Saturday, June 2, 2012

Useless Fenway fact of the day.

One could run 112.5 laps of the Fenway park warning track and run a marathon!

Each lap is 0.2328 miles around.

In 1991, working security at Fenway Park, I once ran 17 laps counterclockwise, 17 laps clockwise, and one more lap for good luck, in an 8 mile run! (Thank you, Joe Mooney!)

Have a great weekend ... Go Sox!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

An Emerging Natural Act

     “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

..... It's profoundly good advice. However, when it comes to matters of self-coaching and running, I can be a bad student.

     I am struggling. I have run more this month than I have in many months. That is good. I have lost 12 pounds over the past three weeks. A good start. It's just that ... I am not feeling like what I am doing remotely resembles ... a natural act. When I run, as I just completed doing over the past hour, I feel awkward. Perhaps the beautiful, sun-drenched Boston weather in the 70's F contributes to this awkwardness. As I run around my local reservoir, I feel my neurotic self-awareness heightened by onlooking critical eyes wryly watching me stride past them in the opposite direction resembling a shuffling, out-of-place Hulk of gammaflab attempting to leap across the stage of Swan Lake.

     Others running in my direction pass me. I can rationalize this repeated act of perceived dominance over me as not bothersome. I know that today, for instance, I ran 5.3 miles in 63:05. Unlike most of my runs of late, I did not run/walk the distance. However, I did use my heart rate monitor, and I ran as slowly as I had to to keep my heart rate around my target rate of 134 BPM. Over the last two miles, I allowed for cardiac drift in the warm weather, allowing the heart rate to climb to 140 BPM - but no higher. The first mile or so felt very pedestrian. My proud Clydesdale's trot dissolved with every passing mile, however, into an increasingly painstaking crawl. One foot in front of the other. Muscles feeling like over-boiled shrimp without any crisp synapse capabilities. Just neuro-patterning strides restricted by an oversized haul in tow.

     However, it was a successful run. Running the trail at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir that I have run, some years much more than others, since 1973, it's calm beauty remains an urban oasis hiding us who circle it from the swelling industrialization lurking just around the next construction site.

I will always enjoy coming to this area, and I find it absurd to even fret about faster runners passing me by. It's just that that used to be me doing that here!

     "Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old".

     So it's time to release the anchor of my ghostly fleet feet to spring forth with 'a new thing'. I love the honesty of running. One becomes as fit as one commits to the pursuit. If you run more, to a certain extent, you will get faster. I'd like to get faster. At least, faster than today. However, I need to get healthier, and I know that running is one key component, along with diet and stress management, that will take me to a healthier me. That's important, because I want to keep up with my six year old son for many years to come, and most critically, I do not want to get older. I will age, of course. None of us get out of here alive! My point is, I want to live for a long time, with as much vitality as I can joyfully muster, and I am not willing to settle for getting old. Maybe that is what Pete Townshend meant when he wrote, "I hope I die before I get old"? If that wasn't what he initially meant, I bet it is now!

     Therefore, I accept this awkwardness. We wait, in soreness, for muscles to recover from a workout with new, gained strength. Likewise, self-image is relative. It is worth looking and feeling a bit awkward now, because I have faith that the honesty of running will prevail, exactly to the extent that I commit to it. There have been too many days, even within this past month, where memories of how effortless running used to be restrained any fledgling enthusiasm for today's run to emerge. Just thinking about that day's run would suffocate it in a sea of excuse, dreading that baseline awkward feeling, that feeling of one's own body not even feeling like your own in motion, before I could even lace up my shoes. Excuses tempt me with empty guilt.

     Today. Clear the distractions. The past was never committed to memory in order to choke today. Memories are fun to spin at campfires and the like, but the past, for better and worse, does not equal the future. Do the 'new'! Forge a new path. Create a natural act.  What can you climb today?

     Don't look back.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A quick update


     firstly, I would like to thank everyone of you who have humbled me to graciousness with your well wishes. Thank you, and I pledge to not let you down. Wouldn't it be something if we could all pull ourselves up together? I have joined the Facebook group, 2012 Spring Clean Reboot, and hope to become active over there with you as well.

     I am seeking recommendations regarding online log books to begin recording my runs on. I have used Buckeye Outdoors happily in the past, but I must admit I am out of the loop of cutting edge web-bery, so if you love your log, let me know why? Thanks.

     I ran a nice 5 miler with Riley T. Dog this morning. He's happy to have his personal training job back! While out there, I listened to the latest episode of The Runner's Roundtable  Dr. Dave and his band of doctoral gypsies spoke about stain drugs that fight cholesterol, and of how studies with rats have suggested that statins drastically increase muscle fatigue and inflammation. As it turns out, I have been on a statin since 2009, when I got my arterial stent. This study fascinates me, and I want to research this finding more before I confront my cardiologist. What do you know about statins? If you think you can help me, kindly forward your knowledge here in the comments. Could it be that I have been sabotaging my health, as well as my running, with a pill that is supposed to be helping me? I am particularly concerned about anything that I may ingest that could lead to chronic inflammation. That's the big, silent killer out there, in my opinion.

See ya!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I'm 'Howard Beale':

                                                     " ... get up out of your chairs, open out, and yell, and say it: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

     I have finally hit it. the bottom. The abyss. The reflection of myself that speaks back to me, "HYPOCRISY".
     As a runner, I have run marathons, including a BQ. I have run one mile under four and a half minutes. I have run up the entire access road of Mt. Washington, and I generally earned a reputation among my peers of a tough, but amicable competitor. Perhaps you could beat me, but you would sweat to do it. As a running advisor, I have given prudent advice to hundreds of people, maybe more, and most of them have achieved  remarkable heights in fulfilling personal goals. I have been proud to have helped their running progress a little more prepared for having lent my proverbial two cents to them.

     Never wanting to live my running dreams vicariously through others achievements, I have always deflected credit given to me towards the runners themselves that I worked with. They did the work, and so, they deserved the credit. I was most proud of runners who were able to hit personal goals without me after spending some time with me. If I helped them to achieve self-sufficient running, then I felt I had been a good teacher. Truly, advising in an arena of shared passion left me feeling good about having given back just a little to a sport I so love.

     Yet, something was amiss.

     The ironic paradigm that follows is one that I am not rejecting, but rather, one that I am proud of. Nonetheless,my approach is in need of a tuneup.

     For the past several years, I have kept busy. No more busy than most of you, I imagine, but, suffice to say, my time has seldom been idle.  I work as a Deputy Sheriff in Boston, which in this context accurately implies a wealth of accumulated stress wrapped in a blanket of forced overtime made from the fabric of care and custody of thousands of lost souls. My wife and son are blessings beyond compare, but I would be typing less than honestly if I were to suggest that I never brought the byproducts of my profession through the radiations of my furrowed brow onto the dinner table. Stress, in fact, has been the mostly senseless jailer separating my spirit from my being over recent times. I work responsibly. I am, I think, a very attentive husband and daddy. I am generally proud of my contributions to my community and to my family. However, I am losing my fight with stress.

     It has been over three years since I have posted an original blog entry. I have not run a race of any accomplishment or satisfaction since 2010. Moreover, the number of miles I have run over the past year totals approximately the amount of miles I used to run per week when I was running competitively. As I write, I am exactly 70 pounds heavier than I was when I last ran the Boston Marathon in 2005. Of more grave concern, in that time of weight gain, I have been diagnosed with cardiac disease to the extent that a stent was placed in my LAD "widowmaker" artery in 2009 as I was, according to my doctor, "one cheeseburger away from a heart attack."

     Yet, I have gained weight since that procedure.

     Am I crazy? I have helped people to greater fitness and health, but I am watching my lethargy towards running ... RUNNING(!) assist in essentially shortening my lifespan. I love to run. I really do. Yet, for the past few years, I have all but ignored it. "What is (my) major malfunction?"

      Overtime .... overeat ... overwhelmed .... over! I have been chained to a couch of'something else to DO', but I have had the key all along! I have something I need to do: to run! I'm pain free, gym boss buttressed, and praying that this moment of catharsis doesn't dissipate upon the first time I have a new conflict of interest. After allowing myself to believe in any number of pitiful excuses as to my premature retirement from my own well being, I am at the point of this realization: if my life is to continue, if my life is to be authentic, if I am to reclaim my life from being defined ONLY by the responsibilities to others that I keep, I must manage my time. I am not going to stop keeping my responsibilities.I love my family and that will always be my first priority. However, if I am dead in five years, as my doctor has suggested to me that I could be on this path, then how much good will I be to anyone then?

     I have allowed myself to believe that my stress was unique, that no one, not even my wife, could understand my pressures. Stress is poison, but having recently extracted my head from a pile of self pity, I know that you, yes, YOU, likely have just as much daily stress my yours truly. Maybe more! Yet you are running, reacting to the stress instead of surrendering to it. The author, Danzae Pace said, "Stress is the trash of modern life - we all generate it but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life." There are a plethora of healthy ways to take out the stress, as it were, but for me, I have always enjoyed the soul cleaning satisfaction of coming home after a good, sweaty run. have you ever felt worse after a run? Yeah, me neither.

     So I have arrived at this point of declaration. I, hear by, am taking on the most challenging person that I have ever advised in running ... myself. I have started recently. I am running up to 8 miles at a time, but utilizing the Galloway run/walk method. I am humbly but happily running at a 2:1 ratio for the next few weeks, when I will evaluate my fitness with a "magic mile." Some days I will run less than others, but I will try to run more days than I do not run.

     But wait! There's more!

     I also want to commit, at this time, to this blog. I hope that it will motivate me to continue when I am less motivated, and I also want to pro-actively re-enter this community with you, because I have missed speaking with you all, and I hope this blog can serve to help you invigorate your running as much as I hope it serves my own running. So if you have a chance, sometime hopefully in less than three years, write me a quick note here and let me know how you are doing, okay?

I'll see you back here soon .... because I am sick of acting as mad as hell, and I am not going to take any excuses anymore.

John E.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

dun dunt .... dun dunt ... dunt dut dunt dut dunt dut dunt dut dunt dut dunt dut dunt dut dunt dut - dnt ta dah!!!!!