Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Isn't It Amazing

Isn't it amazing how short a mile is when you're in shape and how long a block is when you have diarrhea?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Staying In Shape

Staying in shape, or at least keeping from falling apart is quite a challenge for me in the winter, especially this winter.
I vowed to keep running through the winter but I have to confess I wimped out in January with the single digit readings and below zero wind chills here in the windy city.
As much as I despise the treadmill, I have managed to crawl onto the beast and get in a lot of 20 to 40 minute cardio workouts through the week and have kept up with my yoga and pilates workouts. I was talking to my pilates instructor, who up close appears to be in her 40s but from a distance looks to be in her mid-20s, about my lack of energy and she told me to get back into the weights.
She said she was having the same problem and started lifting again. I thought that was a pretty bold statement coming from a pilates guru. Sometimes I think pilates, yoga or about any other instructor thinks their way is the only way to health.
Anyway, I took her advice and got back into weights about twice a week this winter and lo and behold she was right!
My energy is much better since I started working with the weights so I plan to stay with the weight work. I'm currently lifting twice a week and want to work in a third session each week.
As usual, I want to do everything so am struggling a little with balance while I wait for some of the snow and ice to melt so I can run outside without falling on my ass and freezing my fingers.
I just can't get into running all bundled up like a damned Santa Claus.
Okay, so I'm a woose but I feel like I'm getting a little tougher and maybe someday I'll try another one of those crazy marathons?
And maybe not, we'll see!
Carry on.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Depression and all that jazz

One reason I run, do yoga, pilates and lift a few weights is to escape depression. I firmly believe that if I take care of my body my mind will follow.
I'm told that we're in the midst of the worse financial crisis since the Great Depression that my dad experienced in the 30s.
Well I know I have it a lot better than my dad did and maybe we will end up in some weird depression but I can't imagine anything worse than what my father experienced.
My boss at work asked me to write a witness piece about my dad's experience and I did that and here it is.

Maybe I'll lose my job and have to run for a living?
Oh well, it could be worse, I actually enjoy running and none of my running buddies have ever asked me for any money so I have to say I've got it made.

WITNESS-This is no depression like that one
By Sam Nelson
CHICAGO,xxx (Reuters) - The country was in the throes of the Great Depression. It was a time of upheavel, of personal challenges and a test of the nation's mettle.
It was under these circumstances that dad, Clarence John Nelson, better known as Bud, decided to leave Scandia, Kansas, for a job in Chicago.
It was 1936, he was 19 years old, without a job and getting desperate.
Kansas farm life was in shambles because the deteriorating economy made worse year after year of dry weather that turned the sunflower state into part of the Dust Bowl.
Bud was recommended for employment at the Homestead Hotel in Evanston, Illinois, by the pastor of the Swedish United Methodist Church in Scandia. "Gosh I remember in the thirties, going up there to work at Evanston (a Chicago suburb), at the Homestead Hotel washing dishes, we didn't have a darned thing and there weren't any jobs, so away I went...took a bus," he told me recently.
Dad is 92 years old now, living in Kansas and looking at the country going through another period of financial chaos that is being referred to as the second Great Depression.
This time around, he's doing it from the confines of my sister's home, where he has lived after his wife and my mother passed away in 2005.
But memories of the 'first' Great Depression remain etched in his mind, especially those six months in Evanston.
"I'll never forget one time I took the L (train) downtown (Chicago) and some guy tried to get me in a store and sell me a suit, so I got scared and took the L back to Evanston," he said.
Built in 1927, the Homestead Hotel still stands in Evanston. And like many businesses today struggling with the financial and economic turmoil, the hotel went through a few challenges of its own back then, according to its website
"After the 1929 stock market crash, the inn carried debt from being built when land and materials were at a premium," the website said. But owners -- Philip A. Danielson and wife Ruby Larson -- were able to keep it from falling into the hands of its creditors.
Dad's heading to Evanston and working at the Homstead Hotel, apart from getting paid, had a second objective -- to be able to earn enough money to be able to attend college.
But those plans went awry as he began missing home about six months into the job.
"The idea was I'd work and go to school but there wasn't anytime for school," he said.
"Mom wrote me a letter in the spring and talked about planting garden and I got so darned homesick. I just quit, took the bus back home," he added.
Dad found out quickly that there were no jobs in Kansas, but he got lucky.
"There still wasn't any work around here. Farming was no good, but I was lucky and got a job as an oiler on a dragline.
"They were going to dredge and straighten out the river, but that was another scam because that river had a mind of it's own," he said. "When that job ended they asked me to go to South America with them for some other job.
"But I met your mom here, she was teaching school and we started farming, boy it was one had a damned thing," he added.
"I've often wondered what would have happened if I would have stayed there in Chicago."

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Samuel Nelson
Reuters News

Friday, October 31, 2008

Just Thinking

I was jus thinking that wouldn't it be great if we were all runners at heart.
There would be no more wars, no petty arguments about money or fame or status.
I now know why I run and why I miss being able to keep up with my running buddys.
It's because after a couple of miles, we're all in a deep sweat and our feelings flow.
It's at that point that we become equals, you and I, no matter the size, appearance, status in society, race or gender.
We become a beautiful machine destined to cross the finish line.
Just thinking.
Thanks for letting me share my life with you.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Elvis Is Alive

Finally I got in a run that actually resembled running.
My running buddy Sara encouraged me to jump into the annual Elvis Is Alive 5k race Thursday night on the Lakefront here in the Windy City.

The race is sponsored by Fleet Feet one of the major running stores here and it is a lot of fun what with the Elvis impersonators and all, but I decided to try to be myself, despite whatever consequences that might bring.

I haven't had a good refreshing run in over a year and have really battled trying to get back in shape after my setback last summer. It's been very discouraging and frankly big, big valleys of depression have been knocking me on my ass.

Well Elvis Is Alive and I'm back dammit!

Sara is a new runner, full of piss and vinegar and she is built for speed. She has those long lean legs, graceful efficient stride and tiny upper body (don't tell her I wrote this), no woman wants a tiny upper ya know but we all have to play with the hand we're delt.

I met her over a year ago when she was getting started in this running game and we became fast friends, at least she is fast and hopefully I can continue to be a friend.

She is in great shape and I am not but she told me she would run, trot, walk or whatever with me, which is nice but it still embarasses me that I can't do what I think I can do. Ya know, the old mind is willing but body is weak? Oh hell, let's don't go there.

We posted up near the back of the pack and it was quite a pack. Lots of wacky runners on a narrow concrete path so staying upright was goal number one and try to run a little was goal number two.

Mile One:
11:03 min, not fast but faster than the 12 min pace I've been trying to run this summer. My pacing and judgment are off too because the really slow training runs have been taxing me and frankly confusing and frustrating me. Sara, bless her little pea picking heart that must have a built in metronome, was calling our pace WITHOUT A FREAKIN WATCH! How does she do that being such a new runner and all?

Mile Two:
I'm prepared to bonk or slow down but it doesn't happen, we pick up the pace a little and hit the one aid station so decide to grab a gatorade and chat for a couple of minutes as we ambled along, naturally wasting valuable time, oh sure! Time talking with a fellow runner is gold to me.
We hit the two mile marker at 11:54 pace. Now it's getting interesting because we must have walked 2 minutes and walked really slow and I'm under 12 minute pace so I'm really prepared do die during the last mile...but for whatever reason...I don't die...I actually start to run a bit.

Mile Three:
I'm in a pretty good lather now and my legs are feeling great, I push out a little more with minimal effort and know I'm going faster but not sure how much because as I mentioned I'm really screwed up with my running, pacing and judgement.
We approach the three mile marker and Sara says "ten thirty" and my little watch says 10:33. Pretty damned close and I'm psyched as hell.

I'm not bonking the last mile but, in a throwback to the good ol days, I'm accelerating and feeling like I actually can run. What a great feeling! And we talked all the way through that last mile although my sentences were getting a bit shorter as the breathing began to pick up tempo.

Time for my first actual race in my new life, my little Elvis 5k, a blistering 34:33 or 11:07 pace.

Way slower than my PR of 24:20 but way faster than my 5k New Year's morning this year of something like 40 minutes.

Why am I feeling good about myself because I ran 3.1 miles and ran the last mile faster than the first two and knew I had more in me? Damned if I know, and I don't care, I just know that I feel good about myself today.

And I hope you're feeling good about you!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Ran or tried to do something resembling running this morning in the Miles For Malawi 5k race in Lincoln Park.
It was a nice morning but I struggled worse than I did last Sunday so I'm getting pretty discouraged and frustrated.
I keep thinking that if I stay with it I'll get a breakthrough someday but it's just not happening.

I know I should be grateful to be able to trot a little, and I am, but I want to get back that feeling that I can turn it on and off whenever I want.

Right now, I'm just involuntary shutting down, and I don't like it one bit.

I hope your runs and training are going much better.
Maybe someday I can give a positive report, you know the one that goes something like...."all of a sudden I felt I could really fly to the finish line?"
For now, it's a battle!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day Race

Sunday, Father's Day, Jacob, Jessica and I ran the 5k Loop the Loop race for Children's Memorial Hospital and what a way to celebrate my special day.

After a 1 hour delay because of wind, rain and lightening we took off in what felt like cool conditions but what turned out to be extremly humid conditions which made the little run quite a challenge for me.

I managed to finish the thing and met my predict time of a 12 minute pace, well a little off, 12:01 to be exact. I would like to say that each mile was an even 12 but in reality I ran the first two miles too fast and had to walk/run the last mile, so it wasn't pretty but I'll take it at this point.

J&J treated me to a nice brunch at Gibson's, a nice steak house here in the Gold Coast. We found a nice spot outdoors and the weather turned near-perfect so all in all a great Father's Day and I'm glad I felt good enough to enjoy it.

We plan to run another 5k this coming Sunday in Lincoln Park called Miles for Maliwa (not sure about the spelling but I'm too lazy to look it up). It's another charity run so I'm looking forward to it and hoping I can pick up the pace a little.

I'm back running as many of these little 5ks as I can find right now simply because they're doable and I enjoy them. I really miss the long runs with my running buddies and the anticipation of another marathon but I'm just not ready for the distance yet and hope I get a breakthrough someday that will tell me to go for it again. Will see.

For now, I'll take what I'm given and keep training.

I hope your runs, walks, quiet moments or whatever it is that gives you pleasure are going great.