Inspiration

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Journey (Orangeman 70.3)

I traveled non-stop for 70.3 miles only to end up exactly where I started… just a lot more tired and in a lot more pain… but I loved it. I can’t put into words exactly why I loved it so much, especially because I know I forgo all logic in knowingly putting myself through the grueling physical, mental and emotional demands just for the pleasure of finishing… But I will try and explain why I and maybe so many of my dear friends are so passionate about all things swimming, biking and running… I will try…

It starts with the possibility… the maybe… some call it a dream or the dare to hope, but it typically starts with the thought, “I wonder if I can?” to “Sign me up!” to “I can’t believe I just did that!” Completing a triathlon or any endurance event for that matter requires not only sweat, but more often than not, tears. I’m exaggerating a little here… but just a little… and yes, I’ve shed a couple of tears of my own along the way. Why? Because we don’t really expect to be moved during exercise... and that’s exactly what this is in the most simplest of terms… exercise. We go into it knowing we’ll work… that we’ll sweat, but what we discover about ourselves along the way is what draws us in to truly love the journey as much as the destination. And it’s not only in the training sessions… it could be during the actual race…

A lot goes through your head when you are moving for as long as I was (not a good thing by the way). 70.3 miles swimming, biking and running leaves a lot of room for thoughts and emotions to run wild…. It was something like this;

1.2 mile swim:
Nervous… Anxious… Nauseous… Anxious… Calm… Angry… Exhilarated… Relaxed… Relieved…

58 mile bike:
Hopeful… Nervous… Impatient… Relieved… Happy… Anxious… Fearful… Drained… Joyful… Frustrated… Embarrassed… Relieved… Anxious…

13.1 mile run:
Dread… Dread… Dread… Hopeful?... Dread… Dread… Embarrassed… Pure Elation… Thankful… Overjoyed… Proud!

It was exactly in that order. It was painful and difficult and I didn’t do as well as I had hoped… the first few hours was easier than the last 2, but I’m okay with it. Why? Because only a few months ago I was the one thinking; “I wonder if I can?” Today I know the answer to that… “wondering” if I can has been replaced with “knowing” I can regardless of how I did.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter what you do… a 5K or a marathon… a sprint distance triathlon to a half or full Ironman, none of that matters… it’s the journey in faith in finding the person God made you to be and proving it… and proving it to yourself is where the real reward is…

Oh, and maybe there’s some reward in having your own personal cheering section…

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oh, the pain!

I’ve been tinkering with my running form. I‘m making the transition from being  a mid-foot runner to a forefoot runner... which some experts call “natural running”. It’s been a couple of months now, and I feel as though I may have it down… almost. Admittedly, I still need some work…  and what I mean by “some” is “a lot”. Why the change? For every reason the pro-natural running community touts… easier on the body, running longevity, efficient bio-mechanics… but the most important reason for me… speed. For a slow runner like myself, speed is the goal.

I started picking up bits and pieces on “natural running” in different articles. The articles mostly talked about the barefoot strike and the inherently natural inclination for the foot to want to strike on the forefoot and not the heel. … coupled with a brief meeting with Crossfit Endurance Co-Founder Doug Katona several weeks back who preaches that the best runners are forefoot runners, I started to wonder, sometimes aloud, “Can natural running improve my efficiency and speed?” So I made the change to find out.

The changes have been slow and painful, which my calves can attest to. But I’m not certain I could blame the running form entirely as I also changed my shoes to a natural movement shoe… which for me was a pair of Nike Frees...



These shoes are a just a hair more shoe than the Vibram 5 Fingers, which I don’t think I can ever wear…  but these Nike Frees are light, airy, and offer almost no support… perfect for natural running.

Most of my runs were short runs of 4-6 miles. The first few times out, my form would degrade and I would catch myself landing with a thump. I wasn’t getting it. It wasn’t until I read Born to Run by Christopher McDougal did I start to understand how un-technical running could be and just how much easier it is to “run easy”. The books is about a hidden tribe of Indians deep in the Copper Canyons of Mexico that possess an ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury and a great race between them and some ultra-marathoners from the U.S. But the underlying point to the entire book is that we were inherently made to run. He calls it evolution… I call it God’s wonderful design… but I’m trying to prove that out a little by putting his knowledge to practice.

I can honestly say I see some improvement. I ran a 5K over Labor Day at a 7:55/mile pace. Not a blistering pace, but fast for me and a vast improvement over my 8:15/mile pace I had put up just a couple of months before. It was enough of an improvement to me that I figured I had it down… speed and efficiency was in my grasp. Fast forward a couple of weeks to the present and all I can do is wish that I could walk without a limp. Yes, an injury while using my new running technique has put my upcoming half iron distance race in jeopardy…

It happened at the Pacific Coast Tri this past weekend from my bike to run transition. I think I may have been a little over zealous in taking the run course on. Instead of a light easy stride off the bike, my pace was pounding and furious out of the gate… but close to mile 1 I felt a sharp pain in my Achilles. The pain soon took hold and my sub-23 minute hopes for the 3 mile run became a pedestrian 24:26.

So I’ve had time to reflect… time to regret a little as well… I don't think it was the form, but the practitioner... I don't blame the shoes, but I do blame the runner... but regret aside, all I can do is hope and pray that I’ll be ready to take on the 1.2 mile swim, 58 mile bike and 13.1 mile come September 25th… lesson for me this time? Ease into anything new… from new running form to running shoes… even from the bike to run transition… ease into it… after all, those few minutes I think I’m gaining really mean nothing when I’m  injured and laid up wishing I could lace up my shoes… and man, am I wishing I could go out for a run right now.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Too much water can be bad for you?

Did you know you can actually drink too much water? I guess I had actually known that as well, but didn’t understand why. I remember a few years ago a local radio station was holding a contest for, if my foggy memory can recall, a Wii gaming system. This was back when the Wii was hard to get and actual fights were erupting in stores for them, and people were actually selling their kids for them… or something like that. Anyways, the fall of civilization aside, this particular radio station came up with what seemed like a benign, safe contest to hold as a radio gimmick… they picked several people out of a crowd and held a water drinking contest. That’s safe right? It’s just water… heck, we’re made up of water… no way drinking too much water can be bad for you, right? Unfortunately not a single one of those people putting on the contest asked whether or not it was safe to consume gallons of water in a single sitting… so for one contestant, it turned into an awful morning… the worst kind of awful…  she died. Died of drinking too much water!
It’s called Hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is a metabolic condition in which there is not enough sodium (salt) in the body fluids outside the cells. When the amount of sodium in fluids outside cells drops, water moves into the cells to balance the levels. This causes the cells to swell with too much water. Although most cells can handle this swelling, brain cells cannot, because the skull bones confine them. Brain swelling causes most of the symptoms of hyponatremia.
I only bring any of this up because I think I suffered from a mild case of hyponatremia yesterday after my brick workout. I had gone on a 46 mile bike ride through Santiago Canyon and followed that up with a 6 mile hill run. Because I forgot my Gatorade at home, all I had with me was a 24 oz bottle of water… I didn’t think it was a big deal, because I downed a liter of water right before starting the bike ride. Unfortunately by mile 28 of my bike, I had no water left. My buddy Brad had handed me one of his Gatorade bottles before we started the ride, but before I could get a drink of it, it had popped out of the bottle holder when I hit a rough patch and spilled out onto the road…that totally sucked! I knew my sodium levels were depleting though, because the amount of sweat dripping from my body was unholy and I was constantly wiping the eye burning, stinging sweat away from my eyes just to be able to see the road. During the loop back, I knew I couldn’t go much further without something to drink, so we stopped for a Gatorade at a convenience store. The confusion and irrational behavior must have really affected me I only bought one… no water either… so dumb! I drank it down in what seemed like a single gulp… and I was still thirsty. But it helped and got me through the bike. After the bike, we started our run… a painful run through hills that I barely survived, fighting through some cramping, and mental fatigue. After the workout was finished, I grabbed my emergency bottle of water that was in the car… nearly swallowed the entire liter of water within 10 minutes but I still felt thirsty… I just couldn’t hold any more liquid… So during my drive home, I felt nauseous… a little dizzy. I arrived home and drank more water thinking I was dehydrated. After a quick shower and a quick bite to eat, I started working on cleaning out the garage with Elijah… still sweating and still so thirsty, I grabbed more water and a diet coke… a big mistake… I grew more and more nauseous… I felt this way for hours yesterday. It wasn’t until I had some salty food did I even start to feel better… to feel whole again…
Lesson here? Don’t let your wife talk you into doing chores around the house after a long workout! I kid, I kid… (sort of). Actual lesson here is simple… Gatorade is your friend… sodium is your friend… chores, not so much…

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Training... sort of...

When I first started biking I was told there were a few things I absolutely needed to come to expect in my first few months of riding… The first being that I would at some point fall over on my bike because having your feet clipped into pedals is forgettable. (You can only hope that it’s not while riding with a friend on a busy path around Newport’s Backbay with other bikers, runners and walkers in clear view with the sounds of “oohh!” as you slowly fall over in slow motion… embarrassing.) The second is that every biker should learn to change a flat and prepare for getting one, because everyone gets one. I didn’t give much thought to either one of these truths… and sadly, as of this past weekend both have come to pass…

I had gone out the other week to buy a spare inner tube, a CO2 canister with adapter and a small tool that’s used for changing flats. I didn’t think I’d actually need them, so I didn’t bother buying a bag to actually carry the little “just in case” kit around. Instead, I left them in their original packaging in the garage right next to my bike with very little expectation of needing them. So when I woke up Saturday morning with grand plans to get a near 50 mile bike ride in through the hills of South Orange County, I didn’t give much thought to the flat kit I assembled that was sitting very literally next to my bike as I prepped for the morning. You can see where this is going…

Suffice it to say, I didn’t get my 50 miles in… a rear tire flat made quick work of any notion I had in getting in a long ride;


Instead, I got in an 8 mile ride… a 1.5 mile shoeless walk and a 15 minute curb sitting session. I wasn’t alone in this by the way… sadly, my wife was dragged out of bed at 6:15am to a pathetic phone call of “Can you come pick me up?” She was good enough to get herself and our 4 year old son out of bed to come get my sorry, unprepared butt without complaint.

It wasn’t all for not though… what was expected to be a smooth but challenging ride became a valuable lesson on being prepared for all eventualities…I went out that morning and bought a pack that is now strapped to my bike with all of the “just in case” essentials.


I also learned how to change the flat and in fact, practiced a couple of times just to make certain I had it down… so I guess I still got in some training… although not exactly what I had planned for that morning, it was still a lesson worth learning... so it wasn't a total loss... and spending a Saturday morning having breakfast with the family was pretty nice too…

Friday, July 1, 2011

My weekend...

A co-worker asked what my plans were for the weekend… I didn’t give it much thought when I responded, “BBQ with the family… fireworks… relaxing…” and left it at that because that seemed to sum up the coming events of the weekend. But he asked, “No working out this weekend?” I thought for a second and replied, “Yeah, I’ll be doing some training…” and I laid it out matter-of-factly…

Saturday;
6:00am – 10:00am = Bike 30 miles, run 7 miles, swim for an hour
3:00pm – 4:30pm = Cross Fit Session

Sunday;
6:00am = 1800 meter swim in Long Beach

Monday;
7:30am = Lake Forest 5K with the family

“Yeah, that’s nothing… man, thanks for making me feel like a lazy human being…”

Obviously he was joking… but it hit me… “All of this training and I still manage to look like a sausage when I wear spandex!” I kid… I kid… sort of… (I know, bad visual) But I am working out a lot... and the true beauty is none of it seems like working out to me. In fact, it’s become more play time for me than it is training… and every weekend has some play time built in. It’s expected by my kids, by my wife… I’ll be gone every Saturday morning from before they wake to about mid-morning when chores and errands have to be done… and I’m right there with them. This weekend is a bit of an exception as I typically wouldn’t have a session in the afternoon… but everything else is normal… a standard part of my life. But why? Not certain… I haven’t put a lot of thought into it… but I love waking up with the sun… I love the cool mornings… I love my running shoes… I love my bike… I love meeting up with my fellow comrades in spandex to go for a ride or a run. Doesn’t matter to me if we stick together or not, we’re still in it together. I love that I burn several hundred calories before my day even gets started… I love the taste of cold water when I’m sweaty, tired and my body feels like it’s on fire… I love the feeling of finishing a long swim session… I love races and the atmosphere that comes along with it… I love the gear and the toys… I love the feeling of cool sheets against the skin of my freshly shaved legs (yes, I shave my legs now)… I could seriously go on and on, but I’ll spare you… because really what I’m trying to convey is simple… I love running, biking and swimming… so none of it is work or a chore… I guess that could change with time, but right now… I can’t get enough…

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Beautifully courageous...

I love watching people run. People of all shapes and sizes out moving in the most natural way is beauty to me. I may not have always thought this… but I think it now. I truly appreciate how wonderful it is to get out and run... and I appreciate just how courageous a person has to be to take those first steps. After all for some it’s more than just the heavy breathing or the sweat dripping from their faces or the humbling affects of age… it’s overcoming the self consciousness of not feeling your best… of feeling out of your element… feeling old… of maybe carrying around that extra weight that snuck up on you after years of neglect, but getting out there anyways… courageous… and I see them. I see people running on occasion that do not fit the typical runners mold and if I didn’t think I would get smacked or be misunderstood, I would want to encourage them… I want to yell “You  look awesome! Keep it up!”… but no matter how sincere my intentions, I doubt it would be taken well… so I don’t say a word. How do I know some people feel a little self conscious or intimidated to go out and run? Maybe I’m not entirely certain… but I suspect it because that’s exactly how I felt when I started running… out of shape and out of my element. I’ve also had conversations that reveal a lot… with friends… with co-workers… and with strangers… this past weekend was a good example.
 I spent a few hours this past Sunday morning helping Team World Vision get ready for the upcoming running season by manning a table at my church. My roll was to answer questions and get people interested in signing up to be part of the running team that would run the LA Half and Full marathon to raise money for clean water in Africa. I wasn’t alone though… I had a few friends with me, so it turned into a pretty good time. But we each did our part… answered questions… encouraged people to sign up and get more info, but not surprisingly we heard a lot of reasons why they couldn’t or didn’t want to run… none of it being lack of desire mind you. The reasons ranged from bad knees to lack of time, but most of the reasons stemmed from some form of self consciousness. The “I’m a terrible runner” came up a few times… “I can’t run” was another popular one… but surprisingly, the most common one was “I’m not a runner”. What does that mean? I think our group may have looked intimidating to some… not certain. But they were willing to come up to take a look, just not commit. What I actually heard in those responses was… “I’m not fit “looking” and I think people will laugh and stare at me if I run and I’m afraid to be the worst one so I won’t even try”… Maybe I’m not entirely accurate, but I bet I’m close.
 There were a few though that signed up… a few people that weren’t so sure when they walked up, but was lent enough encouragement to take that first step… none of them runners… but willing to run… courageous I say… and I will be proud to have helped them in a small way… the beautifully courageous…
 Anyone want to go running with me?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I'm a dork...

I read Triathlete magazine cover to cover. I have copies that date back to last year littered about in a few areas around the house, just so I can get in a quick read when I get a quiet moment to myself… With kids, those quiet moments are few and far between and usually only happen in the restroom… Well, this week I was able to get a few moments outside of a restroom to actually poke through a few pages. I was reading an article by a pro that talked about globe-trotting during the season and keeping up with family and friends through email or Facebook. The seemingly frank answers on life as a pro endurance athlete made them suddenly seem human to me… normal… everyday people. Yes, I know, we’re all human… but usually people with any form of fame seem a little less ordinary. People that grace magazines seem a world away, so as a huge fan of the sport of triathlon or long distance running, I see the athletes I read about as superstars…  but this article allowed me to peak into a life that is similar to so many lives… to my life. They suddenly became so normal to me that I thought, I’m going to write them on Facebook… better yet, I’m going to friend them… after all, I’m a sort-of triathlete… So that’s what I did… started sending Facebook friend requests to some of my favorite athletes… because maybe some of what they have will rub off… so I sent out my requests…
I sent a friend request to Mirinda Carfrae (Kona Ironman World Champ and Oceanside Half Ironman Champ)... nothing yet…

I sent a facebook friend request to Paula Findlay of Canada, who was just newly crowned ITU World Champion… still waiting for that confirmation…

I sent a request to Chrissie Wellington… a 3X Ironman World champ and what most consider the best triathlete we’ve seen in years…. No answer…

I sent one in to one of my favorite Ironman champs, Craig Alexander… he must be away from his computer though, because I haven’t seen him on my list of friends…

I sent one to Chris Lieto, thinking we have something in common… he likes Team World Vision and I’m part of Team World Vision…  still waiting for his okay…

Okay… I’m lame! I obviously gained a little sense this week… logic was forced to seep in after a few days of thinking, “where’s my friend confirmation?” As far as they know, I’m some creepy guy that wants to infiltrate their inner-circle… So instead, I opted to like their Facebook pages like a normal person... I opted to just become a fan… because that’s really what I am… a fan of amazing athletes… of people that have to juggle life with training…
But I did get in contact with one athlete… sort of… Heather Jackson, a newer triathlete that gets closer and closer to winning… I posted on her Facebook fan site… and she responded with a “Thanks John!”… so I guess it’s not all for not…

I know... I'm lame… but at the very least, I am passionate... a little obsessed yes, but passionate with something that makes me healthy and happy... bu the friend requests may have been a little much...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ah... the memories...

I personally look forward to having a few physical memories of the race events I participate in, so I love that most events hire professional photographers that dot different parts of the course to catch each athlete in motion. At least I love the idea of it… don’t always like the results though, especially if those photographs come back making you look a little less like an athlete and more like a middle aged guy trying to be an athlete. Prime example… my recent race, the OC Int’l Tri... I still contend that these were just bad shots…
Here I am coming out of the water in full form… What I was hoping for was a dramatic photo of me in triumph getting ready to take on the bike… instead, a photo of me obviously trying to get some of the water I inhaled out through my nose… just not right…

Here’s another gem of me on my bike… it’s sort of an action shot, right?

I need to get a new helmet, because obviously this one is too big… makes my head look larger than it is. The lighting seems to be off too, because I know I don’t look that “sausage” like normally when wearing ultra tight spandex. And the photographer must have had a great motion capture lens or something, because they somehow captured me in mid-bike when I was screaming down the bike course… funny, because it almost looks like I’m barely moving…
Alright… run portion. Not horrible photos, but they somehow made me look like I’m sixty… and white!...

Oh wait!... I’m behind that guy! Yes ladies and gentlemen… a permanent record that shows me getting beat by a 60 year old… totally awesome.
But the the truth is this… when I go through the motions I really feel like I look like this…

But God is absolutely hilarious and gives me glimpses of reality that dig into my ego with shots like this…

Ah… lessons in humility with generous doses of reality...
But at the very least, I could say that I do share one thing with the elite triathlete or top age grouper… and that is the desire to push myself further and farther than I’ve ever thought possible… and that I do with the best of them...
By the way... occassionally I do get a photo I love... a memorable moment that I'm glad was captured... no matter how raw...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Me? Swim 1500 meters in open water?

It’s Monday, May 23rd… which means May 22nd weekend came and went without major incident mind you (all Armageddon jokes aside) and the date that loomed so heavily in my mental and emotional scope is now in my past. The fact that I’m writing this means I did not drown or get eaten by some freak monster fish while swimming in Mission Viejo Lake for my first real triathlon. Yes, I survived the 1500 meter open water swim… but not without a few hiccups…

 5:00am - I had terrible sleep the entire weekend, so my mind and body were not sharp when I woke up race morning… (note to self: do not allow a group of 10 year olds hopped up on soda and cup cakes to sleep over the weekend of a race). But I was still excited to get to the race, so I quickly got myself out of bed, grabbed my gear and headed out of the house with some uncertainty. I was anxious and nervous… my wife knowing this, she came out to the driveway just as I was about to leave with a hug, a kiss and a “you’ll do great!”… I loved the gesture and found myself smiling with a little more confidence driving away from the house.

 5:35am - I arrived at Mission Viejo Lake and the streets were already swarming with the energy of hundreds of athletes ready to take on the day… and I was one of them, just not as slim and athletic looking. After parking, I made my way to the body marking station and then to the bike transition area where I found very little space to set up my gear. After walking by bike after bike I squeezed my way in between two unattended bikes and set up my spot. I was anxious and nervous, so after placing my bike I kind of fumbled around my gear bag not entirely mindful of what I should have been doing. After a few deep breaths I tried to focus. I began to set up my area… helmet, bike shoes, glasses, race bib… all being set in order. After my transition was set I began soaking in the morning. “I’m here… I’m really doing this!” I thought to myself. I checked my watch and my 7am wave start was coming up, just like my breakfast… yes, I felt a little sick to my stomach. I kept having to take deep breaths to calm myself. My friend Brad was there, who I got into this mess with, but he seemed much less nervous than I was. So we chatted briefly… but I can’t remember anything we talked about, except that he pointed out we were the only ones that didn’t quite look like we belonged… made me feel awesome because sadly… he was right.

 6:35am - After fumbling to get my wet suit on, I made my way down to the swim start. My stomach turned with nervous anticipation at what I was about to take on. In a matter of minutes I would do something that just a few weeks earlier seemed a far off dream. “Oh man… why did I think this was a good idea?!” I thought to myself as my stomach tried to claw its way to my throat. I eventually made my way to the shoreline where hundreds of neoprene clad “triathletes” were all taking in the site of the water in the early morning gray. I stared out toward the first buoy and fear suddenly struck… “Holy crap… how am I going to do this!?” The first buoy marker seemed an impossible distance for me to swim. I looked around to see whether or not anyone else looked as scared as I felt… Nope, it was just me. So I said a quick prayer… and made my way in the water for a quick dip before the race started to help get me comfortable. I swam out about 100 meters and came back… I felt okay. It started to seem less impossible... after all, it's just swimming... right?

 7:00am - The call from the announcer, “Wave 1… All silver caps to the start area… 3…2…1…BBBAAAHHHH!”… Frantic rush to the water. The splash of 64 bodies simultaneously hitting the water made for confusion and chaos… but I was there in the thick of it, mindlessly rushing in. I began to stroke through the water to get some rhythm, but bodies were hitting me from all sides… I felt arms on my legs and legs on my arms… but I kept trying to press on. I started to go through everything I had read and everything I had been taught to try and ease my growing panic … “easy stroke, relaxed breathing, strong catch and sight”. After a few strokes I lifted my head to sight but took in water, Gag! Cough!... didn’t work… so I decided to follow the feet in front of me. I kept a steady even stroke and kept following my guide. After what seemed like eternity, which I’m sure was only 2 or 3 minutes, I decided to make another effort at sighting… this time perfect, eyes just above the water… “Wait! I’m going the wrong way!” I followed the wrong guy, because we both ended up what seemed like 100 meters off course. I was stricken by panic. I took a quick look back at shore and although it seemed like I was swimming for an eternity, I was only about 200 meters from where I started. Fear immediately began to creep in… in that moment I thought about giving up… I’m off course and I’ve barely made a dent in the swim. In that brief moment I began seriously doubting my ability to finish the swim… But then Phillipians 4:13 then crept into my fear stricken mind… “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me…” My doubt began to fade… and the thought of my wife and kids waiting at the finish line began to erase the fear… Determination began to take over. So I started swimming again. My stroke and catch began to take shape. I hit the first buoy and I was overjoyed… “I’m doing this!!!” I thought to myself in near disbelief. I felt great… I pressed on… I sighted the last buoy marker to the turn out and I smiled because in the weeks leading up to this, I thought, “if I could just finish the swim I’ll be able to finish the race…” and here I was, about to complete the swim.

 7:38am - I hit the shore after swimming for 38 minutes! Not fast by any means… in fact, I think you can consider that pretty slow, but I still felt great… Heck, I finished and I kept my dignity intact… can’t ask for much more.

I won’t bore you with any more details because the remainder of the day is not as important. It was just biking and running, both of which I love… but not worth giving a blow by blow. But the rest of the race flew by and I finished blissfully. In fact, I did it with all smiles and a few “wwwoooohhhoooo!!!” along the way. I rode and ran through the hills of Lake Forest and Mission Viejo feeling like I accomplished something on this Sunday morning… Oh wait! I did accomplish something dang it! I just finished my first Olympic distance triathlon and faced some fears along the way… so yeah, that explains why I was all smiles… Like so many things in life, starting something unfamiliar is always toughest in the beginning… and on this Sunday the last 31 miles of my day was not nearly as difficult as the first .93 miles…

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Too Little... To Late...


10 days until my first real Triathlon! Swimming 1500 meters (.93 miles), biking 40k (24.85 miles), and closing with a 10k (6.2 miles) will be the culmination of very little work, very little discipline, and blind optimism… Simply put… I’m dead! “Too little, too late” will haunt me come May 22nd. I may be the first swimmer to call for Lifeguards within the first 100 meters of the swim… If I make it out of the swim and manage to get on my bike, I’ll be the guy puking on the side of Santiago Canyon rd desperately calling for “momma”… and if I make it out of the bike, which would be a miraculous act of God, you may find me walking at the back of the pack calling for “time out!” every few steps. Just thinking about it is making me a little sick… ugh!

Over reacting? Maybe… I certainly trained harder and am much more disciplined than I’m leading on, but logic still tells me I’m under prepared. And I don't mean just a little unprepared... I really mean alot unprepared. Lesson here? Stick to your training program!

Example... A few weeks ago I signed up for an open water session. I went into the session with the afore mentioned blind optimism, thinking that I would be able to perform every drill with ease... after all, I had committed weeks upon weeks swimming lap after monotonous lap… How can I not get through a few drills and a 1200 meter swim? I stuck to my training almost... I almost felt okay in the swim... how can I not find success swimming in open water for the first time? (the following photo is proof of my naivety... note the look of promise and hope...) 


Well, shortly after drill number four I was done. Sprawled out on the sand... nauseous... dizzy... embarrassed. I no longer looked this at ease... I no longer had any confidence... in fact, that day may have started what I'm feeling now... nervous... uneasy... sick... Lesson here? So many lessons, but the big one... Stick to your training schedule!

I learn these lessons the hard way... I'm dumb... thick headed... I over estimate my fitness and underestimate the need for consistent training. Yes, I learn my lessons the hard way... but no lesson will be harder than the lesson waiting for me on May 22nd... Bring it!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Count down...

I’ve been sweating my upcoming triathlon. I haven’t been training well or consistently, so given I only have 3 weeks before race day, I know I’m racing against an unfriendly clock… it may be too little too late for me… but I will do it anyways. I’ve committed. If I’m last across the finish line, I’ll have to be okay with that… at this point, finishing within the time limit will be a win for me. And if I don’t finish? Well… I’ll live and learn and carry on to a new day… Theodore Roosevelt put it best;

It is not the critic who counts… not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who at best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement… and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
                                                                                               
So, I’ll keep going… swims… bikes… runs… all strung together like a beautiful symphony for the hard of hearing… because, what I do isn’t so beautiful… yet! But with each swim session… each bike… every step of my run, I’m getting better… and maybe my great enthusiasms and devotions will prove to be wonderfully beautiful in my minds eye...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bad Funk...

I’ve been in a funk the past few weeks. Some people call it a mild case of depression, but I won't go that far... I may be a little more irritable than normal... a little less jovial... but depression?

It started with catching a bit of the crud the weekend I volunteered at the Oceanside Ironman 70.3. At least that’s when I think I caught. I went into the weekend a little run down and tired, but I made the commitment so I went. Great day despite being tired…  I got to amerce myself in the world of the Ironman series and see pros like Andy Potts, Michael Raelert, and Mirinda Carfrae finish. I was a finish line catcher and my primary job was to congratulate each athlete and make certain they were okay after their 70.3 mile ordeal. Suffice it to say, I had to carry a lot of people to the medical tents… sweaty, exhausted and smelly bodies… very literally a catcher. I spent close to 11 hours at the Ironman… 8 of those hours catching athletes (did I mention they were sweaty and smelly?), so I guess it wore on me. I came home that night feeling a little crappy. That was a little over a week ago.
This past week I somehow tweaked my back. I suspect I strained a muscle doing nothing out of the ordinary… nothing I can recall anyways. I’ve woken up the past few mornings with back stiffness and pain. Shooting pain that makes itself known when bending over to tie my shoes or breathing too deeply. I enjoy breathing, so I have to keep from enjoying it too much… so no deep breaths. Can I just say, back pain SUCKS! I’ve never had back issues… can’t explain why I would have issues now, although my wife has hinted that it could be related to age… “Hey old man, you’re not 18 anymore!” still painfully rings in my head.
So why does this all matter? From being sick to back pain now? Why the funk? Because I haven’t been able to train in the past 2 weeks. I’ve not gotten a decent swim, bike or run in that means anything. In the meantime, May 22nd is quickly approaching… an Olympic Distance Triathlon that I am not ready for… at this rate, I have very little hope of posting a half decent finish time. In fact, at this rate I may not even be able to finish. But that doesn’t bother me as much as not being able to get out and grind out miles. I haven’t sweat in weeks… no sunlight on my skin… no endorphins… I’m in bad shape… yes, I call this a funk.
So hopefully the weekend comes and my back pain subsides… swim, bike, or run… I’ve got to nail a session down. Maybe a run Saturday morning… an open water swim on Sunday…  maybe… hopefully… prayerfully… all I know is I've got to get out of this funk... and a little sweating should do the trick...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

LA Marathon (the worst day ever?)

Running my first marathon was more than I expected, not in a good way. I expected to be slow, but not this slow. I expected it to be difficult, but not this difficult. I also expected it to be uncomfortable, but I certainly didn’t expect the torrential downpour I had to run in for most of the 26.2 miles. I also didn’t expect the 50 degree temps coupled with 20 mile per hour winds. In fact it was so cold and wet and uncomfortable that at mile 15 I declared this run to be the worst ever. I can’t think of worse conditions… Suffice it to say, I was beyond miserable… but I pressed on.
The course itself was difficult. Steady hill climbs at mile 16, 20, and then 22 made me question my sanity… each climb I thought to myself… “I paid to do this?” The streets turned rivers didn’t help either… but I guess it was a blessing that my shoes were soaked through as my feet were so cold, I couldn’t feel the blisters that had formed and then popped on my feet during my run. I’m certain everyone had the same sentiment about the day… going through the same pain. I heard more than a few people cursing the day. At mile 22 on the dreaded climb uphill, people did more than curse in fact… they grunted in agony and a few actually wept in misery. The streets were littered with people in fierce battles with themselves… mind versus body… and I was one of them. Limping in sheer pain like so many of my fellow runners… grimacing with every step. I had to walk mile 22… I had nothing left like so many around me. It was then the noise from the crowd started kicking in… the screams of “You can do it!”… The crowd of people braving the same elements we were, calling people’s names… “Go John!” Total strangers would call, kindly offering their encouragement… so I started to jog at mile 23… that jog turned into a steady yet painful run. In pain, I focused on the ground in front of me and said a prayer asking for a little strength. My slow jog then turned into quicker steps and soon I was running again. Mile marker 24 came and went, and my body was growing more and more unhappy, but I kept going… mile marker 25 brought more cheers from the crowds with a few hi-fives. “One more mile!” the crowd shouted… so I pressed on. The last mile seemed to last for eternity... running toward the finish felt like the longest mile of my life... but I finished… I ran 26.2 miles. Wet,cold, in pain, tired... but oddly satisfied and happy. I can't wait for the next one!

(By the way, to give you an idea of how cold and miserable it was… one of the guys I carpooled with was taken to the hospital having suffered from hypothermia… that’s right! Hypothermia! Sadly, there were quite a few people in the hospital being treated for the same thing…)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hardware

My wife bought me a display for my medals and racing bibs. I have them all proudly displayed in the loft against an empty wall. I like looking at them. They are physical reminders of what is possible through commitment, determination, hard work, focus, and maybe a little bit of crazy. They are finishers medals… given to anyone that finishes an event. As long as you walk across that finish line before the cut off time, you’re assured one. The fact that all finishers receive one doesn’t make it any less valuable to me though. From the fourteen year old sharing a moment alongside mom and dad, to the 75 year old grandmother celebrating life… every finisher gets one… and I like that. After all, to be a finisher not only means I started… but I persevered to the end. Yeah… I like my medals.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dumb training mistakes... the importance of fuel...

I keep making mistakes with the most basic of things when it comes to training… This entire weekend is a great example of how little I put in to use the small bits of training knowledge I have learned over the year. Maybe it’s that I suffer from that horrible affliction known as “middle-aged-guy-forgets-he’s-not-18-anymore-itis” (look it up, it affects most men over the age of 30). But although I have read the basics of training and will even talk to that knowledge in any number of circles, I don’t always practice them myself… simply put… sometimes, I’m just dumb.
I went for a moderate ride yesterday. Short distance of an out and back route of an hour and a half. First half of the ride is uphill, which means having to grind it out… which honestly, I’m not very good at. I chose a spinning gear and went to work trying to keep up with my training partner who made the ride seem easy. After about 45 minutes we finally hit the steepest portion of the ride to where our turnaround would be… he made it first and I slowly followed, but he looked fresh and I looked like a wet rooster that was just de-feathered. I had to unclip and climb off the bike to get my bearings… light seemed to fade in and out momentarily… I was getting light-headed… I started losing feeling in my extremities… I was done. I knew my mistake… I underestimated the ride and over estimated my fitness… I didn’t fuel before leaving the house which is maybe the rookiest of all rookie mistakes to make. Luckily I was smart enough to bring electrolyte gel and water. I downed both… and after spending a few moments laying on the bike path I felt my energy level come back… I was ready to ride again… mistake behind me.
So, I woke up this morning swearing I wouldn’t make the same mistake again. I gave myself plenty of time to eat and stretch before heading out to run 18 miles. In fact, I gave myself so much time the sun was shining pretty brightly and it felt unusually warm. But, I had to get in 18 miles today so I headed out with 2 electrolyte gels and 2, 12 oz bottles of water strapped to my fuel belt. I ran from Lake Forest up Irvine Blvd thru the city of Irvine to the city of Tustin… the heat wasn’t horrible, but I found myself needing the water… I was thirsty and by mile 12 I was out of water… Another dumb rookie mistake. I didn’t drink enough water the day before and had nothing more than a glass of water during breakfast… I was thirsty and I had 6 more miles to run and it was getting warmer. I had no choice but to gut it out and finish my run… by mile 16.5 I started feeling the cramps in my left calve… my body stopped sweating and the salt on my skin was dry… I was dehydrated for sure and my body was letting me know it was not happy with me. I finished my run though… but I felt even dumber…
Maybe I needed this weekend… maybe it will sharpen me for the upcoming LA marathon and my training leading up to the OC Tri… Maybe? If anyone sees a guy laying on the side of a trail somewhere with the stink of utter stupidity… please slap him…

Sunday, February 27, 2011

First Tri Experience

There are certain moments in life that are beyond words… the moment you fall in love… your wedding day… the birth of your children… your first triathlon. Okay, maybe doing your first Tri isn’t on the usual list, but I’ve got to say… there was something wonderfully satisfying and moving about completing my first Tri. Although my performance was not entirely memorable, the day was. From walking in circles in search of the transition area, to making the attempt to set up our transition areas, to the terrible calve cramps I suffered most of the day, it still ended up being better than I had anticipated. I expected to like it… but I didn’t think I’d love it this much.
Although excited, I thought I’d spare you from too many details… so here are some photos;
My transition area... note the Bed Bath Beyond bag that I know all of the pros use in their transition area... Sweet!

My wonderfully supportive family that braved the cold to cheer me on...
 
I love my wife...

Brad and I at the start of the run (reverse Tri)...


Me during my run... don't I just look fast? (don't answer that)

Bike leg of the race as I began passing people... that was until the cramps started coming on...


Not the most flattering photo, but note the right calve... yes, I was in pain... but I finished...
Despite the physical pain, my first Tri experience was awesome! I'm already planning number two... new obsession? Maybe... life style? Definitely...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday morning

I’m awake at 5:55am… my body no longer allows me to sleep in. My eyes open at the slight glimmer of sunlight… And as the night melts into morning, I lay awake thinking of what I have to do… and it usually involves running or biking… although recently it’s been all running. Training for my first marathon has put me into heavy mileage. Last week was a 20 mile Saturday… today, I get to step back to a 12 mile day… but I’m still toying with possibly doing 22 miles… So I lay awake thinking about things like this… my obsessions… my swim technique… maintaining my bike… deciding on what running shoes to wear… This is a typical Saturday morning.
So, now I’m up with a bottle of Gatorade, a glass of water, vitamins, oatmeal and a banana. I’m dressed for my long run… decided to make it a 12 mile day as the thought of doing 22 in rainy conditions sounds much less appealing than doing 12. I’m eating my oatmeal and downing my banana… trying to get this down an hour before I head out the door. Today is a neighborhood run… no Backbay or Huntington Beach run… no, I’ll be going this run alone. I’ve filled up my Fuel Belt with water and have a single pack of electrolyte gel for mile 7. I’m set… just need to wait that hour for my food to settle, otherwise cramps or some other gastrointestinal issue… so I wait and write.
I choose this over sleeping in… I choose the early morning hours because the family isn’t up yet, so the hours I’m gone are not missed so much. I don’t fit in my training anymore… this has become the norm. My wife no longer asks if I’ll be running or biking… she expects it. It’s no longer a question of whether or not I’ll be out with the early morning sun… she just needs to know when my sweaty, hurting, beat up, exhausted and happy butt will be home again… and yes, I always return home happy and smiling… after all, there is nothing like starting your day exceeding your own expectations.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Friendly Competition

“The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running.”

I read that somewhere and thought it poignant and meaningful… in fact, I thought it was pretty motivating. It says something about determination and perseverance… about keeping up the good fight… about running until you feel like you can’t go on and then going another mile… and another… and another. It says in its wholly practical way that being the Turtle is fine and that the Rabbit is irrelevant to the Turtles resolve and success. I buy all of that… I love the sentiment behind it… but sometimes, being the rabbit seems like so much more fun.

A few of my running partners/friends ran in the annual H.B. Surf City Half Marathon this past Super Bowl Sunday. Although most of them were pretty confident going into the weekend, I naively thought the 1:58:13 I posted just a few weeks earlier was respectable enough and would remain respectable for months to come. After all, just a few weeks ago all but two of us were still training for our elusive sub 2hour time. But little did I know that the 1:58 I posted was soon to be nothing more than average in this circle of friends… in fact, I now consider it close to pedestrian given the times that were posted a few days ago…

The fastest time was posted by a half marathon virgin, 1:52:04, who by the way is built like a Kenyan... lean with long limbs. Second fastest time was posted by my closest rival. Although friends, because we started our running adventure together and soon to be Triathlon adventure, we consider ourselves friendly competitors… he posted a 1:52:23, a full 8 minutes from his previous best… insane! (Envy setting in… see Rabbit reference above.) Number three on the “buddy podium” finished at 1:55:48 and earned a few extra bragging rights due to his bum knee. All three of them made my time look more “steady-turtle” like than the “swift-rabbit” like runner I thought I was. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still happy with my time and with beating my own personal record… but honestly, a little of the shine has come off that imaginary trophy. It seems a little ordinary now and less than spectacular. Maybe that’s normal… after all, with endurance events it’s not always just about finishing… sometimes it’s also about beating the other guy(s)… sometimes for nothing more than bragging rights, but heck… having those rights can feel pretty damn good...

In the end, I know it’s okay. I can still look positively at my experiences as a whole and know I’m not only doing something good for my body, but for my own emotional well being… and maybe a little for my spiritual well being too. And in looking at my times, I can see I’m getting faster with every run. Competitive nature? Maybe a little… but I’m still sincerely happy for those guys… kind of proud of them actually… for the work they put in. It’s to be admired… they simply raised the bar… the gauntlet has been thrown… a new measure of speed and endurance has been set in our world… and for me that means having to train that much harder… I know that’s what really gets me. The faster they get, the faster I have to get… but I guess the rabbit wouldn’t be the rabbit without the turtle… or is that the other way around? No matter… Turtle or Rabbit… it all comes down to me… I’ll keep going. Hopefully that’s the only thing I have in common with the Turtle in the end.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Vacation

I’m going on vacation this weekend… 7 day cruise with the family… and all I can think is, “How am I going to get my workouts in?” This can’t be normal. The fact that the only thing I really wanted to know about the cruise was whether or not they had a running track on board and how long it was (1/3 mile by the way) is a sure sign I may be becoming a little obsessed about all of this running, swimming, biking stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to all of the family activities and the moments spent building lasting memories… blah, blah, blah… but really, I just need to figure out a way to get good run miles in and maybe a couple of swim drills… the family stuff will happen no matter what… but my miles won’t unless I make the time. So despite the endless buffets of everything delicious, I’ll still be in training mode… vacation or not… Just need to make certain I work time in every morning... afterall, vacation is no excuse.
By the way, why does anyone think it’s a good idea to require a black suit or tux for dinner on a cruise? How is that appealing in any way to anyone on vacation?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rest week...

I’ve been feeling a little sick… slightly under the weather. I blame my wife and kids who all managed to bring home a hack and sniffle. I held out a few days, but I think I’m done for… I’ve got it… whatever “it” is… no swim this week… no bike training session… I don’t suspect I’ll get a run in either. I’m sunk this week. My body is enjoying the rest I’m certain, because there’s not a single ache or sore muscle… but mentally, I’m in panic mode. I feel restless… anxious… and a little worried that whatever gains I had made in the past few weeks are gone by now. The speed I thought I had in the pool… gone… the extra fire in my legs during the run, squashed… the extra layer of fat cells coursing through my body probably found a place to settle down and rest… I’m certain of it. In fact, I think I feel some settling just above my belt line… Yes, I’m a mental wreck. I feel my arteries hardening and my fat cells increasing with every letter I type… That’s how I feel anyways…

Honestly, I know none of this is actually happening. In fact, every book I read on fitness tells me that rest is critical, especially after any strenuous activity… so why do I feel so crappy? Well… I know this is all completely normal. I’ve read that anyways… apparently, when you’re so used to training and being active, that any unexpected time off can cause some form of depression… maybe this is true… maybe the anxiety I feel is me feeling like I will lose my fitness… maybe. I guess it could also be the cough and sore throat that’s making me feel less than 100%… Heck, who am I kidding… it’s probably that bag of fries I ate earlier…

Yes… we all make bad choices on occasion… but this week is now officially rest week and I wanted something salty and fried… terrible mistake because I think my body is rejecting it… Unfortunately, I’ll have to work this off sometime this weekend… The punishment to fit the crime? I think a 17 mile run is calling my name… that is, if I’m rested enough…

Monday, January 17, 2011

Setting a new PR

I did it! I set a new PR (personal record) this past weekend… 1:58:15… So why do I feel a slight sting of disappointment? Why do I have such mixed feelings about it? After all, I hit a long standing goal that just a few weeks ago seemed so difficult to achieve… Why do I feel a little let down?

Since entering half marathons so many months ago, I’ve targeted time goals for every race I’ve entered. Even for my first, although most people tell you the goal should be to merely finish… I set a goal to run it in less than 2:15… which I did, 2:11! For my second race my goal was to break 2 hours, which I didn't come all that close to.... finished that one in 2:07. I cut myself some slack though as I underestimated the hills in San Francisco. Okay, my focus was on race number three, Long Beach. I trained well for race number three. Despite a minor injury in a local 5K, I still felt like this was my chance… I thought for certain I would break the 2 hour barrier…I ran with determination and spirit... but that only lasted until mile 10... I finished in 2:00:13… 13 seconds too slow! Utter disappointment… Race number four I threw out the window… horrible finish time of 2:04, but I gave myself an out because I ran this race one week after running my “almost sub-2 hour” race day and PR at the time.

This was the weekend for me... this weekend’s race was supposed to be it for me… the run that would set the bar for my goals and finally put me in a respectable category of a “sort-a-fast” runner. I used everything I had learned from my “almost sub-2 hour” race to train for this one. Lessons like, using the port-o-potties before the race not during or taking energy gels at mile 5 and 10, instead of just at mile 6 so I don’t die on mile 12… I trained smart… I ate well for this event… I did everything right… The result? I did it! I broke that elusive 2 hour barrier. But this is not what I thought I would feel life after hitting this mile stone number. Don’t get me wrong, I felt great when I crossed the finish line… but that was it… I felt good… too good. I may have left way too much in the tank… I may have held back too much. So now that raises the question for me… could I have done better?

Depite my mixed emotions, most of me feels pretty good about it. In fact, in thinking about it now, I feel pretty good… running 13.1 miles in 1 hour 58 minutes and 15 seconds is something to feel good about… I guess my expectations of how I would feel or the experience itself seemed far more glorious in my head… There was no dramatic music… no applause… I just ran… but I guess it fitting. I run for myself… my competition is really against myself… and for now, I can say I won… I beat the younger, slower me… heck, a few months from now I'll be beating the younger slower me again... well, I can hope and plan anyways...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Race Weekends

I can’t say I’m ever nervous before a race… anxious maybe… definitely excited. It’s not overwhelming by any means, but the build up to race weekend after weeks and months of preparation can be a little like the night before Christmas morning for a ten year old… decidedly wonderful… and I always have someone to share it with…
Race weekend is an event in our house. We make it an event… and I appreciate my wife so very much for joining in on the fun. We prep together weeks in advance… hotel stay, meals, course map, mile markers, energy gel reminders… gear checklist. No matter the distance from home, we make it a weekend. This weekend is a prime example. I’m running the 13.1 series in L.A…. Venice to be exact, and instead of driving the 50 minutes up to Venice the morning of the race, she insisted on staying the night to make our travels easier… after all, it’s a given that the entire family will be there rooting me on… no matter how brief the “dad” sighting is. So, why not make a little trip out of it? After all, it’s not only me who has sacrificed time and money on doing this or any event… it’s my entire team… my wonderful support crew… otherwise known as… the family.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goals

One of my goals for 2011 was to start my triathlon journey. In part to test the boundaries of my body, but also to test the limitless possibilities of my faith. At what point do I say, “I can’t do this?”… And at what point will my faith need to transcend my own physical abilities? I intend to find out.

Like so many people, I’ve watched and have been enthralled with the annual Ironman World Championships held in Kona, HI. I make it a point to watch it every year. I watch in complete awe at the accomplishments of people I do not know. I am moved by the extraordinary feats accomplished by the ordinary man and woman. I am inspired by their testaments to the pure power of the human spirit. To watch someone move their bodies for hours in order to travel 140.6 miles from start to finish… pure beauty. But despite what I would watch on TV, none of it was entirely personal to me… moved, inspired… yes… but enough to get me actually moving?… no. I guess it was because no matter how ordinary these athletes seemed, they were still a world away… heck, they were a universe away. What they do or were doing is not in me… deep down, I was limiting myself and setting my goals low. After all, not trying and wondering “what if?” was easier than trying and knowing… right? That was my thinking anyways… subconscious or not, I still wasn’t moving.

But this year was different… I started to do. And for the first time, I believed I could. That is the power of setting a goal and meeting it… So I decided that I would set a goal. A goal that is far beyond comfortable… something that will require an abundance of faith and determination… and of course a very supportive wife. I will sign up for the 2012 Oceanside Ironman distance event! Half Ironman distance of 70.3. Still a little scary, but still so very exciting.

First things first though. I have to actually know what I’m doing and myself into. My first step? Signing up for my first triathlon… which I did today! The Los Alamitos 30th Annual Race on the Base that will be held on 2/26/11. It’s a sprint distance event that will cover all of 15.35 miles. A far cry from a half Ironman distance of 70.3 miles… and even further from a full Ironman distance of 140.6… but I’ll be 15.35 miles closer to experiencing a true Ironman distance. This will be my inaugural event that will hopefully lead me to finishing 5 times this distance a year from now…

What steps of faith will you take to reach your goals this year?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Personal Mantra

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure.” – Eric Liddell (Chariots of Fire)
I love this quote. It doesn’t describe my running ability or speed though. I wish I could say I was fast… but anyone who has run with me can attest, “fast” does not describe me. But I love the quote nonetheless. It’s simple and poignant. It speaks of deep faith and hope… a mantra that can keep my legs turning when it seems most difficult. I don’t personally use this quote though… the whole “fast” thing doesn’t apply, so I would just be lying to myself if I tried… But I do have one. This is one that I use when my body is running on fumes…
 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. -Phillipians 4:13
My mantra holds deep significance for me… it gets me by in not only difficult stretches of a run or race, but also in difficult stretches of life. It narrows my focus and gives way to strength that is beyond anything I have.
I think it important to hold onto a mantra… to call upon it to keep you moving during the most difficult stretches of a race… or life. Something to use to get you started… something to get you through the setbacks… something to use to reach your goals.
Nike coined “Just Do It”… Lance Armstrong created, “Live Strong”… What motivates and keeps you going?