Blogging and Begging – Why???

Pedal the Plains is looking for a handful of correspondents to blog about their training and about their ride.

I kind of figured that since that’s what I’ve already started doing, that would make me a good fit, right? So I entered their contest of sorts. They had each of us submit pictures and then people can vote for the eight of us who have applied. The last couple of days I’ve been in campaign mode, asking friends and people in certain forums I’m part of to vote for me. I won’t go through that here as most who read this would have already seen my plea for votes elsewhere.

My campaign poster for the Pedal the Plains contest

My campaign poster for the Pedal the Plains contest

This whole thing though has me asking myself why I’d go out begging for votes. I mean, really, what does this accomplish for me? I get the opportunity to blog about my training and my ride…  well, I’m already doing this. I get an entry into the ride…  ummmm, I’ve already registered. So what’s this all about? Maybe the question could be broadened into why do this blogging?

And hey, any kind of inner questioning like that is always good fodder for a blog post, right?

I’m sure there’s the ‘look at me’ aspect. Maybe I can impress some people with what I have to say. Maybe I’m digging for some validation by doing this. I can dig for a bit of attention, maybe impress people with what I’m doing. It’s not the most glamorous explanation, but I’m sure there’s an element of truth to it.

Part of the deal is, I think I’ve got something to say. It’s not that anything I have to say is any more important than anyone else’s two cents worth, but it’s more that if I’ve learned anything from my experiences and perspectives, maybe someone else can benefit as well.

I think this is particularly the case with my situation when it comes to health and diet and activity. I’ve been somewhere that I honestly didn’t think I would ever get out of. And while there are areas that I’m probably not a lot further along than when I started this whole blog, I can tell you that I never would have dreamt that I could ride a bike up a mountain road at 10,000 feet without feeling like I was about to die. If you had told the 393 pound me that couldn’t run two steps to get out of a downpour that I would one day do something like that, or that I would complete a half marathon, or anything like that, that might have been kind of inspiring to me, you know? Okay, reality is I probably would have laughed in your face. But there came a time where I decided enough was enough and I wanted to do better. Yeah, it’s nice to say look at me, look what I’ve been able to do, and I won’t like that I really enjoy the pats on the back for something like that. But I also know there are others who are where I’ve been. Maybe that’s all they need to see, is here’s this guy who was in their very shoes and feeling really, really defeated. Because that might help someone see it doesn’t always have to be that way.

I think there’s another piece to it all.

Accountability.

Hey, if I’m chosen as one of their bloggers, that makes it pretty official that I’m doing this. And while maybe I like to have eyes on me and get attention through this thing called blogging, if I bail on this and don’t live up to the training and don’t see this thing through, all of a sudden having all those eyes on me can be pretty uncomfortable. I’m happy to trumpet my successes. I’m not so sure I want to trumpet my failures, and that can be pretty good motivation not to fail.

So for all the “I want to inspire people” talk, the reality is probably more that blogging is kind of a selfish endeavor, at least for me. But maybe when it’s all said and done, if it helps me succeed in getting further along, for all the selfishness maybe it still can help someone else along?

I hope so.

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Baptism By Dirt

The good news is I got the last parts for my bike the day before leaving for a week long vacation. The bad news is, it was the day before leaving for vacation.

The good news is, I took the bike along.

The bad news is, my first real shake down cruise on the bike had to be in the mountains.

The good news is, my first real shake down cruise on the bike had to be in the mountains.

The first reviews are in…  I LOVE this bike! Wow – it rides so easily.

It wasn’t a huge ride, just 11 miles. But it was 11 miles on Engineer’s pass, a route that the really recommend you use an ATV or at the very lowest end something like a jeep if you’re going to drive it. My wife Janiece and I did it on our bikes. Okay, the part we rode was before you get to the rough terrain, and we were REALLY slow. But the beauty of it is that the climb on the way up was steeper than any of the climbs we’ll have on Pedal the Plains, at 6,000 feet higher elevation than Pedal the Plains will be…  and we nailed it!

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So I’m not great with the selfies yet.

So here’s this bike that I got to do more road miles, and its first real test is acting more like a mountain bike than a road bike. Okay, again, the road was really in great condition and it certainly wasn’t extreme riding or anything like that.

I will say, the disc brakes need some further adjusting. Coming down the pass was a bit hairy, squeezing both brakes for all they are worth and still rolling along. Yes, it would help if there wasn’t so much momentum that they had to try to reverse. Stupid physics anyway!

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We vacationed in the area last year, and I did some running then. With as gorgeous as the scenery is, this is one of the reasons for getting out like this – I’ve driven this road before and it was incredible. But it was nowhere near as amazing as it is on a bike. Days like this are what it’s all about.

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A Graduation of Sorts

Today it’s official.

Big Red is gone. Good bye old friend. You’ve been a loyal companion.

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Someone bought the Globe.

It’s a bittersweet kind of thing. I’m happy to have found a home for it, and in fact it the one who bought it is a bit of a bigger guy, someone just getting into riding a bit more, and I honestly am excited that this bike gets to serve its purpose all over again.

Maybe more than anything I’m just feeling guilty. Read back a couple posts. This old friend was always there, was always a go to. And what do I do? Seal the deal. Sell it up the river. Give it a good kick in the pants, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I feel like scum.

Okay, I really don’t. I’m a little excited about it really. Selling this bike gave me what I need to get the last pieces in place for the next level.

I think the reason I’m excited is that this is officially unofficially a graduation of sorts. The bike has been a good one for what it was: A starter bike for a fat guy. Okay, I’m still a fat guy, back in the day I was happy about being able to ride a couple miles without getting too winded. It got me back in love with cycling, or at least helped set the course. And in the end, it did what it was supposed to do, work itself out of a place. I’m riding further, and this kind of bike, once you go so far it starts getting really really uncomfortable.

In the end, as unfaithful as this makes me feel towards a bike that has been so loyal…

Okay, enough of this loyal garbarge. It’s a bike. It’s a stinking piece of metal. A very heavy  contraption, which doesn’t make sense since it was mostly aluminum….  but it’s a thing. It’s a bike. It cannot be loyal. It just is.

Okay, I feel better. Now, where was I?

Anyway, it’s another step forward. For a guy who had about mailed it in as far as any level of activity whatsoever, there’s a joy to knowing you’re moving forward. There is a deep sense of satisfaction knowing that you’re at a point where you WANT to do more, you love doing more, and you’re ready to move on to whatever will help you get to where you can do more. I don’t know if it makes sense, but then it doesn’t have to. It makes sense to me.

And so…  the next level?

This post is already getting too long. Have to save it for another post.

But…  a teaser.

fff

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Riding to Running to Riding Again

When I first started this blog I was training for a half marathon. Even now it seems like that was a bigger stretch of accomplishment than doing a 3 day 172 mile ride.

Then again, even as I write that down, that 172 seems like an awful lot. Kind of daunting, really. But I will say that the half marathon training was definitely more demanding. Right now the temptation is to compare the two. Is running better or is riding better? Yes. There are similarities and huge differences. But in the end, both are a part of who I am.

For me, running started out as my way of getting to school more quickly. Or more it was a matter of being able to leave a bit later. I discovered back then I could run at a good pace for about a block, then I’d be toast. So I’d run a block, walk a block. Soon it was run two, walk one. Then I could do a mile, even several miles, and could hold about a 6 minute pace. I really should have picked cross country as my sport (how did I ever pick tennis? It was just one year, and my only year of anything on an organized high school sports level, but it was a flop). And the thing is, I enjoyed it.

But then I got my bike. Okay, the true story is I wrecked my car and didn’t have the money to buy a replacement but I could get a nice bike. And while I enjoyed running, I LOVED riding. I could relate more to the character from Breaking Away though I never got interested in pretending I was Italian. I’d ride to see friends out of town. I could do long rides as if it was going across the street. I think I’m sadder about getting away from riding than I was about getting away from running.

And then, there was a poster, for the Bike Ride Across Nebraska. It was either the first or second year. I don’t remember what the conflict was, I know I couldn’t go. But oh man I wanted to. Ever since then, that’s been a bucket list kind of thing for me.

As I started to take my life back, it was getting back on the bike that got me to the point where I could then run. I started taking my bike to work. Okay, I’d take public transportation (but you can take your bike on the light rail here) and ride my bike the last mile. Then I started getting off a stop earlier to ride in. Then 2 stops, and soon I was riding 17 miles to work. And that got me to running again.

And I enjoyed running. Or maybe I enjoyed that I could do it again. I felt good that it didn’t take the kind of toll on me I was afraid it would. Well, okay, my back was giving me fits, and I’ve got arthritis now in one ankle though I think it’s more related to an injury from high school than the running).

Running the half marathon was an awesome feeling. But you know, a half marathon was never a bucket list thing. A bike tour…  yeah, that’s still there. A couple of years ago I saw they were starting Pedal the Plains. It was a good next step. It’s also in a part of the state I love (who ever thought one could love eastern Colorado? More on that another time maybe). At that time my focus was on running, but it was definitely on my radar.

It’s hard to compare running and riding. One drawback with riding is that you have to pay more attention to the equipment. Yes, you need good running shoes and such, but then at least with running you don’t have to worry about things like this:

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Okay, that happened to my wife, not me, but that’s awesome enough I had to find a way to get it into my blog.

Now I have to admit, I’d much rather have that happen to my bike than to my foot, right?

But here’s the thing. There’s still a joy to jumping on the bike. I find myself wanting to get on the bike just to ride it. Not to train, not to work towards being able to go further, but just to get on and enjoy. I find myself more intrigued to do a 6 hour bike ride through countryside than a 3 hour run.

In the end, maybe that’s what the difference has been that has had me more focused on the bike. Running has been about weight loss and about training. When I’d go to run, it was always part of preparing myself to run a race. It was training. It was something I needed to do. Right now when I ride, even though I say I’m training for Pedal the Plains, it doesn’t feel like training. I’m just enjoying the ride.

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Old Faithful and the Cheat

Yes, I feel like a cheater.

First off, let me introduce you to Globe. This was the bike that kind of got the whole getting more active thing started for me. I got this about five years ago, used it first for some shorter rides, slowly expanding into 17 mile work commutes.

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Now, the relationship was rough to begin with. I’ll be honest, I was pretty harsh. Us super clydes (a cycling term for really big riders) can be that way. This was a delicate little thing, not really made for the kind of treatment it was about to get when it rolled out of the store. It wasn’t long until there were real problems. A busted seat, broken seat post, busted spokes on the back wheel, busted pedals. I promise I wasn’t trying to be abusive. I was ready to blame her, you know? But I knew deep down it was my own fault.

But then things got better. After fixing things up, for the most part things were good.

But…  I don’t know, maybe we just drifted or something. I had different ideas. This was a bike made for short trips. I was longing for something more. I don’t know, maybe it was all stuff that was out of my league, but let’s face it. Bike lust had set in. Somewhere in my mind I thought, if I got lighter, if I did better, I could graduate to a good road bike. And I started flirting. I got an old Schwinn, much like the one I had back in high school and college. I guess it was one of those old flame things. But somehow I knew, it just wasn’t right. But that started something. I learned how to work on bikes. And even though I went back to the Globe, my heart was wandering…

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n there was the Fuji. Oh man it rode nice, for an old beat up thing. I poured countless hours into fixing it up. I even painted it.

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I bought it nice things. Treated it nicely. The Fuji and I were ready to really go places.

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And for awhile, we did. Riding was bliss. We went all over together. But then, little thing were happening. Paint started chipping. A wheel gave out. A derailleur bent. It wasn’t working too well.

And there was old faithful. Even though I wandered, the Globe was still there.

Today, Globe and I went on a 31 mile ride. We looked at gifts together.

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We even checked out Hudson Gardens together.

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And yet.. I’m feeling really guilty. Don’t tell Globe, but…  my heart is still wandering. Truth be told, the Globe just isn’t a Pedal the Plains kind of bike, you know? Twenty miles in and you can just tell. We’re not a fit.

I know, that sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Here this bike has stayed faithful all these years. I keep going back to her – always on the rebound, you know? And all this time, while it’s been taking me all around town, taking me in to work, all this…

I’m planning my next cheat.

In fact, I’ve been cheating more than you might realize. I picked up a Bridgestone. And some other bikes. A LOT of bikes actually, it’s kind of scary. Is this an addiction? But now, I’ve been able to sell them off…

Oh man…  bike trafficking. It just gets worse, doesn’t it?

And all of this, all part of my plot to cheat in a whole new way…

Someday soon, I’ll be introducing you to my new friend.

Just don’t tell the Globe. I still have some riding to do before it’s all said and done.

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Peddling the Plains

I was just getting ready to say long time no write. Then I realized that was the title of my last post. So much for originality.

It’s impossible to cover everything that’s happened, not that there’s been all that much. Okay, so if there hasn’t been that much, why is it impossible?

Because I’m lazy, k? Happy?

Okay, so maybe I’m getting a bit defensive about this long layoff from writing. So let’s just fast forward a bit here, how’s that?

I haven’t run a lick in several months. Okay, a few times running across the street. Ultimately with all the bike tinkering I’ve been doing, it really has me more interested in riding. Then I got a nice little excuse for making the switch when I found I’ve got arthritis in my right ankle – that about knocked me out for a month from doing much of anything.

I went back and read my last post and it was all about the blog shifting to just being about taking control of life. If I haven’t blogged, have I lost control? Maybe. I’m almost done with my degree. My weight is about the same. I HAVE been riding a fair bit, I’ve been working on averaging 10 miles a day and have actually been right on track. And I still have Pedal the Plains on the radar.

In May we went out to Nebraska, and along the way we drove along the route that PTP is taking from Sterling, Colorado to Julesburg. This is definitey rideable. In fact, my wife is thinking of doing this as well. Coming back, we drove another leg of the route, Holyoke to Sterling. I spent a summer in Holyoke many many years ago, I forgot how amazingly flat that section is. Again, very rideable. I can do this.

I went and re-built an old road bike. Not sure yet whether that’s going to work well enough, but it’s been fun. The biggest thing right now is getting enough riding in to get where I can feel comfortable sitting on a bike for several hours a day. So maybe it’s a good exercise to get back into blogging on this all.

Holy cow there are a million directions I can go right now. The nail in the tire. The many bikes. The rides. How excited I am about the route for PTP.

My posts already get too long though, so…  I’ll end it here. For now. Does that mean for another day, another month, or several months? Who knows? No one’s reading this anyway, I’m pretty sure. So for all anyone knows, there could just be crickets chirping away.

Which makes me wonder, if crickets are chirping in the blogosphere but there’s no one there to read the blog, did the crickets really make a figurative noise?

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Long time no blog

I wonder if blog sites like WordPress keep stats on most frequently used titles. If so, this title or something like it has to be pretty high up on the list.

And usually, when someone’s doing a blog similar to this one, when they fall off the face of the blogosphere like this it means one of three things: they’ve lost interest in blogging, they’ve kinda fallen out of their routines that would go with this kind of blog, or they’ve actually fallen off the face of the earth. Well, for me, it was probably more of #2 than anything.

I’ve been working on my Masters degree, and the way classes got scheduled at Concordia where my program is, I had a bunch of my required courses that all bunched together. If I had started 8 weeks earlier, that wouldn’t be a problem, but I didn’t, so it is.

I know, that seems totally unrelated to the paragraph directly above, doesn’t it?

Anyway, I’m getting close to being done. Close enough that my options were either take them all together, or delay my graduation a full year so I could take one course much later than planned. I opted to cram it all in. So essentially that turned into working full time as well as taking what amounts to full time and a half of a class load of graduate work. Translation, I got so zoned in on that, it became a convenient excuse for letting up on the running. Because let’s be honest, it really was an excuse.

Yeah, I was busy. I think busier than I’ve ever been. But it’s still an excuse and I can prove it (though you don’t really need proof, I’m sure as soon as you saw that song and dance about how busy I was you were probably thinking, yeah, that’s an excuse). But you know, during that time I’ve taken up tinkering with old bikes and I’ve given that plenty of time. What that says is, even when you’re really busy, you can always make time for things that are important. Ultimately, I didn’t.

Does that mean that running has dropped in importance? Maybe. Probably. I don’t know. Or maybe I do and just don’t want to admit it? Maybe it’s laziness finally setting in. Maybe it’s that I’ve enjoyed the process and the improvements with running but maybe didn’t enjoy the running as much? I know that at some point, maybe last fall, I started thinking in my mind that after this year, I want to shift gears over to cycling and maybe focus on some longer bike rides, get into touring. Is that wimping out on something like running? I know, you can do both, right? And it’s certainly easier finding places to run than to bike when there’s all this snow on the ground.

So I don’t know, maybe that was the spark. Or the anti-spark. I got more involved in other things, runs through the summer cut down to a couple times a week. Then once a week. So by the time September rolled around with the crazy school schedule, it just made it convenient to quit running.

And along the way, I quit paying attention to diet.

So I’m not running. I’m getting fatter. It makes it a bit difficult to get onto this blog where I was so enthusiastic about running because, well, I’m not any more and I’m not good at faking it. So this long deafening silence. Not that it’s deafening really, it’s more a tree falling in the forest. You know, you quit writing and the few readers you may have had have now moved on to other things.

Which of course means that if I were speaking these words instead of writing, there’d probably be a noticable echo because of no one being there to hear the words, and maybe crickets. Translation: there just may be no one to read this. But that’s okay. It’s good for me to do this all the same.

Somewhere along the line though, I kept thinking about the title of this. Remember the Rain. And that has stuck with me. I’m getting closer to that rainy day and I’ve resolved I’m not going there. It’s not about running. It’s about losing sight. Running was part of the whole process of getting better, but it was just a part. Keeping moving, and eating well… just being healthy. Here’s my opportunity to catch myself before it all goes south.

So I’m back. Not sure what that’s going to look like. Running may or may not be a part of it. I see myself getting into cycling more. I’m having a ball right now messing with old bikes, fixing them up, selling them or parting them out, all along gradually upgrading my own bike. I’m falling in love again with the kind of bikes that were around when I was younger. I have 2 things sitting in the back of my mind that I’d love to do some day. One is to ride Pedal the Plains, a 3 day ride in the eastern plains of Colorado. The other is BRAN – Bike Ride Across Nebraska. That’s one I’ve wanted to do since 1982, which I believe is the first year they had that ride. If I ever had a bucket list, that is one that has always been on it.

Is this going to shift to a cycling blog? Probably not as much as it had been a running blog. It’s more a taking control of life blog. It may become more of a keto/low carb blog. Maybe it’s a keep myself accountable blog, because maybe it’s no coincidence that blogging and losing control on some other things all happened together.

So I feel the need to throw out this disclaimer that I can’t say for sure that I’m going to be better at the blogging. I’ve blogged before. And I’ve lost interest before. So I know myself. And so I’ve thrown out that disclaimer when I’ve been back, and then eventually just fell off the face of the blogosphere.

I can’t do that this time. There’s something symbolic, maybe it’s a discipline thing. I may never have anyone following this blog ever again. That’s okay. This isn’t for followers, it’s a part of the process of that taking care of myself, so I’m blogging for me. If anyone else is still along for the ride, I’ll try to keep it interesting. Fortunately, life always has a way of keeping itself interesting, doesn’t it?

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Plan B Isn’t Always So Bad

This weekend was a mixed bag. Mostly good. Almost overwhelmingly good actually. All weekends should go this nicely. Other than the wistfulness I felt as I saw friends running the Colfax Marathon and Half Marathon. That was part of the four races I was definitely doing even though I scheduled something else for the same day. Which makes me wonder how much of a priority it was, right? And it was an awesome day weather wise.

But I promised myself I’d not beat myself up over that.

All things considered though, I wouldn’t change anything.

What I scheduled was something that, I’m glad I scheduled it. It was a good morning. Decades ago, literally (well, 2 decades anyway) I had pastored a couple of small churches. I figured I was probably done with that for good. There was a stage where I was completely sure I was done with that. But then here I go, enrolling in seminary for awhile, and then shifting into a different masters program all with a view towards going into ministry. A few weeks ago I preached at a church service for the first time in years. It went well, they asked me to fill in again. I took the opportunity in a heartbeat without taking a moment to double check that the race was indeed on a Saturday. It wasn’t. I know I was wondering how well I would feel like standing up there for 20 or 30 minutes after just having run a half marathon. This is all part of what I want to be doing with my life, it’s a step in that direction anyway, so truth be told if I realized the conflict when I agreed to speak, I think I still would have chosen to speak over the half marathon.

Just don’t tell my coach that.

And, when it was all done, I felt good about it. Very good. I felt much more at ease this time, and received some very positive feedback. That meant the world to me.

Though I was still wistful as I started seeing updates from friends as they finished their races.

They did, however, have a 5K as part of the race package that ran on Saturday. I was able to get transferred to that. I could not have been more thrilled with the final result. I not only PR’d, I crushed my PR. (Personal Record for those non runners who are reading. Assuming anyone is reading at all). Three weeks ago I set that PR at the Cherry Creek Sneak. I was pretty tickled at that one, getting it in 41:23. I was wondering if I could get this one in at under 40 minutes.  The 30’s has been this huge milestone for me because I’m past the point of wanting to be able to just run it all. I can do that, I’ve established that. Now I’m getting to where I want to be able to really run it.  To go at a pace that is faster than a brisk walk. Breaking 40 means I’m getting there.

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The weather was perfect. The atmosphere was awesome. There were just under 2,000 runners for the 5K event. Not too bad, even if the 5K does seem kinda like the red headed step child of the marathon. As the race started I settled into a pace that I knew was a little faster than the one I started with the Sneak 3 weeks ago. I was thrilled that I got a 12:45 for my last full mile back then. I had picked up the pace a little more with each mile in that run. I knew that if I was going to break 40, I had to average somewhere close to that 12:45. My goal was to match that 12:45 pace and keep it through the race.

I was a little surprised how well I was able to keep my pace up. I knew I was pressing myself a bit and was pretty sure I would beat my time for the Sneak. But was I going to break 40?

As I got close to the finish line I moved to a spot where there was no one in front of me. If they were taking pictures, I wanted to be where I wasn’t being blocked by anyone. I felt good and I wanted to run in victoriously, hands held high. It was just one of those incredible, emotional feelings that is hard to describe in any other way.

Oh…  yeah, my phone. I started the timer on the Endomondo app as I started – how did I do? I fumbled to pull it out and stop it quickly.

40:20

Okay, I know it took a few seconds to get my phone out. Did it take 20 seconds? I think it did – I’m sure it did. Did it? I was able to find friends from O2EA (Overweight 2 Endurance Athlete – the fitness group that I belong to that did the 90 day challenge I wrote about earlier).

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I commented that I was pretty hopeful that I beat my goal. But I didn’t know.

How was I going to feel it it came in as 40:01. I mean, I’d still be thrilled with that, absolutely overjoyed that I knocked of nearly a minute and a half from my PR. But to come that close?

Now here’s the thing that really tells me the progress I’ve felt. Every 5K I’ve done in years past, after finishing the run and then wandering around the expo, my legs would be toast by the time I got to the car. Rigor mortis is setting in. Getting OUT of the care again? Yeah, that’s kind of slow and painful. But this time, I had more than a mile walk back to my car, and I felt great. I got home, and I felt great. I definitely could tell a difference.

Driving home, my phone chirped. I was sure that was the email. I found the nearest parking lot I could and pulled in so I could look. There it was – the results.

39:11.

I didn’t just beat 40. I crushed it. Okay, 49 seconds isn’t a crush necessarily, but in my eyes, yeah, I crushed it.

Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

Think I was a little happy with that?

So here are my splits from 3 weeks ago and then from Saturday.

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Every mile from Saturday was faster than my best mile from 3 weeks ago.

The part that amazed me though: 12:11? Are you kidding? I know, for some of you, 12:11 is excruciatingly slow. But for me, it wasn’t all that long ago that being able to run at a 12 minute pace for even a few seconds was a huge breakthrough for me. And here I was, sustaining that pace for a whole mile. And then still maintaining a sub 13 after that…  I seriously did not think that was possible.

And now I’m seeing a whole 5K at a sub 12 pace. 37 minutes is my next milestone.

A week from today: Bolder Boulder. 10K. Can I break 80?

 

 

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Brain Farts and Changes of Plans

I have friends and family members who ran the Lincoln Marathon today.  They did the half. For a relatively unknown event, it’s pretty amazing though that it sells out within a matter of hours. I knew people who were staying up New Year’s Eve not for the New Years Eve part but so that they could get their registration in. It looks like it’s a very well run race with a lot of support.

I mean, how often do you get to see this on a race?

Taking Water Service Seriously

This guy’s been volunteering at the race like this for 20 years.

It has me a little wistful. My plan originally was I’d be doing the Colfax half marathon in 2 more weeks. That all has changed because of a little brain fart.

I’ve never done Colfax before. I have no idea why I always had it in my mind that it was a Saturday race. Anyway, one of my big goals for this year was to start preaching again as the opportunity arises if it arises. I’ve been attending a church lately that is in between ministers, so they have been having people fill in. I was excited to get my first opportunity to preach at a church service in several years last month, and they asked me to do it again this month. I committed, figuring I’d be really sore but worse case scenario is I could look hip by sitting on a stool or something like that.

You can guess where this is going. Colfax is on that Sunday.

Another Bull Shannon moment

Another Bull Shannon moment

I’ve trained for Colfax but also made a commitment to fill in for that Sunday and right now, that commitment is the priority for me. So I’m looking for another half to take its place.

The good news is it’s not like there isn’t a long list of halfs going on around here this summer. Right now I’m thinking either Boulder Heart and Soul or the Slacker Half. What I like about the Slacker is it’s all downhill – I could go for that! Boulder is a good one, my wife did that a couple years ago. There’s a couple nice ones in the mountains but wondering about going that much higher in elevation.

But I do find myself thinking maybe I’ll be up late this New Year’s Eve. Might be kinda fun to go home for the marathon next year.

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Graduation

Three years ago I ran my first 5k. 

I had tried picking up running again off and on in the couple of years before but usually ended up shutting down with knee or ankle problems. I decided after having lap band surgery to wait until I had lost enough wait before starting to run. The funny thing is that around the time I was starting the Couch 2 5K, complications meant I had to have the lapband removed and I was back at square one, but I was at a place where I could start running at least.

I did my first Cherry Creek Sneak then. I remember being so amazed I could run that far. They have a 10 mile option and I thought, no way I would ever be able to do that.

The next year I walked it.  The year after that, I alternated running and walking. I started wondering if I totally lost everything I had gained from that run 3 years ago. Then of course, the whole half marathon training that started this blog, and here I am, Cherry Creek Sneak weekend again.

And. It. Was. Awesome.

Okay, weatherwise, not so much. The best thing about the Sneak is the block party afterwards. It was too cold and wet. They always have a lot of people giving out swag and we always get these race bags. This year something has changed with the race. The lead up to it was different – they quit giving out the bags, and even the atomosphere seemed different.  Now that one could very well be weather related.  When it’s cold and raining people tend to hide under awnings until the race starts, then bug out afterwards. 

But running it this year…  was easy. I got my best time. Better yet, every mile improved. Substantially. The first mile was 13:40. I was actually kind of happy with that just as slowly as I’ve been running – but part of that slow start also has to do with as packed as it is it just always starts slow, weaving around people and all. Mile two was 13:15. Nearly a half minute. What amazed me though was mile 3 was 12:45. Almost a full minute off the first mile.

Usually when it’s done, I’m shot for the day. I stumble, I crawl, rigor mortis sets in. 

This year, it was just a 3 mile run. 

JUST.

Three years ago I never would have expected to say that. 

This year I was thinking I should have done the 10 miler. I did the 5k just because it’s become a sort of tradition. And, I wanted to see how I would do.

So to some extent it feels like a graduation of sorts. I’ve gotten to where the 5K is pretty simple. For a guy like me who has been where I have been, that’s huge.  Really huge.

In three weeks, the Colfax half marathon. A week later than that the Boulder Bolder. Not sure that running a 10K a week after a half is a great idea, unless I’m just treating the half as a training run and not a race. So then it’s just a cut back on the long run.  

Hope that’s not a terrible idea. We’ll find out.

Right now I’m just really happy to be at this point where the 5K was…  fairly easily accomplished.  Especially to run it out at the end with a good kick. THAT was an awesome feeling. 

But even though I’ve graduated, I also have to remember what happened in the two years following my first 5K. I don’t want to get back to that.

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