Monday, October 27, 2008

Which way at the Murph?

I ran in Murphy on Sunday (interesting weather day) and ran the course in the clockwise (CW) direction, I was hoping that I would be faster than my counter-clockwise (CCW) direction.

The result is in and it doesn't matter which way I go, on Sunday I ran it CW in 1:49, my Ipod+ said it was 8.49 miles and my previous run going CCW was a 1:50, Ipod+ said 8.75 miles. Now, what was interesting was the distance from the horse parking lot to the main parking lot, my Ipod+ showed it at 2.55 miles which seemed to track to the distance after the second water stop, except that would mean it was 6 miles from the main lot to the horse lot (instead of 5.3 if my Ipod+ was equally accurate - which it may not be). All things considered, the distance doesn't matter to me as I figure it is what is and if we go 31 or 33 miles it will still be fun and I will still be at the back of the pack.

I will admit it was fun going the CW direction on Sunday as it was a nice change of pace from my other runs, what I noted was I was sheltered a bit from the wind and sleet, snow, rain mixture. So if it is windy it won't be terrible for us running, now the aid station folks might have it tougher. There are still a lot of leaves on the ground some of which cover rocks and ruts. Maybe the wind blew them all out before it subsided :-). There are sections that I can't run (at least not for 4 loops) as my walking and running speeds would converge and my HR got up to 150+ walking after I stopped the running. The uphills I remember the most are the #6 hill and #14/13 hill, the downhill I liked was the #4 hill, sure beat going the other way but don't worry there are many more in both directions. There are a few sandy sections which may slow you a little bit but not a lot and sufficient horse droppings, rocks and ruts that you should probably keep your eyes on the trails.

So with the final run at Murphy complete, I patiently await the Surf the Murph 50k.......

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Last Weather Update for the Murph.........

I was just checking today's weather to see if the wind was going to calm down before I head to Murphy (it's not so I will see how Murph does in the wind) when I noticed Saturday's forecast from

Saturday - Nov 1 - Partly Cloudy - 48° High - 10% chance of precip

That is only 12 degrees different from Accuweather.

and so I checked the Weather Underground:

Saturday - Mostly sunny in the morning then becoming partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of rain. Highs around 55.

So I think I get it now, they don't really know, so I won't check anymore and my plan will be to open the door on Saturday morning and take a look outside and plan accordingly.

Weather for the Murph and a few minor problems....

Let's see on Tuesday they said 35 and snow, Thursday 51 and rain, now look at the forecast, a 25+ degree swing in less than five days. Weather forecasting accuracy in a microcosm :-)

Saturday, Nov 1
High: 60
Save Now
°F RealFeel®: 51 °F
Clouds limiting sun

One problem I may have is that I have been running the course backwards. I have been running my loops counterclockwise. I was reading on Andrew's blog (he has a good post on Murphy with pictures) that he thought we are heading out clockwise, does it matter, yes. I think (hope) clockwise will be easier, so today I am going to head over and run 1 loop clockwise. I will probably find out it is harder but I will be ready regardless of which way we head.

Good to know today as if I had gotten there Saturday morning and saw we were going the opposite way I would have had a minor freak out. If we do go this way, it will make running in the dark a little easier as the trail is wider, the only problem outside of rocks and ruts will be the bridge over the swampland. It's wide enough to not be an issue just a matter of getting on it and staying on it. This does mean we will be climbing the hill from 6 to 7 versus going down it, it is a fairly steep hill, I think I will like going up it more than going down.

This has been an easy week of running as work, life things along with the need to recover have been my agenda. I will only have 3 days of running this week and will plan on only probably 2 runs next week ahead of Murph. I am hoping this will be an ok taper not a step backwards. I would like to hit this race strong both physically and mentally, so time will tell.

On yesterday's run I tried Heed Mandarin Orange Sports Drink (free samples) instead of my normal Clif Shot Electrolyte Crisp Apple. I decided to try it as I am out of Clif Shot and thought the Heed might work ok which is my other problem for the Murph. The problem with the Clif Shot is that it is hard to find in town where as I see Heed in all of the running stores, I normally have been buying my Clif Shot from Amazon at $12/container (a sale price that comes and goes on Amazon - limit of 2) versus the normal $22. Sometimes the Runners Gate in Lakeville has it but you pay full price (no MDRA or MN-DRS discounts) and it's the sometimes part that is problematic. Suffice to say that I did not like the Heed, I am in a rut and will need to get some Clif Shot before Murph. It probably doesn't help that it was orange flavored as I still have memories of throwing up after eating an orange and drinking some orange flavored Gatorade after the Pineline Marathon years ago. I have avoided orange flavored drinks ever since and will continue to do so going forward. My plan is to use my Nathan at Murph and to have an extra bladder filled and ready to go so my hydration will be easy to manage. Now I just have to find my Clif Shot Electrolyte this week, I guess it gives me something to do as we are just 6 days out...............

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Improving forecast and perspective adjustment............

Starting to look real good.

Saturday, Nov 1
High: 51 °F RealFeel®: 44 °F
Periods of rain

I was at the dentist the other day and got a nice dose of perspective and having read many recent blogs (Karen, Londell) they helped focus even more. I often have lamented about my speed and my abilities, specifically my lack there of, which I attribute to age, weight and the most important thing, training.

My dentist broke his hip downhill skiing which led to many operations and finally a hip replacement. He had only started running a few years earlier, we had talked about running marathons and then his running was done. I was talking to his wife about it and she asked me if he had asked about my running and I said yes, she said that not being able to run was still the hardest thing for him to face. So having given it a bit of thought, I love that I can run, maybe one day I will run better but today I appreciate the fact that I can run period.

So as I think about Surf the Murph, I say bring on the weather as I intend to enjoy every step and every minute that God allows me to take it all in...................

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Long range weather forecast for the Murph.......

Decided to take a look ahead at the weather for the Murph, should be interesting, the forecast is from for Savage, MN

Saturday, Nov 1
High: 35 °F RealFeel®: 18 °F
Windy and cold with snow much of the time

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Final tune-up for Murph.........

Tune-up is an exaggeration, based on my training I am not ready to run well at Murphy but I will get through it after all it's just a 50k :-). The hills will take their toll, at least on me as will having to run multiple loops. I have had thoughts about dropping back to the 25k but 2 loops would almost be too easy. I have to remind myself I do this to see what I can do, not what I know I can do.

I went out this morning with the plan to get in 5 hours, didn't quite make it but I did get in around 4 hours and 45 minutes. It was a good day of running as I ran the first loop on the Surf the Murph 50k course (yes, I did have to traverse one or two gates but I wanted to know what the parts of the course that I had yet to run). I parked at the horse lot (see map below) and entered the course at trail marker #17 (it was sandy in places, not too bad otherwise), I went around a gate that led to #8, climbed over that gate, proceeded through #7, #6,#5,#4, #3, #1 down to #11, hung a right onto #12, #13, #14 and ended up back at the horse lot. It went fairly well but it took me 1 hour and 50 minutes, now I wasn't pushing it but I wasn't going that easy either. My hope is that will be race day pace average loop time (I had wanted to finish in 7 and 1/2 hours or less, now I am thinking finish), I also hope that I wasn't on the actual course as my Ipod had it at 8.99 miles, Now it can be inaccurate and with all of the side steps I take on trails it often comes in light on mileage but sometimes it does end up being 10% over. I really don't think I made any wrong turns but I did do it from memory so who knows maybe I added a 1/2 mile somewhere or maybe my Ipod was just off. I do hope someone with a Garmin runs Surf the Murph as I am interested in the total elevation change on a single loop. I still think that four loops here will be tougher than Afton even though none of the hills are as long, it sure seems like I was going up and down a lot more.

On my second loop, the mileage was at 8.5 but I turned back with a 1/4 or so mile to get back to the horse trails and I did modify the course by not going around the gate at #4 but I headed over to #9 and then took the short cut back to #4. I also walked the hills a bit more, my time for this loop would have been right at 2 hours. From the mudpit (see below), I meandered back around the park and added another hour to the morning of running. Total mileage was probably at least 20 might have been 21, it doesn't really matter, I was on my feet for a while and that's all I wanted to do today.

Officially, I also did my World Wide Festival of running 1/2 marathon today, so this is my post for that as well. I had planned on doing it last weekend but none of those runs went well enough to qualify (see earlier posts). I had thought about doing the Big Woods 1/2 yesterday as I love running in Nerstrand but I knew that getting in a long run today was a better idea. In case anyone from the World Wide Festival reads this post, take a quick moment and read Kel's and Steve Q's posts on the Big Woods 1/2 marathon. The Festival allows you to run this weekend or the weekend ahead of it, the goal they have is to simply have a group of runners from all over the world connect together in a virtual race. So today, the first 13.1 miles were dedicated to the Murphy Hanrehan 1/2 marathon. Murph is a gem for trail runners, mountain bikers and horse riders, it is one of many regional parks we have in the Twin Cities area. Next year though, I will do the Big Woods 1/2 marathon for the Festival, it's a whole lot easier course.

Murphy-Hanrehan Trail Map

I did take a few pictures with the phone again, Steve Q. posted asking if the camera could adjust for focal length, unfortunately it doesn't appear to be able to. I will double check the instructions as in just playing with the camera, I can't find an option that would do so.

Here are the pictures (the camera doesn't do these justice)

Heading up a hill on the #1 trail

Turning around on the #13 trail - cool view

On the #14 trail - south side of the park

On the #14 trail - south side again

One final one from the #14 trail, this mud about took off a shoe, if it rains a bit between now and the Surf, it could be an interesting part of the course. We may hit in the dark on the 1st loop.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fall Picture Experiment..........

Ran in Lebanon Hills today and below are a couple of pictures from the cell phone. The fall colors seem brighter than ever and between Murphy and Lebanon Hills I have been enjoying the beautiful transition from summer to fall. I probably won't enjoy the transition from fall to winter as much.

With regards to my phone's camera, I wanted to check the quality of the pictures and the process for getting them off the phone. Quality is so-so, texting them to an email account is easy. I do like having the phone in case something happens or if my family needs to get a hold of me while I am on a run long and I have always wanted to take pictures of some of the places I run, now I have a way of doing that plus gaining the convenience of the phone and since I am wearing the Nathan, I have a pocket that I can place the cell phone in without worry. Speaking of the Nathan, here is a link to a blog that I read "IRunFar" that has a very good review of it. I concur with his review, I love my Nathan, it makes running long a whole lot easier.

One last thing, I was amazed at how sore my legs were this morning, I guess I will need to make sure I run a bit more often on asphalt or maybe I will just stay on the trails..........

Thursday, October 16, 2008

One more last chance........

Got another run in during the week and I plan to run tomorrow so that will make 3 runs during the week, for many not noteworthy, for me a minor victory.

I also have one more last chance to get in a 5 hour run before Surf the Murph. I need to get this run in for my mental confidence. My last few weekends of running longer just haven't worked out, so this weekend I will be out there for 5 hours even if I have to walk it. I need to believe in myself, motivate myself and just go get it done. If I don't then I think the Murph will be an unpleasant journey, heck, even if it goes well the Murph will be hard but I am looking forward to it. That's what I love about running, I went out last weekend thinking it was my last weekend to get in a long run, then I thought about it and decided no, this weekend is and my guess is that if this weekend turns into a disaster, I will convince myself that next weekend and that a 1 week taper will be enough. The bottom line, whether I like it or not, I am running to enjoy the experience not for time per se. It's the battle within that I look forward to. Speaking of that, I have decided that I will do my first 50 next year, I will need to decide which one but I need to do it as it's the challenge I want. Then the 100 will be next.

Tonight's run was on neighborhood bike trails (think asphalt), I tried to push it some and did run a bit faster than trails but not as fast as I hoped. My shoes felt worn out, I seemed sluggish at times, I seemed awkward in my style, I seemed inconsistent and although I pushed it at times, I settled into coast modes when cars blinded me or I zoned out. I did intentionally run by feel tonight (no watch or pace checks), I wanted to get a sense of could I maintain a tempo. I found out that I could but only when I was focused, something to remember as I continue onward.

I am pleased that I did get out and didn't procrastinate it like I often do, I need to remind myself to get out and run, I need to do my cross training, I need to do my core and now that I have committed mentally to the 50, I will have the motivation to train..........

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall runs - darkness........

What an improvement, I ran tonight after work in Lebanon Hills and I felt good throughout. I am not sure what was wrong over the weekend but everything seemed back to normal.

I did have the good sense to take my headlamp as I didn't get started until about 5:45 and I wasn't sure how far I would go. I hoped to get in 5 to make sure the body and mind seemed together again and ended up going 7 as I felt good, what that meant is I got to turn on the headlamp and get a little more time running in the dark. I also confirmed that having a second light would be a good idea, my light helped me identify rocks but without a second light I missed the third dimension and was reacting more to the color changes. I did roll the ankles a couple of times but not bad just enough to slow me down over the last mile as I didn't want to have a serious misstep. Another thing about the light I was using is it gives a dispersed beam but not a focused one, a second focused light would be good. The headlamp is actually my daughter's, it's a Princeton Aurora (3 LED lamp) and from I can tell a relatively inexpensive one. The nice thing is I have run so much in Lebanon Hills that I almost know where every rock and root are, why do I think future races may not be so friendly (I still can't fathom running all night in the dark, a 1/2 hour is enough for know).

So discovering the headlamp does open up my trails for the fall and it will allow me to continue in the winter, now I just need to figure out a good lighting system and I will be set.................

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tough weekend of running.......

I went out Saturday expecting to run 13 or so miles in Lebanon Hills, made it about 11 and then called it quits as things weren't right. I felt good at the start, I pushed it around mile 3-4 and then hit a wall. I was completely spent, my joints hurt, so I ended it early, figuring my long run on Sunday was more important.

So today, I wanted to run 5-6 hours in Murphy Hanrehan, my plan was to run 4 loops. I also wanted to sneak out onto the 2 miles of the Surf the Murph that I hadn't run so I would have a feel for the whole course. In my past runs at Murhpy I have run on the inner side of the course. For those that know Murphy, I start at the Park entrance and run down to 11, then 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, back to 9 if the gate is closed for 4, cut through just a bit past 9, onto 4, then 3 and 1 and back to the entrance. I think this loop is around 6 miles (give or take a 1/2 mile). I also will shoot down each open section or paths, marked or not just to see where they lead which adds a bit more distance. What I have been doing is noting the other paths on each loop and then I explore one of them on each subsequent loop (that's how I found the short cut back to 4).

I arrived a little after 8 and wasn't too sure how I was feeling, things didn't seem right but I couldn't really pinpoint anything. I then noticed that I had forgotten my good socks, great, I want to run 22+ miles and all I had were some old socks so I was worried about blisters. As I got out of the car, I heard a boom, boom, boom, as I switched to my red hat, I thought, they don't allow hunting in Murphy do they?

The first loop went fine with no issues. I was paying close attention to my HRM as I wanted to keep my HR below 125, preferably 120. It went well, I felt like I was hardly moving and even on the hills I kept it below 140. I checked my Ipod+ and it said my pace was 11 something so I figured I was going to be fine. I ended the first loop after 1 and 1/2 hours (Ipod+ said 5.9 miles) so I was moving nice and slow if the + was accurate so I thought 3 more loops, 6 total hours will make for a good day. I decided to put my gaiters on to keep stuff out of my shoes as I had picked up a few small things and didn't want to get blisters started. As I bent over to put on the gaiters, I felt light headed, not good. I thought to myself that I might be on the verge of getting sick, my daughter has been sick and that's about the only explanation I had for the Saturday bust and now feeling light headed.

I headed out anyway and just didn't feel right from the start, my joints were hurting and my left hamstring felt real tight. I thought maybe my blood sugar was just off so I ate some sport beans, they tasted very good, maybe they would help. I was using Endurolytes (E-Caps) for this run and I was wondering if I needed more salt. I have yet to figure out my hydration as it relates to S-Caps or E-Caps or anything. If my hands swell (which they always do) should I take in more S-Caps or quit drinking Clif Shot Electrolyte? I only drink electrolyte (no plain water) for all of my training and my races this summer, and I think it has worked as I haven't gotten sick. In the past I would over hydrate or under hydrate and would get a sour stomach or have other issues but since I just started drinking the Electrolyte no real problems. I have read Karl King's info on hydration and although it makes sense I still can't figure it out. Within a 1/2 hour of running, my hands start swelling, I can tell as my wedding ring is normally loose, a 1/2 hour in, it's not loose. The other thing that tells me how much swelling I am having, is I look at the veins in my hands, the veins disappear when I get real swollen up. Usually my stomach turns south if I get that swollen up as well.

Anyway, back to today's run, my HR was higher even though I didn't think I was moving that well. I just plodded my way along and by the time I got to the top of the hill by marker 7, I felt spent. I checked my HR and it was at 140, as I ran down the hill at marker 6, my joints were hurting, my calf was tightening along with the hamstring. I kept going and a 1/2 mile or so later, my lower back started hurting. I decided to walk for 5 minutes to see if I could loosen things up. I resumed running, same thing. How the blank was I going to make two more loops? I decided it must be my shoes, I was wearing my Vasque Mercury's and decided I would switch to my Asics (2120's) or my Nikes (Air Structure Triax that have screws in them). I laughed to myself about how could it be my shoes, I thought it would detract me if nothing else. As I continued on, I kept thinking I need to do at least 3 loops today. I came upon the closed gate at 4 and headed up the hill to 9 and I had to walk and this is hardly a hill :-( and again I felt spent. I took my short-cut and got onto 4 and decided I might be done if something didn't change quickly. Instead it got worse, I was getting a bit light headed, not real bad but definitely not right, I felt kind of disoriented which at Murphy could become a problem. I kept thinking I was kind of zigzagging and then I turned an ankle, not bad, but enough to make me think it was time to pack it in. When I start misstepping and then have ankle rolls, my coordination is usually about gone. If I was on loop 4, fine, I should be tired, but at mile 9 or 10 no way.

So I got back to the car, looked at my watch ~3 hours+ just a little over 12 miles and decided I had to call it a day. I expected to be at 15 miles in 3 hours not a little over 12, oh well, some days you got and some you don't but 2 in a row? So the plan will be to get a good night's sleep, get some weekday runs and then try to go long next weekend. Not good, Surf the Murph is less than 3 weeks away...............................

Friday, October 10, 2008

Running in the dark.........

I got to do something that I have been wanting to try the other morning, it was something that I figured out I had to do when I started thinking about running the Superior 50 and that was running in the dark on a trail.

Granted it was only for about 1/2 hour or so and it was in Hyland (a park I know fairly well) but it was an interesting thing to experience for the first time. I have often run in the dark on the bike paths but between cars, street lights and the moon, I can usually see the path well enough to run and there aren't that many things to worry about on the path such as rocks and roots just the occasional crack in the path. This was different, I got to see how my lights would work and I know that I will need an upgrade to attempt anything longer or in an unknown event. Am I ready for an overnight of running, no way.

As I was running along, I got to thinking about the Surf the Murph and what time it starts and when do we switch time. So I checked and we change time this fall, per WikiAnswers on the first Sunday in November which means that the Surf the Murph 50k will probably start in the dark. I ran there last Sunday and got started around 7:30, I thought with plenty of morning daylight and it seemed so when I started out but when I got back to the hill marked between 7 and 6, I had a hard time seeing and thought to myself that I should've brought a light. Yes it was raining, which made it far tougher to see. So add a month, start a 1/2 hour earlier and we will be in the dark or at best early morning light. Shouldn't last too long but it will be an interesting start. The good news is that I have been running a bit in Murphy so if it is dark I might recognize where I am and I am sure I will at the back of the pack so others will light the course.

One other thing that I figured out as I was running along was that the running trails would be available again during the week. Normally during the fall/winter/spring darkness we experience here in Minnesota I only run on weekends as it's dark in the morning or after work.. So I now have something to look forward to as darkness approaches, the trails are open............

Monday, October 6, 2008

Buckeye Outdoors & Nike+Ipod

What a great combination, Buckeye Outdoors and Nike+Ipod.

I have called the Nike+Ipod, my poor man's Garmin, for those that aren't familiar with it, the system combines an Ipod Nano with a device from Nike (the Plus) that record your mileage and pace with a few nifty features (Lance Armstrong or Paula Radcliffe will provide encouragement when you do good things). It's a $29 add on to your Ipod Nano (any generation) that uses accelerometer technology (a foot pod device) that transmits data to a receiver inserted into your dock channel on your Nano. You can calibrate it to your pace for running or walking but I have found mine to be accurate without calibration (+/- 0-3%), at least on a paved road. On trails I have found it's not quite as accurate +/- 10% but it is occasionally pretty well spot on. What I notice is that it occasionally loses communication (or something else goes on) as it records a mile pace of 28 to 48 minutes. I may be slow but a 48 minute mile would be real slow even for me. After your run, when you sync to Itunes it will transfer the data to the Nike+ website (free to set-up) where you can see the mile by mile paces along with the overall time and distance. On the website you can join challenges, I am in a few, challenges like 1000 miles in a year, favorite football team - most miles, etc... and one that simply transfers the info to Buckeye Outdoors. The point of the challenges are to help motivate you and to connect you with a whole bunch of on-line folks into a virtual running community.

Now about Buckeye it's a free on-line log that you can add in all of your exercise info. So if you cross train you can track that as well. The nice thing is you can also add in additional information about your run, things like Max HR, Avg Hr, time of day, your equipment, a comment all of the info on the Nike site transfer as well. You can see my log on the left side of my blog (my way of holding myself accountable). What I like is I can adjust my mileage and times if need be (yes I could cheat if I wanted to) so if I have those dead spots and know my distance I can change it or if I know my route was shorter I can adjust it downward. You can also add runs when you don't have your Ipod (you can't do this on the Nike website). You can get reports on running, biking, swimming and cumulative workouts. Here is a quick sample of my info (my disclaimer is I haven't tweaked most of my workouts, so it is what it is).

Running Summary
Runs: 140
Avg. MHR: 153.9
Avg. AHR: 132.5
Avg. Time: 01:40:08
Total Time: 233:40:34
Avg. Speed: 4.9 MPH
Avg. Mi Pace: 12:08
Avg. Dist.: 8.2 Mi
Total Dist.: 1154.7 Mi
Avg. Cal. Burned: 1437.0
Total Cal. Burned: 17530

And you can get graphs (flash based ones at that - meaning if you stop on a bar it tells you the exact mileage)

A few notes on the Nike+Ipod system, a Nano is not water proof or water resistant (think too much sweat is bad for your Nano) nor is the connection point of the receiver to your Nano. The transmitter is designed to go into special Nike shoes, you will need to buy a pouch or the Nike shoes. The pouch is less than $10 and works fine. The Nike+ only works with the Nano (soon they will have it available for Ipod Touch), this is Apple's way of saying don't run with their hard drive systems. You can listen to music or to podcasts if you want to but it records just fine without. You don't get any info on elevation, weather, etc... but for $29 that's ok (as long as you have a Nano).

So combining Nike+Ipod with Buckeye results in a very good, low cost system.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Career goals - Running goals?

I was asked by my boss the other day about my career goals. It's funny but the only goal I have had, is that my work should be enjoyable. Beyond that power, authority, control, recognition, money, raises, product successes, etc... might all be nice but enjoying my work is what I have always cared the most about and I figured everything else would take care of itself.

I have been blessed to work with a lot of very smart folks at a variety of very good companies (didn't always realize it at the time) who helped me keep things in perspective. I learned early in my career that if you maintain your engineering skills you will have work and you if you keep adding skills you will enjoy the job. Why if you maintain skills will the work be enjoyable, real simple, because you are continuing to learn.

So as I think about my running goals for next year, I first need to look back on this year, have I continued to gain skills, do I still find it enjoyable, am I keeping my perspective. Have I learned something? The answer is yes.

If you go back to the marathons and races I ran from 97 through 2006, I think I had failed to add enough new skills, I wasn't maintaining my old ones and frankly I had lost perspective and raced for fear of the what if I stopped? In Seven Habits lingo, they call it "Sharpening the Saw" and I wasn't doing it. I had let injuries, job changes, boredom and a variety of other things distract me. Before 97, I was motivated by another runner, we kept challenging each other and when he drifted away from running I failed to reconnect with others to help me through those distractions.

Last year, I discovered the blogosphere, which led me to create this blog for myself. I originally never intended to share my blog with anyone outside of my wife. I was writing it for me as a place to remember the past as I was starting to get past events mixed up (you know things like back in 96 it was hot at TCM and I threw up afterward or it was 97, that type of thing) so this become my own personal historical record of my running. I still don't share my blog with friends, co-workers or with anyone that is a non-runner by choice as I don't really won't to expose this side of myself.

This year thanks to discovering the ultra community and a lot of encouragement from my wife, a dream of mine started to take place. I always wanted to run longer to see if I could but lacked the courage to try. What if I failed? As I started discovering many of the ultra folks blogs, I realized that the Penguin had it right, it's the courage to start that you need. Failure is simply something that you create for yourself. Take this year's Superior, many runners started but not all finished. Did those that didn't make the "finish line" that day fail, I say absolutely not. I read your blogs as you trained, worked, worried, raced, dealt with injuries, illnesses, life events and yet all of you still had the courage to start and to set a goal that you knew was a stretch. All of your work and the effort you extended could never be called a failure, so thank you to all of you for helping me to discover the courage to try.

I read something on Matt's blog that prompted me to rethink my own blog, he said he started his blog to hold himself accountable. What an interesting idea, I had never thought to use mine for that purpose at least not at a conscious level. I state what I am doing, thinking, planning, struggling with and even irritated with (my last post covered that :-), sorry about that). I posted my goals to remind myself, not to hold myself accountable, this year, I think I will do both. I will set goals beyond just running a race, I will have the courage to say what I want to do, what I expect to do and I will quit being embarrassed about how slow I have become and start challenging myself to work harder to change that.

At work, we set stretch goals, not because they are impossible but because they are hard. These goals help us to keep our perspective, to stay focused on the horizon and to keep trying.

So as I think about next year, I will be ruling out failure as that is not a condition that I will let happen. As long as I keep moving toward goals, keep adding skills, maintain my focus and allow you all to keep me learning, I can't fail and if I do all of these things then I am sure my running will be enjoyable and I will succeed. So if anyone sees me getting off track please hold me accountable and remind me to pull my head up and refocus on the horizon................

Friday, October 3, 2008

Maybe not worth reading.........

I really shouldn't watch debates. I have watched most of the previous primary debates and now the presidential and vice-presidential debates and I am sure I will watch the remaining two.Why do I watch the debates, good question, why do I want to run a 50 miler, better question, why do I want to do a 100 miler, the unanswerable question.

Ok back to why the debates have set me off, well it's probably because I haven't run all week (this is totally my fault - misplaced priorities and/or procrastination) but it may be because I have a hard time listening to folks who can only blame others, act like they know everything and who can knowingly misquote others (if they don't know they are misquoting then the other alternative is that they are complete idiots). Who will pander, abuse their positions, stretch the truth, talk like they are one of us, do anything to stay in office, have the media talk about their sacrifice to work in the public service and yet somehow get richer in public service than 97% of us in the private sector even though their salaries don't appear to be that much greater (I made up the 97% number - you know it's really pretty easy if you don't bother with checking to find the facts).

Just to clarify my position. I think that McCain and Biden are the most qualified candidates, Palin and Obama are the least qualified candidates So should we vote for the least qualified candidate for president or the least qualified vice-president? What does qualify someone for president?

Why doesn't the press have ethics? Which is the least biased television network? I used to laugh at Fox, now I think they really are the most fair and balanced. MSNBC is a very odd (as in joke) network to watch, CNN isn't a whole lot better and the old networks (ABC, CBS and NBS) aren't hardly worth the time either, they all are bad and only care about ratings, yes I know that they are for profit and sensationalizing things is their way. Is there a difference between NBC and MSNBC? One of the cable networks had a guest on to rate a republican speech, the guest was a former Clinton speechwriter (fair and balanced probably not) then again Fox has Dick Morris on and he used to be a member of the Clinton cabinet but you sure can't tell now. I used to dislike Republicans as I thought they were too hypocritical and I tolerated Democrats but thought they were pandering, today, I still dislike both parties but I think the Republicans are less hypocritical and the Democrats pander even more. Enough on politics, ok, one more bitch, $700 billion turns into $800+ billion all because of the complete greed and incompetence in Washington and on Wall Street. Wall Street however is supposed to be greedy, the politicians in Washington I thought were supposed to be there to serve us and our country with honor and integrity.

Since I am basically not being politically correct, I may as well add a few more things that irritate me, my apologies in advance for a few of them, since I view them as MN unique. Please view these as my way of venting to avoid future road rage, so please if you see yourself in any of my whines, I probably am not talking about you but someone very similar to you.
  1. Why do people wait to use their turn signal until they are turning?
  2. Why do people wait to use their turn signal until after they are in the turn lane?
  3. Why don't people use their turn signals period?
  4. Why don't SUV drivers use their turn signals?
  5. Why don't MN drivers use the acceleration lanes to accelerate?
  6. Why do we need lights to control how we merge onto a highway (see #5 and 11)?
  7. Why don't MN drivers use the left lane for passing and the other lanes for cruising?
  8. Why don't slower drivers move to the right lane?
  9. Why do MN drivers slow down to look at a river?
  10. Why do MN drivers slow down to read signs (especially the new electronic ones)?
  11. Why do MN drivers slow down or speed up to prevent you from merging?
  12. Why do we still have stoplights on highways after spending millions of dollars to fix the highway?
  13. Why are our winters still cold and long if global warming has happened?
  14. Why can't I find the perfect running shoe?
  15. Why do I like to run distances that I don't run very well?
To end on positive note, Saturday I plan to run 13 miles in the River Bottoms and Sunday, I am planning 3 loops on the Surf the Murph course (thanks Kel for posting it) and then next week, I will work to get my workday runs in otherwise (in case it isn't obvious) I get too wound up over the little things..............................


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