Monthly Archives: April 2012

Week in Review (4/22-4/28)

Well, It’s been a week since I last wrote anything, that’s not good.  I know sometimes the writing juices just don’t flow though, and it’s a new week now.  At least I’m keeping my word and getting a week in review posted: Continue reading

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Last Week in Review (04/15-4/21)

I’m going to try to start out Monday each week with a review of my last week of training.  It’s a bit late in the day, but I don’t want to put it off until next week, so here goes nothing. Continue reading

Running is Good for the Heart…

I originally picked up running because I wanted to lose weight  (I was 17 years old and 300 lbs when I first started running 11 years ago, but that’s a story for another time) and improve my health in the process.   I knew running would be good for my cardiovascular system, strengthening my heart as I pushed my body.   What I didn’t realize is that running is not only good for the (physical) heart, but it’s good for the (spiritual/emotional) heart too.

After reading Christopher McDougall’s  Born To Run (a must read in my opinion) last month I gained a new appreciation for the fact that we (likely) evolved for distance running.  I also gained a new appreciation for the kindness and camaraderie of  runners.  His descriptions of the Tarahumaran culture (whether embellished or not) were just plain inspiring.  I realized reading it that I’d felt that same sense of community around me when I ran the Portland Marathon in 2011, but I was so focused on it being my first marathon that I didn’t get the opportunity to really share in it. It was there, but I was too in my head to participate.  At the Yakima River Canyon Marathon i felt it and shared in it, encouraging those who I passed and those who passed me and sharing some High-5s at the finish line.

I read 2 stories in the last week or so that really touched my heart and made me proud to call myself a runner:

El Caballo Blanco, Micah True, running

Micah True "El Caballo Blanco"
1954-2012Source 

 

1st is the sad story of Micah True aka El Caballo Blanco, who passed away doing what he loved on March 27th.  He went out for a run in Gila, New Mexico and never came back. That part of the story is just plain sad, not much good to be seen there other than that he was following his bliss when his time came.  What was amazing is how many people dropped everything to go help in the search.  He’d touched so many lives (including mine, if only through Born To Run) and there was never a question for these people whether to help or not.  Christopher McDougall’s article on the search made me tear up a couple times.  You will be missed Caballo, but your spirit lives on in us all.

Tyrell Heaton crossing the 2012 Boston Marathon Finish Line

Jeff Fyfe and Blake Whitney help Tyrell Heaton cross the finish line.
(c) David L. Ryan/Boston Globe 

 

2nd was a moment of Monday’s 2012 Boston Marathon that was brought to my attention on r/running in a post by happy_go_lucky .  A runner (Tyrell Heaton of Virginia) crossed the 42km mark, about 100 meters from the finish line, and couldn’t keep going.  I don’t know the whole story of what injury stopped him, but he couldn’t put his weight on his left leg.  He’s just standing there, 100 meters from his goal, and he can’t do anything about it, it’s too painful to even walk.  Some folks ran by, probably assuming he was going to be able to rally and finish himself, but eventually one guy stopped to help him since he saw him wobbling on one leg. Another stopped, they tried to convince him that he could pull it off but he was in too much pain when he tried to put weight on the leg.  After some (but not too much) debate, the 2 good Samaritans supported him and half carried, half let him hop to the finish line.  These two guys put aside PRs, competitiveness, and finishing strong at the biggest Marathon there is, to take care of a complete stranger in pain. These were folks who had ran a difficult marathon on a hot day (80+ degrees) and they found the compassion in their hearts to see Heaton make it across that finish line.  I hope my years of running have made my heart strong enough to offer the same help if I’m ever faced with the same situation.

Put Down Your iPod (even if it’s only for 1 run)

I used to feel this way, now I know better

I’ve always been a runner attached to my distractions. As long as I can remember I’ve always ran with some sort of music device, be it a MiniDisc player back in the early 2000’s (does anyone remember those?) or my iPod Nano for the last 5 years or so.  I remember thinking that if I didn’t have something to listen to – something to take my mind off the ‘monotony’ of running – I would get bored, or become too aware of how I was pushing my body and give up.

On Monday of this week I read a post on Sub-Three (titled Prefontaine’s Garmin) that made me rethink this perspective.  He’d originally started running the opposite way I had, unencumbered by equipment, just running and enjoying the “simplicity of the sport.” But over time he built up a pile of gear, as he trained and raced, getting away from the pure simplicity he loved. This brought him (or her, couldn’t find any gender pronouns) to thinking about

Prefontaine’s Garmin…. He didn’t have one, of course. Pre ran in a cotton shirt or singlet, a ball cap and a pair of runners. He didn’t have an iPhone strapped to his arm or a sweat-wicking tech shirt or any of that.

No, what Pre had was heart.

Lots of it.

And guts. He ran with fortitude, mental toughness and focus.

That bit really spoke to me, maybe I don’t always need my gadgets when I run. Since I was already starting something new this week, adding a 2nd run to 3 of my weekdays,  I figured there was no harm in trying one of those new runs without gadgets.

I get home from the day job on Monday afternoon/evening, get changed and leave my iPod on my desk, but my Garmin (a Forerunner 405) calls out to me:  “Geb…Geb…Don’t leave me, think of all the running statistics you’ll miss out on, how will you know how far or how fast you’ve gone? Why are you personifying a watch?” and so on.  I’m confident I can do 3 miles without the aid of podcasting, but how will I manage without stat tracking?  I decide to make a compromise with myself, I can take the watch, but once I confirm it’s got a GPS lock and hit start on the timer, it is going in my pocket, and I cannot look at it until I get home.  I step outside, and off I go!

At first it’s a little weird, it seems so quiet without Peter Sagal, Ira Flatow, Click and Clack(the “Tappet Brothers”), The Nerdist Guys, or Ira Glass(just to name a few of the podcasts that help me pass the miles alone), but soon I realize it’s not quiet at all.  Instead the sound of my footfalls and my breathing becomes my companion, and I love it! I don’t think I’m ever as aware of my body, or my surroundings as I was on this run.  I hear birds singing the songs of spring, I see the way the sunlight plays though the leaves as I run through the park.  As I pass groups of people I catch little snippets of conversation and get a tiny window into their world, and begin writing their life stories in my head (an actor/writers immediate reaction to strangers).

Volcano

The Weird but nifty Volcano Fountain!

Hilarity ensues when I go around the weird volcano fountain at Cal Anderson Park as I pass some hipster teens and hear “Dude, is there a monster chasing you? There better be a monster, cause why else are you running?” I’m running because it makes me feel great, I’m running because it helps keep my body in tune, most of all I’m running because I love it!

Best T-shirt Ever (from Shirt.woot)

I don’t need some T-rex to chase me, nor do I need a distraction to keep me going, I’m doing what we were designed to do, I’m running.  Now, my morning and long runs are the only down time I really have to listen to podcasts, and I like being able to glance down at my watch and get an idea of my pace so I’m not going gadget free all the time.  What I am doing is making sure that on at least one of my runs each week (this week it was all 3) I put aside technology and run in my community, not just through it, and I’d suggest you do the same.  You’ll be a better (and probably more joyous) runner for it.

There Are At Least “100 Reasons You Should Work Out Today”

There is a great post on Sparkpeople.com (the site I use to keep track of my calories in vs. calories out btw) today to help light a fire under your arse on those days when you are lacking the motivation to workout.

Today was one of those days for me,  I woke up and my allergies were kicking me in the face, I was feeling dried out, my throat hurt from breathing through my mouth and my eyes were itching like crazy.  I procrastinated in bed for 20 minutes or more, but at about 5:15 I remembered that I run for me. I’m making the choice each day to run because I love it and because I love what it does for me. So, I dragged myself out of bed, and got myself on the road.

5 wonderful (if stuffy) miles and a 30 minute weight training session later, I got home and waiting in my inbox was 100 Reasons You Should Work Out Today.  Although some of them don’t really fit my reasons for working out, many of them ring true for me, and here are a few that particularly struck me:

2. Because it helps you get stronger

5. Because you have goals you want to reach

57. Because you want to shave time off your running pace

98. Because you want to be stronger than your excuses

100. Because the only workout you ever regret is the one you skip

Which ones in the list speak the most to you?

Opening Night!

Opening Night!  The culmination of weeks ( sometimes months) of hard work. I’m always excited to open a show, but I’m ecstatic to get The Last Days of Judas Iscariot in front of an audience. I can’t wait to see the way they react to the emotional rollercoaster we’re putting them on. They are going to cry, then laugh, then think, then laugh, then cry and more.

Time to start getting ready! As they say in France “merde!”

A Race to Remember

(c) Alysha Curry

It was so cold!! It was snowing... in almost April!!!

This past Saturday I had the best run of my life (so far)! I ran in the Yakima River Canyon Marathon , where I blew my PR (Personal Record) out of the water, and had a great time doing it!

The weather didn’t look too good that morning, as we drove down Manashtash Ridge into the Kittatas Valley and pulled into the parking lot at the Ellensburg Days Inn a mix of snow and rain was falling.  My wonderful girlfriend Alysha and my mom accompanied me on the walk to the starting line about .25 miles south of the parking lot, where we waited in the sn-ain for the start.  I took off the sweats I was wearing to stay warm, prepped my iPod and Garmin, posed for some silly pictures, and jumped up and down for warmth.  Soon the announcer was telling us to get behind the starting line, the National anthem was sung and the race was on!  Continue reading