Sunday, December 29, 2013

DFL is Still Better than DNF

DFL was a decent band...and the acronym is something I've tried to avoid being since I started racing...Dead F*cking Last.

Today I came close.  And as I did I started pondering what the big deal is. I'm a runner, and not a great one at that, but I'm not a racer, not a podium contender. So what does it matter if I finish last just as long as I finish avoid getting swept. There was a peace that descended, not enough to sooth the shin splint in my right leg, but enough to help me grin in the face of the freezing rain, winds and pain. 

I will finish. Not gonna make the time I want, but so what! I'm having the time I wanted...a good one.  Doing an activity that I enjoy, like most runners constantly question why, but nevertheless out there putting one foot in front of the other...sometimes even next to each other if I've gotten tired enough for the shuffle.

So my first race back is done. I finished. The things I was really worried about, my knee and back, performed well.  Also, I learned that the heart and dedication are still there just have to go get the legs back!

What a great day and I feel lucky to have had it.  And lucky for the friends I made there and even more so lucky for the friends waiting at the finish line.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I once was blind...maybe should've stayed that way

Fair warning: I'm slightly tipsy so sentence structure and niceties may not exist.  Proceed with caution.

My running...I'm a fat kid. No excuses. No pity. Fact.  And I have Asthma. It was much worse when I was younger.  I used to wrestle and during one practice it acted up...I went to the ER and they chest stabbed me with adrenaline.  That was one of two times.  When it gets real hot or cold or humid I'm screwed.  But I'm not bright so I do it anyway.

Well, that mile in high school, I'll never forget it.  The entire class...I mean ENTIRE class cheering me on ie waiting for me to cross the line so we could move on to 5th period history.

So imagine my surprise.  Wait, go back.  My mom is a single mother of two sons and...well a bad man decision maker, but she's Lancaster County true sun down to sun down. Farmer's daughter.  Anything to keep the roof.  So when she worked I developed a relationship with the neighbors.  So much so that after the first 6 years my friends just started calling them the second family.  

Aaand then the second family fell apart.  Divorce.  The second mom started working out like a fiend and I started trying to run with her...and I could. Not fast or long, but my breathing had seemed to subside in my 20's.  She signed up for a 5k I said fuck it, but too late...luck be a lady though her son Kyle, my now brother, didn't want to run it so I took his spot...and thanks to a name mix up I got 2nd in girls 19-24. Still a family any rate that's the start of my running. 

So years down the road and various piss poor 5k's I get married.  My (ex)wife is a founder of the Dutchland Rollers and boyfriends/husbands are called widows due to the amount of time the girls spend on it.  Sooo anyway, I thought distance running would be a good way to fill my time while she was at practice...given the previous paragraphs you should be thinking "idiot you gon' die"! But I took to it.

I signed up for the DE Half Marathon cause I didn't know much except it's close and flat.  I finished, despite nerves and a 1/2" of rain during the first 6 miles. I finished. I teared up. 

And I think I signed up for the Goofy Challenge shortly there after. The Goofy is in Walt Disney World. It's a half 13.1 miles on Sat and a full 26.2 on Sunday 39.3 miles in two days. 

Which leads me back to the title. I just had such blind faith in myself. I knew I wouldn't do well, but I would finish.  That got lost.  Maybe during the hard times of the marriage or the divorce. Whatever. I miss my ahhh fuck it attitude.  I won't win, but I can finish...ANYTHING! 

Gotta get that mindset back cause I have at least one 50k in my 2014 future!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

About Me/A Fun Story

Like many people my parents were divorced.  My dad got me every other weekend and two weeks every Summer.  He was a man that tried, but had many, many flaws.  The one year when I was 7 or 8 he sent me with my aunt during the two weeks we were supposed to spend together.  My aunt, my one cousin and myself drove from PA up to Canada.  We stopped at my aunt's friends house to stay in Vermont or Connecticut or one of those New England states that run together unless you live there.  Well the 2nd or 3rd day we were there I was riding a scooter, tried to do a trick and fell.  I land on the kickstand and it went in my upper thigh.  A scooter kickstand, back in the 80's, looked like a "u" with 3/4" arms at the top and one of those arms went straight in my leg.  It took me a minute to realize what happened, but being a child, when I did I did what any kid would...screamed my head off.  Help, help at a screechy, pre-puberty volume.  Nobody came. So after a few minutes I stood up with the kickstand still in my leg and walked back to the house carrying the scooter (still embedded in my leg) next to me for 4 or 5 blocks.

This is one of my first life lessons that stuck with me.  Ask for help, if it doesn't come you have the strength in you to make it back to where somebody cares.   I still have a "v" shaped scar where it went.

All that being said, the more damaging part of that trip was when we eventually made it to Canada...all the cartoons were in French! That's messed up!

Friday, December 13, 2013

"Not my race"

These words were one of the first things I heard today. And some of the most offensive I heard in a while...until it was explained...which I will do now.  My one friend (term used loosely not sure he's fond of me, but damn he's tolerant) is crewing Hellgate for my other friend (again term used loosely as we've known each other 15 years but only sorta).  That being said I respect the hell out of these guys for things they've overcome as runners and men.

I got heated for a minute. These guys are ultra runners. Ultra in the distance, ultra in that my best is their hear "it's not my race"...well I was...confused. Running; good, bad, ugly, is a beautiful friendship building...brotherhood/sisterhood building thing, and to hear it's not my race. Well...

Then I got it. Your mother, brother, first love, best friend, Jebus...whomever could be out there crewing and supporting you, but it's YOUR race! Up to you to gut it through. Up to you to finish. Up to you to deal with your time. Up to you to deal with the training and sacrifices you made to, hopefully, make it to the finish line.

Endurance racing/running is about you and what is deep down.

God willing you have a bearded king or a tattooed redeemer at your side as you push yourself through those last miles to success!

Best of luck and much respect to both of you. Godspeed for what it means to you!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Training Thoughts A.D.D and Ohhhh Bubbles

So first I'd be remiss if I didn't say Thank You to the companies that have helped me over the last 5 years...and hopefully the next 5+.

At 5' 10" and 225lbs (on a good day) I realize it's probably my larger than average runner size and ideal 9d shoe size that have gotten me wear tests from New Balance, Brooks, Puma, Saucony and Pearl Izumi, but it's well appreciated all the same.

Also, I've been lucky enough to win some things from Nathan Hydration, Mizuno and Power Balance.

The Active Network has been amazing and the chance to be an Active Ambassador for reGen and Aquaphor helped me meet so many amazing people/athletes.  Also, two years as a member of the Timex Factory Team. There's no better feeling than representing and spreading the word of companies you believe in while doing something you love.

Thanks for the past, present...and God-willing...future support.

Another thought: I've noticed I have a running ego. Never thought I had an ego about anything! However, during this starting over I've noticed that it's been the most difficult, humbling part.  I was never really fast, and certainly aren't now, but I used to be better than this. It makes it difficult and slightly embarrassing.  I know with time I'll get back to where I was and beyond, but patience has always been my Achilles heel.

One more thing.  Why are people so snooty about training?  Can't be a "runner" and lift or can't be serious about lifting and run.  Why can't people just accept that we're lucky to have and use these wonderful bodies as often and in as many ways as possible?

The best part of this experience (endurance training over the last 5 years) has been the challenge to let go of my preconceived notions and thoughts...just trying to keep an open mind and spirit.

Although the tester shoes and gear haven't been bad either!  ;)