Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Things Are Slowly Coming Together.

It has been 7 months since I started this journey. I'll admit 7 of the hardest months of my life. I have had more set backs and breakthroughs than I can mention. Some are small, some are major but in the end they all end up making me a better person physically and mentally.

When I was a kid at 16 I used to work in a chain donut shop. We used to get 50 lbs bags of sugar in and I hated unloading them. Now I look back at that and think that I have lost more than that bag in weight. I hardly have any clothes that really fit me anymore. I have gone to the closet and pulled out the pants that I should have gotten rid of years ago but I held on to for when I loose weight. Well now they are too big too. Even the belt I bought a few months ago I have had to put new holes in to make it so my pants aren't falling down. It's the greatest feeling you can ever have. I am very happy about where I am and I know I can get to where I want to be.

When I started this, I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without getting a little tired. Cardiac hill near work would wind me so bad that i had to stop at the top. Now I walk that once a week just because I can. Soon I will run it. Very soon.

I have found new friends, reconnected with old ones, and have more self esteem that I ever have. Some of these friends I haven't met yet but I talk to a lot on line, but most I will meet someday. I have found new a new passion that I will never give up. It is leading me to newer passions. Newer things that I can do that I couldn't this time last year cause well i was just too fat, too out of shape.

I have broken goals, made new ones and broken them. Only to find newer ones after those. Dreams become reality leading to more dreams.

Life has changed for the better, and I am taking steps to make sure I am going to be here for a long time to enjoy it.

Since my last post I have run trails, roads and fields. I have found myself in those places. Especially the trails. If you haven't run one yet, go do it. leave the Ipods and mp3 players at home and just listen. Listen to what is around you. As you feet hit the ground they echo ever so slightly. Last Thursday, I ran a trail that was made in dedication of a 7 year old boy that passed away. On that trail, with the sun sqeaking through the trees, the birds chirping and the deer, yes the deer that decided I was ok to be there and stood there while I ran past. Not that I was close but wow, I was close enough.

On Sunday, before it got to hot. I went to North Park and ran walked the lake. 5 miles, I was a little slower than I wanted to be. But the heat was a little warmer and I didn't wanna pass out :)

On Monday, I had the day off from work because my wifes Aunt passed away. While everyone got ready for the funeral. I went for a little run the sun was just coming up. The birds sang to me as I ran.

Amby Burfoot suggested that you run without music. I don't do it all the time, but the past 2 weeks I have been on call so I have had to carry a blackberry with me and I need to hear it if it goes off. I will never feel it vibrating when I run. Like Amby, I suggest you try it, preferably in the early morning, right as the sun comes up. The world can be a beautiful place if you let it.

This weekend is the Pittsburgh Marathon. Over 10500 people will be running the streets of my city. I will meet some of them the days before the race at the expo and on race day I will hand some of them medals for finishing the race. (Better not be any biggest looser people there GRRRRR) I signed up for motivation, it is funny though, when all I think about is when I can run next how much more motivation do I need? Not much, but I will enjoy it and maybe next year I'll pick one of those packets up with my name on it. :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Boyce Park 5K Trail Race

Yet another race report....

I got there really early cause I wanted to get breakfast on the way over and I wanted to eat 2 hours before the race. So I had a bagel at Panera with peanut butter of course. Then hit starting line and still had 90 + minutes to kill. I talked to the race organizer for awhile. But this was the first race my wife made it to so this time I had a cheering section. Plus we brought the dog with us, so she was cheering for me as well. This race was being held by a running group that I joined last week called the Greater Pittsburgh Road Runners. Their fee is extremely cheap and their races well 3 dollars for non members and a whole buck for members and they have one a month!

I finally met Brad AKA Sumorunner and we started the race off together. This was a true trail race, with very little paved or gravel trails and TONS of hills. I finally got my trail shoes dirty!

The start was not at the same place as the finish but very close and the trail was very well marked so there was little chance of getting lost. We started out at a nice pace and Brad and I ran close to a mile before I needed to back off and walk a bit. Then I kept telling Brad to go on and not wait up for me, which he did at about a mile and a 1/4. On the trails there were some trees laying over and there were a few small streams that we needed to jump over. But for the most part it was dirt and mud. At about the 1/2 way point there was a hill that was a gravel path then you ran through a little asphalt parking lot, then back to the trail which was the hilliest part of the course. I had to walk most of the second mile. I was tired my legs were working well and running on the soft dirt I had almost no shin pain. But I held back a little as well back there because I didn't want to hurt them agian. They are getting better and I am getting better, but there is still the fear of really hurting them again. So I walked ran the rest of the race. I was feeling really good until I hit the last hill up to the finish line. WOW that was a long hill, It really wasn't that long but it felt like It was going to kill me. But I kept pushing up it and after I got past the steepest part I could see the finish line so I started to run and I finished in 45 mins.

I feel pretty good about that time because I am hitting 43 on nice paved roads, I had to cross a few trees and streams and acutally let a couple runners past me. The trail was pretty narrow. But I do feel that this type of running could over take the road running for me. At least I will be training a lot more on trails in the future!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sleep...who needs it....

So this morning I couldn't sleep. I woke up at 3 am and stared at the ceiling. Pondering on my day I decided well, no sense in just laying here. I'll go for a run.

So at 3:45 I got out of bed, grabbed my running stuff and clothes for work and headed out the door. I drove past work, dropped off my clothes and then went to where I park. Oh, in case you hadn't figured it out, I got my car back on the road!!!

Where I park is down in this place called Panther Hollow in Oakland. It's down a really nice long hill that I walk up every morning. Today though, I went up another hill that leads away from my office building. i walked up it, intending for this to be my warm up. I had no clue on distance (still need that garmin) but I was feeling the lack of sleep at the top of it. But I still ran, down forbes past the library, across the bridge into the park and then back out, down past the library around the fountain and then back on forbes to the office. I did have to stop and walk here and there. Mostly due to lack of sleep and then lack of nourishment. Up the steps, streached in my cube then hit the showers down the hall. I did over dress, there was a ligth misty rain this morning that made it seem colder than it was. Once I got moving I was more soaked from sweat. Next time I will know better.

All in all it was a great run. I think this may become the norm for me. It's so nice to run in town when it's quiet like that. Just me and the birds. Oh, I haven't used my ipod for about 2 weeks now when I am running. I am finding it easier to control my pace when I can hear my feet hitting the ground.

Well, time to work...after today I am off until Monday :) Tomorrow morning I am going to hit a trail near here and run it. Then rest friday and saturday for the trail race on sunday.
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Sunday, April 5, 2009

What a weekend...

This was another great weekend. The weather was wonderful.

On Saturday I spent the morning buying a pair of trail running shoes. I ended up going to REI to get them. I went by bus to the store, so that dropped me off about a mile away from the store. I hiked over to the store and got my shoes. After trying a few pairs on I decided on Salamon trail running shoes. They are very light and feel great on my feet. So in the spirit of buying them I put them on when I left and well I had intentions on getting a bus back downtown right outside of REI. Well there is this Gyro place there and well they are the best so I decided to cheat a little and have one. After that I was really full and walked out to get the bus, but something sparked, not sure what but I started walking towards town. Next thing I know 2.3 miles later I am in town waiting for the bus to come home.

Today, my wife and daughter wanted me to go to the boarn with them to see our horse. But there was a catch, we had to go to 2 other barns first to do a few things for friends. So after we got home I felt the calling to go run. I ran into the house changed and ran out. I decided to take one of our dogs with me. He is my little buddy and I wasn't going to run that much. Just a little jog to burn off some energy before bed.

Well after the warm up I looked down at him and said hey you ready. We started our nice slow jog. With him leading me we went a little further than where I usually burn out and need to walk. But I was watching him and not really paying attention to where I was on the route. I was worried I'd kill him. He isn't used to getting out and running like that. But we kept going and when I looked up I almost fell over. I stopped dead in my tracks and looked around. I picked him up and screamed we did it buddy.

I broke the mile! Finally after all this time I ran 1 mile without stopping to walk. I felt like I could go further but he was panting pretty good so we walked back home. All this time in my head I knew what the problem was. I wasn't trying to go to far, I was trying to go to fast. My shins didn't hurt either, but I came home, streched them out really good then massaged and iced them like I knew I better.

I finally feel like a runner!!!!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Not so random thoughts

Yesterday, I decided to run/walk the lake at a local park near me. It's a 5 mile loop and well marked and basically flat. I ran a lot of it but not all of it. Someday I will run it all but not yet, slow and easy. It was a beautiful day, 65ish sunny and a light breeze. What a day... there were a ton of people there, the walkers, runners, and bike riders. We all shared that hour. There was even a woman that was clearly not there to run walk or ride, well not a bike anyway. Oh did I say that..... :)

I have figured out that I am running to fast and need to slow down, working on that now, just slow running and enjoying it. I have decided the next 2 weeks are for me to just enjoy running and not concentrate on any race. Although I will probably do a 5k trail race here in the next couple weeks.

So, back to the unrandomness of this....

While I was going horribly slow for the 5 miles, I just started to let my mind wonder and see where it would end up. At first I thought about someday running with all my online friends. What a blast that would be. Then I thought about my life and why I didn't start this sooner. But lastly what kicked in there was my friends and family that don't run and what they thought of me running.

So I thought I would put it down yet again on WHY I run, so here it is.

Mostly I run to loose weight, get in shape and feel better about myself. At least that is why it started. Well that and the promise of a Jeep :) But then something happened, something kicked in that was really unexpected. I started to feel better not just physically, but mentally.

But that still doesn't say why... does it?

I run because it's one thing that no one can take away from me. I control it. It doesn't cost me money, it doesn't depend on anyone but me to be there doing it. I run to be me cause that is what I am a runner. I always have been, I just never let that part of me come out. I think back to all the times I thought, hey I am gonna get in shape and start running and never did.

So to the naysayers the doubters and the people that think I am plain insane, give it a shot, see how you feel. Yes there have been days when I haven't been able to take a step without pain. There have been days when I got out there, ran less than a 1/10th of a mile and said F this, I quit. But in the end, I go back the next day, I never quit. Cause in my heart I am where I want to be.

I know it was fiction but Forest Gump had it right. I could just go someday like that and not turn around. Just run and run and never stop.

Wanna come with me? ...............