Closing in on 1,000 Miles

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One of my goals for 2014 was to reach 1,000 miles running for the year. That would equate to 83.33 miles per month. Through the first nine months of 2014, I only eclipsed that mark four times. Not exactly a strong attempt to making my goal. I have had some issues with the heat, sinus infections, apathy, and foot pain.  But these are just excuses, but it has left me where I am today.

Log 1,000 miles in 2014

Log 1,000 miles in 2014

Through the end of September, I had logged 698.11 miles, which left me 301.89 miles short of my goal.  The remaining miles means that I need to run 100.63 miles per month through the rest of the year to hit 1,000. This is a daunting task, for sure, especially without a full marathon training regiment.  It is, however, not even close to an impossible task.

How-I-Met-Your-Mother-Challenge-Accepted

I feel like I am up for the challenge.  I have four half marathons, two ten-mile races, and two 5K’s to finish the year.  My race schedule for the final three months has a total of 78.6 miles, so deducting this distance from my total needed, and I am looking at a shortage of 223.29 miles.  Spread that throughout the rest of the year, and it seems much more manageable.  Already for October, I am at 49.93 miles with a run pending for this evening. If the weather, and my body cooperate, I have a real shot at meeting and even surpassing this goal.

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2014 Running Goals

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2013 was a successful year of running for me.  I achieved multiple goals and pushed myself to new levels.  But more on this in my year-end recap post, which will most likely be published sometime tomorrow.  Today’s post is about the upcoming year and what I hope to accomplish.  I am hoping to continue to build upon my successes in 2013 with my 2014 campaign.  These goals are going to be in addition to my 2014 goal of completing at least one RAK (Random Act of Kindness) per day in 2014.  More about this endeavor here and my progress will be tracked here.  Now onto the goals!

This is my ultimate goal!

This is my ultimate goal!

Run a Marathon.

        This goal will be realized within the first two weeks of the year when I complete the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 12.  This is probably my biggest goal of the year and it will be reached to launch my year of running.  I read somewhere that less than 1% of the population has completed a marathon, so it would be some great company to be associated with.  I am already getting antsy about the race and I am really looking forward to the run.
This is going to take some getting used to.

This is going to take some getting used to.

 

  1. Redeem My Germantown Half Marathon.  I did not complete this race last year due to my peroneal tendonitis and had to walk the 5K instead.  This tends to be a race that several runners PR, but that is not my goal.  Rather, I just want to be able to complete the 13.1 miles that I could not complete last year.

    We shall see!

    We shall see!

  2. Become a Tough Mudder and a Spartan.  I ran the Warrior Dash last year, and I loved it.  I wanted to try some more obstacle races, but none come to Memphis, so there is the added expense of traveling to the race.  I have already scheduled trips to Nashville for Tough Mudder in June and Tampa for the Spartan Sprint in February.  These events seem to be even tougher than the Warrior Dash and will certainly push me further.  Susan is still not convinced that I should run in the Tough Mudder, but the registration has been paid for, so it is all systems go.
  3. Try New Races.  I presently do not have a set number of new races to try, but I already have six new races added to my schedule, with prospects for at least three more new ones.  We will see how this goal progresses, but I imagine being in double digits of new races in 2014.
  4. Run More Half Marathons in 2014 Than My Entire Life Prior.  I have officially completed five half marathons in my running history.  This number could have been seven, but due to injury in March and ice in December, the number remains at five.  I have already scheduled three half marathons with the Germantown Half in March and the Oak Barrel 13.1 and Country Music Half Marathon, both in April.  Also, I will be running the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon again in December and I hope to run the Disneyland Half in August and Greenline Half in October.  We shall see.  There are a few other attractive options as well.

    Log 1,000 miles in 2014

    Log 1,000 miles in 2014

  5. Run At Least 1,000 Miles.  This may be aggressive for the year, but I ran over 800 miles this year, which included an injury that sidelined me for a month and required a slow rehab to get to running again.  The monthly total this goal will require is 83.33 miles.  I was near or above this total in all months except February, March, April, and May, which coincides with my injury.  Spreading out my half marathons will help with my mileage goal as well.
  6. Focus On Cross Training.  I have TRX straps and get the Spartan Race WOD emailed to me so I do not have a real excuse for the lack of cross training that I am doing.  Cross training will aid in my running and overall fitness, therefore it should be higher on my priority list.  Also, with a Warrior Dash, Spartan Race, and Tough Mudder on my agenda, a focus on my fitness besides running is going to be paramount to my success.  I am also thinking about doing CrossFit once the WDW Marathon has been completed.  My uncle-in-law (is this a thing?) does CrossFit and he raves about the benefits.  Of course, most people who do CrossFit talk about it non-stop (like us runners, I suppose) and it seems to be its own culture.
  7. Continue My Race a Month Schedule.  I have loved running a race each month this year, and my current race streak is at 14 months, so continuing this streak will be added to my running goals.  I will probably run less races in 2014 than 2013 since I will be focusing on more substantial races and not incurring the cost of the several smaller races.  I will still run in a few 5K’s, but just not as many as in 2013.  Also, I will do very few, if any virtual races in 2014 this year.  They were a great motivator for me this year, but I do not need them anymore and the whole concept has jumped the shark a little bit.  They help raise money for some great charities, but the market is now saturated and the impact has been diminished.
  8. Complete At Least One Pull Up.  This will go with my focus on cross training, but I have never been able to complete a pull up.  We would have to do pull ups in gym class and football when I was younger, but I could never get my chin over the bar.  My peers would have a good time with the fat kid hanging on the bar, unable to even do one pull up, so for my personal pride, I want to complete at least one unassisted pull up by December 31, 2014.  This is not exactly a running goal, but it is associated with my overall fitness, so I included it.

This is my current slate of running and fitness goals for 2014.  I have scheduled several events already for 2014 and I am looking at multiple others as well.  I am hoping for another successful year in 2014, building upon my knowledge and experiences from this past year.

RAK 365 in 2014

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A blog/site that I visit daily, The Chive, has a thing called RAK (Random Acts of Kindness).  This is not a concept that the site created, but one that it embraces.  It is something that Chivers do for one another as well as other complete strangers.  Reading about the RAK’s are some of the best entries on the site.  Currently, there are two RAK events going on for Chivers to participate.  One is a Secret Santa type event in which you sign up and you are given a random person to buy a gift for.  There is no price limit and you have no control over the person you get and the person you get will probably not have you.  People are starting to get their gifts now, and you can get an idea of the event by checking #RAKit on Twitter and/or Instagram.  The second promotion is the 12 Days of RAKmas in which you do something kind for a stranger each day leading up to Christmas.  It is a simple concept and one that is easy for anyone to participate in.

12 Days of RAKmas

12 Days of RAKmas

During the holiday season, you see tons of stories about people helping each other out and going way above and beyond for one another.  By why restrict this generosity to just this season.  Why not act this way on a Tuesday in May or Thursday in July?  Therefore, I decided to take this idea and take it to another level in 2014.  This year I wanted to run a race each month of the year and try some new events.  I fulfilled both of these goals this year, and I will actually be extending this through the next year, but I wanted a new goal as well.  That is where the RAK concept comes in.  I am going to do at least one RAK a day for all 365 days in 2014.

From January 1 through December 31, 2014, I will be doing one RAK per day, everyday.  It might be as simple as buying a homeless person lunch, donating blood, or leaving $5 taped to the gas pump.  When applicable, a note, card, or the such will be left with the RAK encouraging the recipient to pay it forward.  I will track my progress on this blog, as well as an Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter page to share images and such from the events.  These steps are not to bring attention to myself, but rather to hold some accountability for doing one RAK per day (the blog) and for others to share and join in the kindness (social media sites – sadly, RAK365 is taken).  I will not be doing routine posts about RAK’s, but rather just the page (this is still a primarily a running blog) and maybe on occasional post about a RAK someone else did.  I will post more information as it becomes available.

The hashtag will be #RAK365.

Twitter: @RAK_365

This is what I was RAK'd this year (Susan loves this shirt...)

This is what I was RAK’d this year (Susan loves this shirt…)

My First Half Marathon

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Tonight’s workout was 40 minutes of TRX and stretching, so I thought I would write about my first half marathon.

In the summer of 2011, I was looking for a new fitness goal.  I had already lost over 100 pounds (some of which has been added back) and was getting a little complacent with my workouts, so after some conversations with my future wife and people at my gym, I decided to tackle 13.1.  I decided the St Jude Half Marathon would be great because it was a couple of days before my 30th birthday and was for a great cause.  So I signed up and began to work.  At this point, I had only run two 5K’s, and I wasn’t setting any course records in either one, but 13.1 seemed like a good goal.  I was aided by a training course at my gym and began working towards my goal on August 1.  I ran on Wednesday and Saturday mornings with the crew from the gym, and two other times a week on my own.  My long runs would come each Saturday, and by week two, I was setting new career long runs.  I didn’t have any running gear, was using worn out shoes,  and seriously questioned why I was doing this to myself.  If it wasn’t for the pack at InsideOut Gym, I would not have achieved my goal.  Our coach Jessica gave us a structure to follow, provided hydration and nutrition tips, and pushed us to keep progressing.  By mid October, when we were hitting runs in the double digits, I knew that I could do this.  I revised my goal of just doing the 13.1 to running the entire race without walking at any point and a target time of 2:45.

The first weekend of November, I decided to run in the True Blue 5K, just as I had the year before.  I thought it would be a good gauge of how much I had improved over the previous three months.  In 2010, my time was 36:29; in 2011, it was 27:36.  Finishing with a pace  under 9:00 per mile was quite galvanizing.  The rest of November was spent tapering my miles and trying to insure my legs were fresh for the big day.  Several of our long group runs had taken place on the St Jude course, so I was confident that I knew it well.  I went to the expo on the Thursday prior to the race so I could take it all in before the out of towners came in on Friday.  My future mother-in-law cooked my carb rich dinner.  I went to bed earlier that Friday night than I had my entire adult life, and of course, I couldn’t sleep.  I was too excited, too nervous.  My mind was racing 100 miles per hour.  I finally did doze off and was able to get sufficient rest.

My mom, fiance Susan, her father and her best friend, all met at my house at 6:00 am to head downtown.  Susan’s dad is a retired cop, so parking was no issue.  We met up with the rest of the InsideOut pack at the FedEx Forum and we relaxed before the event.  We headed over to the starting line to find our corrals.  It was at this point that I realized just how many people were running this race.  There was racers, spectators, and volunteers everywhere.  It was nearly impossible to get back to corral 12.  Crowd control is not a strong suit of the St Jude Marathon Weekend.  Once I was there, it was time to wait.  As each wave went, it was closer to realizing my goal.  And then finally, we were off.  It felt good.  And as we rounded the first corner, I noticed several people walking.  After the second turn, more walkers.  We weren’t even a mile in, and I was having to dodge people going on a Sunday stroll.  It was infuriating.  It was fairly clear to me at this point that most people weren’t as rigid about the corral splits as I was.  But, in hindsight, these walkers probably slowed me up enough to keep from using too much energy in the first few miles.  The race started off in the typically chilly December air, but I warmed up rapidly.  The first seven miles were a breeze, but once the race hit Overton Park, I was losing steam, but thankfully there was a water and GU station in the park that helped me maintain.  Then mile 10 and the largest incline of the race happened.  It was at this point when the thought of walking for a minute first entered my brain.  I fought it back by telling myself that I had come too far and only had a 5K left to go.  I forged on.  Each mile felt like two, but I kept plugging away.  And then a saw Autozone Park.  The finish line was within reach.  I had no clue what my time was, but it didn’t matter.  I was going to finish,  it was going to happen.  As a crossed the finish line, I felt pure exuberance.  I did it!  And well under my goal of 2:45.  I couldn’t wait to get my official time.

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Plugging away, with a smile of my face. Maybe I’m a sadist…

I collected my blanket, grabbed a water, and headed up to stadium stairs to get my beer, pizza, bananas, whatever other treats awaited me.  Susan and company greeted me at the top of the stairs.  It was at this point that Susan informed me that I was a freak.  I was confused until she pointed out that they had stalked me most of the race and had gotten several pictures of me.  And I was smiling in every one of them!  Even the ones that I had no clue were being taken.  Later that week when MarathonFoto posted their pics, more smiles.  Maybe I did enjoy running after all!  When I finally saw my official time, was completely floored and excited; my time was 2:16:26!  I was nearly 30 minutes ahead of my goal!  After talking with my friends that also ran the race, I had another shocking revelation, my time was better than every one of my friends!  My first marathon couldn’t have gone any better!

Susan had this made for me as a remembrance of my first half marathon!

Susan had this made for me as a remembrance of my first half marathon!

On December 3, 2011, I could have beaten Mike Tyson in a fight, Michael Jordan in one-on-one, or get the game winning homer off of Mariano Rivera in the World Series, I felt so good.  I know that I wasn’t even close to a course record, but that didn’t matter.  I surpassed my goals and did something that just two years earlier, when I was a 320 mess, was seemingly impossible.  My heart is actually racing just writing about this accomplishment.