Posts Tagged ‘frustration’

25 – Mailbox – Write Your Own….We are Runners

May 1st, 2017

You have it within you, I know you do.

#runhardalwaysfinish

runhardreist

 

Run to the mailbox……#runhardalwaysfinish www.runhardalwaysfinish.com

Posted by Run Hard – Always Finish on Sunday, April 30, 2017

 

 

 

Excuses are used to make doubts seem justified. Don’t let doubts outweigh your confidence -Reist

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Posted in Experience, For Fun, Inspiration, Marathon, Run, Running, running log, Starting Out, Training, VLog | Comments (0)

50 Miles: Alligators and Potato Chips

April 16th, 2017

 

Friday – Andrea and I flew down from St. Louis to Houston.  We drove to the Brazos Bend Park in Needville, TX to pick up my packet and listen to the RD Rob Goyen give his pre-race talk.  There was quite a bit of instruction about how to avoid, and more importantly, how not to get eaten by the many alligators that lived in the park.  It was at this time, that we met Nicole.  Nicole lives in Houston, and has followed RunHard-AlwaysFinish for years.  When I had put out that I wanted to try and run a 50, she wrote me and told that that Brazos Bend 50 was the one I needed to do.  I talked it over with Andrea and here we were.  Nicole has had a lot experience with Ultra’s and she was very prepared and let us know what to expect on Saturday.  We all went for dinner and I was in bed by 9:30pm.

Race Day

3:15am –  I rolled over and looked at my phone and as the alarm wailed on, my mind was already thinking about the run.  I got up, showered and as Andrea finished packing the last few things for the day, I put my gear together and we headed out.  We had a drive that took us nearly a half hour to get to the park.  It was a quiet ride, Andrea dozed as I drove, my mind still wondering what lay ahead.

4:30am – Arriving at the park, the first thing I noticed was how calm the starting area was, there was no loud music, bright lights, announcers talking, nope….it was just runners, getting ready to run.  We found Nicole and she was setting up camp right before the start/finish line, we had our own little RunHard-AlwaysFinish aid station prepared.  I ate some, used the restroom and pretty much just kept off my feet.  I met another runner named Chris, he was very cool, giving me suggestions and advice for what lay ahead, I still wasn’t sure what was going to happen.

5:50am – After an hour of sitting, talking and eating, I realized it was really going to happen and my nerves set in, I hugged Andrea, high 5’d Nicole and got ready to run.  Again, there was no big fanfare, just the race director counting down the beginning of the race, and we were off.  As I ran past Andrea at the start line, I looked at her and said “what am I doing?”

Miles 1-5 There was a little over 100 of us running the 50-mile race and we were all together tight on a small path at the start, but unlike so many other races, there was no jockeying for position or elbow’s flying, everyone just seemed to work together.  I was back in the pack, this is where I tried to find the pace, that I felt I could run for 50 miles. I knew that this would be a race of trial and error.  It was peaceful those first 5 miles, the out and backs created a spectacle of bobbing headlamps against the blackness of the park.  I was amazed at the pace of the leaders as they headed back on the trail, each one of them yelling “good job” to the runners that had yet to make the turn around. I watched the light from my lamp guide me, and I kept running.

Aid Stations– I had my first experiences with an Ultra Marathon Aid stations.  I am used to little cups of water and Gatorade being handed to me and getting out of everyone’s way quickly.  Not here, these people treat you like you were the only runner that they were going to see.  Filling my bottles, offering me food and if needed there was always an ice-cold sponge waiting for you.  It literally looked like a buffet of the best food ever.

Miles 5 – 16.8 Each mile ticked by and the sun was slowly rising.  I had seen Andrea and Nicole at mile 6 and it gave me a boost as I headed out into the back section of the run.  I stayed even paced and as the packed had thinned out I settled into my run, with my head on a swivel as I looked for alligators.  I felt comfortable during this first loop, it hadn’t sunk in yet, what still laid before me.

Miles 16.8 – 33.6 I arrived back at the start line, Andrea and Nicole were ready with fresh bottles and a dry shirt.  I told Andrea that my stomach was causing me problems, that aggravating, mildly twisting stomach.  She handed be a bag of potato chips, told me to eat them and sent me on my way.  That one simple act, changed my race.  (more later) I continued to run very comfortable for the next 8 or 9 miles.  I enjoyed the sights, the other runners, the awesomeness of the aid stations.  At mile 26.2 I stopped, I had never run further than a marathon, I never thought myself able to run Ultramarathon distances.  I have watched so many Ultra videos, (shout out Billy Yang), but didn’t think I could enter that league, yet here I was crossing that line, and so I kept running.  The sun was out strong now, and all though so much of the course was shaded, the heat was beginning to wear on me.  At the final two aid stations, I took my time, eating potato chips, getting a quick ice bath and filling my bottles.  By mile 30 I was doing Galloway Intervals and trying to just run the mile I was in.  The 2nd loop was coming to an end and I was so happy to see Andrea.  I changed my shirt and my shoes.  The shoes were purely a mind thing, as my other ones were fine.  I just wanted red shoes….after 33 miles your mind is a scary place.

Miles 33.6-50.4 This is where the race actually started for me.  I wasn’t racing other runners, I was racing my own fatigue, and I was relying on my will to finish and not give in to my want to quit.  Runners were allowed a pacer the final loop, and I welcomed the company as Nicole joined me on the trail.  She had brought a neck scarf that could be filled with ice and I gladly wore it, embracing the cold bite the ice had on my skin as I ran.  It was at Mile 35 where things turned dark.  I became very aware of the fatigue in my legs, fatigue that is the pain you feel at the end of a marathon and I wondered how I was going to be able to run another 15 miles.  Several times during the next 5 or 6 miles I told Nicole that I wanted to walk for a mile, just to rest and recover a bit, but I never did. I would walk for a minute and then run and repeated this cycle over and over again.  Each aid station, Nicole would make sure I had my bottles filled, support staff would ice me down and feed me my chips, then we would head out again.  I had been warned about the “hurt locker”, the “dark miles”, but until I was in that place, there is no way to prepare for it.  It was at mile 40 that I started to come out of the funk, I had broken the run down into 4 parts and I had already completed 2 of them.  The 3rd part was an out and back with an q-tip head on it.  It was hot and felt like it went on forever.  But I was prepared for it, and all though it was uncomfortable and the longest stretch between aid stations, I kept continuing my cycle.   Run –walk – Run – Walk- over and over.  My only times that I would stop, would be at aid stations and the few times I had boulders get lodged inside my shoes, Nicole had told me to stop and get rid of them right away or I would pay for it later, so I did. (really, they were pebbles the size of a pin head…but they had to go!!)  As I finished the 3rd part of the run, it began to dawn on me that I was in the final part of the race, and as I approached the aid station at 43 miles, those final 7 miles still seemed like another marathon was left.  We stopped and iced down, Nicole forced me to eat a bite of PB&J, then we took off on the 2.9-mile trek to the second to last aid station.  This section was not shaded, it was hot, I was tired, but I realized my legs didn’t hurt any more than they did at mile 35, they had reached their pain limit and this was AWESOME. Knowing that the pain wasn’t increasing, was a good thing and gave me confidence.  I decided to compartmentalize the pain and just go, so we did.  We reached the aid station, I ate chips, filled up with ice water and moved on.  We were at mile 45.9 and I was excited, I had less than 5 miles to go and I wasn’t dead yet.  There was more running than walking, (to be clear, my running was at times was no more than an exaggerated shuffle, but I felt like I was flying) I was smiling and my goal was to get to that last aid station.  We reached the last aid station, I loaded up on potato chips, filled my bottles and that is when I heard Nicole ask how far we had left, the answer…1.79 mile…. less than two miles.  I looked at Nicole and said, “Let’s go”.   We “flew” down the path, across the road and past the alligator infested swamp.  We followed the twisting path to the main road, and as we turned to the home stretch I still had this weird fear that I was going to cramp up and not be able to get to the finish.  I looked at Nicole with ½ mile to go and we high-fived, I was very grateful for her pacing me for the last loop, and my excitement to finish was mounting.  With a quarter mile to go, I heard, but couldn’t see Andrea, she is my biggest fan and she was screaming my name, I removed my Orange Mud and my second fuel belt, and took off running.  I ran as hard as I possibly could, pumping fists and pointing at my beautiful wife.  I ran through the finish line, and when Rob handed me my medal, I didn’t feel anything except joy. When I crossed the finished line, I expected to break down and cry. But there was just too much joy, all I could do was smile.  I was happy to not have to move, I was happy that I finished with power, I was happy to be an Ultra marathoner.  I was happy.

Potato Chips/Fuel – I struggled throughout my training for this race, finding the correct fuel.  I was excellent at finding the ones that would make me hurl, but I never dialed it in 100%.  I had finally settled on using my Heed from Hammer for calories and lots of water.  I ate plenty of watermelon and oranges during the race, but it wasn’t till Andrea handed me those chips at mile 17 that a switch was flipped.  It was a game changer, because up to that point my stomach just wasn’t right.  They calmed my stomach, seemed to give me energy and the salty, crunching texture tasted unbelievable.  I kept up with my Heed (aid stations had Heed which was a big help), made sure to continually take water in, and ate those chips…. lots of chips.

 

Training – This was my first experience with running an Ultra.  I trusted my coach Jon Sinclair and each week was an adventure as I completed some of the highest mileage weekends ever. I started training in November 2016 and missed only 3 runs of my schedule.  I logged 840 miles during the training period, and every mile was done with a purpose. These miles were completed each week as I traveled the country.  I ran in 11 different states, a cruise ship and couple of Caribbean Islands, in snow, rain and blazing hot temps.  I learned to embrace the long slow run.  My longest runs were Saturday’s with 24 miles in the morning and 6 miles in the afternoon, followed by Sunday’s with anywhere from 6-10 miles.  When I entered those dark miles between 33 and 40, it was then I felt the benefit of all those long miles.  Although I hurt, I never quit, and I had strength that was unknown to me.

 

Pain and Achievement – I have never had to dig so deep to finish a run as I did this day.  I learned more about my ability to deal with pain and fatigue in that final loop, than I have in all 16 of my marathons.  I was happy, because I had set a goal, worked extremely hard and achieved it.  This is the lesson that running teaches you, that can carry over into your everyday life.  Set a goal – Work Hard – Achieve it and be proud.  I had made many deals with myself during the race.  I told myself, that I needed a break from running, I agreed with the pain and decided that Half Marathons would be the longest that I would race moving forward.  But unlike other races where, you reconsider after the run when the pain subsides, I began to reconsider within the dark miles.  I realized that I was battling through them and that I could do better next time.  I don’t know if 100-mile race is in my future, but I am not ruling anything out now.  Listen, I finished a 50 mile Ultra Marathon…..what else can I conquer?

Reist – Nicole – Andrea

 

Thank you:

 Trail Racing Over Texas put on a spectacular race.  Rob Goyen and his staff understand how to give a “pure” running experience.  Volunteers were top notch and the day was memorable.  Brazos Bend State park was a wonderful venue and the park rangers were coolest.  (no one was eaten by an alligator…)

 

I am thankful for Jon Sinclair and his patience with Clydesdale runner, that asks a lot questions.  His confidence that I could run 50 miles and his plan to get me there was awesome.

 

Thank you to Nicole Berglund, for suggesting this race.  Being there for Andrea and myself with the preparation and running that last loop without pressuring me, but always being an encourager.

 

Most of all thank you to my wife Andrea.  She supports all my outlandish dreams, has confidence that I will achieve them and is always the loudest at the finish line.  We are a great team.

 

50.40 miles

10:59:29

Brazos Bend 50

Needville, TX

 

 

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Instagram – runhardreist

 

 

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The Day the Music Changed – A Runners Story

November 16th, 2016

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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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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 will run again…I am a runner.

GoRun-BeEpic

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Starting Over – 16th Time is a Charm

November 8th, 2016

I am starting over, for the 16th time.  I have a dream and the number of times I have failed is fueling this desire to succeed instead of diminishing it and allowing me to quit.  I have run 15 marathons and still have yet to get it right.  There have been some….better than others – my 2nd marathon still remains the only one that I completed with a negative split.  Now this next statement may not seem to make sense, although my marathon times have gotten faster but my performance has gotten worse.  I have become intimate with the “wall” and proficient at the “final 2-mile shuffle”.  So here I am, coming off of two of my worst performances in the marathon and WHY DO I HAVE SUCH HOPE?  Because each time I fail, I am challenged to improve the areas I am really bad at (on race day).

Here are some of my most classic finishes:

2013 Chicago Marathon – I was crushing it, I remember distinctly crossing the 18-mile mark and thinking how awesome it was that I was on BQ pace.  What seemed like seconds later, right after the 23 mile sign you could find me sitting on the img_0096curb looking like I was fighting with an invisible alien, otherwise known as full body cramps.  I finished that day in 3:44, the goal was 3:20.

 

2014 Portland Marathon – My goal this day was to simply PR and at that time it was 3:42. I ran with my good friend Devon who is very fast and she was pacing me.  We were all good and well ahead of pace until I threw in a 10:39 at mile 24 and finished that day at 3:43.

2015 MO Cowbell Marathon (The PR race) – This race had all the makings of greatness.  I cruised through the miles with little or no stress and as I hit mile 21 not one cramp or negative thought had dared entered my mind.  As I approached mile 23, I had to double check to make sure somehow I hadn’t left the course and found quicksand to run through, because the pace had slowed and I was forced shuffle home.  I was ecstatic to have broken 3:40 but discouraged with my late race performance.  Goal was 3:30, my finish time 3:37:42 (current PR)

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2016 MO Cowbell & Marine Corps Marathon – Both races started with such promise and slowly spiraled into sadness.  In fact, at that The Marine Corps Marathon, I actually had to have a frank discussion with a Medic just to let me finish…which I did with my arms raised.

What can we take away from these examples?  It is clear that I have a problem finishing marathons at my designed goal pace.  It is even clearer, that I have serious fueling issues, as almost every race has included a point in which the power immediately goes out.  When that power goes out, it is one of the worst feelings you can have as a runner, because there is no real way to get it back and you are often so close to your goal, it literally hurts your soul.  The one thing that you read though, was that I finished each of those races, often against my own wanting to finish.  I had serious discussions with myself with all the reasons of why I should just sit down and wallow in my self-pity, but it was other runners that encouraged me, pushing me to the finish line.

So what am I doing about it?  This summer before starting my training for the last two marathons, I admitted to myself that I didn’t know what I was doing and went searching for help.  I found it in a knowledgeable, at times snarky, but always supportive running coach.  And all though the last two marathons were disasters by the clock, I was able to eliminate the things that I was doing right and feel confident in knowing that my fueling was the key.  But now the challenge remains…………how do I fix it?

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The running calculators that are accessible have simply not worked for a large “Clydesdale” like me.  I apparently don’t process glucose and fat as effectively as I need to.  In fact, there is very little information out there for runners that are on the larger size (I am 6’3” and 205lbs) that want to run sub 3:30’s.  Sure there are those runners that are just naturally gifted – but I am not that guy.  I need help with this fueling issue, I am going to keep trying until I crack the code and when I do, I am going to spread that information to the running world.  There are many of us “Clydesdales” that want to run fast, but the calculators are not designed for us.  Often the generic calorie calculators end with the range of 180lbs and up, that is very general for what is needed to effectively fuel for a race. When you finally find a calculator that includes over 200lbs and all it tells you that you are going to have to take in 10 gel packets during your race, you make a funny face and do it.  But when it doesn’t work, you go back to the drawing board.  Here I am, drawing up a new plan, looking to “crack the code” of my fueling.  I am excited to be starting over for the 16th time.

Question:

Are you a runner that has “cracked the code” of your fueling?  Whether you are a “Clydesdale” or not, I would love to hear how you figured it out.  Send me an email with your story.  runhardalwaysfinish@gmail.com

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“Little Kids and a Skunk” – Stories from a Traveling Runner

June 27th, 2015

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.

Little Kids

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.13228_784883328249641_9003659057166373459_n

The Skunk

#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.

Final Thoughts

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)

1 – 2:26.4 0.37 6:38

2 –  2:29.1 0.37 6:40

3 –  2:26.8 0.37 6:37

4 –  2:27.0 0.37 6:36

5 –  2:23.7 0.36 6:37

6 –  2:25.4 0.37 6:37

7 –  2:22.0 0.37 6:28

8 – 2:18.9 0.37 6:13 (Skunk Interval)

Cool Down – 2.54 miles 9:20 pace

Total Miles – 9.08 miles

GoRun – BeEpic

www.runhardalwaysfinish.com

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Training 2.3 – The “Rest Day”

June 14th, 2015

Training 2.3 – The “Rest Day”

Date – 6/10/2015

Runners always get asked how and when they started running and there answer almost always starts with, “I never thought I would be a runner”. I am no different, but how I started was a bit stupid, I was a bit stupid.

The Beginning 
In 2010 my sister in law up and decides she is going to run a marathon in honor of her mother, who has beat breast cancer twice, at the 26.2 with Donna Marathon in Jacksonville, FL. When she finished this race, she was very clear to challenge her unsupportive brother in law (me) to try and run a marathon. I accepted the challenge and then I didn’t train very well and when I stood at the start line in my cotton socks, no band-aids and never having run more than 8 miles, I figured I was ready.

Here are some things that happen to an unprepared marathoner:
-You don’t eat or drink because you are afraid to stop and use the porta-john (as if time was an issue!)
-You are confused why people keep offering you Vaseline; I figured it out in the shower later.
-I started with a banged up foot, I ended up with 2 displaced fractures and a broken toe, Nice.
-Medics followed me from mile 23 begging me to quit and when I finished, they  put me in a wheelchair while calling me names. (Deservingly so)
But guess what, I was hooked. I finished in 5:43:44 and I made the loud proclamation that I would be back and I would break 4 hours. I subscribed to Runners World, I went to the running store and got the correct shoes, I trained my butt off, and I was doing it right this time. And when I returned one year later, I ran 3:59:10.

2012 Finish 3:59:10

p 2012 Finish 3:59:I knew I had found something that drove me to set goals and then work to accomplish them.

I have run 10 marathons up to this point and my desire for the finish-line never wanes. What I didn’t know was, what an unbelievable community that we as runners are a part of and I wanted to try and make it better. I travel over 200 nights a year all over the U.S. and I get to run in so many different states and towns. I have been able to see all types of runners, fast, slow, big, or small and they all have one thing in common, they run. I am part of a community that survives on support from others. I started a page for my family as we all started running, to help encourage each other and at times talk a little smack. That page has grown into something I could have never imagined and it is so inspiring. Runners that I will never meet find and give encouragement through the page. Nobody cares who’s fast or how far they run, because all runners deserve a high-five! The page name came from my wife as I ran that first marathon. She stood on that course all day and found me at so many mile markers and screamed “Run Hard, I know you will Finish.” She believed in me and I figured I better believe in myself, so I finished.IMG_1920
What drives me to run? I want so badly to qualify for Boston. My marathon PR is 3:41:42 and my qualifying time is 3:25:00. It seems like a stretch, but I believe I can do it. So I keep pushing and I keep running. I run because I want to encourage others to keep fighting. I want everyone to experience the finish line at least one time. It can be that one time that sparks a fire. Running has shown me that I am tough and that I have a little bit of awesome inside me; I just need to believe it.
Quotes that help me:
Let effort, not speed define you as a runner.
You are STRONGER than you know.

The “Rest Day” is done

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Training 2.2 – The “Pain in the Parking Lot” Run

June 12th, 2015

Training 2.2 – The “Pain in the Parking Lot” Run

Date– 6/9/2015
Time – 6:05am
Location- Redmond, Oregon
Distance – Total 9 miles
Warm Up – 1.5
Speedwork – 6
Cool Down – 1.5
Duration – Total Time – 1:13:26
WUp/CDwn – 26:39
Speedwork – 46:57

The Night Before
I could see it from my hotel room, the parking lot that I had just driven around verifying the distance of exactly .5 miles. I sat on the edge of the bed, having just finished 6 miles, staring at the parking lot, knowing that tomorrow was speedwork. I laid out my gear for the morning, while at the same time I was hanging up my shirt to dry from the run just finished. It was right then, right at that moment that it hit me, marathon training had really started. My sleep was important, not for my looks (too late for that), but because the grind of 18 weeks of marathon training truly starts when I have to do my first speedwork session. Time to sleep, get rest, I am chasing Epic.

Chasing Speed
The alarm shrill fills the room at 5am and my eyes open, then they close. Again at 5:05am my eyes open, then they close. 5:10, it somehow it gets louder and I sit up and try to remember what State I am in. I part the curtains to see if the parking lot is still there, the sun is fighting its alarm clock as well and is slowly rising. I dress, find my shoes and my watch, I sit on the edge of my bed and read my training schedule to confirm the misery in front of me.

12×400 repeats – Goal time of 1:40 per interval (6:40 pace) with 400 meter recovery. 1.5 mile warm up and cool down.

I drank some water, ate some food, grabbed a towel and headed out of the room to the parking lot. I am chasing Epic

The Work
I eased into the warm up looking to chase the grogginess from my head and the lead from my legs. It was cool and sunny, perfect weather for the workout, and the warm up continuedimage

I toed the crack in the asphalt, like Meb at the start of Boston. This split in the ground, would be my start and finish line for the next hour, it was time to go, it was time to chase Epic.
1st – 1:36 I hit the Garmin and took off. At 100 meters I knew I was flying, I looked at the watch, 5:55 pace. “ Whoa, slow down Clydesdale, you have 11 more of these”. Epic is found at the finish, not at the start, so I smoothed it out.
2nd – 1:33 Adrenaline must have be flowing, I CANNOT keep this up!
3rd/4th/5th – 1:38/1:38/1:37 Starting to find a rhythm
6th/7th/8th – 1:35/1:40/1:37 I got a little greedy with 6 and paid on 7
9th/10th – 1:37/1:36 Control your breathing, focus on pace, dig deep
11th – 1:35 “I have ONE more after this, push Reist”
Final – 1:35 At 300 meters I felt strong, I was smiling like a kid that got to stay up late and eat ice cream. I crushed that last 400 meters.
Average Time per Interval – 1:37 (6:28 pace) the best set I have ever done.

Final Thoughts
I sat on the curb of the parking lot outside my hotel room, drinking my water as sweat poured down my face. My yellow dry-wick shirt was anything but dry and my hat had been tossed awhile go. I looked at the spot where I had finished the final steps of my cool down and grinned from ear to ear. I had set a goal, it was outside MY comfort zone, and I had conquered it. That is my definition of EPIC and on this day I had caught it.

The “Pain in the Parking Lot” Run is done
Shoes – Brooks Adrenaline GTS15 Black/Red
Total Training Miles – 34.58

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Training 1.1 “The Pacer” Run

June 5th, 2015

Training 1.1 “The Pacer” Run

Date– 6/4/15

Time – 6:15am

Location-Santa Clara, CA

Distance – 6.21 miles

Duration – 53:55styk

Recap:

It was anything but warm this morning in Santa Clara.  The chill was just enough to make shiver and wonder if I should have dug around my suitcase for my gloves, but that would just be crazy, it is June. I set off on the familiar path that I have been running for the last month while working in California. The first mile borders a busy road and is very nosy, and then it angles back into neighborhoods and is surprisingly peaceful amongst this busy city. The path was busy today with bike riders commuting to work and retirees out for morning walks. I was scheduled to run 6 easy miles for Day 1 of training and I was doing a 3 mile out and back from my hotel. The first 3 were a bit uncoordinated and I could find no real rhythm.. As I was approaching the turnaround point, I passed another runner coming towards me and I recognized the familiar Boston Marathon Finisher shirt she had on, the shirt I so strongly desire to earn one day. I waved and made my turn and proceeded to fall in behind her about 75 to 100 meters back and we ran. I say “we” ran, but I don’t think she had any idea I was behind her. Her pace was so even and her stride so smooth, I began to feel my own run smoothing out. I followed her for 2 miles, until we hit a crosswalk where I caught up and to be honest may have freaked her out when she saw a 6’3” Clydesdale rolling up behind her. She slowed to the side and gave me an odd look, so I smiled and said “nice run” and kept on going, she waved smile back and said “Thanks!” I noticed she then fell in behind me for the remaining of the path, then headed into the neighborhood. Little did she know how she helped me on this run, I am grateful to my “Pacer”

 

For all 10 marathons, I have trained almost every mile by myself. I wonder what it would be like to run with a group. Being on the road 200 nights makes this difficult, but I think there should be a way.

Who has a suggestion on how I could find running partners as I travel the U.S.?

 

Run 1.1 is done

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Marathon Minus a 5K – Respect The Run

April 29th, 2013

painIt is 2 days since the Illinois Marathon and it has been 2 days of trying to make sense of my epic failure. What were the factors that left me literally sitting next to the 23 mile marker with a teenager holding a walking talkie leaning over me asking “Sir, are you going to be alright?” How did I, a 5 time finisher of the marathon, end this marathon only a 5k short of the finish line? I was bewildered to be sitting in the medic tent and then in a van driving to the finish line. “This is not how you get here” I said to myself (and I meant that literally as the people driving the van got lost trying to return to the finish), FIGURES. I watched from the medics table as runners crossed the finish line and barely heard the doctor tell me how smart it was that I shut it down, the damage that could have done…blah blah blah, I wanted to finish. Yet the question lingers, What Happened? So after swallowing the disappointment, anger, and for that matter embarrassment, I have focused in on one word that I was lacking that lead to my failure, RESPECT. After several strong marathons, I got cocky. So what if I am dealing with Plantar Fasciitis and my training slowed to a crawl, pay no mind to the testy IT band that hurt so bad at the end of the last marathon in February, I will show up and run. Who am I to think that I can just put my shoes on pound out 26.2 miles without putting the work in, the marathon has a way of humbling you and let me say, I have been humbled. Here is a quick recap of the run, this will be short.

  • Mile 1 thru 18 Run at an 8:30 pace, foot with PF obviously hurting but it was not increasing.
  • Mile 19 though 21 – foot with PF pain increasing – stop whining
  • Mile 22 – ouch walking
  • Mile 23 – I went to the ground, I didn’t sit down, I WENT to the ground quick. I was dumbfounded, perplexed and as I tried to get to my feet, I slammed to the ground again, as my knee and foot were trying to get my attention. To the credit of the young volunteer that ran to me, he could tell this was not a runner just stretching, something was wrong and he had already called the medics. When the first one arrived, I was attempting to take off again and he looked at me, shook his head and told me to sit down. After checking me out, he told me I need to stop, the last time I ignored this command I ended up with a fractured foot and wife with not a lot of sympathy for me because of my hard head. So it was at that moment, I hit the button on the Garmin (which we all know means the run is over) and sat down.

So what do I do with this experience, how can I learn from it and get better?

  1. Respect the run or the run will humble you.
  2. If you start a run with an injury, it will not heal during the run; most likely you will end up with more than you had at the starting line.
  3. If you want results, put the work in, you cannot get by on past results
  4. Listen to the body, not the mind. Especially in my case, the body is much smarter.
  5. Deal with disappointment and failure but do not accept it as the end. Understand that it is what builds character and strength, but you have to get back up and fight again. Don’t quit.
  6. Set a goal and then work to achieve it, write it down, focus on it, and then go get it.

I was devastated in that van, but as we drove I saw all the runners and they gave me thumbs up, I found my wife and heard of her PR in the Half Marathon (by 13 minutes, yeah she is awesome!) and my mood was lifted. I read all of the great comments on the runHARD-alwaysFINISH page and I began to realize how great this community really is, I need to put this run in its place and go prepare for the next one. So that is what I will do.

Lesson – “RESPECT THE RUN or the run will HUMBLE you.”

-Reist Mummau

www.facebook.com/RunHardAlwaysFinish
Twitter @runHARDfinish

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