Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mental Game

Two Saturdays ago I set out on a run with a couple of friends in the Whiskeytown hills.  We were planning on being gone for about 3 and 1/2 hours but after about 3 hours we realized how depressingly far we were from our end point.  Right about then, I lost a battle in my mind.  I began to hate running.  I was angry that we were so far away, fearful that we were drinking out of a stream because we had no water and defeated about the hills that were bound to be awaiting us. 

Up until this point in my life, I've never lost a mental battle like this in sports.  If I set my mind to something, I accomplish it.  This time, I slipped.  My thoughts began to take me places that I couldn't pull out of.  I was desperate.  There were several hills we came to that made me want to weep.  All I wanted to do was lay down and cry until someone came and rescued me.  I have never felt so mentally defeated in my life.  After walking for miles, we were picked up at mile 24 and had been on our feet for 5 hours and 5 minutes.

That was an important run.  It taught me that I can get through desperate times as long as I don't let my mind spin out of control.  It taught me how important water and calories are.  It taught me that I'm not a quitter.

Fast forward to today.  We set out on the same run today.  I had my mind made up that I would not quit and that I would finish the run.  I maintained my hydration and calorie intake and decided that pace didn't matter, finishing did.  The run was difficult, just like I remembered.  But I finished the full 25.5 miles and crushed my time from a couple of weeks back finishing in 4 hours and 50 minutes. 

The hell run made me stronger.  Mentally stronger.  Physically stronger. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


So, here's an update on my "training".  I use quotation marks because the word training seems so serious.  Maybe its just the way I've always heard the term used, but it has always carried an air of negativity in my mind.  So we'll call it playing.  That sounds better.

I've played a lot over the past few weeks.  I'm on pace to hit my first 100 mile month in running and 95% of those miles have been in the mountains surrounding Whiskeytown.  As Billy Brown says, I've "earned my view" on numerous occasions.

In addition to the trail runs, I've been spending some time running in my New Balance - Minimus shoes (minimalist shoes).  I can feel my feet and calves getting stronger from those runs but the main high points are the "cool-off" sessions plunging into the Sacramento River.

What other fun playing have I been doing?  Well, I spent some time kayaking on the Trinity River a couple of Saturdays ago; never been kayaking but it was a blast!  Pretty sketchy rapids through Hell's Hole but nobody died so I guess it was a success.  Although not that great of a work-out, kayaking was super-fun! 

Then, to top it off, spent some time house-boating with Anna and our friends last weekend which was a ton of fun.  Tubing kicked my butt, as did wake-boarding but the highlight of the trip wasn't the exercise, it was the beautiful surroundings and quality time with great friends.

Now that I've reminisced about the past few weeks, I need to drink some water, eat a snack and get ready to go play on the trails early tomorrow morning.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm not a blogger.

I don't have a lot of excess time and I don't blog.  In fact, I'm pretty proud of myself that I was able to set up a blog page.  So, this begs the question, why am I doing this?  Not sure.  I guess that I am looking for a good way to document my adventures and my training on something other than Facebook. 

This way, I can document my progress without blasting big long messages on Facebook. 

I love to run.

Its more than a matter of being in shape.

Running takes commitment.  Our society isn't characterized by commitment.  Look at marriages.  Look at our obese bodies and our obese credit card bills.

Nothing is fast when you run.  Running doesn't come easily and its not something to do halfheartedly; or you will hate it.  That's why most people don't run.  They can't get past the discipline and into the reward.  That's ok.  Its not for everyone, but it is for me.

Recently, I began running trails in Whiskeytown.  Ever since my first trail run, I haven't had a burning desire to run on pavement.   There is something remarkable about being miles away from civilization surrounded by mountains and creeks that puts life into perspective (more on that in a later post).  When I'm not with my wife and my daughter, I want to be on a trail - nowhere else.

Here's my plan.  I'm going to:

1) Document my runs (time, distance, terrain, etc.)
2) Talk about my training (preparing for an Ultra-Marathon 50K trail run in October)
3) Discuss various adventures (mountain climbing, kayaking, etc.)
4) Make observations about my life

I'm not going to be religious about blogging but I will try and update frequently.