On getting back out there
Terrell, yes, we ( runners and non-runners) all have our challenges to lace up and get out the door. Perhaps we try some alchemy and turn our negative energy into a positive cause by contributing a dollar each day we run/walk to the goal of donating the sun to providing “entry fee” scholarships for kids who cannot afford to enter a race ( something we take for granted). We all write checks to you at years end and you establish a non profit where we “adopt a runner” so they can have the thrilling experience of running their first sanctioned race. This is just one thought. I am sure our group has many others that might be way better. The idea of course is to help ourselves lace up by helping someone else. Service to others is the ALCHEMY.
I appreciated your opening paragraphs -- only for me, the problem is I get dressed to run in the morning, then sometimes I end up wearing my running clothes & shoes all day without getting out the door, which feels terrible! Also, I took a class on Dante in school and appreciated the reference. I often think of Purgatory during ultras. As for your training plans--I think it's wise not to offer a standard plan for all readers. Individualized training is the way to go; everyone's fitness level and goals are different, and the type of race a person is training for makes a huge difference in how they should train (e.g. flat vs. hilly, road vs. trail, hot vs. cold climate...). I am happy to put on my coaching hat and share training advice with your or readers if you like. Thanks for your post!
Just got back from the gym. I'm tired but feeling great. The one thing I've learned but find hard to put into practice is to do some type of cross-training. I look forward to strapping on my sneakers, grabbing my blue tooth and Apple watch, and head out the door. After a few miles, the adrenaline is flowing, and I'm in seventh heaven. At the end, I'm tired but feeling great about what I'd just accomplished. But, and there is always a but. To get better, you have to get stronger. This year, I want to decrease my times and stay healthy. So, I joined a gym and wrote down a weekly schedule. If I follow it, I'll reach my goal. If I don't, I'll stay the same as last year and maybe get a little slower. After all, aging never stops. Just my take on running from a 70+ old guy who refuses to age.
i'm doing a january challenge where we do some sort of activity for the month of january. i'm fluctuating between running (when i have the time) and hiit 20 minute workouts (when don't). we text each other when we complete our activity and it has been great motivation as well as holding each other accountable. i definitely won't be sustaining this for the next 11 months, but it gives validation that i do have the time if i make the time, and it is helping me in other areas of my life. i'm cognizant of what i'm eating and it also helps with managing stress.
You guys are awesome I really love the stories. This one in particular hit home. I had a similar December. Work, illness, all the stuff, but finally back in somewhat of a pattern and while it’s still tough some days to get it done I always feel better after. Thanks for all you do.
Dante’s Inferno wax one of my favorite reads in college literature but I hadn’t thought if it in years, and certainly not in the context of my running. But being lost and adrift is where I’ve found myself recently with running. After a string of setbacks - starting with losing my running buddy to COVID protocols and culminating with overuse injuries, I’ve struggled to find my way back. These posts have been my Virgil, and I’m so appreciative.
About 10 years ago now, the summer of 2013, I spent a few months on a work & travel visa with some friends living in Chicago.
After some jobs that a friend had lined up pre-trip fell through, a friend & I were left stranded, jobless & with just a few hundred dollars to our name to get us though the first weeks in a new city & rent for an apartment. Luckily we were 6 in total so we were never really in too much trouble there.
Anyways, we did what any guys in their early 20's would do when they get bad news in a new city, we went drinking, to the nearest watering hole; Tommy Nevin's. A few beers in & we were already asking the bar staff if they had any jobs available.
Maybe it was the generous tip, but we got asked back in the morning, when our heads had sobered up & any conversation could be at least somewhat coherent. We ended up working there the entire summer & having more fun than our friends. Those summer jobs that fell through? Cleaning the locker rooms & bathrooms in a prestigious golf club. Good money. But long hours & none of the stories we had working in Tommy Nevin's.
Anyways, all of this is a roundabout way of explaining how I stumbled across a book that summer that lit the fuse to start running. Sitting on a book shelf in the apartment we rented was Ultramarathon Man, by Dean Karnazes. It's 10 years since I read it but in it he talks about the freedom of running & how no matter what the day job was, the stresses of life or of raising a family, running was his secret weapon. This stuck with me for years & I still think of running as a secret weapon, to be enjoyed!
"Happiness though, cannot be measured in monetary terms. My job paid the bills; my running satisfied a deeper passion. Limping into the weekly meeting, dehydrated, stiff, & on the verge of collapse, my heart was fulfilled. I couldn't ask for anything more."
Terrell--Dante keeps coming up--again and again! Martha Beck used it brilliantly in her book: The Way of Integrity, Finding the Path to Your True Self. I've decided to try and apply a simple trick of Cognitive Reframing--which I'm currently writing about as part of my commitment to do a Negativity Detox--every time I encounter a negative thought, including any 'I don't wanna-s!," I'm adding a "bu"t to the end of the thought--i.e. I don't want to go running. It's raining and it's cold!! BUT, that shower will feel sooooo good when I'm done. I have zilcho idea whether it will work, but it's worth a shot. And that little word "but" helps me focus on the upside at the end, versus the "ugh/sigh" at the beginning.
Terrell, let’s see if the idea of “Service”
gets any traction amongst your followers. If so, then I would be happy to brainstorm with you or others. There are so many great ideas out there. Let’s see if the Half-Marathoner can really go the distance from a “SERVICE” perspective. Btw, your post was quite moving this morning. You definitely have a “book” inside you. Perhaps this “Service” offering can be the catalyst for Chapter One.
Going on a short vacation. Back next week. 🙌
What is motivation? Such an interesting question. Lost mine after health scare (lower leg/feet paralysis) in November 2021. Stress of that + putting dad into memory care ‘should’ have propelled me back to running as soon as steroids+PT made the legs felt normal again, but no. I did a few runs in 2022 but it didn’t stick. A whole year later, a whole new set of stresses, and I’ve strapped on the shoes again, starting over as a couch potato. Why now? (shrug) Over the holidays, I must have hit some tipping point combination of pants-getting-too-tight + remember-that-powerful-feeling-of-a-good-run + new-house-has-a-beautiful-lake-path. Not sure what pushed it over the edge, but I started walking with the new year, progressed to something like ‘running,’ and just committed ($$) to a 5k--first race since the medical mess. Baby steps, running the body I have today. Mom has also restarted her walking, so maybe we both got over the grief of dad’s dementia and motivate each other.
I became inspired by a certain apparel company to take the no-days-off challenge. So far it has gone pretty well but today is my first day of the new year working about 15 hours. My interpretation of no-days-off is to run at least a mile no matter what. We'll see how that goes this evening when I'm out at about 10pm. Anyway, I agree with your mindset about multiple training models and not subscribing to just one. For me it comes down to the idea of just keep on going...
Hah! so you got laryngitis, too! :) Not that it makes me feel better. . .mine has been going on since last April when, I am guessing, some variant of CoVid decided that my larynx was the weakest place to hit, so it did! So it goes!
Can't tell you how much I love your posts, especially this one, and the community that has come together from it. Makes it all worthwhile. While I don't know anyone on it except by their comments, I'd love to see it flourish,just like you would! Unfortunately, no suggestions now!
Muddling myself over in my mind this past week. I can't really run like I used to without becoming short of breath, but I have discovered hope! I started doing my long forgotten yoga practice
rather than lusting over the trails and being out on them. My body screamed at me the 2nd day, but gave in. Now I'm back to almost where I was with flexibility and look forward to the poses in the morning. It makes a Big difference in how I feel and move!! What I thought was just becoming Old was not. It was just lack of me getting up and doing something!
My long term goal is going back to what I loved the most when I was younger--somehow weaving together embroidery and birds. Your article on the bird sculptor (Grainger McKoy) was really influential. I've read it the several times that you posted it. Yes, I do feathers. .. . and really understand not doing fur or mammals. His statements really hit home with me, especially not doing a craft as a commercial venture. I've done that too many times. . .and like him, found it ruined relationships.
I did get out yesterday and planted primroses. The soil is cold and wet ,but the herbs are coming out. Give it another few weeks and Spring will be here. . .after all Pagan Spring is February 2nd! )
my story is about yesterday and it is story that I relive every January about right now in the middle of the month. I always run thru December with ease, by mid Jan my focus, my steam fizzle. Yesterday I did not want to get out there for my Wednesday run, period., like Sarah mentioned, I had my running clothes on since morning, it was just the shoes waiting for me. By 2p what helped the most was the declaration I made early January - on this site - I'm going to run 5 miles each
M W Sa . So I said, just go to the corner and see what happens there - (and remember you have a 10k in 2 & 1/2 weeks). I made it past the corner and had a decent run in the end.
I keep myself running with two thoughts to focus on. 1. I've been running for 6 years, a late start in life, at 63 the little voice in the back of my head reminds me how much effort it took to get to where I am, don't let go of the effort, the work and the progress I've made and 2. I have to find a Feb race period. A 10k is not a half but it get's me out there especially on the days my shoes and and my feet are having trouble connecting. January is the toughest month
Love the idea of hearing what inspires people to run! Happy to share mine. 😀
Sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts, and reverse/back stretches. Also, I do the stair climber and elliptical—very little sugar, which is tough as hell, and a lot of fresh fruit. I am trying to eliminate any processed foods. Is it working? I've lost weight but not the inches I need to, which will take more time. Not a fad diet, more so a change in eating habits.
First thing is to drop the 10 pounds I've gained since covid started and then work on strengthening my core. Finally, working the stair master or like equipment to increase my endurance. Most races and such ate lost in the final half to quarter mile when you hit the wall. Not sure if it's mental or physical, or a combination. You just need that little extra to draw on and get you through the finish line. I like to look at the runner in front of me and reel him in a step at a time.