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The 2014 Running Experiment: an update

So, we’re a month and a half into 2014, and as I wrote in an earlier post, I am trying to make it through the entire year without buying any running gear.  So far, so good.  I mean, that last pair of shoes that showed up to the house in the middle of January were ordered the day after Christmas, so that totally counts (right, honey?)

It’s a little hard to believe that I haven’t “needed” to buy anything to keep up this running habit.  Sorry, incessant marketers, but so far I’m resisting temptation.  I don’t care if your latest pair of shoes will tuck me in and kiss me goodnight (It is Valentine’s Day, after all)- I’m not buying.

That’s not to say that I’m not looking.  This is the time of year when all of the new models of shoes are starting to hit the market, and I’m always interested to see what the latest and greatest promise to be.  I am keeping an eye on things, but instead of rushing out to pick up a new pair, I’m making a wish list.  By the time 2015 rolls around (or my will power runs out), maybe there will be some decent feedback and reviews of the things I’ve been interested in.  Who knows, maybe I’ll end up making a more informed choice when it is finally time for a new pair of kicks.

I’m going to do my best to continue to use the gear I’ve already got, and I’ll keep you posted as the year goes on. Like they say, running is such a cheap sport.  All you need is a good pair of shoes, right?


The Great Running Experiment of 2014

Alright, friends. 2013 is almost in the bag, and it was a good one as far as running goes. I ran my first half marathon, set a couple of PRs for other distances, and completed a summer run streak (at least a mile for 81 straight days). When it’s all said and done, I think I’m going to fall short of my mileage goal for the year by about 50 miles, but that still puts my total for the year at about +150 over 2012’s numbers.

In life outside of running, 2013 has been a good one as well. I started grad school in the summer, in order to finally get the education degree I rebelled so strongly against in college. My wife and I added another little one to the fold, so if you’re counting at home, that brings the total for kiddos to 2. Both of these life changes were contributing factors to my mileage slipping off in the second half of the year, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

As I look ahead to 2014, I am trying to come up with some solid goals of running in the next year. The Tallahassee Half is already paid for, so that’s happening for sure in February. I’m excited for the race, but I’m not going out there to try and set a PR. My training has not been as regimented as it was last year at this time (see above). I will probably try to run a couple of other races around Tallahassee through the spring, and we’ll see where things go from there.

So there’s a mileage goal to be set, obviously. For 2013, I wanted to get 600 miles run, and I’m going to come up just shy. I’ll have to sit down with the numbers from this year and come up with a goal in the next couple of weeks. I’ll post it here once I’ve made a decision.

As I was putting away clothes in my closet this evening (super exciting, I know), I realized that I have a crap-ton of running shoes. My wife has known this for quite some time, but I have been in the throes of denial. In addition to the shoes, I have a crap-ton of other running gear- shorts, socks, pants, tights, gloves, hats, etc., etc. Some of this stuff is not even appropriate for the climate in this region, but I’ve got it, just in case Tallahassee gets a freak blizzard. Nothing’s going to keep me from getting out there.

So here’s the thing. Let’s call it the Great Running Experiment of 2014. I am going to try to make it through all of 2014 without spending money on running gear. It’s killing me to think that the shoes I’ve got are the shoes I’ve got for the next year, but after looking at the numbers (and yes, I keep meticulous records of the mileage and use for every pair of shoes in my little Imelda Marcos stockpile), I should have no problem covering the miles I am thinking I might run in 2014. I’m not calling this a goal, more of an experiment. We’ll see where it goes. I will be buying essentials (Body Glide, specifically) in order to get through the year, but I’m going to try my darnedest not to make any major purchases.

And so, all 12 loyal blog followers, I want you to be prepared for this to be my place of accountability. Think you can handle that? It might not be pretty. I’m a gear head when it comes to running stuff, so this will be coming as a major change. Feel free to post comments of support, send gift cards (that’s not cheating, right?), or take whatever steps you see fit to help me in this endeavor. Here’s to hoping I can make it at least until February…

What are your goals for 2014, running or otherwise?


Meanest. Daddy. Ever.

A quick story from today.

Little man refused to take a nap today, which was awesome, since the Mrs. and I are in the midst of converting our home-for-three into a home-for-four and nap time is prime time to get anything accomplished. Don’t get me wrong, we appreciate Little Man’s help around the house. But this kid can undo a days worth of work in about 3.2 seconds if left to his own devices.

So, in lieu of a couple hours of restful dreaming (that either of his exhausted parents would gladly take), he graced us with two hours of singing every song he knows, reciting books to his stuffed animals, and general jumping around. Of course, he was sure to give us status updates every few minutes.

“I’m not sleeping!” “I want to be awake!” And then he played the Get Out Of Jail Free Card. “Um, I’m pooping!”

At this point we sprung him from the clink, made a potty stop, and proceeded with the day’s tasks, the highlight of which was a trip to the Promised Land: Target.

Now, I enjoy a trip to the Bullseye Boutique. Heck, I gave almost an entire year of service in the red and khaki right out of college. But this kid loves him some Target. And if we lived a couple miles closer, he might have stayed awake to enjoy it. Instead, he zonked out about halfway there. Those of you with kids will understand what I mean when I say that this was no ordinary nap. It was one of those “eyes-rolled-back, I-wouldn’t-recognize-my-own-mommy-I’m-so-tired” naps.

Being the considerate parent I am, I made sure to spread out the bags we brought before putting our little Baby Moses in his basket (so as to avoid a toddler who is all waffly and stuff).

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Needless to say, I got the list checked off in record time, and I even made sure to take Little Man to see his favorite Jake toys. And I took pictures, which makes me the meanest. daddy. ever.

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A Week of Streaking

I did it.  I managed to make it through the first week of this Summer Break Run Streak adventure.  I suppose that’s an accomplishment, given how crazy our week was.  Between finishing out one school year, preparing for summer session, a TROPICAL STORM, and the usual craziness of a week in our house, I managed to squeeze in a run each day.

I know that I am bound to learn a lot from this run streak adventure as I continue through the summer, but here are a few things I have already learned.

Embrace the early morning run. I live in North Florida, and this time of year we are into full-on Hades mode by about 9:00 am.  It’s amazing how good it feels to have your workout behind you when work starts each day (even if the possums look at you like you’re crazy for being up so early).  We’ll have to see how this goes once summer school gets rolling and I have to be at school at 7:30.

Embrace the dreadmill. If I haven’t made it clear in earlier posts, I. Hate. The. Treadmill. I am going to have to come to terms with this one in order to keep this streak going.  Luckily, my gym is open until midnight.

Embrace creativity. At a week into this streak, I can already tell that I am going to need to find new routes in order to keep from getting bored or in a rut.  Look out, other neighborhoods of Tallahassee, here I come!

Here’s the nitty gritty for this week. I managed a run each day (which I can’t remember doing before), but I kept them all fairly short to ensure that I could stick with it.  I think I will be heading into a more typical routine (tempo and/or intervals, long runs, etc.) with shorter runs on what used to be my off days in order to keep the streak alive.

This week’s mileage: 15.4

Total streak mileage: 15.4

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Miles is miles.

For those of you who aren’t parents, allow me to let you in on a little secret: your life will never be the same once you have kids.  Revolutionary, I know.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s not much in life that a hug from your little one can’t fix (along with all sorts of warm, fuzzy, good things about being a parent- another post for another day). I do want you to know that some of the things you take for granted (like showering on a regular schedule and choosing a restaurant without taking into consideration their weekly “kids eat free” schedule) will disappear from your daily routine.

This change in how life is lived was reinforced to me last night.  Little man was asleep in his bed singing every song he knows before finally giving up, so I headed out to the gym to finally get my run in.  That means miles on the dreadmill, which I hate passionately.  I’m not one for chatting it up at the gym, but I ended up on a treadmill next to a former co-worker.  We hadn’t seen each other in a few years, and struck up a conversation.  We talked about the end of the school year, what our kids were up to, and how crazy it was to run into each other, both trying do squeeze in a little workout time once the rest of our respective families were asleep.

Sure, there are many things that change once you become a parent.  Maybe your long evening run turns into cramming in a few miles on the treadmill.  Let me tell you, it’s all worth it to come home to your little man asleep (finally) and resting up for all the miles he is going to run (and you are going to chase) tomorrow.  I wouldn’t go back to all that free time for anything. 

Gotta go. I just actually said, “Take the cat brush out of your mouth, child!”


The Year That Was…

A year ago, I wrote a post about where I’d like to be in a year.  Don’t worry, it won’t be hard to track that post down.  It was all of about three posts ago. (Maybe updating this blog more often should be one of the goals for this coming year…) 

One of the areas I set forth to improve was my health.  I started running more, I joined Weight Watchers.  I’m proud to say that I lost about 30 pounds, and have managed to keep of about 25 of those pounds without having to “follow the program.” Not that I have quit the program, however.  I consider it a very expensive security blanket (like Linus with a cashmere throw).  Most of my success has come from pouring on the miles this past year.  I got over the hump of not liking to run.  Now I’m at the point that I don’t like to not run.  Seriously, I start to get testy if I go more than a day or two without getting out there.

A year ago I said that I wanted to run a few more 5Ks this past year.  Well, that turned into a few 5Ks, an 8K, a couple of 10Ks, a 15K, and a HALF MARATHON.  To be fair, I won’t try to squeeze all the things I want to say about this year in running into one post (stay tuned, both of you followers).

Living out my faith in a way that is natural and obvious to our super-observant two-year-old is an area in which I feel I have grown this year.  I wish that there were an easy way to quantify this (you know, like a hand-dandy online running log), but it doesn’t quite work that way. Safe to say that I hope to keep growing stronger in this area. I may be using this blog as a place to write about what seems to be my latest dilemma in my faith walk, reconciling my Quaker upbringing with the Lutheran beliefs we are pursuing as a family. 
 
Ok, time to talk about where I want to be a year from now… I’ll be knocking on 35 (so I’ll obviously be forming my super-PAC for the 2016 presidential race). I hope to be in love with running as much as I am now (another half, maybe?). We’ll see what the year brings.  Hopefully, I’ll have at least a post or two between now and then.

 


Suck it in (or suck it up)

I know I’ve put up a couple of posts about my ongoing love/hate relationship with running.  I have been running (off and on) since high school.  I have also been eating (on and on) since then.  As a result, this guy’s a tub.  Okay, maybe not a tub, but definitely not where I want to be.

Working at an elementary school, I get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to diet fads.  Some of those ladies would breathe one nostril at a time if someone told them they would lose inches, I swear.  There are a couple of teachers at my school who have made a noticeable difference with their weight, and I was curious. Turns out they weren’t breathing one nostril at a time.  They were on Weight Watchers.

They talked to me about points. They showed me the app (yes, there’s an app for that).  What got me is that they said that they had been going to the gym every day for years, but didn’t see results until they changed what they were eating (rocket science, I know). 

For years, I’ve said that I ought to do better about what I’m eating.  So now, I guess I am.  As of April 1, I am counting my Weight Watchers points.  I am hopeful that this will help me to develop some better habits about eating.  I’ll probably be posting some updates here (hopefully more about my improving 5K times rather than my inner thighs).  For now, I’ll be the guy who runs home over lunch to pop in his Sweatin’ to the Oldies video.  Okay, maybe I’ll just be the guy who passes up some of the sweets and fried stuff instead.  We’ll see how it goes.