Sunday, April 27, 2008


Torpid - the word probably best describes my current state - benumbed works, as does phlegmatic (used in the pejorative); but torpid is hard to misunderstand. So, what's the problem?

After my numerous injuries last year, I decided to take some time off, drop all races from my schedule and just run easy for a while ... get back in shape ... and then ..............

Well, to hell with that idea. What was I thinking anyway? I'm a classic hyper-competitive boomer; with no focus, with no deadlines, with no consequences, I'm quickly slipping into my pre-running habits. My weight has ballooned up over 25 lbs, with all the attendant problems and my motivation has hit rock bottom.

So what am I to do?

1) Get off my ass and sign up for some races - The astute reader will note that I signed up for the Arizona Road Racers 5K Summer Series, 5 races for $20 - that's a hard deal to beat (of course they are all run in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area in the middle of the summer - but that only builds character - if you're not sweating, you're not having fun).

2) Get a plan - As much as this pains me to admit, I'm working my way through Cool Running's Couch to 5K plan. Yes, I know, I've run 2 sub-4hr marathons, several 30Ks, 20Ks, 1/2 marathons and more 10Ks than I can remember; but at 195 lbs, it's a brand new world for this body.

3) Cross training - Even though the mid-day temperatures are approaching 100F, I am keeping up my daily commutes to work. It's only 4.5 miles and I get there in around 20 minutes, but it's still 40 minutes of cross training I wasn't getting before. I'm also trying to fit in a 20 to 30 mile ride on the weekend. I'm still riding my mountain bike with beach-cruiser tires - so it takes a bit of work to push it along at 16 to 18 MPH - but that's the point, I think.

4) Stretching - Basic stretching after every run. Nothing too complicated, but it seems to be helping

5) Yoga - Not yet. I'd so very much like to say I'm doing this, but I'm not; just haven't found the time.

6) Improved diet - Good idea; just not happening, still eating like crap. More accurately, I'm eating too much. I don't like "fast food", but I'm eating too much.

7) Learning Spanish - I promised one of my employees in Mexico that I'd learn how to speak Spanish. She is getting tired of me pronouncing every Spanish word in French. I've got to get going on this; give me a month or two. If any of you are somewhat conversant in Spanish, let me know. One of the ways I improved my French was to write to friends in French. Even though I live 200 miles from the Mexican-US border, I don't have any friends that speak Spanish - that's just surreal.

8) Travel less - Yeah, right. I'm going to LA later this week and will be back in Redmond, Washington next week. I also hired another person in our Toronto office and I need to get up there to meet her. I promised her I'd be there in May.

GOOD NEWS (if not old news)

Three friends ran the Boston Marathon last week.

  • Mike (St. Andrews, New Brunswick) - Mike has been one of my heroes for a long while. He is a few months younger than me and I constantly use him for NO EXCUSES motivation. He's my age and my height and lives in a climate that makes running a challenge for 4 to 5 months during the year; but manages to stay in great shape. He also has a wonderful family and seems to be able to balance the demands of family, work and running without going crazy.
  • Jen (San Francisco, California) - Jen is an other inspirational figure in my running life. She writes an excellent blog and is always up beat - regardless of what happens. Never gets down and just gets better and better every year. She's a wonderful person.
  • David (Phoenix, Arizona) - David doesn't have a blog. I know him through my running club. He is the volunteer coordinator for my club and spends more time taking photos during his marathons than anyone I've ever met. His photos from this year's Boston Marathon are located at this LINK.

Not so good news:

My buddy Mike from Tucson left the blog fold. Mike is, by a wide margin, the fastest marathoner I've ever met (2:37:32). Mike was the person who convinced me that I could run longer distances several years ago when I was stuck running 10Ks and worked with me to get me up to 26.2 miles (no small feat). We'll miss him.

Tale care. Thank you all for sticking with me.


Andrew said...

I run with Mike from New Brunswick and I can tell you, he is crazy.

Jamie said...

Dude, you have to get back into it! But you already know that. In my limited experience, I think signing up for a race is the way to go. Best of luck. Wish I could help you out with the Spanish, I used to be okay with it at one time but I'm wicked rusty with it now.

J~Mom said...

Phil, I am so happy to hear that you signed up for the summer series. I have some goals for the summer and I am looking forward to the races.

With all this exercise I am doing right now I am still at the same weight. I am working out 6-7 times a week doing a crazy volume (for me) and still sitting at the same spot. So June 1 it's back to WW for me. I hope I get a discount for joining for the 50th time. Let me know if you are up for it. As you know it's reasonable and fairly inexpensive.

And lastly, DH is learning Spanish. He listens to these little Spanish lessons on his iPod every day on his way to work. Maybe we should all meet for coffee and you two can chat in Spanish. LOL

It's good to see your post. Keep fighting to find that spark!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

sounds like you've got a good plan to move forward!

Love2Run said...

1st don't pay any attention to Andrew. He has red hair and can't be trusted to tell the truth.

Now regarding your plans I've found that when running less you will eat more and gain weight. So your primary goal should be to run more! Actually, I'd move the diet up to #1 and start it by writing down every piece of food you eat for a week. You might be surprised at what you will find. Drink more water, fruits and veg snacks and eliminate the sugar and alcohol until you have it under control. Got it? Do I have to come down there and kick you??

Grellan said...

Phil, sound like a great (if not a bit overwhelming) plan. Signing up for the 5k race series is the first step in the right direction.

The diet advice from North of the border should be treated with caution. If you run the weight will drop - simple. Best of luck.

Holly Jane said...

It's fun to reach for a goal - a race. I love the common goal you feel among all the other people there to race. Hang in there - and stay injury free no matter what!

Laufenweg said...

hola, amigo! good for you - i think you're on the right track and have inspired me to get back on there too.

for the record, i speak spanish -- actually spent a couple years in mexico. i'll be happy to help with any spanish-linguistic related questions.

hasta luego! bon courage!

Ewen said...

The 5k series should be great motivation Phil. For a little extra, I'll buy you a decent beer (Coopers or Boags) when you beat the time I ran on Sunday - 23:17 :)

I agree with you on Jen. Not sure about L2R though - running with a camera, video of the Wellesley Girls, and finish under 3:29 - good and crazy!

Michele said...

I have found that the only way I stick to it is to have money already spent on a race. Keeps me focused.

English is hard enough for me can't help with Spanish.

Jim said...

Dude, very cleansing and makes me feel better. I've been struggling with identical issues and have fallen into the same traps. You have put it so accurately and eloquently-I could not have described my feelings any better. I think I can apply at least 5 out of your first six actions to take. Thanks for the humility . . . it inspires me to get of my duff. Happy running!

Dusty said...

The summer series races are so much fun!! I have a box of plaques from them in my attic somewhere! I loved those races!!

Good luck with your return! You are a determined runner, I know you'll be back in the swing soon!

Gotta Run said...

Sad that Mike left our land but maybe he will return soon!!

French-Spanish... now that is something new :)

YES!!! I am pumped to see that you are not going to take it easy. you are not that kind of person so get off your rump and keep it moving.

I gained a few pounds by not adjusting my intake during my injury. It is gone now and have even lost a pound or two extra.

Much harder to get off than to put it on. just remember how far you have come the next time you dish up your portions. GO PHIL!!!

Addy said...

Sounds like you have some good plans :) I need some of those myself. I've been doing sort of the same thing as you (just running without goals) and have the same effect....

Signing up for the 5k series is a great idea and should be fun. Just don't melt!