Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

Archive for the tag “motivation”

Race Recap: HyVee Half Marathon

The quest to play catch-up continues, and April/May were quite busy racing months! The HyVee Half Marathon was held on Sunday, April 26th as part of the HyVee Road Race series. It has typically been the culminating public race event in conjunction with the highly competitive Drake Relays, and this year also lined up with the RRCA National Convention. Since I was participating in the RRCA Coaching Certification program, it only seemed appropriate that I sign up for the half marathon as well. I’ve run this race in the past, most recently in 2012. At that time, it was known as the Drake Relays Half Marathon, and it has since been bought out by HyVee and restructured, including a new course. I had heard mixed reviews from friends about the new course, but the opportunity to run another “final” Iowa race with friends was too much to pass up!

Not only was I running the race this year, but I had been asked by a friend to pace him to a 1:45 finish, which was his half-marathon goal. Having just completed the Gambler Half Marathon, I knew that I could hit that mark, although it was a bit faster than one would normally aim for in a pacing capacity. I woke up far too early and met up with a few friends, including Tim, who I was pacing, and we carpooled down to the race in Des Moines. I often wonder how many additional hours of sleep my body would receive if I wasn’t a runner, and the early morning drive reminded me of that once again. Of course, I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world!

The calm before the race :)

The calm before the race 🙂

The course is fairly flat, with a couple of more significant hills at miles  5 and 10, but still with only a hair over 400 feet of elevation gain. We got there in plenty of time to pick up our packets in the morning and walk back to our conveniently close parking space to drop off our bags, which was nice. Since it is a local race, there were quite a few fellow Vardos in attendance, so it was great to hang out and chat with everyone before the race. The weather was cool and comfortable, perfect for running. Tim and I did a few strides near the car to loosen up our legs, and then we headed to the starting line. We found the 1:45 pacer as well, so we had an additional gauge of our time and proximity. It’s a fairly large field, but still very manageable, and we were off within about 30 seconds of the gun sounding.

The first few miles ticked off smoothly, and we kept our pace around 7:50, which gave us a few seconds buffer for the later miles. The route itself was actually quite enjoyable, and the crowd support was decent as well, which helped energize us and keep us on track for our goal. As expected, we gave a few seconds on the hill around mile 5, and again around the later hills. The aid stations were about 2.5 miles apart, and large enough to allow us to run through them and grab a glass of water as we passed. I’m a fan of running through aid stations in shorter races, and especially when they are large enough to prevent any major traffic jams as the running flock to the left or right for their water and Gatorade fix.

It was a great morning for a race!

It was a great morning for a race!

We rebounded after the first hill and knocked out some fast miles before approaching the longer hill around mile 10. At this point, we were squarely on pace and feeling good. I was able to keep chatting with Tim and run next to our ahead of him the whole time once the crowd thinned out a bit, which was nice for offering some encouraging words. He was cranking the miles out and looking strong, and our consistent mile splits were making me quite happy. By the last 3 miles, our pace was solid, and sticking to it became a bit of a game for me. Pacing has been one of the last skills for me to better understand in my evolution as a runner, and it was exciting to be having such a successful outing. Although there was certainly no actual pressure, I still felt a bit when it came to helping a friend achieve his goal, and I think that added intensity was just the boost I needed to stay on task.

HyVee Half 3

We entered Grays Lake with a few miles to go, and knew that end was closing in. One of the highlights of this particular race is the opportunity to finish on the iconic blue oval at Drake Stadium. As soon as we neared the finish and could see the stadium, we picked things up just a bit to ensure we would hit our mark. We made a final surge to the finish line and crossed in 1:45:17 (Garmin time)! It was fantastic to see the time and we were both all smiles at the end 🙂 We found friends that had already finished, and waited a bit for others, and then we headed over to the after party to replenish our calorie stores and celebrate a wonderful morning of running! Tim ran a fantastic, consistent, and well-paced race, and it was a pleasure to share the experience with him. Another #chasing42 opportunity was in the books!

RRCA Coaching Certification- Just call me coach!

It’s no secret that I love many different aspects of running. Heck, I wouldn’t be writing a blog otherwise, right? Not only do I love running itself, but I love the research that goes into deciding on workouts, races, shoes, nutrition, and many other aspects of running, and I love talking to other people about it. In many ways, I’ve brought the same research skills I use in my professional life to my running life, and they’ve served me well. Over the years, as I’ve learned more and more, I’ve really enjoyed being able to help new runners, and provide advice to friends when it comes to their training, nutrition, race decisions, gear, and various other running-related items. So, when I saw the notice last fall that the RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) would be hosting their annual convention in Des Moines this year, and they would be offering a coaching certification class, I knew I had to sign up. After talking through (and justifying) the expense with the epicurean, I pulled the trigger and registered.

RRCAConvention

The coaching class (and convention) was held April 23-25, and it was a fantastic experience! Since we don’t have a RRCA chapter in Ames, I haven’t been involved with the organization in the past so this was my first opportunity to not only go through the certification course, but learn more about RRCA and network with folks around the country. The class itself was broken up into different modules and covered a wide range of topics. We spent three solid days learning the ins and outs of coaching while getting to know each other and picking the brains of three wonderful coaches and instructors with countless years of experience. The schedule was broken down as follows:

Day One

  • Introductions
  • Coaching History
  • Types of Runners & their Training Needs
  • Running Physiology
  • Building a Periodized Program

Day Two

  • Coaching Nutrition
  • The Business of Coaching
  • Sports Psychology

Day Three

  • Building Training Programs
  • Injuries, Heat, Altitude, and Running Form
  • Case Study Work- Putting it all together!

It was clear from day one that a great deal of time and effort had been put into designing this course, which made the educator in my very happy and at ease with my decision. The course focused on all levels of running, which was nice to see and led to a very well-rounded experience. My own experiences running have mainly been the result of my own decisions, running with friends, and putting together training “programs” myself without necessarily knowing the “why” behind what I was doing. I can’t tell you how many issues of Runner’s World and online articles I’ve poured over since I started running, and there seems to be a new “go to” workout every month, which can make it hard to decide what is right for you, let alone what is right for someone else. This is where the information on physiology and training needs became very beneficial.

RRCA-1

I’ve certainly talked to plenty of runners that ran in high school and college and learned second-hand about some of the workouts they completed. However, that was not a reality for this asthmatic kid, so it never really sunk in. Spending time in this course discussing how to set up a specific periodized program based on running needs and goals was incredibly beneficial and probably the most interesting aspect of the course for me. I feel like I have such a better understanding of how to go about helping folks train for reasonable goals, and how to measure their progress and adjust their training accordingly, which is key when working with folks who have individual needs, goals, and life circumstances. The information on nutrition, business, physiology, and psychology all seemed to provide the “why” and the “how” for making those training plans a reality. The result was an incredibly well-rounded and information coaching course that met all of my expectations and more.

In addition to the course itself, we had the opportunity to attend various other aspects of the RRCA Convention, which only added to the overall experience. It was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by hundreds of people who are equally passionate about running as I am. I was able to make some new friends, share stories, and generally network. Once the course was over, we were required to take an online exam based on what we learned, which grilled us on facts, figures, and challenged us to put our new knowledge into practice. It has been quite a while since I’ve had to take an actual exam, and it was no joke! The threshold for passing is quite high so there was very little room for error, and I definitely felt a sense of relief and excitement when I submitted my exam and received my passing grade (with plenty of room to spare, thank you very much!). We also had to submit our CPR & First Aid Certification, which meant going through a new Red Cross Course. As a former EMT, I knew what I was doing and more, but I had let my certification lapse, so it felt good to get that taken care of before leaving Ames as well.

rrca_cert_coach_logo

What’s next? Well, I’d love to see just how I can put my new coaching skills and certification to good use. I am planning on looking into volunteer coaching opportunities, and will eventually explore starting a small coaching business that will allow me to take on private clients. In the meantime, if you are thinking about seeking out some coaching assistance with your running goals, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to work with you to help you achieve your goals and continue #chasing42 !

Cookies and Donuts Fuel Ultras

Hi there! Did you miss me? Remember when I shared just how chaotic the month of March was for the Epicurean and I? Well, April hasn’t been much better! Regardless, my apologies for the gap in my posts. On the bright side, I have a lot of wonderful stories to share, as this has been a busy month in my running life, as well as my life overall. You can expect some “catch-up” posts over the next few weeks as I share some of the exciting races, classes, and experiences that have enriched my running life this month.

The 3rd Bi-Annual Vardo Slumber Party

Training for longer endurance races involves a lot of planning, logistics, and miles. It also means training your body to run through the night and fight off the fatigue that comes from simply running at 3AM when you should be sleeping. Over the past few years, I’ve planned several overnight runs for the purpose of training my body to acclimate to those evening miles, as well as pace myself for the 50- and 100 mile distances. Luckily, I have an amazing group of friends and they have always been more than willing to come out and join me for some of those miles, and keep me company in the dead of the night.

I’ve been trying to squeeze in as many “one more time” experiences as I can in my final weeks in Iowa, and I wanted to fit in one more overnight run as well. So, on the evening of Friday, April 3rd, I scheduled yet another run. I used the same 5-mile route that worked so well last time, allowing for one loop each hour so folks knew they could join in on the hour no matter what.

I headed out to the party early, arriving at 9PM, and ran the route once by myself to make sure there were no problems with the course. It was a bit chillier than I would have liked (33 degrees) but the 30 mph winds from earlier had thankfully died down considerably. I probably went out a bit fast, which I seem to do quite regularly, but I was at least consciously trying to slow down. That counts for something, right? The run was scheduled to start at 10PM, and I had a surprisingly large number of folks come out to join me, which was AMAZING. The friends I’ve made and the conversations I have on runs have always been my motivation and source of energy, and I could feel all of that this time as well. The “event” has gotten to the point where it’s a part of our local running culture and people know what you mean when you mention it, which I think is really cool.

The first few loops went by rather easily, as they always do. We picked up some more folks at 11PM and midnight, with others heading to bed. It meant so much to me to have so many people come out, whether it was for one lap or five. I just loved seeing everyone. The infusion of jello-shots and pudding-shots from one of my friends offered a nice energy boost as well. Seriously, people, jello-shots are not given the attention they deserve as a refueling option! 🙂

You try getting a bunch of runners to stand still in the dark for a selfie ;)

You try getting a bunch of runners to stand still in the dark for a selfie 😉

 

After 4 laps (20 miles), my legs still felt really good, which I took as a good sign of things to come. On the 5th lap, we made an important detour to Insomnia Cookies for a late night snack. Now, normally I would recognize that a giant chocolate and peanut butter cup cookie might not be the best nutritional choice in the middle of an ultra, but the craving was real, the energy was high, and I had plenty of friends to support and partake in my bad judgment!

Insomnia Cookies- sound nutritional advice for any ultra!

Insomnia Cookies- sound nutritional advice for any ultra!

Luckily, the sugar bomb remained a dud in my stomach and I was able to tick off the next 2 or 3 laps with minimal additional discomfort. By 3AM, the crowd had thinned out considerably, but I still had an intrepid soul with me. I was 30 miles in and feelings pretty darn good. The normal late night nausea that usually hits me was a bit more mild than usual, and my legs were tired, but not sore. We picked up another runner at 4AM (well, traded one for the other), and kept on moving. By 5AM, I could once again feel the excitement of an impending dawn, and I perked up a bit. Daylight also meant more runners showing up for our regular Saturday morning run (which the route masters were kind enough to start at the same park).

The large group showing up again at 7AM was all the extra energy I needed to make a final push and knock out the remaining loops. The final loop may or may not have involved a much needed detour to Dunkin Donuts for a Boston Creme. They should probably sponsor me as a runner. Just sayin’. I’ll let the evidence speak for itself 🙂 I finished with 53 miles, and decided to stop around 8:30AM. As usual, I was wide awake again, although I knew that wouldn’t last much past my much anticipated hot shower. Despite some questionable nutritional choices, I had fueled really well, and stayed hydrated despite the cool temperatures. Both were facts I was quite happy about.

You're asking yourself why you've never stopped for a donut yourself, aren't you? It's ok. You can change that!

You’re asking yourself why you’ve never stopped for a donut yourself, aren’t you? It’s ok. You can change that!

Once again, this was a fantastic experience due to the friends that came out to run! As I drove home, I was a bit sad and wistful at the realization that this was indeed the last time I’d be able to have the event here. Don’t worry, though, the 4th Bi-Annual Vardo Slumber Party is being planned virtually, and I’m going to be all over Facetime. I might get a few different looks running alone in Delaware at 3AM and talking on the phone, but that will just add to the allure of the experience!

...and 12 hours of sleep :)

…and 12 hours of sleep 🙂

Training During Chaos!

Ahhhhhh! That was the sound of a deep breath after two weeks of complete and total chaos. My training for the past few weeks has been nothing if not interesting, and filled with alternative plans, added and subtracted routes, and unconventional strength-training. I’m sure everyone has found themselves in a position where training simply couldn’t be a priority in the grand scheme of other life events, and that was certainly the case for me over the past few weeks. However, as of yesterday at 1:30PM, some level of normalcy will hopefully be returning to my life. Sort of, anyway.

The chaos was the result of our packing up our life, fitting it into a POD, cleaning and selling a house, and moving in with a dear friend for the next 6 weeks. All of this happened while working full-time, and, in my case, job searching. It sounds like the perfect time to try and ramp up for some long spring miles, right?

You might recall me mentioning that the epicurean and I will be transitioning to a new home in Delaware this spring. Well, the time came to finalize the sale of our house, and that meant packing up everything we own and getting set to move it across the country. As it so happens, packing up a house is considerably more work than packing up a small apartment. Who knew?! (Ok, anyone who has ever done it realizes that, but it was new to us). It’s amazing how much you learn about your lifestyle when you pack up your home and get ready to move. You realize how much extra “stuff” you have but don’t need, and you get excited about living more minimally in the future. Well, at least that was how we felt. At any rate, the packing and cleaning took longer than we thought, as they always do, but we managed to empty our house and pack our life into a 16′ x 8′ x 8′ POD with no small amount of help from some incredible friends.

Moving with some great friends!

Moving with some great friends!

Working out to move, or moving to work out? 

Yesterday, we closed on the house and officially turned over possession. After many long days and long nights, it felt great to sit down for dinner and know we didn’t have to start packing and cleaning again when we were done. Throughout all of this, I’ve had to adjust my running schedule considerably to get in the miles I wanted and needed. This meant a few extra early morning mid-day runs (because getting up early on Saturday isn’t bad enough 🙂 ), and some strange routes. I somehow managed to keep my training on track.

Last night, as I was finishing up a celebratory 17 mile day, I realized my knees and quads were a lot more sore than they normally are at this point in the week. That’s when I realized just how much “cross-training” I had been doing for the last two weeks. I’ve gone up and down more flights of stairs, lifted more boxes, bent over to clean more surfaces, and stayed up later doing it all in the last two weeks than I ever remember doing. Moving was indeed the best “cross-training” I’d had all year, and I’m strangely thankful for it. My long run tomorrow morning is going to hurt more as a result, but as my legs repair themselves, I’m going to be better for it moving forward.

Finished packing and cleaning- our last night in our first house!

Finished packing and cleaning- our last night in our first house!

Life is going to be full of transition in the next month and a half. We will be living out of suitcases and traveling considerably. I’ve signed up for quite a few “last races” in Iowa before I leave, and I’ll be going through RRCA Coaches Certification training at the end of April. All of this will be happening while work carries on and the end of the semester brings with it much more work. However, there’s a lot of excitement on the horizon. There will be new roads, neighborhoods, trails, and races to explore, and new challenges to meet. You can expect some optimistic uncertainty from me over the next few weeks, but plenty of adventures as well.

Spring is finally in the air, so it’s time to get those legs moving! Get out there and make it happen 🙂 #chasing42

 

Challenges Are the Key to Living

I headed out for a mid-week run last night, without knowing where I was heading until I started moving. That’s the joy of beginning to know your body and know your limits, I suppose. You can put on your shoes, step outside, and find that the only limits on where or how far you wander are those artificially composed by the expectations of others. The wind was blowing hard (as it always does in Iowa), and there was a distinct chill in the air (as there has been for months now), and I felt energized by the briskness and the bounce it instigated in my step. Sometimes kinetic energy is the best heat there is, and I was determined to warm myself up. The miles sailed by, and I enjoyed absorbing the energy and life around me.

runtolive

Towards the end of my run, I saw a friend drive past, and I stopped to catch up. As we were chatting, the periodic tiny snowflakes instantly transformed into a whiteout! The large snowflakes were floating down sideways and adhering to our jackets and faces while we talked and we couldn’t help but laugh. She had injured her ankle some time ago, and had recently been able to take off the boot and was rehabbing it in the pool. I’ve known her since I started running, and her energy, determination, and free spirit have been inspirational to me on many levels. Seeing her, still in great spirits, reminded me that we all face challenges in our training and in our lives. Those challenges not only motivate us but they remind us that we are in fact alive. They don’t define us when viewed as problems, but they motivate us and help us continue to live our lives when we think of them as challenges.

We hugged, said our goodbyes, and I headed off to finish my run. I put my head down as I ran directly into the wind and snow, unable to see more than a few feet ahead of me, and I simply laughed as a big smile washed over my face. My fingers were cold, my cheeks were windburn, the snow was finding its way under my best fabric defenses, and I loved every second of it. I was alive in that moment. I was running to live.

I'm going to miss the winter beauty of this campus!

I’m going to miss the winter beauty of this campus!

I often wax philosophically to myself when I’m out on a solo run, and I value these internal conversations. Whether I’m on my own moving along some beautiful single-track, or plodding along on the side of a road in an open prairie with barren farmland all around, the reminder is still there.

So, consider these thoughts a quick peek into the slow streams and fast rapids in my mind:

– Metrics are important but the minutia can cause us to lose sight of the larger meaning behind our actions…so, turn on your Garmin, but collect moments, mental pictures, smells, sounds, and emotions with as much passion as you do pace, distance, and heart-rate!

– We can’t control everything, so trying is ultimately a waste of energy. This is something I still remind myself of daily as I fight some OCD urges and give in to others. Sometimes the best runs are the ones you don’t plan!

– Embracing the unexpected and the unknown, and taking charge of an adventurous spirit forces us to live. Adventures and challenges rarely come to us if we aren’t open to them. I still get that giddy feeling in my stomach before every run because I don’t quite know what to expect!

– You won’t find meaning on a treadmill. You’ll only find what you already knew was there when you dialed in your pace and stepped onto the circulating belt. We all run for different reasons, and the desire to be healthy is incredibly important. However, if running is about more than simply race results and VO2 max, then I’m a firm believer that you won’t find what you are looking for inside on a hamster wheel.

P.S. It’s not too cold. Ever. There are ultrarunners making their way across Alaska on the 350-mile Iditarod course right now. No excuses.

The unexpected moments remind me that I’m alive. They remind me to put everything I do in perspective, and they remind me why I run. I run to live. This, I venture to guess, becomes a far more holistic approach to training than the other way around. When you assume the opposite, you run the risk of finding yourself stuck on a revolving belt, unaware and unconcerned with the world around you.

“Everything we do really is just a little marker on the long road to death. And sometimes that’s overwhelmingly depressing to me, and sometimes it makes me feel kinship and forgiveness. We’ve all got the same ending to the story. The way we make that story more elaborate, I got to respect.”
― Joss Whedon

Running & Being: Reflections in Quotes

This frigid winter has left plenty of time to curl up with a good book, a warm blanket, a warm and snuggly dog and/or cat, and a cup of coffee. One of the many books on my reading list this year was Running & Being: The Total Experienceby Dr. George Sheehan. This classic running text was first published in 1978, and became a bit of a running bible during the rise of the sport, with Sheehan serving as a muse and wise sage for the burgeoning recreational running community. The title had been on my docket for a while, and I was excited to crack it open (although carefully so as not to damage the spin, out of respect to my conservator partner!). Even after almost 30 years, Sheehan’s words ring true and I found myself connecting with his thoughts and perspective more and more as I turned the pages. His writing style, half philosopher, half runner, appealed to my intellectual curiosities as much as running passions.

Numerous reviews of the book have been published over the years, so it would be a bit presumptuous to think I could add anything in that genre that had not already been said. However, I found more and more quotes that spoke to me particularly, and I thought it would be engaging, at least to me, to document those. Perhaps you’ll discover new meaning in the book, or an interest in it that will cause you to pick it up for the first time. Either way, there’s meaning to be found if one is open to letting it in. Enjoy!

Chapter 1- Living

Our day-to-day living may seem mindless to the mind and of no consequence to the body, but the heart tells us different. The heart is where faith lies. Where we find the supreme act of courage, the courage to be. To take arms against oneself and become one’s own perfection. (p. 9)

Chapter 2- Discovering

The runner does not run because he is too slight for football or hasn’t the ability to put a ball through a hoop or can’t hit a curve ball. He runs because he has to. Because in being a runner, in moving through pain and fatigue and suffering, in imposing stress upon stress, in eliminating all but the necessities of life, he is fulfilling himself and becoming the person he is. (p. 22)

Chapter 3- Understanding

So I run in joy and even afterward there is a completeness that lingers and is even restored in the long, hot shower. I am “away”, not in the mind but in its warm, relaxed, tingling happy body, the feeling of running still in my legs and arms and chest. I am still enjoying who I was and what I did that hour on the road. (p. 28)

Chapter 4- Beginning

Where fitness ends, self-discovery starts. The athlete who is in complete command of the skills of his sport comes to understand the person he is through his attachment to his particular sport and his response to the stresses and strains that arise within it. He finds out what he is made of. What his true personality is.” (pp. 45-46)

Chapter 5- Becoming

So let us forget about longevity. Get away from the idea of prolonging life. Let us realize the truth of Thurber’s dictum “There is no safety in numbers- or in anything else.” Despite exercise, diet and abstention from all the vices, we will die in our appointed time. That should not concern. It is what happens from now until then that is important.” (pp. 56-57)

Chapter 6- Playing

Play is where life lives. Where the game is the game. At its borders, we slip into heresy. Become serious. Lose our sense of humor. Fail to see the incongruities of everything we hold to be important. Right and wrong become problematic. Money, power, position become ends. The game becomes winning. And we lose the good life and the good things that play provides.” (p. 61)

Chapter 7- Learning

What is school for the student, wrote philosopher Paul Weiss, is leisure for the mature. A time when we devote ourselves to detecting who we are and what we can do, a time to understand the world and how it works, a time to loaf and invite the imagination to full activity, a time to exhaust ourselves in play and dance and celebration.” (p.77)

Chapter 8- Excelling

Boredom, like beauty, is in the mind of the beholder. “There is no such thing as an uninteresting subject,” said Chesterton. “The only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.” (p.92)

Chapter 9- Running

Running reminds me that at any age man is still the marvel of creation. With the passage of time, there is little deterioration of our physical or psychic powers, little worth thinking that is lost. The only important issue, as Rollo May said, is not whether a person is twenty or forty or sixty, but whether he fulfills his own capacity of self-conscious choice at his own particular level.” (p. 116)

Chapter 10- Training

Life is the great experiment. Each of us is an experiment of one- observer and subject- making choices, living with them, recording the effects. “Living”, said the philosopher Ortega, “is nothing more than doing one thing instead of another.” (p. 130)

Chapter 11- Healing

The athlete is medicine’s most difficult patient. His pursuit of perfection is an unprecedented challenge to what Cannon called “homeostasis” and Claude Bernard termed the “internal milieu,” the body’s inner harmony with its external environment.” (p. 147)

Chapter 12- Racing

I have no need for short-lived bursts of superhuman energy. My game is endurance. My object perfection. My race is a product of training, determination, and reason. Strong emotions often contribute nothing but stupidity. It is the fired-up, psyched-up runner who runs the most irrationally placed races.” (p. 157)

Chapter 13- Winning

Some think guts is sprinting at the end of a race. But guts is what got you there to begin with. Guts start in the back hills with six miles still to go and you’re thinking of how you can get out of this race without anyone noticing. Guts begin when you still have forty minutes of torture left and you’re already hurting more than you ever remember.” (p. 181)

Chapter 14- Losing

Sport is where an entire life can be compressed into a few hours. Where the emotions of a lifetime can be felt on the acre or two of ground. Where a person can suffer and die and rise again on six miles of trails through a New York City park.” (p. 189)

Chapter 15- Suffering

Why I began running is no longer important. It is enough that it generated a desire to run. Then the running itself took over. Running became self-renewing compulsion. The more I ran, the more I wanted to run.” (p. 197)

Chapter 16- Meditating

On the road I become a philosopher and follow the philosopher’s tradition. I affirm my own existence and no one else’s. I am occupied with my own inner life. I am constructing a system that will justify  my own way of being in the world. And discovering, as Emerson said, that there are thoughts in my brain that have no other watchman or lover or defender than me.” (p. 220)

Chapter 17- Growing

Running is a dangerous game. At one pole the danger is contentment. Running becomes so addictive physically, so habit-forming psychologically, that it takes willpower for me not to run. And it has a solitude so satisfying that I sometimes wonder if the hermit isn’t the supreme hedonist.” (p. 229)

Chapter 18- Seeing

The world belongs to those who laugh and cry. Laughter is the beginning of wisdom, the first evidence of the divine sense of humor…Crying starts when we see things as they really are. When we realize with William Blake that everything that lives is holy. When everything is seen to be infinite and we are part of the infinity.” (p. 246)

 

Race Across the USA: VA-Style!

I’ve been giving my 2015 race schedule a great deal of thought over the course of the last few weeks. My planning has been mildly complicated by the fact that the beautiful epicurean and I will be moving out to the East Coast in May for new opportunities (more on that later!). Thus, a whole new section of the country will be within driving distance, and that means researching some amazing races that weren’t economically feasible before, but now are within reach. I’m doing my best not to go crazy and register for every exciting race I see, but it’s definitely going to allow me to cross quite a few new states off my list and do a lot of exploring on trails and roads I’ve never seen.

A few months ago, I read an article about the Race Across the USA. I was immediately intrigued by the possibilities and quickly navigated to the route to see if it would be passing near Iowa. Alas, they were taking a southern route, but they were ended the journey in Virginia, and I happened to have some amazing friends in Virginia that might just be up for a little challenge. The entire race serves as a fundraiser for childhood obesity initiatives through the 100-mile Club. If you feel so inclined, I would be eternally grateful for any donation amount toward those goals! In addition, the small group of runners completing the entire 3,080 mile journey are being studied as part of a research project to examine the physiological effects on endurance athletes. Additional participants have the opportunity to join this core group of runners across the various states, either tackling an entire state, or running 4 back-to-back marathons. Although the though of covering an entire state did cross my mind, time wouldn’t permit. However, I am excited to be able to run the last 4 marathons of the entire race, across Virginia, and ending at the White House!

RAUSA-Map-v2-1024x576

I was able to convince my amazing Virginia friends to join me, and I can’t wait for the experience. As it so happens, I’ll now be able to drive out there instead of fly because we’ll be living out there by the start on May 30th. My plan is to treat this experience like any other 100K or 100-mile event (we’ll be traveling a total of 114 miles), and train accordingly. However, I’ll be throwing in a few more back-to-back training runs, and I’ve added a second two-a-day to my weekly schedule as well.

RAVA Logo

I’ve got some other great races in the mix for 2015, but you’ll have to wait until next week for the official unveiling! It’s going to be a busy year, but things are already off to a great start. Be on the lookout for more information about how you can share your race stories with Chasing 42 as well!

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