Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Getting Back in The Saddle

Writing has always been a release for me. And it's always surprising on the individuals who enjoy the read.

In the grand scheme of things I'm a nobody, but I'm a nobody that gets to do a lot of neat things and meet a lot of fun, interesting people.

Over the weekend, a good friend of mine made a comment on Facebook about being out of town this weekend (starting spring break vacation), looking to see if there was a race nearby and was going to go before the spouse put the "does everything have to revolve around running?" breaks on it.

I replied that those were some of my best stories. Doing the crazy things that nobody else would ever do.

Seriously, if you aren't going to be in a position to win something, then you might as well have fun.

And if there was nobody around to do something with, I might as well enjoy myself while I was alone.

There are too many stories to remember. I've done half marathons on back-to-back days in two different states enough that it has almost become normal.

Perhaps the craziest multi-day state thing that I ever did was to run a 10K on a Saturday morning in New Jersey. (This was after a meeting in suburban Philadelphia all day Friday.)

After the race was over, I visited my grandparents in central Pennsylvania. Getting there at about 2 p.m. or so.

The next morning, my grandfather made the drive with me to Akron, Ohio where I ran a half marathon.

I mean, "Why not?"

I don't do that too much anymore, but I will when the chance - naturally - presents itself.

Fourteen marathons, though, last year was crazy enough in trying to get ready for Rocky Raccoon. It almost worked. I'll try a different approach for the 2013 race.

And that approach starts in earnest now.

Put 30 minutes on the treadmill followed by 30 minutes on the elliptical. And at the end of a long travel day from Houston to California.

But as Chuck Engle, the Marathon Junkie says, I need to run more!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Have A Half Marathon In 13 Days? Yikes!

Yikes! I have a half marathon in less than two weeks - the Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Half Marathon on Sunday, March 25 - and a marathon in about five weeks or so -- the Oz Marathon in Olathe, Kansas the next-to-last weekend of the month.

Today was the first time that I've actually run since Rocky Raccoon and it wasn't pretty.

Normally, I can knock out an hour on the treadmill. Easy. I lasted 15 minutes. It hurt. I'll figure it out, of course, but it might take adding minutes every day to get back.

It is almost as if I had an injury.

The cardio, of course, is fine. I did 30 miles on the road bike during The Woodlands Marathon, including about 13 of those in somewhat of an interval mode. That, and while hollering, "Lead runner, please move to the right. Thank you!"

So tonight it was a simple 15 minutes on the treadmill, 50 minutes on the elliptical and a solid 30 minutes on the stationary bike before I hop off to California in the morning.

Speaking of marathons, I'd love to do the Delaware Marathon on the second Sunday in May; however, I don't quite think my Mom would appreciate it. I was gone one other time during Mother's Day and that was inadvertent. It was in 2004 and I was working in Youngstown, Ohio, but I stayed over to do the Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis, Indiana. 30,000 runners including a lap on the Speedway.

Hot and fun, but something I try not to be out of town for anymore.

Never know how much longer that we'll have our parents. Therefore, I at least try to keep Mother's Day and Father's Day away from any athletic interferences.

Jeanne-Claire White wins the 3rd annual Gusher Marathon

Lake Charles (La.) St. Catholic graduate Jeanne-Claire White, 23, won the third annual Exygon and Baptist Hospitals Gusher Marathon yesterday in Beaumont, Texas

No, she didn't just win the women's race.

She won the whole thing. Guys and the girls.

Courtesy of marathonguide.com, here is White's career marathon history:

4/26/08 - 3:23:55, Country Music Marathon, 19
1/11/09 - 3:18:20, Disney World Marathon, 19
4/25/09 - 3:37:18, Country Music Marathon, 20
10/25/09 - 3:24:38, Marine Corps Marathon, 20
2/28/10 - 3:21:26, New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon, 21
5/2/10 - 3:13:37, Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon, 21
10/30/10 - 2:53:28, Ridge to Bridge Marathon (NC), 21
3/10/12 - 2:59:59, Exygon and Baptist Hospitals Gusher Marathon, 23

No More Mr. Nice Guy

I shared this title with a few friends and I'm sure that they wondered, "Uh oh."

Nearly 20 years or so ago, my Pastor actually told me, in regards to getting more people to get involved in helping run a church softball league, "Jon, you need to almost become arrogant."

Yes, my Pastor said that.

Almost immediately, though, he added, "But I know that you're pretty much not capable of doing that."

That pretty much still holds true today. Especially when it comes in dealing with people.

For some people, it is easy for them to just say, "Flake off (or some other off-color version)," and move on with their life.

Unfortunately, I'm a nice guy, and yes, I've let myself be taken advantage of. And I'm not the first and certainly won't be the last.

At 45, I need to change. There's one or two that will say that I already have and that's their perogative to believe that. So be it. See, the change is easy. Is it really?

Well, not really, but it'll take time. It really is unnatural to me. I know more of what to guard against now than what I did before.

I think if you want a great friendship or relationship you have to invest a lot in it. If you don't, then nothing will ever really come of it.

It is basically the verse in the Bible that says, "To have friends you must show yourself friendly."

I've also always thought the next part of that is: "Don't, then, let it go to your head either."

I helped put together a community event a couple of falls ago for a few friends who had achieved some significant accomplishments athletically. Somebody made the comment to me privately, "Most of the people that are here are because of you."

And my thought was, then and now, "Yeah, so. No big deal."

It is because I had showed myself friendly in the community - and still do. But it wasn't anything that I needed a medal for or had a right to beat my chest over.

Last weekend's marathon kind of level set things for me after some tumultous personal dealings. I was able to get back to doing things that I truly loved to do to get away from the day-to-day work week, which has been pretty stressful lately, but I realized that those activities now come with more physical and emotional limits.

And I need to be more realistic about and cognizant of them.

Charlie Sheen might call this winning. I call it learning.

So does still make me, "Mr. Nice Guy"? That's for you to decide.