know, stop anyways." "There are a million widows that can see you from up here, and someones going to call the cops." and for real... they said "o.k.", and went back inside and closed the door. Things have sure changed since I was a juvenile delinquent...

We were on our way to South Mountain Park where the race starts. We took a left, heading south toward the mountain when I began to suspect something sinister was going on. "are we going uphill?" I asked Jane. "no, it's flat" she replied. About a block later she added, "OK, maybe it is a little bit of an incline" and another block later "ok...we are definitely going uphill. Then in the next block we passed mile marker 11 and we were definitely STILL going uphill. "Sorry baby" she added, "that's gonna suck!" Apparently, the last 2.1 miles are all up hill. Crap!

We got to the start about 20 minutes before the race. There were over 400 people running in the half, and about than 200 running the 5k. I haven't run in any sort of race in almost two years, and that one was the first one since 1995. I was getting more than a little nervous. 13.1 miles, and the last two are all uphill. Welcome to your first half marathon.

Much of the advice I had received prior to the race was the same. 1. Don't come out of the gate to fast. 2. If you're looking to run a certain pace, make your first few miles 20 or 30 seconds slower, and 3. Save yourself some energy for the end of the race. You want to run even splits (Second half of the race at the same pace you run the first half.... hard to do when you are tired), or even run negative splits, where your second half of the race is faster than the first half.

When the gun went off, I was about half way back in the pack. Since I already noted the last two miles of the race are going to be uphill, then it just makes sense that the first two miles are downhill, since this course is a loop. I was shooting for about a 9:20 pace for my first couple of miles. Best laid plans of mice and men... My first two miles were 7:36 and 7:42. It was all down hill, so I was hoping that I had not expended too much energy. I tried to make up for it in miles three and four by running high nines, and I ran 8:09 and 8:56. Crap.

Even though I didn't slow down as much as I was trying to do, It was hard to tell because of the amount of people that were passing me. I was working on my pace, while trying not to stress out about the last two miles, and whether they going to cost me my race. Was I going to be able to keep a 9 minute pace, which is already very hard for me to do, AND keep it up during the uphill portion of the race at the end?

As I passed the 5 mile marker and looked at my watch, I heard a noise from ahead. It was cheering and clapping and yelling, but I wasn't able to see what it was about. Then a figure came from around the corner, running towards me from the other direction. It was the leader of the race. This guy had already reached the turn around point, a little less than 2 miles ahead of me, and was on his way back. I was just passing 5 miles, and he was already at 8. Holy Crap. And to make it even more impressive, he was smiling and waving back to us as he went by. There is just something wrong with that level of talent being all rolled up into one guy, or a least one set of legs, lungs, and determination. I was impressed...

When I reached the turn around, I gave myself a high five. I'm running with 400 other people and I don't even have someone to celebrate a milestone with. It seems a little weird to have this many people around me and to still be that alone. Not one sentence was muttered from start to finish. I said thanks to the people at the water stations a few times, but that was about it. Other than that, I spent the entire run with my internal monologue. Even I get tired of listening to myself after that much time.

After the turn around, my spirits lifted a little bit. I was able to look head on at the people that were behind me in the race. I know that long distance running is really a race against the clock, against myself. But it still felt good to look at some people that were behind me for once, instead of all of the people that had been ahead of me during the first half of the run. Maybe I have a little to much competitiveness in my, by I certainly don't like spending that much time focusing on all of the people that are beating me. It was a nice ego boost to realize I was still doing o.k. in the overall picture of the race, half the people were ahead of me, and half of the people were behind me. I guess that makes me a middle of the pack runner:)

When I passed 8 miles I was thinking "Wow, Do I really have 5 miles to go?" I was still moving along at my goal pace of 9:15, but I could feel myself slowing a bit. It ends up this was my first mile that I ran over my goal pace, but not my last. I didn't run under 9:15 for the rest of the race. Now my biggest concern was, will I be able to stay close enough to my the 9:15 to make up for however much I will eventually and surely slow down climbing the upgrades for the last two miles? My body is already telling my I don't have enough left in the tank to NOT lose time when I hit mile 11, the bottom of the hill.

I reached into my key pocket as I was approaching the water station just before the last turn, and the final 2 miles of the half marathon. I felt like a kid pulling a piece of gummy bear out of a pocket full of sweaty lint. Next time we will do better planning. This time however, I blew it off and threw it in my mouth, chewed it up and swallowed it just as I approached the held out hand with the cup of water... at the beginning of the hill. I shot the water and tossed it in to the garbage as I started up the hill.

I was looking forward and up the street. It was long. You could see the top... it was damn long. I don't do hills. (see "The hills are alive")

I literally have read more about running hills than I have actually run. One of the things I remember most is that they suggest that you pump your arms faster than normal. I haven't read enough to know why, but I thought I would give it a try.

About a quarter of the way up, I realized two things. One, I was tired. Two, I was making pretty good time. I was actually passing more people than their were passing me. Middle of the pack movin' up.

I was coming up on a 25 to 30ish gal that was ahead of me. She was trucking right along, but I was faster. I don't know why, but I felt good. I think it was the fact that I could see the top of the hill. I could see how much longer I would have to keep running. Once I got to the top, it was cross the street to the last dirt trail to the finish line. Most of that was going to be up hill also, but this was the hard part.

I passed her not to long before I hit the top. I was about to give myself another high five when I noticed everyone ahead of me was turning left. I had for gotten that the course turned at the top of the hill. It was probably another half mile till we get to the dirt part of the course, but at least it was flat. Fortunately I wouldn't need much energy to take on this part of the run, which was good because I didn't have any left.

I started doing the math in my head. Wow, it looked like I might make it. I might be finished in less than two hours. It will depend on how long the final dirt trail portion is right before the finish line. It seemed to go pretty quick when I ran down it, but I was full of adrenalin. Not much adrenalin left... As I reached the end of the stretch and everyone was turning right to cross the street, my thoughts of hitting my goal went up in a cloud of blacktop. There in front of me was another long stretch of road, just as long as the first hill I had just finished, heading south along the golf course. I had completely forgotten that I had run down this street. Rather than having just the dirt trail to the finish line left, I still had about a half mile of uphill blacktop road first. Crap.

Have you ever been in a situation like this? I had two goals. The first one was to finish my first half marathon. The second one was to finish it in less than two hours. Right when I started to think I might be able to do it... BAM! Not gonna happen. I figure I will run a 12 to 14 minute mile pace up this hill. I spent everything I had on the last portion. I looked at my watch. I was at 1:54 something. There is no way I am going to finish in the next five minutes. I wanted to quit. I wanted to walk.

I was already surprised at how many people were walking the hill. These were all people that had been ahead of me for 11 miles. These were all people that would have reached that 2 hour goal, if they would have been able to keep running. These were all people that had given it their all, but were out of gas. They, like myself, will all finish the race. They like myself, will not finish in under two hours.

I, unlike them, am not going to frikken walk. No effin way. I am not throwing stones. I am just not willing to do it. No one would care. No one would say a word. There was probably a dozen people walking the hill. You gotta do what you've gotta do. I have to run. I have to try.

The timer said 2 hours two minutes and some odd seconds as I passed. The thing that I concentrated on during that last hill climb was that Jane would be waiting for me at the finish. As I approached there was a crowd of people cheering me on. Jane was there, smiling, yelling and taking pictures. I was finished. They handed me a bottle of water as I crossed the finish line.

As I lay in the ice bath when I got home, wearing a sweat shirt and drinking the cup of coffee with Baileys that Jane had brought in to me, I was happy. I think when I woke up this morning I had another goal that I may have pushed to the back of my mind, be happy with however it worked out. My official time ended up being 2:01:33. If not for the hills, I possibly would have made my time. My goal for the Walt Disney World Marathon in January is under 4 hours. Twice the distance, twice the time. Maybe there won't be any hills.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hangin' with the home boys... part 2

As we headed out the front door towards the elevator, I asked how far they wanted to run. I was a little worried that it would be farther that I was planning on, since I am going by my training plan for my upcoming marathon in January.

Paul answered that he didn't care, what did I want to run? I told them that my usual loop was a four mile run, or we could go to the next leg, and it would be about seven miles. To that, Pete said "Seven miles, that would be farther than I have ever run in my life."

On the outside, I played it cool. On the inside, I was jumping up and down with a big giant smile on my face. All I was thinking was that no matter what, at least I would be able to match their distance. Even if I come in 10 minutes behind them, at least I will be able to run as far as they do.

I was one cool cucumber... "O.K. Four miles it is"...

We got out of the elevator and walked across the lobby towards the front door. I asked them if we were going to stretch out outside, or had they already done that upstairs while I was changing. Paul said "I read that it doesn't really make much of a difference if you stretch or not. I'm not much of a stretcher." And off he went...

I found out a few things during the course of this run. Pete is probably more at my level as far as running goes, and Paul is nicer than he used to be. When we were growing up, we had a saying. "It doesn't matter who you offend, as long as you get a laugh". Now, you need to understand, these two guys were born funny. I just want to be like them when I grow up.

We don't take the saying seriously when it comes to other people, at least not anymore... But with each other, there have been few limits as to what you could say over the years. It was obvious that Paul passed on several opportunities to have fun at our expense. There were lots of chances for him to make jokes about my breathing, complaining, pace, or pointless banter. I was trying to keep him from paying attention to the pace part. He let it go... Much appreciated. I am pretty sure that by the time my Garmin beeped at me, and Paul asked if that meant we had gone a mile, he was having a hard time hearing the alarm over the sound of mine and Pete's breathing.

As it ends up, Pete has done most of his running up to this point on a treadmill, and I have done most of my running at over a 10 minute pace. I don't think that Paul would call anything over 10 minutes actual running. More like speed walking. Maybe even slow speed walking...

Paul and I were talking throughout most of the run, or at least the first 3 miles. At one point I said that I have a hard time gaging my pace when I am running under 11 minute miles, because I am not used to it. I said that "I know that right now we are running about 10 1/2 minutes.." Paul responded with "We are running just over 9 minutes".

"That's what I'm talking about. I never run this fast, so I have no idea what our pace is. And I'm the guy with the Garmin"... One of these day's I am going to have to learn how to use the light on this damn thing...

We started talking about back in the day when we used to run together. Back when I was faster than Paul. (Sorry, I am a little bitter...) We were talking about the night we ran the Firecracker 5000, and the beers at the starting line. We remembered that my little brother ran that race with us. Well, sort of... We had all been together at the starting line. The beginning of the run was up a gradual slope. When we got to the first turn, my brother was no where to be seen. We assumed that he was (obviously) either up ahead, or had fallen behind. When we got to the end, we wandered over to the pub that we had all agreed upon as our meeting place after the race.

When we walked in, there was my brother Matt sitting at the table waiting for us. He was flushed and wet with sweat. I gave him a high five and said "Nice run Man, how long have you been waiting for us?" He told me "Not to long", and we went on to order drinks. The server brought us our round, and bent over to whisper in my ear. "Your brother told me that you guys bet on the race, and that whoever lost was buying the drinks." And since that was me, she was willing to work for a better tip. She then told me that my brother had been there for about a half hour. No way he could have done that. It was only a 5k.

It ends up that when we hit the first turn of the race, he had already fallen behind, so he said screw it, and took a left instead of a right, and went straight to the bar. He was on his 3rd drink by the time we got here. When he saw us walk through the door, he dipped his hands into his water glass and splashed his face and ran them through his hair.

She got a good tip all right, but my brother is the one that paid it:) Best laid plans...

As we were laughing at the old story, I told them that I have talked more during these few miles than I have during all my runs with Jane combined. She runs with her iPod, so she is always listening to music. I don't run with music, because that is when I think about my blog writing, and I am afraid that music my screw it up, so I don't even want to try it. I might like it... and no more blog.

Pete followed that up with "You guys talk, I'm gonna concentrate on breathing. Obviously I need to run outside more."

At some point before the run I had mentioned that my goal for the upcoming marathon was to break 4 hours, which would be averaging 9:15 minutes per mile. I said that with my average pace for my training runs, it was starting to seem like that may not be a possibility. Towards the end of our run, Paul actually ran across the street away from us, and then crossed coming back to us. He was obviously trying to get in a little extra work while staying with us at our much slower than his usual pace.

He finally said, "Yes, I think you are going to have to do something about your training runs if you want to break 4 hours". That was a very nice way to put it Paul. We may have passed the "It doesn't matter who you offend" theory...

This was the first time in a long time that running had been a social time for me. It was awesome spending time with two of my best friends, while at the same time doing what has become one of our favorite activities. It makes me miss spending more time with old friends. We used to run races together regularly. Back before we all got married and moved away. We need to find a way to spend more time together.

Speaking of spending more time with old friends, we have signed up for the Ragnar Relay Del Sol, here in Phoenix. It goes from Prescott to Mesa this Feb 26th & 27th. We will run a total of over 200 miles in about 24 hours. Each runner will run three times and each run will be from 3 miles to 9 miles each. Little or no sleep. There will be 12 of us on the team. So far we have four of us from Mount Rainier High School, wives, neighbors, friends from work, and one of our old pals from The Greenlake Alehouse. We have space for a few more...

I run my first ever actual half marathon this Saturday, October 24th. It is the 41st Annual ® YMCA Half Marathon, in Phoenix. I am scheduled to run 12 to 14 miles this Saturday as part of my training plan for the Walt Disney World Marathon in January, so the timing is perfect. I will use this race as both a gauge on my time, as well as practice for keeping to my scheduled pace. I will be using drink stations, and trying to not pick up my speed every time someone passes me, as well trying to make my goal time of under 2 hours. These are all things that I never get to work on during my training runs. Wish me luck...

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading my blog. I use your feedback as motivation for me to get out of bed on those day's that I might rather just sleep in. I hope that you are able to get something out of it as well. Please use the comments link below and leave me a note. If you are not already following my blog, please sign up to not miss any updates. You can either do it through Facebook, or through the google link off to the right of this story. If you already follow this blog, and it was sent to you as an e-mail, you can click on the Run Into Shape link at the bottom, which will take you to the blog website so you can leave a comment. Run Into Shape is currently the 5th most followed running blog on Facebook. Thank you.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hangin' with the home boys...part 1

When I joined the Air Force in 1983, my pal, who also signed up with me, and I started running to get into shape for Basic Training. I was 18 years old, and built like a miniature stick, weighing in at 123 pounds. I was probably close to being in the best shape of my life, before or since. We started out at a couple miles, and worked our way up from there. Do you know how long you had to run on your final long run in Air Force Basic Training in 1983? 1.5 miles. Yes, you read that correctly, 1.5 miles. We started at about a quarter mile run, and spent six weeks of rigorous training to work our way up to a mile and a half...

That was the last time I ran with my pal Pete.

I owned a bar in Seattle in 1994, I was 30 years old, and weighed about 175 pounds. I had a friend of my older brother (the Marathon running brother) describe me as "The Chubby One". You only have to hear that once for it to be burned into your memory forever. For Ev Ver!

I started running the next day. I ran around Greenlake about three or four days a week, and ran in some 5k or another nearly every Saturday. We ran in Beat The Bridge, The St. Patties Day Dash, The Firecracker 5000, the Falls to Gasworks Park Relay race, and a bunch of others. Jane and I started dating when I was at about 158 pounds. Best race ever, Jane and I shooting cans of Guinness at the starting line of the Firecracker 5000 at midnight, and putting in a respectable time. I still remember the blood from the cuts where I put the smashed beer cans in the front pocket of my cargo running shorts during the race. Oh yes, I was the poster child for white trash. That night was the last time I ran with my pal Paul, just over 14 years ago.

That is until last Tuesday. Pete and Paul were in town working on a couple of their rental properties. They are identical twins, two of my best friends, and it has been 14 years since I ran with one, and 26 years since I ran with the other. Jane and I stopped running after the guiness night, and didn't run again until about six months ago. Crap.

In 2009 I was 43 years old. I got an invite to join this online thing called Facebook. I had heard of it. I had made fun of it. I had made fun of my friends that were on it.

I accepted the invite, and my whole world changed. Yes I said it. You can put it in quotes. Facebook changed my life.

I started finding friends from work, from old jobs, from my military time, from high school, you name it. It is bizarre. I have typing conversations daily with people I have not seen in 25 years. Now remember, they have not seen me in 25 years either. The last time alot of these people saw my, I weighed 120 pounds. 140 pounds. 160 pounds. The day I joined Facebook I weighed give or take, somewhere in the neighborhood of two bills. I can't even say it. I have to be cute...

Two bills.

When I accepted the FB invite, I had recently returned from a vacation in Mexico, and like everyone else, I wanted to post pictures from my vacation. I started going through them. Crap. It was a vacation in Mexico on the beach. I am wearing a bathing suit in most of them. Hanging around the pool, walking on the beach, even sitting at the bar.

In other words... Most of these pictures of me, I'm not wearing a shirt!

That shi+ ain't going on Facebook.

As most of you who are Facebook friends of mine already know, I am pretty particular about what pictures of me go on line. Neck up, or with a shirt on. It is like my own personal company policy. No fat pictures on the Internet. Sometimes it's hard to hide it. Some vacations I return from i realize there are no other pictures available, so the standard gets lowered. That is when I started running.

First we started P90X, and I hated it. So I started filling in a couple of the morning workouts with running instead. Soon, I was running more days than I was working out. Next thing I knew, the P90X DVD's were covered in dust, and it was time for me to go out and by some running shoes that were manufactured in this decade... I'm a runner now.

Back to Tuesday night (Man, when I go off on a tangent, it can go on forever...). When Paul called me Monday and said they were in town, the very first words out of my mouth were "Dude, we gotta go for a run!" As we spoke on the phone and caught up on what was going on in each others lives, I found out he had run a 5k on Sunday in Seattle, and ran a 6:50 pace... Crap. I'm not that kinda runner...

When the boys showed up at my place Tuesday night, I was happy as hell to see them, yet a little intimidated about the run. Clearly my average 10 and 11 minute pace runs would bore the crap out of them. This may end up a little humbling. Hell, I write a blog about running. I use the sentence "I am a runner" in almost every story. These guys are going to have expectations that I can't meet. These guys think that I think... Shi+. I have stage fright.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Running friends

When my buddy Paul started running, it bugged the crap out of me. Every time we got together with him and his wife, the conversation would eventually turn to running, spin class, bike riding, training, his body bugg, his calorie burn, or some other fitness topic that usually led to me ordering seconds, or having another cocktail. Dude, we get it. Your in shape. You could pull a car. You could have your own show on the ocho at 3am. Get over yourself. Cripes! Shut up about it.

Now, five years later, I just had a friend of mine post something like that to me on my facebook page.

Quote: "If i have to read one more comment of you eating a salad, running in the heat...reading or writing...i am going to throw up...where is my fun Adam who drinks and jokes...and passes out...."

Now remember, I love this guy, but he may not be what's best for my continued running. Not that we aren't friends. We just currently have different preferences for leisure activity...

I am not saying I can host a show on the ocho, but I am in better shape than I was five years ago. That is not my point though. My point is, when my buddy Paul started exercising, we started hanging out less. Part his choice, part mine. I didn't want to continually hear about it, and he probably wanted to spend more time with people who could relate to his new healthier lifestyle.

They say that people who are overweight tend to have over weightfriends. They say that people who drink to much tend to have friends that do likewise. Remember the first time you tried a cigarette, or beer, or...? You weren't with a group of friends, with you being the only one doing it. You did it with your friends. It was called peer pressure. Or just hanging out with people of similar interests. I'm not sure what they call that when your an adult.

James Ray, author of a book called Harmonic wealth, says that a person's income tends to be very close to the average of that person's 10 closest friends. Take a look around your own life and see if it holds true. Add up the approximate salary of the 10 people that you spend most of your time with – even if they're not friends of yours – and then divide that number by 10. Is the figure that you came up with roughly what you make in a year?

I can tell you this: When I go out with my Foodie friends, my body bugg tells me I ate to much. When I go out with my drinking buddies, there is a good chance that I won't make my run the next morning. When I go out with my sports fan friends, its usually to a sporting event or game.

When I go out with my running friends, it is different. If it is a casual lunch, I typically eat more healthy. If it is dinner, I drink less, especially if we have a run planned the next day. I don't have to feel embarrassed like am being arrogant if I talk about what I like. It doesn't feel like I am monopolizing the conversation. We all want to talk about the same thing. We talk about running.

What was your pace on your Saturday long run? What race are you signed up for? What week of your training plan are you on? Do you eat goo on your runs? Do you carry water on your runs, or do you stash bottles along your route before hand? How is that toe injury feeling? Do you prefer to go in the morning or would you rather run after work.

I am not feeling guilty. I can talk about my obsession openly. It's like AA for runners. Hello, my name is Adam and I'm a runner. Hello Adam, so are we. Would you like to tell us about your story? Well yes, as a matter of fact I would. And we all tell out stories. No guilt.

We live in Phoenix. During the summer, most people don't run outside. If they do, most all of them do it in the morning. Since we live downtown, it is tough to find people to run with. I run most mornings with my wife, and typically once or twice a week by myself. We run with a group on Saturdays, most of whom are training for January marathons. Most of them for P.F. Changs here in Phoenix, and us the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando.

It is great running with a group. We meet other runners. We see people that are way faster than us. We see people that are way slower than us, (although not that many:) It also helps keep us motivated to not miss our runs during the week, since we don't want to ever not be able to finish our group long run.

When you run with someone, it is harder to hit the snooze button (Snoozy), because you don't want to leave your friend hanging. It also keeps you from getting into a rut, which can lead to skipping your runs, or stopping altogether. It keeps you out there on you training runs when you are alone, because you will want to be able to keep up on the run with your friend later in the week.

As the weather here in Phoenix starts to cool off in the fall, we will pro-actively start looking for other running friends. I realized that me posting about my workouts, and my training, and my marathon goals, is getting annoying to some of my Facebook friends. But I will also say that the support I have received from other runners on Facebook is what has motivated me to keep running.

Then I signed up with Twitter. None of my facebook friends are on there. It is my selfish pleasure. It is all about running.

I searched for runners and followed them. I looked up names like alitherunner , seegirlrun , run2finish , and tinyjenna , and started a coversation. And guess what it was about? You got it: Running.

I post things like:

"First time pace under 9 min in 14 years (3.81 miles, 32:50, 8:37 pace). Either that or my Garmin feels sorry for me...(sorry/little excited)".

What do they say in reply? Something like my buddy said to me, or like what I would have said to Paul five years ago? No. They respond with answers like:

"iiagdtr @runintoshape Smokin'...that's a huge improvement!" or

"ReluctntRunner @runintoshape Whoohoo! Congrats! Nothing like breaking through a barrier!"

I am not special. They are not treating me any differently than they do any other runner, online, or in their running community. They are being supportive. They are offering advice. They are checking in to see how my long run went. They really want to know. They really care. Because it's about running.

Find a friend. Find a running buddy. Hold each other accountable for training. Sign up for a race together. Make each other get out of bed. Give each other high fives... Give each other someone to talk to.

I am a little bummed. My best pal Paul lives 2500 miles away. I don't get to go running with him. I don't get to make up to him for my indifference five years ago. I can't say "Dude, I understand." "I get it." That is until we run together this January in Orlando... hint hint...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Keep Running vs. Quitting Smoking: which is harder?

When I stopped smoking, it was a pretty easy thing to do. I had started smoking at a pretty young age, so I thought it would be harder. But then again, I was in the 8th grade and had only been smoking for two weeks. From what I hear, it's a tad bit harder for most people.

Why is smoking so hard? Nicotine, which hardly seems to have any noticeable effect, and yet to judge by its number of users, is easily the world's most addictive substance? For many people, quitting smoking is simply impossible.

Have you ever read a list of steps for how to quit smoking? There are lots of them. They are all over the Internet. They all have similar themes. They talk about things like schedules, deadlines, programs, support groups, dedication, positive affirmations, increased hunger, goals, buddies, and rewards.

Hell, they look just like the steps for starting a running program. That might explain why so many people find maintaining their running program so difficult. It's like trying to kick the habit.

The lists are tough to tell apart. No kidding. Trying to stop smoking and trying to start a new habit are very similar... No wonder so many people continually start an exercise or running program, and then slip, slide, stop, start again, or give up forever.

Do you think I am making this up?

1. (Quitting Smoking) MAKE A DATE and stick to it. Draw up a plan of action, considering what methods are available to you.

1. (Starting Running) Sign up for a race (Make a Date). Do it now! Having a race goal (and race fees!) on the line will be a powerful source of motivation. I guarantee it.

Both require you to set a date. One is for the actual quit date (smokers), and one is for your first race (runners). This is about setting goals. Sticking to your goals. Holding yourself accountable to your goals. Sounds easy enough. My race is the Walt Disney World Marathon. January 10th, 2010. What is your date?

2. (Quit Smoking) DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS - keep a glass of water or juice by you and sip it steadily. Try different flavours. (Really, this is from a stop smoking website)

2. (Start Running) DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS - An hour or two before a long workout, drink 16 ounces of water or a sports drink like Gatorade. This will help prevent dehydration and also keep you feeling alert. Plain water is fine if you're running an hour or less. If your run is longer, you'll need to replenish lost electolytes, so Smartwater or a sports drink are better options.

Although drinking fluids was kind of a surprise for me to find under stopping smoking, the rest is a no brainer. Jane and I went out and bought water belts, and then didn't even wear them during our first run with our new running group. We didn't want to look like the new kids with all the cool new gear. Now that I have run with water a few times, eff em if they can't take a joke. Running with water makes a HUGE difference.

3. (Quit Smoking) THINK POSITIVE - Withdrawal can be unpleasant, bit it is a sign your body is recovering from the effects of tobacco. Irritability, urges to smoke and poor concentration are common - don't worry, they usually disappear after a few of weeks.

3. (Start Running) THINK POSITIVE -That kind of confidence, of course, springs from putting in the physical work of hard, smart training between races. But on race day, even a well-trained runner can sabotage his effort with negative or unproductive thoughts. Bottom line: Believe in what you’ve done to get to the start line, focus on what is possible, and use both your physical and mental strengths to produce the best outcome on the day.

I received a comment on one of my stories a few weeks ago from a friend (Tiffany-an Iron Man Competitor) who said she had just finished one of her worst runs in a long time. They were about 7 miles into a 13 mile run when she made the fatal mistake of saying "this is one of my best runs in a long time, this just seems easy today". The wheels immediately fell of the cart. As soon as the words came out of her mouth, her superstitions kicked in and her mind filled with negative thoughts. "Oh crap, I shouldn't have said that." Then all the usual aches and pains of a long run became accentuated, painful, and difficult to run through. Negative thoughts started to play tricks on her, and the run became a painful, demoralizing event from there to the end.

Moral of this one is, just stay positive, and keep the nagging neggies away...

So far, it sounds like stopping smoking and starting running (or stopping being lazy) are running neck and neck foer degree of difficulty.

4. (Kicking the Habit) Breaking a habit can be simple - you just create a new one and then practice it again and again. If you've smoked for any period of time then you have probably practiced the smoking habit thousands of times. Every time you think about it, you practice it and cement it in further.

4. (Starting the Habit) If you struggle with making running a regular habit, try doing it every other day at the same time. Habits are easiest to form if you do them consistently, but the key is to go very easy in the beginning — nothing that will stress your body out or make you sore the next day. Also, instead of running every day, you could swim or bike or do strength training, so that your running muscles are given a rest while you continue to form your exercise habit.

If you are at all human, this is the place where it is easy to trip up. My dedication to go running tomorrow morning is without question. The next morning, when the alarm goes off, my motivation to actually get out of bed and go, is sometimes nowhere to be found. That is where our great enemy the snooze button comes in...

5. (Quit Smoking) Rearrange your routine- Many have found that if they change up their daily routine they find no time for a cigarette. If your structured this works very well for you. Many people do the same things everyday at the same time in a repetitive motion.

5. (Start Running) Write down a time plan that varies each day. Put your plan on paper by listing the days you will run, the distances and the paths you will run. Varying the lengths of time you run each day will make your runs more interesting. You might start by saying you will run for 15 minutes on your first day, 20 minutes on your second day, 30 minutes on your third day then 15 minutes again on your fourth day. Make it interesting for yourself.

Making a routine is something that can help lot's of people. In business, we call them systems. In exercise, we call it a routine.

6. (Stop Signs) Post signs in your home- Every time you think about smoking look at these signs you create. Make the signs thoughtful, draw up reason why you wish you never began to smoke. Write the negative affects the nicotine has had on your body. Keep the signs visible, so whenever a craving creeps up on you. The signs can be your saving grace behind you not giving in to temptation.

6. (Start Signs) For runners that are in need of a little help in sticking with their routine, posting positive affirmations has been found to be extremely helpful. "I enjoy listening to the sound of my beating heart in exercise. With each beat, it strengthens."•" I love the feel of the pavement beneath my running shoes." "I feel strong and in control."• "I enjoy listening to the beautiful sounds of nature as I run around the block. " "I love the wind against my face as I jog around my neighborhood."

These examples pretty much suck, but good ones actually do make a huge difference. A reminder when you walk past the mirror in the morning can make the difference between putting on your running shoes, or your Florsheim's.

7. (Stop Smoking) The first two weeks are critical, seek all the support from family and friends you can find. The side effects to quitting begin just four hours after your last cigarette, generally they peak at three to five days, and then fade out after two weeks. The symptoms are both physical and mental.

7. (Keep Running) Focus strongly on getting through the first three weeks. It takes roughly three weeks to establish a habit. If you can get past the first three weeks, your mind and body will find it much easier after that.

You probably know someone who has tried to quit smoking, and failed. You more than likely also know people who have succeeded. You also probably know someone who has started running, or getting into shape, and then fallen off the wagon and given up. What do you think the difference is between the people that succeed, and the people that don't? All I can tell you is that if I knew the answer to that, I would be a billionaire. They are both hard.

When you make the choice to go running, congratulate yourself. When you get out of bed in the morning, remind yourself that this is a victory all by itself. You are completing an act of determination that hundreds if not thousands of people fail at every day. I failed four day's straight this week. It can be a constant struggle. For me so far, it has been a whole lot harder than it was two quit smoking. But I had only been a smoker for two weeks. I have been lazy my whole life.

I think I will cut myself a little slack. If it was easy, everyone would run marathons.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

On the road to the Walt Disney World Marathon

Whenever I think about my family trip to Disney World as a kid, the first thing I think about was the lake. I remember taking a ferryboat from the parking lot to the park. I was watching a landscaper riding a lawn mower cutting the grass right up along the edge of the lake. Right as I told my little brother that the guy was a little to close to the edge of the water for comfort, the uphill side of the mower started to lift off the ground. The guy jumped off and into the lake just in time to clear the tumbling John Deer as it crashed into the water.

When we signed up for the Walt Disney World Marathon a few months back, we thought we had tons of time. We are now officially 20 weeks away from the race and while that may seem like a lot , what it really means is that our 16 week training plan starts September 21st. 4 weeks and 4 days from today.

I have not chosen a training plan yet.

If you google "Marathon Training Program", there are 3,810,000 results. A little about me... If I go to a restaurant and there are more than eight choices for dinner, I close the menu and put it back down on the table. I then ask the waiter what they suggest, and nine times out of ten, order it. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose. (particularly when it involves crab)

How In the hell do I choose a training plan. There is no "running waiter" standing in front of me saying "If it were me, I would go with the intermediate plan that is five days a week running, one day cross training, and one day of rest. (but I would have the chef hold the goo packs, cause they give me gas)"

How in the heck do you decide? I have been trying to figure that question out for several weeks now and am pretty sure that I am no closer than I was when I started. I am 20 weeks and four days from hitting the starting line at the happiest place on earth, and I still have no plan. Eff!

Jane and I went shopping at the Runners World at Tempe Marketplace last weekend. Spent a frikken mint. Running belt with four water bottles for Me. One with two bottles for Jane. She also needed new running shoes. Then you go to accessories. Who knew that running requires accessories. Crack would be cheaper. Do you know about nip guards? Awkward! That is all I am going to say on that matter. How about Glide. Yep, it's lubricant for fat. I can't have one fat part of my body trying to intimidate another fat part of my body because it starts to chafe and hurts like hell. Can't we all just get along?

Now lets talk about goo. You may have guessed that you need to replenish nutrients DURING the marathon. I had no idea. I assumed you had some pasta the night before to carbo load, had a little water out on the course, and fell asleep in pain afterwords. Apparently, it's not that simple. You have to carry around little packs of goo, or chews, or jelly beans designed by mad running scientists Your choice depends on what you like, what gives you the best energy, and (here's the good one) which one doesn't give you the walks (maybe she meant runs:).

Yes, you have to eat something out of a little aluminum pouch the size of a pack of gum, and while you are worrying about your speed, mileage, pace time and breathing, ability to finish, you need to hope you don't all of a sudden have to pick the pace up to a sprint, while you take off for the bathroom. No one told me this as I was sitting at home one night thinking that I wanted to run a marathon. All I was thinking was "Cool, I might as well go to Disney World." That running waiter guy didn't jump out from behind the couch and say "Dude, that stuff might make you poop your pants!"

I don't care. I would gladly have to change my undies for a chance to spend time at Disney World again. It has been about 26 years. (I grew up on the West Coast, so we usually went to Disneyland) I passed on Captain EO and went with the the Indiana Jones ride instead. (never did like M.J.)

One of the plans I am looking at says that I need to be comfortable with 8, 10, and 12 mile long runs to start. I am NOT. One of the plans we looked at actually has us PLANNING on walking some of the time...WTF? Pre forbid, I might end up walking at some point in the race, but I sure as Hell am not going into it PLANNING on walking!

But then again, it's Disney World. I might want to take my time...

Here is another thing that we have to do over the 16 weeks of the training plan... We need to practice our pre race dinner. We have to eat a nutritious carb filled dinner that (here the tough part) won't make us have to go number two during the race. We actually have to test different dinners on Friday nights and measure what it does to our system between 5am and 11 am the next morning. No poopin' on the race course from what I hear...:)

Whatever plan we choose will have us running nearly 500 miles between now and race day. We catch the Red Eye on the Thursday night before the race. Since we have to report to the parking lot at Walt Disney World at 3 am Sunday morning, we will be changing our sleeping times for the week prior. Our hope is that we can get some sleep on the plane, drop off our luggage at the hotel, and go straight to the park after landing in Orlando at 9am. After spending both Friday and Saturday at Disney World, we will hopefully be in bed by 6pm the night before the race so that we can get up and be able to run 26.2 miles without falling to sleep. How is that gonna work?

This may not be exactly what I had in mind for my next trip to Disney World, but we just didn't want to pass up the chance to knock two things off of our Dream Fruition list. I am looking forward to both, and will keep an eye out for the landscaper in the wet overalls.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Weight loss and running

Running may be a fantastic way to stay in shape, but it is not the end-all be-all to weight loss. We need to watch what you eat as well. We won't lose weight by running more, if we just replace it by eating more.

How much do we actually know about the basics of diet? I can tell you that I learned more than a few of these things researching this story. A little education, as well as determination, can help us all make diet decisions that will help us reach our goals. Let's take a quiz.

Here you go:

What are calories? (Aren't they the things that we count when we are trying to eat more healthy or lose weight?)

Calorie: A unit of food energy. In nutrition terms, the word calorie is used instead of the more precise scientific term kilocalorie which represents the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a liter of water one degree centigrade at sea level. The common usage of the word calorie of food energy is understood to refer to a kilocalorie and actually represents, therefore, 1000 true calories of energy.

According to, "Calories reside in almost 100% of the foods that we eat. Even evil-tasting rice cakes contain calories - but you sure wouldn't think they would. Anything that tastes like cardboard shouldn't contain calories, but yes they do indeedy."

I don't think we need to check the facts on that one. I think we can trust that to be true (rice cakes really do suck).

Those same people at Dietbites say this: "Calories that go unused by the body fly into our fat cells. Even pencil-thin people have fat cells. Once stored, they stay until they are needed by the body.Once released, they turn into energy and are burned through activity. It's like storing energy in a bank. However, it's not a good thing because those plumped up fat cells register on the body and are often times visible even through vests and snug sweaters. I need a tissue...can you please hand me the box?"

So far I like the writer for Diet Bites.

What is Fat? And I am not looking for answers like: 1.The two people I always get stuck between when I can't get an aisle or window seat. 2. The guy that says "Get in to my belly." or 3. That bad ass Harley I have had my eye on. (that one is spelled PHAT) tells us this about Fat: "1 Along with proteins and carbohydrates, one of the three nutrients used as energy sources by the body. The energy produced by fats is 9 calories per gram. Proteins and carbohydrates each provide 4 calories per gram. 2 (was boring, so I deleted it). 3 A slang term for obese or adipose. 4 In chemistry, a compound formed from chemicals called fatty acids. These fats are greasy, solid materials found in animal tissues and in some plants. Fats are the major component of the flabby material of a body, commonly known as blubber. "

Here is the big one. (For those of you that already know this, quit looking at the rest of us like we are clueless. That's why we're over weight, leave us alone!)

How many calories equals one pound? This is the basics of weight loss. It is nothing more than math. If I were to take one pound off body mass, how many calories are in it?

Three Thousand Five Hundred. That's right, 3500 calories weighs one pound. 3500 calories will always equal 1 pound, no matter what you eat! So, what does that mean to you. Well, lets use this example (Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) are a daily calorie intake of 1940 calories per day for women and 2550 for men.)

If 3,500 calories is equal one pound of body weight, then the rest is easy. Generally, dieters dump an average of 1,000 calories per day in an effort to lose 2 pounds of body fat per week. That means for a woman that is burning an average 2000 calories per day would need to cut her intake to 1000 calories per day, or increase her burn to 3000, or a combination of the two, to lose 2 pounds per week.

Regardless how much you run and how many calories you burn from fat, if you increase your calorie intake to replace all the calories you burned, you will not lose any body fat.

Here is a calorie/ weightloss calculator that works very well to explain what I am talking about...

Now lets take this information and relate it to running. According to "Depending on your speed, body type, and the terrain over which you are running, you can burn around 350 calories by running for about 1 hour at an easy gait."

The Bodybugg I wear on my are tells me that I burn about 100 calories per mile when I run. I will use my Bodybugg's 100 calories to make some examples.

Jane and I were running Sunday morning going North on 5th Avenue. As we crossed the I-10 overpass I realized that for the second day in a row I was having a hard run. I would catch myself comparing my breathing to Janes as she was kicking my a$$. Then my mind would wander off into the never ending internal debate of the dieter, "Is my appreciation and passion for the consumption of good food and beverage worth all this sweat?"

When I snapped out of my trance I could see the stoplight up ahead at McDowell, where we take a right and start back towards home. I was thinking about this story, and how I could relate the run to the calories. It then came to mind that this 4 mile run would not burn off the Kettle Corn that I had eaten on Saturday. I had 10 ounces or so. At 140 calories per ounce, I would need to run a half marathon to burn that off. Is it worth it? (remember that I will have been training for six full months when I run my marathon in January).

When we got close enough to the intersection to read the sign I realized that we were approaching Encanto, not McDowell. That means we are another half mile from our turn. That means I need to run another five minutes to still be 8 miles short on burning off yesterday's extra calories. It makes you think twice.

Add a shot of Bailey's to your coffee on Saturday morning, a mile and a half. 16 ounce coke, 2 miles farther. How about a Big Mac? According to, you will need to to run nearly 5 1/2 miles to burn off that extra 540 calories.

Here is the point. I run a lot. I am still overweight. You need to work on both ends of this equation. Burn more calories, while also addressing the amount you are taking in.

Read the lable, do the math, then go for a run. Just remember that those miles are sometimes hard, and maybe sometimes, you could just eat a salad.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I run in Phoenix

I was talking to a friend the other day who asked me how in the hell I can run, because, according to him, "it is so boring." I asked him, "where do you run?"

I run in downtown Phoenix.

Lock the door. Watch Schooner pull Jane down the hallway. (Hmmm, I wonder who wears the pants in THAT relationship?). Push the button. Wait. Ding, door opens. We both look inside the elevator fearfully, Schooner leads the charge. We both get on behind him. "Going Down" says the recorded voice. Thank Pre, there is no one on board.

Ding, second floor parking garage. Jane and Schooner get off, on their way to Doggy Training. (there's $110 I'll never get back). "Going Down"... First floor, door opens. I get off and head through the lobby and out the door.

I walk across the street to Chase Field. I get approached by three different scalpers by the time I cross the street.

"Hey, need one for the game?"

"Nope, I'm good."

I walk past the line of pedicabs, all waiting for the game to end, nearly three hours away.

"No thanks." I check my Garmin. It's searching for a satellite. I stop at the stairs that lead up to the bank of ticket windows and spread my legs wide as I start to stretch out. No more asking the guy in running gear if he wants to by tickets to the game.

I stretch out right here before every run. I usually run about 5am, so I am normally here all alone. There are still hundreds of people walking around me, waiting to go into the game. A few of them wondering what the hell the guy over by the stairs is doing. I check my watch again. Satellite acquired.

I push the start button on the side of the watch, and start off through the crowd.

It's quite different running around the ballpark when there is a game going. I get looks that are a cross between "Ignore the guy who thinks he's cool running through the crowd", and "What's up with the guy running, any cops chasing him?" Nope, no cops, just a stop watch...

I pass Sliders, the closest bar to the grounds of the stadium, and check out the Beer Tub Girls as I run by. Outstanding hiring practices at that place. I get to the end of the field and turn right. More people all walking towards me. I pass the outfield entrance to the park, and move to where the little wall ends between the walkway and the Lite Rail route on my left. No train coming, so I don't slow down as I cross the street and the tracks heading North on 3rd street.

I am currently running about 213 out of 226 for people saying "Hi" back to me. It always affects my mood when I'm running, usually for the better.(for the worse about 13 times...)

I have to stop at the next intersection. There are cars coming, and since there is a game, there are also cops. My Garmin 405 stops the timer automatically when I come to a complete stop. (pretty cool) I cross the street with the light (the timer starts back up). On this side there are the dorms for Downtown ASU on my right, and the headquarters for the Catholic Arch Diocese on the left. I always found that a little humorous. Accidental? Who knows...

I run through the next light, no cars, no cops. On my left is Arizona Center. A great place to see movies, there is never a crowd. Also a couple nice restaurants, and the local Hooters (hiring practices, not so good). There is a beautiful stretch of green lawn through here and the street is lined with giant palm trees on both sides. Coming from Seattle, I smile every time I go down a palm lined street.

After passing this oasis in the city, I hit the edge of downtown, and start to work my way into the neighborhood of Roosevelt. This is the area where First Friday takes place, our monthly art walk. This is a cool, funky part of town. Past the restaurant Fate, now known as nine 05 . This is one of the hipper urban haunts, with an outside bar in the front yard of this old converted home. A fantastic place to people watch on First Friday.

When I hit Roosevelt, I turn left. Ahead of me is the vacant shoebox of a brick building that I call Alligator Jane's, named after the Bar /Restaurant I keep telling my wife we should put into the building. I look at my watch, and realize I am doing about a 9:15 pace. I tend to lose myself as I go through this part of town. As I am pushing down Roosevelt, I see the next intersections crosswalk light is changing. In phoenix, when the light is about to change, you get a flashing countdown on the crosswalk lights telling you how many seconds you have left to cross the road before the light turns red, and you get run over.

When I see this, I am pretty sure I can make it. It says 9 seconds, so I start to run much faster, almost a sprint. I love these lights, they always help me pick up my speed. I call the Pacemakers! The problem is that I become so focused on making the light, I don't realize one of the cars waiting at the intersection is a cop. I am sure he is waiting for me to not make it across in time so he can run me over...

I make the light, and I don't get the always fun "Red means stop" lecture on the cops PA system from his car. And I don't get run over. Today is gonna be a good day.

I get to Central and look both ways for the light rail, which goes in both directions along here. Nothing coming, so I cross the road. I pass the church on my right side. I run by here a lot on Sunday mornings, and get to say hi to all of the people on their way to services. I am now going through the nice area of Roosevelt, with old tree lined streets. Along here, many of these gorgeous older homes have been converted to attorneys offices.

I cross Third and turn right, up the sidewalk. This is one of the areas that is surrounded by new condos on each side of the street, with fully grown flowering trees an both sides of the sidewalk. I rarely get through this stretch without getting smacked by a low hanging branch. I suppose I could pay better attention, but along here there is often palm fronds fallen onto the sidewalk, so I am paying attention to my feet. Smack, my sunglasses almost fall off of my head.

I am wide awake now as I take the next left, and head down this residential street with nice older homes on each side, also lots of palm trees. At the end of this block is my house (I just haven't bought it yet). It is probably 100 years old on a corner lot with a rambling two story balcony and an unobstructed view of the downtown skyscrapers. Plus it's a fixer... Someday.

As I reach my house I turn right on 5th Avenue and head north across I-10 into the the residential area between downtown Phoenix and uptown Phoenix. It's 102' outside, and I am really trying to work on my pace. Every since I realized my goal pace for the Marathon is 9:16, I have quit accepting pussy footin around on my training runs. Most have been a 10 to 11 plus minute pacenot anymore. Time to step it up. I stretched out my stride as I continued on.

There are two things I need to pay attention to along this portion of my route. In the city, most homes have alleys behind them, and I am running along the sidewalk right up next to the typical Arizona six foot tall stucco privacy fences that every home has. What that means is if there is a car coming out of the alley about the time I reach the end of the fence, me and a 3000 pound SUV are going to argue about right of way, with me most likely coming out on the losing end...

The other issue is that there are continuous changes in the slope of the sidewalk because of the alley's, streets, and driveways. Constantly jumping off of curbs, across the side street, and back up over a curb onto the sidewalk. A twisted ankle would really screw with my training plans...

All that being said, I love running through here. There is usually shade around. I see more runners and bicyclists. There is always people walking their dogs. Not yippee little ankle biters like mine, but real dogs. Every once in a while I see a woman walking her giant dog towards me and I do a risk versus reward analysis. The size of the dog versus the size of the woman walking it. Sometimes it's just safer to cross to the other side of the street.

What is the point of this narration? Why am I describing my morning 4 mile loop?

Because. If the Disneyworld Marathon next January is the destination... Then this is the journey. You need to find a way to enjoy it. Otherwise you will get bored and quit. Same reason I have a tough time going to the gym. I get bored, so I don't go. What is it about your run that keeps you engaged? Is it the music on your headphones? Is it the company of your running partner. Is this the only time of day that you can think without being interrupted? Is it the only time of day that you don't have to think at all?

What is it you like about your journey? Jane and I try to run different routes as often as we can so that we get to see different parts of the city, and don't get bored. One morning we went down a street in the middle of downtown that we had not run in a while, and boom. There are three new restaurants right on the same corner. One of them, Sens, is fantastic. It is a Saki and Tapas restaurant. Another place we found on a Sunday morning run is Cibo, an urban pizzeria about a 10 minute walk from out condo.

This is why I run outside in 100' weather instead of inside an air conditioned room on a treadmill. I like to keep up with the Joneses. Or at least with how the Joneses yard looks. I try to make the journey as interesting as the destination.

I run in Phoenix. Where do you run?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Goal setting for runners

I set my first life goal when I was 11 years old. It was 1976, and I was in a gang.... There were five of us. We specialized in small time stuff, like skipping our cub scout meetings and chasing girls during recess. We called ourselves the Bicentennial Minutemen.

That is when I learned to like running. If you were fast, you caught the girl:) I wasn't very fast. But I did have $.25 a week from the money my mom gave me for cub scout dues to invest in my future. I was a real planner. I put that $.25 into candy at the 7-Eleven every single week. Some things never change.

My first goal was a doozy. I was having so much fun that I wanted to be alive to celebrate the tricentennial. I decided right then that I would live to be 111 years old. Talk about starting off with a stretch goal...

When I get home from work at night, I have a goal. I try to find a way to get out of walking the dogs. If I fail at my first goal, I set another. To not to run into a single human being while I am walking the dogs. If I fail at that goal, I set another. To definitely do not run into another human being that is walking their dog!

What is your goal?

I am going to run in the 2010 Disneyworld Marathon. My first marathon. I have another goal. It is to finish the marathon in under 4 hours. That is a 9:16 pace. Currently when doing a 6 mile run, I usually have about a 10 minute pace. I have another goal. It is to get under 170 pounds, look tight, and be able to wear a swimming suit in public (I can wear one now, but it scares children and old people). These are all related to my overall goal of being in shape. Being healthy. Making better choices. Following through on commitments I make to myself.

And these are all part of my goal to be partying like a 111 year old rock star on July 4th, 2076.

I do pretty good on commitments I make to others. It's the ones I make to myself that are sometimes on shaky ground...

What about you? What is your goal? Do you have one? Is it big picture, like "I want to start running and get in shape?" Or is it specific, like " I want to run a minimum of twice per week, logging at least 30 miles a month for the next six months." Do you want to start exercising? What is the outcome you are looking for, and what are the specific steps it will require to get you there?

It's kind of like the difference between "I want to retire in the Caribbean"... and "I want to put $200 per week into stocks, buy one rental property per year for the next 14 years, create an online company by 2012 that will generate $55,000 per year income from my laptop anywhere in the world, and purchase my condo in St Thomas by Jan. 1, 2018, and I retire on March 3rd 2027.

Get specific.

I swear to Pre, I believe in SMART goals. They are the time tested sure fire way to accomplish what you want. But when it comes to running, I just want to run. I get more joy from sweating my a$$ of during a crazy hot six miler around the city than I can explain without sounding stupid. I just want to run.

But I am lazy.


Tough to admit. Especially to every single person on the planet with internet access. Check this out. In a couple days, Google this posting. Look up "Run Into Shape" and "Goal Setting for runners", together. You will find it. What I am trying to say is, I just told EVERYONE on the planet... I AM LAZY. Effing admit it. You might read this because sometimes it is funny (Hey, I try). But you also might be reading this because once in a while you need a kick in the pants to get your a$$ up off the couch, into your running shoes, and out in the streets.

Everyone is lazy... Sometimes. That is why we set goals.

Everyone of you reading this does something for a living, inside or outside the home. For yourself, or for the man. And every single one of those careers that you all do, have goals involved, one way or another.

Do you sell cars? I sold cars for a year once. Not my cup of tea. Had a hard time putting a little old lady in a 1987 Hundai and telling her it was a great car. Because of that small integrity issue, I sometimes had a hard time hitting my goals. (o.k., that, and I was a crappy car salesman).

Do you schlep drinks. I was a bartender for some of the best years of my life (shout out to all who provide cocktails to the rest of us...). Guess what. We had goals every shift.

Everyone has goals. They hold us accountable. When they are business goals, they hold you accountable to your boss. They hold you accountable for your actions. They hold you accountable to your word.

Running goals are exactly the same. They give you something to measure yourself against. They give you something to shoot for. They give you something to hold yourself accountable for. They let you know if you have succeeded.

The big difference is, running goals are mainly for yourself. Do you sometimes hit snooze and go back to sleep? So you sometimes forget your shoes, and not be able to run? That is called NOT holding yourself accountable. That is why I write this blog. I helps me keep myself accountable for my running. And since I sometimes falter in keeping my word to myself, I make my goals public. I am less likely to flake out on a goal that I have told the whole planet about.

In my case, my goal is to run. But if I don't give myself a big goal to work towards, my lazy, weight gaining, junk food eatin, T.V. watchin tendencies will sneak right back up to the front row. I'll be right back up there at 212 pounds. I don't look good yet... but I looked like shit at 212!

Set a goal. I want to get in shape. I want to run. Now make it specific and measurable. I want to run a 10k (marathon, 5k, half marathon, 4 miles per week...), whatever it is. Make sure it is attainable. Is it realistic? Now make it time based. Example. My goal is to run the Disneyworld Marathon on January 10, 2010, in under 4 hours.

Is that a SMART Goal. I guess we shall see come January.

I want to use this large goal as my dream. It is what motivates me to set my medium goals like running 4 days per week. Running at least 20 miles per week through August. Then starting a 16 week training program September 21st.

What is a short term goal. Mine are things like getting out of bed early enough on Saturday to put in 8 miles before it reaches 100'. Or to not eat the damn snacks people leave in the break room everyday.

What is your goal? What do you want to do? What challenge do you want to conquer? Is it written down? Is it smart? Have you told anyone? How do you plan to hold yourself accountable? What practices are you putting in place to keep you on track? Do you post it by your desk at work? Do you have it hanging from your bathroom mirror to see every morning while your getting ready for work? What will it take to get you out of bed?

Here is my challenge to you. Make a goal. Whatever you want to accomplish. Post it in the comments section at the bottom of this blog. Write it down on a piece of paper and put it somewhere you have to see it every day. Put your name with it. Make it public. Make it proud.

My goal when I was 11 was to give up my gang bangin ways, and to live for another century. I succeeded in the first part, and am still working on the rest.My belief is that publicly declared goals work best...

What is your goal?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Justification

I didn't go for a run yesterday because it was Friday. I don't like to run on Friday's because I usually make Saturday morning my long run (this morning I ran a total of 3.63 miles). I didn't run on Thursday morning because I was tired from travelling the day before. I decided I would run on Thursday night instead. When I got to work I found out that I was attending a going away party for one of my workmates after work. I didn't run on Thursday night.

We had a big Costume party on Tuesday night at the end of our convention in Austin and danced and drank till 1:00 am. I didn't run on Wednesday morning.

We went out into Austin and went to dinner on 6th st, the heart of the "Center of live music" of the world. The bar and music scene in Austin is unbelievable. We then went bar hopping and did not get back to the hotel until well after midnight. I did not go running on Tuesday morning.

On Sunday night we had the welcoming party for our Franchisees with an open bar and a buffet. When That was done we all migrated to the hotel lounge and played pool until early in the am, mingling with our franchisees. I didn't go running on Monday.

If you read my last posting, you already know about my Saturday run through the hills of Austin. When I heard the sound of my wake up call on Sunday morning, I wasn't sure if I had already been awake do to the throbbing pain in my calves from the day before. I called the front desk and asked them to call me back in an hour. I did not run on Sunday.

I travelled from Phoenix to Austin on Friday and did not run. Before that I have been running three days a week for about two or three weeks. I am starting back slowly because I just took four weeks off from running because of a sore toe.

A sore toe.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The hills are alive...

I only started running again for the first time in 10 years, a few months back. The last time I did any running was the year I lived in Boise, which is FLAT. I now live in Phoenix, FLAT! I literally have not run on a hill of ANY size, up or down, since 1995. Well, today that all changed.

I am in Austin Texas for work, and went out for a 5:30 am run this morning with two of my workmates. To protect their identity, I will call them Nick and Kristen, now I just call them Bastards! I know they walk around the office and play all nice to people. I know they have gotten every single person they know snowed to think they are friendly caring people. It is all a ruse. I think it has been a plan hatched out of a lifetime of pretending to be nice to everyone they have ever met, with just one goal in mind, to kill me in the hills of Austin Texas.

Holy crap!

We went to the front desk of the hotel this morning to get some input on where to run. The gentleman at the front desk was very helpful (Bastard), and pulled out a local map and gave us a few options. One of those options was to turn out of the parking lot and go left, to a relatively flat course around this spectacular countryside. The other option was to go out of the parking lot and take a right, through the depths of Hell.

I made a friendly comment about it having been about 14 years since I have run on a hill. That is when these two reportedly “very nice” people I work with headed out of the parking lot... and took a right.

It started off o.k., uphill. I then made another joke (not really a joke people, you are supposed to be able to catch on to that…) that running this little hill might kill me.

It was the shortest, easiest slope, and best lit, of the next six (I had no idea) hills. As we got to the top of the hill and took a right, it was so dark that I could not see the ground in front of me. And since I never run in the dark, I have never taken the time to learn how to use the light on my Garmin. We started down a slope that was getting steeper, and longer, with every step. We finally reached what I thought was the bottom, only to have a car pass us going the same direction as us and watch it's headlights disappear over the next downward hill in front of us.

Now you might be saying, “Adam, why in the hell are you griping? Running down hill is not that bad." People, the only thing going through my frantic little mind at this point is “Are you fu%&*n kidding me? We have to run UP this hill on the way back. What the hell am I doing? What did I ever do to the two of you to make you do such a horrible dastardly thing to me? I thought we were friends.”

Apparently not.

As we started to get close to what I thought was the bottom of the hill, things started to smell. Now granted, I was SO worried about the return trip back up this hill, that I wasn't sure that the smell wasn't coming from me... Then Kristen exclaimed, "Adam!" I looked down just in time to jump to the right as I was about to take a trip over a dead skunk. Nice... At least it wasn't me :)

We were approaching the bridge that I assumed was our destination. So as I finally figured out the damn light on my watch, I checked our distance and time. Now in hindsight, I should have just lied my a$$ off. "We are at 1.4 miles guys". Maybe they just didn't hear me. Maybe they thought that all the heavy breathing they were hearing from behind them was a joke. Maybe they wanted to watch me die...

Nick (bastard): "Awesome. Why don't we run up to the road at the top of the hill and turn around there?"...

If you have ever been in the military or in a marching band, you know what a half step is. It's where you take a half step, or maybe a few half steps in a row, to help you get back in line with everyone else who is marching in unison. Well, when Nick said that ("Awesome. Why don't we run up to the road at the top of the hill and turn around there?"...), I took a half step. Not because I was trying to get back in step with Kristen and Nick, but because for half a second, or half of a step, I almost quit.

Then I remembered, literally in the time of that half step, that I had already made a public declaration that I will not EVER let myself stop in the middle of a run. In that same half of a step I also remembered that we do not have a car back at the hotel. So, no matter what, I am going back on my own power. I cannot do what I want, which is to lay down on the grass and cry until they come back and get me.

When we hit the beginning of the last hill that would take us up to the main road, and our turn around point, they both took off up the hill leaving me behind. This is when I changed my strategy from trying to keep up, to hoping like hell I would be able to finish.

One goal. Don't stop.

We started up, and Nick was already 20 or 30 yards ahead of me. I kept going, and tried not to think about the people I used to call friends. Maybe we are just workmates. Maybe they really do resent the loud guy that has an office between them. This might be their way of paying me back for all the times they had to plug one ear while having a phone in the other. Maybe this is their "paybacks are a bitch."

About the time that Nick reached the top of the hill and Kristen was about to leave me in her dust, I started to pay attention to the sound of my breathing. It was so loud in my own ears, and my own head, that I started thinking about how distracting it must have been for their run. It was right about then that Kristen turned around to check on me. It was immediately obvious that she had finally pulled far away enough that she could no longer hear my breathing, and was checking to make sure I was o.k.

They were not going to leave me to die.

Nick reached the turnaround and started running back down the hill toward us. He passed Kristen and started to slow down as he approached me. When we were about to cross paths, he turned a 180, and started back up the hill. Maybe they really are my friends. Maybe they aren't going to leave me. And we ran up the rest of the hill together side by side.

After a few minutes rest at the top, we ran back to the hotel together. They left me behind at the bottom of each hill, but made sure I didn't run the last 20 yards up alone. As we came to the end of the run at the hotel, I turned left to go back to my room. We are still friends. They kept on running, past the hotel, leaving me to return to my room.


That was the last morning I was invited to go running. (not really, that is just my excuse, until I get a few more hills under my belt).

Thanks to my friends for not leaving me behind. Thanks for giving me just enough, to make sure I finished. Thanks for getting me beyond flat. Never Quit.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Inspired Runner and the guy in the wheel chair

Do you have someone in your life the inspires you? Do you know someone that you want to be like? Do you envy someone who is better than you. It can be a parent, a pro athlete, a business mentor, your big brother, or the guy across the street for that matter. Does thinking about the success, the dedication, or the work ethic of a specific person in your life, help push you to higher limits?

This week I had three different people ask me about my inspiration to run. My answer to one of them was about posting pictures on FB. You notice that all the pictures of me from my beach vacations are either in a shirt, or from the neck up. I want to be able to post pictures that show me laying around the pool, and not be embarrassed about looking pregnant. My other answer was Haagen-Dazs carmel cone... Really. Have you ever tried the stuff. Two full pints so far this week. It's only Tuesday!

I was trying to be funny. Maybe because I was not sure about the real answer.

But then, I thought, they deserved a better answer. What is it that gets someone off the couch after two decades of laziness, and motivates them to run? Since I happen to be putting alot of time into this subject, I should try to find out for myself, the real answer.

Well, I can tell you that my practice of keeping track of how many people say hello back to me when I give them a smile and a hello is sometimes part of it. Tonight was one of those nights. I was running along in 101' temperature and feeling pretty good. I was four out of four when I ran by a homeless man pushing a shopping cart. I said hello as I ran buy... Instant disappointment... he ignored me... until I was past him by about 15 feet, and then a polite, not to strong, "hello." I gotta admit, that made me smile. Then when I came into a group of guys on their way to US Airway Center for a game, I got a thumbs up and a giant smile from a guy who turned and watched me go buy. He followed it up with a "Dude. You gotta be crazy". I smiled again.

I picked a role model for myself a while back. What do you do next? Well, I am a pretty smart guy, I need to do stuff more like he does. And one of the things he does is get his ass off the couch and run. 5k, 10k, half marathons, and marathons. Nice job Adam. Why couldn't I pick someone who played pool, or bowled. I had to pick a guy who runs marathons. He eats healthy. He makes more than twice as much money as I do, and he has been married to his wife longer than I have been married to mine. Nuff said.

So I am running along in this crazy heat and I am thinking about what inspires me. I am already in just a great mood, and actually thinking that the soreness in my tight calf muscles feels good. I am looking up ahead and see a guy in a wheelchair pushing himself down the sidewalk towards me. Remember, it's over 100' out here. As I approach the guy, he has a beaming grin from ear to ear, and he says "Hello, great way to get your exercises, and it's the perfect time of night for it", and he wheels on by. Seriously, what in the hell do you say to that? All I could come up with was "Thank you, and to you as well." When I got to the next light and had a lady tell me "good-by" in response to my hello, I was still smiling from ear to ear.

Sometimes I am inspired by the fact that I am outside earning the right to sweat. Sometimes I motivate myself just by thinking about what I might come across on my run that and can write about. I was going by a vacant lot on the edge of downtown tonight, and in the middle of it sat a busted up computer monitor. Somebody beat the living crap out of this thing. All I could think of was that scene in "Office Space" when they went all gangster on the copy machine in the middle of an overgrown lot... and I smiled some more. It is weird what motivates people to exercise.

I bought a domain name a while ago. I hope to use it as a blog, but with a specific purpose. It will have stories and quotes, and video's. I hope to be able to produce a newsletter that goes out to a difined group of people. I am currently practicing for this web-site. Can I convey my idea's in a way that gets people to take action? The guy that inspires me to be out taking action doesn't even know he is involved. What does that type of influence require? I like the blog you're reading right now because I get to rant and tell stories about not much, and try to relate it to something I really enjoy. My other site will be for inspiring other people to take action, and see if they can feel what I feel.

Sometimes the person that motivates me to run are my friends, always challenging me. Sometimes I am inspired by the fact that my buddy is out there doing it, so I have no excuses. Sometimes I am inspired by my big brother. I am always inspired by my wife Jane. She makes me want to be a better man. And if I am able to become one, she deserves to have me around longer.

So there you are. You may have gotten a little more than you bargained for when you asked me what inspires me to run. My other website is Don't look it up. It's not even under construction. I need to earn the right from my mentors and role models, my friends and my wife. I need to earn the right from runners. Get inspired. Get out on the road. Until then, if you see me run by, please say hello. Or good-by.