Sunday, June 14, 2015

Day off

Last week was somewhat more taxing than expected: an absolutely awful commute to Boston and back, numerous other work stressors, and an unexpected medical issue with family. Nothing terrible on it's own, but the cumulative effect has me pretty beat. The physical implications were clear on yesterday's run. So today I'm skipping the planned 2+ hrs of running. It wasn't going to be fast, and physically I would be fine, but it would feel a bit like work. Thus I feel the best plan is to recharge.

So in place of typical words of wisdom, I offer the following:

I managed 4 runs in since this past week.
I'm at 463 miles on the year.
Just seeing people you know can change your heart rate.
Having a bit of a roll at the mid-section (compared to 4yrs ago) results in your FuelBelt staying put as opposed to sliding up!
Every now and then the best goal is no goal. Just be.
Professional soccer games are great with kids because they don't stop the clock. You get there, the game is constantly moving, and it pretty much ends on schedule.
Humans are not designed for sitting still.
Computerized analytics are great, but the complexity and variety processed by your senses and brain is incredible. i.e. Don't be a slave to the numbers and technology if something just doesn't add up in your head.


Tuesday, June 09, 2015


After a day off just 2.3 slow miles with one exception: high cadence. Focus on the hips and getting the feet off the ground. 180-200 steps per minute. Relax the arms. If I feel muscle strain at all I'm doing it wrong. 

Sunday, June 07, 2015


I'm inspired. Well at least I'm trying to be. Between now at the TARC Summer Classic 50k, the race which marks my 1 year anniversary into the world of trail ultras, I will be penning my thoughts, those things that flow so freely one the trails, in this blog.  There will be no training plan, no calendar of workouts for someone to load into an app. Rather there will be a record of my activities, and a longer weekly post related to general thoughts. Lots of short posts with the "whats" of the training week, along with the occasional longer one explaining the "why". My hope is that readers, especially those looking to find something in themselves to reinvigorate their running, might see familiar patterns and recognizable thoughts. And as patterns emerge, perhaps the industrious ones might even try to shape their own training behaviors in a similar manner. Who knows.

So as a way to kick it off, let me share some a I've had over time, the one that led me from a burnt out triathlete back to a happy and healthy runner.

Rewiring your brain

Running well does not equal running fast. Running well is running efficiently. It's enjoying the running. It's understand that running enhances your life. I am a long time athlete, and over the years the obsession has become times, splits, heart rate, heart zones, time in zone, periodization, blocks, macrocycles, mesocycles, microcycles, leading to placing and podiums. I'm moderately talented, so these were not pipe dreams. They were and are things that really happen. And they are addictive. I've never really experienced the "yeah I got my win, so now I can slow down and enjoy things." It's a cruel master you are serving when you become strictly results oriented because you will lose. It's not an if, but a when. And as you struggle to fight that which you know is inevitable, it becomes work not play. And you get tired. And cranky. And angry. And difficult. And injured. And done.

It was not always this way. As a kid I loved to run. I couldn't drive until 16, and couldn't ride a bike until age 10, so how did I get out of my neighborhood and explore? On foot. And they were great adventures, and the reward was in the doing. Last May I did Ragnar Cape Cod with a group of strangers. It was not a fast team. But it was awesome. For the first time in decades the act of doing was all that was required for happiness. That moment set me on this current course. And the first and most important step along this course was the realization that I needed to rewire my brain. Slow down. Go as slow as possible, and then slow down some more. Stop. Walk. Take pictures.  If you're a life long competitor this is the hardest part of the transformation. It takes a very long time and it is so easy to fool yourself and backslide.  My first ultra embodied the struggle. As slowly and methodically as I had been training, once the race started I took off like a shot. It wasn't until mile 8 or so when the running gods slapped the sh-t out of me by sending me sprawling and bloody to the ground that I got the message. Slow your a-- down. Look at your feet. If you don't watch the ground you'll end up on it. It's a life analogy really. Nothing good comes out of looking too far ahead. Pay attention to where you are and live the moment. And NEVER turn around and look behind you. Never unless you are coming to a full stop on top of a mountain and simply wish to savor how far you've come.

This is how I started. I will slow down. I must slow down. I must forget speed entirely. If it comes back eventually (*spoiler alert, there have been random speed sightings recently) it is not because I am training for speed, but because I love being outside and moving and am doing so with a moderate amount of frequency and a bit of purpose.