living in the now

Still rambling about running. Sometimes other things.

Filtering by Tag: marathon

Ready for a marathon?

Two years ago, I was nearing the end of a great marathon training cycle. Things were going well during a transition back to Richmond with a new job. Looking at three of the four other marathons I've done, I was always in a pretty good place with about a month and a half to go before the race. 

The races, though, all fell a bit flat. Three years ago I was extremely satisfied with my Baltimore Marathon result, but still left something to be desired as I fell off my goal pace. That said, during the training, things were going very well. 

As I look back at 10 years of running -- my first race was 10 years ago this month -- I've been exploring my highs and lows, figuring out what really drives me and what I enjoy doing the most. 

For nearly two years, I've said I was done with marathons for a while. It was a lot of work to pour into training for one day and fall short. It's like saving money for a new toy only to get to the cash register to realize someone stole all your money. 

Many of the moments I've enjoyed with running (especially when training for a marathon) actually haven't been with racing; it's been with the preparation. The summer of 2010 (which ended with an unfortunate injury) was filled with me documenting my training well and going on a journey on Twitter with others. I captured moments like this ...

... and just enjoyed myself and the moments that came with the mileage. 

In the past two months, I have gone from a very nice high with running that lasted about six months to coming back to a low. I got so indecisive with signing up for races that I simply let the opportunity for doing a half marathon this fall come and go. 

I've said before that I have to hit lows to enjoy the highs. I didn't enjoy my high enough earlier this year to build on that momentum. The fact that I realize and understand all this about myself is important. 

It's not too late to end the year on a high note. I have two J&A Races that I will sign up for and discuss in another post. I can easily set realistic PR-type goals to help set the stage for a very wide open 2015.

And that wide open 2015 has to have a marathon in it. I don't know which one yet or what time of the year, nor do I ask for any help in searching for an event. I don't want any influence yet.

The important thing is that I'm mentally ready to train. I have to be physically ready, too. Then I need my brain and body to work together. I just need a little more time to get there ... 


Running in the moment

Carytown 10k bib, Richmond, Va. In the past year and a half, I've had many thoughts about not wanting to do another marathon.

With the exception of the time I was running at Disney in January 2013, I've had no excitement about doing this distance since training ended in fall 2012.

Now that I have climbed my way out of a funk, I understand more and more than my funk lasted for so long because I felt like I should be training for a marathon, or maybe even beyond.

All other runs didn't seem as important without having a goal for 26.2 miles in mind. I got too caught up in other people's emotions and what it was like for them to hit goals for that distance.

I had a hidden secret that I was going to do the Blue Ridge Marathon this year; the reality is just before Shamrock I knew Blue Ridge wouldn't be able to happen. After realizing what I need to do just to perform better at a half, I opted to move along from cramming in more miles and instead focus on another half ... and then eventually knocking out a PR in the half and/or other distances.

While doing several quarter-mile intervals this morning, I realized even more that I'm just not excited about training for a marathon. I'm excited, though, about running faster. Out of nowhere, one of my intervals was in 1:47; they were all under 1:54.

When looking back at 10 years of running, the times I remember the most have been when I've gone for a PR at shorter distances.

Conquering the marathon distance for the first time in 2007 was definitely thrilling; breaking 4 hours in 2011 after an injury was amazing; doing Disney was quite magical; but my overall feeling toward long runs of 2-3 hours and 40-some mile weeks in the middle of summer (or winter) is not a positive one.

My last PR was in a 10K in May 2012, which came at the end of an awesome year-plus span of running. I know that I haven't peaked yet.

It's very possible that I take another 3-year break from the marathon like I did after 2007; the bug may bite me sooner; it may never bite again.

It feels so out of the ordinary and crazy to improve my 5K time and try to get it closer to 21 minutes; I need to find a 10K or two and go for 45 minutes; and, of course, I'd love to read 1:39:59 on a half marathon clock within the next year.

It's time for me to live in the moment and go for other things with running that, at least right now, are more exciting and feel right. Now I just have to figure out what to go for first.

12 things: tagged

The "11 random things" tagging posts have gone crazy. I was tagged 3 times in the first few days of this month, so I'm playing along, sort of. The "rules" are to initially post 11 random things about yourself. I did enough of that last year with my 11 things series. You can go back and read any of those for some very random things about me. Now that I'm doing "12 things" this year, I thought I'd pick a few questions from each person who initially tagged me for this month's 12 things.

From Marathon Brian 1. Which historical figure would you like to have a 2-hour dinner with? For no particular reason, Ronald Reagan.

2. Gatorade or Powerade? Gatorade, although I've gone down the Powerade route before. Post-race, though, I don't care.

3. Would you rather be taller or smarter? If I could keep my current intelligence level, I'd tack on a couple of inches. Perhaps it could have done something for my basketball career.

4. What’s your favorite post-race celebration food? Food? Who needs food when you can drink beer.

From Wild Things Run Free 5. What is your favorite restaurant? When my wife and I first started dating we found this small place in Lynchburg called the Phil-a-Deli. There's really nothing special about it other than the owners got to know us from our frequent visits and their good reubens. These days, we only go there a few times a year simply because it's not as convenient as it once was.

6. If you could go to any one place in the world for a week, all expenses paid where would it be & why? I'd go back to London. I spent a few weeks there in college in the summer of 1999 and greatly appreciated the time there. I think now in my mid-30s I would appreciate it even more. And drink better beer.

7. What is your all time favorite movie? Forrest Gump. And that was true before I was a runner.

8. What is one of your favorite memories? I wish this question was a little more specific, because I have a great memory of various things in my life. Personally, and more recently, the birth of my son is one of those moments that stands out beyond anything else happening in my life.

From Michael Runner 9. If you could be the best in the world at any sport, which sport would you choose and why? Tennis — it's physically and mentally challenging, plus there's a competitive factor that to me is dual. You're not only competing with the person across the court from you, you're also always competing against yourself for personal best performances.

10. Athletically speaking, if you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you would do/buy? I'd hire a professional personal trainer. Having been a part of training groups before, I would love to have a trainer to spend hours with every week to not only make me a better runner, but to also learn what it takes to become a personal trainer.

11. What is your favorite blog post that you have written? My post after my first marathon in 2007. To this day, I still read it every few months to remind myself that no matter where I stand — whether a high point or a low point — that I can do whatever I set my mind to. It was very important to me last year to have that post as I approached marathon No. 3 healthy with thoughts of marathon No. 2 on my mind.

12. If any liquid on earth could be the ultimate recovery drink, what would you want it to be? Magic Hat No. 9.

From 290 to a marathoner: Meet A Healthy Dad

Having gone through a weight-loss journey, I love finding runners who have also lost weight. Sometime in the past year I came across Brandon's blog, A Healthy Dad. In December 2009, Brandon was only 10 pounds away from 300 pounds; on Jan. 1, 2010, he started his blog detailing his journey.

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