Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Back in the Land of Oz...

Well it's been a rough past 4-5 days for running.   We just got back last night from Illinois from my grandma's funeral, and with the travel and visiting family, etc, getting a good long run in just wasn't possible.  I did manage 30 minutes on the hotel treadmill one day, and 3 miles yesterday morning before we left.  It was actually nice outside yesterday.  The problem was that there wasn't really anywhere to run outside, since the roads around the hotel were mostly highway or frontage roads.  It was frustrating, and I ended up looping the hotel a few times and back tracking etc.  I think I am going to take today off and then run the Frosty 5K tomorrow, put on by our YMCA every New Year's Day.  The weather looks decent for it.    

I did listen to several episodes of the Extra Mile podcast during our trip.  I have had them downloaded for awhile but never listened.  Pretty cool podcast actually.  If you've never listened, it's basically runners sending in audio of their training or race reports.  Much of it is recorded while people are running, so most of the talking you can hear people huffing and puffing out on the road.   There seem to be a lot of people out there that do this.  Which leads me to the question, how do people record themselves while running like that?  What kind of voice recorder do they use?  Do any of you do this?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Marathon of Hope

Tired Mama Running had a great post this past week, that talked about the Marathon of Hope and Terry Fox....many of you have probably heard this story already, but I hadn't......I wanted to post this link here for any of you that have not heard this incredible story....

Check it out. And thanks to Tired Mama Running for introducing me to this very inspirational story.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mental Floss

"Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is."

--Harry S Truman

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mental Floss

"God has a purpose for me and that is to serve Him in China, but God also made me to run fast and when I run, I feel His pleasure"

-Eric Liddel in "Chariots of Fire"

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mental Floss

Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired...You've always got to make the mind take over and keep going."

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sick of being sick...

I have been sick the last couple of days, including Christmas day, which really sucked.....nothing too severe, just a head and chest cold, enough to drain my energy and make me stuffy...

Anyway, what really stinks about being sick is that we've been having unusually warm weather lately, and I can't run.......yesterday (Christmas day) it got to mid 50's and then today we hit an time record high of 67 degrees....yes, in late, I am just now starting to feel better and it's 9pm at night and still over 60 degrees.....and a look at the forecast says that tomorrow morning sometime while I am sleeping it is supposed to dip down to 18 degrees....(not unusual for Kansas weather)....and we are leaving tomorrow to head to Illinois for my grandma's, I think I am going for a night run, in shorts, woo-hoo....anyone care to join me?

Mental Floss

"Some running is good, more is better, and too much is just enough" "The only way to define your limits is to go beyond them"

"Remember the second most important thing to choosing the right shoe, is choosing the left one"

"If I am still standing at the end of the race, hit me with a board and knock me down, because thatmeans I didn't run hard enough"

--Steve Jones, former world marathon record holder

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Going Giftless....

The following excerpt is from a post on Shaun Groves' blog, and found it to be a really great reminder that Christmas is not about getting presents......Here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas!


Becky and I don’t give each other or our kids a single thing at Christmas.

Why? How?
We don’t give our kids anything because they don’t need, expect or ask for anything. They don’t need anything because they use their own money to buy themselves stuff year round, we buy them small things year round, and they get loads of loot from friends and family on their birthdays - we haven’t put any limits on that...yet. They don’t expect anything because this is all they’ve ever known (soy milk, remember?). They don’t ask for anything because they don’t have cable. Yes, it’s that easy. There’s no built-in need in the human body, mind or spirit for a Webkin or a Wii. The “need” is created. Because there are no need creators in our house (aka advertisers) our kids don’t want stuff very often. And when they do, we get it for their birthday or encourage them to earn the money to buy it themselves. So far, so good.
Santa Clause doesn’t give Becky and I or our kids a single thing.

Why? How?
Well, I’ve written before about how we slayed Santa if you want all the details. Essentially, our kids think the whole Santa thing is something the whole world pretends. Hey, it’s no more of a lie than what you tell your kids. Anyway, seriously, don’t worry: there’s no incentive for our children to tell your children Santa isn’t real because they think everyone already knows that. It’s genius! Complete strangers come up to my kids this time of year and ask them what Santa is bringing. And they lie pretend brilliantly! It’s pretty amusing to hear my kids comment on how good of a pretender the waitress at Cracker Barrel was.

No real Santa means no lists, no waking up at 6AM to get stuff, no two hour present unwrapping sessions, and no worries about whether we’re making too big a deal out of Santa and not a big enough deal out of Jesus. Santa’s a bit player. Jesus is the star.

I think it’s incredible how some people do family worship services or read the Christmas story or unwrap the baby Jesus figurine first thing Christmas morning. Very cool. But we’re not that advanced yet. Simply killing off Saint Nick has been enough to put the spotlight on Jesus at Christmas. In addition though, the last few years we’ve had a birthday party for Jesus, complete with singing and candle blowing and cake eating. My mom’s idea. And a lot of the emphasis on Christ comes from little conversations that just naturally happen. For instance, Gresham, my son, recently asked me if he was going to get any presents for Christmas. He knew he would but this was his way of trying to figure out what they might be. I sarcastically asked him why he would get presents if it’s not his birthday. I asked him whose birthday it was. He said Jesus’ and then I asked him what he was going to give Jesus for his birthday. He thought for a minute and then he said the most profound thing: “Well, Jesus!” Exactly. And then we talked very briefly about how we could give ourselves to Jesus this Christmas. The kids gave their ideas and we eventually decided to buy animals and water for families in the third world - a gift to poor kids like Jesus. They’re pretty excited about buying a goat.
Grandparents are limited to two gifts per kid.

Why? How?
This is a tough one. And this our first year to man-up and actually ask grandparents to change their ways. As a kid I remember my mom working twelve hour days as the director of a daycare center, then coming home, fixing dinner, and working another four hours sewing stuff that she then sold for Christmas present money. All that work to get me stuff I stopped playing with a few months (or days) later. She didn’t seem to mind. Gifts are my mom’s way of loving people and she’s one of the most generous people I’ve ever known. To give less than a lot to every kid in our family might actually kill her. I’ll let you know. But because my mom loves me she’s agreed to give it a try this year. We’ve assured her our kids don’t expect much for Christmas and haven’t asked for a single thing and will still believe she loves them no matter what. She may be doubtful but se’s playing along. Thanks, mom.

This new grandparent “rule” came about partly because Becky wants our kids to think of their grandparents as people and not toy dispensers and partly because she wants them to do stuff with their grandparents, not just get stuff. So at Christmas, our kids will hunt frogs with Papa, go swimming with Nonnie, do art together or go see a movie. The grandparents are the gift. That, Becky hopes, will be more meaningful to our kids in the long run than a bunch of stuff.

Limiting the number of gifts they get is also good for us. The less we have the more grateful I believe we’re likely to be. The less we have the more responsive we are to those who have nothing. The less we have the less we want. (Odd, but I think true.) Lastly, the less we have the more imaginative and relational it’s necessary we be. My kids spend hours every day pretending with simple things like a box or a ball. Kids don’t need stuff to have fun but when they have a lot of stuff, I think, it can cripple their ability to have fun without it. Visit the third world and see how much fun a stick and a tire can be. Then give a stick and a tire to an American kid and watch them slump, whine, and groan about how bored they are. We’re not doing kids any favors by taking away the need for imagination. So, some stuff, some imagination, and we just hope that works.

I’m no psychologist. I could be completely wrong about every bit of this. All I know about kids is what I’ve seen of my own. Results may vary.
We give gifts

Why? How?
Why wouldn’t we give at Christmas when we give all year round? At Christmas, the gifts change slightly, that’s all. And there’s more conversation probably about why we give, but the giving itself is nothing unique to Christmas. And the stuff we give isn’t all that grand. We give friends food and Christmas cards made by the kids. We give relatives ornaments or frames or planters or some other small thing we make as a family. We give teachers plants and pictures made by the kids. We do the same sorts of things the other eleven months of the year too. When we appreciate someone we give to them - we recognize them. When we hear about a need, we meet it. We work a few hours every week at a food pantry, sponsor kids through Compassion, give to a homeless mission in Nashville, volunteer for this and that, etc etc. The point is that Christmas isn’t a time of increased generosity for our kids or us. There’s virtually no difference in our level of giving from one season to the next - the only difference is the kind of card that comes with the gift.
Your turn. How do you do the whole gift giving thing? Specifically, how do you handle giving your kids gifts?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Nike + Community 2008 Rundown

That's a lot of pounds burned....but Eye of the Tiger?  Seriously?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good News and Bad News....

It was nice enough to get out and run this evening, and it felt great. I went for a 5.5 miler at about a 9 1/2 min pace.....It started drizzling about 2 1/2 miles in and I had to wipe my glasses about every 5 minutes because I couldn't see...(oh the joys of being a glasses-wearing runner) was a nice run...

Now for the good and bad news...

The good --I won some running shoes! Yes, through the giveaway I was a random winner! Woo-hoo. I should be getting some Asics in the next couple weeks, so look for a review on my blog after I try them out...

The bad -- I learned this afternoon that my grandmother passed away, so it looks like we'll be leaving Christmas day or the day after for a trip to Illinois for the funeral....while her loss is saddening, and she will be missed, I am glad that her suffering is over....

Top 10 Signs You're Not Going to Win the NYC Marathon

Courtesy of David Letterman's Top Ten Lists)
10. You've been "training" at Blimpie'
9. Losing precious minutes with your frequent Marlboro breaks.
8. Your favorite three words in the English language are "more pie, please."
7. You got stuck behind Al Sharpton
6. Instead of Gatorade, you drink Zima
5. Before you've gone two miles, one of your four inch heels snaps off.
4. Instead of Eye of the Tiger, you've got the dull stare of the dairy cow
3. Every time you bend over to tie your shoes, you cramp up.
2. You run several feel then puke your ever loving guts out
1. You've just finished last year's marathon.

Motivational Quote for the Day

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful
men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
--Calvin Coolidge

Monday, December 22, 2008

Nothing Like a Long Hot Shower

I will never take having access to a hot shower for granted. I have been to countries and on missions trips where there is no such thing as a hot shower. Just cold ones, if any at all. We live in such a great country where pretty much everyone has access to a hot shower.
Hot showers are awesome, I hope you know.

And don't ever let anyone tell you how long of a shower to take.
Some of my best ideas come while I'm in the shower. There is something about the soothing and relaxing nature of a hot shower that inspires great thoughts, I think. Many times I have had to get out of the shower and quickly write something down when I got out so I wouldn't forget what I was thinking about. Anyone with me on that?

And there have been times when I am in the shower so long and I get lost with ideas and thinking and relaxing that I forget if I have washed my hair yet. Has this happened to anyone? Surely I'm not alone here. I have to look around the shower stall for traces of shampoo to see if I've washed my hair yet. When in doubt, I wash it again. And I don't even mind that my fingers are all wrinkled.

If we ever get a new house, I want to get the biggest hot water heater we can afford, because I don't ever want the water to get cold when I'm in the shower.
By the way, I was inspired to write this post while taking a long hot shower after a long run in cold weahter. I think the shower felt especially good.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Does That Make Me Crazy?

I was planning on doing a 7 mile run today, but changed my mind when I stepped outside to get the newspaper. It was cold. 3 degrees with windchill type of cold. Much more colder than I had anticipated.

I was going to scrap running altogether, and maybe run tomorrow, but then I saw that the weather is supposed to be even colder tomorrow. So, I mustered up the courage to go out and run 4.5 miles. It actually wasn't bad as long as I wasn't running into the wind. When I ran north or west into the stiff, cold wind, it was brutal. I had to apologize to my face because that's the only part of my body that wasn't covered and it really felt the force of the arctic blasts.

Anyway, the whole way I had the Gnarles Barkley song "Crazy" stuck in my head......appropriate, I thought....

Friday, December 19, 2008

With Apologies to Mr. T.....

I took this afternoon off from work so that I could attend the Christmas parties for my boys' classes at their school. When I got to Bryden's class I learned that he had come to school with rings on all of his fingers, and he had been trying to sell these rings to his classmates.....oh the life of a kindergardener.....

I got in a nice 2.5 mile tempo run this morning, and I am hoping to get in maybe a 7 miler tomorrow before we have our Christmas get together....the rain yesterday melted most all of the snow (much to the dismay of my son), so it should be a nice dry and cool day....


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Is Running for Charity a Bad Thing?

I found an article that asks whether charity runs are bad for the sport:

I have to tell you, as one fairly new to running, I had never even considered that question, or thought that the sport of running is somehow weakened or lessened by having charity runs.  In fact, quite the opposite.  It gives people who don't normally run a chance to experience running, and raises money for a good cause at the same time.  What's the harm in that?


Loved the Biggest Loser finale.  I am so glad Michelle won, and thought it was hilarious that Ed was America's vote in a landslide.  I told you so.
Can't wait for the next season in January to start.  Did it really only take that kid 19 years to get to be 400+ pounds?


Ran 3 miles again on packed ice/snow last night.  Great run, but I am hoping this stuff will melt soon.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

At least I didn't fall....

I've always wondered what it's like running on snow/ice.   Now I know.   Last night I got home and really felt like going for a run, so after dinner I bundled up and went out for a nice, easy 3 miler.   Mostly it was nice and easy because I was running on packed snow and ice the whole way.   Even without any Yak Trax.  I ran a little cautiously because I didn't want to fall and break an elbow or something.   

My feet seriously did not touch the street the entire way.  It was exhilerating to be out running in the cold night air, and when I got home I traded my running shoes for snow boots and shoveled the driveway.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Change of Plans......

So this morning I was planning on get up and going running, if the weather cooperated. It didn't. We woke up to about 2-3 inches of snow/ice with it still sleeting.....uck. I just wasn't in the mood for the elliptical.

The roads were horrible and everyone was going 20 miles an hour on the 65 mph highway. My defrost was cranked on high and the wipers were going full blast, but the sleet was freezing on my windshield instantly, making it impossible to see.....I had to stop and scrape my windshield 3 times on the way to work. How do people even run in this kind of weather?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Merry Christmas Chimps and Penguins!

This morning Lisa had the final rehearsal for the childrens Christmas program she is directing for our church, so I took the boys to the zoo. Today is the day when they give Christmas presents to the chimpanzees and orangutans, and it is a lot of fun seeing them rip open the packages and play with all the stuff. The orangutans weren't really into it too much, but the chimps were like 4 year old children tearing into everything. It was fun. Among some of the presents they got: a plastic shovel, a basketball, windchimes, socks, boxes of cereal, marshmellows, legos, frisbees, and much more.

This chimp seems happy with his frisbee and cereal presents.

The boys playing with the penguins.

We spent some time at the zoo and then met up with Lisa for lunch. From there we went to see the movie "Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas," which my company puts on as a free family event every year for the community. It is always fun, and there were a ton of kids this year. Santa was there, free popcorn and drinks, prizes, giveaways, etc, etc. And that movie is a classic. It's an old muppet movie that has been digitally re-mastered. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out. The kids really enjoyed it.

We came home and it was so beautiful out that I went for a nice run. 7 miles at a 9 min pace. It was very windy (this is Kansas after all, so it's pretty much windy all the time), and going out I had the wind at my back which was nice, but coming back I was running straight into a strong steady wind, which made it rough. I felt great and ran the whole way with no walk breaks, which is a good accomplishment for me. I felt like I could have kept going pretty easily, which makes me think that maybe a half marathon isn't out of the question with a few more months training.


Friday, December 12, 2008

It was the best of runs, it was the worst of runs....

This morning I had a great run, in complete contrast to yesterday's run. I wasn't even sure I was going to run this morning after the crud run yesterday, but I'm glad I did. Had a nice, easy 3 miler at about a 9:15 pace. I went with my music playlist today instead of the podcasts I have been listening to, and I think that helped me mentally. I felt great.

I am not sure what makes a good run good, or a bad run bad, although it seems like from reading other people's blogs that everyone has both kinds of runs. I think maybe there are days when it just clicks, and days when it doesn't. Anyone have a secret formula for good/bad runs?

And now for a little mid afternoon distraction, I can't tell if this is the cutest baby costume or most disturbing baby costume I've ever're vote?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stretching or Resting?

So I think I have discovered something. I'm not very good at stretching. Yes, I do it, before and after every run, and even periodically during the day. I stretch for at least 1/2 an hour a day. But with cold weather now upon us, I think I need to double or triple the amount of time I spend stretching.

At least, that's what I think my legs were telling me this morning on a 4 mile run in the dark.

Running across ice and snow with my LRL (Little Red Light), I felt my legs really tighten up around mile two, to the point that I had to take a short stretch break. They never recovered really and the rest of the run wan't very comfortable.

The other possibility is that I need to give my legs more rest between runs. I used to run one day on, one day off, but lately it's been hit and miss and I'll run 2 days in a row, then rest one, or run 3, then one off, or something like that. I'm not on a schedule per say, I just try to listen to my body and run as much or as far as it is telling me it can go. So it might be telling me to rest more. But I don't like resting. I like running. Maybe I do need to schedule my runs. Or maybe I just need to stretch more. You tell me.

On the lighter side, my character, Dwight, is beating Michael and the rest in the Fave Office Character Challenge through Nike+.
The Office is on tonight. Woo-hoo.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Biggest Loser....

When Lisa and I did the local Biggest Loser challenger earlier this year, we definitely had some success. We each lost a significant amount of weight (combined over 50 lbs). People came up to us all the time (and still do) and say “have you lost weight?” and then they usually follow it up with “how have you lost that much weight?” as if there is a secret to losing weight. When I would answer them with “exercise and eating right,” most people seemed disappointed.

The thing is, most people already know the answer to that question before they even ask it, they are just hoping for a shortcut.

The holidays are upon us full force and everywhere I look there are reminders about avoiding the Battle of the Bulge during the holiday season. That is all fine and dandy, but what about the rest of the year? People have the same battles/cravings/temptations throughout the year. My thought is, learn to control those cravings throughout the year, in your daily life, or at least moderate them, so that when holidays or parties come around, they won’t present you with any temptation that you haven’t already faced and dealt with already. I love cookies and candies just as much as the next person, but I also know by experience what unhealthy eating can lead to.

Regular exercise/Running has really lead me to evaluate the type of fuel that I am putting into my body. I am hopeful that this Christmas will be different than years past when I absorbed as much holiday junk food as possible.

We watched Biggest Loser last night so we could be prepared for the finale next week. Did Bob really say that one of the former winners gained all their weight back? Who was that? And, how does that happen? And maybe it's just me, but I could see America voting for Ed just because Heba might come across as selfish for not asking America to vote for her husband.

Anyway, I'm rooting for Michelle.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The weatherman is a liar....

So yesterday it was a beautiful sunny day here, mid 50's, and I went for a very nice run wearing shorts and a t-shirt. In December. Yes. It was awesome out.

But the weatherman said that it was going to snow sometime today, our first snow of the season apparently. I didn't believe it. But I told my 7 year old anyway, who loves snow. He was so excited and went to bed last night with dreams of waking up to snow and going outside to play in it.

This morning we woke up and there was no snow, so my disappointed son said "the weatherman is a liar."

While I was trying to explain to him that the weather is very hard to predict, even for a weatherman, and it can pretty much do whatever it wants to, especially here in Kansas, it started snowing. Yep, it's snowing. All day, and tomorrow too I think. If the weatherman is right, we might get 3-4 inches. Welcome to Kansas. Sunny and beautiful one day, cold and blizzard like the next. Might be time to hit the elliptical.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winter Running

I used to dread running in cold weather….in 2005 when I had tried to take up running, it was the cold weather that I think eventually caused me to quit, and then I never went back to it…….now, 3 years later, I actually kind of enjoy running in cold weather…..not brutally, frostbite cold type of weather with negative windchill temps..…but I can deal with running in temperatures of 30s and 40s……the arctic chill wind makes it especially tough…..but when clothed properly and prepared mentally, it’s really not so bad. I've been experimenting with the right combination of layers of shirts, undershirts, pants, gloves, etc to try to get just the right layering for varying degrees of coldness. Anyone have a clothing system that works for you?

We don't have snow like the below picture yet (my kids a couple of winters ago), but I know it's coming soon.....

Of course I say all this on a day when it's pushing 50 degrees out and sunny and I was able to run 4 miles in shorts....

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Jingle All the Way....

This was my first Jingle Bell Run. I wanted to run it mainly for two reasons. First, I had heard that it was one of the more popular races around, and a lot of fun, and second, my mother in law has arthritis, so I felt good about supporting an event sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation.

I had heard that getting a good night's sleep the night before a race is not as important as getting a good night's sleep the night before the night before (that's 2 nights before, if that makes sense), so I tried Thursday night to get a good night's sleep. I think I actually succeeded, and felt well rested on Friday, which was a rest day from running anyway. I wanted my body to recover and be ready for the race on Saturday. Friday night I wasn't so concerned about getting a good night's sleep, so I stayed up fairly late. I

called my buddy Adam to see if he wanted to run it with me and he said yes, so I was stoked. He has been running longer and is faster than me, so I was looking forward to running with him. He lives about a mile from me and we've run together before. He is going to do the OKC marathon, and I'm half tempted to join him and maybe do the 1/2 marathon event. It's in April so I have plenty of time to train, although Run to Finish has mentioned a 1/2 in Olathe in March, so I will have to see if either of those will work out. Soccer for Bryden will be starting back up sometime in the spring so my Saturdays will be occupied again coaching U8 soccer.

Here is a pic of me, Adam (next to me), and some of his running friends....

Some highlights from the run/event:
--Santa Claus was there
--So was the Grinch
--many runners dressed in the Christmas spirit, with Santa hats, reindeer hats, woman ran the race as a wrapped present
--runners had to tip-toe through geese poop for about 1/2 mile while running along the river bike path
--one guy ran the whole four miles in full firefighter gear, helmet and all...wish I'd have gotten a pic, that is impressive
--there was breakfast and lunch provided(if you count donuts as breakfast and a hamburger as lunch)
--I saw my friend Reese and he took 7th overall, he was trying to finish under 24 minutes...that's just absurd that he can run that fast...

I felt pretty good overall but went out a bit fast and got winded. My mental state was also very off today. There is something about running with a bunch of other people that bugs me, when I am used to running alone.

Is a mile really a mile??

I crossed the finish line at 37:19, which is a pace of about 9:20. That is slower than I intended on running it, so I was disappointed.

When I looked at my ipod, though, it said that I had ran 4.54 miles at a pace of 8:18 or something like, my ipod must be off in tracking distance. I did calibrate it though, over thanksgiving, and it came out exactly right right. Has anyone else had problems with their iPod tracking distances incorrectly? I know a lot of people use Garmin devices. Are those more accurate?

My buddy Adam finished in 34 minutes something, I couldn't keep up, and I didn't really try to. I am slow, and I know it, but that's okay. We had a great day of running and enjoyed the race.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Morning Runner Syndrome....

So I really like running in the mornings, before I have to go to work....with the seasons changing this is becomming more and more of a challenge....running in the cold takes extra effort for me......

Usually I run around 6:30-ish....well today I woke up early for some reason and couldn't go back to sleep, so I decided to go was 5......a.......m. was early. And dark. And cold. And did I mention early? To fight the coldness I bundled up really well, with my new gloves and even a neck warmer. I was nice and toasty after about a mile.

And, to fight the dark, I wore my new little runner's light that my parents got me as an early Christmas gift. I think they were worried after reading my last post about running in the dark. The light is actually pretty cool, it clips on your body and gives off a nice red shine, kind of like a bicycle light. The only place I could find to clip it was on my collar, so I felt like I had a red-orange glow on my face the entire way. Thanks mom, I felt extra safe today. I tried to take a picture of the light above, didn't really come out too well.

Just did a nice, easy 2.5 mile run today, at about a 8:50 pace. It was about 20 degrees this morning, so that was about as far as I felt like running in that coldness. I am hoping it is warmer than this on Saturday for the Jingle Bell Run.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Running in the dark....

Seems like no matter when I run these days, it is in the was no exception. I ran when I got home from work and at 5:15-ish it was already dark. Amazing. I even turned the Christmas lights on before I went on my run. The good news is that the weather was great and I got to wear shorts. Yippee. I ran 3 miles in 8:28 pace, which is great for me. Really felt good overall, except for a slight twinge in my lower back at about the 1.5 mile subsided after about 1/2 a mile. I intentionally went a little faster than normal, to try to get my body used to running at a slightly faster pace. The Jingle Bell run in in 4 days, and it is a four miler. If I could keep this pace up for 4 miles, I would be ecstatic. Lately I've been listening to the Phedippidations podcast during my runs and they are pretty entertaining. The guy records his podcasts during long distance runs, which is pretty amazing. On today's episode (an old one actually, as I'm working my way through the archive) he talked about the mental aspects of running, and I couldn't agree more that there is a lot about running that involves the mind. When my mental state is there, it doesn't even matter how my body feels most of the time. Today my mental was good, as was my breathing and body. Those are the three things I try to pay attention to when running, and when they all three click, then it's a great run.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

it's getting colder....

Travelling from Illinois back to Wichita and spending a couple nights in hotels along the was so great to see lots of family yesterday, and we checked in late to a hotel in Illinois last night that was just outside of St Louis...I ran on the treadmill last night a few miles, but I could feel some pain in my shin and heel that was my body telling me it needed a rest, so I won't run today, and probably not tomorrow either....It snowed some today, and it is supposed ot be getting colder this week...not looking forward to having to run in chillier weather...but, as Bruce Murray from The Running Shoe says, there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate a certain extent I agree...if you're bundled up good, the cold weather won't even phase I am slowly trying to acquire and determine what "appropriate"clothing is for me......we had a great day today...
we went to the Rams-Dolphins game, and then took a ride to the top of the arch....had a fun time with the is a picture of me and the boys at the Rams game...of course, I am wearing my K-State jersey.......
heading back to town tomorrow, and back to reality...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Blues...

Today is Black Friday, the day when thousands of people get up at the crack of dawn to fight and claw their way to saving a few dollars on a wide range of things. Every year I think about how fun it must be to stand in line in the freezing cold at 3am and hope to get one of the 5 laptops or TVs allowed at the Wal Mart here in this small town in Illinois. But this year, I didn't really feel the desire. Which is ok. Our approach was to sleep in as late as we could, have a casual morning of eating breakfast and visiting with family, then meander down to Wal Mart just minutes before the 5am-11am specials were done, to see if there was anything left. As expected, there wasn't. There was really only one thing that I was kind of interested in, and it would have only saved my 7$ off the regular price, so I figured that wasn't worth losing sleep and fighting an angry mob for.

We stuffed ourselves yesterday, and went to see Bolt at the movie theater last night. I really enjoyed it. Last year we were the only people in the whole theater seeing The Bee Movie, but this year there were another 10 or 15 people, maybe because the move had just opened last weekend.

Today for lunch we went to Bonanza...yes, an all you can eat buffet. The day after Thanksgiving. It's kind of a tradition for us to go there since Lisa used to work there while in school growing up, and lunch today seemed to be the only opportunity before we leave tomorrow. Suffice it to say, I didn't really get my money's worth at the buffet since I was still stuffed from yesterday.

I took an afternoon run, 3.2 miles in about 28 minutes, pace was 8:58 or something like that. It was nice, almost 50 degrees, and I ran in shorts. May not get to run for the next 2-3 days, or blog, as we'll be travelling around Illinois on our way home.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Got up and ran 4.1 miles, just so I can not feel guilty when I gorge myself later today. I ran down to the local high school and ran intervals for the first time. 4x400's, seperated by 200m walk break. All of them were sub 2:00, with the best at 1:43. It would be nice to work up to being able to maintain that pace over a full mile. That would equate to a sub 8-min mile, which would be great for me. Think my time overall today was averaging 9:20, with walk breaks and all.

Went to the high school basketball game last night and Lisa saw some friends she went to school with. Then we came back and took a picture with the family, to attach to a meal we are delivering to our friend Ann, who is home-bound with cancer. Every year we do a funny picture, and this year was no different. The picture here is the one on the card, with the caption "We looked all over for the perfect card, and we picked this one just for you."
Having a good time in Illinois. The weather is actually very nice, almost 50 I think. On the agenda for today: Watching the parade, eating lots of food, watching football, eating some more, opening Christmas presents, eating again, going to a movie, and eating lots of food. Good thing I got a run in this morning.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Marathon Shmarathon

So my wife said I should keep training and attempt to run a marathon. This got me to thinking.

First off, I don’t feel a deep burning desire to run a marathon, although if I continue to run it would seem like the natural progression of things…I think a marathon puts a great deal of stress and pounding on the body…I can’t comprehend people who run 50 marathons in 50 days, or who run from San Francisco to New York in 52 days…..although they must be in incredible shape, I can only imagine what damage, even if minute, they are doing to their bodies in undertaking such a feat…..

In college I made a list of things I would like to do before I die….one of them was to run a marathon….now that I am older, I think I would be content just running 5Ks or 10Ks, and not be so concerned with running a marathon….I know that the training for a marathon takes up enormous amounts of time, which I do not have, so really I think I’d be happy just sticking to my regular runs, staying healthy, and running a race here and there along the way…..

I heard a quote that 90% of people that lose weight end up gaining that weight back within 5 years….I guess that is why I want to continue to run…to inoculate myself against such a thing…..

Yesterday we drove 10 hours from the Land of Oz (Kansas) to my wifes hometown in Illinois. The boys actually did very good on the trip. (I bet my parents wish they would have had Gameboys and in-car movies when I was growing up.)

Today I got up and ran 4.3 miles around the town, just kind of exploring the area. It was a nice day, not too cold really. Didn't even need gloves. Felt great and had a 8:38 pace. I plan to do a similar run tomorrow morning before our big Turkey feast!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Truth and Nothing But....

Okay, so when I said I just took up running three months ago, that isn't completely true. Just mostly true.
Here is a summary of my running background.
--I ran track in junior high, mostly because my friends ran track. My event was the 800m
--I ran the bases playing baseball from grade school up through high school
--I jogged a couple of times during college, not sure why
--in 2005 I tried to take up running, but soon as the weather got cold (after about 2 or 3 months) I quit.

That's pretty much it, so running is really very new to me. As is blogging. So I'm learning two things at the same time here.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Welcome to the Oz Runner blog, a blog about my experience in discovering the sport of running. Earlier this year, my wife and I entered a local "Biggest Loser" weight loss challenge in my hometown of Wichita, KS. We did not win, but it served as great inspiration for us to exercise and eat right. I lost about 25 pounds during the course of the 3 month challenge, from mostly doing an elliptical 5-6 days a week, and eating healthy.

I discovered the sport of running about 3 months later, and got hooked. I run about 4 times a week now, and hope to keep it up. I am new to the sport of running, and have been learning a lot by following other people's blogs and through podcasts. I am not fast, but hope to imrove my speed, stamina, and overall health.

I had my longest run yet yesterday -- 7 miles at a 9:06 pace. The pace I run is usually about 8:30-9:15, depending on the length of the run. I am amazed when I hear runners on their blogs talk about running 6:30 or 7:00 pace. I don't know how they do it.

The other milestone I hit about a week ago was the 100 mile mark on my Nike Plus runs.

We are leaving tomorrow for Illinois for our annual Thanksgiving trip to see family and feed our faces. I'm hoping to get a run or two while we are there. It is supposed to be cold, so I will need to bundle up.

Have a safe and happy thanksgiving.