This is how it works-
I love to run but there are times when I would rather not. This is when the voices start. Chants, name calling, guilt and reverse psychology is how they get me up and out the door. I don't really mind the voices and have actually started looking forward to their daily calls. Together we have formed a running club that supports, encourages and competes with each other. I love these peeps. They are much more experienced, talented and tougher than I am. Pushing me out the door, through the hard miles and up the monster hills when I am feeling lazy or want to give up. Some people have "real" training partners, coaches and support crews. My team is ALWAYS with me and helps me to keep my eye on the prize and not veer off the track. Sounds crazy- Yeah, probably is.........

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fat Elvis and Eye on the Prize

Three and a half years. I haven't "really" ran in three and a half years. Why? Because I haven't. Sure there are reasons, excuses and multitude of other blah, blah, blah's I could throw out there but the bottom line is simple. I got lazy, lost the desire and mental focus that it takes to compete. The thrill of the challenge and the drive to exceed self imposed expectations haven't been prevalent for a while. The VOICES have been eerily silent like an old friend who I've lost touch with. It's been kind of weird and awesome all at the same time. 

It's easy to live in the past. The glory days. The best of times. We all do it at some point. The ex-jock from high school that needs to talk about the 5 touchdowns in one game. The former high school track stud that set all the records. The genius in college who could make a bong out of play dough. The stud Marine that never got into trouble. I was none of the above but I did okay in a lot of races from 5k's through 100 milers back in the day. A couple of sub 3 hour marathons and a handful of sub 24 hour 100 milers made it easy to fall into this trap. As time goes by the way these stories are told change. 

Back "in the day" I never bothered to tell a story about a race or feel the need to proclaim my PR to somebody I just met. Nope. No need. I just showed up, ran the race, collected whatever award if warranted and went home. I was never what I considered as fast but it was good enough to win a few local downtown ladies auxiliary pie auction and 5k races. Over time this evolved into a reputation in the area as a "fast" runner. I never thought I was but one day, after a 10k, the runners who I considered as fast gathered for a picture with their medals and trophies. I was told to jump in but declined saying something about the fast runners. One of them said, "Dude, you just ran a 37 minute 10k, you ARE one of the fast runners." 

Okay. 37 minute 10k isn't fast by many standards. People will tear me apart for my "huge ego". I get it. But the fact is this- sometimes a 37 minute 10k IS fast. Sometimes a 17 minute 5k does win. Sometimes a 2:58 marathon, 4:20 50k, 7:31 50 miler and 19:37 100 miler is considered fast. The 7:31 50 miler set a state record in Missouri for the 35-39 year old age group in 2011. It still holds the record for 39 year olds. The other ages have fallen to faster times but they have been on flat, dedicated courses. Mine was on a hilly road course with heavy traffic, unmanned aid stations and 85-90 degree southern Missouri humidity temps. Not that it matters. 

Okay... this is the kind of nonsense I am talking about. Buying into your own legend. It's a joke but it happens. My first marathon was good for a Boston Qualifying time and I just assumed that was what was expected. I once ran a marathon with pneumonia and finished in 3rd place. My first 1/2 marathon was ran with the flu but I managed a 5th overall with a 1:30 time. I limped 50 miles with a knee that looked like a football and still came in top 10. My first 50 miler was a climb over Mt. Pinnacle on the Ouachita trail in Arkansas and netted a 3rd overall. I finished 4th overall at one of the oldest established 100 milers, the Arkansas Traveller, on a rainy, miserable day. My first 100 miler was on a trail in Texas during an an ice storm and I finished in under 21 hours. I have ran five 100 mile -true trail-  races in under 22 hours. 60 miles on an old, busted up asphalt track in a pink tutu. More that once.  Started a dumb little running club that turned out okay. I did some unique, at the time, fundraisers for the ACS and raised over $50,000. Blah, blah, blah..., 

3 years ago I fell. Not literally. I had fallen many times on trail runs before then. I fell. I had trained for a 100 miler with the goal of 18 hours. Race day weather took its toll on me and the humidity won. I finished in 21:30 and felt like a failure. Looking back it's stupid to consider a 21:30 finish a failure but whatever. A couple of months later I was smoking a 30 hour timed event in Oklahoma when I slipped in the snow covered clay mud and pulled a calf muscle. I knew I would win this event and the forced decision to stop messed with my head. Once I was able to run again, really run, the desire to compete was gone. The focus was gone. I lined up at the Leadville 100 later that year out of shape and with a big ego thinking it was only 100 miles and I could fake it. After a mere 40 miles I pulled the plug and recorded my first DNF. 

My daughter was born roughly two and a half years ago. She is what my wife and I call the" bonus baby".  Unplanned and unprepared for. You would think at 42 and 45 we would have known what could happen but....  Her birth changed my life. My two boys are amazing and I love them more than life itself but the new Princess?  Oh yes. She is a game changer for me. So things slowed down on the running side. There were months when my total mileage was less than 20. Considering I had averaged 250 mile months for almost 10 years this took its toll. Combined with crappy nutrition and a general dismissal of strength training, the overall result has not pretty. 

Did I mention that I coach baseball, basketball, soccer and football for my kids? Or that I am the head coach of a semi-pro football team? Or that I serve as president of a youth football league? Or that I coach runners from all over the country - and across a few borders? Or that....who cares? Excuses. Things that I choose do. I had always managed to find time to train in the past regardless of work or other obligations. I had simply lost my focus and the drive to compete. It was easy to claim that there weren't any challenges left and I had already proved that I could do anything I set out to do. My life was full of schedules and activities but it was also empty. 

Try being a "legend" on social media for a while. The things you did in the past are celebrated for a while. Then they are talked about some. Then they are unknown. Soon the only people that know are the people that used to look up to you but can now kick your ass in any distance. It kind of sucks to be honest. My ego is not fragile or huge like some may think but I do have one. We all do. And it kind of sucks when you think people don't care or respect what you have accomplished. It's silly but it's real. Especially when you know the only reason you have become "Fat Elvis" or "washed up" is because you no longer care. There is no physical impediment or injury holding you back. It's all about heart. It all comes back to Eye on the Prize. 

Eye on the Prize. Focus. Determination. Grit. It's all the same. Decide on a goal. Resolve to accomplish it. Do the work that sucks to make it real. Don't chase shiny objects. Make it happen. Seems so simple when I type it. Putting it into action is much more difficult. Thankfully, I have finally reached the point in my personal journey that I understand what it takes to crawl out of the funk and back onto the trail. I have remembered WHY I want to run. WHY I want to train. WHY I want to compete. Along with that I have found a renewed desire to "do the work-no excuses". 

Over the past few months, I have begun working with a purpose. I have Coach Jeff back on the job scheduling my training and keeping me in check. I have put in consistent base building mileage. I have found that old burning motivation to get up at 3 a.m. and run 1-2 hours before going to work. I have figured out ways to squeeze strength or yoga in after work and before my kid's practices. I have the focus to run 10 miles or more before coaching football all day. I have signed up for a few short-ish distance races with the goal of chasing buckles again soon. 

I don't expect to ever run "fast" but I do expect to prove to myself that I can run long and be proud of my accomplishments. Will I ever run a sub 3 hour marathon again? Or a sub 20 hour 100 miler? What about state records? Don't know- don't care. The goal is to do what I can while I can and not ever live in the past again. The glory days may be over but that doesn't mean I don't have some pretty decent days to look forward to. Eye on the Prize is still my favorite mantra. I have realized that Fat Elvis is still Elvis. Just go do what makes you happy and life is good. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Garmin 235 Raffle

Idiots Running Club Relay for Life Garmin 235 Raffle
New in box  Garmin 235
$8.97 per ticket
150 tickets will be sold
Winner will be selected using a random number generator app
Winning number will be drawn when all tickets are sold
Drawing will be recorded on video
If all tickets are not sold he winner will be chosen on June 10th 2017
Purchase tickets through PayPal and your number will be emailed

Monday, April 3, 2017

Win Or Don't Come Home

Win or don't come home. This is what I tell the athletes I coach. "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." Saunders, and later, Lombardi had it right in my opinion. At least to some degree. Winning is important and must be regarded as the ultimate goal in every race, contest or game. Why? Because even from a very early age, competitive people realize that losing sucks and winning makes us feel good. Of course, winning doesn't always mean the top of the podium or the most points on a scoreboard. 

Winning can be measured in many different ways but, for me, the only real unit of measurement is self satisfaction. When running a race myself or coaching athletes through a race or game the definition of winning is set early in the training cycle or practice. It's a simple formula. Look at the areas of strength that are already in place, identify the weaknesses and assess the realistic potential to improve in both areas. Have a basic idea of where you would be on that day if the race or game was scheduled and then look forward and set a lofty but realistic goal that you want to reach. 

Set a plan. Do the work. No excuses. Be ready to overcome obstacles that will get in the way and mentally lead you off track. Know that the motivation isn't going to come from a YouTube video or meme on Facebook. It must be a self motivation that lives in your heart. It can't be just words you say or something you pretend you want because it sounds cool. It must be real, true and non-negotiable. The days will be long, the hours and minutes you dedicate should make you question your sanity and your friends and family will claim you are obsessed. All of that is good. And necessary if you truly have your eye on the prize. 

Do all of that and you will win. When it's time to compete you will be prepared, confident and focused to chase the goal. But.... be smart. Don't try to do more than you should or more than you can. Know what you need to do for YOU to be successful and stick to the script as much as possible but adapt quickly to changes or setbacks. Attempting to overreach will always put you in a situation that rarely has a successful outcome. 

Does this mean you shouldn't put it all on the line and take chances? Absolutely not. It means that you should consistently put it all on the line but take calculated chances. Being brave and confident is much different than being brave, confident AND stupid. Success and winning are born out of pushing past the perceived limits we have set in our minds and expanding the knowledge of our abilities. If we stay comfortable being comfortable then we will never get better or understand the potential for greatness. 

Winning is defined by you. Any improvements gained from the first training session or practice will shine in the overall breakdown of performance when it's all over. They will be easy to see for most people looking but always difficult for the athlete to recognize. Even when ALL the goals are met and the podium, personal record or scoreboard dictate that you are a "winner" there may be a lot of self doubt and questions about what you could have done better. 

There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, without it you will begin a slow decline into a losing mentality. Never settling for good enough and always wanting more is the only way to continue winning. Look at the good, learn from the bad and move on. Remember yesterday but focus on tomorrow. Growth comes from true self evaluation and honesty not from the number of likes you get on Facebook. Knowing that you have pulled off a win even when others don't immediately recognize the situation is enough to keep the train on the tracks and headed in the right direction. 

In the end, winning and losing isn't measured on a scoreboard, podium, trophy or any other outside judge. When done right- Winning is a mindset that begins with a goal and earned through the self motivation to become better. Being the best at anything is fun to dream about but is rarely a realistic outcome as there is always somebody, somewhere who is willing to work harder and longer than you. But you can easily and realistically continue to strive to become the best that you can be. Will you ever achieve the goal of becoming the best that you can be? I hope not. If you do then you have settled for good enough. Good enough will always mean - Could be better. Be better. Win or don't come home. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

GoPro or Hot Tub Relay for Life Raffle

Another raffle?? Yep. Another raffle to benefit the ACS via the Idiots Running Club Relay for Life Team in our quest to rid the world of the evil that is cancer.

A very generous supporter has donated your choice of a portable hot tub or theGoPro Hero4 Silver Camera Bundle. 

It will be tough choice for the winner to choose between the two but I have faith that you will make the right decision. But... if you screw it up and wish you had picked the other - it will be okay. 

Why? How will it be okay? Well... Because tickets for this raffle are only ONE DOLLAR each. One dollar. $1. One buck. With ticket prices that low you will have some cash piling up to be spent on the other. (Disclaimer- This is a hypothetical situation. I do not know, nor can I guarantee that money will be piling up at your house waiting to be spent) 

Donations for tickets can be made directly to the Relay for Life via this link ->
******Please be sure to add GoPro/Hot Tub in the notes.*****

Drawing will be held on June 10th/11th live during the Ozark County Missouri Relay for Life event. 

Quick... Buy ALL the tickets.

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