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You Always Have Something Else To Give ~ Never Give ‘Up’!

January 9, 2012 3 comments

The tape in any race or challenge marks the finish line or the goal that every competitor is striving to reach, and it can be broken in a single race by different runners with different times (Overall female, male, age group winners, etc.), but, until the tape is broken, the race goes on.

For each of us, 2012 brings with it a whole series of new challenges, each with its own finish line, or “tape” that will remain always before us, unbroken, until we hunt it down and snap it.  Regardless of your goals, know that you can achieve them and put any thought of failure or inability out of your mind.  Granted, you should never be so naive as to believe that you won’t encounter setbacks along the way.  What you can say with certainty, though, is that success, at any given moment, and in any given endeavor, will always be one quality decision away.  You decide your outcome by deciding how you will respond to adversity.  You decide.  Not your circumstances.  Not your friends.  Not your family.  Certainly not your critics.  You alone hold the keys to your success by deciding that you will never give up.  If you look back and find that you have given up in the past, in ways large or small, you need only start again today, and you’ll immediately find that what you thought was failure was, in reality, merely a temporary pause on your journey to success.  Perhaps a necessary rest at an aid station along your course.  Failure can only consist in your final decision never to rise and begin again.

Decide today, right now, that you will not give up.  Regardless of the hurdles you face, you must not accept defeat.  You always have something more that you can give.  Crawl if you must.  Scratch, claw, pry the achievement of your goals from the clutches of any person or circumstance that dares to defy you.  Do what you must.  Give what you must.  But never, ever give ‘up’.

Off on the Right Foot…Or Should it be the Left?

January 3, 2012 2 comments

I started down the 2000 mile road today with an easy 3 mile run (9:32 pace) during the lunch hour.  Weather was a breezy 50 degrees, without a cloud in the sky.  I’m planning a 17 mile week for this, the first week of January, as I continue to build a solid mileage base and chip away at the monumental task ahead.  As New Year’s resolutions go, I’m on track with only 1,997 miles to go. 

I debated whether to post about this breathtakingly forgettable start.  I feel a bit like a competition eater taking a break to notify the world that I’ve consumed the first french fry of a gravy-laden meal so large that it’s served in a claw foot bathtub.  Or, for the health conscious runner, I’m taking a moment to report that I’ve successfully eaten exactly one celery stick, and have only to finish consuming the entire Garden Bar© at Ruby Tuesday©.

Anyway, I do actually have a reason for sharing.  As I was running (remember in the first paragraph I told you this was an “easy run”), my running buddy, a fellow attorney/fellow runner/generally nice fellow, asked me the following question: “So when do you plan on doing your speed work?”  I considered making something up so I would seem like a cool, seasoned marathoner like him (my buddy completed his first marathon last November), but thought the better of it, as it occurred to me that he would know I was fibbing.  Or worse, he might call my bluff and offer to join me, in which case I would actually have to DO speed work, which, of course, would require that I first google “speed work” to find out what it is.  So I took a middle road, and asked my buddy what day he would recommend.  Turns out, that was just a faux pas of another kind.  I know this because he responded with a whole series of other questions as follows: “Well, that’s something you have to decide based on your larger training schedule.  It needs to be balanced with your long runs (author’s note-I actually know what long runs are), and with your recovery runs, interval work, fartleks (author’s note: turns out these have nothing to do with the effect of a high-fiber diet on running performance), tempo runs, race days and easy runs (remember the first paragraph above, when I told you this is what today was?).

The point is, I have a pretty good handle on how I’ll build my mileage base in coming months, how I’ll taper before my planned races, and even how I’ll recover during my “post marathon” weeks.  That is, I know how far I plan to run and when, but I’ve paid absolutely no attention to what kinds of runs I should be doing, or at what paces.  I could ask my buddy, but, notwithstanding his (one) marathon experience, I thought I’d better ask someone who knows.  That’s why I’m asking you, the running blogosphere.  Coming soon, I’ll be sharing my “2,000 miles in a year” running schedule.  For now, check out the extremely cool and useful running log template prepared by David Hayes that I’m using to track my progress.  And in the meantime, please offer any suggestions you have that might help me structure my running plan to incorporate the right kinds of runs to help me achieve my best times when race day(s) arrive. 

Thanks in advance, and stay tuned for periodic updates as I venture further into the fray.  Gotta run.

The 2,000 Mile Challenge

January 2, 2012 1 comment

I don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions.  Besides seeming trite, history has proven them so invariably doomed to failure that they’ve become cliché.  I typically avoid the whole thing by simply resolving not to make a New Year’s resolution.  Curiously, or perhaps, not so curiously, I’ve always succeeded in keeping that resolution.  But this year is different.  It’s different because this year I’ve finally come to realize that running is more than just something I do.  It’s a significant part of who I am.  I’m not a great runner.  As of the date of this post, my long runs are in the 6 mile range.  I’m not a fast runner.  A 9 minute mile feels fast to me.  I’m not even a marginally competitive runner.  I’ve never entered a formal race in my life.  But I am a runner.  In fact, running has been an enormously transformative force in my life. 

When I was in elementary school, I was so awful at virtually every sport that doing poorly seemed appealing to me simply because it meant at least getting off the bench long enough to actually play.  Sensing that my desire outweighed my athletic abilities, a friend (spelled j-o-c-k) encouraged me to try out for the track team.  Unbeknownst to me, this was viewed by the cool kids as the athletic consolation prize for kids who couldn’t play any other sport (spelled m-e).  I consented, and relegated to the non-sport of track, I contented myself with what would certainly at least offer me the chance to participate (I had been told there was no bench for third string runners).  Then, suddenly and when no one seemed to be paying any attention, I began winning my heats.  All of them.  Within a single season of parochial track and field, running had transformed me into a school star, as I turned out to be one of the fastest 220 meter runners for my age group in the state.  That is, until I snapped my shin bone in half playing 8th grade football, and ended my scholastic running career as quickly and unpredictably as it had begun. 

After high school, running would again transform me.  This time, however, it was from civilian into soldier, as my Drill Sargent mercilessly and repeatedly forced our whole platoon to run, and run, and run what seemed like innumerable miles in full combat gear, in all weather, in all hours of the day and night.  I often wondered whether I had enlisted in the Army or the Olympic trials.  I was pretty sure Olympians weren’t so heavily armed, so the Army it must have been.  Later still, after returning from the Gulf War, running helped ease me back into civilian life, as I took to the streets before the sun rose to gather my thoughts during early morning runs through quiet, fog-shrouded neighborhoods. 

Finally, after  college and law school, and all the extra pounds that came with having spent the better part of a decade holed up in libraries surviving on sugary sodas and mcburgers while studying for the next big test, I began running again to lose weight and discipline myself for the Bar Exam.  As a result, running helped transform me from an overweight, non-traditional, thirty-something law student into a focussed, self-disciplined, super lawyer (notice the increased self-confidence).  

Running has, in fact, been a part of my life longer than anything else, and has therefore been that part which most clearly reflects not only who I aspire to be, but who, at any given time in my life, I am.  So this year, unlike years before, I’ve resolved to challenge myself to be more myself (as runner, that is) than I’ve ever dared to be.  Two thousand miles more, to be precise.  I have resolved to run 2000 miles in 2012.  To get there, I’ll average around 40 miles per week all year.  I’ll include regular posts about my progress, training cycles, gear, races (did I mention I’m planning to enter and finish not only my first race, but a 10K, two half marathons, a 15K, and two full marathons), and much more.  I’m reasonably confident that I won’t be upsetting the elites at any of the races I plan to enter this year, but I do intend on setting lots of personal records, including breaking the tape on a 2000 mile running year.  Gotta run.

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