Monday, October 30

Life begins at 40

Imagine winning a marathon.

Imagine in the first marathon you win, you set a world record.

Now, imagine in the second marathon you win, you win by one second.

Wow. That's just amazing to think about. That's the career of legendary Kenyan marathoner Paul Tergat.

At 37, Tergat is getting older but he returns to New York City this week to try and win the marathon in the world's greatest city again. Here's what he had to say:
“I’ve just won two marathons and I feel that I still need to win more... The most important thing for me is that I still have the passion for training and the passion to win, because if you don’t have the passion and don’t enjoy it, you’ve retired already. It’s as good as over.”

This is all well and good. Very interesting. But in another recent story I read about Tergat choosing not to run a race, the great runner said the following: "They say life begins at 40, but in athletics, that is when life ends. I am approaching (that age) and may soon be out of action."

I sent that quote to Mbarak Hussein from Camp Marafiki, who at 41 is still winning big marathons.

The quote of the day

comes from an article in the Orange County Register:

"The human body is made to do it.

What's it? Run a marathon of course. Or anything active.

What the human body isn't made to do is sit on a couch all day and drink beer, eat cheese puffs and cheer on other people who are in good physical shape.

Sunday, October 29

Today's long run

Today's run was tough. I'm not even sure how far I ran. Somewhere around 17 miles. Although there was a fair amount of walking mixed into the second half of the run.

It was hard and I tried to keep a smile on my face although walking can get to be a bit demoralizing. I had to remind myself that I was on a beautiful trail, the leaves on the trees were magnificent and the weather was perfect. A little warm for late October, but all things considered, perfect.

All in all, not too bad. This week I'll try to do fewer miles but definitely put in good quality workouts.

Saturday, October 28

A taste of heaven

Today's run was amazing. Almost a wee bit of heaven. I went out to the nature center to do three times around their long trail. The long trail being only 2 miles the only thing that would have made it better is it was longer.

But I get there as the sun was rising and the fields were absolutely covered with mist. Above the leaves on the trees were golden, red, brown and green. Amazing. Astounding. I can't remember another run quite so beautiful.

It was tough at times also because the nature center is mostly hilly. Also there were deer and squirrels everywhere. The deer are, of course, a bit more amazing than the squirrels because they're bigger. I didn't stop and look at the deer, but there were so many you couldn't miss them. Sometimes they were staring at me. Sometimes they were eating. Sometimes they didn't even know I was there. And sometimes they were running and chasing each other.

And that's a wonderful feeling too. To be just one of the many animals in the forest running around having a great time.

Friday, October 27

Numbers roll over

What a long, strange, exhausting week it's been. I definitely get too emotionally involved in those poetry slams. Perhaps I get too emotionally involved in everything.

Sometimes I wish I was pervious, that everything just flowed through me. Not like water off a duck's back. But water through a fish's gills.

Something like that.

How did this week start? I got yelled at over e-mail for not listening. And that's something I almost never get accused of.

No. This week started with a 20-mile run on Sunday morning. Then two days of rest and two days of oversleeping. No, make that three days of oversleeping.

I couldn't go five days without running though. Tonight after work I did five miles in the dark. Five miles in the cold, dark October night. It felt good.

And it brings my total for the year, according to my running log, to 1,002 miles. One-thousand and two miles.

I feel like I've accomplished something.

Thursday, October 26

Slam time!

OK, I'm practicing hard. I'm getting ready.

Here's my decision.

Round one: a new poem, 10,000 tongues

Round two: a poem so old, it's going to be new again. The High Yellow Superhero.

Final round, if I make it: The Math poem.

OK. We'll see how it goes.

Poetry slam tonight

I'm competing in a poetry slam tonight. I'm not sure what other people think when they hear the words poetry slam. Especially the word poetry. There's this whole societal undercurrent of "I don't understand poetry." "Poetry just isn't for me." "I don't know much about poetry."

Personally, I don't get it. What is there to know? Are there people out there who say this about music? Well, yes in respect to genres, I know. "Bluegrass just ain't my thing." "I like just about all music except country." I can't remember the last time I heard someone say that, but I'd like to respond with, "Everything except country. What about modern Chinese. How about Dadawa? I think she's got a really good sound.

But I digress. Poetry slam tonight. For me, the slam is really about winning. I mean, self-expression - what's that? You express yourself walking down the street. You express yourself picking out your clothes in the morning. But how many forums do we have to actually compete and win? I like to support creative people in other venues - open mike nights and that sort of thing.

Thus how do I win? How do I put myself in the best position to win? There are basically three steps in the process. The first step is to create good raw material. To be uncensored in the writing of the poem. To subjugate as much as possible any sense of shame. I don't know if that sounds easy, but it isn't. (I also try to create new poems for each slam because it adds to the excitement for me.)

The second step is to edit and practice, edit and practice. It would be nice, I know to memorize more poems, but I've only got so many hours in the day. And I've got a day job.

Lastly, I try to get mentally focused. That's the stage I'll be in today. I often say to friends at the slam, Hit me. Hit me. It might be easier if it were football. They sometimes seem a little shocked. But physical contact does help.

I believe in the power of conflict. Oh wait, this isn't my This I Believe essay.

My favorite poems are those that tell a story. This can lead to my favorite question: "Did that really happen?" Similar to "Is that really true?"

Oh, another note about the judging. Five judges are randomly selected from the audience. I was watching the DVD Slamnation yesterday and a poet said he considered that a representative democracy. I don't always care what the judges say. I mean, I want to win and perform at my best. But I can't get into someone else's head.

For me, sometimes the best poems come from playing with wounds, picking at scabs. That's especially the case when I find yourself remembering things I'd rather forget. One of the poems I'm planning on doing tonight falls into that category. Sometimes I think it would be better if I didn't remember things like that. Does writing about it make it better? Maybe a little bit. But we're not supposed to pick at scabs, are we?

Not running

Well, I haven't run all week. I'm not happy about this, but I'm also not particularly unhappy about it either.
It's been a crazy week so far. Going to a music concert on Monday and staying up later than usual has that efect. And I've just been tired. If I don't go running at some point tomorrow, I definitely will on Saturday and Sunday. A little bit of stress at work, but nothing too major.
I ran 20 miles on Sunday. I rested Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I overslept a bit. Today I just felt like staying in bed. Not running can be a slippery slope. But at lesat for now, I've paid over about $150 in registration fees for the St. Jude Half-Marathon and Rock'n'Roll Arizona. I'm not becoming a couch potato just yet.

Wednesday, October 25

On Pervious

Interesting things are happening - after months of silence - over at my friend Jody's blog. If he were a character in the Matrix, he would be Pervious.

Tuesday, October 24

Another new poem

Tonight I went to a Victor Wooten concert here in Springfield. Man it was amazing. It was better than I expected.

And, just in time for this week's poetry slam, it inspired me to write a new poem.

I should really go to sleep or something. I've got a lot of work to do tomorrow. But I'm pumped. Hopefully I'll memorize this poem and be prepared to perform it well in the slam. I hope this comes through on the computer screen.

(Notes on the poem - lines in italics will be sung/chanted. This poem includes almost all the words I know in Arabic, Hebrew, German, Swahili and Japanese. Slight exaggeration, but not by much. Please pardon - or e-mail me to correct - my horrendous spelling.)

As Salaam Alaikum.
U Alaikum Salaam.
Marhaba, marhabteen.
Here we go again.
Marhaba, marhabteen.
Hello. Hello hello.
I’ve got a poem.
About language and struggling with words.
About communication.
communal verbal fornication.
cornucopias of copious vocabulary.
How can I say this?
If I had ten thousand tongues
I would love you with every one.

Marhaba - Kiif Haalek,
translation - Jambo. Habari gani?
Translation - Hola, como estas?
Translation: bonjour. Cometalevous?
If I had 10,000 tongues,
I would touch you with every one.

Marhaba, Kiif Haalek.
Mabsuut, Ilhamdila.
Good times, good times.
I’m losing my mind
but still trying to rhyme.
In a borrowed language,
not yet my own.
I said it before,
I’ll say it again.
I want to breathe you in,
I want to breathe you out.
I want to take you on a journey
with my tongue.
So deep, so deep.
Dive down beneath the waters
of subconsciousness.
Is this a shared experience?
Sing a song of sixpence,
a pocket full of rye.
I want to taste
that pumpkin pie.
I want a
Reason for gratitude.
Hello, thank you.
Guten tag. Danke.
Konichiwa. Aragato.
Buenos Dias. Gracias.
If I had 10,000 tongues,
I would kiss you with every one.

But I don’t speak tu lengua.
Please, help me to express myself.
Help me to sing.
Teach me to bring a smile to your face.
Pretend that I am young.
Pretend I am the one.
Believe that your tongue
is my tongue.
Cause if I had 10,000 tongues,
I would caress you with every one.

Yet until we have words,
until we have phrases,
we have the looks on our faces.
Please don’t let me be misunderstood.
I’ll make a grunt. I’ll make a sound.
I’ll bang on wood. I’ll stomp on the ground.
I want to shout.
Bueno, bueno.
Tayib, tayib,
Zaaki, zaaki,
Tamaam, tamaam.
Shalom, shalom.
If I had 10,000 tongues,
I would praise you with every one.

Nosotros no tenemos manana.
Bukra, la bukra.
Bukra fil mismis.
Tomorrow never comes.
Yom, ha yom.
Today is the day
This is what I have to say..
If I had 10,000 tongues,
I would love you with every one.

La Paz.
On a scale of 1-10, I give this poem a 10. Sometimes that's all that matters. We'll see Thursday night. What do you score it?

Sunday, October 22

John Muir

I got my first issue in my Trail Runner subscription just a couple of days ago. It's a beautiful magazine. Great photos. Runners are often dwarfed by the landscape.

And then there are quotes like this one from John Muir:
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

Winning with people

I checked out John Maxwell's book Winning with People several weeks ago after seeing it in a used bookstore.

What initially caught my eye was this quote from Al Capone: "You can get farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone."
The book makes the point, of course, that that isn't the way. Use a velvet glove, not a hammer, Maxwell says.

I'm making this post however so I'll be able to remember this quote from Samuel Butler: "Friendship is like money, easier made than kept."

Easier made than kept. Sigh.

Beautiful Day

I had a great run today. It was tough, as almost any 20-mile run will be. But it was beautiful as the leaves where changing colors on the trees and the path below my feet changed a bit also. It went from crushed gravel to standard pavement to an unpaved wooded trail. Absolutely beautiful and lots of fun. And I'm pretty sure that with all of it, it was my fastest 20 mile run ever.

What's even better is there's plenty of time between now and race day, Jan. 14. This 20-mile run felt like a great accomplishment, though. It puts me in good stead to continue working hard and training hard for the marathon.

Saturday, October 21

Poem about joy

Why do we write? We write to find where the words will lead us. We write because we're inspired. We write because we're trying to find healing. We write because it's fun.

Anyhow, sometimes the best way to find a poem is to be surrounded by art. That happened tonight as I went to a small concert at a music store called the High Strung. Amazing art on the walls and the musicians performing were good too.

Something like that. I just started scribbling on a newspaper I found and here's the result. But I also do feel like it's a pretty decent piece of work and I may do it at this week's slam. It's got a much better chance of being performed than the Eat Your Words piece.

I keep forgetting that time
we got drunk
in the church.
my head spinning
with your truth
with your joy.
I keep forgetting that time
we got so drunk
I forgot everything
that didn't matter.
I want to feel like that again.
I want to stutter.
I want to stumble
I want to find myself again
lost in that place.
A spiral staircase,
a false wall,
a hidden chapel.
And what is this.
We've found the communion gin.
Do you remember that?
You were laughing and laughing.
Is this a sin?
Is this asking too much
to believe joy like this
can be remembered?
Oh, perhaps, perhaps.
Joy like this can only be lost.
But I take no sorrow
in the losing of it.
This joy will come again.
Holy gin
Holy wine
Holy, holy
whooly blown away.
I forget you
more and more
And I get lonely sometimes.
But I do believe
I'll be righteously drunk
again someday.

OK, so that's a pretty rough draft in itself. But I like it for now. Revise, revise, revise.

Thursday's slam

I've been thinking a lot about this Thursday's slam. I'm trying to get excited about it and write new stuff. However, I don't know that that's going to happen.

I just don't feel very creative. I rarely feel that creative at all, but right now I especially don't. I never want to just watch. I'm going to compete, but most likely I'm going to pull out old poems that I've done before.

Everything that I'm working on feels forced, like I'm painting by numbers.

And right now, I really want to focus more on running than on writing poems. 20 miles tomorrow.

I'm leaning on doing this classic poem of mine in the first round.

Possibly the math poem or the marathon poem also. We'll see.

A rough draft

Here's a rough draft of something I'm working on, possibly for this Thursday's slam.

Eat your words.
Eat your words.
This is my advice.
No, this is my demand.
That's what I want
as a poet, a listener, a reader.
Eat your words,
words of strength,
energy and power.
I want a meal, a feast,
a never-ending buffet
of poems that mean something.
Give me poems from your garden,
sweat of your brow,
clean and crisp.
Give me poems
raised with love,
slaughtered by your hands,
the fattened calf of your imagination.
I am the Lord your God,
Don't give me less than your best.
Eat your words!
Eat your words!
Seasoned with sorrow,
cooked with passion.
I've got a new family recipe,
passed down from ages to ages,
just a little something I whipped up.
Little bit of this, little bit of that.
HA! My great grandma said that.
We've been saying that for generations.
I love cooking.
It makes me hot and the sweat
rolls down my face,
drips in my food.
Hot sour salty sweet.
I love to eat
these words.
Been eating words all my life.
What about you?
Can you eat your words?
If you can't stomach them,
why should I?
And I and I want to taste what you got.
Is it poison? Is it rank?
Did you stick your foot in it?
Did you put your life into it?
Are you ready?

OK, like I said, a rough draft. Let me know what you think.

Friday, October 20


Today I went to the library and picked up the dvd Slamnation. Perhaps this should be my ritual before every slam I plan to win. Watch that movie. This will likely be a packed weekend.

I plan to run 20 miles on Sunday and I've got to work on my poems. We'll see how it all goes.

Wednesday, October 18

Darcy Africa and Trail Runner Magazine

Attitude, attitude, attitude.

I want to write about that as much as possible on my blog to drive home the message to me.

A few weeks ago I bought my first issue of Trail Runner magazine and subscribed soon after reading every article in it.

The best article by far was the cover story on Darcy Africa. And the best part of that piece was the following quote: "She knows the power of a happy face and that that energy is reflected back at you," says friend, training partner and neighbor Stephanie Ehret. "You know she's suffering just like anybody else, but she maintains a cool, calm, upbeat exterior."

I've got to remember that for the race when I'm finally able to sustain a really hard, punishing pace and I can run as hard as I can for the whole distance. Smile through the pain, smile through suffering.

Me and Mr. Zatopek

I've got a two alarm system. My cell phone and my alarm clock. Both went off today and I just felt like staying in bed. However, I eventually got out of bed and moved around some.
I sat down next to my bookshelf and picked up a book on running to leaf through. I came across that time-honored piece of advice, if you don't feel like running go out running for five minutes and then see how you feel. It wasn't a great day of running but I did get in five miles on my course of rolling hills near Jordan Valley Park and Hammons Field.
Lately too, I've been thinking about the great Emil Zatopek quote:
"If one can stick to the training throughout the many long years, then will power is no longer a problem. It's raining? That doesn't matter. I am tired? That's besides the point. It's simply that I just have to."

Fun with elevation

Here's something I just noticed yesterday. I was at the USATF map a route site and it seemed to be going pretty slow to me. Then I scrolled down and saw that in addition to calculating distance, it was also calculating changes in elevation for the route.
That was great fun and something I'll use more often.
However, the hills I thought were pretty big aren't actually that steep after all.

Tuesday, October 17

Running alone or running lonely ... whichever

Feels like it's been a long time since I've posted.I guess it's just been two days. Lately I've been feeling a tired though.

Maybe it's that work is exhausting. Too much politics and negativity, perhaps.

Maybe I'm on the brink of overtraining. Last week I ran 46 miles total. But, besides the fact that I almost felt like I was squeezing in time to get out and run, I'm not really running that much and I could run more.

Mainly it's the feeling of being lonely. If not being alone, definitely being lonely. I could think about the distinction, but that almost seems pointless.

I feel like I'm getting faster. Running provides some regularity and I know I'm doing something worthwhile. But I'm not really meeting any new people and I just feel so alone here.

But what can I do. My goal, I guess, is to keep a positive attitude, keep on moving and something good will happen soon.

Sunday, October 15

18 miles

I went a little slower than I wanted to, but I ran 18 miles today. I'll mark that up as another small victory. I think this was my longest run since the marathon in June.

The plan is to hit 20 miles next weekend. We'll see how it goes.

I feel like I'm getting back on track. I have a great sense of satisfaction for getting done what I wanted to do today.

Saturday, October 14

The Sunshine Run - a small victory

Well, I've finished my last race of the year shorter than a half-marathon. For those who were following the war of the words in the comments section from a couple of days ago, things played out pretty much as expected.

I got a PR. - Official time to come later. By the time I caught my breath and stopped my watch, it read 54:37. That itself is two minutes faster than my last 10K PR. And I was breathing pretty hard there at the end for what seemed like an eternity. I was going so fast there at the end I ran into one guy - who I had been trying to pass but couldn't quite catch up to. I did apologize.

My official chip time was 53:58. The gun time was 54:21. Go figure why the difference was so large. Anyhow, my pace was 8:46.

Nate captured his sub-50 10K.

Cherie, as I recall, finished in about 44 minutes, 17th among women. I know Cherie always runs to win, but congratulations to both my friends on strong races on a hilly course.

My focus now shifts more strongly to the longer races. Nov. 4, the Cohick Half-Marathon. Dec. 2, the St. Jude Half-Marathon. Jan. 15, the Rock N Roll Marathon in Phoenix Arizona.

It will take a great effort to trim an hour off my previous marathon time, but I think I can do it.


Sometimes running can be discouraging. Other people are faster. Improvements come slowly. It's simple - all you need is good shoes and decent clothes. But it's hard. Especially if you want to get faster.

That's why I try to read stories about other runners. I try to do things to prime the motivational pump. Here's one where the headline alone was good: Staying still is not an option.

It's about one of South Africa's top runners, Elana Meyer. The last line summed the whole running situation up nicely as well:

The running scene in South Africa, once was bubbling with talent, seems to have dried up and Meyer feels it’s because people are not patient anymore. "Nowadays kids have too many options. Nobody wants to work that hard and athlete’s life is hard work. The world lives for instant gratification," she said, shaking her head.

Reminds me of my friend and training partner Cherie's favorite Bible verse: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

Friday, October 13


Who is Ntozake Nelson? What does the name mean?

On bandits and preparation

My two or three regular readers would probably be interested in the fascinating discussion on marathon bandits in the comments section of a Julie Deardoff post over at the Chicago Tribune.

I'm just not the renegade type who would want to bandit a race, but it did make me think that I might take advantage of a small local marathon on Dec. 31 for my last 20-miler before the taper for my next marathon.

And like, I said, the comments on her post are fun to read.

Thursday, October 12

Still seeking small victories

My quest for small victories continues. This morning I got up in near freezing weather and ran part of the course for Saturday's Sunshine Run 10K.

It was cold, but it was good. It helped with visualization as I picture myself completing the race and finishing strong.

My current PR, from the Wichita River Run 10 this year is 56:37. I just want a small victory. I just want a new PR.

However, if I could beat somebody I know, somebody younger and faster than me, somebody like Nate Remington, who plans to run a sub-50 minute race, that would be great. That would be a big victory.

But really, I just want a small victory. I just want to run a good race, have a good time and finish strong, in under 56 minutes. Let's save the big victories for some other day.

Small victories are good. Like lunch today. I had tabouli that I bought at a local health food store. But Emack and Bolio's advertised bread pudding for $1. I ran about 4 miles this morning. I remembered what Dr. Woo said at Camp Marafiki about how there are no bad carbs. I decided that this would be a good day for some bread pudding. That was a small victory too.

Baby steps. Small victories. I can do it.

Smoking crack cocaine

There's something about the phrase "smoking crack cocaine" that makes an ordinary sentence pop. That's the case with this newspaper story I saw today. Here's the lead:

WHEN Todd Crandell competes in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii this month, it will mark his 12th Ironman in seven years. The remarkable is no longer remarkable, of course. Tens of thousands of people have completed one.

But Mr. Crandells path to the starting line was unconventional. He first learned of the endurance showcase while smoking crack cocaine.

Of course, some people think that competing in an Ironman Triathlon is crazier than smoking crack, but I'm happy to read stories like this.

Tuesday, October 10

Small victories

It feels like I've been doing a lot of training lately with people who are ridiculously faster than me. That may not be the case, but that's the way it feels.

Do I just need to train with higher intensity when I'm on my own so I can keep up with my friends? I'm trying. There was the workout on Sunday and then the workout this morning. Of course, I went back to the Y after work and did four miles with some reasonable hills thrown in. That was satisfying, especially since I was pressed for time as there was a news event that I needed to get to.

The thing I've been thinking all day though is that I need some small victories. Real progress.
One of the biggest races in the city is Saturday, the Sunshine Run 10K. I'm going to do it and I'm going to do well.

I just want a small victory - a PR. My fastest 10K is 56:37. So I want to improve on that. I would love to finish in under 50 minutes, but I haven't yet run the 25 minute 5K that I dream of. So, I'm thinking small victories.

I want to run hard and have a good time. And get a reasonable new PR. That's all I want right now. I think I can make it happen.

A disappointing workout

I went to bed last night planning to get up early this morning and run 10 miles. I was going to drive out to the Frisco Highline Trail again and go. Unfortunately, I woke up too late for that.

So I slipped over to the Y to do four or five on the treadmill. That didn't happen either. I barely went three miles today. Maybe I was pushing at too hard a pace. Maybe I didn't eat enough last night or this morning. I did throw in some pretty aggressive hills on the treadmill and that was probably the deciding factor. My heart rate never really slowed down when I levelled the treadmill off after the hills.

There's no Monday Night Football tonight and no meetings at the newspaper tomorrow. I'll plan to get out to the trail tomorrow morning to run 10 miles.

Monday, October 9

Lifelong goals

I came across this story in a New Jersey paper about folks training for the New York Marathon. The lead was interesting enough - a lot of people want to do a marathon as something ot check off on the list of lifelong goals.

I guess there are people like that. Then there are the people like me, who have no idea why they want to run a marathon, but after doing it, can't imagine stopping at just one.

What I want is to run faster, incredibly faster than I did before. And I believe that's very possible. I'm focused on the day of my next race - Jan. 14, 2007 .

Sunday, October 8

Hard 6

Today's trip to the trails of Busiek State Forest was disappointing as my earlier post showed.

So a couple of hours after getting back, I changed shorts and headed out again to tackle six hard miles (actually close to 6.5) I incorporated my favorite downtown hills and ran pretty hard.

That probably gives me a total today of close to 12. It wasn't my goal at the beginning of the day but I feel proud of what I did.

The perils of losing weight

Well, I continue losing some weight. This leads to little problems like what happened today. I picked up a pair of shorts and headed out to Busiek State Forest. Unfortunately, my shorts kept falling down every 400 yards or so. Crazy, I tell you. Now, however, those shorts are in the trash.

Oh well. Live and learn.

Saturday, October 7

An entertaining 5K

One of the problems with races is that they're always in the morning. Yet, I'm not always awake. At least, not completely awake.

That was the case with the fun 5K I ran this morning, the Mizuno/Ridge Runner Sports 5K. I just never really woke up. Races that are in Phelps Grove Park give the better option of running there to warm up, thus not using my car and waking up en route.

Anyway, regardless of the early start, it was a fun race. It would have been entertaining to watch.

It got off to a fairly bad mental start for me as I just wasn't awake. The race had a 1-mile turn around and when I got there, I glanced down at my watch and quickly calculated that I must be running a 10-minute pace. This was a little bit sad as I thought I was going faster. But oh well, sometimes it's just not your day.

Then we get to the 1 mile marker, I glance down and I realize that I'd run the first mile in just under 8 minutes. Obviously the 1-mile turnaround was a little bit past the half-mile mark. Like I said, my brain wasn't completely awake.

Let's pick up our recap about a mile or so later. This race was more exciting for me than my last 5K because there were a lot more people near me. However, I started to realize I couldn't catch the people in front of me. Someone was breathing in my ear though. He was so close I could practically feel him. I was trying to run in a straight line but I could also sense that he was trying to get around me. I just thought if I could maintain my speed or pick it up a little, I'd hold him off. Then, sometime just after we passed that mile turnaround spot, a little kid, probably around 12 or so, darted past us. Meanwhile I could see from the corner of my eye that the man behind me wasn't slowing down. And sure enough, he passed me. This two man race meant very little in the grand scheme of things, but I wanted to win something, at least. I stayed close and I was going close to as fast as I could. Then when I saw the finish line come into view and I decided I could pass the guy who passed me and I started to sprint as fast as I could possibly go. Maybe not as fast as I could possibly go, but fast enough to get to the finish line.

The man I passed, a little older than me, said something to me about how it was a good run. I couldn't respond. I was breating too hard.

I'm not quite sure what my time was for the 5K at this point. Was it a PR? I don't know just yet. The race directors were testing a new timing system, their computers weren't synchronized and so the clocks were 2o-30 seconds off. Perhaps I could have run a little faster. I believe someday I will.

After the race I heard someone say, "I consider any race where you don't have a heart attack a good race."

He was joking.

Anyhow, I've been realizing that I'm happiest when I'm competing. And I want to push myself harder so I can compete better. Tody was a good race but I'm looking forward to running faster.

Thursday, October 5

A Tempo Run

Today marked the second day in a row I got up early and drove to a trail. Today's run was at the Frisco Highline Trail. Nice thing about the Frisco Highline is it is so wide that there aren't nearly as many spiderwebs to run through.

Sometime yesterday after eating more than I should have at a pizza buffet, I thought about doing 12 miles today. I listened to my body and my stomach when I woke up and that just didn't happen. I've got to stop going to buffets and having four or five plates full of food. It's not really good fuel for running

Anyhow, I decided I'd try to do a tempo run, kind of like what we did in Santa Fe. As I recall that was running at about the 10K pace for 40 minutes to simulate the pain we'd feel during a race. It seemed appropriate to do the run at the Frisco Highline since the tempo run in Santa Fe was on the Lamy Rail Trail, another trail on a former railroad.

As I started out today running to get loose, I remembered the quote about running harder when you feel good so as not to waste good training time. This definitely was not a day when I felt good. Boy I've got to start eating better. However, it was definitely a good workout. However, I'm looking forward to the next Daylight Savings Time change when the sun will start coming up an hour earlier. That will help make these early morning workouts a bit easier.

Wednesday, October 4

Spiderwebs, new shoes and trail running

Today was the first day I got up and drove to a trail to go running before work. It was great.

Part of it was wanting to try out my new trail running shoes that I bought yesterday. Part of it was trying to get back into the habit of running first thing in the morning. I think though that I subsconsciously run harder on the trail than I would otherwise. A couple of reasons for that. No cars. Natural declines. And spider webs.

There's something about running through a spider web and then trying to speed up to make sure there's not any spiders on my shoulder. That's the one bad thing about trail running. Spider webs everywhere. A few weeks ago there was a discussion with some running friends of mine on whether they are cob webs or spiderwebs. Well I saw a couple that I ducked and turned around to avoid. When there's a huge spider in the middle of the web, it's clearly a spider web.

I suppose they probably aren't poisonous, but I'd rather not find out by getting bit.

Tuesday, October 3

The Excitement Builds

It's pretty rare to get excited because of an e-mail from someone I don't know personally. But that's what happened today.

Thank you for registering for the 2007 P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll
Arizona Marathon or 1/2 Marathon. It is our pleasure to officially notify you
of your acceptance into the race.

January 14 will be here before you know it, and now is the time to ramp
up your training and start making your travel plans. This year's race
falls on a holiday weekend, so plan to extend your stay and enjoy the
gorgeous weather and the many attractions that make the Grand Canyon State so

Time to ramp up the training! Yessiree. Today I bought some trail running shoes to feel a little bit more comfortable with that aspect of my training, something I thoroughly enjoy.

I'm trying to stay focused. I think my initial goal of simply running this marathon an hour faster than my first marathon is a good one. Maybe I can go faster, but I want to run a smart race too. My plan for this weekend is to head down to the hills and trails of Busiek State Forest and go 20 miles. Hopefully all will work out well.

Monday, October 2


I went swimming for the first time in literally years today. Boy it was a great workout. I can't remember the last time I felt that exhausted. Perhaps Santa Fe and the high altitude workouts. I mean, ever since then I've been trying to run harder but swimming was definitely a tough workout. And I didn't even swim very long or very far.
At least once a week now, I'm going to head to the pool so I can at least improve my endurance in the water.
I believe strongly that will transfer to better running speeds and better strength.

Ali-Liston revisited; tale of the tape

Dedicated blog readers will remember this November post when I wrote about how even though i was losing weight, I still weighed more than Sonny Liston in his first famous fight against Cassius Clay, who would soon change his name to Muhammad Ali. And for the record I'm just as tall as Ali or maybe an inch taller.

I just found this historic newspaper article from the New York Times that includes the weights - Liston at 220, Ali was 215. According to my scale, the last time I weighed myself, I was at 195.

I'm not sure exactly what to make of this, especially because as I shift into more focused marathon training, I will try to eat more and more to make sure I'm getting enough calories and protein. However, as the miles go up, I'll also need more and more calories. What a cycle.

Anyhow, here's a great quote that I was searching for that led me to the New York Times article: "I know where I'm going and I know the truth and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want."

With my job lately, putting my opinions out in public, I think of that quote a lot lately. It's like I would say to all my critics. I'm happy with what I'm doing. I don't have to be what you want me to be. Of course, it's always entertaining when someone labels you liberal/conservative because of one thing you write or say. I think I'd settle more for unpredictable.

Sunday, October 1


I continue to be confused by my foot. Still slightly swollen but I'm able to run pretty well on it.

Anyhow, the thing I need to do right now is get focused. Go to sleep at a good time, get plenty of it and get up ready to run. I need to try harder to eat well too.

I'm working on improving my plans for my next marathon. Last Sunday I ran 16 miles. In a couple of hours, I'll have started on an 18-mile run with two other runners, Cherie and Jim. Next week 20? We'll see.

And I've made plans for the races I want to run between now and the race.

Oct. 7 - 5K - small race with a pancake breakfast to follow.
Oct. 14 - The Sunshine Run - guaranteed to be a fun, big race.
Nov. 4 - Maynard Cohick Half Marathon
Dec. 2 - St. Jude Half-Marathon.
Jan. 14 - Rock N Roll Marathon in Arizona

I could think about what they say about the best-laid plans but I tend to focus on that old sports truism - failing to plan is planning to fail. Thus, we'll see how it all goes.

I'm starting to get excited.