Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mountain Laurels Blooming

I left for work a few mornings ago, and noticed that the mountain laurels were blooming. Mountain Laurels only bloom once a year, and the blooms are beautiful. I wrote a few lines, I hope that you will enjoy.

Mountain Laurels Blooming:

The dew fell on the mountain laurel blooms

Flowers glistening, purple hue
A blanket spread in the meadow there
Heather blooming, we had no care
Could we know, sun low
Whether love wither, love grow

Thrice loved, Twice hated
Time passed, love abated
Apart together we travel
Till judge rings the gavel
When mountain laurels bloom

Friday, February 20, 2009

Down Time?

I have been taking it easy this week. My knees have been bothering me, probably because I have been hitting it pretty hard on the running side. Additionally, I have a piece of bone broken on my index toe on my right foot so I talked it over with my coach and I have decided to take about 4 weeks or so off from running. I am supposed to be doing core work, but so far I haven't done any of that.

I have, however, done something. On Monday and Tuesday I didn't do didley squat. But on Wednesday and today I did some work with my Indian Clubs and Bulgarian Bag and also did kettlebell military presses. I did end up going to kung fu today which was nice. I had to take it a little easy, because of the toe, but no problem. I went through the forms slow, which makes them a little harder to remember and worked on getting low in my stances which helps the flexibility.

I ended up buying more workout equipment online a pair of 5lbs and 8lbs Indian clubs and a set of kettlebells 35lbs, 53lbs and 70lbs. I now have a pair of 35lbs bells, but will probably let one of my good friends use the 35lbs extra one I have so he can start using kettlebells. Once my new Indian clubs come in, I will let him use the 1 and 2 lbs clubs I have also.
Here is the link to the place where I ordered the Indian clubs:

I have also been reading a book called The Naked Warrior by Pavel. Its about strength secrets using bodyweight exercises. Here is the link if you are interested:

I bought a book today at the Shaolin-do school where I take kung-fu and tai-chi called Secrets from the Temple. It's a book which talks about the history of Shaolin kung-fu and has an indepth section on meditative breathing. It's actually pretty good. Here is the book on Amazon if your are interested:

The plan for this weekend and next week is do work on my kung fu and tai chi forms daily, hit yoga once a day, do medicine ball, indian club, and kettlebell work each day and lastly start working on some freakin core work. hahah

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hello Kitty, Rules!

You can thank Dan-O for the title.

I ran the Austin Marathon today and finished somewhere around 4:20. Not as fast as I would like, but the right speed for the type of training I have been doing over the past 6 months.

I must say that I was elated at almost every turn of the race. I saw people from HCTR all over the course cheering folks along as we went by. For the sake of accidentally leaving someone out I won't name names, but I do want to thank Gabe A. About mile 20 Gabe was there with some Shiner Bock and it just so happened that about that time I was needing a drink of beer or ,in my case, a half a beer. Thanks Gabe.

HCTR is a group, if you are in the Austin area, you must be a part of. Everyone of these guys and gals are number one. Great character. Positive enthusiasim.

As far as the race, I had a great time. I really tried to run this race better than I have run any of my previous marathons. I always get caught up in the event and run poorly on the back 13.
Not this time.

I ran with my friend Erin from the Schertz Ladies Running Club. We started the first two miles with another friend of my Jenn who was running the half at about a 10:20 pace. This was good because we did not waste alot of energy running around folks and got a chance to get warmed up. At about mile 6 I thought it would be funny to yell out, "Hello Kitty, Rules!" At the top of my lungs of course. I continued to do that throught the race. It made me laugh, not sure if anyone else thought it was funny. Around mile 13 I yelled out, "Spongebob is my homeboy!" That was funny, but had to many syllabyles. So, I just stuck with Hello Kitty, Rules. The plan for this race was to run no faster than a 9:30 pace until at least mile 17 and then we could start to unload. This plan worked great and I ran every step with no cramping, so soreness, or any of those issues that normally happen to me in a road marathon.

At mile 21 or so, I didn't really start running waaay faster, but I did pick up the pace about 15 to 30 seconds faster. I was using an idea from Joe, about stealing peoples energy. Needless to say after mile 21 no one passed me, but I was passing folks and "stealing thier energy". I havent looked at the splits yet, but I know the back 13 were faster than the front, they were easier but I was real solid and steady and at the killer hill at mile 24 I was able to run up the whole thing and the lesser hill at mile 25 with no ill effects. The last 400 meters I broke into a full sprint running up on my toes. What a nice way to finish a marathon.

It was fun to run by and say thank you to all the spectators and give high-fives to all the kids.

I saw one dude about mile 22 who was running so poorly with his form, because he was hurtin real bad, he was making me tired. As I passed him up, I told him to hold the form and keep the breathing steady. Running like that, he was going to end up feeling like he ran 50 miles.

Before and after the race, I was able to spend a little time visiting with Thomas Orf and his wife. His wife was running the half and he was supporting her. From what he tells me she had a good strong race and felt real good for most all of it.

All in all it was good day. I was able to spend the afternoon with Jeff and Cheri eating lunch and talking about up coming races. It was a good afternoon!

Almost forgot, I am out of the running for the Texas 50 mile slam award. I broke a piece of bone off my toe this past Tuesday in Kung Fu. I went and had it X-rayed on Saturday morning. I knew something was wrong, but wanted to know what so I could decide whether or not I was going to run Austin. My index toe has a piece of bone chipped off right where it meets the foot bones. I am glad its nothing major, but I need to take about 4 weeks off to let it heal and want to get started on my Hardrock training well and healthy. So until about the end of March I will be working on core work. I am mentally prepared now for what its really going to take to do Hardrock after talking over the race with my coach, Mr. Joe.

That's all for now!

Monday, February 9, 2009

100 Miles 1 Day

I knew once I crossed the finish line on Sunday morning what the title to my next post would be. I did not know what the focus of the post would be exactly, or whether I would write a race report per se or maybe dig a little deeper. I am still not sure.

100 Miles in 1 Day is like a running a Boston qualifier marathon, different of course but similar in what it means. The first guy to run a 100 miles did it in one day, read about Western States endurance run. You can easily find links to this on Google.

My finish time was 23:27. I had good consistent energy throughout the whole race and never experienced any lows. My knees hurt and my feet hurt but that is to be expected. I did not get any blisters or loose any toe nails either. Which is actually a good thing because in '08 I lost 9 of 10 and one of them I lost twice. As far as muscular soreness in the quads, glutes or hamstrings I don't really have any, but my tendons and ligaments are sore and tight. My mom, sister, and my nephew came to the race which was really awesome and I was glad that they were there to support me. They commented on the people there. How everyone was so friendly and supportive, like family. They were impressed by the character of everyone they met. I am continually impressed by the people I meet at these endurance events and that is one of the reasons I keep coming back. What a great community of people. If you have never been to an ultra event, go to one, run it or volunteer and you will understand what I am talking about here.

Some observations from the race:

Aid station crews will get you through! Mr. Potter, Lynn Ballard, Allen Wrinkle, Guarav, Crash, and Ganesh those guys kept me honest and kept me moving.

There are a lot of folks out there tougher than you are. Axel and Thomas Orf come to mind here. Axel had a strained Achilles and stayed the whole way, limping. Thomas had some type of stress fractures from Bandera in his shins and went to mile 76 before not meeting the cut off (his 1st 100).

Some guys can just run. Mark Richards comes to mind here. He ran a 21:35 in his 1st 100.

Some guys just wont quit. Naresh comes to mind here. From what I understand he has tried this race two times before and did not finish, On Sunday he did!

I mentioned reading the book Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage the week leading up to this race as a way to maybe gain some inspiration. What's funny is that I don't remember ever thinking about the book or any of the events in the book while I was running, consciously at least. Maybe it was there in my subconscious somehow affecting my how I interpreted the race and my feelings of pain. While I was reading the book I did lament the fact that it seems like all the frontiers have been explored, where can a man, now, boldly go where no man has gone before. Space, the Arctic poles, the jungles, the deserts have all been explored at least somewhat by someone.

In reflection, on my 4 hour drive home after being awake since 0430 on Saturday an idea came to me. While it may be true that all of the great physical frontiers have been explored, there is still one frontier, the greatest, the largest, the ugliest, the most beautiful frontier of all is still waiting to be discovered, mapped and transversed. This frontier exists for everyone and can only be discovered by one person. The one who possess it.

The mind as the final frontier. Physically the brain would probably fit into a large soup bowl, but the mind is boundless and limitless. What exists in the mind can be made manifest into a physical reality. You have heard sayings like "mind over matter, if you don't mind it don't matter" or "change your perception to change your reality".

Epictetus wrote in the Enchiridion:
"Sickness is an impediment to the body, but not to the will, unless itself pleases. Lameness is an impediment to the leg, but not to the will; and say this to yourself with regard to everything that happens. For you will find it to be an impediment to something else, but not truly to yourself."

As we venture into the unknown our goal is to "know thyself". What that means to any one person may have 6.8 billion different answers. Sometimes though, it is the journey not the destination.

A final quote from the movie Troy:

"You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again. "

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mental Preparation

It's getting close, the anxiety is building for the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler this weekend.

This will be my 4th attempt at a hundred miler and hopefully if things go well it will be my 3rd finish. This course is basically flat and very,very runnable. It's a course that, if you manage your race well, you can run a sub24. Sub-24 will be great, sub 20 is my goal.

A lot of things go through my mind the week leading up to a race. Mostly, doubt.

Have I prepared enough and will I have the proper mental disposition that I need on race day to make sure I get across the finish line.

Maybe there are some, but when you step up to the starting line of a 100 mile race there are no guarantees that you will finish. A 50 miler or a 100K yea probably, but not a 100. Maybe one day, but I am not there yet.

For my 1st 100 I read Viktor Frankel's Man's Search for Meaning. I am not sure if if helped, but I think it did. It helped me to put things into perspective.

Last night as I was worrying and feeling sorry for myself, I looked around for inspiration. I received some from a few friends on Facebook and as I laid down to go to sleep, a book was staring me in the face. Endurace: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage. I picked it up. I was reading Dean Karnazes' blog a few months back and he mentioned the book so during the holidays when I went on a book shopping spree ($450.00) I bought it. It's been sitting there for a while along with a few others.

I read about 75 pages and did not get to sleep until about 0000 hours, but so far it has been worth it. Maybe this book will help to put things into perspective for me also.

The mental peparation part of the 100 is the hardest. When you are putting your drop bags together, your food plan, your hydration plan, your electrolyte plan, and your race strategy there are some basic rules and its pretty easy to do.

There are no real rules for the mental preparation. There is no book on, "how to remove self-doubt" or "how to be confident" etc....

Well, maybe there is but they mean nothing unless you believe it, and internalize it.

I want to be inspired to greatness. To read tale of heroic, true adventure with much adversity can get me there. These guys were real mean, facing insurmountable odds.

I am just a regular guy, reaching up, trying to touch the hand of greatness.

One 100 miler at a time.