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!

Nervous in a Good Way

Today it was rainy and gross, but I set out for an hour drive to run the 7th Annual “Pound the Pavement Purple” 5K race. This is my third time running it, and it was my fastest time yet (26:41, around a 8:25/mi pace).

Like I said, it was rainy, and windy, and running at this “new” pace is really something. Putting the pain somewhere is the challenge. Like, I’m an adult and can make choices, right? Ouch, this hurts, I should just walk. But… nope. Kept pushing the pace, and passed another runner half mile to finish ninth (out of 70).

Mind you, it’s not all about results, and winning, and placing, until…. it is. This is new territory for me, actually being able to compete. To focus. To actually get nervous before a race. Not so much to perform, or anxiety about what’s gonna happen, but an excited sort of nervous, the kind where you’re excited to find out what’s gonna happen.

Effort

I had planned a 10 mile race after a recent 5K. Like, the day after.

The plan was to run an “easy” 5K, that is, slow. To conserve energy, save my muscles for the longer 10 mile run the next day.

But I didn’t run easy, I ran hard. Faster than I’ve ever run before.

While I thought I felt fine, my body had other plans. An upset stomach, loss of sleep, yeah, just wasn’t going to happen.

I took a lot of risks on that 5K – choosing to not take it easy, running hard in mile one, then mile two. Choosing to keep chasing the #2 runner, when I could have easily just coasted in for a 3rd place finish.

But I pushed, and took a risk, and came in 2nd, and I don’t regret a thing.

I guess that’s what risk is, though. Not knowing what might happen, and being completely present. Sort of not worrying about tomorrow, because right now is all we got.

Cliche, sure, but in this case it worked out okay.

Second Place Feels Rad

Today I ran The 2nd Annual East Stroudsburg, PA Run For Resilience Ostomy 5k. It was a brisk morning, with temps down in the 30s to start the day, but it was perfect running weather.

It was a small field, just about 50 people. I had intended to “take it easy” on this run, as I have a 10 mile trail race tomorrow, but when I saw it was a smaller crowd, I figured I should put my year of training and running to some use!

I was in third place for most of the race, but in the final 50 yards or so I moved into second place. That’s the second time I’ve made a “late race move,” and it usually leaves me scared, waiting for that person to make their move and pass me! But thankfully that didn’t happen, and I finished in second place overall, with a time of 25:25, my fastest ever.

Today I ran my fastest mile, too: 7:49. When I was in high school, back in the mid 90s, I ran a seven minute mile. All these years later, to be just 49 seconds off is okay with me.

Looking back at my training, I’ve been mostly running at a slower pace, from 10-12 minute miles, for about an hour at a time. About once every two weeks I’ll do a speed run using the Nike Training App, with their treadmill runs. It’s wild to think that easy running, with the occasional half hour speed workouts, really make a difference. That, and losing 15lbs since June, of course.