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The Trainer, Session 3

12 Jul

If you missed my first post entitled “The Trainer,” you should click the link and check that out first. I just finished the third session with my trainer yesterday. I am now a mega-cut beef-cake. Which reminds me at the onset. Anything I say about my trainer on this blog, stays on the blog. You have no idea how much I fear this woman. click to read more

Every Run is a Story (What’s Yours?)

10 Jul

There are so many reasons I love my wife that I couldn’t possibly list them all and you’d probably puke a third of the way through. We’re cuter than you can probably handle. So in an effort to keep your laptop keys vomit-free I’ll just focus on one reason I love my wife; She listens to me. She listens to me a lot. I’m an introvert, which I think is code for “I like my thoughts better than what you’re trying to tell me.” click to read more

The Trainer

20 Jun

Never, EVER tell a personal trainer that you run marathons because they will probably make two assumptions: one, that you are in shape and two, that you like pain. Click the “read more” button below to learn about how a woman standing 5’7″ almost made me cry.

click to continue…

Impromptu Marathon RACE RESULTS!!

4 Jun

When last I blogged I talked about deciding to run the Cellcom Marathon in Green Bay, WI two weeks before race day. (Never mind that I’d been working on speed training rather than long miles) I felt pretty doggone confident I’d still be alright. Well, I thought I’d let y’all know how it went.

I didn’t make it.

Please continue if you haven’t lost all respect for me at this point.

It was a hot and windswept morning in Title Town. When we pulled up to Lambeau Field at 6:50am it was already 80 degrees. Still our spirits were high as we shuffled with the thousands of other runners to the starting mat. Game on.

Even More Impromptu

I had a pretty good idea of what to expect of race day as I’ve run marathon length a handful of times. So signing up two weeks in advance wasn’t all that crazy to me. Imagine though if you hadn’t run even a half marathon before and decided to run the race two DAYS beforehand.

RMSL is proud to introduce my friend Josh Fitzpatrick. It was Josh’s birthday the week before the marathon and I knew this because Facebook helps me to pretend to be a better person than I really am by announcing the day’s birthdays.

Everyone else was giving the generic “Happy Birthday!!!!!!” Someone had already set the gratuitous exclamation point bar way too high for me so instead I wrote, “Happy birthday! You should celebrate by running the Cellcom marathon. That’s 26.2 beers!” Josh and his roommates have a plan to stay in shape by running a mile for every beer they drink. Let’s just say they started way in the hole.

Weirdest Birthday Wishes Ever

I know right?? I’m not really sure what my motive was. I think the “Look at me, I run marathons” complex I have got the better of me. I like running marathons. I like that people know that I run marathons. I like when they call me crazy. I like when they call me amazing and inspiring. I like me. Can you tell?

ANYWAY, a couple of days later Josh posts to my wall. “You’ve convinced me to run a marathon, do you have a game plan?” Oh dear. It’s one thing to do something without a game plan. It’s another thing entirely to rope someone into your plan-less game. I felt defensive. I mean, I really didn’t do much convincing. I think beer and crazy was all it took for Josh. I like his style.

Porta-Potty Saunas and Other Such Pleasures

Some people go to spas to get pampered, massaged, or to lounge and unwind in a sauna. My friends and I paid 100 bucks to be treated to the opposite of a pedicure (some runners lose toenails), relax in the sweltering humidity of porta-potty saunas, and stand in an hour long line for a 15 minute post-race rub-down. It’s a steal of a deal if you ask me.

So you can imagine our shock when it was all taken away from us suddenly. We had reached mile 12 and were just about to split off from the 1/2 marathon runners that outnumbered us 5 to 1 when we were told the race was cancelled.

“Can they do that?” then, “I’m going to do it anyway,” went through my head. The police at the barricade must have read my mind because I saw a little frown as they fingered their knife-sticks. Maybe they had anticipated the decision to cancel would be unpopular.

My friends and I huddled. They said they had pulled the water stops. Were they bluffing? Did we know the way? Did we have any money to buy water? No, maybe, and no. We were jiggered. Game off.

We left the woman bawling about how hard she worked with the apologetic race volunteers and walked the remaining mile of the half-marathon course. We sprinted the last 1/10 of a mile to the finish line and collected our meaningless “Finisher” medals. I thought about throwing mine as far as I could (it was shaped like a football) and saying saying, “Thanks for nothing” to the unsuspecting volunteer who had screwed me out of my glorious victory.

Green-Bay-Cellcom-Marathon-Finisher-Medal

Immaturity is Fun

I didn’t do that of course, but it made me chuckle inside to think about doing it. Instead we grabbed our beer and talked about all the childish ways we could respond to the frustration we felt. It was good therapy to laugh it all off. We knew they had to cancel the race; the paramedics were ALL being utilized dealing with heat related maladies. I think the sudden heat-wave took its toll on first time participants. Other first time runners like my friend Charlie were seriously rocking it out strong. I feel really badly for them. They will have their day yet.

Poor Track Record

So I D.N.F.ed it (Did Not Finish)… sorta. In fact, as of now, my completion record at organized marathons is 1-for-3, or 2-for-3, depending on how you look at it. At the Eau Claire marathon last year at this time someone was supposed to pick up my bib, but due to misunderstanding did not. Instead I ended up with my sister-in-law’s bib for the half marathon that she was unable to attend. Lyndsey did pretty well that day. In fact I think she set a PR.

So Cellcom is the second time I lined up at the start of a marathon only to have uncontrollable circumstances force me into a half instead. Add those two together and put it with my only organized marathon finish and I’m 2-for-3, at least that’s how I’m putting it in the stat-book. It’s how I sleep at night.

An Adventure Deferred

But I haven’t slept. I got amped to run my impromptu marathon. That energy had to go somewhere. I needed another adventure to drive me. The Fall 50 in Door County, WI captured my attention and imagination shortly thereafter. The register button on their website has given me the most internet pause I’ve ever had. I’m not sure where this running journey is going to take me, but adventure seems an integral component. Dream, set crazy goals, go after them. Fall down, learn, get back up and chase that which makes you come alive. I DARE you.

The Failed Fifty

15 Feb

I “almost” ran 50 miles the other day.  That’s what some people have said about my 40 mile run the other day on a treadmill at the local YMCA.  They, however only see that I ran 80% of my goal.  Only myself and a handful of other runners know how long that last 10 miles really would be.  

Mind Games

It’s a funny thing how our minds can spin the statistics in our favor.  Whenever I thought about the event as 10 miles (which for me is effortless) x5 I had no doubts I could do it.  When I thought of it as back to back marathons it seemed more questionable.  

When I hit mile 38 there was only one number in my head… 2.  2 hours left of torture.  When you want pain to cease, immediately sounds good doesn’t it?  When your head starts spinning and you feel like you’re going to wretch, immediate relief dominates your thoughts.  In this state, try to contemplate forestalling that relief by 2 hrs and see what your mind responds with.  

Game Over

I’ve never been tortured by the KGB.  I’ve always wondered how long I could hold out.  I had a high school teacher say that everyone has a breaking point.  I liked to think at the time that he was wrong in my case.  

Nope.  It was an unsettling thing, to come to my end.  I tried to marshall my thoughts.  I tried to think positive.  All I could think was “2.”  I broke.  

The Death and Re-Birth of a Runner

I broke on facebook for all my friends to see.

I made the 50 mile run a facebook event.  I hyped it.  I blogged it here.  I had friends and people I barely knew commenting, encouraging, posting videos and songs for me to read on my iPad that I had on the treadmill at the YMCA.  I updated my status every hour (minus the one in which I thought I was going to puke).  

The reaction was huge and unexpected.  Four people said they started running because of my endeavor.  One said they bought shoes that day.  It made my day.

Then I had to quit.  It was so hard to quit.  I’ve never quit a run, but I knew it was right.  I set the bar high so that I might, for the first time ever, find my limit.   Success.  I found it.  

Unsettled

Reality sucks.  In my mind I’m a super hero.  No really.  On February 11, 2011 superman overdosed on cryptonite and died.  The end.  I’ll miss him.

I cried.  Real men don’t like to quit, even when it’s justified and unavoidable.  

I had some really terrible thoughts assail me in those latter miles of my run.  I didn’t think I’d want to run again.  Running had always meant freedom to me.

Running made me feel like I was a superhero.  

I’m not a superhero, so what has running left me?

Me.  

The Pheonix:  Risen

Dusty, ashen, transcendent.  Glorious.  Three days later and I’m a superhero again.  When will I learn my lesson?  Don’t hold your breath.  I will run 50 miles.  Apparently the heart and the human spirit breaks down and comes back stronger like the rest of our bodies.

Not Tough, Just Dedicated

Some people think I’m crazy awesome for having running 40 miles.  They are right.  I am crazy awesome.  But I’m not crazy awesome for the reason they think I am.  They think I’m tough. 

Truth is, I’m a huge wuss.  Ask my wife what happens when I get a cold.  I want my mommy.  I cry.  I think I’m dying.  Real men whimper when they get a fever.  

I’m not tough, but I am dedicated.  I train.  There’s no magic in what I do.  I used to think I was very gifted athletically.  While I am more coordinated than the average duck, I think I’ve always just loved to run more than most.  I still do.  

Stick With it and You Will Too

Give running time.  Build a routine.  Find a half marathon to train for.  I say half because that’s the first race length that will require months of dedicated training.  

In that time you’ll learn to love it, or you’ll decide it’s not for you.  Either reaction is fine.  

If you love it then you’re hooked and I’ll see you at my next ultra marathon adventure.   If you don’t there are so many more exercise options out there, oh and guess what, you’re in great shape to explore them!  You can’t lose.

Today

Tomorrow I am going to start running again.  Tomorrow’s run starts with the writing of this post tonight.  You need to start living the life you want. Please, PLEASE do it now.  I’m tired of a world half alive.  Let’s remake this thing the way it was meant to be.