Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekly Running Log
11/12/12 - 11/18/12

Total Weekly Distance: 44.5 Miles
Total Weekly Time: 6 Hrs 15 Min (approx)

Course: Leon Creek Trail
Distance: 9-ish
Time: Left watch at home; maybe 1 hr 10 min…or so
Notes: Legs felt strong, cooler weather was nice.  Saw a huge 10 point buck on the trail.  Rut’s about to get going here in TX

Course: Faust Bridge/Landa Park Loop
Distance: 5.5 mi
Time: 46 min
Notes: Cold/Wet.  Ran with Will bundled up in the Bob Stroller. 

Course: Leon Creek Trail
Distance: 8.5 mi
Time: 1 hr 6 min
Notes: Legs a bit tired from the late run yesterday.  Hit my stride 2 miles in; just cruising after that.  Good run.

Course: Eisenhower Park
Distance: 5.5 mi
Time: 47:53 *PR
Notes: Legs were strong, both uphills & downhills were fast; great run, with a personal record. 

Course: Off Day

Course: River Road/Hueco Springs Loop
Distance: 16.25 mi
Time: 2 hr 28 min
Notes: Felt great throughout the run up until the last ½ mile; outside of my left ankle tightened up.  Stretched it out, and finished the run out; feels pretty good now. 

Course: Off day

Final Thoughts on the Week:

Hill climbing was solid this week.  Legs would be fatigued at the top of the hill, but bounced back quickly shortly after summiting.  Left ankle may be suspect, but we’ll just have to wait and see how it feels this next week.  It was a good week of running; feel confident afterwards.    

Music Video of the Week:

The Lumineers - Scotland

Awesome song from The Runner in Winter video with Tony Krupicka

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Transition into a Runner

Hello.  If you've found this blog, then you must be at least remotely interested in running, and more specifically, trail running.  That’s awesome.  I like those things too.  Now we have something in common.

Seeing as this is my first exploit into the blog realm (about 5 years behind everyone else), I’m going to introduce myself, and attempt to shed some light on how I ended up on where I am today as a runner.  So, about myself.  I’m 28 years old, I've been married for 3 ½ years, and I have a 19 month old son.  I live in Texas, I work in Internal Audit, and am also in the Coast Guard Reserves; if it floats in the water, I can probably drive it.  I have a Jack Russell Terrier and a Lab.

I can pinpoint both the point in my life where I realized that I hated running, and also the point where I realized it was something I loved, and needed on an almost daily basis.  It’s entirely possible that the level at which I hated running far surpasses my level of affection for it now.  I despised running.  There was nothing I wanted to do less than go for a run.  Some clarity on this may help; my only exposure to running was found in a hot South Texas summer with full football pads on, because someone on the team dropped the ball, missed the catch, etc.  You get the idea.  I was being punished because someone else messed up, and running was the medium that this was delivered through.  What was there to like?  I wasn't the one who dropped the ball, or missed the catch; see, I really just wasn't that good at football.  I was 6’4”, approximately 160 lbs, and was the second string Center on a team with a losing record.  The first string guy was like a bowling ball with an overabundance of aggression, so my lanky legs rarely touched the field.  Given my stature I should have been a Wide Receiver or a Corner Back, but the problem was my lack of speed.  I was, and currently am, not a sprinter, so that basically left me playing on the Line since all you had to do was stay put.  It just took me way too long to get my long legs moving.

I should have taken the hint that nature gave me, and realized that my forte did not lie on the football field, but I’m German, and as my wife can attest, I have a somewhat high degree of stubbornness (a fantastic trait for running ultras, I would find out 10 years later!).  Cross Country, and swimming for that matter was not where the popular kids were at, and so I stuck with it for all four years of high school.  Please don’t get me wrong.  I loved playing football, and have always happy with my decisions.  Some of my very best friends to this day were from out there on the field.  I have no regrets.  Hindsight is 20/20 though…

About 3 years ago, I found myself a newlywed, working for the State of Texas at a mind-numbingly boring job.  I was going stir crazy, so I started looking for other options.  I grew up on the TX Coast, and wanted to get more exposure to the salt than was what presently available in Austin.  After about 6 months of searching, I found myself enlisted in the Coast Guard Reserves, out of shape, and about to ship for Basic Training.  So, I started running to get back in shape.  I would run during my lunch break around the UT campus area, and was logging around 3 miles a day.  I found out, that in this scenario I didn't hate running; I looked forward to those runs, until overuse sidelined me with two bum knees due to sore tendons (my first exposure to the wonderful world of overuse injuries!).  Basic Training came and went in New Jersey, and it was good to get back home to my lovely, now pregnant wife. 

I got back from Basic Training, and was in the best shape of my life, so I figured I’d keep up the running.  I would run 3 miles around Lady Bird Lake, and then call it quits.  One day, I thought to myself “why not run 5 miles; it’s only 2 more...”  I set out for what was then the longest run of my life, having fully come to terms with the fact that I would be moving forward for at least 40 minutes.  I breezed through those 5 miles like it was nothing.  So over the next month, I decided to run further (7 miles), and then further (9 miles), and then I finally hit the illusive 10 mile mark, and felt great.  I realized that I didn't hate running at all.  I loved running around that lake.  I loved the sound of the gravel trail, the ducks on the pond, the rowers on the lake; I just loved being out there.  When I was running, my mind would empty.  It was the simplicity of the run that kept drawing me back for more, for longer.  Little did I know that this new “hobby” of mine would, not only still be around, but would grow exponentially over the next couple of years. 

I have made the transition from being recreational runner, to running ultras.  I have shaped and molded my running preferences and beliefs through experience, and trial & error.  I have transitioned from a runner with too much gear, to a minimalist runner that only carries the bare essentials.  I have weathered over-use injuries, pulled muscles, mysterious pains & aches, and am still logging the miles weekly.  I look forward to continuing this blog; I hope you'll stick around.