Objects in Motion Stay in Motion

I’ve seen this quote around a bit on social media, and finally got around to reading the full article, ‘I Am 35 and Running Faster Than I Ever Thought Possible.’

 There are a lot of things we can’t control right now, especially for women. Perhaps we choose running because we don’t need permission to do it — we can do it whenever and however we want. The roads are open. 

Lindsay Crouse

I’ve written this before; I started running after one too many rejection emails from jobs I applied for in my field. I couldn’t control those hiring descions, but I could run.

The rejections chipped away at who I was. Made me doubt my abilities. Questioned if I really knew what I was doing, or just got lucky.

Through running I found purpose, strength, and rebuilt my self-esteem. Ran my first mile in about 13 minutes back in 2016. Ran a 7:56 mile in an actual 5K race in 2019.

I struggled through my first 10 mile race in 2018 and had to walk a few times in the final miles. A year later my fastest times were the last two miles.

I had always thought that, at some point in life, most people become “who we are.” Our lives are built around whatever that is, and no matter what we might actually be capable of, this idea keeps us fixed in one place.

Lindsay Crouse

At 40 I was eating horribly, down the dumps, and not stoked on life. My pants didn’t fit anymore, and I’d have to go out and buy bigger jeans.

Now here I am, I turn 44 in a few months, and I’m down a few pants sizes, and fucking feel great. I’m in the middle of marathon training, just ran the farthest I’ve ever ran (14 miles), and I’m not even sore.

Nearing my mid 40s I guess I’m supposed to slow down, and buy bigger jeans. But as I’m able to today, right now, I’m going to keep moving.

Longest Run Ever

One week after a 12 mile long run on a treadmill, I did a 14 mile long run by way of two seven mile, hilly loops. Just over 1,000′ of elevation gained. Battled a head win on the back half of each loop, gloves that didn’t keep my fingers warm, and then it started snowing at about mile 12.

That was rough.

But little things kept me going. Seeing this house with the unique lawn display gave me a nice chuckle.

This was a long enough run to actually eat on the road. My coach (Grayson Murphy) suggested I eat every 45 minutes. On my second lap I tore open my second meal, the new KOFFEE from Spring Energy, and oh my goodness it was perfect. Tasting coffee on the final last quarter of my run was such a big mood booster. Sure, it’s got 200 calories and caffeine, yeah, but the taste alone perked me right up.

The hardest part was getting back to my car to grab my second water bottle, and then locking my car to keep going. Seven miles with cold hands was tough… then I had to do it again!

Doing a second loop was a trip. I got to say hello to some horses again, and make my way to the top of the same hills again. As I said earlier, I got to eat my coffee energy goo, and it was magical. On this loop I also tested out using a sports drink by Maurten (a recommendation from Grayson), and well, I didn’t run out of energy on this run, so I suppose it helped!

Won’t lie – the snow and cold hands, and being tired started to crack me, but I’ve read that smiling helps, even if you’re not happy. Just the act is enough to trigger something in your brain, and it works for me. A smile led to some laughing at the absurdity of all this, running with cold hands but somehow being okay with wearing shorts, eating coffee flavored goo, wondering how the heck I’m going to run 26.6 miles in March – ahhhh!

Then, it was over. I ran 14 miles, the most I’ve ever run in one day, in one shot, and I did it in 2:38 (Strava). Not fast by any means, but I need the time on my feet if I’m going to endure an actual marathon.

Just 53 Days Until My First Marathon

In July it will be four years since I started running. Since I started eating better and making the choice to get out the door every other day to go for a run. And now, in a few months, I’ll be attempting to run my first marathon.

Back when I started with the Couch to 5K app, I started off running for a minute. I looked ahead and saw run for five minutes, run for 10 minutes. How was I ever going to do that?

And now later this week, as part of my training plan (courtesy of my virtual coach, pro runner Grayson Murphy), I’ll be running 14 miles. Then next week it’ll be 16. Yikes.

I haven’t stuck with anything like this since learning how to play bass in my teens. Something that I worked on day after day, week after week. It’s something that I was horrible at (here’s one of my first 3+ mile runs back in 2016), trotting along at a 12:16/mile pace, and now I’m pretty comfortable with it (I ran the 2019 River Ramble 10k at a 8:36/mile pace).

All just by being choosing on most days to go for a run, ease off the cookies, and get enough sleep.

And it’s the hurt. The suffering. Like, I remember some of my races in the second half of 2019, really making the choice to just run faster. At first just for a smaller 5K, because I knew I’d only have to be uncomfortable for three miles, but then later for the 10K. To push into the hurt, sustain a pace, watch my breathing, stay focused and looking ahead, and then… actually hold a 8:30-ish pace? Me?

Mind you, no lofty goals for this marathon coming up. This is my first stab at this distance, and I just want to survive. It won’t be easy, or comfortable, but I want to suffer for all those hours. I already know it’ll hurt, but I’m looking forward to it.

Just Start Driving

I’ve been following Matthew Luke Meyer for a bit on Instagram (here). From his IG Stories I found out he likes metal, and he’s always pushing the posi vibes, so I guess it was just the universe at work.

He recently did an interview with Tempo Journal, and I love this part:

“[Without running] I felt that I was just riding along with life, not really sure where it was going. But running gave me a way to move into the driver’s seat. Every day I’m waking up with a goal, something I personally WANT to accomplish, not just something that I have to do. That’s translated into the rest of life.”

https://tempojournal.com/article/the-brightest-stage/

Those early to mid 2010s were not kind, mostly to my bank account and career, which of course seeped into my mental and physical space as well. An inbox filled with automated rejection emails from jobs I applied to, or the build up of some interviews making it to the 2nd interview, then the 3rd, then a video call, then…

So lots of rejection ate away at who I was. Maybe I wasn’t actually good at what I thought I was good at. I slept later. I ate more cookies. I packed on the pounds.

But then I started eating better. Bought a rice cooker, and ate more veggies. Then I had more energy, so I started running. That hurt like hell, but… I was I was in charge. I was in the driver’s seat.

That was almost four years ago that I started running. Stopped waiting for approval, and picked myself, and it has found its way into other aspects of my life, too. Even the bank account.

Running 11 Miles in the Snow

I knew a storm was coming, but that didn’t get me out of bed in time to beat the snowfall. Just as a left the house, it started snowing, and did not stop.

This ended up being two out and backs, with some spontatnous side streets and loops along the way. It wasn’t pretty, but it kept me close to home, so I didn’t need to drive anywhere.

The challenge with keeping it close to home is that you can quit any time. A warm house and coffee and dry clothes are literally just around the corner. But I knew I had to get these 11 miles done.

At one point I saw a fox run across the road. At mile eight a random dog started running with me, and stayed with me for a bit until his owners drove up with their mini van and he jumped in and bailed on me.

My feet were wet, my hands were on fire (new mitten gloves did their job), I was slightly chilled from my sweaty long sleeve, my glasses were fogged up most of the time, and there was about 2-3 inches of snow on the road – but I knew this run would make the next run that much more tolerable.

If I could beat this weather, these conditions, then the next run – or race – wouldn’t be such a nightmare, since I did it already.

A total of 26 miles for the week. A little over 60 days until my first marathon. There’s a part of me that thinks I’m not ready, I’m biting off more than I can chew, but I need to take the leap. Push some of my limits, get out of my comfort zone, and see what happens.

New Years Day Adventures

Getting up at 4am on New Years Day didn’t sound so bad. First up was a run with the Early Miles crew, a group that meets and hour before November Project every Wednesday. Ran four-ish miles with a nice fella. A little fast, but felt good.

Then a 30 minute workout with the November Project crew (below). Absolutely bonkers. Scissor kicks, crunches, pushups, jumping jacks – sets of 30, in between running up and down the Art Museum steps.

After that we got coffee at a nearby Starbucks (one of the few places open on New Years Day) before we headed to a special meetup with the Chasing Trails group (below), where we set off on a 6-ish mile jaunt through the woods. I felt good a mile or two into the run, but didn’t refuel or hydrate enough, and just ran out of gas. Slowed my pace, tried to keep my heart rate down, pet some puppers, and got it done.

It was super rad to be around such a great group of people on New Years Day, when everyone had the ultimate excuse to just stay in, tucked into their warm beds, and skip a workout (or two).

Eleven miles in total, all done by 10:30am, with a bunch of amazing people. A bit different than my first run of 2019, which was after going to sleep at 4am on New Years Eve!

Love for the Long Run

This is my first week of marathon training, which called for an eight mile long run. I tend to be inconsistent with my long runs, since I’m not usually training for anything, so having an actual coach had been a big help. It’s just my first week, sure, but I’m feeling good.

Had to remind myself a few times – slow it down. I tend to speed up as I feel good, but going to fast can lead to running out of gas, and then there’s no long run! So had to remember – this is a long run, so make it a long run. Tempo runs and such? That’s when I run faster, but not today

Performance vs Health

Sometimes we have to stay at the office late, or experience back-to-back days of drinking too much caffeine and cramming for exams, or take 12 flights in a month (and drink a few too many glasses of wine). That’s okay, as long as we invest in our health when that period of performance is over, and restore equilibrium, setting ourselves up for the next stretch where we’ll be tested.

Joe Holder

Ten Races in 2019

My tenth race of the 2019, my most ever since starting to run in 2016.

This is my second time running the Turkey Trot in Bethlehem PA today. Today was faster (28:02 vs 29:05), and with less effort (155 vs 160 bpm).

I dealt with stomach issues most of the week, which threw me off. That messed with my sleep, and I didn’t get to run much the past few days, so I didn’t run as well as I wanted – I actually stopped at one point to stretch a bit because I had some pain in my shins. But, I still showed up and had fun and told all the puppers I saw that they were doing a very good job.

Oh, and I lost ONE glove this week, too, so my hands with frozen by the end of the run. All in a great day, and I’m definitely stoked and content with the progress I’ve made at racing this year – the logistics, the timing, the pre-race fueling. So many details, but learning so much in the process.

Less Waste

In the world of running there’s a lot of waste. Lots of plastic water bottles, papers, “swag” that is generally garbage, styrofoam, and that’s just what the race provides.

One of the other things is waste from the food products we bring along. The gels, and “powerbar” types of foods. Single serving food items wrapped in plastic that usually just ends up in the garbage.

My buddy Jesse (one of the key people who inspired me to start running) has started making his own foods for running, and storing them in re-usable food pouches, which you can find on Amazon and probably elsewhere.

Sure, it’s a drop in the ocean as far as waste, but it’s something, and I think it’s awesome. You should try it out!