Sep 25, 2011

Its the Title Fight, and in this Corner....

Today is September 25th.  And what, pray tell, does that have to do with anything?  Well, as it turns out, today marks the exact 20 week mark until the Trinidad to Clam Beach Run, of course!

Having said that, its time to keep score for the main event.  Its motivation -vs- Laziness.  That's right, Laziness has a proper name, and he is my nemesis.   Starting score:

Motivation = 0, Laziness = 0

Now, my last post was centered on the topic of the run, and essentially talks about me needing a little motivation.  And to revisit that subject for a moment, sadly my motivation in this arena has taken a bit of a hit, since I will be without my running partners. Mom and Dad (who so excitedly ran with me last year) apparently think going to Hawaii for two weeks is more important than spending half the day running in winter rain and fog.  I really can't understand what made them make such a decision.  After all, they could be here, with their son, running in weather that looks something like this:
That doesn't look so bad you say?  I'm willing to bet when the temps get to be in the low 50's, its raining and windy on the beach, this little rain storm feels more like this:
OK, yeah, perhaps that's an exaggeration.  Perhaps not.  Last year it was sunny when we started only started to rain after I had crossed the finish line. But I digress, slightly.  Getting back to the point, the folks, instead of chancing a slightly rainy run will be overlooking Napili Bay on Maui, which looks like this:

No contest, right?  OK fine, I can go with their decision to make these travel plans without checking in with me first.  After all, Napili Bay really is more appealing, in every possible way.  So I lost my running buddies. And the score changes for the first time.

Motivation = 0, Laziness = 1

So, what am I to do without my running buddies?  Well, first is to lay out a well formed plan.  Anyone who knows me should know my planning process.  First, there is research.  For example, should one look up the following on Google: 10K training schedule, in 0.13 seconds you receive over six million hits.  Fortunately, the WWW is smart enough to filter out the more useful ones and place them near the top of the list. 

And so I poured over various links, looking for a schedule that fit my needs.  Oh, whats that?  You want to know what my particular needs are in this endeavor? Well, they are two particular things:
  1. I want to finish faster than I did last year. Last year my official chip time was 1:05:29.  That's 5.75 miles in just a little over an hour.  I ran into one of the Starbucks gals on race day, who later asked me what my time was.  When I told her, she asked me if I had walked some of it.  Ouch.  So don't fault me if I want to avoid that particular line of questioning this time around.  I want to be faster, and I want to be able to brag about it a little. 
  2. I want to be able to walk at the end of a week of training.  Lets face it, running is a high impact sport.  And the ankle joints are pretty small compared to the amount of weight they have to bear.  And as I have made mention of before, my ankles suck.  And it doesn't take much to leave me sore and unhappy.  So I don't want to kill myself while I get ready for this process.
So with these two ideas in mind, I came across a plan I thought would suit my needs, with a little tweaking.  Its meant to be a 10 week schedule, and I get three rest days a week (Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday).  Over the course of the 10 week regimen, I'll be running longer distances and longer times, preparing for the big run come February 4th.  This is a pretty standard training schedule, and shouldn't really seem all too amazing in description.  The tweaking comes from the fact I'm going to throw in hill sprints to compliment my routine.  Building up the quads is a must if one intends to finish a race with a faster time. 

So, here comes the geek part.  I then took my plan, created an Excel spreadsheet, and mapped out my running schedule for the next four and a half months.  Yep, I'm a nerd.  But at least I know myself well enough to know if I don't have a plan laid out before me, I'll easily get distracted and probably fall by the wayside. 

So the plan is laid out, and I'm ready to begin.

Motivation = 1, Laziness = 1

As I'm finishing this post, I'm ready to start things up in the morning when I return home from work.  Let the games begin.  Laziness, I'm coming for you.

Sep 19, 2011

The Rhythm of My Life

Lets talk about Rhythm.

A movement or procedure with uniform of patterned recurrence of a beat, accent, or the like.

What's my Rhythm?  Some people would argue its a slow and steady Rhythm.  I think I might tend to agree with that.  Generally speaking, I am not in the biggest hurry to get anywhere.  I have even been told once or twice that I am one of the slowest people around.  And while most people walk to the various places they are going, I sort of plod along, to the beat of my own drum (so to speak).

Oddly enough, this is not the point of this post.  Perhaps someday I'll expound upon my slowness, but I'm not in any real hurry to do so.

What I'm really talking about is the Circadian Rhythm.  Its that biological clock inside that tells me because its dark outside I should be getting tired.  And when the sun comes up I should be starting to wake up.  There is plenty of information about all this on the web.  Of course, one of my favorite places to gather information is Wikipedia, where one can learn almost anything from the largest user created reference site on the internet.  You can check out what Wikipedia has to say about Circadian Rhythms here.  And for those of us looking to for a visual reference, here is what I have.
I don't know that I can back this up as the most accurate visual representation available, but I can tell you there are certain parts of this Rhythm chart I think are quite accurate.  However, I think it best to avoid those details for the time being.

So why all this talk about Rhythms?  Well, mostly because I'm back to working a night shift.  Night shift.  Ugh.  Nearly 13 years ago, when I started my chosen profession, I checked a little box that said something to the effect of this:

You understand and agree to work a rotating schedule, which includes weekends, holidays, and nights.

Hmm, I'm not sure I really thought that through back then.  I started working nights, way back then.  I think I actually liked working nights.  But I was younger then.  Then I moved to Humboldt.  and I continued to work nights.  And I continued to like it.  Some people love it.  I work with people who haven't worked a day shift in the entire 10 years I have been here, and probably even long than that.  I don't know how they do it, really.  I think it would just about drive me nuts.

I like sleeping at night.  I like being awake during the day.  But it is is what it is.  And so for the next four months I'll become nocturnal.  I'll be awake with the owls.  On my days off I'll be home, watching movies or playing games until the wee hours of the morning.

And to be sure, I'll be whining about it (just a little). 

Sep 18, 2011

Running, and running, and running.....

Its Thursday.  Thursday morning, to be specific. And what does that have to do with anything? Its simply one day closer to running 5.75 miles down a combination of Scenic Drive and Clam Beach.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, its time to start thinking about the Trinidad to Clam Beach Run.
I don't know exactly what motivated me to do this last year, I guess I was just trying to find something new and different.  Last year I was able to say, "I have never done anything like this before."  Or I could say, "I've never run this far in my life."  But now I have.  So now what do I say?  "Been there, done that."?  I don't think so.

In fact, I'm not sure I have ever said, "Been there done that."  Well, now with any real conviction or seriousness.  But I do feel like I need to say something. 
How about, "I can't wait to do it again."

Last year, about this time, I had decided I was a bit of a bum.  I didn't do much, I was a little overweight, andI was not in any sort of physical shape what-so-ever.  And so I set myself a goal and a training schedule, and low and behold, I completed my task with astounding success.

I completed the run in just over an hour.  For those of you are running buffs, and have to know a a pace time, that's about an 11 minute mile.  Ok, Ok, I realize that isn't any sort of earth shattering record.  
However! It is a personal best. And whats wrong with that?  Nothing as far as I know.

So lets spend a moment of time addressing the feeling of accomplishment:
Yeah, I think that should say enough.  I couldn't believe I had run about five miles at that point, and I had about three quarters of a mile to go.  And I will tell you, that long trip down Clam Beach seems to go on forever.

That was about eight months ago.  Since then, I have gotten fairly lazy.  And so the training regimen begins anew.  So to start, I'll be hitting the treadmill on a nearly daily basis.  I'll be working the elliptical as well.  And hopefully, in no time, I'll be running the long stretch of Scenic Drive to Clam Beach.

Sep 11, 2011

A time to remember, reflect, and respect.

Its 9/11.  I had originally thought to sit down this morning and talk about how I am working to motivate myself in numerous ways and means.  In stead it seems more appropriate to spend a little time remembering.

On 09/11/2001 I was camping at a campground near Pincecrest Lake, CA.  It was early morning still, and there was a large group of us in various stages of our own early morning routines.  Someone started making coffee.  Someone started making some eggs.  I don't even remember the names of most of the people who were there. But I'll never forget the way that morning turned out.

The campground host came around to each campsite at about 9:30.  He was somewhat frantic.  His eyes were wide and his face was pale.  At that time of the morning, when the campground host comes stomping into the site, in such a chaotic state, one can only wonder what is going through his head.  And why was it so important to be coming to us at such an early hour on a spring morning.  It was obviously important.  It was obviously bad.  And as far as I know, no one should have the look he wore on his face when camping in the mountains of California on what looks like a late summer morning.

The group of us then sat in awe, shock, and confusion as he told us a passenger plane had collided with the World Trade Center. 

From that point on, our world changed.  Strangely though, we were somewhat distant from the changes that took place.  We spent three more days camping there.  It didn't seem necessary for us to simply rush home because the catastrophic event.  There was nothing any of us could do, and it didn't affect any of us at work, and so we stayed. One of our friends had a small TV we pulled out, hoping to catch the news and actually see what was happening.  At that time, it appeared to be nothing more than a freak accident of horrific proportions. We pulled out the TV, found a plug to power it, and found we couldn't get a picture.  It was scrambled.  Apparently the Sierra's are a bad place to try and get TV reception on a small and portable TV.  But we had sound.  And we sat and listened in horror as the events of the day unfolded.  
I could probably spend the next few days retelling the different emotions that took hold of us.  I cold spend even longer trying to recap the conversations that took place over the remainder of the day.  But it still didn't seem real.  It still didn't seem like this had really happened.  Over the course of a day, close to 3,000 people had died.  People who had just gone to work, like they did Monday through Friday.  They weren't bad people, they were just there.  

A few days later, I was driving home, headed north on I-5 through Sacramento.  And as I re-entered civilization, that is when things really became real, when things really struck home.  I was headed toward an over pass and what I saw there will be the image I remember most about 9/11.

What I can only assume was a father and son duo, were standing on the sidewalk of the overpass.  They were on the side of the bridge that made them visible to everyone headed north that morning.  Both were waving large American flags, together.  It was a simple act.  It was a selfless act.  It was the feeling every single person across the nation had.  

It was unity.  It was pride.  It was sorrow.  It was anger.  It was despair.  It was American.  And over the course of the next few weeks, the nation, I included, watched as we picked ourselves back up.  People came together like never before.  And probably for the first time in a long time, we were one nation united, and we were proud of it.  

When I got home, the TV was flooded with images and videos of what had happened.  I can say I remember clearly some of the video footage that was played, over and over.  But even more impressed upon me, was that father and son, standing on a bridge on the opposite side of the nation,waving those flags in the early morning sunshine.  For those two people, whom I'll never know their names, I am grateful.  

When I think of that day, I don't remember the collisions with the towers, not anywhere near as  much as I remember two solitary people atop a bridge near Sacramento waving flags in the air in a show patriotism and pride.

I don't know anyone who was there that day.  Neither deceased nor survivor.  I don't know anyone who was there over the course of what seemed like years trying to help in any way possible.  But I know I am sad for those that died. I relieved for those that survived.  And I am grateful to those that gave their service in one of the greatest times of need this country has ever faced. 

So remembering is remembering.  Take a moment, think about it, and hopefully it still affects you today just as much as it did ten years ago.

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