Category Archives: Motivation

What I Learned About Summer Running

I would put forth a wonderfully informative and useful post on tips for running in the heat and humidity.  Unfortunately, I haven’t figured that out yet.  So, instead of providing insight into steps to take to make running in the heat an enjoyable experience, I thought I would share what I have learned about running in the heat from my trials and errors.

1.  It sucks.  There is no way around it.  Sweating starts immediately, and if you’re lucky, your own smell does not catch up with you for a few miles.

2.  It is a good way to lose weight (temporarily).  I like the temporary feeling of being a few pounds lighter following a good heat run.  Of course, I put the pounds back on once I re-hydrate.  But it feels good for a little bit.

3.  It gives you something to brag about.  Sure, I was out there huffing and puffing, wondering if I would make it back, and whining in my head the whole time, but I was out there.

4.  Things will only get better.  It makes those runs in the winter, when the temps are in the teens and the wind is howling seem a whole lot more enjoyable.

5.   Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  This part is pretty self explanatory.  I think I quit sweating about mile 17 in the Walt Disney World Marathon.  I have told myself “never again.”  We’ll see.  This summer is putting me to the test.

6.  It could be worse.  The highest temperature in July in my area was 106 last year, and the average high was 95.  This year the average high so far is 87.

7.  I love it — when I’m done.  It gives a sense of accomplishment.  As I said above, at least I am out there.  At least I am putting myself through it.  A few years back, getting out in the heat was the last thing I wanted to do unless in involved a lake.  Now,  I feel a bit guilty for wimping out at hitting the treadmill to stay a bit cooler.

Maybe one day I will have a post on tips for running in the heat.  Until then, I will rely on others for that.  Until then, I will continue learning through trial and error — mostly error.

So apparently it’s CRAZY hot in NYC.  I better brace myself after this mild London weather.  See you soon, NYC! 

Running – R.U.T.S.

I am not currently in a running rut.  I enjoy it as much as always.  I am as motivated as always.  I look forward to getting out for that run as much as ever.  I have 5 races* on the training calendar.  I suffering from what I call R.U.T.S. however.  Running Under Time Stresses.   Most every runner suffers from this condition, the chief presenting symptoms of which are  difficulty fitting in that run for the day and the need to rearrange training schedules.

I see it as a good thing that I am having this problem.  For me, it means two things:  (1) Work is busy, which in my line of work is a good thing, and (2) I actually am anxious that I am having trouble finding the time to run.  If I was not anxious, I would be worried.  It would mean that I don’t have the motivation to continue to get out there and run.  Luckily, that is not a problem at this point, especially with those 5 races down the road.

When suffering from RUTS, the picture above explains the cure perfectly.  When you don’t have time to run, make time.  Most everyone has at least an extra 30 minutes a day.  For me, that generally includes taking my luch time to get a run in, or a late night treadmill run for my wife, or a mid-afternoon work break for a couple of my co-workers.  On weekends, finding the time for those long runs can be more difficult.  This weekend, it involves arriving at an out of town meeting a few hours early and finding a local running route for an 8 miler.  Finding creative ways to fit in that next run is part of the fun of it.  Just like life, it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if everything fit neatly into a predetermined schedule.  Easier?  Sure.  More fun?  Probably not.

For that reason, I try not to complain too much when I am having trouble fitting in that run.  If that is the worst problem of my day, then I can call it a good day.  However, that Dumbo Double Dare is less than 60 days away, so making that time is becoming more important.  

*5 Races:  Dumble Double Dare (Disneyland), Mill Race Half Marathon(Columbus, IN), Southernmost Half Marathon (Key West, FL), Louisville Sports Commission Half Marathon (Louisville, KY), Walt Disney World 10K+Marathon.

I Race Because I Am Lazy. . .

I am lazy.  No ifs, ands or buts about it.  I know this about myself.  This is precisely why I run half marathons.  Having that set date on the calendar when I have to be able to run 13.1 or more miles keeps me running.  That race date is the carrot on the end of that stick of training runs.  That race date interferes with the lingering urge to skip a long run or take a week off here and there.

This is why the summer is not such a great time for my running.  Most of the races are early in the spring and in the fall.  If I am not working toward a race, it is so much easier to procrastinate and rationalize my way out of a 3 miler.  It is very easy to get into a rut and fall out of a groove.  “I can just get back into the groove when the training schedule for the next race begins,” I tell myself.  It is so easy to skip a run when those summer temps hit the 80s and the humidity is stifling.  As I write this, I am dangerously close to a rut, but alas, there is an 8 miler scheduled for this weekend, thanks to the Dumbo Challenge.   Thanks to summertime, there are also some lovely 90 degree temperatures scheduled for this weekend.

I am not sure what to make of the lack of motivation currently.  When I first started running, 8 miles seemed like a huge deal.  Now, not so much.  That is progress, I suppose.  I never imagined I would think 8 miles was routine.  I have certainly come a long way.  Yet, even though I have been running going on two years, and I still find that I require the motivation of an upcoming race to keep me going.  I do not want to crash during a race (again), and that is my motivation.  I have yet to make running a habit, although I do get a bit antsy if I don’t run for a few days.  I know that without the “threat” of an upcoming race, that edginess is easily overcome by laziness.

The real victory will come when it can’t be.  When I can finally call running a habit.  When I can finally say I run simply for the fun of it, for the health benefits.  Until then, I’ll take what I can get.  If it takes 5 or 6 half marathons a year to keep me running, so be it.  The races are a blast, and I have a great running partner along for the ride.

My Inner Ninja

Nothing about my running is stealthy.  Dangerous?  Maybe.  But, I will never be mentioned in the same sentence as “agile,” or “ninja-like” unless it is an exercise in antonyms.  That doesn’t stop me from dreaming. . .

Running has helped me find out a lot about myself.  I have an inner strength that I was never really sure was there, and that I never fully challenged.  I never thought of what to call it.  I discovered a song recently that gave it a name:  My Inner Ninja.  The song, appropriately titled “My Inner Ninja,” is tops on my playlist right now.  It has a great tempo to run to, but it also has motivating lyrics that apply to life and running.  Bad habits?  Drop ’em.  Problems?  Deal with ’em.  Back against the wall?  Fight your way out.  “Never dwell in the dark, ’cause the sun always rises.”  Once you find your inner ninja there is no stopping you.  A bit cheesy?  Sure it is.  But it is motivating knowing that you have that strength inside you to conquer anything.  You just have to find it, and use it.  That’s the hard part.   Running has helped me push away my inner sloth, and has uncovered at least part of that inner ninja.  I am looking forward to continuing on that journey to full ninja-hood.

The quote below feels particularly applicable to my running.  As I head into the Dumbo Double Dare in less than 100 days, I am sure this one will pass through the Ipod dozens of times.  Each time it does, my pace will pick up, if only for those three minutes. . .

It’s a feeling that you get in your lungs when you run
Like you’re runnin’ outta air and your breath won’t come
And you (uh) wheezin’, gotta keep it movin’
Find that extra (uhn) and push your way through it

I’ve had bad habits but I dropped em
I’ve had opponents but I knocked them out
I climbed the highest mountains
I Swum the coldest seas
There ain’t a thing I’ve faced that’s been too much for me

Nobody’s gonna see me comin’
Nobody’s gonna hear a sound
No matter how hard they tryin’
Nobody’s gonna bring me down

Nobody’s gonna see me comin’
Nobody’s gonna hear a sound
No matter how hard they tryin’
No stoppin’ me since I’ve found
My inner ninja. . .

Random Running Thoughts Of No Particular Usefulness

I couldn’t come up with anything coherent,  so I thought I would fire off a few random, useless thoughts on running.

1.  You know technology has progressed, and that it has you in its clutches, when you use your GPS watch to get data on how far you walked when you mowed your yard.  1.44 miles in the back yard. I would have had a faster pace, but my yard was out of control.

2.  I don’t know whether to be excited or a bit scared for Bay To Breakers in a couple of weeks.  I think I will be ahead of most of the debauchery, and I am on a rather tight flight schedule to get home, but I want to see the “sights.”   Might need to have an R rated recap for that one.  It should be really interesting.  Ryan Hall, the US Half Marathon record holder is running.  So are folks like this:


3.   Motivation of the day #1:

“Have you ever felt worse after a run?” – George Sheehan

I don’t think I have ever felt worse after a run.  I have felt plenty bad.  Beat down.  Winded.  Drained.  Bloodied.  But never worse. . .

4.  Speaking of costumes.  It was fun to wear a bit of a costume in the KDF Mini-marathon.  I am not fast enough to look like a serious runner, so who knows, a costume just might be added to the rotation here and there for the larger races.  Heck, I wore the same shirt for 4 of my first 5 half-marathons.  A little variety is in order.  It is fun trying to think of something new.

5.  Motivation of the day #2:

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”  – George Sheehan

Works for me.  I gave up beating the other runners long ago. . .But I also signed up for another marathon because the last one kicked my butt.  That little voice said to try again.

Don’t Let Hurdles Get In Your Way . . .

Overcoming Hurdles

“Overcoming” Hurdles

This picture says a lot.  I saw it in the Daily Morning Awesomeness today.  It pretty much sums up how I feel at some of the half marathons I run. You know, the non-massive halves made up of predominately faster runners.

A few miles into the race, you notice there are not too many people behind you.  In those with out-and-backs, you start passing the masses on their way back to the finish line.  They are bounding like gazelles being chased by a leopard, while I had long since been devoured.

However, this picture says more than that.  The lagging runner has knocked over four hurdles.  He did not quit after the first or the second.  He kept going through the third and fourth, and looks to be well on his way to taking out the last three.  Heck, it doesn’t even look ylike he broke stride.

He is on the track, rather than being relegated to the sidelines or bleachers.  I feel my running is kind of like this guy.   I made the choice to get off the sidelines and step down from the bleachers.  I am not the fastest runner, or even close.  However, for almost two years, my wife and I have faced several hurdles to our running:  Busy work life, injury, kids’ activities, weather, laziness, etc.  Yet, we have not let those hurdles derail our running or our goals.    They have slowed us down a step here or there, but we have not let them stop us.

Such is running, such is life.  Both throw hurdles your way.  How you deal with them determines your outcome.  Do you give up after the first, or do you charge through to see what’s on the other side?  I hope I can be like the guy in the picture and punish those suckers along the way. . .

I hated running. . .

Bighit4Boy did I.  When I was in high school, there were very few things I despised more than running.  I played football and golf.  In football, at that time, running was punishment.  The last thing you wanted to do in golf was run.  Heck, that’s why I played golf.  Track & cross-country:  running.  Baseball:  Running (albeit short bursts).  In college, a couple dozen pounds ago, I was a diver:  No running.

Not until the last year or so have I come around to running.  Prior to that, I was still firmly on the side of “running sucks.”  I still thought of running as punishment.  Why do that to yourself?  Eventually, the scale, and my wife, got to me.  I started swimming, and went through a 5 week jury trial.  That combination led to a 30 lb weight loss.  But it was hard to get back into the swing of swimming after the trial, and the gym membership was killing me.  Then my wife wanted to do a half marathon, and the rest is history.  Running was essentially free, except for the cool shoes, “must have” gadgets, the treadmill, and the race entry fees. 

Either way, once I started running, I stopped seeing it as punishment.  I am not saying I love every minute of it.  I always have thoughts of something else I could be doing.  I often fight those rationalizations and excuses in my head for not running.  During a run, I have those moments where I question why I am doing this to myself.  However, I have not had a time that I remember where I finished a run and was sorry I did it, even after this year’s Walt Disney World Marathon where I hit the wall at mile 17.  I still was glad I did it.  

In fact, I am really excited about our next half-marathon, the Run The Bluegrass Half.  It is called “One of America’s Prettiest Half Marathons.”  All of the comments I have read about it mention the hills:  “For the hardcore hill chasers,” “hilly but gorgeous,” “the hills come early and don’t let up.”  Some may see this as punishment, but I am really looking forward to running through the beautiful hills of horse country.  Things have really changed.  I am fairly certain they have changed for the better, but check with me after March 30 to see if I feel the same way.

Am I a runner?

Fake runner

I play golf, but I am not a golfer.  I fish, but I am certainly not a fisherman.  I run, but am I a runner?

I think the answer is yes.  I will never be confused with an elite runner, or even a very good runner.  Maybe someday I will flirt with a sub 2:10 half marathon:  not fast, but my speed is not why I can be called a runner.   Running is a different animal than many sports.

Anyone can go out and take swings at a golf ball, but unless you have a low handicap, most won’t put you in the category of “golfer.”  Anyone can wet a line in the lake or pond, but it takes a lot more than that to become a fisherman.  Running is different.  To be a runner, you just have to run.

If it is on the internet - It must be true

If it is on the internet – It must be true

Anyone who puts forth the effort can certainly be considered a runner, and count themselves among the running community.  I don’t subscribe to the attitude that you are not a runner unless you break 1:45 in a half marathon, or 25 minutes in the 5k, etc.  To me, to be runner, you don’t have to be fast.  You don’t have to be thin.  You don’t even have to be particularly good at it.  You just have to have the will to do it, and the dedication to keep doing it.  That is yet another beauty of running.  I may not be able to keep up with much of the running community, but that doesn’t mean I am not a part of it.

If nothing else, I can call myself a runner because I have said almost every one of the things in this video.

Running Season & Running For A Reason

First off, I feel pretty good about my last two weeks of training.  I did not miss a run, in spite of having a trial and a conference to attend.  In fact, I think the runs actually helped in both circumstances.  Training is going well.  Seeing all the races this weekend that my friends, Nascar drivers, and Team RunDisney participated in added to the motivation to keep it going, and reminded me that running season is beginning.  I was amazed at the times of Nascar drivers Kasey Kahne and Jimmy Johnson at the half marathon they ran the morning before qualifying for the Daytona 500.  Both sub-1:30!  Congratulations to everyone who raced this weekend.

Things are getting ready to shift into a higher gear for me.  A two mile run with my oldest son in a couple of weeks (can’t wait!); only a couple more long runs until Run The Bluegrass; and then it is the Kenucky Derby Mini Marathon and Bay to Breakers in short order after that.

Snowy lunch run

Snowy Wed. lunch run

Warm Mid-Morning Run

Warm Fri. Mid-Morning Run

I thought I would share the weather for my last two runs.  It is a miracle I am not sick.  Wednesday brought a snow burst and 30 degrees.  Friday brought a conference in Fort Lauderdale and 70 degrees.  I think I enjoyed the 30 degree run more, and was actually excited to get to run in the snow, although Fort Lauderdale warmth certainly had its benefits.  I felt blessed to be able to run in both climates, but in Fort Lauderdale I missed running my long run with my wife/running partner.  I think it was our first long run that we have not shared over the last year or so.

On another note, for anyone looking to make a training run more meaningful, I would suggest the Sandy Hook Run For The Families, taking place on Saturday, March 23.  No, you don’t have to go to Connecticut.  You can run or walk virtually and join the more than 10,000 runners and walkers that will be participating in Hartford, CT, to support the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. You can enter the race as a “Virtual Runner” for a $25 entry fee (until 2/28 – $30 after that).  You run a 5K wherever you are. They will list your name in the results (without a finish time) and will mail you a race shirt after the event. Your entry fee is a 100% donation to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.  What a great idea to support a great cause.  If you’re going to run or walk anyway, why not sign up for this?


Just Be Awesome. . .

AwesomeI saw this quote recently, and for some reason it turned out to be my motivation for the day.  In fact, I told my son this today when he was nervous about his presentation at school.  It seems so simple – just be awesome.

When I first saw this quote, I thought of the Nike slogan – “Just Do It.”   That slogan was very successful, and served as motivation for countless people.  However, I think it could use some improvement.  Just doing it is a start.  Getting out the door is a start.   Getting moving is a start.  That first mile, 5k, 10k, or half marathon is a start.  However, I have found that once you “do it,” you want to do it better.  That’s where “Just Be Awesome” comes in.

To me, “Just Be Awesome” doesn’t mean I have to be the best or the fastest.  If it did, I might as well find another hobby.  I am never going to be mistaken for a top flight, or even a very good runner.  It means doing it right.  It means having fun while doing it.  It means not taking shortcuts.  It means enjoying it.   “Awesome” has many meanings:  magnificent, fun, surprising, inspiring, beautiful, wonderful. . .(Really, it does. I looked in the Thesaurus).

So, my goal is to make that next run Awesome, no matter when it is or where it is.  It may not be a PR, but it will be awesome.  If I can meet this goal, I cannot imagine how great I might feel.  Luckily, this year looks to have a lot of potential for Awesome in it:  WDW Marathon, Run The Bluegrass, Derby Festival Mini Marathon, Bay To Breakers, Dumbo Double Dare – and whatever other cool runs we can find.  And from the way our boys are talking about wanting to run a bit themselves, they are in for some Awesome as well.  Can’t wait. . .