Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Whatever we are working on, mulling over, avoiding, contemplating facing, or rehearsing in our minds becomes literal. It's you and the thing and the thing becomes the hill and there you are — taking it on. There is a certain amount of clarity that oxygen deprivation provides. Couple that with pain and you get the inner hum that becomes white noise and suddenly you can think. 

Kristin Armstrong, Stones, Mile Markers blog, Runner's World.com



I don't know about you, but I tend to be like the Dug, the dog in "Up".  Squirrel! --->  I tend to be thinking about several things while I am attending to one or more task.  Sometimes I go to start something and before I realize it, it is quite a bit later and I didn't get around to starting what I supposed to. Squirrel ---->


I work in the software industry.  It is not unusual to put in late nights.  Most software engineers have terrible memories when they were on a project where you were in the "death march."  The product was nearing a deadline and there was too much left to do.  It was time to put in long hours, little sleep and dinners that consisted of pizza and Coke to keep you going.


A study I read about said that sometimes late night hours were helpful in some cases.  Your reasoning power diminishes, but there reaches a point where your body can only focus on one thing at a time.  It just doesn't have the energy to pay attention to the ... Squirrel ----->.  What you lose in mental capacity is made up somewhat by your focus in on one task at a time.


One thing that I really like about running, is that it puts you into a state where you can't focus on too many things at once.  It takes an effort both mentally and physically to get the run in.  I think that what the quote above is talking about.  When you put the time in to a longer run, a lot of things melt away.  The continual padding of your feet keeping a harmonic time with your breathe can get you into a zone that allows you to focus in on something that your mind thinks is important.  I have a lot of introspective moments when I have been out running.  I have learned a lot about myself in these moments and have also had a few epiphanies where I finally understood something in a new way. 


Lastest Long Run

I have been attending a tech conference in Salt Lake City the latter part of the week.  Salt Lake is about 30 or so miles north of my place and our work was putting on the conference so the cost was minimal for me to attend.  It did make for a challenge to get the workout in before I had to leave.  Saturday, I was supposed to put in a 1X6 mile run.  The goal was to run one mile at marathon race pace and then walk a mile to recover.  Then repeat 5 more times in this case.  I really enjoyed the run.  I had to cut the last mile short since I had to get back and get ready.  I wish I could have gone further I felt so good.  It was the best run I have had in a long time.


A Geeky Conference

This isn't running or weight loss related, but I had a couple of chuckles at the conference.  Usually, if given a choice, men tend to spread out if chairs are close together.  There was a group of young developers who wore the same t-shirts and if they were attending the same class would sit right next to each other.  I don't know why I found it funny but I did.  Here is a picture of three of them.


 Later in the day, as we were headed back to parking, there was a guy sitting at a piano in the back of a truck with his dog sitting on top.  The picture is not that great, but hopefully you get a feel of how it looked to us as we crossed the street.  Fun time had by all!

 What about you?  Does exercise give you the added bonus of contemplation and focus?  Seen anything that made you chuckle just a bit lately?

Hang in there and I will too!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside!

 Long Run

I had to run my long run on Friday as I was busy on Saturday.  More on that later.  It was a "short" long run.  This week I was supposed to put in 6 miles.  One of those miles was to go as hard as I could at a sustained pace.  That is different from running as fast as you can.  One of the criteria was "no puking."  The reason for the fast mile is to give you a feel for how fast you an expect to do other distances including a marathon.  I was able to pull in a 10:17 for the mile.  It is not my fastest mile, not even my fastest 5K rate, but it is where I am.  The projected finish for me is 5h 50 min marathon.  We'll see if that holds up.

Klondike Derby


As I have mentioned before, I am a Scoutmaster.  This weekend was the Klondike Derby for our district.  Several storms have come through the area recently so we had plenty of snow.  We hoped to get up there early enough to find a campsite down low so we wouldn't have to haul our gear to very far.  However, we found out that this year had a new policy where you could come early and get your place staked out.  So we had to all make about three trips up a steep, snowy road to get our gear to from the vehicles.  It was quite the workout.  It was also very cold.  The overnight low was 5 degrees, but we prepared well and everyone got through the night in pretty good shape.  I was glad to be in good enough shape to keep up with everyone and do my fair share on our camp.

Biggest Loser Contest

I have several daughters.  It goes without saying that I have had several experiences as Father of the Bride.  Another daughter recently announced that she is getting married the first part of April.  Another daughter suggested that we hold a Biggest Loser contest to prep for the wedding.  It seems like weddings and losing weight go hand in hand so we will add some incentive to the mix.  I will keep you posted on how the contest is going.

 Hope you are all keeping warmer than a 12 year old first time scout this winter.  Hang in there and I will too!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Going Long

Long Run 

I went on my long run on Saturday.  This really was a long run.  17 miles worth of long!  It was a challenge for many reasons.  The length, even with walk breaks, was really quite far.  Half of it was uphill and it was raining a snowing most of the time.  By the time I was through, I was soaked, tired and cold.  A warm shower never felt so good.  Even though it was so hard and I had to walk quite a bit the last two and a half miles, there was plenty positives to be taken from this run.  The Ogden Marathon is mostly downhill so being able to do this mileage and half of it be uphill gave me a bit of confidence.  I also mentioned a few weeks back that I needed to reach the 17 mile mark in the actual marathon in four and a half hours.  I did it with 2 minutes to spare!  :) Sure I was slow, but I wasn’t racing and the adverse conditions didn’t help improve my pace at all. 

Speaking of adverse conditions, it was good to know that I didn’t let the bad weather get me down either.  Weather conditions in Utah during May can be all over the place, I now know I can make 17 miles in bad conditions.

I Can't
Last week I talked about the limits that we put on ourselves.  I had to deal with the “I can’t” part of me during the run.  Several times in fact.  It was good to not listen to the voice of doubt and just keep going.  That is going to be my biggest obstacle in finishing the marathon. As I have said before, I just need to trust in my training.

Warning! Don't read the next section if you don't want to be grossed out.  After reading Melissa's puke in the backpack and other such stories, I thought I'd share a bit of fun as well.  I was about two and a half miles into my run when I looked down and saw a Pink Nellie.  What is a Pink Nellie you ask?  Almost 50 years ago, I remember sitting in my classroom when a girl named Nellie deposited what looked like an egg salad sandwich on the top of her desk.  I still remember the vivid colors, the putrid smell and the horror that spread through the class.  Those memories came flooding back when I looked down and saw a Nellie just off to my left.  Why pink?  They must of had a slurpee to go along with the sandwich!  Don't say I didn't warn you!  Luckily I was not to far into my run so I averted my own Nellie!

Care to share any Nellie stories?  Feel free to comment!

Hang in there and Nellie and I will too!

Monday, January 16, 2012

I Can't

Last March, I read a post by Big Daddy Diesel how he can get motivated by someone telling him that he can't do something.  I think I have some of that in me as well.  But I think that there is one person that can tell you that you can't do something that has a big effect on you.  That person is you!

When you tell yourself you can't do something.  Like in "I can't do _____ because ______.", we too often listen.  Maybe you've told yourself you can't do something because you are too old, too heavy, too ...., you get the point.  Too often we limit ourselves because we believe what we tell ourselves.  I am not advocating doing something that is unwise or unhealthy for us, but too often the excuses we give ourselves are given too much credibility.

Too old?

Photo by Andrew McClanahan, PhotoRun

Photo by Andrew McClanahan, PhotoRun 

Ed Whitlock finished the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 3:15:51!  He set a record for an 80 year old.  Pretty amazing.

Last year a 100 year old completed a marathon!  Age isn't necessarily a limiter.

Too Tired?

Fibromyalga can cause your muscles and joints extreme pain.  It can keep you up at night dealing with the issues.  Jo Nodell found that exercise helps her.  It may be hard for the first 30 minutes, but by the time she has done an hour, she feels better as she warms up her muscles.  The pain is less severe and her attitude is lifted.  She even walked a half marathon in about three and a ahlf hours!  Not a bad time for walking!


Too Big?

Just watch Biggest Loser to debunk that myth.  It's amazing how people transform in a manner of a few weeks. 

 Bob "Motivating" a Contestant (nbc.com/thebiggestloser)

I'm not advocating that you try to lose 150 lbs in 12 weeks.  I'm not saying it doesn't matter what your doctor says, you should go out and run a marathon.  I'm not telling you to go run some 800 meter intervals.  What I am telling you is to not limit yourself by telling yourself what you can or can't do.  Most times, you don't know until you try (and try and try).

Hang in there and I will too!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reaching for the Stars

Thanks for you many encouraging comments last week.  I have updated the stars and hope to get those blank stars filled in here this year.  I have been bouncing around 100 and 110 lbs lost for the past couple of months.  I have been much better the last couple of weeks eating healthy, but the scale hasn't reflected it yet.

Marathon Training Schedule
Jeff Galloway

I think I have decided on my training schedule for my first marathon in May.  I have heard about Jeff Galloway and started doing a little research about his training methods.   He contends that you can actually improve your times by including walk breaks.  This might work for me because I have a tendency to tank at the end of a race, especially longer distances.

The Long Run
Saturday was a long run and I put this to the test for the second week in a row.  I was able to go fifteen miles.  I was slow, but I don't think I could have done it at all without the walk breaks.  This was quite the jump in weekly miles which has it's risk.  The reason that the mileage was so high is that his training schedule is much longer than the other two I was looking at.  If I was going to do his schedule, this was the mileage I needed to do on Saturday.  I felt that if I could get this long run in without killing myself that I could continue on from here on out with his schedule.   This week backs off the mileage to recover from the run so hopefully I will recover and will be in sync with the rest of the training schedule.

I had my first slip of the winter season.  A few weeks back, I posted pictures of where the Provo Trail was covered with ice.  I should have used my head and realized that the ice was still in the same place.  The deception was when I walked over that part of the trail, there was a layer of snow on top.  I had been running up the canyon in the snow without problems.  Having a false sense of security, I was walking over the before mentioned section when BAM I was down.  I wasn't even half way through my run.  After taking a quick inventory, finding all my parts still in one piece, I continued on.  I am a little sore by my knee where I hit, but nothing that should stop me from training.

Here is a picture from a couple of weeks ago.  The ice was still there but the whole path was covered with snow.
You can see the ice just past the bridge.

I tried to take pictures.  I had my phone with me.  There was a place where I crossed over the river, on a bridge, to a closed off road to avoid the ice on the way back.  It was really pretty because the road was covered with snow and no one had been on the road. It was pretty cold, but I fumbled my phone out, tried to snap a picture and as I did my phone crashed.  I was too cold to stop and wait for the phone to start back up.  I have become disenchanted with my EVO.  It was a great phone at first, but the battery doesn't even last half a day with minimal use and it has become tempermental.  I will have to take my point and shoot with me next time.

I hope you are keeping appropriately busy and healthy this winter.  What have you been doing to keep up your fitness?

Hang in there and I will too.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 - Looking Forward

Like a lot of you,  a new year gets me thinking about what I want to accomplish this year.  We often hear of resolutions, but to me a resolution has to do with something that we are determined to do.  It can have a negative connotation to it.  To me it sounds like something that we think we should be doing and by will power we will get it done.  I can get excited to do something and make a great start at it, but it's easy to start when enthusiasm is high, but when the adrenaline wears off, will power seems to wane.  The concept of  New Years goals seems more on how I am geared.  It is usually something that I want to do and it will help me in some way that I want.  Not just something that I should.  I won't lay out all of my goals here, but here are my health and activity challenges I want to at least start this year.

Seven Peaks Challenge
Mount Nebo (http://utahpictures.com/images/atlanta_salt_lake/smPB190101.jpg)

I live in Utah County.  Most of the population in the county lives in a geographic area called Utah Valley.  It is lined on the east by the Wasatch Range which is part of the Rocky Mountains.  We have a local resort called Seven Peaks.  I have been trying to find out what those seven peaks are that they refer to and finally found out which of the mountains are part of the "seven."  I have written several post about Mount Timpanogos and had my trash kicked by Cascade last year.  I knew that Lone Peak and Mount Nebo had to be part of it as well as Provo Peak.  I just wasn't sure what the last two would be.  I found out that they are Santaquin Peak and Spanish Fork Peak.  Mount Nebo is the highest at 11,928' and Spanish Fork Peak is the lowest at 10,192'.  At first I was going to make it a goal to climb all seven this summer, but I don't want to over reach here.  I have only been to the top of two of these (Timp and Cascade).  They are all a challenge to climb so I get to the top as many as I can this year and hopefully finish up next.

Ogden Marathon

Ogden Marathon
This is the granddaddy of all of my goals. My goal is to continue to train for this marathon to put myself in a position to finish my first marathon.  It still scares me a bit to think that I am already registered.  But with my other races that I have entered, I trusted my training plans and they all got me to the finish line.  I am still trying to decide which of three training plans I will follow.  I am building my base back up, but I need to make a decision soon because some of the marathon training plans kick in in a couple of more weeks.
One more thing about this marathon makes me nervous.  This statement on the website.
For safety reasons, runners that have not entered Ogden Canyon by 11:30am will be required to board the bus and be transported to the finish line - No Exceptions!
But then a quick calculation says that would be a 15.40 min / mile pace.  I would deserve to be taken off the course I guess.  More on my marathon goals and concerns in an upcoming blog.

Earn Those Stars Back (and then some).
I do not want to go back and do this all over again!

Michele left a comment last week that made me realize that my sidebar wasn't accurate any more.  About a year and a half ago, I made it to within 20 lbs of my goal weight.  Many factors including (surprisingly so) training for my first half marathon chipped away at that weight loss.  I need to update those stars by taking a couple away and working to fill them back in.  I will get that done by next week and make some definite plans on how I will get those stars back.  It is really hard for me (and for others I have talked to as well) not to eat more as the miles start increasing.  Sorry about not keeping that up to date.  I will think this through a bit more and post on my plans to make this a highlight this year.

How About You?
I have read some of your goals for this coming year.  Please comment on what some of your plans are for the year.  Let's make 2012 a great one!

Hang in there and I will too!