Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's official

I've received confirmation that I am registered for the Bass Pro Shops Conservation Marathon. Since training has already begun, I didn't have my expected "Dear God, what have I DONE?" moment -- I've already had plenty of those as I look through the coming weeks of my training schedule!

What IS going through my head is "whoa, I'm a MARATHON runner." The weeks ahead still scare me, but today a goofy grin is plastered across my face. This was always something I WANTED to do, but something I assumed I wasn't capable of. Today I paid $68 to be one of the insane folks eating massive amounts of pasta during the Saturday evening pasta dinner -- where I'll get to hear Bill Rodgers speak -- and line up with up to 1,000 others going after the medal and hat that confirm I've done something insane, run 26.2 miles in one stretch. The course is open for 8 hours, and I imagine I'll be on it for about 6 of that. EEK!

In other news, looks like we're finally getting a Jefferson City running group started. I've been exchanging e-mails with a few folks. I'm hoping for a group with a blend of all abilities / paces. If you are interested, let me know! I think it would be a lot of fun to have a group of beginners working on the Couch to 5k program.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gettin' crafty

My new Nathan Speed 4 fuel belt FINALLY came in the mail yesterday. I'm so excited about having it with me on Saturday's long run. It's far too hot to be running for an hour + without water / sport drink.
Because I'm impatient, I ordered the small -- because it was the only one in stock at Performance Bike -- knowing it would be, well, too small. I figured I'd be able to rig up some sort of workable extension. 

Luckily, I figured right. I purchased some industrial-strength velcro to add to (what I believe is) the front. With the extra few inches, the belt fits comfortably around my hips, AND puts the bottles low enough and farther back enough that I won't constantly hit them with my arms. 

The belt has a small pouch in front and a larger pouch in back to carry keys and -- I hope -- a Hammer gel flask. If I use it to bike, the pouch is also perfect for my mp3 player. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Team World Vision

For those not aware, I'm running as part of Team World Vision. I've been a fan of World Vision for years, thanks to my buddy Aarik Danielsen. We partnered together in 2005 to organize a fundraising event for World Vision's orphans and widows fund, which helps families torn apart by HIV/AIDS.

World Vision is most known for helping kids around the world. They have a fantastic child sponsorship system -- for $30 a month, you can provide clean water, food and education to help 
end the cycle of poverty in developing countries. 

In addition to helping kids, World Vision helps families by tackling issues should as the world AIDS crisis and water and sanitation. They provide means of living -- livestock and agricultural knowledge -- for families unable to provide for themselves. They also work to provide quick disaster response when natural disasters occur.

I'm added a widget to the side of my blog that links to my Team World Vision fundraising page. The page allows you to sponsor a child or make a one-time donation that immediately goes to work to tackle the causes of poverty and injustice.

If you are a runner, cyclist or triathlete interested in becoming part of Team World Vision, I'd love to tell you more about the program. I'm currently working with the powers that be to become a team leader -- I'd love to have you aboard!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Elemental, my dear Watson

I spent Sunday afternoon standing in the community garden at First Baptist Church, Springfield, chatting with and taking pictures of Adam and Kristie Stoddard. Adam commented that there is something spiritual about digging in the dirt, after all, it was the first job God gave us.

Like the act of gardening, there is something spiritual about running. Chris Cook, pastor of Parkade Baptist Church in Columbia, enjoys telling others that running is the only Biblical sport. I must admit that Paul's words about running toward the goal held different meaning for me after my half marathon in April. 

But I suppose a Bible-reference doesn't make any action more spiritual than any other (otherwise I need to trade in my car for either the Disciples' Accord or a mule... and I don't think a mule would fit my apartment complex's pet policy!). 

The rhythm of running somehow clears my mind. While that sounds easy enough, my OCD makes that a near miracle -- my mind is NEVER clear. I'm always thinking of at least 50 things, usually in a cycle that makes no sense to anyone without this lovely disorder. But when running, my brain quiets.

I haven't yet found the ability to pray while pounding the pavement, but somehow the act itself seems like an act of prayer -- perhaps an offered prayer for those things beyond my comprehension, and therefore beyond words. 

Running serves as a reminder that we are intricately and wonderfully made -- and that our bodies are capable of far more than we imagine. 

In running, I remember those basics. The time away from cell phones and noise distractions (I've found recently that running with an mp3 player seems to crowd my head -- when Coach Rod first mentioned that about himself, I thought "whoa, I'll never be there." A month later, I decided to grab my player on the way out the door and couldn't stand it.) beyond the occasional passing car, birds and toads. The view of creation as I waddle past. Even the quickened heart rate and huffing and puffing of my breathing serve as pointers to something greater... 

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm finding that my biggest challenge right now is mental. My head doesn't think I can do it, even when my body is fine. My weekday runs have been extremely slow, and I've even thrown a walking break here and there. I don't need it. Physically I feel fine, but my brain essentially shuts down -- and I've been listening to it.

It makes me even more glad to have Tiffany to run with on Saturdays. When I run with her, I'm not scared of speeding up a bit. We rely on each other and push each other, and therefore do more together than at least I could do alone. If only I can carry the same attitude into the rest of the week. 

My goal this week is to rock my weekday runs. I'll allow myself the slow pace on Monday if I get through the entire run without stopping. Wednesday and Thursday, I'm back at training pace -- between 10-12 minute miles. 

Anyone have mental tricks to share?

Friday, June 20, 2008

I run because.... I'm insane

Seems that runners have a high percentage of news of the weird. While browsing Runner's World this morning, I found this (

Residents Bracing for Grandma's "Nervous Bladders"
By Mark Remy

Grandma's Marathon is this Saturday.

For those running it, these last few days pre-race are a time to rest up, pack, and visualize success. For homeowners in Duluth, Minn., where the race takes place, it's a time to brace for a veritable flood of urine.

Well, that may be overstating it.

But according to this Associated Press article on, residents along the course of this weekend's marathon and half-marathon are "dreading the nervous bladders" that Grandma's brings to their backyards (or front yards, or shrubs) each year.

Race officials have threatened to disqualify any runners caught relieving themselves al fresco. And if that's not enough, consider these suggestions from the comments on the original article:

Photograph the runner (don't need to see the face...their number will identify) or sit nearby with either a garden hose or a Super Soaker squirt gun loaded with water and a few drops of red vegetable dye.

Time to get the Rottweiler’s and Pit Bulls out of storage. Nothing keeps runners moving like a lunging attack dog.

Oh my - how RUDE! I would buy a taser and zap anyone peeing in my yard...


How about you? Have you ever, um, used the facilities in the out-of-doors before, during, or after a race? Ever had to face an angry bystander? Ever been tased, bro?

Wonder if this will result in a higher percentage of DNFs? Or maybe a lot of PRs from all the folks running from large dogs. Unfortunately, no one will be able to catch them to present trophies!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Too ambitious?

Tuesday, as I was chatting with the man who was fitting me for shoes, I watched as his face morphed into a fatherly look of concern. He learned I've been running a little under a year, have completed a half marathon and am now in training for a full. "You're certainly ambitious," he said -- and it obviously wasn't meant as a compliment.

I admit I've been a bit freaked out since then. Am I rushing this? He seemed slightly relieved when I shared that I'm using the John Bingham/Jenny Hadfield plan and merely want to cross the finish line. 

That conversation changed my fear from "can I really do this?" to "SHOULD I really do this?" Am I making a mistake? Am I setting myself up for injury or a hatred of running? 

I don't have immediate plans to give up. I'm enjoying training again too much to let one man dictate what I should be doing. But there is that slight seed of doubt, so I'm curious what others think.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Finding the 'want to'

My first training run last night was horrific. Forty minutes felt like an eternity, and my evil blisters returned. My friend Cassie referenced how she is finally enjoying running distance again after her half -- I responded that I still seem to be lacking my "want to." I don't necessarily WANT to run, I do so because I remember enjoying it and because I don't want this training schedule to kill me.

Cassie sent me a virtual box of "want to" about the same time I was purchasing a "want to" box of my own -- only mine had a new pair of Mizuno Wave Alchemy 7 shoes in it. After talking about it for months, I finally stopped by Tryathletics in Columbia to talk shoes. These are essentially the same as my beloved Asics 2120s, but with a bit more arch support -- which will hopefully eliminate my blistering problem. 

I love new running gear! I'm already sad that this is a cross-training day, as I'm wanting to play in my new shoes! 

Tonight's feat: 30 minutes of cycling
Have I mentioned how bad I am on a bike? Should be fun.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The start

This blog will document my physical, emotional, mental and perhaps spiritual journey as I train for the Bass Pro Marathon on Nov. 2. I'm following the John Bingham / Jenny Hadfield plan and am trying to trust it will get me to the finish line!

Right now I'm terrified about the thought of training through summer heat. This will be my first full summer running, and I'm finding I much prefer the snow! I did order a new fuel belt (since my camelpak needs help being cleaned!), so hydration shouldn't be an issue. 

I'm hoping to shed a few pounds these first few weeks of training. I was sent the wrong size World Vision racing singlet in April and desperately want to be able to wear it for this race.