Inspiration 10K, the Un-cancelled run

inspiration-10kI have never done anything halfway and running is no exception.

Today marked my seventh virtual race in the last six weeks and the completion of four of sevens races with Run the Edge‘s Un-cancelled race series.

A week ago today I ran a marathon in brutal wind. Today I ran a 10K under a gorgeous blue sky. My body is still not fully recovered from the marathon and yet my body surprised me today. I would’ve been happy to finish the 10K in under an hour, but after the first mile I realized I had more in me than that. I ran each mile faster than img_9949the next and chased down a new goal of finishing with an overall 8:59 minute per mile pace. While this pace is not a PR, it was a great gift for as hard as I have been pushing myself lately. I came in under the 9 minute per mile pace in the last tenth of a mile and pushed hard to the end. 

The theme for this week’s run is inspiration. As I ran I thought of those who inspire me. I thought of a lot of people in our church community who live in poverty and yet show great resilience, perseverance, and faithfulness. One of those people is a woman named Kim Hairston who has been through her own journey and spends the bulk of her time and energy helping people who are homeless and vulnerable. Kim is a person who inspires me. Yesterday she sang a song that was the high point in our worship service. See this video for a person who is one of my inspirations:

Humor Marathon, the Un-cancelled run

When Run the Edge created the Un-cancelled project with an opportunity to sign up for one of five events, I signed up for all five and I laughed.

When I scheduled this marathon I had no idea what the weather would be like today, but I went out in to it anyway and I laughed.

When the wind blew so hard it bent my body, I laughed.

When an 18 wheeler drove by and caused an even greater gust of wind and sprayed me with water, I laughed.

When sleet hit my face, I laughed.

When I made a wrong turn and added a couple of unexpected miles to my route, I laughed.

When I finished a marathon 28 seconds slower than my goal, I laughed.

When I put out the best effort of any marathon I have ever run while running the last 10 miles in to a 25 mile per hour wind, I laughed.

The theme for this week’s Run the Edge is humor. We can’t control everything that happens to us, but we can run in to the wind of life and laugh at the rediculousness of it all.

Hope half-marathon, the un-canceled run

Today was my second run in the Un-canceled series, a half marathon. In addition to running 13.1 miles, this virtual run came with the following invitation: If we can hope, then we can pull through this dark time together and come out the other side. If we can hope, then we all have something that keeps us going right now. In the words of Hellen Keller, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  And we will overcome it.

hope-halfThis morning’s run was a beautiful journey, a welcome break from so many reports of infections and death. The sun shone in a blue sky in a way that we seldom experience in Ohio. I ran a familiar path around Hilliard and up and down the banks of the Scioto River. Water rushed over the Griggs Dam and spring blossomed all around as a reminder that life wins.

Hope is all around us

Hope is found in families out walking together

Hope is found in neighbors who call each other as they make a rare trip to the groceryimage0 (1) store

Hope is found in people who volunteer and work at free food markets so all people can have access to healthy foods

Hope is found in trees the bud and flowers that bloom

Hope is found in artists who freely give of themselves so our souls can experience beauty

Hope is found in people who practice and proclaim hope so others can find their own

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Operation Inspiration Virtual Run

While much of the world sits frozen in fear,
I can still run.
While we wait for the full brunt of the storm to hit,
I can still run.
While thousands of families mourn the death of a loved one,
I can still run.
While busy city streets become empty,
I can still run.
While faces become covered in masks,
I can still run.
While many struggle to breathe,
I can still run.
While people carefully avoid each other on sidewalks,
I can still run.
While nature buds and blossoms with life,
I can still run.
While kids mark sidewalks with chalk-art of hope,
I can still run.
While “love cures and love wounds”
I can still run.
While community grows even among social distancing,
I can still run.
While people around the world move together,
I can still run.

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Gratitude 5K, the Un-cancelled run

The opportunity of social distancing, and stay at home orders, is that it makes us gratefulimg_9699 for many things that we previously took for granted.

This morning I went for a three mile run on a path I’ve run hundreds of times. There was nothing remarkable about the distance I ran or the neighborhood I ran through.

However, today was the first race in the series for The Un-cancelled Project. Designed by Run the Edge, the same people who created the “Run the Year” programs. The focus of Un-Cancelled is “about refusing to allow fear to make us angry or unkind to others. It is about moving our bodies, focusing on the positive, and celebrating the things that make us the most human.”

This project came with the opportunity to register for a virtual 5K, 10K, half marathon, img_9691marathon, or ultra. In typical over-functioning form I signed up for all five. Why not?

Each week is also coupled with a theme. The theme for this first week is gratitude. Runners are invited to think of things they are grateful for as they are running.

This morning I went out for the first of five events, the 5K. As I was walking out of the house I decided I should run the 5K with integrity, and not simply jog for 3.1 miles. However, I had just ran 19 miles on Monday and have not rested or done any speed work recently. 

I was surprised when, after the first mile, I looked down at my watch and saw I was averaging an eight and a half minute per mile pace. I was able to maintain this pace throughout the run and made my last mile the fastest. Finishing in 26 minutes and 6 seconds is no record, but pretty respectable 72 hours after a long run. This run also moved me passed the 500 mile mark for the year, I am on pace for 2020 miles for the year.

The human body is a remarkable thing. These days we focus so much on viruses and infections that we often forget how amazing our bodies are. 

The ability to move, to run, under a blue sky… to breathe freely without pain… to smell and to taste… to be surrounded by the people we love and who love us… a million things we take for granted are all gifts of grace.

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COVID 19 Mile Social Distance Run

Why continue to run if there is no t-shirt, finish line, or medal involved?

img_9480I haven’t run in a race since August. Since then, I have run over 1,000 miles and have maintained a level of training where I could run a marathon or 50K if the opportunity arose. Timing didn’t work out for a fall race in 2019 and the coronavirus has resulted in the cancellation of spring races in 2020.

Today I ran the “COVID 19 Mile Social Distance Run” which came with the instructions to “run as far away from any other people as possible… this is to be done alone… cough into your elbow.” This is the first “race” I’ve run in over six months and didn’t look like any other event I have completed on ultrasignup. I didn’t pin a bib to my chest or eat cookies from aid stations. Nonetheless, I did see white tailed deer and bison, spent four hours in nature, and breathed fresh air.

img_9467Running is not just about getting the bling at finish lines, it is about the journey.

With races being cancelled, why continue to run? What is the point of training if there is no race?

Here are 10 reasons to continue running:

  1. Running is a great break from the non-stop, stress-enducing news cycle.img_9470
  2. Running gives you a pause from the barrage of coronoavirus associated emails.
  3. Running is a source of aerobic exercise that strengthens your immune system.
  4. Running releases endorphins that make you feel good.
  5. Running is one of the few activities that can be done while social distancing
  6. Running connects you with nature
  7. There are no sports on TV, go do your own sport
  8. Running burns the extra calories you’ve eaten while binge watching Netflix
  9. Running is a safe activity without exposure to other people’s germs
  10. Run for the sake of running

 

2019 The Foolish Year in Running

I img_8250am a foolish man.

Only a couple of weeks in to the year I thought it was a good idea to go for a trail run on the ice and snow—gravity and my arm taught me that was foolish.

A couple of months later I thought it would be a good idea to do an 18 mile run when I started having pain four miles in–my hamstring taught me that was foolish.

A month later, after not having any regular training for six months, I thought it would be a good idea to follow a librarian with a gash in his forehead for a 50K with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain in Kentucky–foolish.img_6021

Although I don’t enjoy running in the summer heat, i followed this with a 100K in June at Eagle Up, setting records for longest run ever and longest time on feet (emphasis on longest time on feet).

A month later was another hilly 50k in the midst of a July summer heatwave that I only completed because a fellow possum refused to let me quit. August included two runs of over 26 miles, one was supposed to be 52 miles and got cut short, the other was supposed to be 25 but i made a wrong turn and got to explore some extra parts of the Tuscazoar.

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My favorite and least helpful trail marking of all time.

In a five month span I ran five ultras/marathons. My thinking was to stay trained up and run races as my schedule allowed. Why go through the pesky cycle of building up and resting when you can just keep running? Foolish.

By the time the summer racing series came to an end I had raced myself in to training shape and was healthy and strong. While I was in my best shape the last four months of the year, the opportunity to race wasn’t there. I was all trained up and nowhere to race.

With the injuries listed above, and a strong allergic reaction to California, by the end of October I knew I would not reach my goal of running 2,019 miles for the year. I spent the last two months pushing to pass my own personal record of 1,800 miles. With a week to go I only had to average four miles a day, this seemed like the most attainable goal, until a sinus infection hit. Suddenly I missed three days in the last week and used running to try and clear my img_8249sinuses. On the final day of the year my infected body pushed through 13 miles to finish with a new record of 1.801 miles for the year.

I don’t have a lot of running plans for 2020, but will continue to embrace opportunities as they arise. In the spring I’d like to enjoy the community of the Seamus O’Possum and struggle up and down the Mohican hills at Forget the PR. Over the summer, I’d like to do something at Eagle Up, maybe 50K or relay, and battle the allegedly “runnable” course at Tuscazoar.  In the fall I’d like to push new limits once again with either a 24 hour or 100 mile run. For the third RTY2020_Sticker_4_f41fe7e6-bc19-4c02-8b00-74262e7418a4_400xyear in a row I’ll be taking a shot at the Run the Year goal of 2,020 miles.  Third time is the charm.

Here’s to another foolish year in running.