Monday, July 30, 2007

Why Bad Runs Are Good

Huh? Yup, bad runs are good (well, they can be). Last weekend I had one of those. Set out on Friday night after a long day at work. Planned on solid 18 miles out at Cochran Shoals (pdf); the first half hills/single track, the second half with my running buddy Rolf on flatter terrain.

But nothing ended up going to plan. Felt tired from the very beginning, everything just seemed way too hard. The legs were heavy, the air was humid (the completely soaked shirt after less than five minutes of running was a bad sign of things to come), the hills seemed higher, my stomach was acting up….just everything seemed off. Then Rolf got held up at work and didn’t show. While I struggled the first half, I was looking forward to the second with Rolf (“Misery loves company” or something like that). Well, while waiting on him, I realized that my car key was missing from the little pocket on my Ultimate Direction running bottle. Uh oh. Maybe I’d left it at the car? Need to get there fast. After a seemingly endless mile or so, I got back to my car. Thankfully it was still there but the key was missing. That could only mean one thing: I lost my key somewhere on the trail. For some, reason I decided to call OnStar right way (instead of finishing my run) and an 18 mile long run had turned into a (totally unenjoyable) 10 mile struggle.

After being depressed about the run for the next few hours, I focused on learning some lessons:

  • A cup of coffee five minutes before a long run will send my stomach spiraling downwards
  • Keep your S!Caps protected…they are water soluble (or sweat-soluble); that means don’t keep them in your Ultimate Direction bottle pocket
  • When you lose your car keys finish up your run first…you can wait on the roadside assistance later (this wasn’t my first time)
  • Don’t immediately hit the hills if you’re tired…adjust your run and try to stay on flatter terrain when starting out
  • Get enough sleep the night before a long run

Hopefully, these lessons will come in handy in Santa Barbara. Better to make mistakes in training than during the race, right?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Couple of Photos

My favorite blogs are are those where people post running related pictures. So, I will try to follow their lead on this blog. Here goes...

That's me (with shirt) tackling The Wall at last year's Brasstown Bald Buster [pdf], a tough 5k race that climbs a total of 1864 feet to the top of Georgia's tallest mountain (Brasstown Bald).

Impression along the course of the Hogpen Hill Climb 17k. I really enjoyed the frozen waterfalls along the course like the one on the left. Most people don't realize that it can get pretty cold here in the mountains. I've actually seen people ice climb (I wouldn't believe it unless I'd seen it with my own eyes). That let me to the conclusion that Georgia must be the only state where you can ice climb but also go see alligators.

Reasons To Love Running #1

Getting Away

There is nothing like putting on your running shoes after a long, stressful day at work and knowing that everything is about to be put in perspective and that everything is going to be “better once I’ve gotten my miles in.”

Running Daily

I run seven days a week. At least one mile (but usually more). I started running because I heard about the Running Streakers Association. You have to run at least 365 consecutive days at least one mile to be able to join. The hardest thing at first was definitely getting used to never having a rest day. Rest days usually mean two or three easy miles now. The first month was definitely the hardest. It was also the month with the lowest mileage all year (averaging around 20 miles a week or so).

I’ve been keeping this up since December 31st, 2006 (day of first run) and haven’t really found a reason to stop. The runs are the hardest when work gets busy (60, 70 hours/week and I’m traveling) and not when I'm putting the most miles in. But I haven’t stopped yet.

Today was consecutive run number 207.

Why I Am Writing This Blog

The number one reason is certainly guilt. I spend some time every week reading my favorite blogs from around the web. Mostly they’re written by everyday people such as Scott or Addy. They may not know it, but they are very inspiring. It doesn’t matter whether they’re faster or slower than me. But it’s the outlook on life, the positive attitude and joy of running (trails) that make me come back over and over and follow their (running) lives. For their inspiration I am very grateful.

The second reason is that I want to keep some sort of record of my running endeavors. Sure, I have my running log, but it doesn’t tell the whole story of some of the more memorable runs, races, etc. And if somebody wants to follow along, then all the better! I think most of us everyday runners underestimate the power to inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle. If only one person gets inspired to start running because of this blog, well then it was well worth it!

The third reason is the most selfish one. I haven’t found many blogs specific by Georgia runners in general and Atlanta runners in particular. I’d love to build some sort of small community, so that when I say Cochran Shoals, Kennesaw Mountain or Sweetwater State Park, they know where I’m running.