Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pre-Race Thoughts

So it seems that by this time tomorrow(Sunday) I will have completed my 1st marathon. Hopefully that will be true. The other option will be that I attempted my 1st marathon. As you can see, attempted and completed are not the same thing.

I'm trying to stay positive and I keep reminding myself about all of the training miles and hours I've put into this. But, I'm still hampered by the thoughts that my last 3 weeks of training were not very good and that I've been ill lately. I feel much better now but worry that the loss of energy will hurt me tomorrow.

I have put a lot of pressure on myself to complete this marathon. I have made it, in my mind, into a make or break moment in my life. I have attached extra significance to this race that I should let go of. It's not make or break, it's not do or die, it's just a marathon. It's just me testing myself to see how far I can go. Hopefully, I will go 26.2 miles. Tomorrow is a big day, and I hope to look back on it and gain confidence from the accomplishment, but this is not the defining moment in my life. I am going through that defining moment right now, but this race is not it, just a part of it.

The defining moment is how I choose to live my life everyday, not just marathon day. I choose to live my days the same way I'm going to live tomorrow, living life on my terms, being open and honest, overcoming challenges, persevering, enjoying the moment and looking forward to a bright future that has already begun.

I don't know how tomorrow is going to turn out, I wish I did. But no matter what happens I will end the day knowing that I gave it my all, and really, what more could I do than that?

Check back Sunday night to find out how it turned out. If there is no post then check back on Monday. I'm taking off that day, a present to myself. And thanks to all of you who have been emailing me and texting words of encouragement, y'all rock my socks!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Final word and then running stuff

Just a quick final word about my previous two posts. I meant them both. I nearly deleted them both but this blog really is a chronicle of my life and I don't want to act like that part of my life doesn't exist. But, I won't have much to say about it from here on out. The End.

So, the marathon is Sunday. I gotta tell you, I'm pretty worried at this point. I've put in a lot of training but the last couple weeks haven't been that great. I've really been drained lately. I think I'm gonna try some B-12 supplements this week. I hate to start something new right now but I gotta get some pep in my step.

I'm putting a plan together for my support team. I'm trying to figure out what intervals to space them out at and how to coordinate getting them the stuff that they are going to give me during the race. I'm also a little concerned because the race starts at 7 am. I thought it started at 8. That means I'm gonna need to get up at like 4:30 or so, then drive down, park, figure out how to get my Gatorade and gels to my support peeps, loosen up, and run. If I stay in BR it'll be an hour and 15-30 minute drive, and I guess I'll drive it alone, which means I'll have to drive myself home. I'm sure I'll be able to drive but I know I'm gonna be hurting.

I could stay in Slidell Saturday night, but I don't sleep as well there. But, I could get a ride to the race from my folks. Problem is, I would have to got back to Slidell after the race. In that case I would probably drive back to BR on Monday(yes, I'm taking Monday off). Don't worry I'll get it figured out.

The fact that I feel like I have no energy is what really has me worried though. I'll just have to keep reminding myself to slow down and take it easy. As much as I would love to finish in under 5 hours I see that the biggest goal is just to finish. I can always get better. Right now I just need to finish.

So, now you know my thoughts about the upcoming marathon(this Sunday morning). I know I'll have lots more thoughts on it as it closer. I'm sure I'll have a lengthy post on Friday or Saturday as the nervous energy (or overwhelming fear) builds up.

Stay tuned, I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another milestone day

Hooray for Lily! she ran her 1st 3 mile run today. The 3 of us headed out and I initially planned to just take them for the 1st 2 miles but as it was nice and cool out I thought she would be able to handle it. She did great. She pulls a good bit and is still scared of almost everything but the kid has stamina. When we got back she headed straight to the water bowl and drank half of a full bowl(it's a big bowl). Then, she and Sadie both found comfortable places to lay down and relax. Sadie on the couch, Lily on my bed(her favorite place in the house) .

She must know I'm talking about her because she's trying to climb up on me and lick my face as I'm typing this. What a mess, these dogs are just fuzzy angels I guess(or is it tired angels, I forget the lyrics)

Yes, the angel thing is an inside joke. That one was just for you;)

I'll probably come back later tonight or tomorrow to update you all on my training and how I am doing with things. Take care friends, and please remain prayerful.

Yours truly,
Sadie and Lily's pack leader. AKA- the Alpha Male.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cramping my style

I talk a lot about overcoming barriers in my posts. I know I have many to overcome and I truly look forward to the challenge and am confident that I will overcome those barriers. However, I've got one that is truly owning me right now. It's bringing me down and destroying my life. The cramp that I developed in my left calf at mile 19 on Sundays long run came back today.

I was doing a tempo run(faster pace)today and at mile 4 it reared its ugly head, and man did it hurt. It is super frustrating because I was supposed to be doing 8 miles today. I got through 5 but did not want to risk doing any real harm 2 1/2 weeks before the race.

I don't know what to do about it. Should I run less, stretch more, use Icy-Hot? This is terrible timing.

Keith and Julie, please feel free to give any advice on this matter. You're sort of my marathon advisers.

My biggest worry is that if I don't get this resolved soon that it will be a lingering thought in the back of my head on race day. That could create major problems if i'm thinking about that while running for 5 hours.

This is not what I need right now. I could totally use some type of ego boost right now.

This is totally "cramping" my style

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

3 weeks to 26.2

I figure I should keep you all updated on my marathon training. I have just under 3 weeks left until the big day(Sunday, Feb. 1). Sunday, 2 days ago, I did my final 20 miler of the training regimen. It went very well. I finished it in 4 hours 20 minutes. But, I stopped for about 4 minutes after every five miles to stretch and let the dogs in/out of the house. So, I guess I could cut that down to actually 4 hours and 5 minutes of running.

All was not perfect though, at mile 19 I started having a lot of tightness in my left calf. The cramping was manageable and I finished running 20 but It has me a little concerned as I am not sure if I could have made it to 26 with that pain in my leg, which I am sure would have only gotten worse.

On the other hand, I am optimistic that I will be able to avoid this situation again. I think the cramp was largely due to lack of hydration. I hydrated well on the run but I know that the 2 weeks prior to this run my hydration has been not so good. I think if I get back into good hydration habits from now until the race I will be in good shape.

I am a little concerned about the distance. But, I know that I have been training hard for this and have put in a lot of miles to get me to this point. I know that those miles will get me through the 26.2 on Feb. 1st.

Some people have asked me if I think I can run the whole way or if I am going to walk some. The answer is that I plan to run the whole thing and I hope to do it in under 5 hours. This is a lofty goal for a 1st timer, but I think it is a reasonable goal and one that if I focus and work hard, that I can reach. I can not pretend to know what will happen during the race. I may be out of it by mile 10 or I may finish 20 minutes faster than expected. What I do know is that I have a singular vision to run the entire race and to finish. If it takes more than 5 hours that will be OK. What matters to me most is to overcome the obstacles and to finish what I've started.

I WILL run the entire 26.2.
It WILL hurt, but it WILL be done.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

sometimes I go to far.

Sometimes I say more than I probably should. Sometimes I might push people a little too far or even over the edge. I have done this twice in the last couple weeks.
There is a time and place for everything, but there are somethings that just can't wait.
This past week I was overwhelmed with emotion and felt like I had no where to release it. I felt consumed by my thoughts and feelings and could not focus on anything else. So, when I got the opportunity I unloaded on one of my best friends and think I might have said too much.

But, as I said, I couldn't hold it in anymore. It had to come out. I feel bad for crossing the comfort line but I feel very good for speaking open and honestly about the mistakes I have made and haven't made.

It feels good to be open and honest. Most of you already know that. I have always known that but have struggled with it at times, usually to save myself from embarrassment. I am relearning the old saying that honesty is the best policy.

I have gone too far with lies and I do not like where it has lead me. Though it is hard to face the truth sometimes, and though I know that it will sometimes hurt to say it, and hurt others to hear it, I recognize that that pain passes much faster than the pain of lies and deceit.

Friends, I encourage you to be open and honest with the ones you love.

Billy Joel penned the lyric "Honesty is such a lonely word, but mostly what I need from you". I couldn't agree more. To be honest is very scary when you are admitting to wrong doing and when you know that it will hurt someone. It hurts because you know that you have caused that pain. No one else, just you. The Loneliness that comes from causing pain like that hurts like none other. But I hope we have learned that in honesty that pain and loneliness is temporary. It can also help build a foundation of trust and respect. Nothing is worth more than that. Trust me on that one.

There is no feeling like knowing you have nothing to hide. I wish I would've arrived at this point years ago. I knew it then but still feared the embarrassment that the truth would bring. I don't have that fear today. But I do fear that I pushed a friend that I dearly care about away. I hope I am wrong about that. Sometimes I go too far.

Sometimes I go too far, sometimes I am too open and too honest. I have been guilty of this lately. Though that might cause me some problems I will take it over holding things in and lying any day. No, I'm still not perfect, but I am learning.

Sometimes I go too far.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Measure of Me

I came across a quote today that I had heard before but haven't thought about in a while. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said,

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and conveniences, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

and it seemed to resonate with me today differently than it had in the past. In the past I lived in comfort and convenience, today I feel like I am in the eye of the storm of challenge and controversy. My life has been far from perfect and anyone and everyone who knows me can tell at least one story of a "mistake" I have made. But, I am beginning to realize that my ultimate measurement is is that of a good man. I know that I can not change the way others see and perceive me. I can not change the fact that I have hurt people or let people down in the past. I can change what i do and what I think. I used to look at myself in the mirror and think how imperfect I am, and I am, but now I look in the mirror and see a heart that is sincere about being better everyday, being more caring and compassionate every day, being in tune with the ones I love. Most importantly, I know that I can face and overcome the greatest obstacles and challenges that appear before me.
Though I have not always been, I know and view myself to be an open and honest man. I feel like I have nothing to hide and no reason to hide anything. Yes, I feel shame for things I have done and for hurting people in the past but that is in the past and I have learned that I do not want to live that way or make those mistakes again. I might, but I will try with all my heart not to by keeping myself out of situations that present the opportunities to fall short of my goal.

A little better everyday, that's all I can try to do. I may have set backs along the way, but the goal does not change and neither does my value. some may measure me as a good man. Some may not. I recognize that I have left a lot of room for improvement. I just know that I will try with all the strength I can muster to be better tomorrow than I was today.

This is definitely a time of challenge for me. Sometimes I don't feel up to it, but I will not give up. I can not give up. The prize is just too damn important to me.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

you never forget the first time

Today is a big day in our house. Lily became a runner today. Today was the first time that she got to go for a run with Sadie and I. She did great. She ran 1.5 miles. I'm so proud of her.

Lily came to us in June. My mothers neighbor found her running the streets of New Orleans East, with no apparent home, and brought her to his house. But, He already has 2 full grown German Shepherds and his wife was about to give birth to a baby. The house was to crowded. K and I were staying at my moms house for an extra, unplanned, day. I'm glad we stayed, that's the first time we met Lily.

We wanted a second dog to keep Sadie company while we were gone. We figured it would be a good idea to get one during the summer so she would have plenty of time to get used to us before school started again. And, since we were moving into a bigger house with a huge yard the time just felt right.

The first night we had her we had our doubts. She wouldn't come near us and she wouldn't sleep. Of course not, she was in a strange environment with strange people. After a couple days she started sitting by us on the couch. Now, she tries to lay on me when I'm laying on the bed.

I assume she was about 4 months old when we got her. Now she would be around11 months, I guess. because it's been a little rainy I haven't let them out in the yard as much the last couple days. I could tell she was restless today. So, with a little over a mile left on my 8 mile run I went inside and put their leashes and harnesses on. I knew Sadie would run with me but wasn't sure about Lily. For the most part she did what Sadie did. It was the first time she ran with me and she did great.

She is still a nervous dog, and very shy, but she is a lot like me, getting better all the time. It has been great to watch her come out of her shell. Like her mom, K, she has a wonderful personality and it makes me happy to see it come out.

Lily is a great dog, in fact, she's an angel and I am so proud of her. I am proud of Lily and Sadie, and of their lady who brought them into my life.

Congratulations Lily, I look forward to many more of your firsts, and many more runs with you.