Thursday, January 14, 2016

A stroll, well more like a stumble, down memory lane

Digging through photos and photo albums to put together images for a family member's present, I came across this lot of pictures. Hard to believe that it was a whole TWENTY FOUR years and SEVENTEEN marathons ago I crossed the finish line of my first marathon!

Why did I do it? Well on a dare/challenge of course. My battalion commander at the time challenged us to run a marathon with him. By that he meant enter, start and finish a marathon he would be running because if memory serves, none of us saw him until the finish. Ya, as a 40+ year old guy I think he ran that marathon on a sub 7:45 pace and was grinning like a Cheshire cat as each of us dragged our asses across the finish line. 

He was fond of saying running, and marathons specifically, were the best metaphor for life: it takes great preparation, you can't cut corners, you need a good plan and focused execution in order to finish it successfully. Hmm, I had none of those! I went into that marathon with only a 12 miler as my longest run. I was only logging 25-30 miles a week going into it and I got the experience the "wall" first hand...and in great depth. Even now I remember making a deal with myself that "if I finish this damn race, I'll never do another one"...sadly, a deal I think I've made with myself at some point in EVERY marathon I ever started. But, but, but, that first marathon taught me so much and as my battalion commander said "once you finish one, you know you can always finish another".
 SO true! Sometimes just having the experience of knowing you've gotten through something like that gives you the mental toughness of knowing you can do that and a whole lot more. I wouldn't say that first marathon cemented my love of running...but I will say it taught me to enjoy pain. Does that make sense? Did you have any pearls of wisdom or learning from your first marathon?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Just run...

Sometimes the only measure you that you did it. 

I get as wrapped up in the "numbers" as anyone else. Maybe even more so! I get so focused on keeping my heart rate in a certain place, monitoring effort, hitting a ceratin pace and hitting specific mileage that I lose sight of the world around me...literally. 

How could I not SEE this?! My favorite trail on a crisp New England afternoon. I mean of course I had my HRM/GPS on me..I just wasn't looking at it every 5 seconds. Haha! A great 6mi trail run, on my favorite trail...that I never really noticed until today. I always gauged the trail by "x" distance and the sets of hills and downhills...but its so damned pretty. The flora, the fauna and running beside that peaceful. Weird how all my agitation with training (or not training as mush as I've been wanting to) just melted away. Talk about finding your moment of zen. The world got a little better after that run. Now if I could just do better with time management to get work doe, my art projects and more training runs like this.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Transformation Tuesday indeed.

The journey from fat guy (250lbs worth with a 44-46in waist, post broken back/pelvis and that's the only picture that exists of me at that weight) to fit triathlete/gym rat has been along a long and winding road. That "me", while almost unrecognizable to what I see in the mirror today, always sits in the back of my brain to this day. At times filling me with doubt about any endeavor and always telling me to take a day off. It's a constant reminder to never want to be that kind of me again. It forces me to strive to be a better me everyday. If it were easy, we'd all be healthy and shredded all the time. One of the reasons I scoff at those half my age or more. Try getting and staying fit with a 40+ hour a week job, bills, a mortgage, a spouse, a family...that's when being healthy and fit is a true testament to the work you do. I'm not gonna lie, NOTHING has come easy and yes some of it was self induced. I have beat, torn, broken and broken down my body and mind a hundred times over...and I'm likely to do it a few more times still...but it's always about picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and going at it twice as hard the next time. Eyes on the prize friends, eyes in the prize.

Monday, January 4, 2016

I don't know if I've angered the yoga gods or made them happy. Well, it is yoga so the gods should be sweet and benevolent right? 

But...OOPH! It's been WAY too long since I got in a practice of Bikram Yoga. Class was fantastic, if not extremely difficult due to the layoff. Yoga and especially Bikram yoga is a perishable skill. It was crazy to realize my lack of flexibilty and inability to get into and stay in poses that were a struggle before...but are now damn nearly impossible. 

There's no doubt about the multitude of positive things you get out of Bikram. Not the least of which for me is burning almost 900 calories while not pounding my back/hips/knees/ankles like with running. Its a great change with the bitter cold of New England and I never cease to be amazed at the little nuggets of wisdom that always drop out during class. Bikram was spot on with that quote. Now, its just a matter of keeping at this and making it a part of my weekly routine.