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Annie and Julie are tackling adventure and wellness at every turn!

Annie and Julie are tackling adventure and wellness at every turn!

The full moon seemed to smile at me as the sun set, like an inspirational shift change. Despite the bug plastered windshield, it stirred sweet adventure memories and radiated wellness. What a fitting culmination to a full weekend! I tasted the riches of family, friends, travel, physical challenge, coffee, shopping, dining and peaceful rest. All is well!

Mark and Frank keep entering in a young guys division.

Mark and Frank keep entering in a young guys division.

It was pretty tough for a while. Bloomsday is a little like a plunge into an icy lake. Many people view it as a spring-time tradition. We see who we are. I was confronted with my past selves and I wished I could stride like some of them. And I think maybe I can. Or not. The mysteries will be revealed and created!

Adventure partners forever!

Adventure partners forever!

People are so interesting. We offer much and sometimes deliver little. Our potential is incredible. Our limiting beliefs dance with our willingness to try to be truly open-minded, fighting for the precious ground of our souls. We rarely know when we’re missing out, choosing to think that our opinions and beliefs are sacred, accurate truths. How silly we can be!

I may have done one thing right, or not. Bloomsday officials have a new ploy called “time up Doomsday.”  They measure how long it takes to ascend the brutal hill between 4.3 and 5 miles into the 7.46 mile race. It may be a good idea for some people to buy into this chase. For me, walking the entire steep part yesterday may have saved my life. I was red-lining, after zooming past hundreds of people on the steep downhill before Doomsday. I’ve learned that I’m very good on downhill portions, and I simply love to run fast. The mob hindered me during an early downhill section, but it thinned a bit and the course widened by the middle of the race. So I hauled ass! Then I accepted my need to walk. No, I would not post one of my faster race times. But I would still do the best I could on this day, and live to race again. Hundreds of people passed me on the hill. Many of them faded badly after the hill, and I passed them back. My ego loved the times when I passed guys who appeared to be about my age. Yay! I passed another old guy! How silly I can be!

I cannot adequately describe to you how good water, coffee and food taste after long runs. It must be experienced first-hand. It is amazing!

This is how Annie feels about Bloomsday each year and about adventure in general:

This is how Annie feels about Bloomsday each year and about adventure in general: “Let’s do it!”

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Annie is lean and fast!  Here she is after smoking me by 7.5 minutes at the Badger Mountain Challenge, 2015 Hurricane Edition!

Annie is lean and fast! Here she is after smoking me by 7.5 minutes at the Badger Mountain Challenge, 2015 Hurricane Edition!

It’s a law of nature. Training hard enables running faster. Reducing training leads to running slower. It’s a cool rule, because you can’t steal speed. You can’t wish it upon anyone. You simply get what you deserve. It cuts out identity thieves and other freeloaders.

Annie has trained harder than me. She deserved to kick my ass and so she did. Hooray for her efforts and for justice in the world!

The Badger Mountain Challenge amplifies the disparity between the in-shape and the wannabes. I ran fast on the downhills, using determination and experience. The uphill sections tend to differentiate, beautifully so. Honest folks have to love it!

Annie’s been leading a life worthy of emulation, embracing regular, varied exercise and nutritional wisdom. She is a model of consistency. Each time I visit her, I make cool strides in the proper direction. I want more strides!

I slipped into ailments and distractions, also known as work, movies, overeating and settling for mediocrity. I feel re-awakened by Annie’s good old-fashioned ass-kicking and our day-after spin class leaders’ encouraging reminders: we must push to grow, you don’t know how much you can push until you try, YOU CAN DO IT!

Life deals out road forks. I see one here. Slippage or growth? Discouragement or encouragement? In short, live or die?

I hope to live, as fully as my mind can manage. I can learn from lots of people. There are many who teach me how not to drive, speak, write, eat and otherwise spend my time. There are fewer worthy role models. How fun to hope to hang with them! When they help me grow, to become a better version of myself, I become richer. I see the glow, feel the spark, embrace the excitement, taste the depth and hope for even more. It’s the best way I know how to live. Thank you to those of you who remind me what to do, because I forget. We can save each other!

Mountain man Frank brings it home in style (go gravity!).

Mountain man Frank brings it home in style (go gravity!).

My First Marathon.

Go Annie!  🙂

Still standing, after 27 miles!

Still standing and smiling, after 27 miles!

I was 53 years old and had given up on running a marathon. It just seemed too far. But never say never! My mind is opening up. I notice people dying, some rather quickly. I want to live! I have to open my mind to help my life blossom. I hope it keeps opening! I am very grateful for the fun, adventurous, open, friendly, willing, funny, helpful and creative people who inspire me!

Preparing to run our first marathon, Coeur d’Alene 2013, Annie and I were just a little more particular.  Pick out the right gear.  Don’t forget anything.  Eat and drink well to start with a full tank.  Adjust the socks and laces just right.  Mistakes we get away with on shorter runs could really cost us on long runs. I must have been a bit too hyped, as I found my watch in the garbage, just in time.

We exited the porta-potties with three minutes to spare.  The race started several minutes late, so we timed it right. No time to get cold and not late for the start.  We went to the back of the pack, so we could pass some people.  We started strong, cruising through early miles like they were chocolate cake.  Thank God for tapers!

We finished the first half on target, feeling strong and ready. Eventually, like any long-ass run, our legs tired. Our feet hurt. Annie’s toe blistered. Gel was not as available as they said it would be. The flavors were lousy. The asphalt trail was WAY too cambered. We found some relief on dirt trails next to it. Annie hit THE WALL. Hard! The miles beyond twenty, where we’d never been before, were tough. One was extremely slow and others were pretty slow. With 3.2 miles to go, we rediscovered motivation. We’d have to pick up our pace to break five hours. It seemed illogical to me. Nearly 4.5 hours in, with heavy legs and sore joints, we’re trying to speed up? We returned to belief that it could be done and ran a decent mile 24. Mile 25 was for Annie, who gave me so much support in becoming a marathon man. We powered through it faster than any mile since the first half. Mile 26 was for me. We ran it on autopilot, pulling reserves from deep in our hearts. Faster yet! Glancing at watches, we wanted to be sure to beat five hours, so we went even faster. The segment after the mile 26 marker was more like .35 miles, so we were literally sprinting at the end, side by side, dashing to the finish! It was a storybook ending, with a splash of speed I never would have imagined after so many miles. Perhaps we had more left in our tanks than our minds could muster for several miles. But we finished with great courage and strength, emblazoning our memories with a wonderful story. I’m a marathon man now. Annie’s a marathon woman. No one will ever take that away from us. It feels good!

Marathon Annie! What will she think of next?

Marathon Annie! What will she think of next?

Marathon man!  What to do next?

Marathon man! These ARE the good old days!

TC half shirts

Running fourteen miles yesterday was growth for Annie and I. It was a faith builder. We really didn’t feel like running the last two or three miles, but we did. Those last few miles were a growth frontier, a persistence test. Do we have what it takes to push to the goal? The run sharpened our mental toughness and extended our physical frontier, so that in a couple of weeks, we’ll likely be able to run sixteen miles. Will we feel the same after that run? I don’t know, but I’m guessing so. We’ve done four runs of eleven or more miles in the past month, and they’ve all been tough. Yesterday, it was hard to finish a short cool-down walk. We should have walked farther, but we could not.

Since that was so hard, what makes me think I’ll be able to run twice that far in a couple of months? The people who inspired me! All the people I’ve known who have run marathons before. You made it! You’re tough, mentally and physically. That’s the new me as well. I want to join your club! Without this commitment and the resulting accountability, it would be way too easy to give up. I want to see how it feels to climb this mountain!

It’s a little shocking to me, because I had limited myself to half marathons. Until last month, I hadn’t run one of those for over five years. I thought ten kilometers was far enough. Then I decided to move past self-limiting thoughts. I was cornered. How to escape? RUN!!!

r-STRESS-FREE-MARATHON-large570

Is running a marathon right for you? Can you really know before you’ve done it?

Some of us decide “no!” quickly, for a myriad of reasons. It takes too much time. “That’s insane!” It hurts to run (usually due to technique issues, which often can be corrected). The list goes on and on, sometimes driven by shortages of motivation, belief, openness, curiosity, awareness or desire.

Potential rewards? Empowerment, achievement, cardiovascular health, endorphin highs, cholesterol reduction and increased blood flow to our brains and other important body parts! Yay!

Since I embrace my running time as therapeutic meditation, I’m left with physical questions. Can I prepare my body without suffering life degrading injuries? How to really know? Am I truly in tune with my body’s signals? Is there more to learn and practice about awareness, refueling, recovering and stretching?

If I don’t try, will I fly as high? Is this a defining moment in my spiritual evolution? Are the forks in the road as pivotal as they’ve always been? Should I shrink or expand?

To run or not to run. THAT is the question! Where did I put those shoes…..

frankoshanko

I love health, humor, adventure, exercise, romance and competition. Well, I just love life! ( :

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