Month: August 2016

DON’T QUIT

The 2016 Rio Olympics finished yesterday with a boom! I loved the Closing Ceremonies, especially the handing out of medals for the Men’s Marathons. I got up at 5:00am just to watch the Men’s Marathon and rooted for all the runners. It was a great race! When it comes to many of the events, I wasn’t USA biased, I just loved watching great athletes performing their craft in ways I could only dream about.

I have enjoyed many of them, including Usain Bolt’s dominance on the track, Tori Bowie’s vivacious spark also on the track, the Brazilian Men’s Beach Volleyball team’s march to Gold Medal and Gwen Jorgensen never say die spirit in the Women’s Triathlon. I even loved watching the weight lifting, handball games and equestrian competitions.

The greatness of these athletes has inspired me and pushed me to do the small accomplishments I set for myself. What is the greatest thing about every competitor and every Olympic event is the will to succeed. They all have a fire burning deep inside that tells them “don’t quit.”

Don’t Quit.

I have been saying these two seemingly small words to myself over and over again these past few days. These words only have eight letters, but they are two of the biggest words in the English language. These words are what lies between us and our goals. Many times in my life I have given up, quit, lost faith in myself and my dreams. But not this time. It may be harder, more painful and take me longer than I ever thought, but I will succeed!

Let’s not forget the Paralympics are coming up in September. That is where some of the most inspirational among us are.

We have it in ourselves to go after what we want…..we need to hone into what exactly that is, figure out a plan to get it and then execute that plan. Let’s do this. And don’t quit.

Cheers!

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Running Just for Fun

When I was training for my marathon, the stress of trying to get in my long runs and scheduled weekly running miles took their toll.

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Seen on my run: A wedding party frisbee game 

I took an entire week off running to help my IT band feel better. Because of it, I was forced to re-focus, reset my running brain and attitude towards running.

Knowing that the marathon was done and I do not have another planned, at least for the few months ahead, was a relief.

I do have a race, the Giants Step Half Marathon in September, but there’s no stress, it’s a fairly flat out and back and halfs are a pretty comfortable distance for me. I would like to PR this time around, but more on that in a later post.

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Lots of wild life in SF

The result of no stress and relatively shorter runs? Enjoyment, better times and greater satisfaction. This morning’s long run, a 6-miler is the perfect example. I’m gradually increasing my distance for my half. Today’s run was smooth, painfree and I spent a lot of it with a grin. I have rarely done that in the last months.

My suggestion is if you feel the strain and stress of running marathons, you don’t always have to sign up for them. Take a few months off and run halfs, 10ks, 5ks or even don’t race at all. I will continue to do races, but with costs going up and up, I’ll be extra picky about which ones. And that’s perfectly fine. Remember, no stress.

Cheers!

 

 

Fake It Until You Make It

One of the most popular sayings I remember from AA was “fake it until you make it.” Like most everything in AA when I was a noob, I was pretty cynical about this. In fact, it really bothered me. Why would I fake anything? But over time, as I learned more about AA, about sobriety and about myself, I learned what a powerful statement it is.

AA is very fond of short, witty sayings. They’re easy to remember and can come in handy. But I found many of them didn’t ring true for me, or didn’t relate to me. Much like going through the motions of a weekly AA meeting, if there is no feeling in them, a witty saying doesn’t have any value. This was one of the reasons I stopped going to meetings, but that is an entirely different story….

When I first became sober, I was pretty angry, disgusted, and didn’t like the direction my life had taken. I was just another angry drunk, looking for a better way. Some of the folks I admired would quote The Big Book or repeats well-known sayings instead of using their own words. I found this a bit strange. However, as I worked the 12 steps, they became a very important part of my life (still are). I understood more how a small, inconsequential saying may be more powerful than we could ever imagine.

Life doesn’t always go the way we plan it. OK, it RARELY goes the way we plan it. This year has hardly gone at all the way I charted it out in January.

I’m very happy I finished the SF Marathon, but I wanted to do so much better than I did. And I never thought I wouldn’t have a job in fitness yet. But, sometimes things take longer than we wish them to take, sometimes things are more difficult, more painful and take more energy than we are ever willing to admit.

So, we can either whine and cry about how things suck, or we can face our adversities with a brave face and go forth into the dark of night. There WILL be morning. Even if we don’t feel like being brave, being happy or being in the moment, we really need to be, because if we choose to feel sorry for ourselves for too long, or stay angry or be resentful, we could fall back into those feelings and emotions that caused us to drink before.

And who knows, maybe one day, after you’ve held a brave face and smiled when you didn’t feel like smiling, you’ll actually really feel like smiling and the sun will rise once more, just like it always does.

Cheers!

 

2016 San Francisco Marathon

Yesterday, I finished the 2016 San Francisco Marathon. This was the first time I completed the entire course and it was the most difficult race I’ve ever run. All week, I was stressed out over my IT band. Would it bother me? Would it keep me from finishing?

SF Marathon

Pre-race

Let me start from the beginning….the race start time was 5:30am, but because I’m a slow runner, my corral start time was 6:22am. I woke up at 2:45am, groggy, blurry-eyed; it took me a while to have my sense about me. I’m really glad I woke early though. I had gone to bed at nine Saturday night, so I got plenty of rest. I had everything ready to go, but of course, I had to check everything two and three times, to make sure I didn’t forget anything.

I’ve never understood those non-elite runners who don’t carry anything with them when they run. I have to take so many things with me that I at least have to take a running belt with me.

After waiting and waiting for the MUNI Bus #38 that never showed up when it was supposed to, I walked to the starting line. It’s only about a mile and a half away, so it was actually a nice warm up and probably helped get me ready.

There weren’t enough porto-bathrooms, so I spent a long time waiting for one.

Marathon stop

Water stop at Chrissy Field

As I started running, I felt good. In fact, the whole first half went very well. I would have done great if I had just signed up for a half. It was after 15 miles when my right IT band and hamstring started giving me problems. I had to stop and walk a few times. I was very happy I brought my hand roller and used that a couple times. I also made two visits to Medical tables and iced the area. That helped a lot!

But as I got nearer to the end of the race, I wound up walking for about two miles. I couldn’t help it. The pain on my side was bad and there was NO WAY I was going to stop, but I just couldn’t run the entire way to the finish.

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Packed race on the Golden Gate Bridge

I managed to push myself to run the last half mile and I was even smiling finishing. My time was awful, but I don’t care. I finished and that’s good enough for me.

There were others who finished after me, but not many. By the time I ended the race, most of the cool goodies were gone and the sponsors were folding up their tables. I treated myself to a scoop of Nutella-Banana ice cream from Shoot the Moon in Embarcardero Center. It was delicious!

Since I’m not doing full marathons for a while, I probably won’t do this full course again, at least not for another year anyway. I may do the second half again, but I really don’t want to run on the Golden Gate Bridge anymore. Listen to me: RUNNING ON THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE IS OVERRATED. I hear people have this on their bucket list all the time. There are far, far better places to run than that bridge around here, trust me.

First, if the weather was like it was yesterday, it’s freezing, windy, wet and VERY cold. Second, there are metal grates in the street to keep the cars slowed down but are hellish for runners. It’s very easy to slip, trip or fall. I saw it happen. It wasn’t pretty. Third and worst of all, there were two lanes, the right going north and the left coming back south. Since I was towards the back of the pack, there were more runners in the South lane and they kept jumping into our lane to get ahead of the runners in their own lane. Because I had to deal with walkers and run/walkers, I tried to stay to the left of them, those lane hoppers were nearly running into me. It was like a video game! It was making me a little cranky. I was very happy to be off the bridge.

I do have a question for race directors. Why are aid/water/food stations always set up at the bottom of hills? The last place I want to take in nourishment is before I tackle a tough hill. I have never understood this. Since I wear a hydration vest I was able to pass up most of these until towards the end, when, unfortunately, many of these were folding up, just my luck.

I do want to give a big THANK YOU to the volunteers and workers. All the station workers, the police officers and the bikers who helped out with traffic and just making us runners smile, even when it hurt to smile. I love all of you!

The Expo the day before was nice. I was able to meet Lupe from one of the Facebook running groups I belong to and my friend Steve, so that was cool.

And, even though it was so difficult to finish, I DID finish. I made it and got my medal. I also had time to think about my future training goals and I will let you know once I get these more cemented.

Cheers!

Medal

My medal with Buster, my running mascot