Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Runner's World: How Running Changed Me

Yesterday I was working like any other day.  During my lunch I hopped on over to the few websites I usually check during my lunch, ESPN, Blogs, Runner's World, etc.  While I click on Runner's World, which I so enjoy to do on Mondays to see what magic or great stories come up, and behold I am on the front of the website.  Me and my old fat self posing together like two different people.  I am runner community famous now.  Which I think is enough for me.  When I started this journey I never thought I would really get to the point where I am happy with myself, let alone be on the front of the Runner's World Website.  But I am and I am proud of it.  Right this second I am a bit overwhelmed with everything.  I mean 1.4 million people follow the magazine just on Facebook itself.  There I am with my big belly sticking out at my max weight right before I started Weight Watchers.  But there is also the new me, holding my daughter, and very healthy.  I have to remind myself that.

When I filled out my questionnaire a while ago, I never thought I would get a response.  A few weeks ago the author at Runner's World, Jen Van Allen, emailed me and asked me a bunch more questions.  She mentioned to me I would be in the book that it was all part of.  I didn't expect to be on the cover of their website.  I was just excited to be in the book (hopefully less readers than social media and the website).

Article - Runner's World
Here are a few things I want to remind people when they read it.  I did this for me, my kids and my wife.  Nobody else.  I enjoy being healthy.  I enjoy running.  I am not perfect.  Nor will I ever be.  But that is not the point of self improvement.  I try to be a better person each and every day.

Also, be your own inspiration.  I love reading other people's stories more than my own.  In fact, I hate mine.  I would prefer to talk about everyone else.  It's sort of funny because I wanted to spend the whole interview talking about how awesome the people I was pacing with the training team.  They are the ones who inspire me.

On top of this crazy day, I was scrolling through the #shamrock Facebook page and I found this wonderful photo of myself in some wonderful attire.  I must say, I look good in tights.

Shamrock Facebook Page

I wouldn't be able to do any of this without amazing people around me.  This includes my wife, Lori, My kids, and the rest of our family.  It also includes our awesome local running store, Running Etc.J&A Racing Training Team, and the lovely people I got to run with each and every Saturday for the past 4 months, #TEAMAWESOME.

ON A SIDE NOTE: I need to stop doing crazy things.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Shamrock 2015

Be warned, this is going to be a long post.

So I have spent the last 111 days pacing a group of people to train for this past weekend.  I didn't really know what I got myself into.  I didn't know what to expect.  I didn't even think I was going to enjoy it as much as I did.  But every Saturday, I woke up when most people were still sleeping, I ran through torrential down pours, snow, ice, single digit temps, injuries all to enjoy a few hours with some amazing people.   I remember my first Saturday as the pacer, and as a newbie in the running community I didn't know what these people wanted from me.  What they wanted and needed was just someone telling them that they can do it.  I remember when I met Julie and Jacqueline, both individually told me they weren't runners.  Yesterday, they both finished their first half marathons.  It was great getting to know these people.  It was great getting yelled at when I was grumpy and I wasn't talking to my team.  It was great watching them smile after they finished. Thank you #teamawesome

So back to the weekend........
I took Avery to the expo.  This year was great because I knew what I wanted and I knew what to expect.  Last year I was pretty overwhelmed.  Avery got to meet a few of the training team.  Avery also got to enjoy the fast lands of the expo lobby floor.  She enjoyed crawling every where.   It is so much more fun knowing people at races.  it makes it so much more social.  Last year I felt like a fat outsider.  From the training team, I learned that runners come in all shapes, sizes, goals, and times, and that's what makes races so much fun.


So Saturday morning was a ton of fun.  For the training team, there wasn't as many because most concentrated on the Half or Full.  But none the less, the race was a ton of fun because I took my time and I still PR'ed.  My last 8k was last year, so I didn't really have a good comparison.  The party is always pretty fun on Saturday because most the participants Saturday get wilder where as Sundays are more of the hardcore runners.  It was great meeting everyone back at the Training Team area.  It made it so fun to celebrate with each other.  


Well, here it is where it gets a little crazy.  Since I paced the 12+ minute group, I didn't really have someone to run with at the start of the race.  I knew I wanted 2:10 and I wanted to take my time.  I know physically that I could probably do 2:00 if I really pushed myself but I knew anything above 2:21 was a PR.  About mile 5, I ran into Carla.  She's like the really bad ass cool mom of the training team.  She is always super positive and always happy.  She is the epitome of what running is about.  Oh, I forgot, I decided to jump into the seashore park to pee because I didn't want to wait in the lines.  Great idea until I jumped into thorn bushes.  But still worth it.  Back to Carla.  Good thing about Carla is that she is a pro, she has done the race a lot and she was right on the pace I wanted.  It was great talking with Carla for 7-8 miles.  We kept each other at pace, we talked, we laughed, we thanked all the volunteers.  It was great to have someone to run with.  We passed our friend and fellow training team member, Kelly, at mile 12.  She was hurting, so I dropped back for a little bit and talked to her.  I told her to just fight it mentally even though it was a physical issues.  She was having issues like I have with her IT band in her hip.  it hurts like hell and it just sucks.  She still kicked butt for her first half.  I ran and caught back up to Carla.  We had a great time finishing.  I didn't find out until later but we both PR'ed.  She was so excited.  I can't wait to see the pictures.

So, here is where it got stressful.  So, I was in corral 6 and my team was in corral 11 and 13.  So I basically had to wait an hour worrying about them.  But once they started slowly coming in I was excited.  All of them came strolling in smiling and happy.  Tired but happy.  It was awesome hearing their stories.  It was awesome listening to them talk about everything.  I couldn't of been more proud of them.  They kicked ass and just overall worked their butts off.  
On to the celebration.  Man, what a party.  It was great seeing everyone just relax and enjoy themselves.  Knowing you just accomplished what we just worked hard for is so much fun.  It was great seeing everyone celebrate with their friends and family.  It was great seeing the team celebrate together.  Music was great, the team space was awesome, the massages were heavenly and they company around us was perfect.

Side story:  So, I always joked with my team how I was jealous that ladies have the best options for outfits.  So, friday at the expo, I saw these awesome pants that J & A were selling.

So with a few beers of encouragement and some wonderful team members, this happened.

This is what happens when you have a great team.  These pants are a symbol of how awesome my team really is.  And all I can say is thank you.

And for the obligatory baby picture.  This is why I do this crazy stuff. This why I became healthier.  I did it for my family.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

12 Miler and the Stomach Bug

So do you know what a 12 mile run does to your body?  Do you know what it does to your body when you get a stomach virus right after?  Well, this guy can tell you.  Man, this weekend went from crazy awesome to crazy bad. Friday I had the monster all day.  She had thrown up and we didn't think nothing of it.  We did some shopping, had lunch, and headed home.  Saturday morning we had our #trainjanda #shamrockon15 big event.  The training team opened the run to the public.  It was a lot of fun.  My group kicked butt except an injury of one of #teamawesome on her way to the run.  She slipped on ice and got hurt.  Get better Jackie.  Anyways.  The run was awesome.  The party after was great.  Then.......

All hell broke lose.  I went to get new tires on my car.  When I was there, I instantly needed to throw up.  Which an Auto Shop is not the cleanest places to throw up in.  Anyways.  It sucked.  The fast version of this story is that when you run 12 miles and then get a stomach bug, you get really really dehydrated.  To the point where your body cramps up and you start to slur words.  I can say this.  I was pretty scared.  I knew I was just super dehydrated but I did not like feeling like I had to control over my body.  My hands cramped up and I couldn't open them up.  I was mumbling because I couldn't move my mouth.  Thank god for a combination of Gatorade and Ginger Ale and a ton of water.  You know your body isn't working right when you don't pee for 24 hours.  Anyways.  Moral of the story is that it really sucked donkey balls.  But thank god for friends.

I can now officially say I am a parent.  I have received the gift of love from my daughter.  Here's some pre-death pictures.