I Am A Runner – Why I Run

Why do I run?  There are a lot of reasons. I run because, I enjoy it.  It’s fun.  I run to see new places in a different and exciting way.  I run to enjoy the company of other runners.  I run to experience the beauty of nature, a gift which God has given us.  I run , to be alone, and to be in good company.  I run to challenge myself and to compete with others.  I run to feel young and to learn from years of wisdom.

The reasons are endless.

On one of the many cross country flights I’ve taken, I was seated next to a young girl (she was maybe in her mid 20s) who was overweight.   When she took the seat, the middle seat, next to me “she” apologized for being so large and that she would be most likely taking up some of my space.  I smiled, said hello and told her it was okay.  She then asked the flight crew for an extension for her seat belt.  As she attempted to buckle it out of the blue she opened up to me about her struggles with “being large” and all the things in life she could not do.

She could not go on amusement rides, ride a horse, go for long walks, feel good in a crowd, walk up stairs, go hiking, and wear cute outfits.  What caught my attention during this list of things she could not do was that she said she could not run.  I could feel the the hurt and saddens in her voice.   I smiled and said that I was sorry.  I almost mistakenly told her that I understood, but how could I?  I told her that I did not judge her and that we all have our battles in life and to keep on fighting.  Honestly, I wasn’t really sure what to say.

We made small talk for the rest of the flight and I assured her that I did not mind sitting next to her.  I shared some of my “military adventures” and parts of the world I had seen.  The flight of over five hours, which started off with an uncomfortable conversation ended rather quickly.  At the end of the flight we said goodbye.  Needing to get to a connecting flight I quickly gathered my things and got on my way.  Before exiting the plane I looked back in the direction of my previous seat assignment.  The girl was struggling to make her way between the rows of seats as she moved towards the exit.  She noticed I had looked back for her and smiled.  I smiled back and gave her a quick nod.  Then I turned and made my way out of the aircraft, down the flight ramp, into the airport and on to my next flight.

During my runs I often wonder how her life is going and is she still struggling?  I often wonder why?

11813341_10153598437366458_5794626971266741540_n(Running the March 50K, 2015)

I run to have a body which does not limit the things I can do in life.

 

 

Ultra Marathon Runner – My Bad Habits

Running blog post after blog post trumpets the virtues of running.  Some run bloggers post about their perfect training plan, routine and or running program. Myself I’ve posted many times on how you can run better, but let’s be honest.  Let’s be clear.  Let’s be open and transparent.  None of us are perfect.

My Bad “Running” Habits

I do not stretch - Not before, Not after and not during.  Maybe on the starting line or a race I might take a few seconds to stretch out my quads and or hamstrings.  I might take a few moments to warm up my achilles tendons but for the most part I do not stretch.

pixxa2

My diet leaves a lot to be desired - I’ve gotten better over the years.  I’ve tried really hard lately.  I know I need to improve but the number of slices of pizza I eat out numbers the veggies.

I still have a bad Dew habit - I had a period of success, but I’m back to drinking Diet Dew more than I should.

I hate to throw out running gear - I’ve got some shirts and shorts that are over 10 years old and I refuse to throw them out.  They may be too big, the cords (in the shorts) and elastic is gone but I still keep them and yes wear them once in awhile.

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I like black -  On 99.999% of my outings I wear black shorts, black compression shorts, black leggings or black pants.  I feel a lot of pressure to make sure my bright colored running shirts match my shorts.  It used to cause me a lot of stress until I figured out everything goes with black.

I have a sock problem - I believe new sock day should be a national holiday.  Nearly every time we go shopping in person or online I can be found checking out the newest high tech socks.  The right socks can make the man or the run.

GEORGE-HAMILTON

I don’t wear sun block - No I’m not George Hamilton or the new Crispy and creepy Colonel Sanders…I’m just dumb.

Running is about getting better, it’s about improving….so I’ll continue to run and try to improve on my bad habits.  Until then…anyone up for some sun bathing and pizza?

What are your bad running habits?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ultra Marathon – Medoc Meltdown 50k 2016

I thought I was more BadA$$ than that.

13900072_1298080476869772_8235949979389878068_n(Before it got ugly)

The morning, and days after make it no easier.

-  I melted on lap 3 and could not go out for the 4th lap.

-  My running partner for the day Woody won the event.

- Another running friend, Becca, won overall female and THE ONLY female to finish.

- 10 runners finished the 50k “plus” (34.4 miles).

I’ve got to be honest, I view myself as member of the group of runners who does not give up, who fights to the end.  So what went wrong (again)?  I overlook my DNF at the Boogie 50 miler in June because I simply did not want to be there.  But with Medoc I wanted to be in that race…I wanted to do well.  I wanted to be running no matter the conditions.

It was in the middle of the 3rd lap that I began to fall apart.  The course, a single track trail with many rolling hills, rocks, roots, bridges and a number of good climbs consisted on two sections an 5+ mile loop and a 3 mile loop.  The two sections of the course had you running a figure eight, with an aide station at the transition point.

This race was hot and muggy from the first steps that we took at 0800 local time.  Local weather had temperatures in the mid 90s with a heat index hovering between 105 to 112 fahrenheit.

13903418_10153784962980869_1553787256831586802_n(Lap 1, I still had my GoPro)

Woody and I ran together from the starter’s gun.  We had ran a solid pace and were making good time through the first two laps.  During our third lap we had settled into a consistent run/walk routine, walking the uphills/the stair climbs and running the flats and downhills.  Over the course of the day we had slowed but even in the midday furnace and muggy confines of MEDOC Mountain we were still progressing at a good clip.  Making our way past the transition point on lap 1 and 2, I was able to refresh, rehydrate and get cooled off some.  This mid course pitstop gave me the juice and vigor to continue.  On lap 3 the midpoint oasis offered no such relief.  I left there feeling worse, depleted and flat.

Every climb after this point taxed me more than the previous two laps. I knew I was in trouble when I began to get dizzy after every run section.  As much as I wanted to stay glued to Woody’s hip, it was a struggle to get in the final miles to finish the third lap.

13921101_1298344093510077_856199800322259064_n(I look better than I felt)

When I got back to the start/finish line, after crossing a short section of black top I felt very hot.  After signing the logbook with my time I was nearly out of it and only wanted to cool off and get out of the heat.  Even as I dumped cold water and ice on my head I felt like my body temperature was climbing and my breathing was very labored.

Although I heard one of our awesome Race Directors telling us that we were the top two runners I just could not answer the bell for the final lap.

The 2016 edition of the MEDOC Meltdown was over for me.  As I watched Woody go off on lap 4 I hurt inside and for a second thought about joining him, but by this time I had chugged down so much liquids trying to cool off that I had lost my stomach.  I was resigned to sit on the end of a bench as a mixture of sweat, water and hope dripped off of me soaking a 3 foot diameter circle on the concrete below my feet.

13902548_10153780825150869_3369914905696840525_n(The final Standing to the 2016 edition, of the Meltdown)

This Ultra Stuff is hard, it’s humbling and no matter your status, your conditioning or your dreams…each race, and each outing is a new set of challenges.  You either rise up to meet them or you melt under their pressure.

Videos coming soon…

 

 

Race Day Faces – Marathon and Ultra Marathon Racing

The race director stood high upon an elevated platform.  With a oversized U.S.A. flag draped across the starting line he held a microphone in his left hand and at the correct moment in time he drew it near to his lips.  After a brief pause he glanced at his watch and with a crackling voice the director announced that we were 60 seconds from the start of the race.

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With that announcement I thought about all the hard work, all the lonely hours and all the long miles that got the collective group of runners that surrounded me to this very place.  I also thought about the commitment it took to be standing there.  Although this was not my first marathon.  I had run many marathons before, each one is unique and each offers it own set of challenges.  I also spent some of these last moments looking around at the faces in the crowd around me who were facing the test of running 26.2 miles.

A younger girl, at least younger than I am, is standing three paces to my right.  Her shiny red hair is pulled back in a long intricately weaved pony tail tucked under and flowing out the back of a red and blue ball cap.  Her pale skin, freckles  and dark blue eyes highlight her confident looks.  Noticing her eyes, a cold steel stare is focused straight into the crowd ahead of her.  A determined look beams with security and confidence.  Instantly I get the feeling she is not only up to the challenge in front of us but she is focused on pushing towards some lofty goal.  Any tension that this girl maybe feeling is only apparent in her thin lips being firmly pressed together.  Standing silently her forward stare is only broken long enough to manipulate the buttons on a large faced GPS watch strapped around her left wrist.  Any signs of nervousness are lost with the exception of the pace at which she actively presses the buttons on this high tech tracking and timing device.  I can tell she is intent on ensuring the settings are dialed in to monitor her performance.  With this small task complete she retreats back into a zone of isolation.  Lost in her own little marathon day bubble I notice she has not engaged in any small talk.  With the crowd now pressing in around us, she is lost to the happenings outside of her own temporary world.  I paused to think was this girl trying to settle a score, trying to qualify for Boston or set a new personal record?  Standing next to her was someone who may be on the opposite end of the marathon spectrum.

Boston Marathon(Each crowd has a number of stories within)

Stationed to the left and a few feet forward of me was a man with close cut salt and pepper hair, a goatee with two silver patches on each side of a square chin.  His round face with eyes that appeared to be in a natural squint instantly drew my attention.  His eyes wore a look of concern, worry and apprehension.  With tan and weathered skin this gentlemen I estimated to be in his mid to late 50s appeared to spend many hours outdoors.  His nervousness was evident in that his eyes gazed from one focal point to another in rapid succession.  These deep brown eyes darted around catching quick glimpses of the crowd of runners standing near him.  These eyes which I assumed had witnessed years of worldly experience today appeared wide open, fresh and new.  They worked in rapid order to take in all that was going on around them.  On his face I mostly saw apprehension.  When not taking in all the excitement of race morning I noticed he nervously made conversations with those around him.  He seemed to gain some confidence, some relaxation with each discussion.  When not engaged in pre-race dialog he kept up a constant routine of checking the fit of his running gear.  Once satisfied, at least for the moment, he looked back and forth at the crowd only to return to fidgeting with his gear and making small talk with those near to him.   I wondered was this his first race of 26.2 miles or was he coming back from some injury?  In front of him a few paces ahead was a runner older than the majority of us in the vicinity.

He stood amongst a group of runners who took turns talking, shaking hands, high fiving and living in the pre marathon moment.  I guessed this man is an elder statesmen’s of the local running community.  Each of his tidy silver hairs were neatly combed back and perfectly placed in the cut of his mature mane.  Confidence poured from this man.  Every move he made seemed well rehearsed and carefully thought out.  His eyes were bright, clear and happy.  His face was lined with age and highlighted with high cheekbones.  Today those lines of experience shown a heart that was content with life and his place in it.  His bright inviting smile welcomed conversations with anyone looking his way.  I could not make out the words he expressed but by the smiles and laughter that came from those he chatted with I could tell the interactions were positive and uplifting.  Was this man here to run this marathon for himself or to support a friend, make a statement or was this his last go around the marathon block.

I stood alone taking in the wonder of those around me.  I hoped my face gave off the feelings of the day.  A day open to new challenges, new goals, new excitement and new progress.  I hope in my eyes was confidence and wonder of the 26.2 miles that lay before me.  I hoped my expression uplifted those with whom I stood among his quiet cool morning.  Mostly I hoped that my expressions helped someone reach their goal for the race.

finish(My Marathon and 100 miles of success came
with confidence in myself and those around me)

Words can and do inspire.  Yet sometimes the ability to face a daunting task can be acquired by simply seeing confidence in those around us.

Running – How Long Will You Run – Ultra Marathon Life

At work much like the scene out of Forrest Gump I was asked an innocent question.

Forrest-Gump

How long will you run these long distances, these ultra marathon races? 

My first response was simple…”As long as I can.”  Then I paused to think about my reply.  After a few moments of reflection I restated my answer.

I’ll continue to run….

As Long As I Have The Desire and Ability - The desire to run long distance might just be the most important element that keeps me heading out the door.  Without desire it’s hard to run any distance, let alone marathon (26.2 miles) or ultra marathon (longer than 26.2 mile) distances.  I truly have a desire in my soul to run (pause for effect), run really long distances/races.  When the desire departs, I’ll find something else to do.

There will come a day when my old bones, tendons, muscles and cartilage will tell me its time to hang up the running shoes.  Right up to that time I’ll keep on running.  Say what you will but I have seen no ill effects from the nearly 17 years I’ve been running.  Until the body gives out…

It might come down to a scene like the one played out in Dances with Wolves, where Dunbar and Timmons come across an old wagon and a set of bones.  The only difference may be in the dialogue.

daneswithwolves

To quote Timmons’: “Someone back East wonders why don’t he finish this Ultra.” 

Until then, until Timmons and I meet up, I’ll keep on running.

As long As I feel Like I’m Adding Value - I understand in the context of the Running World I’m no one.  I do average around 2,000 viewers of my blog per day, I’ve been published a few times, I have a small following on the social media platforms and every once in a while I get recognized at a local race.  BUT, I’ll keep running as long as I get that one tweet, that one e-mail, that one handshake that tells me I some how helped someone, get off the couch, log that extra mile and reach that goal.

As Long As The Epic is Still Out There - So much of life is normal, easy and safe.  Running has added EPIC and as long as it is out there I’ll run to find it.

Until I Think It’s Crazy - This might be the most vain reason.  I’ve worked hard to get to this “status,” maybe that is not the right word.  I’ve put in a lot of time to get to a point that I can talk with confidence about running 100 mile races, where finishing a marathon is not a question mark.  I train to get faster at distances most people think are crazy…and I’m not ready to give that up.  I’ll run until I think it’s crazy too.

So how long will you continue to run?

 

MEDOC Meltdown 50kish – Ultra Marathon 2013

Medoc Meltdown 50k (plus), The Race Report – 2013

Update:  The Meltdown took a pause for a few years, but it’s back in 2016…and I’ll be there again. 

medoc logo(Checkout the Facebook page for this event)

Organizer Frank L. advertised this event as a Fat A_ _ Running Event, meaning it was not “a race.” There was no entry fee, no awards (but a cool finishers rock), no whining and no aid would be provided (yea right, those Popsicles were awesome).  The Meltdown was an opportunity to run with old and new friends (plus plenty of NC horse flies!) and enjoy the hot and steamy beauty of an NC state park in August.

Going into this event, as a Meltdown rookie, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into.  From all the Facebook posts I could tell that this was going to be a tough run and a chance to hang with the Ultra crowd.  I knew it was going to be hot/humid and I knew I would have to provide for my own support.  But I had no idea how tough the Medoc Mountain State Park course was going to be.

Do you like hills, Medoc has them:

medoc hills

(One of the Medoc Climbs…are we there yet?)


Do you like roots, Medoc has them:

Medoc Roots

(Medoc Roots…my ankles loved these)


Do you like rocks, Medoc has them:

Medoc Rocks

(Rocks are one thing, ROCKS going up hill…come on Medoc)


Do you like stairs, Medoc has them:

Medoc Stairs

(The World Famous Medoc Stairway To…more pain)


The course at Medoc was a little over 8.6 miles in length.  The 50K event (4 laps) would have you completing nearly 35 miles in the heat and humidity of North Carolina.  The conditions of the trail and the temperatures made this the toughest trail race I have run.  Being a rookie I never had a good feel of what Medoc challenge was coming up next, so I never knew when to push it or when to conserve. 

Medoc and me

(One of the many Medoc Challenges) 


But I’ll tell ya four laps of this place was all I wanted.  Out of 77 starters I placed 7th with a time of 8 hours and 30 minutes.  That time is slow compared to my previous 50k PR but knowing the trails I ran over….I’m very happy with my performance.

But the best part of the day was the people.  The Medoc crowd and it’s organizers Frank and Cameron were GREAT.  I was blessed to run with some super people, Paul S, Amanda M, Jon H, and Veronica J.  You guys made the day…you kept me going when I needed a push and I hope I made your run a success.  Running is about more than the miles, the trails or the conditions….it is about the people!

If you like cool race bling, Medoc has that too:

Medoc Rock
At one point I told myself this may just be a “One and Done” event for me….now I’m wondering when next year’s Meltdown will be.

Runners Helping Others – Kellyn and Medoc Meltdown 50k

PLEASE HELP a close friend of our family, Kellyn, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.  The doctors believe it is a low-grade glioma, located in the Broca’s area, on the left side of her brain. Within the past several weeks, it has begun to grow slightly, and the plan of action is to have it removed.  She is starting to experience the effects from the tumor with slurred speech, trouble finding words, tremors in her hands, dizziness, confusion, and seizures. With that said; this is a very frightening and overwhelming time for her. kellyn This is also very overwhelming for her family with the prospect of bills that will far outreach insurance.  And they need our support...how can you, my family, friends and followers help.  Please visit Kellyn’s gofundme page and give if you can (any amount).  If you can’t please share with your friends. Kellyn’s story on ABC 13NEWS If my friends, family or briansrunningadventures.com followers can raise $1,000 By Aug 5th I’ll run the Medoc Mountain Meltdown 50k in a pixie fairy butterfly costume. 05062_full_1 Why would I do this….I’ll do anything to help someone who needs help…..she’s a Runner, and A Cleveland BROWNS fan.  I’m in… If you donate pls send me a personal message with the amount and I’ll keep a running total.  I will only post where we stand with our Friends of Brian’s support pledge.

$380.00 in $620.00 to go, at 38%

Roll Call, Thank YOU!
Paul S.
Josh D.
Tom and Kimmy L
Tom. W
Lee. W
Debbie. E
George. N

PLEASE help…..today!

Running – Time is not on our side

The race against the clock.  Whether its the race to a new personal record or the race against the end of the day.  In running it always feels like I’m up against the clock.  The same could be said for the clock of life.  Our days are numbered, and were not sure how many days we get.  Within each day and within your life you only get so many hours (days) to be with the people we love and to do what we enjoy.

So how can you win this jelly bean race?

1. Invest your time wisely – it is the most valuable thing you control

2. Be with the people you love as much as you can – You will be, they will be around only so long

3. Do what you enjoy first – pay yourself first

4.  Slow down – don’t miss the small moments

5.  Live epic – make a statement with your life

6.  Sleep less – yes we need sleep, but not as much as you think.

7.  Treat time like money – Don’t waste it

8.  Spend your time where there is a return – Get or give something back

9.  Money is not the end all – in the end you don’t remember dollars/cents your relive moments

10.  And the most important, consider the afterlife. #JesusSaves

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

What would you do if you only had one more day?

runawayselfie

I would spend it with my family, my pets and take one last run.

 

 

Running Shoes – Ten Things You Should Never Do

Runner shoes are our tools for putting in the miles.

A funny look at ten things you should never do to your running shoes or in life.

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10.  You should never hold a grudge against your running shoes.  One bad run, one bad race or one failed PR attempt is hardly the fault of your shoes.  It will do you no good to hold a grudge, instead get back to work and go for a run.

9.  You should never expect too much from a new pair of shoes.  Shoe companies sell shoes not by their design but by flashy adds, dramatic commercials and over promising on their benefits.  It’s unfair to hold them to these expectations, after all it’s still you they have to support.

hoka stinson

8. You should never let your eyes wander.  Sure the starting line of a race, or a visit to the running store are good opportunities to check out some other shoes.  Be sensitive, how would you feel if your shoes were looking for a newer, faster…lighter model of you?

7.  You should never talk bad about your running shoes.  Okay maybe they don’t have the zip they used to.  Maybe they don’t rebound like before, but they are yours and they love you.

6. You should never force your shoes on or off without first untying them.  Would you want to be forced to do something?  Your shoes feel the same way…just untie them and they will be happy to hold your feet secure.

5.  You should never make promises that you can’t keep.  Your shoes need rest days and long walks on the beach.  If in the heat of the moment you promise these thing but can’t deliver keep in mind that a broken promise is remembered for a long time.

4.  You should never boast about your running shoes.  Everyone believes their shoes are special and hold the keys to faster running times.  Trying to make everyone believe your shoes are the best will only annoy your friends and not change anyone’s point of view.

3. You should never pay more for your running shoes just to impress your friends.  There are plenty of good deals out there whether at your local running store, online or at the big box discount stores.  Paying to much for anything does not impress anyone.

pumped-up-kicks-01-0613-de

2.  You should never buy shoes just on looks alone.  For better or worse, for richer or poorer, injury and Personal records your shoes are with you for the long haul.  Do not buy them just cause they look good or are made up of flashy colors.  Your shoes need to support you from 5ks to ultra marathons.

and last

1.  You should never compare your current shoes to your favorite pair of shoes that are no longer available. Seriously, this will make your new shoes feel inferior and undermine their supportive nature.  Always talk nice and respectful about your current shoe partner.

Full Disclosure: I run in Nike, Pearl Izumi, Hoka, Asics, New Balance and Salmon.  For years my go to shoes were the NIKE Air Pegasus.  I presently run in Pearl Izumi 90% of the time…I am a Running Ambassador for their company, not because I get a discount on shoes…but because I love their line of shoes.  I’ve found they fit my feet so much better than NIKE and they have helped my performance, and kept me injury free.

 

Running – Recovery Drinks and Cocoa Elite

Something has been missing from my running.  I’ve struggle with it since the very start, but now I have it nailed.  I’m proud to announce that I’m a “Ultra-Distance Runner” Ambassador for Cocoa Elite – It’s more than just chocolate milk.

cocoaelitebannerIn an upcoming blog post I’ll reveal how my running road has crossed with this great company and this super recovery drink.  Until then…rest assured I use this drink, I love it and it helps me get “recovered and restored” for my next run.

cocoaeliteannounce

Interested in giving it a try? Use: Briansrun16 for a special discount.