Instead of making you have to read the writings of an overtired runner, trying to figure out how I am going to run an Ultra Marathon. I simply made a video that show’s how much I really liked the xx2i SunGlasses.
So please watch, be entertained, share the love.
Here is the review in 56 seconds:
“Disclaimer: I received xx2i Optics Sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
When you lose the feeling that traveling from one coast to the other is not unusual, but ordinary, your perception of our nation becomes…..that it is almost small. In any given week, I will spend time in 2-3 of the time zones, except when I go to Arizona, because they don’t believe in the whole daylight savings thing and it completely messes up my TV viewing…. when is the 6 o’clock news on…..7 o’clock!
I have often said that there are times I feel like you could use a passport as you travel the U.S.A. Leaving the Mid-West and traveling to either coast can be a culture shock if you are new to those areas and of course there is always Texas. Texas wants no part of the title Midwest, Southwest, or West, Texas has its own identity and really good food.
How does this all play in to an article about running? Because over the last 15 years I have traveled on average 150 nights a year and in the last 6 years – that travel has included my running. There was a time that my night ended at the hotel, with extensive snacking, sodas and laying around. Those days are gone, the hotel room is now, no more than a launching pad to whatever run is on the schedule for that night. I have run in all parts of this country, Central Park in New York, Miami Beach, Lubbock Texas, Hiram GA, Lacey WA, Sunnyvale CA, Peoria, AZ, Boulder, CO and there is a great story about Gillette, Wyoming, the list could just keep on going.
But it was a short run in 2011 that I allowed the title of Runner to be connected to my name. I wrote about it one time years ago and it happened in a town named Kearney, Nebraska. I was early into my running and still was trying to figure out what the heck I was doing. I awoke very early in the morning with a 3 mile run planned and it was pouring rain outside. I sat on the edge of my bed in the dark having that all too familiar fight with myself, that all runners have, trying to convince myself that I needed to get out there and run. (The argument was not internal, but out loud and I am sure the room next to me thought I was crazy). I did run that day, in the pouring rain and cold wind blowing, and I loved every moment of it. I got back to my room, which was still dark, and I was on cloud nine. I had no idea what was going on, but I felt like the king of running that morning and I couldn’t stop telling everybody that I came in contact with that day. The server at the restaurant, got a 10-minute breakdown of the run before I ordered my lunch, the young guy I was training had a full day of me giving him a second by second recap of the that epic 3 mile run. I would later learn that I was seriously hopped up on endorphins and the cashier at the gas station did not care about the negative splits that occurred during the run…she said she didn’t care…. twice.Time has passed and there have been epic runs and epic failure runs, but what is consistent is the joy of running all over this country. I have seen downtown L.A. like you can’t see in a car and felt the serenity of western Iowa’s peaceful countryside. I’ve run the trail that halfway circles Lake Murray outside of San Diego, not forgetting to punch the red dot on the sign at the turn around. Took off for a run in Flagstaff, Arizona and wondered why I was out of breath so quick, only to find out I was higher up in the air than even Denver. By the way, I may have looked ridiculous gasping for breath in the hotel parking lot. Circled the town of Key West, enjoying the beautiful scenery of the ocean, making sure to reward myself with a pancakes from the Blue Heaven Restaurant, and then Key Lime pie. (it’s ok, I earned it) I once went for a run in Ashville, NC. It was to be a simple 3 miler, but sometime into the run, my contact popped out of my eye, I could not see signs or my Google maps and well…..to make a long story short. I ran 10 miles that night and here is a fact, Asheville has got some hills.
This is an introductory article to what I plan on sharing with you all. It will be stories of this amazing country seen from my running shoes. I have met so many people in my travels and their stories are interesting, sad, and funny. I have had skunks chase me (Nashville) and Grandmas high5 me as I finished a run (Utah). I have gotten lost (more than once) and ended up in a race by accident (Central Park). Running has challenged me, helped me find my competitive edge again, and allowed me to experience our country (and maybe a Caribbean Island or two). I want to encourage you all to do the same. Stories are coming, but for now why don’t you go for a run and experience your own story?
There was a pounding in my head each time my shoe hit the asphalt.
I already knew that the wheels were coming off and as the 16th mile marker came into eyesight, my spirits slowly drained through the pores of my skin leaving me with the hollow feeling of defeat. My mile time hadn’t decreased yet, I was still on goal pace…….. but I KNEW.
19 weeks of training had been a great teacher. It had brought me closer to my body and understanding how it would react under just about any situation during the run. So although the times were still good, and a smile was still on my face for each photographer, under it ALL was the heart of a defeated man. The miles droned on and my mile 16 prediction of disaster began to show it’s true self as I passed mile 19.
It was a small crack in the armor but focus was disturbed. The effort to remain at pace went from “marathon uncomfortable hard” (which those that choose to run 138,336 feet have prepared for and already accepted), this was not the “beautiful pain” of the marathon, it was just wrong. I went deep inside for a little while, I played out every day of training, a cycle of training where I only had missed one run the entire 19 weeks. It wasn’t making sense, why was this so hard? This wasn’t my FIRST marathon, it was number 14 for goodness sakes. How could I still be this bad at running 26.2 miles? What did I do wrong this time?
My thoughts pounded in my head and became the harmony to the melodic sound my feet made as I continued on. But now the music had gone from a song with energy, to a slow jam that would have made Luther Vandross proud to sing over. I was rewinding back to mile 13 where it was simply a party in my head. Math was still coming easy at that time and I was laying out the game plan for how this run was going to end.
In my head……..
Mile 21 was going to be the jump off point, I was going to find a gear that was going to propel me to the finish line and straight to the pancake buffet, where my medal was sure to be admired by all
My 21 mile warm up was just a prelude to the real story of this race, the EPIC FINISH. None of this played out in that way, I passed the 21-mile marker and there was no gear to be found, in fact I down shifted to a gear that was both painful and sad
There is so much talk about THE WALL, but when you hit it and I mean really smack your face against it, you are instantly humbled. So here I was shuffling along, having those thoughts about how much I love 5K’s and how I loathe this race of 26.2 miles. I dug out my phone and turned it on to call my wife.
By mile 22, I should have already crossed the finish line and I did not want her staring down the road, wondering if the next person to turn the corner was going to be me, because I was not turning that corner. I was still fighting one difficult step after the next. So many thoughts rush through your delirious brain at the end of a marathon, but it is so hard to keep them in order so that they make sense.
Think of a word jumble, you see all the letters but you have to concentrate and search in order for the letters to form a word. Experience has taught me to just focus on something simple in order to just get me to the finish line. I chose to focus on my yellow shoes and the design they made in my blurred vision as I took each step. Over and over I watched my shoes until I started to realize something was different, I was sure it was a snake on my shoe, nope…….it was just untied. I slowed to a stop and just stared at the untied shoe, stared like a man who knew what needed to be done, but had no idea how it was going to get done. My foot was so far away and I was scared if I knelt to tie the shoe, because there was no way I could bend over and do it, that I wouldn’t get back up. So right there on the course, I performed some kind of Yoga maneuver, one we will call “Tall Bald Guy Shoe Tie” and tied my shoe, I high 5’d myself.
By mile 23.5, I shuffled on and a ball of energy headed right towards me. My son ran up to me and looked me in the eyes and told me that he was going to finish this run with me. I was excited, happy and revitalized. I showed all of this emotion with a really exaggerated nod of my head, and a grunt, maybe a smile.
We ran that last 2.5 miles together, he never stopped talking, he used sayings and slogans that I have yelled at him as he runs his Cross Country races, he talked to me about the highlights of his homecoming dance, and I am pretty sure we talked about how bad I was looking. The music had changed again, to a comforting melody that didn’t pump me up, but left me relaxed and resigned that I was going to finish, let’s call it a “smooth jazz finish”.
He left me just before the finish line, and I crossed with hands raised as I am sure the winner had done. My wife met me as I crumbled to the ground, reflecting on what I considered a failure, but she just looked at me and asked “What did you learn?” and promised that I was still getting pancakes.
I was scared, I will admit it, I was scared and I asked my wife to call the doctor. Not just any doctor, but the “ticker doctor”, the “keep the motor running doctor”, the “doctor that makes sure my heart keeps pumping”, I needed a cardiologist. , I didn’t have any symptoms; I wasn’t short of breath, or noticing any loss of power. I wasn’t fatigued, in fact I had increased my miles, my intensity and my body was reacting well. But I was scared, and I needed to see the doctor.
The simple facts are these:
I am 45 and all though I feel young; I still am half way to the finish line. (I am thinking positive)
My Dad, and all of his brothers have had heart attacks or some type of heart issues
Until I started running 5 years ago, my diet could best be described as deplorable
As mentioned before, I am running faster and longer, adding what I can only imagine is more stress on my very valuable organ
I watched another runner my age, who is faster and stronger than me go down with a heart attack and I freaked. (Update, he is back running again, because he is awesome)
So there you have it, this is what led me up to walking into Dr. Craft’s office. I wasn’t sure what I was doing there, but I needed an expert to tell me I didn’t have some kind of undetected time bomb in my chest, that was going to drop me on some remote path. I do not want someone to actually have to use my Road ID for its intended purpose.
I walked into the waiting room and began to noticeably sweat as I looked around the room wondering what was about to happen. I tried to act very chill as I strolled to the back and got weighed, blood pressure taken and answered the primary questions. The sweating continued as I was left alone in the room. It was at that moment that I began to realize there was a possibility the doctor would find something, something that would be so dramatic that he would tell me stop running! (Notice – that I was simply thinking at that moment about the possibility of my running being effected and not the fact that my life could be coming to an end, FREAK). The quiet was suddenly interrupted by a knock on the door, (I find it funny that doctors knock on the door of their own patients room, one of these days I am just going to say I am busy and could they come back later) Dr. Craft walked in and began to exam me, I felt little bad because of the nervous sweating thing, but he was cool and just kept putting that freezing cold stethoscope all over the place. He asked a lot questions, then let me know he runs too and understood the devotion (obsession) we have for the sport. He commented that he was happy that I took the initiative to come in for a checkup and that he wasn’t seeing me after something bad had happened. He then sent me for an EKG. Again the nerves, what do the squiggly lines mean? I tried to breathe slowly and regulate my heart, because I am a control freak and I really believe I can tell my heart to slow down….yep. Then I waited again for Dr. Craft to come in and read the results. He did and said everything looked great…BUT something concerned him. All I heard was BUT…BUT is not what I wanted to hear. It was a little pulse that showed up and he wanted to further explore it and asked that I make a follow up appointment to come in and wear a monitor for 24 hours. I then would take a stress test. As we stood next to the receptionist desk, I honestly don’t think Dr. Craft thought I was going to come back, because I was trying to fit my appointment around my speed work and tempo runs….FREAK. But I did, I came back 3 weeks later and put on that device. I wore it for 24 hours, I walked wired up like a robot, and I wondered what it was recording, this little device was going to tell a story I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear. The next day I walked into the office and didn’t realize what a stress test was, and I had on my nice VANS shorts and a cool pair of non-running sneakers. They strapped me up and put me on a treadmill, pushed a button and I was off, 3mph at 6% incline. Every 3 minutes it would increase by .5mph and the incline would rise. Up and up it went, we were at 6mph and 18% incline when the sweating began to reach epic levels, they no longer could take my blood pressure and the electrodes were falling off of me. The poor techs were using both hands trying to hold them on me, and then I am pretty sure I saw them just throw their hands up and gave in to the big sweating guy who was now at 6.5mph and 22% incline and that is when I called it. Wires were flopping everywhere, machines were beeping and I was pretty sure I had broken the machine. They laid me on cot and tried sticking more electrodes on me to take readings as my heart slowed down, but the sweat…oh the sweat. I had, all at one time, 3 women with towels drying me off. I should have been in heaven, but I was freaking out with what the readings were going to say. It got quiet again and I was by myself. The tech came in and said I could go home; Dr. Craft would call me with my results. I didn’t want to wait; I wanted to know right then and there. I wanted to know if I could run, if I would see another finish line, if I would walk my baby girl down the aisle and see my son pitch in the Major Leagues, I want to grow old with my really hot wife, but I had to get in my car and go home. I had to wait. I went home and sat at my desk and just stared out the window, my superhot wife encouraged me and made me an awesome dinner.
We sat in the garage and watched a storm come in and waited. As we sat there and talked my phone came alive and I answered. The voice on the other said “Reist, this is Dr. Craft. I want to first thank you for trying to break our treadmill; we don’t have many people go 20 minutes on a stress test. Your tests are normal” and that is all I heard for the next few moments. He was giving me some facts about the strength of heartbeat and other things, but all I could do was high-five my wife and hug her. I thanked Dr. Craft for being so straight forward with me during the process. For keeping it real and not sugar coating things, he was informative and comforting.
I was scared, but instead of avoiding the issue, I made a choice to go face the fear. I am always talking about not backing down from challenges, moving outside the comfort zone, and doing what scares you will often make you stronger. Well, I had to listen to my own advice and so I went and I am glad I did. I believe that going to get checked, can only be a good thing, especially if you are doing more that you ever have before, what is the downside? I couldn’t wait to go run the next day. I put on my shoes and ran hard, I enjoyed the finish.
Dr. Craft has a great website, with lots of information that can help. Go visit it, get educated, and stay healthy. www.thehearthealthcenter.com
It was an evening run with no headphones, I needed to concentrate. I looked at the path winding away from me and took a long slow breath before setting off. The air was muggy and heavy, but the sun was sinking slowly behind the trees, and cooling off of the evening had begun. I started down the path to do my warm up before tackling the scheduled 8x600meter speed-work. I did not have the luxury of a well-marked track to run on, so I marked the path with big rocks and branches, this marked where the interval ended and the joy of the recovery run began. I know that I could have glanced down at my Garmin to let me know when each part began and ended, but in the midst of speed-work, I cannot do math, I cannot figure out anything with decimals and a big rock that signifies STOP, works better than numbers….so BIG rocks and branches is what was used. I ran my warmup out and turned and ran back to my vehicle where I had a towel and water stashed ready to help me recover after each set of 2 intervals. (Out and back) I will post the splits below, but there was something I found funny, and although I was in pain, I could be seen laughing as I ran.
Like I stated before, I was doing and out and back, 600 meters is roughly .37 miles and my recovery was .25 miles which equals .62 miles. (I can do math now, I am sitting on an airplane writing this….and I have the calculator on my phone right next me) As I began my first interval out, I passed a young couple on bicycles, with little people strapped in seats behind them. They were barely moving, frankly I don’t know how they were staying upright and I blazed right passed them. I crushed that first interval, passed that big rock that said slow down and completed my recovery. I then turned around and started interval #2. There was a blind corner on this path and I was at a full gallop when I turned that corner. I used the skills of a ninja and Jell-O to miss the same family on the bikes. They had stopped to smell the flowers, or look at the sunset, or something, but what they almost received was me wrapped around the spokes. I gave a wave to the little kids, never missing a stride and continued to the pile of sticks that told me to slow down. I found my water, took a breath, and toed the line for intervals #3 & #4. Now dusk was setting in and sweat was in my eyes, but I was ready this time and when I saw the happy little family, I was ready. This time the kids must have wanted to change which parent they were riding with and this full scale procedure was happening right in front of me. I made a choice to go right and commit to it, just like Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder, I put the throttle down and trusted that everyone would clear by the time I got there, and they did. Yes, they cleared, but it involved me finding my inner hurdler. The interval was done, the rock said “slow down” and recovery was underway. By this time, I think they thought I was stalking them and they moved on to find other areas to explore, but my speed-work continued.
#5 and #6 were done without any major incidents, except for me getting lost in thought and almost missing the big rock, it was a BIG rock. I toweled the sweat from eyes and told myself that I had only one more set to do. I complain a lot about speed-work, I think about it during the day, I construct amazing excuses of why I should maybe just make it an easy run, or better yet, stay in the hotel room and watch TV. Then, just as clichéd as it sounds, I fight through the exhaustion and pain, I count down the miles till the light at the end of the tunnel changes from a train coming right at me, to the Finish Line that is welcoming me to cross it. This night was no different, and now I pounded down the path, intent on crushing these last two intervals. #7 was a total victory, I slowed at the rocks, hit my split time and felt strong. Taking a deep breath at the turn around, I cruised to the pace that was called for and rounded the blind turn and I WAS FLYING, when there next to the path, tail in the air, and from what I could gather in that millisecond, in a bad mood….SKUNK. Now, basically this is how this goes, if you look at the graph of my speed from this workout, there is no doubt you could find the exact moment that I passed Pepe’ Le Pew. I once was told that every runner has 6-8 seconds of acceleration in them, no matter their level of exhaustion. I used all 8 seconds, and Usain Bolt had nothing on me for that brief span of time.
Intervals were over, the cool down had been completed and I sat on the ground drinking my water and chocolate milk, all the while keeping an eye out for Pepe’. I sat there with a sense of satisfaction that only runners really understand. No one made me go out there and run. The Hanson Brothers were not sitting in Michigan, wondering if a guy named Reist was going to live up to his obligation he had written down on a piece of paper months ago. I was compelled to go a push myself, because I am runner. I find strength in my exhaustion, satisfaction in my accomplishments, and my level of determination rises with each run I finish. I am on a quest for an epic run, I will find that run when I bury the excuses and embrace the work. – Reist Mummau
Location – Murfreesboro, TN
Date – June 16, 2015
Warm Up – 1.51 miles 8:58 pace
Interval – 5.03 miles (400 meter recovery included)