W8D3 – Be Willing To Risk Failure Everyday

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Be willing to risk failure everyday.  

Be willing to risk failure everyday unless you are OK with being average or mediocre.  

Failures lay along the path to success.  

Only those with the courage and fortitude to risk failure can ever hope to traverse a path of significance.

Week 8, Day 2 – Anger Is More Useful Than Despair

I think it was in Terminator 3 when Arnold used that line, “Anger is more useful than despair”  Originally, I was expecting a more optimistic attitude to reveal itself after today’s run but, it was more along the lines of anger (at myself), vengeance and redemption.  My non-stop jogging lasted 3 minutes today…..
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which reminded me of some pictures I had used in my old chiropractic student blog.  A lot of times when I felt I was getting steam rolled over in school, a useful response was to dig in, batten down the hatches and fight – fight hard.  Mentally, I made like these tanks, 
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and fought back.  I know what I’ve put into this so far and where I need to be come November 1st.  I put in my prescribed (Rx) 25 minutes and started to write my blog for next Thursday, June 5th.  I’m going to annihilate this last weigh in.  I’m thinking of dropping a bowling ball worth of weight (16 lbs).  I’m thinking there’s 168 hours in a week so, dropping a pound every 10.5 hours or so should yield a drop of one bowling ball.  Actually, anything in the 240s would be cool – under 250.  Smash today’s weigh in.  Destroy it.
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I think, 248.2 would be an exact drop of 16 pounds.  Today, I thought back also to my biochemistry days.  It’s not the alcohol that damages things so much as one of the byproducts of it’s metabolism.  I don’t remember exact names but, I do think some of that crap can stay in the system 48-72 hours.  After today’s run, I felt dizzy, sick and nauseated.  

This should be an interesting challenge because the weight I took today was taken right after I woke up so, it was basically, the lightest I could weigh today.  ..and 16 is a lot but, I’m not stupid.  I can figure this out.  Redemption is what I’m looking for.  

Bare minimum is for next weeks weight to start with the following two digits …first a 2 and then the number 4 …anything after that is gravy and a 248.2 would just be beyond cool.

Derek Jeter – Week 6 Weigh-In

Derek Sanderson Jeter!
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Every year since 1982 and throughout the life of the last Busch stadium that the St Louis Cardinals have played my family and many close friends had a tradition of going to every Cardinals home opener.  My family gave up their season tickets when the latest Busch stadium opened and, instead of going to the home opener, we generally now pick a game within the first couple weeks to attend.  One other tradition we’ve started in the past few years is for my Dad, brother and I to all have a guys night out and take in one of the games.  This year was a special treat since we got to attend the Cardinals / Yankees game.  I’ve never gotten to see the New York Yankees play before plus Derek Jeter has always been a favorite player of mine and this would be the only chance to get to see him play live before his retirement at the end of this season.

Every time Jeter came up to the plate for an at bat, he got a standing ovation from the fans at Busch stadium.  The first time he was at bat was especially cool because Yadier Molina, the Cardinals catcher walked away from behind the plate towards the pitchers mound to allow Jeter and the fans a chance to give Derek all the respect he’s deserved & earned over his 20 years in the Majors.

During his last at bat of the second game of the series against the Cardinals, I was able to catch the scoreboard with Jeter’s picture.

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I
 think the Cardinals did pretty well against the legendary team from New York.  The first game in the series went to the Yankees but they had to go 12 innings to do it.  Game 2, which I got to see with my Dad and brother was a 6-0 shutout complements of Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn who pitched the entire game and it was Lance’s first shutout since his pitching days in college.  According to my smartphone, the Yankees took game three of the series 7-4.

Gotta tip my hat to The Captain.  Ever since the late 90s, I’ve always thought that if I lived in New York and could be anybody then I would want to be Derek Jeter.  🙂

Week 6 Weigh-In
Last week, I was the lightest I’ve been since the start of my 2nd 12 week session and this morning, i was the heaviest I’ve been.
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It’s amazing how much damage can be done in a couple days.  I did notice there was no shortage of sodium in those two pizzas I had late Tuesday night or in the couple cans of Spaghetti & Meatballs I had yesterday.  Oh, I did not run yesterday either so, in order to keep with the program I’ll need to get out today, tomorrow and Saturday.  In a way, I was a bit curious at how my attitude might change from putting this particular blog up prior to my run and how I might be thinking afterwards.  I have to be careful not to delude myself into thinking everything is lost so as to use that as an excuse not to get back up on that horse again and pick up from where I left off.

After Monday’s 1hr 16min run I figured I’d stick more closely to the prescribed 25 minute runs the rest of the week to help aid in recovery and was thinking about doing something like 2 miles with reverse splits.  At the very least, it’s time I take 10 steps and keep moving forward.

W8D1 ~ Walls of Light

I ran a little over 1 hour, 16 minutes and 15 seconds –
Something was constructed mentally during the run & something was learned after the run.
Also some different Pre & Post training routines like beer & TarBar that may be helping.

The first day of week 8 was very special.  For the first time in 20 years I was able to jog for over an hour nonstop.  I accidentally paused my Sports Tracker app for a bit but, My Nike Plus app which I started after my Sports Tracker showed a final time of 1 hour, 16 minutes and 15 seconds 🙂

I have had some thoughts which have revolved around the following flow theory graph.  In the graph, the challenge level of a particular task is shown along the vertical y-axis and the skill or ability level along the horizontal x-axis.

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If we were to consider a heart transplant operation, that would be an excessively challenging task and pretty much everybody in the world would not have sufficient ability to perform that task so the anxiety would be understandably very high.

Where this graph can get interesting is when we have task which are well within our ability level and yet sometimes our brain will twist and turn those activities and cause undo anxiety even though we have the skill to probably complete those task.  With me it was something as simple as jogging 20 minutes non-stop but, I even pre-loaded the anxiety for that even by fretting about it before I’d even had a single week of the marathon training program completed.  I was wrong in selling my abilities short before I’d even given myself a chance to try.

I suppose it’s easier to doubt than believe.  I think a benefit in doubting is that it helps a person to maintain their current life.  Getting or having or being better necessarily requires change and that change can be scary.  20 years ago I would have had a place in my brain that believed I could run for an hour non-stop because I had done it.  I almost think a series of apoptosis (programmed cell death) killed and destroyed the circuitry in my brain which helped to store the belief that I could run an hour because that circuitry would not have been used for so long.  I had the memory but not the belief.

Different things were happening in my head during this 1hr 16min run.  It’s as if maybe the neural groundwork for believing I could jog an hour was being built over the past couple months and that structure was finally in place and I could feel that circuit finally being plugged in, I could feel the resulting belief inherent with that neural circuitry.

I ran with that belief and starting constructing and developing a place in my brain where I could run for hours on end.  I was creating a very safe place for me to live while I was running.  A place where no harm could be done.  I decided to create it on a different celestial plane, a place where zero problems or concerns of mine existed.  At first, I envisioned a vast field with a home at the top of that field, I imagined a running path, I made that path in the shape of a heart with the home at the apex of the heart and each half of the heart path was 13.1 miles long.  I was untouchable in this area.  I realized wood would never do as a construction material and decided to use light as the material of choice.  I envisioned walls of light then windows of crystal prisms which could cast rainbows at will.

I was lighter in this place and could move effortlessly.  A couple times during the run I was able to superimpose this place under my feet while I was looking at the ground ahead of me and imagined I merely needed to lift my legs while the ground moved beneath my feet.

I imagined an overhead view of this place where I could see the outline of the heart path, I could fill that hear in with red but quickly changed the color to crystal white light and could see the heart beat and pump in time with every strong step I took.

I had fun with my imagination during that run and will probably continue to feed that fantasy so it is something useful I may use in future runs, like …maybe on November 1st while running my 3rd full marathon down in Wynne, Arkansas 🙂

That place was something I constructed during my run.

Shortly after my run, something else came to mind.  A realization and an understanding of something I’ve pondered for much of my life.

Many, many people in life seem to hold to the belief that bad times are necessary in order to have an awareness of the good times, the argument is that unless we’ve had the bad, how are we to know the good?

I’ve always had a nagging feeling about that philosophy and believed that I could know and be aware of the good even if I hadn’t had the bad and this Day 1 run of Week 8 struck a chord with me.

My thinking resembled a scale which ran from -5 to zero to +5.  At -5 (minus 5) we have shit.  A shitty life and shitty problems.  Zero is neutral, a neutral life free from the crap inherent with living at -5.

I wondered if a lot of people might not try to turn the minus 5 living or life into something “good” by stating that they wouldn’t know if or when things are better without having lived in that -5 life.  A kind of rationalization.  I know it’s a quite popular belief and even one of the songs on my playlist called Let Her Go basically embodies this philosophy in the lyrics.  One line “only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low”

Bullshit, I say.  Because, if I go from zero / neutral and push myself and achieve something worthwhile such as the ability to run over an hour non-stop then I put that activity at a +5 and the difference between zero and +5 is five, the same as if a person might go from -5 to zero but, that is simply going from say, shit (-5) to zero or a neutral life but, they still have the movement of magnitude 5.  However, what I’m saying is that with effort we may move that same magnitude, hence be able to appreciate something really good without first having to be living a shit life to begin with.

The big difference is that moving to a +5 requires work and effort while a life at zero may just be the life we are left to deal with as a result of our neglect.  And really …what person would want to think that a huge chunk of their life which has been shitty had no value?  That could be a hard pill to swallow so, instead, the masses try to find value in the crappy existence by making statements that they are who they are today via those hard times and they wouldn’t know the good if it wasn’t for all that bad…

There is kind of a rub in all of this which is something I got from when I saw Anthony Robbins live over in St Louis a number of years ago.  One of the things Tony said kind of stuck with me and made me ponder.

He was demonstrating and showing the results one may get in life and how those results correspond to various amounts of effort one puts into their life.  He put one hand down low by his knee to represent lousy, shitty effort and that corresponded to a lousy, shitty life.  But then he did something interesting and put one hand about shoulder height to represent a normal amount of effort by the average individual and he said that also corresponded to lousy results.  He then put a hand stretched out over his head and said that represents a lot of effort and that corresponded to the normal results in life.  So, the results at this point were always a level below the amount of effort put out by an individual.  Then he got up on his tip toes to demonstrate just a little above a lot of effort and, at that point, it was as if the results sling shotted way above the effort put into a life and the results were outstanding and far above the effort put in.

Low Effort = Low Results
Normal Effort = Low Results
High Effort = Normal Results
just a smidge more effort than High Effort = Outstanding Results

This paradigm of thinking probably helps explain why that particular Yin Yang type philosophy is so popular because low results would correspond to -5 and normal results would correspond to zero and it would take that smidge more effort to get the outstanding results (+5) so, the vast majority of people would be living in that -5 to zero range.

Anyway, I still like that song, I just don’t buy the philosophy hook, line and sinker like many others seem to do.

And, that leads to something else that has crossed my mind.

When I was into my weight lifting I once read that only 1% of the population can bench press 315 pounds.  This was kind of cool to read because I had benched 515lbs.

When I graduated from Logan and became a doctor of chiropractic, I remember hearing one of the teachers comment that less than 1% of the population has an advanced professional degree such as we were getting.

On one of the running sites I saw again that less than 1% of the population has ever completed a full marathon.

For karate, I’ve read that only 1-2% of the people who start karate ever make it to first degree black belt and only about 1 out of 1,000 or 0.1% ever go beyond that to 2nd degree black belt or above.

I suppose I agree with the differential providing a comparative basis for appreciation, I just don’t agree that the bottom number has to be negative and a similar differential can be had starting from zero and going upward as long as we are willing to put in the effort.

This is one post I should really probably read over to help make sure it makes sense but, I don’t usually do that – not sure I ever have.

Beer & TarBar
I once had an MD advise me to drink a couple beers each day to help raise my high density cholesterol levels and I also once read that alcohol neutralizes nicotine in the system.  Well, for my last three really great runs, I had at least two beers the night before each of those runs.  My water intake has been very good and I’ll usually kill a 16.9 oz (o.5 litre) bottle of water in two gulps with about 80% of the bottle consumed in the first gulp.  But, I can’t exactly say having a couple beers at the end of the day has hurt anything, quite the contrary based on the results I’ve had in the last week.  I’m not familiar with the mechanisms behind any positive benefits beer might have, just the little bit I shared at the beginning of this paragraph.

TarBar – this is an extra filter that goes on the existing filter of a cigarette.  I almost hesitate here because I’ve had people get really emotionally charged up against me when talking about cigarettes.  Usually a non-smoking pompous, arrogant individual with very limited knowledge and experience who likes to tell me there is no difference between an ultra light cigarette and a full flavored cigarette.   I can only figure this goes back to around 1998 when the government stopped testing cigarettes because they found the results to be flawed because smokers could compensate for measures used in the manufacture of cigarettes ….

anyway – I can tell you this, there is a world of difference between an ultra light cig and one that is full flavored.  The fact is, if I were to smoke a Marlboro Red (full flavored) cigarette first thing in the morning then I would become sick, nauseated and dizzy.  I know this for a fact.

I also know that cutting back from full flavored to light to ultra light isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do because each time I cut back there is a reduced level of nicotine obtained from the smoke.

The box said, “After one week you will feel the benefit of easier breathing”.  Well, it’s been about a week and I just ran for over an hour, I ran for 100% longer than my last best non-stop run but, who knows, I’m sure those extra filters didn’t hurt.

I have read a fair amount of material on quitting smoking on PubMed and, one not so surprising fact borne out in the research studies is the less a person smokes prior to trying to quit, the higher the probability of success.

I’m still banking a bit on Chantix in the last few months before the marathon to help kill this habit but, will continue to do what I can in the meantime.

That’s about it – 1 hour and 16 minutes of nonstop running.

I can tell you this, when I saw that I finally hit the 1 hour mark, I couldn’t think of anything I was willing to trade for what was in the process of being accomplished.  It was pretty awesome.

There was nary a pain anywhere.  My hips were good, knees were good, ankles were good and no pain or discomfort in either foot.  My lower back, guessing the multifidus muscles were letting me know they were being stressed and, around 1 hour 12 minutes I could start to feel some twinges of pain in the hips and lower legs and I knew I would need to end the run soon.  Since I’m finishing this blog entry up the day after that run, I can tell you that *everything* is pretty sore today.  thighs, calves, hips, butt …hmmm, but not my lower back 🙂

W7D2&3 – a 15 Mile Failure and 2.5 Mile Success! + Week 5 Weigh In!

Monday, the first training day of week 7, was a new non-stop jogging time of 20 minutes and that came on the heels of walking 5 miles the night before.

Wednesday, the 2nd training day of week 7, was a bit of a failure in that I went non-stop for 13:46 and fell short of the 20 minute goal but, I still managed to cover the same distance as I did on Monday – 1.5 miles.  I went out too fast and wasn’t able to maintain the pace but, since I did go out so fast I was able to cover the same distance.

Later on Wednesday, after my 1.5 mile run, I went and cut some lawns and by the time the sun went down my fitbit had recorded over 15 miles walked for the day.  Needless to say, I cut a heck of a lot of grass on Wednesday.

Thursday – the 3rd training day of week 7.  My doubtful mind didn’t think I could run for 20 minutes non-stop as prescribed in my training program.  My doubtful mind had all kinds of reasonable excuses for pushing my run off until the next morning.  I was a bit sore and achy from cutting over a half marathon worth of grass the day before.  I *knew* I was a bit dehydrated.  It was the end of the day …blah, blah, blah ……

I went to the park anyway and my 20 minute run turned into 35 minutes and 46 seconds of NonStop jogging!  YeeHaw!!!  🙂

I knew going out too fast on Tuesday burned me out so I had to keep my speed under control and go slower if I wanted any chance at making my 20 minute run tonight.  So, this time I looked at my SportsTracker app to help gauge my speed.  I was on the track at the park.  The first minute of jogging was definitely the hardest.  There were a lot of people at the park and plenty of people on the track and I think my ego was getting the best of me because I was having a hard time slowing down to a pace slow enough to continue jogging for my 20 minutes so, at one point along the trail I was able to veer off into an adjacent neighborhood where it was much easier for me to slow my pace down.  Maybe some people could have walked as fast as I was jogging but, jogging is a much different cadence and form and I was able to keep it up.  I weaved through the blocks of the neighborhood and before I got back to the park trail I had already finished up my 20 minutes.

It was really cool to have a mind go from doubting my abilities before the run to being 18 minutes into the run and telling myself, “I’ve got this”.  At 22 minutes into the run I was wondering how much farther I could go.

I ended up running for 80% longer then the program called for!  Before the run, I was wondering about the 25 minute runs prescribed in the marathon training program for week 8 and wasn’t sure about those but now…. Heck, on the way home, I was starting to acknowledge what had happened.  I remembered that I wanted the mile non-stop, wanted to make the path around the park (1.5 miles) non-stop and also was anticipating and looking forward to my first non-stop hour of jogging.   Then I realized how far I’d come and how that hour of running was legitimately coming into view and within striking distance.

I’m sitting at a red light on my way home then this stuff starts hitting me and I’m thinking, “Holy sh*t!  What the hell happened?”  I was a one minute jogger.  I can run a minute and, when I first started my blog, I wasn’t absolutely positive that I had even run a minute nonstop for sure so I had to get to the park and crank out a 60 second jog just to help legitimize my blog here.

Week 5 Weigh In! – Down 7.8 lbs or 3.0%
Week n - 2nd 12 Week Session - Copy (3)

In week 5 of the contest I was down 15.2% so, …on one hand it’s hard to get too excited about being down 3% but, on the other hand, one purpose of this marathon training was to ensure that my weight didn’t creep back up to where it was when I started this year.  So far, so good.

I had an entire itinerary of things I wanted to talk about in my blog.  Stuff I was going to post yesterday and other stuff today but, I didn’t talk about any of them.  Spotty internet connection is going to force me to post what I’ve got so far and try again tomorrow 🙂

500 Miles in 4 Months :)

I got a neat notice from fitbit yesterday that I’ve walked 500 miles since I started to use the product on January 17th. 🙂  There’s been a few days worth of tracking lost due to leaving the fitbit at the gym during karate or from the battery going dead but, overall it’s been very accurate and corresponds well to other apps such as Walking Mate, Nike Plus and Sports Tracker.

500 miles

I did sneak in an extra 5 mile walk this past Sunday which was the day before I did my 20 minute non-stop run.  Adhering to the program, I’ll have 20 minutes of straight running
this week and 25 minutes of straight running next week for all four days of my training program.  This reduces my total miles for each week, actually about cuts it in half since I was pushing 3 miles per run when going 40 minutes and get 1.5 miles with 20 minutes and I’d still like to get the Gold Nike Plus trophy for hitting 50 miles in a month.

Plus, I still need to drop weight.  That impromptu weigh in the other day showed me down 60 pounds since January 13th and I was thinking that another drop of 60 pounds would put me at 196 which would be a heck of a lot better marathon running weight than 256.  It would take a linear weight loss of 2.5 pounds per week to hit that 196 mark.

When I was in the weight loss contest it was much easier to control my eating and simply not eat most of the time because there was no high intensity training going on just low intensity activity such as walking.  As such, my brain never screamed too loudly or too often for food.  That’s simply not the case anymore.  Pushing that lawn mower 13 miles in a day along with the 4 day per week training has the hunger centers in my brain talking very loudly.

I kind of know what the issue is.  I’m not eating on any kind of regular schedule so, my first meal of the day might be late in the evening by which time I’m famished.  So, a breakfast, lunch and dinner might be eaten at times of 6 p.m., 9 p.m and midnight.  Plus those meals are probably more than I should be eating at any one time.

I’ll need to get more serious about the eating schedule if I am to expect any serious types of results.

I still need to get to the park today for my second attempt at jogging 20 minutes non-stop.  I didn’t realize it at the time but, a couple of the things I was looking for and anticipating actually came true with my last run.  One of those things was to cover a mile with non-stop running and the other one was to complete the entire 1.5 mile path at the park with non-stop running.  I did the mile, for sure and I at least completed the distance of the path, 1.5 miles without stopping although I did deviate from the path to make my route as flat as possible.

I’ve got a bear of a day ahead of me and I sort of need to tell my mind to shut up about it and just take things as they come, one at a time and deal with each part of my day individually.  Reality usually isn’t as god-awful as we can make it out to be in our minds.
It’s 85 degrees outside now and will probably get hotter as the day progresses.  I’ll do my run first then most likely be cutting lawns until the sun goes down.  Yeah, that’s the part of the brain talking that I just said needed to shut up.

Rationally, I tell myself it’s only 20 minutes of running and I can do that.  I did it before.  I can do it again.  Emotionally, that doubtful part of my brain acts as if I’m doing a full marathon for my training today.

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The only way I can fail today is if I do not try.

Week 7, Day 1 ~ I Did It!!! :)

Week 7 and Day 1 is in the books and I did it!  This week was the transition from run/walk to straight running – running for 20 minutes non-stop and I’ve been apprehensive about it since the beginning.  It’s been so long.  I firmly remember my first non-stop mile and a half around the track at the park and remember the first nonstop hour of running …but ….that was 20 years ago!   The 2nd marathon I did 10 years ago was more of a “prove it to myself” sort of thing – zero training, signed up two days before the run and just wanted to see if I could still cover the distance even if only walking which, I did.

Non-stop running …Wow – well, …here is how I got it done today;

I told myself two things.  The first thing I told myself while I was still in my car.  I said, “Everything you need to succeed is already inside you”.   I then made a playlist with some songs that I thought might help me through the 20 minute prescribed run.

I took off and literally within the first quarter mile of the run I wanted to stop …felt like stopping, wasn’t overly confident that I could pull it off but …kept going.  about 1/2 mile into the run I said “force yourself to do the scary”  i know that sounds weird but that’s how it came out.  The scary part was pretty much all mental.  For me, a big part of my success this year has been based on keeping my mind calm.  This put me into another dichotomy of sorts since on one hand I wanted music that was upbeat and would jazz me up, so to speak and on the other hand, I wanted a calm mind and didn’t want to freak out while venturing into new territory.  For the first mile or so I kept the music but turned it down to about half volume.

Something else I did that was a bit different was to not look at my Sports Tracker or NikePlus running apps.  I figured seeing the time or how much time I had left would only dissuade me from keeping a calm mind so I didn’t look at those apps at all, only my music.  I figured each song at about 3 minutes and concluded 6 songs at 3 minutes each would take me through 18 minutes of running, knowing darn well in the back of my mind that many of the songs were over 3 minutes long and six songs total should take me through my entire run.  I know I jumped to a song by Ke$ha by the end of the first mile to get something upbeat.  I already had a path picked out in my head and it was designed to minimize hills, I wanted as flat as possible.  I’d already been practicing shortening my stride when going uphill and I remembered to do that on the few inclines I did encounter.

When I was getting towards the end I kept getting tempted to look at my phone, I had some fantasies going in my head of maybe running 26 minutes non-stop without realizing it but…. I was very much aware of what was going on so reality kept the fantasy in check.  When I finally decided pulled up my running app I was thinking that if it was at 18 or so that I could hold out for another 2 minutes to get the job done.  When I did pull it out and looked – I was right at 20 minutes!  when I finally hit stop and end, I had a final time of 20:04 and was absolutely ecstatic!  I wanted to shout out loud and throw my fist in the air like Rocky!  I did the fist thing but refrained from the shouting  😉

By the time I walked back to my car and then to a picnic table to post my run on Instagram and Foursquare and text my brother, I was feeling absolutely amazing.  I can’t remember the last time I physically felt so good.  It was starkly different than how I normally feel and I’m a pretty happy person to begin with but this felt absolutely vibrant!  🙂

That’s about it for today’s run.  It was amazing.  I had some mental games ready in my head from the day before but pretty much forgot about them all and improvised the new stuff I mentioned.

Oh – something else I’ve been pondering that I learned at one of the lectures given at the Nashville, TN half marathon expo was that one of the guys mentioned some elite runner from the UK and said if she can take an ice bath after her runs then maybe those of us in the audience could at least get a frozen bag of peas to put on our thighs or knees after our runs.  Since I want to recover the best I can I took his advice.  I didn’t use ice but did run a bath with nothing but cold water.  Not the funnest thing to step into but it wasn’t all that bad either.  I sat in that tub for a full 10 minutes.  The water wasn’t deep enough to fully cover my thighs but it did cover the calves completely and figured it was good enough for my first attempt.

I’ve also noticed some shape changes in my physique.  On the way home I was noticing a bit more definition around my …i guess it’s the vastus rectus thigh muscle, that tear drop shaped muscle on the inside of our thigh, proximal to the knee.  I also started to notice some indentations – a precursor to definition, I’m thinking, in my abdominal areas, specifically around the outline of where one might find a six pack …like I said, just indentation under a layer of fat but, a welcomed & positive change non-the-less.

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I like the quote by Larson about Pride and Faith and I think it goes well with the question posed next to it.  If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?

I think these are good concepts to fully embrace.  Being able to take pride in how far we have come and embrace our efforts and the results from those efforts as something good is almost a key to helping us unlock the faith in a positive future.

If we can’t be grateful for what we already have then that may define us as the type of person who is not grateful and if we are not grateful to begin with then the question is very valid …what makes us think we’d be happy with more.

However, a person who is already grateful already possesses the propensity for appreciating even more abundance and good fortune into their lives.

I’m proud of how far I’ve come.  I’ve undone a lot of damage that resulted especially from the 2nd half of last year when clinic was an open to close, 6 day per week job along with that lovely 2+ hour commute each day.  I knew what happened the first time I attempted to get through clinic, I ballooned up to 302 pounds.  My weight came down when I decided, with my advisors, to first finish all my class work then tackle clinic.  I watched my weight go up.  I knew without doing anything about it that my weight would continue to climb but, didn’t really care to do anything about it.  I was pushing 6 years in chiropractic school at that time (first 8 months were for some chemistry prerequisites) but it was still a very long time to be stressed and pushing ones self.  It paid off and I did finally graduate.  Something that only happens after 15 semesters with only about 4 out of 5 people that start the program.  but, check out the pictures below.  The first one was taken on January 13th of this year and the second one was taken about 10 minutes ago.

Week 0 - 2014-01-13 17.52.112014-05-19 09.59.16

 

that’s a drop of 60 pounds.  That’s quite a difference.

and physically, I spent the first 3 months of the year just building myself up to walking a total of 5 miles per day.
Those first 3 or 4 months represented the first week of this current 26 week training program I found.  I still remember the first run/walk workout.  I remember jogs of 10 seconds at a time with a 4 minute and 50 second break before I attempted the next 15 or so seconds worth of jogging.  I kind of want to point those first very humble jogging times in case anybody is reading this that might just be starting out or overweight or scared to let them know a beginning of even 10 seconds worth of jogging can be a seed that can sprout into so much more.

But, even more humbling than only jogging 10 seconds is the memory (which I believe I did blog about) that there was …I guess you could describe it as a bit of a fear to transition from walking into any type of running or jogging.  I just wasn’t used to it.  I honestly had concerns that I might break something.  I was concerned that I might snap a tendon or a ligament might break under the stress of running.

I was 316 on January 13th and I’m going to complete a marathon on November 1st down in Wynne, Arkansas.  I’m going to keep getting lighter and stronger and faster and my endurance will continue to build.  🙂

(had to throw some positive affirmation stuff in there)  🙂

Week 6 of 30 Completed :)

This past Saturday we completed Week 6 of the 30 week training program and Sunday was such a nice day that I had to get outside and went for a nice five mile walk to get some extra time on my feet, feel the sun on my face  and beef up my monthly distance.  I got the NikePlus Silver trophy this past Saturday and need 50 miles for the month to get the Gold trophy so, with 8 workouts left in the month I only need 18 more miles or 2.25 miles per workout so I should be taking a screenshot of that gold trophy next week and posting that to Instagram.

My best training partners have been on Instagram.  I get a lot of good feedback and comradeship with some pretty high quality runners from instagram.  I feel like I’m with people who understand the mental battles and one of the best post I saw yesterday was

2014-05-18 15.33.15
Sometimes when I go to the park to run I’ll sit in my car for up to 15 minutes before getting out on the track but, the bigger mental battle would be when I’m at home and just need to get in my car to drive to the park.  I think I touched on the running performance anxiety on another blog but I really think that has to do with more of a character flaw or mental type deficiency.  Nothing really too abnormal but more of the mind yearning for a state of homeostasis and resisting change.  I guess it hasn’t been too much of a problem since I haven’t missed a scheduled training session since I started this current program.

To start week 7, I think I’m going to go out and do my best to adhere to the prescribed 20 minute run and, if I can do it, then I’ll keep trying to adhere to the rest of the week which is simply a total of four 20 minute runs.  If I don’t make the entire 20 minutes then I’ll default to a 45 minute run/walk training session.

I realized that I’m probably doing naturally what is advocated in many of the marathon books I’ve been reading.  Those books talk about cycling the training and pulling back every so often.  The first two workouts last week kicked butt from my perspective and the last two could be considered substandard but, those substandard workouts could be considered as part of the cycling I’ve read about.  I just need to keep it up.  Faith and Trust are still big components of this training program.

I think the four day per week training schedule is a smart and appropriate training program for my current ability and level of fitness.

I have a topic a little more interesting I have had bouncing around in my head lately but not yet fully formed to the point of being able to expand enough on it to post yet.  I’ve been thinking of Mental Nutrition.

Mental Nutrition –
I suppose this line of thinking got its genesis from some of the reading I’ve been doing about various electrolytes in the body.  Sodium and Potassium are probably some of the best known but Chloride and Phosphates have a high presence as well in the human body.  For men, about 60% of the body is comprised of fluids (slightly less for women due to muscle differences, say 55%) but, of the portion of the body that is fluid about 2/3rds of that fluid is Intracellular fluid (ICF) and is found within the cells of the body and 1/3rd is found outside the cells of the body which we refer to as Extracellular fluid (ECF)  Of that 1/3rd found outside the cells, about 80% of that is found in the space between the cells with the remaining 20% being found in our blood plasma.
Sodium (Na) is mostly found in that extracellular fluid outside the cells and Potassium (K) tends to mostly be found inside the cells.  When we ingest too much salt (NaCl) we might notice we get “puffy” that is because extra fluid is drawn to the interstitial fluid, for instance in that space between the muscles and the skin.  Without adequate hydration that extra fluid can come from the cells, like …our muscle cells for instance and that is one of the last thing an athlete would want.

From my days of competitive lifting, one thing I remember clearly is that water is more important than sleep in terms of performance.  Staying up all night before a meet wasn’t nearly as devastating as not being hydrated properly.

Mental Nutrition – Hopes & Beliefs
How do we sometimes use our imagination?  I think sometimes people use their imagination to help instill order into their lives.  To make sense of mental discords we can tell ourselves various stories and fill in any gaps (whether we see those gaps or not) with whatever makes sense to us.

…this is sort of a backwards reconstruction going on here….

with Hope & Beliefs – I wonder about a constant hunger or underlying presence or need for such things.  Some nutrients like Vitamin A or some B vitamins can be stored in the liver and be available for many months without ingestion of those nutrients but, where is hope stored?

What do we tell ourselves and what do we perceive to absorb hope into our lives?  It’s as if we have to tell ourselves stories or perceive something positive that we can believe about ourselves or our future in order to restore hope.

I was trying to take notes from a Disney film I watched the other day called Saving Mr Banks
storytellers restore hope, again and again and again
we instill order with imagination, we restore hope …again and again and again

Then, I figure a constant underlying hunger persist and can swell up with hope when we choose to let it in.

For the most part, the 6 weeks of training I have accomplished so far and the ensuing 24 weeks of training which remain are legs which can help hold up a table of belief.  Every additional training session attained provides extra support to the table of belief.  We might think of our daily actions as the storage container for which hope might breed.

20 minute runs –
I would really like to be able to complete 20 minutes of non-stop running as dictated by my training program for today.  16:08 is my best non-stop run so far.  Gotta figure that was a good day and enough stars were aligned just so in order to help make it happen or …to make that running jaunt as easy as possible.  I think there is something mental in my head.  I wonder why I switch from jogging to running.  Exactly what is the catalyst?  My breathing might be heavier and labored but it’s not like I just sprinted, it’s just a jog.  I think my mind just starts freaking out at breaking into this new territory.  I have to keep the head calm in order to allow the body to follow through with what it’s capable of doing.

I’m recalling once again that running class I had at a local university some 20 years ago.  I remember the teacher/coach saying if you want to run longer then run slower.  The cadence isn’t a whole lot different between walking and a slow jog and, as I recall from my Nashville half marathon there was a lady who zipped by me with a very fast walking pace while I was at a slow jog.

Mentally, this is my four minute barrier right now.  I want to be able to blog that I did 20 minutes of running non-stop.  This is a very important leg to get under my belief table right now.  I think it’s either Hal Higdon or Galloway that advocates walking during runs but, I’ve done this before.  Running an hour non-stop is something I’ve done before.  Running 20 miles straight is something I’ve done before.  I want to be able to do those things again.  I would like to perform better at this upcoming marathon then I did 20 years ago.  The main difference right now is some age and a slightly heavier body.

Sometimes, I realize that my training is good and I will eventually reach all my objectives.  Putting things within the constraints of time is what makes it all interesting.  November 1st, 2014.

Week 6, Day 3 and Week 4 Weigh-In

Ever since I was in grade school, probably by 5th grade, I knew when I got older that I never wanted to be one of those guys that came home from work, sat back in a recliner and watched television with a beer resting on a beer belly.  I hated that thought and never wanted to be like that.  As fate would have it, I do NOT have a recliner nor do I have cable television and I rarely have beer in the fridge.  The beer belly part we are still working on and that leads us to the Week 4 weigh-in which shows a drop of an additional 1.6 lbs or being down about 2.4% since restarting my 2nd 12 week session of weight loss.  Honestly, I haven’t been doing a whole lot in terms of watching my diet or anything.  For the most part, I’ve been making sure that my weight isn’t dropping too much too fast because a drop of 4 or 5 lbs in a day most certainly means a loss of fluids and dehydration.  The fitbit I wear on my wrist tracks my calorie expenditure and some days those calories burned are pushing 5,000 so, what I’ve eaten hasn’t mattered too much in terms of keeping my weight down.

Something else I knew in grade school was that I wanted to emulate several facets of my grandpa’s life.  He was like the center of a wheel with many spokes emanating out from him.  Him and my grandma made up the hub of that wheel and my dad was one of the 10 main spokes as he was the oldest of the 10 children my grandparents had.  Below is my wallpaper with cropped images of the scale I use and my marathon training program in the lower right hand corner.  The remaining pictures consist of my grandpa.  On July 7th, 1935 he was 17 years old.  The picture in the lower left corner is him at the age of 10, 1928, at an orphanage.  The middle picture is grandpa, third from the left along with 3 of his brothers.
Week n - 2nd 12 Week Session
I may have a preoccupation with performance and I’m not sure if that’s a totally good thing or not.  After my 4th workout of week 6 comes week 7 training which consist of 20 minute non-stop runs for all 4 of the week’s workouts.  I’m close but probably not quite there yet.  I could use more of a foundation and more conditioning.  If I push ahead by adding another 5 minutes to the run/walk routing then I’ll be getting in 45 minutes, 4 days per week and a part I like about that is to be virtually guaranteed a good 3 miles per day of training or 12 miles for the week.  From everything I’ve read, a person needs to be training a minimum of 35 miles per week in order to complete a marathon and more, up to around 75 miles a week to do more than just finish.  I’ll still have 24 weeks left of training after this week.  That divides nicely by three and gives me 3, 8-week training sessions left.  ….kind of thinking out loud here.  If I could add 12 miles every 8 weeks then I could jump to 24 in 8 weeks, hit 36 after the next 8 weeks and be at 48 by the end of the last 8 weeks.

However, if the miles were equal jumps of 12 in each session, that would mean an increase of 100% in the first 8 weeks, an increase of 50% in the 2nd eight weeks and an increase of 33% in the last 8 weeks ….which isn’t smart training.
If I did increases in mileage of 6, 12 and 18 then ….let’s see ….
12 to 18 (an increase of 6 miles) would be an increase of 50% over 8 weeks
18 to 30 (an increase of 12 miles) would be an increase of 66%
30 to 46 (an increase of 16 miles) would be an increase of 53%

50, 66 and 53 is a little more balanced than increases of 100, 50, 33 …..

But – maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.  I still need to be able to jog 20 minutes non-stop and I’m still 3:52 away from that goal.

Wednesday was my Kapow!  workout when I more than doubled my previous best 7:30 non-stop run with a run of 16:08.  I can feel it in my legs, they were very sore and tender to the touch.  My TFL’s (tensor fascia lata) was very sore and painful upon palpation.  I know my left calf muscles were very sore from and during my Kapow! run but, that’s just muscle and I can deal with that.  It’s the joint, meniscus, ligaments, tendons and even the fascial coverings of the muscles that concern me, maybe even periosteum, the fascia like covering of the bones which can be pulled away from the bone.  Tendons and ligaments can attach to this bone covering called an enthesis.

by the way – not every muscle in the body is connected to a bone at both ends.  There’s a very cool set up in the foot where you have a muscle that actually attaches to another muscle!  very cool set up.  it ensures that your toes flex along a straight line instead of being pulled off to the side when you flex your toes.

anyway, I’ve got some time to think about this.

Karate was very cool this morning and I got to help teach a self defense class which was put on for the public and open to everyone.  We had a good crowd.  At the end of the class I participated in performing 3 different kata’s for our guest and …yes, I did have stage fright.  I’m not used to performing my katas in front of a crowd of strangers but, it was good training.

I had an interview with a guy named Steve (gotta remember that) for a job no more than 1/2 mile from home!  Yahoo!  🙂
Pushing a lawnmower 10-15 miles a day is exhausting and I could really use a bit of a break.  Even this past Thursday when I tried cutting back I still ended up with over 8.6 miles of walking for the day and that was with zero training.

I was supposed to run on Thursday but by the time I finished my lawns I needed to meet up with the family for a nice dinner out then had to finish up my jobs with some computer type work.  I finally got my run in Friday evening and from a performance perspective it was dismal and nothing to write home about.  From a long term perspective – a macro view – ….well, who knows.  The important thing is it got done.  Since my program is only 4 days per week, it was easy to make Fri/Sat my back to back run days instead of Wed/Thur.  I covered 2.4 miles in my allocated 40 minutes so, much of it was leisurely.  I was driving back from my parents house on the way to the park and passed by a local community college which has a really nice trail set up and liked the idea of running there but, was viewing the park as my gym and the place I needed to be.  Had I known my run was going to be so dismal anyway then I would have stopped at the college trail.

It’s hard to tell if I’m overtraining.  I know one way to tell if a person is overtraining is to take their pulse first thing in the morning and record the rate.  If there is a jump in that rate then it could be from overtraining.

I know I could have ran earlier in the day on Thursday but my mind abhorred that idea which made me wonder if an inherent laziness or perhaps a resistance to change was the overriding force or, if my body was legitimately fatigued so much that the mind was acting more as a protective mechanism.  I think in this instance the body was legitimately fatigued and part of the reason I say that is prior to the run last night I did palpate round my greater trochanter (lateral side of the femur or leg bone) and it was painful to touch.  It really hurt a lot and mostly on the right side where I’ve had the tight piriformis issues.

On the plus side, after the 2.4 miles my thighs were no longer as tender.  That makes me wonder if I should try augmenting my 4 days per week of training with some lighter walking/jogging on my days off to help keep everything loose.  Alternatively, I’ve thought of adding a week where I drop back my time.  I mainly think this due to the training programs I’ve studied and how they cycle up for a few weeks then drop back in intensity for a week or two in kind of a 3 steps forward, 2 steps back type of routine.

I have to say, there have been days where my mind has fought me from getting to the park and it wasn’t so much laziness as performance anxiety.  Just knowing how much I had to push last time and not knowing if I would be able to perform at that level again for the very next run.  In a way, however, this could be a clever way for the mind to help keep me from changing and to help maintain the status quo and what I’ve been used to for my entire life.

I have two quotes which seem to exemplify this mental dichotomy.

dichotomy

I suppose both of these concepts have been true throughout my life to one degree or another but I do know, hope and pray that I will be in the process of doing something when I die and not laying in a bed or infirmed in any way.  That is my thinking now anyway …and has been for a very long time.

 

 

 

 

 

Week 6, Day 2 – KABLAM! :)

A previous best non-stop run of 7 minutes 30 seconds was shattered today with a non-stop run of 16 minutes and 8 seconds!  YeeHaw!  🙂  My text message shout out today included the following quote from Dante.

TPsCR4GQGjYsd7-KTc3vrwKP32OLS6pDHuv-7hLahQE
Naturally, it’s not raining a drop outside right now but there was a steady rain all morning.  It wasn’t too bad, just a constant drizzle so, I finally made the trek out and finally ended up at the park to get in my training run.  It’s funny, this morning, faced with the task I had on my plate …I really didn’t want to do any of the things on my list.  Some days can be like that, I suppose.

I think the new songs I downloaded and put no my phone helped.  It helped as a distraction from the running and, as long as the music was playing, I could not year any of my labored breathing.

Divergence!  
Divergence!Divergence!
I thought the first picture I was going to take and post would be of the path from the 0.9 to the 1.0 mile marker which is a nice straight away and goes on for nearly another tenth of a mile before turning but, I was much more excited about this road which is adjacent to the park.  The building on the left is used by the city and the very nice park is to the right.  Actually, to the right of this road is a nice lake with a fountain in the middle of it.  The lake is flanked by mile markers 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 then a nice gentle incline to 0.6 🙂  There are many Canada geese which inhabit the park as well as many, many turtles.

Breaking off the path!  The first time I ran for an hour non-stop is when I broke off from this path at Long Acre Park and ventured into nearby neighborhoods.  That was 20 years ago and I’ve never forgotten about it.  I even remember the neighborhood where I ran 🙂

Generally speaking and especially for now while I’m building up a base and conditioning, I’ll go to this same park, over and over and over again.  There are a couple things I keep in mind with this pursuit.  One is something I read a long time ago and one thing is something I read just last week which is

“Manhood is Patience, Mastery is Nine Times Patience.”

and, from a long time ago, I recall, ” ’tis the good reader that makes the good book”

The quote about the good reader making the good book has to do with the person reading the book and what thoughts, experiences and memories that person is able to bring to the book.  This might be the same path over and over again but, it is patience and persistence.  I also can learn new things each time I go, both about myself and the park.  Today I learned that while the path from 0.5 to 0.6 is on an incline in one direction, the road that runs parallel to it has it’s incline in the opposite direction.  I also found a new plaque last week that I never noticed before.  Mainly though, there’s a lot of learning to do about oneself.

I think the biggest thing I did which probably helped this run out the most was to take yesterday off from working and there were no lawns cut prior to this run either.  I did read a little bit after the run but, it wasn’t from a radiology book.  I’ll have to get on that.  Right now that upcoming exam in September can easily seem to fall into the Steven Covey category of important but not urgent.  I need to make it more urgent and start getting some real work done.  I suppose Pre’s quote can apply to school, learning and education just as well as it does to running.  😉

2014-05-13 15.49.04