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.........

Monday, May 31, 2010

My Next Big/Dumb Stunt

Here we go again...... I know it has only been a month and a half, and I said that I wouldn't, but I'm going to ask for your support again. It does get weird when you beg friends, so I want to throw out this caveat before I start. I UNDERSTAND if you do not participate and appreciate the fact that you took the time to even read this. In May, I ran the Ouachita 50 miler with the Honor Scroll and was amazed by the support everybody offered. The idea to raise awareness and money for the ACS only came to me a few days before the race. In less than a week, YOU generously donated over $1700 and provided almost 200 names for the Honor Scroll. In my mind, this was an impressive accomplishment on YOUR part. I honestly do not expect a repeat within this short period of time, but a guy has to try, right?

Running is a strange thing. For me, it started with a few miles per week and has snowballed into, as my wife says, a crazy obsession. I started running in 2006 as a way to lose some weight, entered my first 5k in May and the rest, as they say, is history. That first 5k was HUGE for me- it showed me that ANYTHING was possible. The VOICES showed up soon after and started pushing me harder. Longer distances from the 10k to Marathon got checked off my list of “things to do”. The Boston Qualifier at my first Marathon seemed to be as “good as it gets”.

Naturally, the VOICES kept pushing and a few 50k's later I was thinking BIGGER. When both my parents were diagnosed with Cancer within 4 months of each other it became obvious that there really was something BIGGER out there. Not the 50 miles WE ran back in May but the cause the WE all supported. Weird how things work. All this time I was thinking about what I could do and how far I could go. Luckily, I have my club to help me figure things out. This is really a team effort and I am not ashamed to ask for help.

On June 18-19, I will “attempt” to run on the Gainesville, MO track for 12 consecutive hours. This is the annual Relay For Life event in Ozark County. Starting at 7 PM and ending at 7 AM- I will circle this loop as many times as possible. You can donate by clicking HERE or, if you are local, at the Relay.

I have not figured out all the logistics of how it will work, but I will be honoring those affected by the MONSTER that is cancer throughout the night. The entire 12 hours will be dedicated to ALL but I am asking for you to give names for specific laps, miles or time for those you know. Any advice on how to pull this all together is welcome and appreciated- I DO have a habit of jumping in without a life jacket. Like last time, it is NOT necessary to donate- you can submit a name and I will honor them regardless.

I am also asking for your help in a few other ways, so bear with me here. If you are local- please come down and help “crew” for me. By this I mean to help provide water and snacks so I do not have to stop. Another way to help locally is to come run a lap or two with me in the middle of the night. It will get lonely out there- pace will not matter and if you have a specific lap/mile/time- please come out and help me honor your loved one- we will WALK together if need be.

If you are NOT local- here is my crazy “perfect world” scenario- find a track, put together your own Relay team, find some people to honor and take turns walking/running the 12 hours. Raise some money for YOUR Relay team. Yeah, worth a try.

Last thing. I am going to set up an event on the VOICES Face Book page. It is a 12 hour challenge. I challenge all of you to log at least 12 hours of exercise between now and June 19th. It can be any type of exercise of any length of time that you choose. Running, walking, cycling, softball, chasing kids, whatever.....Just strive for 12 hours total by the 19th. I hope that you will all accept the challenge and let others know about the CAUSE- it is important and together WE can make a difference.

Okay- last thing- fo' real this time. If you donated money last time- please do not feel an obligation to give again. I truly appreciate the support you gave and KNOW that you are still supportive. (Of course- I could use some new shoes)

You can contact me through my email- or call/text 417-239-5064

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lovin' Life

My 7 year old "All- Star", swimming, running and having a blast at the beach. He threw in just a little smack talk at the end...and I dig it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

How To Run - The Secret Revealed

No Garmin, fancy shoes, shorty shorts, hydration pack or heart rate monitor. Just running in it's purest form. Take notes- stop for breaks and jump over obstacles.

Dauphin Island run- Sunday 5/23

Invisible miles. That is what I like to call them. Woke up at 5 a.m., grabbed some coffee and took a walk down the beach. After 30 minutes I realized that this was the perfect time to slip out and explore- 10 miles and 1 hour 13 minutes worth of exploring later, I was back before breakfast. No need to "steal" time away from the family later- I love invisible miles. WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! x10 | View Dauphin Island 10 Miler in Dauphin Island, Alabama

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Wrong Turn and a Dozen Roses

Nothing like knocking down a new Personal Record. That is exactly what I did this morning. My previous PR for the 10k distance was set back in September of 2007. It was 38:23- I thought it wouldn't get any better. WRONG. I have not run a 10k for about 2 years and was really hoping for anything under 40 minutes, and thought that might be a stretch. My training has been focused on longer, slower distances with zero speed work so it was a surprise to me that I was able to come through with a 37:38 in the Ava 10k.

This was the first year for the race, which was a 5k and 10k, and with over 250 entrants it wasn't a shock that they were a bit disorganized. I sensed this when trying to register- nobody wanted to accept my registration form and I ended up mailing it in last minute, missing out on the “good” goodie bag and settling for a plastic bag full of coupons. No big deal but a little frustrating- the good bag had some water bottles and a coffee cup. WHO couldn't use those? Oh well, I still got a nice T-Shirt and really, WHO couldn't use another one of those?

The course was laid out in a weird figure 8 pattern that had us crossing the same intersection so many times that I was dizzy. One loop for the 5k and two loops for the 10k, easy enough, right? Nope. I managed to jump in front of the pack early on the first loop and was following the lead car- a police car- but he didn't really know the course.....see where this is going? He took a wrong turn before the completion of the loop one and I, of course, followed. Luckily, I realized the error and adjusted but many runners didn't and ended up short on the distance. The “organizers” recognized this and made the proper corrections.

I don't think the course change affected the outcome as the lead pack followed me and we got back on track. Again, frustrating but not that big of a deal. As the race pressed on, my lead grew and I found myself pushing but probably not as hard as I would have if the pressure was on. Still I put forth a hard effort and was very pleased with the outcome. Nothing is flat around here so the few small hills actually helped because I run hills EVERYDAY.

So I finished the race in first place with a new PR. Not bad for my training. If I didn't fully believe in the benefit of cross training before, I do now. It has made an unbelievable difference for me and I highly recommend it to anybody that is serious about improving. Now if I could just force myself to get down to the track once in a while and put in some speed training.......yeah, right. I despise that stuff.

The award presentation was disorganized. No big shock there. I think it will be better next time- first year mistakes. It was worth the long wait when they finally got around to my award. No real age groups- just ages 0-39 and 40 and up. Weird. I received a Bulova watch, about $200 worth of gift certificates and a Silver Dollar City pass. Not bad. There was also a trophy, which was nice but I figured that I had won enough stuff. I asked that we bump the trophy back to the 2nd place finisher and that would allow the 4th place finisher to take home some hardware too. I really think this was the fair thing to do. Sure, I would have liked to add a trophy to my collection but I already had a freakin' PR- and all the other stuff that I couldn't carry- and that was good enough.

The watch, certificates, PR and a 1st place finish were cool and nice but the BEST part was a certificate to the local flower shop for a dozen roses. This was a $50 value and great timing. I swung by there on my way out of town and had my kids give them to my wife for an early Mother's Day gift. Nothing like winning twice in one day.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Still Learning and YOGOWYPI

You Only Get Out What You Put In..... Seem's so obvious, now.

Saturday May 1, 2010. The Bradleyville Scholarship 5k. Nothing like going back to where it all started. This annual 5k was my first ever race back in 2006. I showed up with about 4 months of running experience and very low expectations. I was familiar with the area and knew the course would be very hilly and was considered a “tough” 5k. With this knowledge I signed up and hoped to finish around 24 minutes and not embarrass myself.

I had been running a hilly 3 mile route by my house for the last few months but was still a newbie and had no idea how to approach a road race- nothing about pacing, breathing or actual “running” shoes. I just figured that an old pair of shorts, t-shirt and whatever Nike's I had in the closet would be fine. I showed up confused and it was obvious to all that this was my first 5k. So I was very surprised and happy when I crossed the line in 22:07, winning 2nd place in my age division. I think the trophy sealed the deal- I would be back.

I have returned every year since '06. Finishing '07 in 19:25 and 19:18 in '08, my times were getting faster. In '09 there was a pile up at the start because some little kids lined up in front and then, naturally, started falling down as the faster and bigger runners came through. I stopped 3 times to help move kids to the side so they didn't get hurt. This cost me a few seconds- well worth it though- and I finished in 19:48. Still not bad (for me) and would have been close to the previous two years otherwise.

Because my training has been focused more on longer, slower distances these past 6 months or so, I had no expectations of anything better than high 19's this year. You could say that I was just a little hyped crossing the line in 18:35, about 45 seconds faster than my best here and THAT is a giant difference in the world of 5k's. There was NO WAY that I should have been able to run that kind of time, given my history on this course and the slower training runs and zero speed work. NO WAY....Or was there?

True there has been absolutely no speed training or track sessions. True I have concentrated only on longer, slower paced running. But it is also true that I have been more consistent in my training, logging 45-50 miles per week for 6 months. And I have also added weights and core work to my training plan. These two small things have given BIG results. I used to laugh at the weights as a cross-training method because I thought that had nothing to do with running. DUMB.

The weights and core work- only 3 months thus far- have paid HUGE dividends. I know this is the difference here and on the 50 miler. My recovery time for the 50 was way faster than it should have been and there is only one explanation for that. I had the idea that things were paying off then but after this 5k, I KNOW for sure. Too bad it took me so long to figure out the obvious, that cross-training is necessary and an important tool for improvement and recovery. I know it is not a substitute for speed-work and I need to work on that but it's enough for me to continue the way too early, 4 AM work-outs. When I want to hit the snooze button, I am sure the VOICES will remind me why.....

-Nobody's a natural. You work hard to get good and work hard to get better. - Paul Coffey