Archive for July, 2011

31st July
written by Randy

Last week, I ran a torturous 9 miles. It was miserable and painful and frankly, dangerous. But it was a learning experience

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, and certainly this week I am stronger. I just completed a 10-mile run, and there was quite a bit that was different this time.

Foremost, I’ve learned the importance of the night before and its effects on a run. Last night I ate well, and I limited myself to two beers, in spite of having been at Three Floyds Brewery. Instead of waking up empty and dehydrated, I woke up comfortable and energetic.

Also important, I drank plenty of water before I left to run, and I planned a route that crossed several fast food locations, where I was able to periodically rinse off in the restroom and sip some water.

Finally, I got out the door early, so that hottest, hallucination-inducing sun would come after I was home and done.

The difference added up. My time this week was 1:59, which is the same as last week, but I ran ten miles this time rather than the nine I ran previously.

Now I’m excited. I’m now getting into half-marathon territory. A half-marathon is 13 miles, and given how I felt, I know that I could have gotten out those last 3 today.

With 12 weeks remaining until the Columbus Marathon, I’m starting to feel pretty confident that I can do this!

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24th July
written by Randy

Every time I go out for a 3- or 4-mile run, I make a little progress, and I feel great about where I am in comparison to where I started. But the progress isn’t enough to get me to where I need to be 12 weeks from now.

I decided I needed a good, long run this weekend to get me over the hump of all these shorter, more comfortable runs I’ve been doing, and yesterday I set out with the intention of going 10 miles.

I had a positive attitude and great expectations, but not much else going for me. This summer’s oppressive heat was staved off only slightly by an overnight rain, and some cloud cover to diffuse the heat of direct sunlight — in other words, I was lucky it was only 84 when I went out. I also hadn’t eaten breakfast, or dinner the night before, when I went out.

I was not prepared.

The first two miles went really well. In fact, I think I set a new best time on my first mile, coming in at under 9 minutes. And I didn’t walk for my first time until the end of the second mile, which is great for me. But by the end of the second mile, my mouth was a mess. I needed water badly, so I ducked into a McDonalds restroom where I wet my face and drank some water.

On the third and fourth miles, I took short walking rests every half-mile — more as a result of waiting for traffic lights than my own fatigue. But I was still really dry and thirsty, and it was starting to get hotter. Unfortunately, I had just entered a part of the city where there are no restaurants to duck into.

At mile five, I began to hallucinate. I felt as if my mind had separated from my body, and I was now operating a video game controller. I felt nothing. This seems like a bad thing, so I slowed my pace a bit, but I was 5 miles from home so there’s no way I could stop.

This out-of-body experience lasted almost half an hour, and I did not like it. When it finally ended, I was at the 6.5 miles and walking, and I realized that I was beyond half-way and every step I took would get me closer to home, so my mood improved again. I ran the next half-mile without much trouble.

That was the last of any significant running. After the seventh mile, the clouds had begun to clear, the sun had gotten stronger, the heat was terrible and my achilles tendon was throbbing. For the last two miles, I ran two blocks then walked two block, ran two blocks then walked two blocks, my ankle steadily getting worse.

Fortunately, my guess at a 10-mile route turned out to be a 9-mile route. The last two miles were torture, so I’m thankful there wasn’t another one.

I have learned that my carefree attitude might be fine for 3- and 4-mile outings, but over serious distances, I’m going to need to eat properly, pay attention to the weather, and bring water with me.

This might mark the last time I can go out on Friday night after work. At least until after the marathon. Hallucination is serious business. I don’t want to experience that again.

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21st July
written by Randy

An interesting thing about wanting to dance is, every time I mention it my guy friends make jokes or mock me, but my female friends all say they’re excited or jealous, or encourage me in some way. Whenever I’ve mentioned to a girl that I want to take dance lessons, I almost always get the same response: “Oh, that sounds fun. Let me know if you need a partner!”

So, in spite of the fact that I’m single, I have no need to ever dance alone. And in fact, it actually made the decision a bit more difficult because I had to choose! In the end the decision was easy; I chose a friend who is close to my height, and with whom I am not afraid to make a fool of myself.

Using Craigslist, I found a really nice dance instructor here in Chicago, and have committed to Wednesday evening lessons. I’m paying for several sessions in advance, to make sure that I don’t back out, get lazy, or change my mind. But I don’t see that happening, because….

It’s fun! It’s awesome, actually. The first lesson was just a really basic introduction, and it was only for half an hour, but I knew already that I loved it! We learned the basic steps for salsa and swing, and found ourselves smiling and laughing. A lot.

Also, I’ve heard countless people compare dancing to sex in some way, but I really never could have imagined just how sexy it really is! Looking into someone’s eyes as you move your bodies together, in rhythm, wow!

This may turn out to be my favorite of all the things I’ll do this year…

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1st July
written by Randy

In recent days, I’ve spent time with several friends who I hadn’t seen in the last month or two, and something cool happened: they’ve noticed and commented on several changes in me.

What stands out most is that everyone who sees me lately is commenting on the fact that I look thinner. And I should! I’m down almost 8 pounds, partly due to changes in diet but certainly it’s mostly from running. (On my last 6-mile run, my Garmin watch tells me I burned 1067 calories!)

But it’s not only that I look different! One good friend commented on how slowly and casually I walk through the city now, reminding me of how I used to speed walk, darting between people everywhere I went. I credit my new relaxed pace to my time in Italy. I still remember the day I arrived home, and how fast everything felt. I feel better without the stress.

Another remarkable experience is the looks on people’s faces when they see my empty bedroom. Those who know me well can remember how I spent every spare moment at my desk, behind a computer. Now, I don’t even have a desk! There really is almost nothing left, and that changes the way people interact with me in this space… for the positive!

Not only do I feel like a new person, but others can see that energy. I’m getting older (this year I’ll be 36!) but I feel younger every day. I’m possibly more active than I’ve ever been. I’m seeing more and doing more than I’ve ever done. And most importantly, I’m doing it all for me, not to impress anyone else, which is ironically the thing that impresses everyone else.

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