Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Eventful Week

It's been a week that's been anything but dull for me, both in life and in running.

I had a great workout at the CMS dome on Friday afternoon, running 16x400m in an average of 76 seconds. I ended the workout with a pair of 74s, my best set of 400s so far this winter.

Saturday is where things got interesting. I was going out to Watertown to run with some friends that I hadn't run with in quite a while. I was meeting them at 7:00am but I never made it car broke down on County Road 6 on my way there. Janikula had to come pick me up and we had to call a tow truck. Long story short, I never returned home until 11:00am while waiting for the tow truck, contacting insurance, etc. Also, we never got to run! By this point in the day I was so worn down that I just didn't have the energy to complete it.

Sunday went a lot better, simply because I did actually get to run. I went 14 miles with Brett and Kraig out at the lakes in Minneapolis. It was a pretty relaxed pace (about 7:30 per mile) but the distance run was good. The first half of the run was into a very strong headwind. On the way back it felt really easy and it ended up being a solid workout.

Monday was relatively uneventful other than the fact the extent of my run was to go to the auto repair shop to check on my car. We found out it was the timing belt and water pump that went out. Fortunately, they got it done right away that day. Unfortunately, it cost almost $500 to get fixed! However, it got fixed so no more worries about my car.

Tuesday I was having some issues with my left hip so I took the day to ride the stationary bike instead of run. The weather was already getting a little nasty out so I wasn't entirely disappointed by it. The positive that came out of Tuesday was that Jen and I met with our realtor for the first time and the official house search for us has begun! We're looking for homes in the Plymouth/Maple Grove area and we've got a great realtor helping us out. We're hoping to be in our first home by the early part of this summer. It still seems a long way off but we both know it's going to come fast.

Finally, that brings us to today. I think everyone in Minnesota has a story to share about their day today. Mine began with Jen getting a phone call at 5:15am alerting her to Buffalo having a snow day. I eventually got my phone call alerting me to Wayzata's snow day, but it never came until I was over halfway to school in my car. I turned around, went to Caribou and returned home to enjoy my first snow day since I was teaching in Watertown. It led to a run in the snow later this morning (nearly an hour of running). I ran some up tempo segments during my workout to break up the monotony of a run through untouched snow. I don't think my heartrate was ever below 160 from the moment I started but I really enjoyed the run. The hip didn't bother me at all which was good.

What's to come next? Well, tomorrow is a long day with parent-teacher conferences until 8:30 in the evening and then Friday is the Treadmill 1 Mile World Championships at Gear West. I will be competing around 5:45pm Friday night and I'm looking forward to what should be a very fun and unique event! Come check it out at Gear West Friday and Saturday if you're in the area!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Running for Joy

As I stand in the hallway of Wayzata High School at the end of another school week, I've been pondering the thoughts of why I do what I do (not just running, but my job, lifestyle, etc.). There's a long story of why I've been pondering all of that but I won't get into that right now. When it comes to my running, I feel very comfortable in knowing why I run and what I am running for, and I felt like I should share that with all of you.

I began running simply to keep in shape for high school basketball but quickly discovered I was very good at the sport. Eventually, running became my main sport and I continued it into college. When injuries and struggles came about, I really began to question my motivations for running. Was it simply to stay in shape, was it to be competitive, was it for notoriety? I was very unsure and for much of college I struggled with my running successes. Near the end of college, I became a Christian and began learning a ton about my faith and my purpose in this world. For me, everything I learned made sense when it came to my job, my relationships and just about everything else. I still was unsure when it came to running though.

I always found a sense of calmness when I ran and a great feeling of joy from the sport. Not too long after I graduated from college, I came to a verse from 1 Corinthians that really stuck with me, and still does to this day. It read:

"Glorify God in your body and in your mind, which are God's." - 1 Corinthians 6:20

As I learned more about the context of this verse, it was focusing in on telling the readers about purity with their body and their minds, but at the same time, it also means to take care of your body and your mind because ultimately, they were created by and belong to God. This was powerful stuff! Because my body belonged to the God who created me, I needed to take care of what was His. This opened my eyes to what my purpose in running was and really began to shape what I thought about when I ran. I now had a new found motivation to was a way of honoring and worshiping God that I truly loved and enjoyed!

The title of this blog is "Running for Joy." The title is not of my own creation. Ryan Hall, a top American marathoner, gave me the idea for the title from his book with the same name. He was going through a similar struggle in preparing for his training leading up to the 2010 Boston Marathon. The book was his training journal throughout his preparation and he spoke of his struggles and successes with training, racing, and honoring God through running. Hall wanted every run and every race to be a form of worship to God, who made him and gave him the ability and joy to run.

This is very much how I now feel today. I spend time before each race briefly praying that it would be a way to honor God, the one who gave me the joy and ability to run in the first place. Without Him, I wouldn't be able to run and I honor God with every step I take.

Finding joy in that, there is no better feeling.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Up & Down Couple of Days

The last few days of running have been a little inconsistent for me. The positive from everything is over the last 7 days, I ran a total of 70 miles, the first time I've done that since my training for the Boston Marathon nearly a year ago! The drawback is yesterday's workout became some pretty ugly miles. My original workout plan was to do a Fartlek/Tempo workout of 10x3 minutes at 10K pace with 90 seconds of jog recovery in between each. When I began the workout, I was feeling pretty good, but 3 intervals into the workout my stomach starting feeling a little uneasy. Uneasy very quickly turned into being virtually unable to run without pain. The worst part was that at this point I was at my farthest point away from where I had started from (the high school). I eventually found a bathroom, cleared some things out and felt moderately better. I scrapped the workout by that point and just got myself back to my car in the parking lot so I could go home. I have not figured out what triggered that because my eating patterns were identical to what they have been the entire school year. Hopefully it doesn't happen today.

On the up-side of things, I had great workouts the few days prior to that. I ran 14.5 miles on Sunday morning with Brett from the racing team with about 3 miles up-tempo during the second half of the run. We averaged 7:18 pace with the up-tempo portion averaging around 6:15-6:20 pace per mile.

Monday, I ran a solid 10 miles on my own around Plymouth and just felt really good the whole way. I got the run in before the snow came, which was also a positive.

On Tuesday, I ran about 6 miles with a college teammate of mine, Jason Phillippi, who also runs for the Gear West team and teaches at Rockford. We did a loop from my place that took us along a number of paths in Plymouth that normally are not plowed the day after a snowfall, but this time, they were! Needless to say, that made the run go much more smoothly.

In the next week to come, I will be getting in another good long run as well as a session of 400m intervals, leading up to the Treadmill 1 Mile World Championships, being held at Gear West from Friday, March 2nd to Sunday, March 4th. I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this race, especially since I haven't been on a treadmill much this year, but we'll see what happens!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Getting Back at It

It's been almost 2 years since I posted to this blog and fortunately, Blogger hasn't cancelled my account for inactivity. With so many other friends getting on the blog/training blog bandwagon, I couldn't resist getting back into it. A lot has happened in the nearly 2 years I've been away from this thing (I won't get into all of that now, but it'll all come as I post). The major things is I have a "new" teaching and coaching job at Wayzata High School in Plymouth, MN and that I have now been married for 1 and a half years (perhaps you can understand why I've been away from this so long...I've been busy!).

Anyway, my goal in returning to this is to keep you all up-to-date on my training, coaching, and life in general. My goals this year, 2012, are centered around preparation for my 13th career marathon, which will be the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 7th. It will be my first attempt at Chicago and my first marathon since the 2011 B.A.A. Boston Marathon (an 18 month layoff between marathons). In leading up to that race (still 6 months away), I will be running a handful of races that I will post about and I will also post about my training as I prepare for each race. I will also keep you informed about the Gear West Racing Team, the team I compete for and oversee during the racing season.

I look forward to getting back into blogging and going back and forth with many of you about workouts, running, and life in general!