Sunday, January 31, 2010
Lots of nervous energy there. I talked to a couple guys who were making their first attempt at the Arrowhead. I almost feel a little sorry for them as I got the sense they had no clue what they were in for. Being on the trail is one thing. Being on it for a couple days is another. There is only so much you can say. You just have to experience it. My experience from last year has me certainly more confident going into it this year though I know I still have a lot to learn.
I'll find a church to go to this morning and then maybe go for a little run to calm the nerves a bit. More later
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Last year after I dropped out, other than a warm bed, the first thing I thought of was what I needed to do to be successful next year. I started making a list immediately. I came up with about 10 things that I would do differently and I have now made all what I would call "improvements". One thing I did was make a pouch on the front of my shirt to warm up food. It gets really old eating things that are frozen solid, which just adds to your problems. After you've been out there awhile eating on your feet while on the move is just something you don't want to do. For me, that is where the trouble started. I wasn't taking in enough calories and my body wasn't creating the heat I needed to do to stay warm. It was about -10 when I quit and the thought of going through another night had me concerned for my safety. Though I was banged up physically and mentally, I was still moving forward but I know I made the right call in pulling the plug. I now know what I could have done to keep me going but at the time I did not and I have no regrets. Live and learn. Two steps forward and one back is a positive net gain. On the ride back to the hotel I was already planning for next year so I was still moving forward.
Many of the people that don't make it to the finish of Arrowhead do not return the following year. Some have tried every year and not yet made it. All I can say is that I am here and I will give it my all. Regardless of whether or not I cross the finish line this year, I will continue to keep moving forward.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I was running through the woods with friends Tim and Joel this past summer and the topic of bear came up. Tim said he was not concerned at all about being attacked by a bear. He didn't know if there were any around or not, and it didn't matter because he said he knew that he could run faster than Joel. You see, he focused on what he did know. After Tim's comment and a chuckle, though not from Joel, we started chatting about something else. Funny though that when you are by yourself for hours in the woods, your mind can start playing some tricks on you. What was that? What is behind those glowing eyes? I saw a "rabbit" . I saw "Big Foot" . I don’t know...... I don’t WANT to know. What I do know is that the likelihood of an animal attack is slim to none. So when I start to hear the noises and see things, like Tim, I focus on what I do know and not what I don’t know.
We spend too much time being fearful of the unknown which seems like such a waste of time and energy. Take what you do know and work from there the best you can. The things you don't know can't be controlled so they will have to be dealt with in their own time and are not to be feared.
"Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown."
Friday, January 22, 2010
My first year of marathon training with the Red River Runners group, I hooked up with one of the trainers who was very energetic, funny, fit and always encouraging. Every Saturday morning when the group got together I looked for her and ran with her nearly every week. Sometimes we ran in a large group where I took to the back and listened to the banter and sometimes it was just her and I. When the last long run over 20 miles came, it was just the 2 of us after the 10 mile mark when she began to struggle and slow down. She needed to walk. I walked with her. We ran when she could and walked when she had to. She told me many times to go on ahead but the gentleman side of me couldn't leave a lady behind. She had become my friend and I couldn't leave my friend struggling. She was kind of embarrassed by her performance in not being able to hold up her end of the deal. She joked, the student becomes the teacher. Little does she know that what I consider one of the most valuable lessons I've learned about running was taught to me that day. Do your long runs slow. We finished our 22 mile run in 3 hours and 53 minutes. Way behind everyone else. No big deal I thought though way off the pace I had intended. I knew I had done the right thing by sticking with her and even if it may have hurt my marathon preparation, I still felt confident. So marathon day comes with all of it questions ready to be answered in the next few hours. Would I "hit the wall"? What will my time be? Will I even finish? Well, I did finish. And thanks to my friend, Marilyn, I finished in 3 hours and 53 minutes.
I enjoy being a back of the pack runner and I like hearing stories from some of the new runners who really haven't yet found their groove and offering support to them when they start to feel overwhelmed by all of the training miles they need to complete. It takes some guts to step out of your comfort zone and commit to running a marathon and for those of us who have been there and remember what it is like, we need to give the newbies every chance we can for them to succeed. I feed off of their enthusiasm. It helps to keep me going. So if you are in the training class tomorrow and are looking for some help, come find me and we will go through this together. You'll really be helping me. Even if it is accidental.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Is this how I am training for the Fargo Marathon? 10+ hours pulling a sled in a ditch? No. So if you are considering a marathon and wondering if this is what you'd have to do, it is not. I truly enjoy training for and running marathons and look forward to the start of training for Fargo. Right now I am training for a self-supported 135 mile trek through the woods on the Arrowhead trail near International Falls which begins on February 1st. Though not a true "running" event. It is probably better to call it a pure endurance event. I say I have been in training for this one since I started running 4 1/2 years ago as it takes all I have learned about running and enduring. I attempted it last year and got my only DNF, stopping after 85 miles. Although I am better prepared this year, I realize the difficulties and that finishing is still no guarantee. There was a 30% finish rate last year. With proper training, the chances of you finishing your first marathon are nearly 100%.
If you are a non-runner, someone just getting started, or someone preparing for your first marathon, please don't be discouraged or intimidated if I post something about one of the goofy events I participate in or am training for. We all have different goals we are reaching for. It wasn't long ago I was in your shoes. I have the utmost respect for anyone who has the courage to train for and get themselves to the starting line whether it be a 5k or a full marathon. If you are brave enough, your life will be forever changed. And remember when you are putting forth that effort in training for or participating in your event that you are adding some much needed spice to your life. For at the end of the day if you have put forth a serious effort, the coffee will always taste that much better.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
When you put the time and miles in that us runners do with each other, under self inflicted stressful conditions, the shell slowly gets stripped off and your true self starts to emerge for all to see. Not always good, though true. We share a common interest in running. Stripping the phoniness off makes it that much easier to become real, true friends. Ultra friends.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
During the training for my first marathon I did a lot of miles on the treadmill when the weather turned cold and slippery. I really came to look forward to the Saturday group long run as an excuse to get off the treadmill. Now I would rather be outside in the cold weather no matter what it is. Probably has more to do with my attitude about living here and realizing there is nothing we can do to change the weather so I might as well embrace it. As I say, there is no such thing as bad weather when you live in North Dakota, just bad clothing choices.
Stay warm and safe.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
I didn't have to think long to come up with my 20x10 which is to "Encourage and support others in reaching their goals". Whether I can help Fargo Marathon reach their goal of 20 thousand runners or help you get off the couch and walk your first 5k doesn't really matter. My first running goal was made 2 days after watching the first Fargo Marathon and was to run the full marathon the following year. I set my goal and took my first step. A baby step though one closer to my goal. A good friend of mine is always reminding me that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Running is pretty simple though not always easy. I'll share some of my problems here as well as some of the joy. As I always say, "A problem shared is halved and a Joy shared is doubled." Let's go through this together.
So, how about it? What is your 20x10? You have over 130 days to start your training for one of the Fargo Marathon events.