It’s the Little Things…

littething2014For the second year, I’ve had the privilege of organising a free kids race. We call it the “Little Thing Running Thing” after it’s larger brother, “The Spring Fling Running Thing“. The race is open for kids 10 and under. There is a 500m and a 1K. They get to make their own bib and the reward is simply a ribbon and a freezie.

The kids are there for the pure fun. They could care less about their time, it’s about running and getting a freezie. All of them, regardless of where they land in the pack love to hear how fast they are. They believe it and their smiles light their faces up.

There are times, when we take ourselves far too serious. We train hard, we look for that result and we quickly move onto the next challenge. Most of us barely finish one event before we’re looking for the next one.

The “little things” help me remember the important things in life and take me back to the basic principle. Run for Fun.

To Social Media or not To Social Media…

Some time ago, one of my favorite bloggers “Ashruns100s” asked a question that continues to resonate with me.

“ If you had no way of recording your run, no garmin, no facebook or twitter and no friends to brag to…would you still run and do what you do?”

Shortly after that on a local radio station, they were speaking to a fitness expert in Ottawa and he made a comment along these lines. He encouraged people not to post each run, each activity..UNLESS…it was truly something epic or different. He view was, that there was no need to post that which is just part of your normal routine. The people you are posting it to..already know you do those things.

Another friend of mine spoke to me about his concern with a growing number of “posers” or folks that aren’t all they are cracked up to be. They talk..but the walk is not exactly there and it’s very obvious. I too see this more and more.

This is something I have been turning over and over in my mind for sometime. As I think more and more on the subject. The question that comes back to me again and again is “Why?”

In the past, I have been guilty of posting like this, however I have stopped because for a runner to post “I ran 10K today, or a competitive athlete to post a “B” or “C” race result is basically the same thing as someone else posting what they ate for dinner. We all do it, we all know it. The exception to this of course , may be that new runner/triathlete/cyclist who is finding their “legs” and  boiling over with excitement and enthusiasm. It’s ok for awhile.

I have been watching the various posts over the last couple of months and I have noticed something very interesting. The people I really want to hear from, the ones I find most interesting, are very selective in their posting.

Check out Gary Robbins, his tweets mix up his epic adventures with those of other people and facts. Derrick Spafford has a mix as well, but rarely focused on his daily training despite the fact he has one of the longest daily run streaks in North America and he is an elite.

For me personally, it boils down to this

– Most people know I train daily, they don’t need me to tweet or post it

– Most people know I race through the season, they don’t need me to tweet or post it. And unless it was a real breakthrough race, they probably don’t care too much about it either.  In fact, most will not be able to understand a significant race from a normal race.

– I do this for me, not to seek gratification from others. While I am always appreciative of supportive comments, they will not make or break me.

So that leaves one final question? What about Blogs?

Well now…that is a whole other topic for a different post.

One final thing, this is just my opinion. You can agree or disagree…I’ll take no offense.

See Ya Ronner..

 

ronnerA friend of mine died yesterday. His battle with cancer is finally over, and he is free of disease that has been chipping away at him for years. 

I met Ron when I was 19. I was young, cocky and thought I was going places. Ron was in his 30’s and working shift work at 3M. I had just started working at 3M and was pretty sure my time there was going to be short. There was no way, I would be stuck in a factory.  Over the next few years, Ron was a good friend to me. Sometimes painfully truthful and sometimes patiently supportive. 

I remember standing on a mezzanine at work, watching an afternoon crew coming in and staring at this beautiful woman who had just been hired. 

I said to him “I don’t know Ron, there is something strange about her”. Ron laughed at me and just said  jokingly “ Oh God Corey, stay away from those!". 18 years later, that woman is my soul mate and wife.  He had predicted it he later told me after I said that.

Over the years, as I moved off shift work and into a straight day job, then into various leadership roles, Ron and I drifted a bit. He left 3M and started his own business and I left 3M and went to Wills, then Trillium. But whenever we met up, it was like old times, laughing and reminiscing. He’d tease me about my new found love of running, cycling and swimming.

His last few years were complicated, as the disease and medication impacted him. I struggled as a friend watching him change but I tried to remember who he was as my friend. A month ago, when I found out he was permanently hospitalized, I tried to visit him weekly.  Conversations were short with him drifting in and out of sleep.

When the news came to me, I was expecting it, but also shocked. So I did what I usually do when things are bothering at me. I went for a run.  I talked to him.  I thanked him for being a friend and spoke about some of my memories. I don’t know if he heard me, but I’d like to think so.

See Ya Ronner…

2 out of 3 ain’t bad…Good Life Toronto Marathon May 2014

 

I bet you just sang some of it…!!

 

Time 3 hrs 14 minutes. Placed 118 out of 1557 people.  17 out of 146 in my age cat and 113 out of 965 in my gender category.

Last year, I changed how I look at races. I decided to stop looking only for PBs and start chasing specific goals. I understood, very clearly, that this meant I would not see every goal each time I raced…or even each year. But to me it shifted my perspective away from short term to a more of a journey. It also reignited some drive in me.

The reality is, if your chasing a goal and you really want…you need to be prepared to blow up and know that it is going to take sometime to get there.

I went into the Toronto Marathon looking for a BQ and targeting a 3 hour race. The previous week was my last tempo run, and I managed a solid 23K at my desired race pace. I was very optimistic about this and I was feeling very good.

The course is great! Love it!! Running in Toronto is an experience and just when you start to get a little bored, you start the run on the waterfront.

The race, went down almost exactly to plan..with the exception of the last 10 – 12K. My nutrition was good, my pacing was good…I just was not able to hit. I consider myself a bit of tourist for the marathon, with most of my focus being 70.3 Tri’s or Ultra’s. The marathon is a different sort of race and it’s not one you can simply walk into with plans to compete. Just because you can run an Ultra does not give you the instant permission to get results at a marathon.

0 – 30K – I felt so good, and so confident. My Half split had me dead on and I was pulling back the reigns through the entire period. I know about that monster between 30 – 40K and I respect it. I was beginning to believe though, that today was the day…I was going to finally tame that SOB and ride it home. Nutritionally, I was fine and I took full advantage of the Water Tables, timing my gels to ensure I had something to wash them down with. ( Lesson learned from ATB in March).

30 – 42K – Ouch!! Right around 30K, I started to feel it. I was swearing a lot (to myself), because I was drifting and started losing place. My legs lost their spring and I slowly started seeing the dreaded 5:00 min pace creep in. I was adjusting my form, took my last gel…but it was not working. It was here, my old ankle injury started flaring and my left calf started tightening up. I also got very, very thirsty. I’m not sure what to make of this yet because I had been drinking pretty consistently. I honestly believe, that this is purely about time on the legs, at the pace….at the time and distance.

In total, I consumed 4 gels, 1 before the race, 1 at 45 minutes, 1 at 90 minutes 1 at 2:15. Bang on. I drank every table, typically a cup of water and gatorade.

( Translation: I need more training )

There is type of training that a friend introduced to me this winter and it may have some merit. It’s called the “Hansons Method” . These are two well known brothers who say that most people shouldn’t be worried about training for the long run. They need to train how to run on tired legs during the long run. Their method is slightly different and really focuses on getting you used to being tired at pace. I have been reading this book off an on, but I need to dive back in. It really seemed to be my “Achilles” this race. ( Bad Pun )

The other thing I can see, is that my form went all to hell and this really bothers me. From the pictures I see, my shoulders rejoined my ears and stride overextended out beyond my body again. Thus a heel strike, which is probably why my ankle flared up.

Oh well. All said and done, I move forward. I believe I will run 3 hours within the next year or so. Right now my focus shifts back to Ultra training. My next race is in July in Collingwood. I’ll be getting back into a 50 miler (80K) .

Moving On

Its funny, often the biggest changes in life happen when you least expect them. You may even fail to notice until you realise, that you’re already moving on and there is no going back.

Such is the way with me, and I have begun my transition on a path I have no clear line on. I just know it’s time to go down it.

Since I lost my grandfathers back in December, my world has been tilted and I keep waiting for it to rebalance. But it’s not, and I have come to the conclusion that it’s me who needs to figure out how to balance..not it.

Over the last few years, I’ve tried very hard to be something to everyone and tried hard to increase the running and triathlon community in our area. I’ve met some great people and learned many things along the way. Some nice..some not so nice. I’ve also learned to value my gut instinct and actually act on it. I have spread myself very thin and what was manageable became chaos and my anxiety came back. To add to the insult, a past scar has reopened and I need to figure out how to deal with it. I’ve ignored it for 35 years but now I need to find the strength to face it and I don’t….yet know how. None of this is coincidence.

My plan to start is very simple.

It is to be simple.

  • To sit around a campfire with my family
  • To pause running on top of a hill and simply look.
  • To ride a bike through morning fog and feel the cool moist air
  • To swim, and glide through a lake watching the world below me.
  • To write. As a teen and a younger man, I used to love to write. I have always enjoyed trying to express complex thoughts and emotions through words. I plan to go back to writing. 

All of this, may sound selfish, and it is. All of this will be for my family and I.