I haven't posted my results from the Run For Water yet as I've been trying to get a discrepancy with the results resolved. While they still aren't resolved, I will say that unofficially I finished 53rd overall with a time of 32:45.26. However, the results list my name in the 213th position with a time of 58:56.19. When I saw this huge difference in time between the time that I came in and the time I was listed at I reached out to the race director and the company responsible for the timing. I was told by the race director that this was a smaller event, run by a student organization at UCF, and they decided to go with a company that could do a manual timing system to maximize the money available to charities. I could certainly understand the position of the race director. The timing company found that I had been given the wrong bib number. To show that it had indeed been the wrong number, the timing company attached a document listing all the competitors and their bib numbers. And while it showed that the switch did happen it still didn't match the discrepancy in the results. Because the runner with my "real" bib number was listed in the 54th position 15 seconds after I finished. And the kicker to it all...the runner listed in the 53rd position was not listed on the roster. I still haven't received a response as to why somebody as listed as finishing when they were never on the roster of runners.
So while I was thrilled with the time I came in...this little issue put a damper on things for me. So as I've come to the end of this training program I can definitely say that I will be looking for races in the future with chip timing capabilities. As my goal is to work my way up to an ultra-marathon, I'm looking for events that go slightly farther than the 6k I just completed like a 5-miler or a 10k. I'll be continuing this blog thing on my own blog. To follow me on this long journey towards my goal check out my blog at mattscot.wordpress.com.
Congratulations to all of my fellow participants in this training program and good luck with all of your efforts to stay fit!
One of my goals as I entered this training program was to re-discover the joys of running that I knew as a child. On the eve of my first race as an adult, I like to think I've accomplished that and a whole lot more. While I'm not as fast as I was as a kid, I think I'm prepared to turn in a respectable time and I'm really looking forward to seeing where my results are in comparison to others in the race.
As a kid, I believed the hype and thought that to be fast, I had to buy the shoe that looked the fastest. My parents recently shared with me that I would often try to persuade them in purchasing a shoe for me using this logic. Well...that theory certainly went by the wayside as I got older. Only to be replaced with a theory in my teenage years as I bought into the hype that a certain energy drink would give me wings. Using that product was like the Wright Brothers in the early stages of their work... It certainly got me going, but the crash from the sugar high came quickly and rather abruptly.
So now, I've bought into the hype that is the Who Wants To Get Active training program. And I've seen the results that training can bring. I've lost 30 lbs. since the first of January. I've increased my mile time by a minute and a half. And I have thoroughly embraced running to the point where I'm beginning to wonder if what I'm feeling is what they call a runner's high. Just this last week, I started working as a part-time sales associate for a local running specialty store! While the learning curve with the new job is intense as I am beginning to comprehend the technology behind the products, this position and my participation in this program has allowed me to meet and surround myself with an incredible group of people with the same dedication and love for running.
But I truly realized that I have re-discovered the joys of running that I knew as a child, while I was doing some spring cleaning. Going through an old box that I picked up from my parents, I saw what I thought was just a ratty- old headband. As a child of the 80s, I made a lot of fashion statements with those sweaty headbands. But this one in particular... it was special. Because this one...came with my own set of wings! This was a headband that I wore a lot as a kid, and it's an awesome reminder that what I'm doing is helping me find that joy and freedom of running I felt many times as a kid. I've brought along this special headband for tomorrow's race, but I'm not sure the world is ready for a 31-year-old sporting a child's headband with wings!
So all along... I didn't need the fastest looking shoe. I didn't need the latest energy drink. I just needed a little push with my training, and now with my new (old) wings, I'm ready to fly around the course tomorrow! So thank you to Coach Jenny, the folks at Active.com, and my fellow participants for the motivation I needed to get me going on this incredible journey.
I am completely and utterly spent. I just spent 12 hours playing volleyball with my wife and the youth group that she runs. This volleyball marathon was a fundraiser for area churches and summer camp, so while it was fun it was for a good cause as well. Even though I've spent much of the day in bed, I'm just about ready to call it a night. So after 12 hours of running and jumping and chasing the little white ball all over the floor, I'm at the point where I think I've done enough cross training to get me through this final week. Right?
To say the least, life has been crazy for me lately! Before I get started on telling you all about the running I've been up to, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate my sister and brother-in-law on the birth of their son, Graham. My wife and I made the trek up to Atlanta to be a part of this incredible experience. Although I wasn't actually there for the birth, I had the opportunity to witness how tough my sister truly was as she dealt with the labor pains. As I've been struggling to get motivated for a 35 minute run...that's nothing compared to her 34 hours in the hospital before giving birth!
Driving up to Atlanta, I gave a lot of thought to when and where I would try to get my workouts in. But once again, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry! Figuring that there would be a lot of down time as we waited to hear the news, I thought I would have plenty of time to run. When we got there, the plans quickly changed. I didn't want to be too far from the phone so I wasn't too thrilled about going for a run around the neighborhood. And then my decision was made clear once I realized that they had these really steep things called hills! Now I know that hills are a great workout tool but for a Florida boy who is new to running, these hills were just too intimidating! Besides, the steepest part of the course for my upcoming Run For Water would be a speed bump. So I jumped on the treadmill in my parent's basement for my running days. It didn't take long before I started to dread another step on the treadmill.
I hear all these great benefits about using a treadmill for a great run. But running in place can get so boring! Even though I've only been running for a little while now, I've found that the benefits of running outside and enjoying the surroundings are so much better. Treadmills are often promoted for their convenience. "You can watch tv or read a book while you run!" YEAH, RIGHT! I flipped on the tv and had to crank up the volume to a ridiculous level just to slightly hear it as the sound of the motor on the treadmill drowned out the tv volume. Then there's this idea that you can read on the treadmill. Not if you actually want to run. With every step I took, the pages of my book or magazine would bounce around and I would easily lose my place. The only thing really convenient about the treadmill was the ability to end the run with the push of a button. The demands of running can be strenuous and the temptation to call it quits by simply pushing the STOP button before you complete your goal can just as easily hinder your efforts.
After our visit to Atlanta, my wife tells me now that she wants a treadmill! I think I'm going to have to find ways to convince her to put off that purchase for awhile. I know the downstairs neighbors in our apartment complex would certainly appreciate it if we waited until we find a place on the ground floor!
I've been forced to change up my routine this week. I've been running the same route around my apartment complex since the start of this program. It's made it easy as it was a great way to gauge my progress. The loop around the complex was exactly 1/2 mile. It was close to home and I could easily keep track of my pace. But, for the past two weeks, the roads have been getting repaved. So I've been venturing out and exploring new routes. Depending on the time length of the run, I've been running in one direction for the first half and turning around at the midpoint to try and get back in the same amount of time. I've had no idea how far I actually ran until afterwards. I've seen success in meeting the challenge of maintaining the same pace for the second half of the run. Unfortunately, the pace has been slower because I've been apprehensive about going out to far in fear that I won't make it back in time. I've gone from about 8: 35 per mile to 10:00 per mile!
As far as the cross training goes, I'll be getting more than my fair share in the near future. I'm going to be working for the Pittsburgh Pirates new minor league team as their mascot. It's been awhile since I've put a costume on, so I'm looking forward to getting back out there. The sweating should help with my weight loss. I've just got to be careful to keep the diet going and not fall back on ball park fare.
This was just not my week for training. My entire body is aching!
I didn't go as hard as I would have liked because of the blisters I got from ice skating. They weren't terrible, just big enough to be slightly irritating for Monday's run. But it turned out that blisters would be the least of my concerns this week.
Before this week, if I had been asked about my take on stretching, it would have sounded much like NBA basketball player Allen Iverson and his take on practice. Yeah, sure it's a good idea, but it isn't always necessary! And when I did stretch it was only for about a minute or two total. But my body has been screaming with aches and pains for my neglecting any sort of stretching this week.
On Friday morning, I woke up with very little desire to get out of bed. That was partly due to my aching lower body after some cross-training sessions with a trainer at my gym. He thought it would be a good idea to put me through a boot-camp style workout focused on resistance training. Who knew some giant rubber bands could inflict that much pain! I've found muscles that I never knew existed!
The other reason I didn't want to move from my pillow was the realization that I had symptoms of a head cold. My nose has done more running in 48 hours than I've done with my legs all week! I didn't want to neglect the schedule so I stuck with my Saturday run. But I was hesitant because I wasn't sure how to handle running with nasal congestion. Then I remembered that Mark Remy had the remedy for such a situation in his book, The Runner's Rule Book. The book is a humorous read on all the un-written rules about running. In rule 1.18, he describes the Farmer's Blow, a technique to clear mucus from the nostrils while on the run. This may be a little too graphic for some, but I thought it would be appropriate to share his technique:
1. Breathe in through your mouth, like your gasping.
2. Lay a forefinger against one nostril and compress firmly.
3. Purse your lips.
4. Turn your head slightly in the direction of the open nostril and exhale forcefully through your nose.
5. Repeat with other nostril, if needed.
Let's just say I didn't have beginner's luck on my first attempt at the Farmer's Blow. I didn't take into account that I was running into the wind!
If there was one thing that saved me on my runs this week, it was the purchase of the greatest product for those runners with thicker thighs. If you're like me, I would highly recommend an investment into an anti-chafing stick. When I was walking this week, I was a little slow because of stiff muscles. But thanks to this product, I was happy to not look like I just got off a horse!
Okay so I didn't follow the training schedule as written this week. But I did it with the best intentions. Knowing that Sunday was scheduled as a rest day, I rearranged my workouts so I could fit in a pre-scheduled cross training. My wife is a youth director and needed my help in chaperoning a group trip to the local ice rink for an outing. I thought I could get in a lot of work with some laps on the ice. But I didn't take into account that this area is still feeling the effects of a Winter Olympics hangover...and for good reason. Our local rink has seen a sharp increase in people wanting to learn how to skate and what better place to learn from some of the best, because the rink is the training home to 2 figure skating pairs teams. The teams of Caydee Denney/Jeremy Barrett and Amanda Evora/Mark Ladwig shocked the figure skating world in taking the top 2 spots at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and went on to represent the U.S. at the Vancouver Olympics.
With all of their success, it's great to see such an interest in people looking to get active. There were lots of little kids out their trying their hardest to follow in the footsteps of these Olympians. A lot of little girls crowded around the middle of the ice trying to master the artistic spins. But more often than not, the triple lutz looked more like the triple clutz! And then there were the boys, in their brand new hockey skates. Watching some of them was like watching the misfits in The Mighty Ducks movies.
Because their were so many people on the ice, it was difficult to call my time on the ice a "workout." I thought I could get a really good cardio workout in but the pace of the crowd was very slow. I would venture to say that I could have gone faster sitting in a tube floating down a lazy river! When I did see some open ice I wanted to just break free from the crowd, but I would just end up catching up to the back of the crowd. And worst of all, I now have some small blisters from the skates I wore. Going into this week's runs, I'm really apprehensive as I don't know how these blisters are going to impact my efforts.
With all the excitement of the Winter Olympics, I've been really excited about training. Yeah, I know a native Floridian of my age and ability has as much of a chance of one day making the Winter Olympics as a snowball's chance in he--, but it certainly helps to motivate when you see people living out their dreams on the world's biggest stage.
I've been running occassionally before the start of this program, but my first run under this program suprised me. I managed to run 2.5 miles in 20:42! I felt a ton of energy and even thought about going a little further. But with the understanding that there's a method to the madness of this training process, I held back.
On Tuesday, the wife treated me to an early birthday present. We went to the specialty running store and I got new shoes! The store experience was incredible. They took a blueprint of my foot to see where I put the most pressure and to look at my arch. Then they put me in a neutral shoe and had me run on the treadmill where they conducted a video-taped gait analysis. Up until now, I always went with the lightweight shoe. I thought that since I was already carrying more body weight than I needed to, the last thing I needed was to lace up with bricks on my feet. But from all the stuff they put me through, I found out that when I run, I pronate- meaning that when my foot lands, it does so on the outside of the foot and rolls inward. The solution was to put me in a shoe that provides stability when my foot strikes the ground.
Thinking that the community pool at my apartment complex was heated, I chose swimming for my cross training. NOT the best idea I've ever had! Turns out the pool isn't heated and central Florida was in the midst of a cold front. So I followed up my polar bear like training with a few minutes of relaxation in the hot tub!
On Wednesday, I learned just how old I am. It was a hectic day with lots of stuff going on. I almost forgot about my training. At 11:30 that night, I laced up my brand new shoes for the first time and headed out. I didn't want to mess with the training schedule in the first week. The results were nothing like the Monday run! I was running into the wind and trying to break in new shoes that weighed significantly more than I'm accustomed to. But at least, I looked good doing it. Near the end, my legs felt like twigs about to snap. Maybe it was the heavier shoe, or running into the wind, or that extra slice of birthday cake, but I was much slower with a time of 20:24 for a total of 2.25 miles.
On Friday, I went up to Tampa to check out the scene of a health and fitness expo for the Gasparilla Distance Classic- Tampa's biggest marathon event. I figured that if I'm going to do one of these one day, I wanted to see what all the excitement was about. I can only imagine what standing at the starting line in April is going to feel like, but if it's anything like the excitement surrounding the anticipation of the event this weekend, I can't wait!
As far as my dieting goes, I'm seeing some great results. A couple of weeks before, my wife and I started on the South Beach Diet. As I weighed in this morning, I am down 24 lbs. from what I weighed in at on New Year's Day!
With all of the temptations and distractions, this week, it's been hard to find consistency with my schedule and diet. I'm sure that over time I will find ways to handle these issues a little better. With that being said, it's hard to find a reason to complain, because the results I've seen so far have been incredible.
I recently saw a bumper sticker proclaiming that "running is cheaper than therapy." And therapy is something I could really use these days. This past year has been a roller coaster of ups and downs as I experience some major life changes.
In April of last year, I lost my dream job. Every little boy dreams of playing professional sports. My dream job was a little more unconventional. It still involved professional sports. But I had the privilege for three years to fulfill my dream and portray the team mascot. . When I would tell people what I did for a living, one of their first comments was usually, "You must lose a lot of weight with all that sweating." In the course of a game I would typically lose about 6-8 pounds, but it was all water weight. And it didn't take long for me to gain the weight back. I would often join my coworkers at the bar for a post-game celebration, or as was usually the case with my team, we would drown our disappointments in another frustrating loss and stare into the bottom of our frosty mugs. With that said, it was a great job and I had a lot of really great times because of it. But professional mascot jobs are few and far between. So I've been applying for jobs trying to transition into a more conventional career path in marketing. But there aren't a lot of companies out there that want to hire a guy who used to dress up in a furry costume and make a fool of himself to get people's attention for a living. So now that that dream job is over, I'll continue searching for a new job opportunity and meanwhile I've come up with a new dream that isn't necessarily career-minded.
And I'm going to fulfill this new dream with the support of my new bride. I got married to my incredible wife, Kristen, back in July. Marriage has been a wonderful experience thus far and she is an awesome support system for me. Back in December, we were overjoyed to learn that Kristen was pregnant. We had a great time over the holidays telling our closest family and friends about our news. As I began to think about my future as a father, I knew that I wanted to be an example for my child and not follow the "Do as I say, not as I do" philosophy. So I began to think about my fitness level. And visiting my sister was a "big" (pun intended) clue that something needed to change. As I stood next to my pregnant sister ( who is due in March) I noticed that my belly was farther along than her pregnant one.
While we were visiting my family, I came across an article that promoted a website where I could take an in-depth questionnaire to find out my life expectancy based on my current lifestyle. I took the quiz and found out that at the age of 30 (soon to be 31) I should be in the midst of a mid-life crisis. I thought I had another decade before that happened, but this quiz told me that I would live to the age of 66.3, if I continued to keep up this lifestyle. Ultimately, this led me to decide that a drastic change was needed. So I came up with this new dream.
That dream is to one day complete an ultramarathon. I realize that this might seem to be a lofty goal for a fat guy. But I don't do things on a small scale (see my belly for that proof!). When I say ultramarathon, I'm not talking in terms of Forrest Gump-like distances, but with my track record, that isn't something that is out of the question. As a kid, I was a scrawny little punk that could run up and down the soccer field all day. But a knee injury as a pre-teen slowed me down to the point where I would rather lounge in front of the TV then get out and run around with friends. So now that I've come to the realization that that wasn't the best decision, I chose running to get back into shape. I made this decision because I really enjoyed the freedom of running, I experienced as a kid.
Shortly into the new year, I ran into my first hurdle. Just as Kristen and I were planning for our new arrival, we experienced a miscarriage. After this unfortunate event, it was hard to think about running at all. But as time has passed, and with the idea that running is cheap therapy, I realized that chasing my dream and going for a run is much better than lounging on the couch and constantly asking "Why?". Besides, as slow as I am, it gives me a lot of time to think.
By being a part of this training program, it is my hope that I gain the knowledge and the necessary tools to help me as I begin the pursuit of my ultimate dream to complete an ultramarathon.