Tattoo You – thanks to a long lost friend

I’m primarily writing this today to show off my new tattoo!  But I will have some insight into cadence training as well.  But first, the tattoo!

Running Man Tattoo

Many years ago (like 18) I was lured into running by my desire to impress a beautiful woman while I was on a work trip to Hawaii.  I was mesmerized by this incredibly cute & smart woman with whom I was working on installing and testing software.  We were both flirtatious as hell and one day she asked me if I wanted to go for a run with her.  In those days I was a smoker, not a runner, but I would be damned if I was going to let that get in the way of going for a run with this angel.

We were staying at the Turtle Bay Hilton on the North Shore so there was plenty of open space where we could run.  So early Saturday morning I put on my cargo shorts and cotton tank top, laced up my Merrell mid-height hiking boots, and off we went.  I can’t tell you now which was worse; running through the sand in hiking boots, or thinking that my burning soot covered lungs were going to collapse – all I know is that it was, to this day, one of my most memorable runs because of who I was with and the relationship that started that day and lasted a fleeting yet glorious 3-years.

I quit smoking cold-turkey that day and started my running quest.  The following year I ran the Marine Corps Marathon.  Though we’ll most likely never meet again I owe my love of running and my being cigarette free for 18 years now to her and, even though she’ll probably never read this….thank you!

I returned to Hawaii again in 1998, the year I was training for the MCM, and while wandering around the shops at the Aloha Tower Marketplace I stumbled on a print of a Hawaiian petroglyph entitled “Running Man”.  I’ve kept it on my wall ever since and thought that one day it would make a cool tattoo – and it does!

So last night I finally got the tattoo.

I look forward to adding 5 half hashmarks and 4 full hashmarks at the end of this year.

Now to the useful portion of this entry – Cadence Training:

The other day I bought a small, portable metronome that I could use to try improving my cadence and boy was I impressed!  If you’re struggling with trying to create music playlists that have songs with 90BPM that you can use to optimize your cadence training let me tell you – this is FAR, FAR better.

Take a look at my Garmin Connect training entry from that day and you can clearly see the benefits of using a metronome.  I was on the treadmill which made it very easy to control the training and optimize the use of the metronome to achieve the cadence I was looking for.

Bottom line – if you want to incorporate some cadence training to improve your efficiency then buy one of these.

How Quickly We Fall

Does anyone else out there get as complacent and lazy as I did after the cold weather began and the racing season wound down?  I freely admit that I had a certain degree of hubris about my fitness level, especially after the magnificent group showing in Richmond in November.  I slacked, and I slacked HARD!

The week of Richmond, November 10-15, I was able to easily pound out 50 push-ups and 10-12 pull-ups was nothing.  This morning I struggled to complete FIVE push-ups and was lucky to get TWO pull-ups.

Now this could be age related.  It could be that I felt like I was invincible (as invincible as a 53 y.o. can be).  The more likely scenario is that it was a combination of age, hubris, and my new found fascination with the craft bourbon trend!

Stay tuned as I work hard to unravel the sticky web of inactivity and come out stronger than ever.  My official marathon training schedule begins next week, but I’m not going to sit around waiting for it to arrive.  I was happy to discover this morning that, despite my recent laziness, I could still manage 50 body squats without any trouble – so all is not lost.

I await my second (in one month) copy of Unbreakable Runner by T.J. Murphy and Brian MacKenzie.  I took that with me to read on the flight to/from the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon in December and read it cover-to-cover.  Convinced that the plan made sense, sense enough that I would give it a shot, I promptly left in the seat pocket of my return flight 😦  The replacement arrives tomorrow.

My one sentence take on Unbreakable Runner is:  Crossfit meets primal eating meets distance running.  Two of those I already (mostly) do, so I’m going to incorporate the crossfit element and see what happens.

Are you still drunk?

What? No!
Are you sure, because this sounds like something a drunk man would do.
I didn’t even drink last night.
Then what’s that bottle over there?
Well okay I did have exactly ONE drink at midnight, you can see that the bottle is still nearly full, so why would you ask if I was still drunk anyway?
Because I was reading over your shoulder as you were planning your 2015 running.
Oh, yeah that.

So New Year’s Day arrived and I was considering what I should do vis-a-vis my running goals for 2015.  I feel like I want to do something epic.  But yet I still have to be realistic.

So how can I blend Reality with Epic?  I’m going to call it Realepic!

I’m going to keep it realistic by keeping it fun; we all know how unfun training can be when we don’t keep it fun – and in the stage of life I’m in now the only way to be realistic about what I can and can’t do is to understand that I’m not 20, 30, etc.  I’m nearly 55 and, despite all the running I did in 2014, I’m not in really good shape.

I realize that I kept 2014 a little too fun, hence the shape I find myself in.  The last 5 months of 2014 were Epic, I ran an organized 1/2 Marathon every month starting with the Revel Rockies half in Denver and finishing the year with the MetroPCS Dallas half.  But by the time I reached Dallas I had become complacent with my conditioning which resulted in a disappointing finish to the year.  The Dallas finish is what has me motivated to make 2015 an even better year than 2014.

So to keep this short, and give me things to write about as I progress, I’m going to lay out the still nascent plan.  I happened to be reading some Hal Higdon articles when I came across his 6-6-60 and 7-7-70 accomplishments.  So the seed was planted, from which is sprouting my 5-4-54 plan for 2015.   Five half marathons, four full marathons, during the year I turn 54.

So I spent the better part of the morning on New Year’s Day scouring the schedules for runs that would fit into the plan.  The only thing that I had already committed to was Grandma’s Marathon in June, so I had to build around that.

My training starts as soon as I publish this, it’s cold out and I haven’t run one single mile since the Dallas Half three weeks ago.

So far the plan looks like this:

April 18th – Half #1:  What better run to kick of the 5-4-54 than with one sponsored by the one piece of technology I absolutely obsess over after every single run than the 2015 Garmin In The Land of Oz run?  I’ll kick off the year with a half just like I did 2014.   I want to start the year off right, since I didn’t finish 2014 like I wanted, with a PR.   I’m wiping the slate clean for now, so I’m not including my times from the late 90’s.  All PR’s moving forward are post-heart surgery PR’s.

May 3rd – Full #1:  I’m going to have to get up early if I’m to succeed in getting registered – The Lincoln Marathon.  The registration is capped at 12,000 which sold out last year in under 12 hours.  So I’ve got my alarm clock set to get up and get in.

May 30th – Half #2:  I’m going to head back to Iowa for half marathon number two in the series.  The iconic Dam To Dam in Des Moines.  It looks fun, it’s been around for 35 years, and the people of Des Moines really know how to support runners.

June 20th – Full #2:  The one I’ve always wanted to run, Grandma’s Marathon! When I first started running in the late 1990’s, to impress the smart and beautiful DB, I dreamed of running Grandma’s Marathon.  So it was natural for me to dream of this race once I started running again (to impress no one this time LOL).


September 13th – Half #3:  A short jaunt north to South Dakota for the Sioux Falls Marathon.  I’m hoping that being a little further north at this time of year will equal cool temperatures.

September 20th – Full #3:  The Omaha Marathon.  I ran the half last year and it was pretty enjoyable.  I have to say that as far as public support this one isn’t the greatest – Omaha really needs to step it up a notch to get the people of Omaha more involved and make this a go to event.  It would really be nice if they could somehow incorporate the Old Market into the race.

October 18th – Half #4:  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this one.  It’s just recently been announced, 2015 is going to be the inaugural of the Nebraska Marathon.   My back up runs for this if it doesn’t get off the ground will be either the Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver or I’ll return to Des Moines for the IMT.

November 22nd – Half #5:  Out of town again for the last in the series of half marathons for 2015.  I’ll be running on Tulsa time at the 10th running of the Williams Route 66 half marathon in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

December 13th – Full #4:  I’m going to finish off 2015 just like I did 2014, just twice as far – The MetroPCS Dallas Marathon.   I loved the half so much that I have to go back and do it again.  This race was so well organized, the expo was unbelievable, the people of Texas fantastic (as usual) and like the song says the women are beautiful.

Now that I’ve laid out the plan it’s time to break out the plastic and get registered for all these 🙂

I ran Dallas for a cause, I was saddened that I only raised $80.  Should I try to raise money again this year?

First Jog of 2015

So, here’s a link to the start of 2015.  Not very impressed?  Neither am I!  It is true that I completely slacked off of everything since running the MetroPCS Half Marathon in Dallas almost three weeks ago – running? slacker; eating? slacker; sleep?  slacker;  booze? SLACKER!

With 2015 and the 5-4-54 firmly in my sights today was the day to stop slacking.

One of the most important things I’m planning to do this year is to take the cardiac challenge more seriously.  I’ve been stubbornly reluctant to consider a beta-blocker to control my heart rate, but I’m going to have a serious discussion with my cardiologist next Wednesday about going back on and here’s why;  My heart rate should be way lower than it is.

I had an appointment with my physician on Monday and even she commented on my RHR.  She knows how much I ran all year and believes that my RHR should be closer to 70, not 98.  Ditto the running heart rate.  Given all the miles I’ve been logging there is no reason for me to be pushing the mid 160’s with an RPE of 3-4.

Unbreakable Runner: CrossFit Endurance for Running

My road map for 2015:

Unbreakable Runner: CrossFit Endurance for Running.

I read this book cover-to-cover last month when I flew to Dallas for the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon.  I decided that I was going to use the training plans in it to see what it could do for my running this year.  Granted, at the time I was reading it, I hadn’t any plans to run 5 halfs and 4 fulls; but now that my plan is in place I think this book will be even MORE important to my success.