When on the leash at the beginning of the run when he is really excited, he will grab the leash with his mouth and jump up and down, pulling me further and faster down the road. I attributed it to the fact that he was excited about getting to get on the road.
However, recently he has been performing this at the end of the runs when I am struggling to maintain or push it in. It is his way of encouraging me to push to the funish line. At least that is the way I am inturpreting it.
I am always amazed how quickly the human body can strengthen and improve its condition.
Until last January my activity was spotty at best. You couldn't even call me a weekend warrior because more weekends than not I was not active at all. During Winter Break (we use to call it Christmas break, but we can't do that it the education world anymore) I started back to living the life that reflects who I am. I am an avid athlete. It is a big part of my life. I watch it, coach it and for most of my life participated in that world.
Since last January my consistency has marketedly improved and I feel stronger than ever. Now, I am not saying that I am running the same speed and strength as I did at 19; however, my times are coming back to me that please me at the age of 50.
Consistency is the key. If you are getting discouraged, just hang in there. Be active even when you don't "feel" like it.
Pushing your body to do more than it normally does can create varied feelings, both physical and mental. Over the years of triathlons, I have experienced more of these than I can share in this blog entry. However, I would like to share an emotion that is common in endurance sports. I refer to this emotion as, "Staying on Top of the Ball."
When training or racing and you can have moments when you feel strong and comfortable. You are pushing and going hard, yet you are not risking an anaerobic state. You are not pushing your body to a point where it can't effectively convert the oxygen into proper fuel. But you are going hard and controlled. Your form is still in tack, but you feel you are really putting the kilometers behind you.
I use the analogy of "staying on top of the ball" to describe this state of emotion. If you go faster or slower, you will fall of the ball. Faster will push you to that anaerobic state, and slower will bring you off that high of moving well. You are maximizing the workout by keeping the balance needed to stay up there on this rolling ball.
So, here is to all of us reaching a fitness level that we can experience Staying on TOP of the Ball, then finding ourselves up there as often as possible.
Over the years you can recall many running partners that made your training memorable; good or bad, right?
Well, I would like to talk about a running partner that I have had for years. This running partner never says no to a request for running at the drop of a hat, runs any workout that I ever want, she never bores me with endless mindless conversation, she never complains about the day or injuries, she never complains about you wanting to push harder today because I feel it, she never gets upset when I have to go easier because I just didn't have it today. My running partner's name is Kelsey. Well, this wonder running partner is my Border Collie. She has ran with me for many year's. We started running together in the foothills of the mesas of the Laguna Indian Reservation west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. We ran in blazing heat and gently falling snow; dry days that you would pray for a breeze and days that you were trying to outrun the thunderstorm coming through the valley. They were magical times. We always ran alone, but we constantly felt like the spirits of the famous Native American distance runners were joining us on those old majestic trails through the incredible Mesa landscapes. Now, we find ourselves running in the trails of the Bosque next to the Rio Grande River. We live in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The first time we found the Bosque it was Autumn, the leaves covered the trail and the air was brisk. Both of us were skipping and jumping like pups, which neither of us are. You couldn't have told it that day.
She is beautiful. Traditional black and white coloring, with the white chest and a long white plumb of a tail that I could always keep an eye on as she skipped, bounced and ran through the desert sage brush after countless rabbits; none of which she ever caught. But she always tried when we were there.
A couple of years ago we had to stop running together. She started having seizures and they seem more frequent and worse after one of our long runs. We didn't run together for some time and she never understood why. I had to put her down a couple of months ago. She was 13 years old. That is really a long life for Border Collies. She had a wonderful life. If you are a dog lover, and especially if you have ever developed a running relationship with your canine partner, you can imagine the emotion I was going through.
Soon after that neighbor of ours down the street ask my wife if we wanted their dog. They were moving across country and didn't want to take the dog with them. This was a dog that I had seen a few times over the last weeks. It looked so much like Kelsey that it was really strange. My wife wanted to say yes. I wanted to say no. I wasn't ready. I didn't want another life to be responsible for. She told them that we would take him, Apollo. Well, he looks alot like Kelsey, but he is part Border and part Boxer. You can see the boxer a little in his face and especially in his short little stubby tail. He is probably about 20 pounds heavier that Kelsey was too, because of the Boxer in him. Outside of these differences he looks much like she did. He is a real pup, though. As big as he is, he is just over a year old. My wife thought that he would be another wonderful running partner. I wasn't too sure. But he and I went out for the first time this last weekend. He did fantastically well. On the leash the whole way, but he did great. We went out twice this weekend and it just gets better. I was training him to obey the verbal leash and we ran up on a lady with a little white Puddle. I stopped. Called him. He came. Sat when told to and the leash went back on him. Couldn't have been better.
I think that I am going to really enjoy my new running partner. I will tell a special and unique thing that he does in the next entry. This one is getting a little long.
Do you have a special running partner? Would really love to hear about your's too.
Of course I have to admit, my wife was right again. She usually is.
Here are some of the benefits as I have experienced over 30+ years of an active lifestyle.
1. SLEEP - you sleep better, more regularly due to your body physically needing the rejuvenation and the release of stress. Now, I have compared how I slept during those months that I am very consistent with my activity and those times that I have been less consistent. There is a big difference. In the white collar working world my normal offering of daily duties are pretty sedentary. If you don't calendar in times to change your bodies heart and respiratory rates the day doesn't do it for you outside of the stress of deadlines and challenges that add internal pressure. The body really seems to do better at being able to sleep when there are regular physical demands on it. At the end of the day your are ready to sleep and the stress has been pounded out of it before your head meets the pillow.
2. EATING - I eat better when I am active. The quality and regularity of eating improves. I loss that sluggish feeling of eating regularly without working out. You know what I mean, don't you? You feel full and blugh.
3. ENERGY - Wow, can I speak to this. If you just begin an active schedule, you may think that I am crazy about talking about activity creating more energy. At the beginning you feel zapped because your body isn't use to the change. However, when you are consistent, the body goes through a wonderful transition. It anticipates being physically challenged by a workout. It yearn for it. It misses it when you don't provide it. Also, you will find that you have more energy for the countless other activities that you have during the day. You will able to push when you see your peers lagging. Your thinking processes are sharper, the tasks are easier to accomplish. Your positive outlook on life will improve.
I hope that I can encourage you to join the active lifestyle. For no other reason outside of you. Do it for you.
Well, the New Year's Day celebrations are over. Millions of people all over the globe have made promises and pledges to do this or to not do that. At the age of 50 I have given up on resolutions. Not that I don't believe in goals or that I can make new things happen. I have just developed the philosophy of life that luck is a product of hard work and that your life is a reflection of who you are, not who you wish you were. Many resolutions are made by people who wish that they were somebody else. I wish for all people to find who they are and strive with all their energy to be the best "you" that you can be.
I am listening to Pandora Radio, http://pandora.com/ Can I recommend that you check this site out if you aren't familiar with it. So great! Michael Frank, Sting, Garota De Ipanema, etc. Enjoying the "Deep Groove Jazz station that I have created while I am writing this blog. Create your own radio station, just like you wish it to me, commercial free.
After a day that I had a fine 5K training run in the Bosgue of the Rio Grande River and being on my second glass of wine and my first plate of sushi my state of mind would have to be in a wonderful place But I am feeling so at peace with the world. I feel like Achilles felt in the movie "Troy", when he stated, "The gods envy us". As a Christian man is have a different belief system. But I can empathize with him.
There are times in a run where you feel "super human". I have told my wife of these times. For example: You are running at 5:00 AM and the sun is just coming up. The world is between dark and light; the most difficult time of the day to see well. You are running in the street into the traffic. The car is coming toward you, head lights approaching. You are in the 7th mile of the run and you are feeling so strong. The headlights get closer, coming right at you. Yet you don't cut stride and you don't change your line. You think to yourself, "Surely the driver sees you and the car will share the road. But if it doesn't, I will still win. It can't really hurt me. I am stronger than it is". The car does see you; at the last minute. You realize that it didn't move over because it didn't want to share the road, but because it didn't really see you until the last minute. Your mortality is really questioned at those times. But in the midst of the endorphins and the strength of the moment your are immortal.
This is what Achilles was referring to with his statement in the movie. Even in our mortality we can feel god like. Can the gods experience our emotions as humans? He didn't think so. Achilles was the greatest warrior. He thought that we couldn't be killed. He felt that when he went into battle that he was beyond being in any danger. Therefore, he was reckless and fought from victory. In a way, this is the way a Christian lives his/her life. We have already won the battle. Christ won this for us on the cross. So, we can live our lives with abandon and truly carefree as we glorify Him. . We can reach for glorious rings on the merry-go-round of life without risking or jeopardizing important things. As a runner, I can belief that I can set a PR every race. I can compete from that victorious platform.
Does that mean that I win every game, set every PR, slay every dragon? No, of course not. But as an athlete, an academic advisor and a coach for many years I have learned that if you play a game thinking that you have already lost, then you are giving yourself so little chance to win.
Let's go out is life and learn, or re-learn, the art of play and WIN every game..
Well, I am up and active. Its about time. Only 10:00 AM.
I am working on my first cup of coffee and the energy to get out on today's run. About 8k planned. Just getting miles in today. No speed work. Thank goodness.
This time of year always leads us to reflections. I shall share some of mine.
My 50th birthday is coming up in August and I have to finally admit that I probably won't ever set another PR in 5k or 10k races. I still think that I could PR in a marathon, but who has the time to train for that? No, this isn't going to be a sad "Woe is Me" message on the first day of 2008. I have to say that I am still so amazed at the human body for many reasons; one being that only in a very short amount of time, it can be conditioned to perform in incredible ways.
Listen, very few of my 50ish year old peers can even think of doing the physical things that I do on a daily basis. My quality of life is incredible. This is due to my choice as a 17 year old to be an active athlete for life, even after organized sports.
Looking back over the past 30 years or so, I have lived that dream. No, I haven't stayed in competition shape for all of that time, but I have been consistent enough that I have maintained the membership of the running club. I am proud of that.
I can remember my inspirations that helped me along the way. George Sheehan and his book Personal Best. For teaching me so many things about the running world and how to be part of it. Things like learning how to play again. Adults forget the art of play. We have to re-learn it. Being a runner keeps us in touch with that important aspect of life; play.
Arete; the greek word for Personal Best. This is what we should all strive for in running and in life. Sheehan taught me how to incorporate that attitude in all arenas.
As a coach, I remember the bus driver that took many of my basketball teams to games across the state of New Mexico. He and I would have many conversations as we watched the endless roads ahead of us. He was in his mid to late 60's. He and his wife both were still very active. They white water rafted. They ran. They trained and competed in the top ultimate endurance race of our fair state; the Mount Taylor Quadrathlon: running, biking, cross country skiing, and shoe shoeing. I helped my resolve to be active until they put me in the grave. Thank you sir.
And thanks to all the community of runners that we all share the beauty, pageantry and comradery of race days. The energy and spirit of the race day is irreplaceable.
After the early morning excitment with the kids and my wife, 17 and 11 years old children, the morning has slowed somewhat. The joy of this season makes it our favorite.
I received some winter running gear and am anxious to get out and try it out. I will be using my new I-pod as well. This one is to replace the one that I ruined a few months ago.
I was driving the girls, my daughter and some of her soccer team mates, home after a tournament victory at the soccer complex, when I was asked to get drinks for all at the local Sonic Drive-in. Happy to do so, even thought from all of the traffic I new that it would be an hour committment on my part. Succeeded at securing all of the drink orders, including my own. Upon driivng out of the parking lot, I reached to savor a sip from my own 32 ounce cup of early Fall refreshment. As I did this, my thumb, pushed through the thin styrofoam wall of the cup, about 1/3 the way up from the bottom of the cup. I now had a fountain of Cherry Limeade shooting all over the front seats of the car. Frantically I saw ahead of me a trash dumbster and drove toward it as I held the pink fountain of fluid outside the car window. When I got close enough to the dumpster, I threw the spouting "Old Faithful" toward it with all my might. I think I missed, but I wasn't going to go back.
I pulled ahead and found a place to pull over. I opened the car door, stepped out and raked most of the ice and liquid out of the front seat. This was all of the liquid that wasn't still in my underware and pants pockets. Upset, but thinking that I had done all that I could with the mess at hand. I get back into the car and begin to make our way home. Fighing the traffic to the street light, down the main street and toward the house, I remember that I was charging my I-Pod with my car charger. The I-Pod was sitting in the middle console swimming in about 2 inches of the pink acid.
So ended a wonderful partnership of running music and inspiration. I tried removing the back and applying alcohol baths to my beloved partner, but all attempts couldn't breathe life back into it.
My wife bought me an 8 Gig for Christmas with some unexpected money that she recieved for helping out with an International Robot competition that I help run. She is wonderful. Now I can look forward to more hours of loading music on the new device.
Again, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night. (Thanks Tiny).
Looking forward to having in on the trails with me soon.
By the way, is anyone doing the January 1st run in the Rio Rancho Bosque? Let me know.