Empty Roads

The end of the week got busy. A Thursday night drive to my friends was thrown off the rails when my rides car broke down. I eventually got where I was going, and Friday was so good. Lots of pizza, good people, and maybe a one too many drinks, but whatever, it all worked out.

Slept maybe five hours on Friday night in Saturday. Had a funeral to attend in the morning, as my aunts husband of some 29 years passed away. Went out to lunch afterwards, then a long drive back home.

I had missed two runs at this point. I was so tired from only sleeping five hours there was no way I could that evening. I fell asleep at about 7pm, I think. I can’t even remember.

Woke up stupid early on Sunday and watched the NYC Marathon which was pretty horrible on ESPN (check out Nicole Bush’s live blog for a good wrap-up). Shalane Flanagan had an awesome pass to take third (and became the “first American woman to make the podium two consecutive times since Kim Jones in 1989 and 1990 with back-to-back second place finishes”).

Afterwards I set out for a long run because, well, it’s Sunday! It was in the 50s, no breeze, and the smells of Autumn in the air. I ran to street where I saw an apartment for rent, just to get a feel for the area (turns out it was a decent area). Then I ran to an pond to run around the dirt trail around it, which then snuck up to a nice paved uphill. Not fast, but felt strong.

Retraced my route coming home, which I never like doing. Turned out the street was closed to traffic because of a parade. There were people on the side of the street, all sitting around, waiting for the parade. And then there was me. On an empty street, which is usually bustling with traffic.

I picked up my pace, into the 9s, which is fast for me! I think it was the fear of being caught by the parade, but that totally didn’t happen. I ran, and kept running, and found more blocked off roads. It was just me, and a completely empty road, with people lining the street.

It wasn’t quite on par with today’s NYC Marathon, but I did hear someone say, “nice day for a run.”

Such a nice run that I didn’t stop to take photos. Hell, I didn’t stop. I kept going, just one foot in the front of the other.

ALSO: This is my third or fourth run in my new New Balance 880v8s, after wearing out my HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 5s, and wow… I mean, I know there was some extra cushion in those HOKAs, but I love the feeling of a more “neutral” shoe these days! I got the HOKAs after my back injury earlier this year, at the direction of my doctor. After many hours of stretching and running, though, I feel great in these new shoes. Quite honestly I don’t know much about any of the different types of shoes, but hey, that’s why you got to a local running shop for guidance (can’t believe everything you read on the internet)!

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

Finishing a half-marathon has made me curious. If you would have asked me back in 2016 if I would have signed up for running for over two hours, I would have said heck no! But I did it, at a pace I didn’t think I could maintain. I used some tricks from ‘Endure,’ namely smiling.

Yes, somehow smiling tricks your brain into thinking things are alright.

I mean, you still need to train. I still needed to put in the work, and eat right, and stretch twice a day, but in the middle of all that chilly, windy running, well… smiling helped.

Visualization was something I’ve been doing for awhile, too, something I picked up from Jen Sincero’s ‘You Are a Badass at Making Money‘ (maybe I’ll write more about that book later). I envisioned the last few miles, running a good, steady pace, and feeling good. I imagined smiling at mile 11, 12, and cruising into the finish – and it happened.

Like I said, you need to do the work, but this was a fun read. There’s a lot going on inside that brain of ours, and this book helps you unlock a bit of the mystery inside our heads. [Amazon]

Start It Now

The best time to start getting into shape, learning to play the guitar, starting a meditation practice, quitting smoking was 10 years ago. The next best time now is right now.

Yes sure, I started running back in 2016 and just ran a half marathon and didn’t die. But you know what I didn’t keep doing from way back in 2016? Push-ups.

In my flurry of “I’m gonna eat better, and start running” excitement, I also downloaded one of those “do a 100 push ups a day” apps. I stuck with it for a few weeks, then… just sorta stopped. If I would have kept with it, for over two years?! Damn, my upper body would be stoked right now.

But I didn’t love doing push ups, I loved running in the woods. So, I ran.

These days I want to run farther, and a little bit faster. And allllll the advice I see out there is… doing strength training (that includes push-ups).

I think with any of this stuff, overlooking the temporary pain in the now to get the completely unknown thing in the future. Somehow I figured if I keep running then someday I’ll be able to run farther. Right now, mentally, I can’t put together that equation; if I do a few push ups today, a few years from now I’ll have more upper body strength which will help me run better.

 

 

Did I just finish the 2018 Runner’s World Half Marathon?

It’s nearly 2 1/2 years since I started running.

Since I looked at “run for five minutes straight” on my Couch to 5K app and thought, how am I gonna do this?

Since I dealt with shin splints from running too fast at the start of a 5K race.

Since I “bonked” during the Broad St. 10 Miler in Philadelphia back in May, and had to walk multiple times.

Over 2 1/2 years of lacing up the shoes, in the heat of summer, and the stinging cold of winter, of just getting out there and showing up, and I just completed my first half-marathon.

When I ran my first mile back in 2016 it took me 13 minutes. This past weekend I ran 13.1 miles.

Continue reading “Did I just finish the 2018 Runner’s World Half Marathon?”

Yoga Ain’t Just for White Folks

Yoga has always intrigued me, but even as a white man with a bit of a belly I still feel like I don’t fit the proper look. I know I’m wrong, of course, because as a white dude I “belong” everywhere. But damn, these wonderful humans are inspiring and powerful and wonderful. (via, Kottke)

Screen Time is Eye Opening

Over the past few months I’ve done my best to use my time better. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks, “where did the time go?” at the end of the day. And since I work from home, it’s easy for Parkinson’s Law to kick in and then I find myself working at 9pm.

I started using Pomodone App, which syncs with my tasks from Todoist. I then focus on one task at a time, in 5 / 15 / 20 minute bursts. Then when I’m wasting time scrolling through websites when I should be working, Pomodone alerts me. I really like that.

Then I installed the new iOS 12 and started using the Screen Time app. GULP. I averaged 2 hours and 43 minutes of screen time this week. Almost three hour a day, and most of it social media. That’s 21 hours a week.

That’s a lot of billable hours, or reading, or hiking.

I’m still using the iPhone SE – I just like how it fits in my hand, and in my water bottle pouch when I go running. Sure, the new iPhones look amazing, and then paired with a shiny new Apple Watch? But… I think the Screen Time app will actually keep me from upgrading anytime soon.

How Much Longer for Evernote?

Look, I don’t know a lot about business, but this doesn’t sound good; “Evernote lost its CTO, CFO, CPO and HR head in the last month” (via Daring Fireball).

I used Evernote for YEARS. Then one time I lost a note I had been working on. Support wasn’t much help, and I ultimatly just had to redo the note. It wasn’t tragic, but it was an experience I had.

Then the whole WORK CHAT thing. What? I just want a place to copy and paste some information. Maybe import some emails or something.

“HI, IT’S MACHINE LEARNING!”

What in the hell, Evernote? That was it for me. I just saw too much emphasis on flashy things and not enough effort on substance. Things that work. It’s okay to not be Slack, just be Evernote! But nope.

I’ve since switched to Bear and I love it. It just does notes, and is really nice for writing, too. Worthy of the yearly pro subscription price.

Running for my Life

Since I started running in mid 2016, I’ve noticed changes. No, not washboard abs and a firm tush, but a jolt in self-esteem, pride, attitude, and determination. This bit from a recent story in Entrepreneur really rattled me (emphasis mine).

“If exercise stops, then my health goes downhill. With the loss of physical health my productivity at work goes down. I become depressed. I lose motivation to do the things that makes my business successful. I’ve learned firsthand that excellence in one area of my life promotes excellence in all other areas of my life. Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control. It’s easy to measure. Either I get it in, or I don’t. When I do, it lifts up all other areas of my life, including my business.”

Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control

Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control

Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control

This times infinity. Back in 2016 I was at a crossroads. Most of my meals came from a box or a take out container, and I was snacking all day long on cookies, candy, and ice cream. My attitude sucked, my outlook sucked, and I really didn’t know what I was going to do.

Thankfully a buddy told me that he was challenged at a 4th of July party. Someone bet him he couldn’t run an eight minute mile (turns out he couldn’t). I tried it, and ran a 13 minute mile, and then had problems walking down stairs for a week. But I kept at it because… it was something in my life that I could control.

I couldn’t control job openings, getting interviews, or getting hired by a cool tech company, but I could control this. When I ran, what I wore, how far, how fast… and I kept at it for weeks, then months, and now it’s been almost two and a half years of running. I’m running a half-marathon next month.

Every facet of my life has improved because of running. I still can’t control all that job stuff, but now I’m in a mentally better place to handle that – without eating a sleeve of Oreo cookies.

So Much is Temporary

Since I signed up for a half-marathon in October, I’ve been running a bunch more miles. I’m following a training schedule, too, so there’s some “tempo runs” and “cruise intervals” in there, terms I’ve had to look up, really. I still don’t really know if I’m doing them right.

I know they hurt, that’s for sure. They’re definitely getting me out of my comfort zone, which as “they” say, is a good thing. It’s allowed me to appreciate how short that pain can be, though. Like, running faster than I normal do for one mile is tolerable because, well, it’s a mile. And then I’ll be done (at least for three minutes), then I’ll do it again.

Like so much in life, things look easier when I can look at them as temporary. And sometimes temporary really means five years, or a decade. Technically that’s temporary.

Push Things Forward

Jessica Wayashe ran across Haiti, raising $7,500 to help “Haitian families in Menelas (get) out of poverty through good, dignified jobs.” I met Jess via the November Project in Philadelphia, and that’s how I found out about this fundraiser.

Along with 39 other runners she ran 230 miles in eight days.

Me? I can’t run that far just yet. But I can run 3.1 miles this Memorial Day, and raise money for Project Child (The Child Abuse Prevention Coalition of the Lehigh Valley).

Maybe I help raise $100, which is $100 more that didn’t exist before. And while it seems small compared to $7,500, every single dollar is energy, and movement, and momentum. Every credit card number and retweet is a karate kick to the universe, pushing something forward just one small bit.