Monday, March 29, 2010

Running for Personal Reasons / 4:38 mile

He finishes up the 4th lap gasping for air.  That was the final lap to complete the mile run.  Right after wards he empties out his stomach, for what lays on the ground is the high school lunch from about 5 hours ago.  Now he is back down to 158 pounds.  This was his freshman year.  As he walks over to see what his time is, he is greeted with a few "great jobs".  None of his family were there to offer any support.  They never could make it to any races, but they did take him to the hospital to get his physical as he did not have his license at the time.  The time? Coach says "4:38, good job".  That's it, nothing special.  There were other guys on the track team that came really close to a sub 4 mile so anything over 4:30 did not constitute any extra attention.  After his freshmen year of track and field, he lost interest.  With no support really, he got tired of running "like hell", and then puking afterward.  That is what his training regiment consisted of, just "Run like Hell". So no track and field after his freshman year.  He thus began hanging out on the smoking terrace smoking and talking about the latest Metalica album.  I believe it was "And Justice for All". 

That was 20 years ago!  Where is he now?  He just started back running a little over a year ago, having lost 40 pounds down to 195 now.  He was out of shape (every essence of out of shape), and tired, and wanted to do something with his life.  He has his awesome wife for 500% support now.  He knows now,though,that the whole "Having Support" for running thing is nothing more than a luxury.  Yes, it is nice to have friends or family there to give a hip hip horray, but he knows now that one of the coolest things about running is the self awareness and self motivation that comes from it.  When you start and end a race it is all about YOU!  What would have happened is this kid kept on running and running?  Who knows?  Who cares?  What he knows now is that he can not chase the past.  You have the present and the future to work with, that's it.  During the last year, now 35, this guy has come a long ways in his running ability from not being able to even run a mile to running 11 miles.  Will he ever beat his mile PR of 4:38 from 20 years ago?  I don't think he is too concerned with that right now, although a sub 6 mile would look good.  I just think that the equivilant would be to run 26.2 miles at a "Whatever Pace" just to finish his first marathon.  For he has a personal reason to run now, other than the obvious ones of getting shape.  He just wants to finish what he started 20 years ago, knowing what he knows now, knowing that it is not about the "other people".  It is about YOU and YOU alone.

Thank you very much for reading this.  I have been wanting to get that off of my chest for over a year now.  I do feel better.  I can say one thing about this blogging thing.  The comments that I have received here have been more than enough to make up for the unsupportiveness (I don't think that's a word but o well) in my past.  Thank you for that.  With that, I must say that if you run across blogs were people are starting out, give your support and comment.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Success is Dependent upon Effort

"Success is dependent on effort." - Sophocles
Today was a very good day in terms of Running.  For the past 2 months I have really buckled down with my running plans.  As you may know, my ultimate goal is to do ultras in about 2-3 years from now.  Something about the long runs I have been doing excite me.  I know I have to start out small and work up to that point.  I have been working on my base mileage.  This year I plan to run my first 21k and 42k.  I will use my 21k to use as not only a first big race, but training for the 42k to follow.  The 42k is still somewhat debatable, but the 21k is a "for sure thing".

So back to this having a very good day thing.  I believe that the extra miles and hard work is paying off in terms of speed.  Today was my 5 mile tempo run.  I am not on a training routine yet, I just run hard after warming up.  I set another PR on my 5 mile run.  Last week's time was 52:31 with a 10:30 pace, and today's time was 52:44 with a 10:20 pace.  As you may recall, one of my goals was to run below a 10:00 pace before the year expired.  With my current track record, I believe this to be achievable at least.

What I have learned is that success is directly dependent upon the effort that you put into anything.  No matter what your goals are you have to be 100% focused and dedicated towards the bottom line.  Through out the day, whether its regarding calorie intake, or food choices, or whatever, I am constantly thinking "How will this effect my running?".  The same holds true of my daily walk with God.  The things I say, or the things I do - how will they effect my relationship with God.  What will other people think of my actions.  I constantly battle the temptations from Satan, as I battle the temptations to offset my running goals.  What kind of temptations do you face daily that have a negative impact on your running? 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Persistence Pays Off.

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent." - Calvin Coolidge

One of the key elements of running is persistence. I started running a little over a year ago, and am where I am today through persistence. It pays off. When I first started out, I was happy to have ran at least one mile. One mile WAS my long run. lol. Back then, to even think about running 10 miles was hard on my head. But here I am today, 40 pounds lighter and feeling healthier and feeling happy. I still have a ways to go, but I will get there through determination, hard work, careful planning and yes, persistence.

Right now, with my running, I am working on my base mileage. I am paying close attention to my diet (well, as close as one would want to anyways). And I am losing weight because of those two elements in my life. One thing I would like to share is this. When I first started running (walking fast), the results were not there. I was not losing weight like I wanted to, and my improvements in running were very slow. Being persistent, though, I was finally able to see some results from my efforts. You do not end up the way you do overnight, therefore, you are not going to be able to shape your body the way you want to overnight as well. Be persistent and stick with your goals. If you do not meet a goal time for a race, do it again. If you are struggling to reach a certain distance, keep at it, and do not give up. Try again, and again, and again.

I have registered to do a half marathon this year as part of my first step into semi long distance mileage. Next year, if not this year, I plan on doing marathons. My ultimate goal is to do ultras. I am loving the endurance aspect of running. I find it very enjoyable, and mind altering. My goal in 3-4 years is to be able to help runners in the Philippines that can not afford running shoes and equipment, etc.. I will be managing this directly since my wife and I plan to move there. With that, I plan to operate a running ministry as well to go along with that. We will undoubtedly reside in Mariveles, the starting point for the Bataan Death March 102k which I plan to help out with in 11'. For all of these plans to take place, it will require a great deal of persistence on my part, and a lot of other things as well. More of that to come. Thanks for reading and I hope that your week is doing well so far. Persistence is the Essence of Running.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Benefits Being a Runner

Having been a runner now for over a year, I am realizing now the benefits of being a runner. Recently I have been adding a lot of miles to my week that transforms into about a half a pound of fat lost per week, granted I do not add more than what comes off. I am closing out the weeks with over 25 miles or so, with more to come. What I want to get at is that being a runner, or actually being in shape by exercising routinely and eating right comes with many privileges. We can, in fact, experience the good things in life with out being too much overweight and not regretting it. For the most part, I eat rather healthy. I eat my fruits and vegetables. I was joking recently about going to a raw diet, but the only thing close to that is my sugar in the raw for my coffee. To make this short (so you can go and do your weekend things while I work lol), yesterday was my rest day. Last evening, I went to McDonalds and ordered 2 Mcdoubles, a Med. Fry, a large SWEET tea, and 3 Chocolate Chip Cookies. As fast as I got it, they were gone man. It was Gooooooood. Well, obviously, my stomach felt bloated and I felt like crud for about an hour or 2, but that was yesterday. Today was my tempo run. I weighed myself and I actually lost 2 more pounds and felt lighter. Well, I think that was in part due to my morning routine when I get up mixed in with all of the grease from the food. I hope you understand. Oh, And I PR'd on my 5 miles today by over a minute. I was flying and I felt great. I was totally taken by surprise. How did this happen? I thought I was going to weigh 5 pounds more and run like a doughnut rolling in mud. The benefits of being a runner and being in shape (well almost). I am in better shape but still have a long way to go. Now, if you are in habit of doing absolutely Nothing all day, I would not recommend this diet. I would not recommend this to anybody, but sometimes, its good. The Complete Book of Running by Runner's World said that the milk shakes from there are good to have sometimes. Has any of you splurged and thought it was going to cost you, but actually ended up doing better? Inquiring Minds want to know.

***And this just in - Oprah Winfrey is now training for the Badwater Ultra. Celebrities on the run, I tell you. She isn't really, at least I don't think, but I have a question for you. What Celebrity would you want to see attempt BadWater?

My answer - Will Ferrell - in this outfit!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Running Training Log Tools

Currently I am using Running2Win.Com for my training log. Having one is very useful indeed. There are many uses that a log has to offer. The most useful one is to see how many miles you have ran in any given week to see how far you have come along, and to see how you can improve, etc.. I am sure that most of you already keep one. This post is not intended to explain all of the aspects of having a log, because I am sure that you already know this information.

I have been running now for over a year, and this is why I am writing this post. With my online log book, it offers graphs and charts. One of those graphs shows the total miles ran each week. You can compare this year with the last one. With knowing this, I was amazed to see the difference between the miles last year and this year. As you can imagine, this year's overlaps last year's by twice as many miles. It is really interesting and fun to see those miles almost double the ones from last year. I have come a long way, and plan to go even farther. I am really glad that this site offers these kinds of training tools. With your online log, what tool do you use the most, or what tool are you fascinated with the most?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rest Days, and Sticking to what Works for YOU!

Currently I am working on building up my base mileage and losing weight. The weight thing is coming along pretty well averaging about 1 pound a week, give or take. My long runs right now range between 8-10 miles. Recently, however, I have ran across a dilemma. Are my long runs not long runs anymore as my body is adapting to the distance? The reason is when I first started out with my long runs, I would not want to do anything the next day, except for walking or something to stretch out my legs and move around. Now, however, I have a lot of energy the next day. I do not want to rest. Yesterday I ran 8 miles. Today I wanted to run, so I ran a very easy slow paced 3 miles. For some reason or another, I wanted to run today, and I had to as it was not an option. The only feeling I can say about not running today is that I would have felt incomplete. I made sure to keep it at a very low intensity as to not injure myself. Is this ok? Maybe this was my body telling me that 8 miles does not fall into the category of "long runs anymore". I think its time to step it up. Sure enough, I look at my base mileage training plan for next week and it calls for 10 miles again instead of 8 as I am supposedly having an easy week this week. The following week calls for 11 miles, so lets see how I feel that week the day after my "long run". If you are feeling up to it, is it ok to run extra miles as long as you are not running those extra miles hard? SOmetimes I really hate rest my legs do not know what to do and they get bored. Does any one else share this same thing happening to them?

Sticking to what works for you - in this I have one example. Since I started running, I have not made it a habit of eating anything before a run. I come home from work and sleep 4-5 hours and get up, have a cup of coffee, a cup of water to hydrate, (some yogurt if I have a long run), then 30 minutes later I am running. Last week I tried something new. I had a 1/2 cup of oatmeal trying that out before my runs. My runs turned into me feeling like a blah while I ran. I did wait an hour and a half, but I felt weighed down. Was I suppose to wait longer? I did, I tried 2 and a half hours, with the same results. The only other solid food that I have tried that does not give me any problems is a banana. From now on, I will not deviate, unless any of you have any advise on food choices that are good for pre run meals. This week, I have not had anything other than my usual cup of coffee. This week my running has been good. I will just stick to what works for me and what HAS worked for me. Although, some advise would be helpful as it would might lead me to better gains in performance.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Do it Today, Not Tomorrow

Over the weekend, a co-worker of mine was killed in a head on car collision on his way home from work. I did not know him very well, but we did speak to each other almost every day. He would often ask me to pray for him, and that his life was not all together. He also said that he had plans to getting in shape. I finally convinced him to try eating Subway instead of KFC if he is going to eat out. Sure enough, I would see him at work having Subway instead of KFC 2 out of the 5 days of work at least. Start small right? He would often tell me he had plans for working out and getting in shape by loss of weight, etc.. He will not have that chance now to do what he wanted. He will be missed, but my point to any of you reading this, is to not put off anything you plan on doing. If it is a 5k or even a marathon that you want to sign up for and do this year, Do it. Do not wait until next year. Sign up for that race NOW. If your goal is to start losing weight, start on that today, not tomorrow. If you have a goal of running a certain distance, plan it out and start on that today, not tomorrow. If there are also other things that are needing to be done, get them done today, not tomorrow. Whether or not my co worker was in shape had nothing to do with the fact of his death, because when it is your time, it's your time. Do it Today! Go for that run that you have been procrastinating on. Go now and do whatever it is that you want or need to do, because you do not know when you will be called on to go home! Oh, and wear your seat belt when driving, if not only to save yourself from getting a ticket.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Runner's World or Blogs?

When I first started running over a year ago seriously, I remember being very excited to await my next issue of Runner's World magazine in the mail box. I am still excited but not as much. It seems to me that the articles run in a cycle. They seem to come back again and again. I use to love going directly to the Ask Miles section, but the questions now days are getting ....what? I can not think of a word for them, but maybe the first thing that comes to mind is not interesting. For example, in April's issue one of the questions are ; I waited in a race porta-potty line for 20 minutes, only to have the person in front of me let his buddies cut it. How do you suggest dealing with line jumpers? I would answer this by asking if you want a whamburger and cries with that? People are who they are. Get over it, unless you plan on confronting the situation, (or torching it for revenge - see pic to the right) ....and then what? Oh, and here is a good one ; Isn't it rude to leave a fellow runner hanging if he waves or gives you a nod? Im not even going there. Maybe I will ask Miles ; Is it ok if I wear a running shoe on my left foot, and flip flops on my right foot when I run? Ok, enough of that, you get the picture, and I do not mean to badger. The questions use to be good. Now they are lame. As far as the rest of the magazine, it just seems to me that it is the same ole' stories and articles over and over again. Is it still fun to read? Hmmm, sure but I am not excited with it anymore, and I will not renew my subscription unless I get the $1 deal per issue. Now what I would rather read are posts from the running blogging community. There is one runner that writes so well, he can actually take you on his runs with him through his creativeness in writing. If you haven't check him out yet go to Rise of a Champion, by EZEthan and check out his latest writings : The smell of fresh air, roadkill and exhaust (plus global warming is real), and Tales from the Gym, part 3. For he is truly a champion on the ascent. Two other bloggers that recently depict the 2010 Bataan Death March 102k Ultra are Runner For Christ and Running Pinoy. These two share the stories of the joys and tribulations of running ultras in the Philippines. My point in this is that I would rather read the struggles and triumphs of my fellow running buddies and bloggers from all around the world, from Chicago to the Philippines. Instead of just flipping through pages, you are actually being able to interact with your running pals by commenting and giving feedback. I didn't mean to be hard on Runner's World magazine, but in my humblest opinion, they are in a declining slope of entertainment for me. Ex. The only thing that made the "Incredible Weight Loss Myths Exposed" article cool was that Sasquatch in the pictures. Other than that, the myths were common sense. Ok, ok, I am done ranting. I wonder if there is any one else out there that remotely shares my opinion? Keep Running.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

First Half Marathon

Per my last post on Focused Intensity, one of my frequent commenters suggested that I sign up for a half marathon. Long overdue, since I have been running now for over a year. Well, now I have a goal. I signed up for the Harrisburg Half Marathon which is to take place on September 12th, 2010. That is 6 months and a few days away. I am pretty excited about it. As far as PRs go, I will be having one, since this is my first one. Next year, I will definitely do a marathon, if not this year. I was thinking about doing the Harrisburg Marathon in November and using the half for training. So now I have a definite goal and lots of running to plan as well as getting my diet in check. Maybe I will try the Raw Diet....................NOT (In a million years maybe). Well......actually, I have given it some thought, not to do it 100%, but in some aspects.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Focused Intensity

Through my last year and first "real" year of running, I have learned a lot of things about the sport. Running is more than just getting some gear and a nice pair of running shoes and heading out the door. Running takes planning, patience, and perseverance. As of the moment, I do not have a race that I am training for, set aside a few 5ks. Not training for a specific event can alter your way of running. You ask yourself....How long should I be running? How often should I go running? etc... When not training for a specific event, most people are either cross-training, or building up their base mileage. As of the moment, I am building up my mileage, and increasing my strength through weight training.

Through it all, one thing that any serious runner needs is Focused Intensity. With running this applies to all of the fabrics of our lives. To be a healthy person, you need to be focused with your diet, and diligent with your exercises. I have noticed, when I step out of that focused frame of mind, my running is altered in some way. For instance, I recently bought some girl scout cookies. I have to admit, that I have indulged in a little too many, for this affected my running in a major way as I made out to do my long run today. Needless to say, even the few extra pounds and not so good energy source lagged me down. Instead of the planned 8 miles, I only did 5. I have learned that to harness my true running potential, I need to stay focused with every aspect of my life, including getting enough rest, eating the right foods, and staying on top of my running plans.

The same thing can effect your relationship with God. If you do not have focused intensity, you can fall short of the many blessings that HE has to offer. Those little sins can get in the way of your relationship with Him. Are you focused on doing the will of God, whether its going to church, or praying diligently, or are you being lazy for Him? Like running, to have a true relationship with God, you need to be focused on the things that matter. Are you intensely focused on the things that matter in life, or are you busy with knowing all of the details of other lives that, in the end, do not matter one little bit? Where is your focus? Are you focused?

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Impact of Running

When some one chooses to become a runner, it has a great impact on them. It has had a tremendous impact on me. Looking back at the person a was verses today makes me very proud to be a runner. Having lost a lot of weight is one of them. I can remember the time when I would have troubles tying my shoes. I remember being out of breath when I visited the Philippines and walked up the stairs going to Mt. Samat in 2007. Something had to change, I had to change. I chose running because that is what I did in high school albeit over 16 years ago. This month marks my first year being a runner. God wants all of us to take care of our bodies, and running has given me the outlet to do such a thing. Now, I notice that my upper body is more defined and my legs have gotten smaller and my calves show two muscles instead of one blob of something. The only thing left is my middle section. lol. God has given me the strength to endure those long runs and short runs and every thing in between. For Him, I give him praise and glory for making me the person I am today. I am a Christian. I am a Runner. With my running and this blog, my mission is to lift up Jesus Christ, as he is the Reason I am what I am. Running with a Purpose is the Essence of Running. What is your Purpose?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bataan Death March 102k Ultra

March 6th, at Midnight starts the Bataan Death March 102k Ultra. The race goes from Km 00 in Mariveles, Bataan to Km 102 in San Fernando, Pampanga. The reason why this means so much to me is because my wife is from Mariveles. The 0 km marker is located near a Jollibee. I ate there so many times when I was visiting my now wife and her family in Mariveles. Click here for a full history of the Bataan Death March, and the actual history behind it. If you love history, be sure to check it out. Two bloggers that will be racing the BDM 102k are runningpinoy and Runnerforchrist. Be sure to also check out their site on wordpress. For me it is an honor to post such an article on this site. I will be keeping them in my prayers as they set out on their 102 km journey. My plans in the next 2-3 years are to be able to move to the Philippines in hopes to start a ministry of sorts dealing with running. Running has become very contagious in the Philippines over the last decade or so. My wife's family over there is huge (understatement). I think it fair for her to move there and be with them while the filipino people are very kind hearted. We have a mission too. Amongst our visit in Feb-Mar of 2011, we will start getting things prepared. I will possibly open up a running store, through my wife, in Mariveles. Most of the running gear will be donated out though by charity to help support the runners that can not afford better running equipment. This is my dream to help others achieve their dream as well. Best wishes to the participants in the 2010 Bataan Death March 102k Ultra March 6th-7th. I have also included some pics of my travel to the PH in 2007. Enjoy. The top right is the Manila Bay looking out of her parents front. The second one on the the left was taken while risking my life on a bus trip. Its okay until they go around the curves and you look out and see a half a mile drop. Scary to say the least. To the right here is my awesome Mother n Law - Moma Nenita. I think I was eating that squid later that day. I was excited to go fishing with my Father n Law Rogelio, until my wife told me that he dove in the sea. I changed my mind. This last picture here to the left is my beautiful and supporting wife (asawa), Loredel. She is the one who gets me going with my running and getting my butt out the door. God Bless her! Well, hope you enjoyed reading a little bit more about me. Until the next time, and again, best wishes and success to the BDM runners.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Changing Running Patterns

The past week of running went really well for me. Some time off in the warm climate of NC has done me good. Next year's vacation will be in the Philippines as pictured here. I have a refreshed attitude towards running and my goals since. While on vacation, I had a chance to reflect on my life and my goals. Hence, I have not really done any long runs since coming back off cloud 9, but yet, I have been doing shorter ones focusing on my form and breathing patterns. I have incorporated some speed work as well. This has helped me as to not get burnt out. I have learned that you must change your running patterns around sometimes and do different things so you do not get burnt out mentally and/or physically. Many thanks to those who have commented on my last post on the reasons for blogging. Next week I will start back with my long runs, but for now, I am experimenting with some cross training which is improving my running. I am doing some plyometrics, strength excercises, etc.. I plan to include a healthy dose of this into my running from now on. I look foward to this new start. I suppose that Not Running is the Essence of Running.