It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on here… yep… I’ll get to that.
Let’s start with the reason I’m posting now…..
I’ve had a lot going on since the last post on here. Too many much things to count. Though, I’ve been engulfed in my running life. The issue is, I’ve been standing still. Literally. I haven’t run more than, to “right over there” in well over a month. Probably a little longer actually. I can’t really explain why. I’ve had a lot of these moments getting in the way. Moving, working new hours, different jobs, traveling, being a little out of sorts.
It’s funny because the entire time I’ve been doing this “non running” my life has been still surrounded by runners. I watched a group of runners head out for an Ultra run that my wife and I set up for them. The next day I went out and ran the course, but that was work, not running. I’ve set up a timing rig and timed at least 2 or 3 races with over 500 people each and watched them run across the finish line. I’m not sure when I stopped but I just stopped running.
So, the point. I’ve been still involved, having people ask me how to get faster, or what they should do in certain situations. .I’ve given them all the normal answers, nothing new. Though, I’ve found myself not doing any of the things that I’ve suggested. I started working new hours as a barista at Starbucks in a new store. Going through the normal introductions and things running came up. Someone talked about them running and I mentioned that I do as well. One 5k, led to another and soon enough we were talking about distances, so I said something about 100 miles. They asked me the normal question “ How do you just run for 100 miles?” I told them I just did.. there wasn’t much thought involved in it. I love running and I really enjoyed being out there for the whole time. Then I started talking about the 3 times I did it. I felt myself get amped. I felt like I was talking about something REALLY exciting. I felt like I was an old man reminiscing about high school football days. It kind of hit me that though I’m not an old man, I’ve acted that way. I’ve given up. I’ve let “this life thing” get in the way of my running. That was never the case for me. I was always the person that found time to run, whether it meant getting up and getting out before most people even were close waking up, or running at night after my daughter went to sleep. I was out. I’d hit the streets, the trail, the bridle paths, it didn’t matter. So long as I was out there. I couldn’t NOT run, It was my mediation. My life line. Not only that, but its’ the connection between my wife and I. We sit down at dinner and talk about pace, upcoming races, workouts, ideas, pipe dreams of running the entire AT together.
This realization didn’t come easy. I was out with a few friends and we were standing outside talking. They all were smoking, and I stood there, just talking. The next morning at work, I received a text from my wife. “Are you smoking?” When I read that, I realized that I needed to change. Explanation - I am ok hanging out with people that smoke, I quit almost 6 years ago now. I have no desire to smoke. I used running to get over that urge, that and the fact that I want to run around with my daughter’s kids too. ( She’s only 8 so I have to stay healthy for a while.) So when my wife asked that I realized that I’ve gone far down a path that she would possibly even think that me smoking is a possibility. Now after that night, I said “I’m going to go run tomorrow” Did I? Nope. Why? That damn life thing again. So fine, not a big deal, I’ll go the next day. Nope, Soon it was a week. It’s just rough those first steps are the hardest. especially because I’m in a new town now. So whereas You’d think I’d want to go out and explorer, I’m really far away from trails. So the normal, hit the road and go run this 4 mile loop because you need to run, isn’t as easy. It’ should be and that’s a crappy excuse.
Ok so enough negative nancy…this is why I’m here.
I love my friends. ALL of you. Seriously. Yesterday I was asked to go out and run an 8 ish mile loop to scope out a course for a local 15k. I went with a friend named David. He prefaced the run with the normal stuff I hear “ I know I”m a lot slower than you, I’m sorry” I’ve written about how I just love to run, and don’t care about pace when running with others. I explained how it’s been a while. Still throughout the run on this beautiful trail that I had NO idea was even there ( only about 15 miins away from my new place, David kept apologizing for “slowing me down.” Little did he know. Perhaps the reason, he was going so slow, is because he was pulling me. It was the first time I’d been out in a long time and it was because of him I was out there. I loved it. It was a cold snowy morning, my legs thanked me over and over and over, my lungs snapped back to using air as a machine, rather than just opening and closing to keep me alive. My brain shut off, my eyes were able to adjust to their normal use, not their over stimulated by LCD screen, mode. It was wonderful. Then I came home and read blogs from all of my facebook friends. Reading about people who just ran their first 50mile, or people who just finished up running around a 1 mile loop for 24 hours. I looked at their pictures and it was wonderful.
And finally.... Hopefully I'll be able to continue my runs and enjoying myself while I'm out there. So thank you David, and I'm sorry for slowing YOU down. Thank you to those that let me read your runs. Thank you to all of you who have connected with me someway over the past few years. A piece of parting advice... Never ever turn down a run with someone. No matter how slow or fast you think they are.
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on here… yep… I’ll get to that.
OK, so everyone wants to help right? I've heard that the thing that people could use the most right now is $ Money $ .. I've offered my home, electric, phone and time... I now am going to do the only thing I'm good at... RUN
I'd like to run from Thursday morning at 12am to Friday at 12am,
that's 24 hours, around a track.
Here's where to check it out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/293562854077436/
Here's a way to donate http://runningincircles.eventbrite.com/
Hopefully this will draw some attention and raise a little bit of cash. The money raised will go straight to RedCross ( unless someone else comes up with a better idea) I want to help Long Islanders before Thanksgiving.
Also, while we're there... you can come hang out, run with me, more imporatantly you can bring food, clothes or anything else that people will need.
Please join the event... I'll send out a message on where to donate shortly. .
If you know a track.. let me know know please!
I never really write reviews. I have a ton of opinions on all sorts of things. Though I figured I’d throw my two cents in on this product, because I can’t find a lot of real reviews on it.
The Nathan Minimist Vest.
Let me start this off by saying I’ve never run with a vest on. So this won’t really be a comparitive to other ones. It’s really just a read on what I thought about it.
I had a 100 coming up and have always seen people wear the Nathan -28 vest. They’ve got everything they need on it. It looks awesome. Pockets for everything. My main draw to this, is that there is plenty of room for gels and then trash from the gels. While working a few AID stations before, I’ve seen people come through and just dump their wrappers. I’ve found ways to make it from point A - Point B without NEEDING one, but I was doing a 100 so I figured the less time at an aid the better.
While looking around I found The Nathan Minimist.
It’s pretty similar to the HPL #028. The pockets seem a little smaller. There are 2 pretty big pockets. Not as large as the ones on the but they’re pretty stuffable. The one smaller one, is great for something little like pills.
The nice thing about this is that I really wanted to try out the vest, but I also like to go on longer runs that a bladder would come in handy for. So you can totally use it either way.
The Nathan Minimist comes with a 1.5 liter bladder that is great for just that. With the water on most courses I can see the bladder being used for just little sips here and there. I was able to make mine last over 30 miles that way. It was a nice reassurance to have it there.
The back pocket that holds the bladder is pretty open. I was able to stuff two bars in it while on a long solo run. I also was able to take off my jacket and tuck in under the back straps after it got too hot. I barely even noticed it was there.
So think this way - The Nathan Minimist is pretty much the HPL #028 with smaller pockets and a light bladder, that you can totally remove and just use as a vest.
So I took this entire week off... There I said it. I’m guilty I did a big fat load of NOTHING this whole week, running wise. Ok that’s not entirely true. I ran about 4 miles Friday. That was different though, it wasn’t a run to run, it was run because I really really really really wanted to. Don’t get me wrong. I always want to run. Somedays, yeah, I look at the door and have to talk myself into it. Somedays I have to walk in the door from work and immediately throw on my running shorts. This way I feel like a loser if I take them off. To be honest it’s kind of a funny sight.. me in my running shorts and shirt and tie from work still.
After last weekend, I decided to treat myself. Most of my days kinda look like this...
1- wake up - am i running before work? yes - ugh.. ok.. let’s get up. Wait, how about just 5 more minutes of sleep, if I sleep 5 mins I’ll just have to run harder to get home in time. If i actually get up and run skip 2 if not continue reading
2 - Shit didn’t get up, ok ok .. not a big deal, I’ll work out a little before work. Do some planks, push ups, and some other core things, maybe a little stretching too.
3 - breakfast - depending on if I did or did not run that morning, my breakfast is lighter or heavier. Still nothing huge ever, usually just an egg or two or oatmeal.
4 - work - did I run this weekend? yes, drink tons of water.. no? drink ½ ton of water. get up as much as I can, stand up while talking to people, try to stand on my toes as much as i can, try to do some more core work by lifting my legs while seated., rub calves, feet, ITbands, thighs. Repeat. Text Nichole, plan evening run.
5 - lunch - go out and walk around after eating light lunch.
6 - repeat 4
7 - leave work - go home change, or go to place I’m going to run, shake off something stupid at work. Try to get happy. Run.
8 - go home - shower, eat dinner, if I just ran try to keep it light because it’s most likely 8 or 9 at night.
So that’s about it. What I’m getting at is, I”m always conscious of what I’m doing running wise. What I just did, or what I’m going to do. Snacks, food, everything. I’m always thinking about a run. I love it. Though sometimes it takes a toll. It feels like it’s all I think about. It’s ok, I love it, and Nichole loves it, so it’s great it’s something that we can have engulf us. I just kind of felt it was important to take this week off, and treat myself. I didn’t think about a run once. IF I wanted to at that moment. I did, if I didn’t. I decided NOT to give myself any shit over it. I ate what I wanted to (within reason of course) I had a few cookies that I normally wouldn’t have. I ate at Blimpies - I NEVER do that.
Part of me did this because I needed to take off, I planned on doing this last year after Virgil but that didn’t pan out to well. It didn’t the year before, when I attempted my first 50, either. So, now that I reached a major milestone in my running. I sat down. I stopped thinking and I basked a little in the glory of accomplishment. I also wanted to give myself a hearty “good job” and positive reinforcement. I have a knack for kicking my own ass. It works really well, in my opinion. I’ve done some pretty hard shit in my life, with little outside help. I’ve never given myself a round of applause before, I’ve always got something to say. This time, I just let it all settle.
I write this because today is the last day of it. Tonight will be a week from my finish, and tomorrow Nichole and I are heading out for a nice long run in the trail. Just going out to have some fun, no speed, no distance, just going to have some fun. So I’m done celebrating for now. That is until that belt buckle comes. I will be wearing all day the day it arrives!
An object in motion tends to stay in motion..... theory confirmed!
So I set out in the morning on 3/24 for my second attempt to run 100 miles, this time at the NJ Ultra Festival. That being said.. let’s get me there.
After getting chewed up and spit out for a second time over at Virgil Crest Ultra for my first 100 attempt, I knew I needed to get myself a 100 mile finish. I needed a belt buckle. So when Nichole ( my fiance) and I saw the NJ Ultra Series, checked our schedule.and decided it was a great race to go after. I knew it being 10 loops would be mentally tough, but I’ve done a bunch of loops before, and what the hell.. a challenge is a challenge right? So it’s settled.
Now, most of the time I’m all about making yourself uncomfortable when you run. Trying to push your own personal limits. I do things like take 2 less gels than I need while I'm out on a run. Or give myself just a little bit less of water than I thought I’d need. Even wearing different things sometimes. Just so I’m clear here... it is because I don’t like being surprised. I don’t want to get to a race and be running and spill my bottle and be without it for a few miles. Or if I get to an aid station and they have food, or gels I’m not used to. I also do it to provide myself some testing so I can figure out what I like. That being said.. let’s go back to last week. 7 days before race day
I got new shoes. Everyone is always saying that it’s a bad idea to use new things on race day, yadda yadda. Now I’m not saying that they’re not right. I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone, but my MT101s were done, like REALLY done, and I couldn’t find them anywhere. So I went with the new versions. MT110s, They’re different, you can feel it the second I got them on. In the 20 miles or so I put on them before the race, I still couldn’t get the laces right. Eh, what are you going to do right? We’ll it’s a 10 loop course, worst case I go 10 miles in shoes that suck and throw on a different pair I have a few. “Bring em all” I said!
Two days before the race - I got a Nathan Running Vest with a bladder. Never have I run with one of these. Never struck me as something I’d like. Though I read this review on a new one, the Nathan Minimist. It’s like a vest, well it IS a vest but the pocket in the back is just enough for a bladder to hold your water. So my theory here was, again worst case 10 miles, leave the bladder if the vest works, or take the whole damn thing off and use the trusty hand held. I did go out on a 5 mile run to get the fit right with a full bladder.
I’m not done.
So, I’m going to keep this part pretty censored, but I’ve had some pretty serious chafing issues in some pretty sensitive areas on long runs lately. I think it’s due to my shorts being worn out. So, I needed a pair of spandex shorts ( men say compression shorts, but it’s bullshit.) So I went out the day before the race and bought a pair. I tried them on when I got home and threw them in my bag. That was that. Again, 10 miles is the longest I’d have to travel.
Last but not least. I wear my bib on my shorts pretty much all the time now. I have a thing with shirts. They either come off, get used for other purposes in the woods, get changed, or something silly. So a couple of days before the race. I get an email from the RD stating the following in it. “
“Bib: You will receive a bib at registration. It will have a chip on the backside.
For the chip to read accurately you need to wear the chip dead center on your front.
DO NOT bend, fold, or crush the bib. Do not place it on your hip, thigh, back,
head, shoe or any other location. The RFID reader will be over head and will be
positioned to read your bib from your chest. It does not matter if you wear a sweat
shirt or jacket over your bib, if you are wearing your number correctly.”
So let’s recap.. I’ve got shoes, that I only wore for a few miles and have had for a week. A running vest that I’ve only ran 6 miles in, shorts I’ve never worn for a run, and NOW I can’t pin my damn bib on my shorts! Didn’t they know it was supposed to rain all afternoon and night?
Luckily, somehow somewhere I was able to throw all of this in the back of my mind. I didn’t even care about it honestly. I needed this. I was determined to go out there and just do it. Period. I’d find a way to work it all out. I had to. I’d be out there for hours. I really didn’t have a choice.
I’m skipping the night before, because it’s a lot like other ultras. Got there, picked up the bib. Ate and headed to the tent for some joke of an amount of sleep before the run. This was nice though, because the McNulty’s offered a pre-race dinner option. Think backyard BBQ, with a good chunk of the people you’re about to spend a day passing back and forth on a trail.
Rick McNulty’s pre-race talks seem to have a very similar pattern to them. “This is the course” “This is how you’ll know you’re on course” “Have fun” And his daughter, Anya, chimed in with a true pearl of wisdom “Don’t follow the person in front of you, they don’t know where they’re going” Then a nice count down. I got my good luck kiss from Nichole, tied my shoe and I was off.
I could tell you that the first few laps were a blur. They’re not at all. I, as I sit and write this, could tell you just about everything that happened over the next 20 hours 20 minutes and 55 seconds. I loved every single second of it.
The course was beautiful. It started with a long stretch of pavement to get out of the fairgrounds and into this nice little out and back section of trail. Nothing too crazy, but I ended up behind a runner I’ve run with before, Jim. One of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He’s the one that on my first attempt at 50 miles, assured me that there was hot soup at the next aid station. I would have hugged him for just telling me it was there. At Virgil Crest last year, I spent a good time with him talking and trying to make it through the mountains. Just a great guy, greats every new runner he sees with “What’s your name and where ya comin from?” All day long I saw him talking to someone new, and always with a smile. I think I’ve heard someone refer to him as Gentleman Jim ( I might be wrong)
In a little bit you came to a fence that you had to touch as Rick put in the beginning “This is about personal accomplishment, you don’t HAVE to touch it, but that’s the course” When I got there I knocked it with my knuckle and said out loud “ONE” Turned around and headed back. When you got back to where you came into the trail you crossed a little overpass and headed out onto another trail. It was pretty similar to the other one, no real big scenery changes. There was one spot that had a big field with some cows. I got to see a mother out walking her calf. Kinda made me want to stop and take it in, but I was there to run. This trail though had some cool river bridges. They looked like they were there forever. Plywood was put over them for the race so we could get over them safely and fast, but they were still pretty iffy.
After running a bit you hit this pretty wide open area that looked like it would be a great run, in the summer. Due to the season and it not really being too dry there was thick mud. It was easy enough to go around, but the second I ran through it, my first thought was “Shit, it’s going to rain all day” I immediately started thinking about how many of these laps I could get done before 3pm when it was supposed to rain.
After a few of those bridges, a cool stream, that you had to step on rocks to cross, some more of that thick mud, you hit the turn-around aid station. Very nice and well stocked as always. You headed back and then came to the same entrance way. By this time the “self serve” water station was up and running. Pretty much just a few gallons of water sitting there with some plastic tables and some cups. Passing this station by and then heading up for a run around the fairgrounds was cool. You got back on a little bit of pavement for a hill and then through a meadow, with a couple (seriously only one or two) little rolling hills that reminded me of a cross country course.
For the lap finish, you ran through where people had their tents set up and right through a huge garage that was the dry staging area, under the timer and right out to the aid station. As the day progressed and people started to finish this was especially cool, because I was able to see people walking away in their cool green fleece with the NJ Trail Series logo on it and their finishers medal. They’d walk limping to the car, after running 26.2m, 50m, or 100k and still would clap as a runner ran by. No matter what “Looking great” “Still looking strong” “You got this” “Great Job” or something to that effect came out as a runner passed.
Eventually the night wore on and people started to fade away, a packed parking lot grew thin and it was just the 100 milers out there. It was dark and lonely. I almost felt the last 100k finish. I KNOW I felt the last of the 50 milers cross the line. There was just a sense, that the field was now less.
I kept going, on my last lap, I just couldn’t run too much anymore. I had 90 miles in. I was so close to being able to come in sub 20 hours, but it just wasn’t in the cards. I came to the fence and finally after all day of counting, hit it with my knuckle so I heard that metal noise one last time and said out loud “TEN!” One of the other runners heard me and said “That’s gotta feel good” My feet didn’t really move until I passed the little water station, about 6 miles later, for the last time. Then I was able to run. By the time I made it into the finish it was all surreal. Here I was out there for over 20 hours doing something I love. Having a fanastic time. It was perfect. Got a high five from a guy that was wearing a Virgil Crest shirt and ran near me a lot through the race. (yeah I kinda took it as little bit out of context but for a minute, he was that mountain giving me a little well deserved respect.) I got my handshake and congratulations from Rick. And I took a fucking seat. As far as my shoes, vest, spanex and bib worries. None of them even phased me. I had such a great time out there I didn't even think of it. The rain held up except for a few showers. Not really even a need to wear a jacket. It was truly a great day to run. Later in the night the wind picked up and the people finishing over 24 hours needed a bit more protection.
Now that’s the run, that was it. There really wasn’t a lot to it more than me just running for 20 hours 20 minutes and 55 seconds. But there was a LOT more to it. Not just for me. For everyone that was out there. See, there’s this thing.. I say it all the time, there is small group of nuts that go out every weekend and run for really long distances. They’re growing, but it’s not a large number. A race like NJ Ultrafest, gives you a chance to get to know a LOT of them. Being an out and back course, you get to pass people on coming so much that you smile and say “Good job” or “Looking great” to so many of them, that you feel like you know them. I was able to see people I’ve seen at other races again. There was the guy wearing the Virgil Crest shirt ( later found out his name was Jason), there was Jim, there was Johnny ( he was at the AID station giving people a great smile and pep talk on their way out) There was the girl that had two giant buns on the top of her head. There was Matt and his friend he was waiting for. There was Chris and Joseph ( a couple that ran that day in different races, but I’ve seen Joseph crew for Chris before) There was Jessi Kennedy, a staple in the north east running community. There was Zsuzsanna, the first place female. There was Yuki ( a guy I met only a month ago while volunteering at Febapple 50K whose smile was awesome at mile 60) There was my fiance, Nichole out there running 50 miles. Seeing her at different points on the trail was awesome too. At one point I just ran up to her gave her a big kiss and kept going. No talking to reason, just a kiss and an “I love you.” There were so many more. Even the self serve aid station, became manned. At one point it was one or a few of the McNulty kids, at another it was a self proclaimed “old goat” who adopted it because he was just impressed with the raw emotion of people running at 2:30 am. Even a random crossing along the course became a cool spot. At some point during the day someone sat there with a guitar playing “Alive” by Pearl Jam while others helped cheer people on.
There was not only a pre race dinner option but a post race breakfast.Most of us inside a warm room for the first time since the Friday. Rick's sister noticed the last runner coming in. As she got closer, we all went outside to cheer her in. All of us standing there clapping whistling for her. She was out there for well over 26 hours at this point. Smiling. Determined and almost done. She finished. She did the same thing we all did. There is something about a race like NJ Ultra Festival, maybe it’s the multiple out and backs that you end up seeing so many faces you feel like you know everyone. Maybe it’s the fact that there aren’t many ultras in the northeast, that you really do know everyone. Maybe it’s the fact that a true close family like the McNulty’s put on the race, and that feeling trickles all the way out on the course. Either way, the Ultra Festival is something worth arriving early for, running, and staying until the last runner comes in.
Most of the time I write about my running. I'd like to share an experience about
I'm a father of a beautiful little 6 year old, that if my heart had it's way I would wrap in bubble wrap and make sure nothing ever happened to her. I know in my brain that she needs to get hurt, she needs to scrape knees. She's going to get her heartbroken. She will have a friend betray her at some point. We all do it's life. It sucks, but the parts that suck make the parts that are worth living, that much more beautiful and worth it. It's hard to remember that sometimes as parent. It's hard toremember that when you see anyone do something that you know exactly how it's going to turn out.
This weekend I spent 3 hours walking 4 miles with her in the trails. Each hill we saw she wanted to run up. If it looked to be unrunnable, she ran faster. She did the same with the down hills. I saw her little feet bouncing off roots and rocks. I was worried the entire time she was going to get hurt. Sometimes I even asked her to slow down, (having faceplanted a few times on those very roots and rocks). One point she looked at a hill that didn't even have a real good trail on it and asked if we could go down it. It was steep and she was sure to fall. I found myself trying to hold her hand and hold on to a shrub and make sure she didn't fall. I didn't really have a chance. She took off, went full steam down the hill and assured me "it's ok Daddy, I'm ok" Now it didn't really settle in with me until today when I was reading a post on the ultra list. It was just about not coddling people all the time. Yeah I took it way out of context and had this whole inner revelation about my kid and my life. It was just a big thought for me. Later that night, I watched her crawl into bed, gave her a kiss and my normal good night of "Dream well" and she looked at me and told me how much fun she had. She was out in minutes.
Most of this comes back to life in general, running, hiking, parenting, etc. You can't protect everyone from getting hurt all the time. Just because something shitty happens doesn't mean that it was a bad thing. Look at it this way. Say she gets picked on in school by a mean kid. A few things can happen, .
1- she can learn to stand up for herself to that kid, the outcome is positive so she enforces that action in her head, and nurtures that skill into who she is later in life and becomes a powerful woman who stands up for herself and becomes an influential person in many lives.
2- she backs down, gets upset goes home and figures a way to release her stres, dance, music, writing, building something, thinking, studying, something.. anything. Then that skill is brought into light and because it's become a passion and she uses it, and it becomes her life.
3- she backs down, she hurts from it, and she says she will NOT let that happen again. Next time she figures it out.
I'm sure there are TONS more ways this can pan out... All I mean is that if someone goes through a little pain in life, they can learn a lot. Both about themselves and about their life.
So I guess what I figured out is if, I make her too cautious, because I'm scared of what she's about to face, she may never climb it. If she never climbs it, she'll never reach the top. If she never reaches the top, she'll never see the view. And who am I to take that view away from her.
So there seems to be this trending pattern with people I meet/ talk to/ read about in the Ultra community. There is a drive, a passion, a serious grit that goes deeper than just heading out on a trail and staring at the 1000ft climb they just made saying “Let’s do that again!”
I’ve noticed a lot about them (us) - There’s always a facebook page, or a blog, or some sort of daily log. They obsess over maps, trails, times, nutrition, packs, gear, races, training logs. I’ve found that there are email logs that go back and forth literally ALL day long that is about 100% ultra talk and is THE source to go to if you’re looking to get massive amounts of information. Ultra websites are often bland, and plain and boring but seriously effective. Blogs have data, about trails that mark elevation, mileage, animal sightings, pictures, it’s great. People know more about what other runners eat and wear than, I know for anyone I’ve ever actually met.
So here’s this trend. It’s not real secret that Ultra running and Addiction are pretty close cousins. Addicts come off a weird strange path at some points in their recovery. It’s not easy having a life that revolves around this “outcasted” and “taboo” thing that you can’t stop thinking about, and that no one in their right mind really cares about, or gets you at all for doing. Not to say that doing drugs to the point of life consumption is a good thing, but there are certain demons that chase you while you there, that if you can tame and control, you can use in a pretty damn positive way.
There’s the mental aspect of it. The chasing, finding races, studying maps and all that getting really into it. Some people spend hours, researching shoes, clothes, reading emails and details about everything that has to do with their next run.
Though to me, the part that I really enjoy is the search for something more. The part of me that says “yep, I just ran 50 miles... I wonder what 51 feels like?” The part of me that looks at a hill at the bottom and says “how fast can I make it to the top?” The part of me that comes off running more miles in 3 days than an average week, and still shows up to practice and pushes hard, chasing people who had off the day before like I should be able to get them. It’s not about speed, it’s not about distance, it’s about grabbing your skirt, hiking it up, and hauling ass. It’s about lifting your leg up ONE more time, then trying to do it again. It’s about feeling like you’re going to puke at the end of sprint, and then trying to beat your time on the next one.
Addiction is not only mental, but physical. There is the endorphin part of it too. If you’re out for a long run, and start to feel that beat down crappy feeling about just stopping and not wanting to go anymore, and then, you go past it. Well, there you find something that’s pretty intense. It’s a high like no other. The chemical high is amazing, its’ a rush, a full body wave that begins to make you feel like you can run for years. There is a sense of complete accomplishment, looking at a mile marker that has a number higher than any marker you’ve past.
I guess all I’m trying to say on this incredibly long rambling of a post is.... sometimes you can learn a lot from a pretty negative experience and use what you’ve learned in a very positive way. And most people who suffer from addiction at some point in their life, are pretty cool people. When the lucky few that get out are able to tame those demons, they can ride them to some pretty cool places.
Here’s some medical proofiness .. http://www.greatist.com/fitness/can-exercise-help-treat-addiction-22212/
So, I love to run. I absolutely enjoy heading out on a trail.. such as the one pictured above.. and being out there for hours. It's the one place I can clear my mind. It's the one place I can just let my mind wander, through it's ideas and thoughts. I can have a very serious issue that I need to work out, and I can run until it's figured out. I run to relieve stress. In the summer I run to get tan, and get a workout in at the same time. I run to feel fit. I run to enjoy time with Nichole. I run, because I just flat out enjoy it. There is only ONE thing I cannot stand about running - - - - - People that think too damn much.
Now hear me out. I love running with other people. I love ultra running for that reason. You get to talk with the person next to you and get to know about their life, really know who they are. Why? Because there is a certain amount of comradery while you're heading up a hill. Yeah there is the competition but it's different than other kinds of running events. The first real ultra I did, I was out there bonking hard and someone handed me a gu and asked me if I was alright. At another, one of the aid stations was out of water, so another runner handed me his bottle and told me to take half. You don't get that in a 5k or hell even in a marathon. It just doesn't happen.
So WHO do I hate? The ones that turn it into a competition ALL the time. Don't get me wrong. If I toe up to a line on a 5k and you're trying to get in my way, you're getting an elbow. If we're at the last straight away of a race, you're not getting past me. I promise. It's the people that turn everything into a YOU or ME... it's over thinkers. Just shut up and run.
See I was at a team workout/practice the other day and I encountered two people. One, I ran behind ( I had no idea where I was going, so I followed him instead of making wrong turns) for a 1/2 mile hard street run. The coach wanted to simulate the end of an upcoming 10k. When we finished, he gave me the traditional "fist bump" and said "good run." Then we talked a little and headed over to the track for the second half of the work out. The next part of the workout was hurdles and a 400. We did a ton of hurdles (low ones, think doing, tires on a football team) Then lined up for the 400. I ran pretty fast. At the end of it, I turned around and there was no "Nice run" fist bump. There wasn't even a plain "nice run"
The other person asked me about my running and what I like to do. The second I started mentioning anything about Ultra running all I heard was "I could never" and "You're too fast for me" "you wouldn't wanna run with me" "I'd only slow you down."
The way I see it is we're all runners. Running to me is just about doing better than myself. I want to do the best I can every time. I also want to have fun. To address Mr.SourPuss runners that have people run faster than them. Sir, it will happen. Period. Don't get pissed about it. That doesn't mean they're better than you, just in that moment they're faster. You were taller than me. I didn't get upset about that.
To address all of the Mr. and Mrs. "I can't run that far, I'd only slow you down, you're too fast for me, you wouldn't wanna run with me"
SHUT UP! If someone asks you to get together and run with them, take them up on the offer. It doesn't mean you have to run the WHOLE 15 miles with them. Run 2. Run 4. Meet them at where they're starting go out for a mile with them and then turn around. It's nice to find friends that you can run with and share a common passion with. You don't have to be right next to them the entire time. Who knows, you may be the reason that they get up and hit the trail that morning. YOU may be the reason they get that long run in. Because they have to for the upcoming race, but you gave them a reason to not talk themselves out of it. You might even find a new trail, or a new path. So.. honestly and truly.. if you're a runner. I want to run with you. I want to at least log a mile with everyone I know that runs. So, drop me a line, ask me when I'm going out again. I'll run at YOUR pace for YOUR mileage... and then, I'll do my thing. We both win.
So last night's run was freaking hard for me to get out. I went to the trail and as I got there, I just felt this huge urge to stop, turn around and get back in the car. I try really hard to not do things like that, especially when I just want to quit. Though, this time, I left. I drove home and got pretty pissed at myself.
I got home and wanted to switch shoes, and get in some road running. When I got there I found it REALLY tough to get out. I literally found myself staring at the door and not being able to take that step forward. It was frustrating and tough to deal with. I finally after pacing, going to the bathroom 3 times, making sure I had the right hat, coat, gloves, debating over bringing my water bottle or not.... I made it out the door.
Once I was out I had the same thoughts. "Stop man, just turn around and go back inside" I'm not sure what it was. Why it was. I kept thinking of something Nichole said to me. She threw it all in my face when I said I didn't want to go. Telling me that a race I have planned is going to be dark, it's going to hurt, and there will be times I want to quit.
I had moments of doubt in myself about running, and being able to complete 50/100 miles. I had fears of hitting a hill and stopping. I had thoughts of bonking. I had thoughts of how they all felt in my head, in my heart, on my body.. the times that I've done them all. I have been taking a lot of time off lately and my fears have become pretty overwhelming. This all came to me in the first mile, of what was supposed to be a 10 mile run.
So what did I do? What I always do.. FUCK fear!
I had a fear of being in high places, until I stood ontop of a building and looked down.
I had a fear of the dark, until I turned out all the lights.
I had a fear of being alone, until I told everyone to go away.
I had a fear of failing, until I tried something I didn't know how to do.
I don't like being afraid of something. It occupies me. So, I started to run harder. Then I started thinking about how the races I have coming up are loops. One is a loop course that is 10 times. Two are out and back twice. There is another possibly 10 lap run. So, how do I do that? Run in a circle 10 times? Well, I've done it before, and the best way to get used to something is to do it again. So I made up my mind at around mile 1.5 ( yeah this all happened in 1.5 miles, about 10 mins) I decided to run a local 4 mile loop 3 times. Why? Because some where I need to torture myself.
Running for me, is 10% body and 90% mental. Anyone can get up and run, anyone can run faster than they did a few days ago with practice. Practice is where the 90% comes in. Choosing to eat healthy, instead of stopping at McDonalds. Choosing to go to bed at 9, so you can be up at 5 for a long run, instead of watching that Jersey Shore marathon.
My mind is what needs practice. Winter is hard for me because of the weather, but mostly the dark. So, if you see me running around my block, with a handheld and a headlamp, over and over. You'll know why. Beacause I don't want to be scared.