Wednesday, January 28, 2015

GET, not HAVE

So this morning, my alarm clock went off at 4:15, I grabbed my phone, snoozed the alarm and started to doze off. Then I remembered I skipped 2 days this week already (what a slacker, I know?!). I told myself, no I skipped 2 days, I "have" to run today. So I got up and grabbed my water, got dressed, and as I was getting dressed I thought to myself, that was not right.

See, nobody "HAS" to run. None of us, not a single one of us - not me, not you, not Meb, not Shalene, not Ryan Hall, not even Bolt! Nobody HAS to run. We who choose to run, "GET" to run.

Trust me, I have my days, those days when getting out of bed is as difficult as advanced physics - you know the days! But as the routine builds as you get some enjoyment out of running (or biking, swimming, going to the gym, walking), it becomes easier to start! But you also realize the more and more people you encounter that what we have, the ability to do this, is a gift. It matters not that you may run a 16 minute mile or a 5 minute mile, that you've never done a race past a 5k or 10k.

The thing that matters is that we realize we are lucky, we are fortunate. There are plenty of people in our communities, town, states, countries that have no ability to do what we do. They are not even given a chance to do so. But those people should help drive us harder and faster to take advantage of what we have!

So the next time you "have to put in ___ miles", put it in perspective. Realize you DO NOT "have" to do any miles - regardless of what you are training for, you "GET" to!

Cheers!
Jeff

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Power (and Safety) of Visibility

So this was really popular on my Facebook page (the link is over there on the right, if you need it). This is a jacket I had wanted for a while and got for Christmas! Its a Puma Nightcat jacket, its a lighter weight jacket, that is a great wind breaker and a good shell. BUT, its best feature is reflectivity! As you can see from the pictures, the one on the left is with normal lighting, but when a flash, headlight, etc hits it, its reflects all over the place!

For an early morning runner, this is VERY critical! I wasn't sure how truly reflective this would be, and even when I wore it a few times, I was thinking "I wonder if this works?" So after wearing it a few times, I figured, lets shine a light on it, literally! I was amazed! I was also happy to see that when I am out before sunlight, this will be another layer of safety for me. I feel I am a pretty safe runner, but there are WAY too many people who are not paying attention to their own driving, let alone a runner or walker or biker on the side of the road. Scary, but tragedies have happened before. Stay safe!

Cheers,
Jeff

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

70 Miles In... And Counting


Well, I am a little over 3% done... 70.2 miles in 20 days. I am feeling it too! Not necessarily in a bad way, but I can feel pushing myself harder and harder. It was absolutely GREAT weather this past weekend, minus maybe the wind that was strong at times!

We will have a team check-in at the end of the month! I am excited to see how far we have traveled together. For me, I doubled how far from Springfield I was in a week. I think the border to Missouri is not too far off! I love these visuals because its nice to see what that looks like on a large scale, as opposed to a BUNCH of maps of short distance, that are likely most of the same route or routes! So with that, the journey to Portland came about...

Why Portland... well, I have never been there, not sure I really have any desire to go.... but it was as close to 2015 as I could get, that was also recognizable! Either way, I think its a fun way to journal the distance we are going!

While I don't know that I will hit the average of 171 miles for the month, I will break 100 easily and as the temps get better,  am sure my mileage will as well. I am looking forward to seeing some big mileage weeks as training for a full starts later in the year, but for now, the focus is on the Lincoln Presidential Half and being 100% ready!

Cheers,
Jeff

Thursday, January 15, 2015

First race of the season...

Training for the first race of the season has officially started. My "coach" (aka - RunKeeper) reminded me of the miles due yesterday. I am looking forward to this race as a good gauge of time off and where I stand with regards to other goals this year.

Last year, I set my PR in the half here, but unfortunately the hills got the better of me. I trained hard and fast, as I was also coming off an injury (See the fun here). But I knew I had gotten my miles in and was not worried about the distance. The problem I had was the hills. I knew the course was hilly, as part of this course is part of another race in Springfield. I was well on pace to crack 1:45 for the half, but as the hills got worse and worse and I became more fatigued, I just couldn't keep my pace. Still beating my best time by 1 minute, coming off injury, my only real goal was to better the last half, which I did.

If you are looking for a race in Central, Illinois with some challenging hills, good flats, and a good crowd, I would highly encourage this one!

Maybe I will see you there!

Jeff

Monday, January 12, 2015

Improvising

Maybe weird isn't the right word. With my work, I would love to go out and take a 30 minute walk at lunch or even on my "break", but I do not really have those things planned out. What I do have is the occasional bit of free time and the ability to improvise.

I had actually signed up to do a "Fight For Air Climb" at our local Hilton, which I think is 32 flights. Well, fortunately/unfortunately, I will be out of town, which I realized about 30 minutes after registering! Either way, I knew I would need to work on my stairs or vertical climb! Not having access to a stair master or large flights of steps, I figured I could start small and work on endurance.

A few weeks back, I started with a couple days a week, taking 5-10 minutes and running stairs till I couldn't go much farther, not necessarily to exhaustion. I do them in my shirt and tie and my work shoes and its not a casual pace, but I am also not necessarily racing either. Its enough to get the heart rate up and just break a sweat. My goal is to add flights or time each day, building on the previous day and previous week!

And seriously, freezing rain, with snow on top of it?! When does Spring start? I can do cold, I can do rain, I can even do wind, ice.... not so much!

Cheers,
Jeff

Friday, January 9, 2015

Running to Portland....

Yes, that Portland... (Sort of). I saw a few other people in my challenge do this and thought this would be a cool visual to have for me and my team!

Just how far is 2015 miles? Well, from my hometown of Springfield, IL all the way to Portland, OR its about 2032 miles. A little over the goal of 2015, but close enough. (Sorry LA, San Fran, Vegas, you were not within the 50 miles window I was looking to get; and Orlando, you were a there and back trip, and I did not want to do that either).

As this challenge goes on, it will be fun to update and see where we are at and how much more we have! 2015 is a ton of miles, and the progress for me personally puts me just past New Berlin, IL... which isn't really far. The weather has not helped matters at this point though, nor has a frozen hot water pipe! But there is plenty of time ahead and NO need for panic!

Also of note, my goal to do a fall marathon took a small hit. My beloved St. Louis Rock N Roll series has apparently dropped the full marathon. The half was a great course and I was looking forward to that being and option, guess not! Plan B is in the works though! More to come!

Cheers,
Jeff

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Oh weather...

How I loathe you...

It's one thing to run in the cold. Been there, done that. Its not as awful as it sounds. Its an easy way to get sick if you are not careful. But planning and prep work go a long way in the winter. Not to mention visibility, hydration, etc.

Then there is ice.

I for one, just refuse to run on ice. No yaktrax, no north face gear, no thanks! Walking on ice is bad enough. Maybe its because I run in the wee hours of the morning when its still pretty dark and harder to see, or maybe its because I prefer to be injury free! I feel running on ice is high risk-low reward type situation. My elliptical will suffice for those mornings.

Wind.

Yeah, that's the other pain the rear. Wind is nice, when its behind you. My longer run last weekend, I am pretty certain, no matter which way I was running the wind was always in my face. If I had to choose my least favorite condition, besides ice, wind would be it. Rain is actually not that bad. Once you are wet, you are wet! But wind is so variable and adds a tough element to the run!

Cant wait to run in 0 degrees tomorrow...

Cheers,
Jeff