if it is ever going to be, it first must begin

Tomorrow is the Shamrock Shuffle, the last Sunday in March and the beginning of running season. My outfit is laid out, bib pinned to my outer layer. My check bagged packed. Alarm set and breakfast is sitting in the counter.

Tomorrow will not be a pretty run: 8k in 30 degrees after nearly six months off . . . that’s ok. Tomorrow my season will begin.



Last night I dreamt about running. I was trying to determine the safest path to run at that time of day. Everyone kept giving me round about answers. . . I just wanted to run.

It’s in the single digits outside, so that’s not going to happen today, but soon.

you run the race you trained for

I didn’t think I would start the year off with a running analogy, especially since I have not run in a while; but the statement is true for most of what life throws at you.  I think that trick is knowing when you are in training and knowing when you are in a race.

Any time you leave your house to go for a run it is go time, today when I make my dreadmill debut – it will be go time; but this is all a part of training.  Every day when you face the many different aspects of your life you are in training the “races” are relatively rare but when they come, they matter.  Going back to the analogy: Chicago offers the full array of weather between April and October which means that you get the opportunity to train in cold, heat, humidity, high winds, darkness, full sun, amongst the cyclists, tourists and dog walkers, with and without water stations – the benefit to all of these elements that can make a run less than ideal is that you have to deal with them.  When you deal with them, in most cases on multiple occasions, you learn how to best deal with them, they are a part of your training so when your race day arrives you know how to handle these curveballs.

Well, this new year or our resolutions can be seen as “the race” and chances are we are going to encounter many of the same elements that were deemed as unfavorable last year.  See all the things that keep you from achieving your resolution as training opportunities and acknowledge when you successfully meet them head on.  If it is hard for you to get to the gym, be happy when you do instead of just beating yourself up for not having a great workout.  If you are trying to eat healthy but have soft spot for artesian doughnuts . . . enjoy the balanced meals so that the doughnut is a true treat.  Maybe shopping is your vice, try switching your gratification from now owning a “thing” to owning a bank account with a larger number.  We all have an area of our lives that we would like to improve and as long as we will have a tomorrow that means that this is still a training exercise.

It is too cold for ME to run outside but I’d really like to go for a run, so I’m committing to at least one mile on the treadmill.  It’s 1 degree Farenheit outside . . there’s no race in MY life that requires this training.  However the mental stamina of dealing with the treadmill is of use.

New year, always improving me!  Happy 2018 :)

“do epic sh*t”

that was my favorite marathon sign that was not made for me personally.  I told one of my friends that I wanted to run the marathon because I wanted to do something that was not ordinary.  Ordinary is a very subjective description: people who run marathons are said to be 1% of the population, on October 8th I was one of 40,000 runners.  Those numbers don’t exactly sound like I’m doing anything thats so unique but it DID feel very extraordinary to me.

Unique or not I’m going to do it again next year: I’d love to help another great cause and I plan to train for a faster run.  Making this personal commitment left me with a decision to make regarding which charity I would run for this time.  It is difficult because there are so many charities that do so many great things, I however am nothing if not loyal and when I think about training (the process of going from not running through winter to crossing the finish line) I know what team I should run with: in 2018 I will run as on official member of Team World Vision.  They say that they “go further together” I felt that to be true while training for the marathon and I see it still as we all adjust to our new normals.

RANDOM THOUGHT: You know what was really wild?  My heart and my lungs got me through the marathon like a champ!  I know, of course; but I used to think that running for that long would leave me winded.  I was not a runner when I thought this, my only experience was sprinting for the train in the morning, and that STILL gets me winded, I just recover a lot faster.
I was congratulated yesterday on having finished the marathon, I told them that year ago I hadn’t even run a mile.  It’s possible, get out there and do (more) epic shit!

my current running watch is NOT cutting it

This may end up being more of a rant . . . for Christmas I got the Garmin Forerunner 235 HR; but the heart rate monitor did not work.  I wore it for a few days and while I enjoyed the other “smart” features I knew of a product that could do the same but better.  So I changed to a series 2 Apple Watch using the NRC+ app to track my runs.

Initially everything was great, then my miles increased and I started having problems.  The app would only include certain data (pace, elevation, heart rate).  As the miles increased even more the watch would die or I would lose large chunks of data.  Because I read all of the reviews and understand battery life I always have heart rate and music turned off for the longer runs (over 8 miles).  This did not help.  I tried initiating the run on my phone, I tried initiating the run on my watch – still incomplete data at the end of a run.  I interacted with the apps tech support on multiple occasions and the information was just gone.

The marathon day arrived.  I put my phone on do not disturb, turned off music and heart rate, initiated the run on my watch . . . it died and left NO RECORD WHAT SO EVER of my run.  It was my first marathon but somewhere along the way I learned that my experience was more important than whatever data I would have collected.  I was still upset but put it in perspective and could get over it.

Today I ran for the first time in 2 weeks, a local 10k (NO high rise buildings to block signals, moderate crowds vying for signal but an urban area with adequate signal none the less, and short distance).  First problem: for some unknown reason the app would replay the same song over and over again so I had to go into the music and forward to the next song.  There may be an easier way to do this and it is not impossible that I did something that made this happen but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to undo it and this is not something that should so easily be engaged (this happened throughout the summer, I just forgot about it during my brief hiatus).  About mile 5 I saw the second major problem: the circular dots of the app loading . . . followed by the “START” screen, so now my watch and phone are NOT synched and as predicted I had two copies of the same run. UGH!!!!

So, I may have a deep appreciation for Nike’s aesthetic appeal but I do not love their app developers.  Apple I’m also mad at you for allowing another company to brand your product without making sure that their stuff is up to par.  I CANNOT recommend the Apple Watch/NRC+ combo for anyone training to run a marathon and question its usefulness for shorter distance training.  Like a pair of dedicated shoes, it looks like I will have a dedicated watch for running.