Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year, New Goals

With Christmas cookies slowly disappearing, I know the new year must be approaching quickly.

Like many others, I like to sit down in late December and make a couple of goals for the coming new year. I try to stay away from the cliche "lose this many pounds" or "not eat chocolate" and set attainable goals that I can work at continuously throughout the year.

While I haven't ever shared many of my resolutions in the past, I thought I would share my running-related ones this year. My hope is that you all will help to keep me accountable, and that the added pressure of letting you all know will motivate me to stick with each and every goal. Maybe it'll even encourage you to set some running-related goals for the new year.

Without further adieu, the following is a list of running goals I have set for myself for 2011:

Complete five marathons. (Signed up for 3 already so i'm on my way)

Run every day of the year. (Minimum of 2 miles a day and 20 miles a week)

Run 2011 miles. (Cliche, I know)

Train for and finish a 50 mile race in January of 2011. (Avalon 50 on Catalina Island is my goal)

Well, that's a lot of miles. I better get out there and get goin...

Just RUN

Running in the rain is uncomfortable. It's hard to see, your clothes feel incredibly heavy and dodging puddles and cars turns an easy morning run into an obstacle course. However, the moer uncomfortable it get's the more exciting the challenge becomes.

This morning I woke up to the sound of a steady rain outside my window. I looked out to see a dark sky and rain falling into large puddles. I did my best to shake off the morning drowsiness and I suited up for battle.

There's something about a challenging run that makes it easier for me. Some would call it adrenaline, others might say I have a problem, but the harder the run the more excited I am to try it.

Life is that way sometimes, isn't it? We dread the mundane, ordinary lives many of us live and seek a challenge to get our blood pumping. In my opinion, it's crucial to continuously challenge yourself, to force yourself beyond your comfort zone and to push yourself. It can be a phyical challenge, or it can be emotional, mental or even spiritual, but the best way to be your best self is to push those limits.

Push yourself today. Find something exciting and challenging and give it a shot. It could even start with a simple run in the rain.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

PPD Due to Rain

There are races in California year-round, unlike many other places in the U.S. that actually have seasons and deal with 'inclement weather'. Here in beautiful So Cal we are so spoiled that four straight days of 'inclement weather' has sent everyone into a rain-soaked craze, myself included.

Sure the bad drivers on the freeway get under my skin and of course getting drenched on the walk to my car isn't fun, but what's really gotten to me is the time i've missed running. My body has become so accustomed to daily exercise that it literally craves it every morning. Not starting my day off with a run throws everything else out of sync.

It hasn't rained like this in years and for the sake of everyone's sanity, I hope it stops soon. Christmas time makes everyone crazy enough as it is, let's not rain on that parade.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Maniac #3205

I am very happy to report that by running 3 marathons in a span of 35 days, I have officially become a "Marathon Maniac" ( Although my goal is six marathons in six months, I am pumped to join this group of runners and will represent the Maniacs in my next race.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The 50K Mud Run (Race Report)

The many months of training all came down to this day. I stood in the freezing cold as my mind started to wander..."Looks like it might rain...I hope my legs hold up...Dangit, I have to pee...Is that rain?"

Sure enough, less than 30 second before the start of the race the skies opened up. With very little time to worry about it, we were off and running. The rain felt nice at first, a lot better than blistering heat, I thought. A few miles in and some easy hills behind me, I was feeling pretty confident.

Then came the mud.

Slipping and sliding in the mud might be fun for football, but no one is laughing when you're running 31 miles covered in the stuff. Slow ascents became a crawl (sometimes literally) and quick downhills turned into a gentle walk, hoping not to slip and fall off a cliff.

As many of you know, I challenged myself to spend the entire race in a posture of prayer, committing to 31 people/groups and to spending time talking with Jesus. I cannot describe how enjoyable my time with Him was. Prayer has never felt so natural to me. I don't know if it was being in nature, or seven plus hours of solitude, but I felt His presence with me the entire time.

Quick sidenote: Thank you to everyone who prayed for me during this race and to those of you who were of the 31, you all encouraged me and helped me perservere. And to those of you not written on my arm, rest assured you were prayed for at some point during the race.

Back to the mud...

My energy was running low and my legs were starting to feel the pressure of the hills. With about 20 miles down and 11 or so to go, I started to question myself. I had been running for well over five hours and my body was feeling it. I knew my family was at the next aid station so I pushed on.

When I saw my family waiting for me, I thought i'd let them know how I was feeling...

In all honesty, I couldn't have been happier to see them. I stopped for some food, Advil and red vines and was quickly on my way. About 6 miles and a killer ascent left...

Seeing my family gave me a huge boost, but it was followed immediately by an 800 foot climb over a mile and a half stretch. I pushed myself, knowing that once I reached the top, it was all downhill to the finish.

As I reached the final aid station with three miles to go, I looked at my watch and realized my goal of finishing under eight hours was still well within reach. My legs felt strong as I flew down the hill, running my fastest miles of the day.

As I came to the final half-mile, I was shocked that my legs felt so fresh. I spent a few minutes praising God for carrying me through before I kicked into a "sprint", passing a few people on my way to the turn just before the finish. With my family screaming and yelling, I crossed the finish line pumped up and full of energy. Official finishing time: 7:39:44
The course, the people and the mud were all unforgettable and my time with Jesus will forever change the way I pray. I signed up for this race hoping to push myself's safe to say I got a lot more than I bargained for.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


First off...

Two days remain until I take on my biggest challenge yet, the 50K. The ultramarathon has been a goal of mine for a while now and i'm ecstatic to finally have the opportunity to conquer it. With that being said, I know it will not be easy.

Fifty kilometers is just over 31 miles, or five miles longer than a full marathon. Now, five miles may not seem like much, but ask any distance runner and they will tell you that the farther you run, the longer the miles seem. Given the added mileage and the extreme elevation change (13,000 ft of change), I am aware of the intense pain i'll have to endure for seven or eight hours.

I don't want to be misunderstood, I am not throwing these stats out there seeking any praise. Believe me, if it was praise or attention I was seeking I would find a much less painful way to get it. I simply share these things with you all so you will have a better understanding of my stories.

A change of pace...

In all my previous races, the question wasn't if I would finish, but when. A slave to the clock, I would stress over my pace and where I placed among finishers (even though it was normally in the middle of the pack). This is the first race i've wondered "if" I will finish. The pending rain and therefore muddy trails can be my worst enemy, but it's going to take a natural disaster to keep me from finishing this race. Six, seven, eight, nine or even 10 hours...I will cross that finish line.


Often on my morning runs I will take about five or 10 minutes to talk with God. I'll turn off the ipod and just pray as I run, most of the time I get distracted by something on the road and forget about it altogether. I think I can say the same for my prayer life in general. More often that not, when I remember, I will pray for a few minutes and then go off and continue with my day. I have God available to me at all times and I fail to realize that he is with me and wants to hear from me.

Prayer is a HUGE part of having a personal relationship with Jesus and it is something I have failed at over and over again. Several days ago, I was on a run thinking about my prayer life and realized that just like running, prayer takes work. Just as I carve out time to run in the mornings, I need to make time for prayer. I may not always be in the mood to run, but I do it anyways because I know it strengthens me. The same goes for my conversations with God.

As I run this Saturday, I will forego the iPod and instead spend a day talking with my Savior. I've made a list of 31 people/groups/families/topics to use as a guideline and have sought out prayer requests from others. I know that following Jesus takes work. It is imperative to be intentional, to seek out the challenges and to conquer them in His name.

When I set out to conquer the trails this Saturday, I know I won't be doing it alone.