Friday, December 26, 2008

Solid Running Day...

Put in a really slow, but clean 12-13 miler this morning and a solid 7.1 mile treadmill work out this afternoon. Felt good to put in a really clean, comfortable, 20 mile day. Put in a 5:20 and a couple of 5:30 miles in on the mill - felt great. 6:00 miles are pleasurable at this point - very comfortable and easy. 

My fitness is good right now. I am not in 2:20 marathon shape quite yet, but I am definitely in a good place for a fast 50-100 miler. My shape is at a place where at any moment, give me 3 weeks and I would be ready for a fast race. That said, I am keeping running in its place and treating it the way I ought to in the off-season. NO EXPECTATIONS. Peace.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy B-Day Jesus Half-Marathon

I came in as the inaugural 'Happy B-Day Jesus Half-Marathon' champion this morning. Good race. Ran a really clean 13 or 14 mile Christmas run. Very nice. Cold. But glorious. Happy B-day Jesus!

Merry Christmas!

God bless all ya' all. Merry Christmas. Peace.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Running

17 miles today - 12 and 5 mile runs. I may have gotten frost-bitten on my 12 miler this  morning. Stupidity ruled the day and it shined in my run. I went out into a 5 degree day (-10 windchill) with nothing more than a running cap, tights and a light wind-breaker. Needless to say, I have never been more miserable on the run. The last 4 miles I began cussing and screaming in pain as my ears, cheeks, lips, fingers and legs entered the first stages of complete freeze. My ears are still in pain, my fingers are a bit numb still and my cheeks are not all there. Stupid. After weeks of sub-zero running and the occasional sub -30 windchill running I became desensitized to the cold. I learned my lesson today - I saw that it was above zero and thought, 'hey, warm, Fall gear time'. 

In the PM, I went on a redemption 5 miler. Pretty quick and fully clothed. -12 below windchill, but in my full-on winter running gear. No doubt, it was redemptive. I ran it fast and WARM. My ears are still struggling to feel, but my I am feeling good about a pretty strong 17 mile day. Good stuff. Best part of the day? Sitting here with my family, watching a cheesy, Hallmark, Christmas movie after a Christmas play at church. Love it. This is what Christmas is all about - being with family and celebrating the birth of Christ. Life is good. Peace and love.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Last Mileage Update for the Year...

106 miles last week in the sub-zero temps. Felt good about that. Last week marks the end of my mileage log for a bit.

Fall 2008 Running Stats

- 2195 miles
- Ave. 129 miles/week for 17 weeks
- Ave. 18 miles/day for 119 days
- 204 miles, biggest week (during a 40 hour work week)
- 50 miles, longest continuous run
- 55 miles, most miles in 24 hours (during an 8 hour work day)
- Coldest training run, -20 air temp, -35 windchill (13 miles)

I need to take a break from counting mileage, until next Spring's training cycle. Just running free and clear now - feeling really, strong and solid. This seems like a good time to focus on other things, all the while maintaining my shape and enjoying, truely enjoying my outings. I put in a 12 miler this afternoon in Albert Lea. It was cold, -9 or so and a bit windy, but it was a really rock solid run.

From now, until mid-February - when I begin my next training cycle-, I will throw periodic life and running tid-bits in occasional on this blog. So stay tuned. Thanks for hanging.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Character Building

I have been doing a lot of character building runs lately.

Yesterday, I did a 10 mile steady run at 5 in the morn... needless to say, it was cold, very cold. -20 or so air temp with a decent wind. I returned back to my place with my eyes nearly frozen shut. In the PM, I did a 7 mile hill work out with a -20 windchill. I flew on the very steep, returning downhill at about 5:30 pace or better. Goggles were necessary.

Today, it was a 10 or 11 miler out and back. The out consists of slight to moderate hills and of course the the back is a downhill cruiser. On the out today, there was a steady 15-20 mph headwind, putting the windchill at -20 or so. Goggles were essential. The uphill against the wind wasn't nearly as trying as it has been in the past, a testament to both my physical and mental shape. The downhill was awesome, very awesome. I lifted my goggles and dropped my face mask and rode the wind for the 5 miles back. Took it at 6-6:30 pace. It was really comfortable and cleaaaaaaaaaaaaan.

Getting out, in less than ideal weather conditions, has been very good for my mental game lately...reminding myself that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and commit. Also, I obviously haven't been able to run full-on work outs given the snow, ice, wind and cold, which has made for much more relaxed outings - just getting out there, enjoying the movement has been the story lately. Good stuff. Deeeeeeeep breath.

Feeling Blue

Here I sit, in the LEAP room, cold and blue. Physically, I am cold. Emotionally, I am blue. I don't know why. Sometimes, I guess I just feel so isolated, uncertain and neurotically hopeless that I cannot move. A stuck sort of feeling, ya know. I wish I could put more words to it. It is frustrating, because I find myself here almost everyday - in this state, cold and blue and worried too. Hmmm. Shoot... Anyways, that is all. Hope everyone is finding joy. Peace.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Frosted Over

Put in a cool 10 miler this morning. It was warmer this morning, -14 or so. It felt colder. There was a bit of a wind. Probably on the order or -20 to -25 wind chill. I was bold and went goggleless this morning. The result? Frosted eyes, forehead and outer mouth. The problem is, the moisture and heat from my breath is directed upwards by my face mask and freezes instantly on my face. This actually provides a certain level of insulation, believe it or not - from the extreme cold, at least. The thermal concept behind it is similar to the insulation of snow cave - at least that is my theory. By the end of my run my eye-lashes were solid ice blocks and the exposed portions of my face, although few, were frosted solid. Regardless, it was a really quick and clean run (considering).


Great movie. 'Elf' will be our feature film at LEAP today. I am not sure if the choice of movie is more for me or for the kids. Surely, they will enjoy it equally, if not more, but my despotic rule of LEAP laid the selection squarely on my shoulders - bypassing the regular democratic process of majority of kids rule. At any rate, they will love it. They must! For it is my favorite film and thus thou shall be theirs too. Blitzkrieg! Achtung!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cold Weather Running

Saturday, I put in 11 miles in the morning and 7 in the PM. The air temp was in the negative teens and the windchill was -30 or so. Yesterday, I put in 15 miles with an air temp of -23 or so. No wind though, thank the Lord. This morning it was -31 or so and I put in a nice little 5 miler before school. My eyes nearly froze this morning. My goggles froze over and I was forced to lift them about 3 miles into my run. I had to blink and blink and blink to keep my eyes from completely freezing shut. This weekend was a good test of the mental capacities - the 11 miler on Saturday especially (it was a total blizzard and halfway through the run I found no relief from the blowing snow, cold and snow-covered sidewalks). Good stuff. What doesn't kill makes you stronger, right?

Friday, December 12, 2008

High Mileage

It is amazing what the human body is capable of. Over the last year I have maintained 100 miles a week or better - with no days off. It has become the most natural thing to me. Granted, there are many times where I have a hard time getting out the door, but once I am out, I am free. Most professional runners peak at 120-130 miles a week during intense training cycles. Over the last couple of months my most comfortable maintenance weeks have been around 140 miles a week - complete with solid work outs.

Though my mileage is high now, it will not be forever and I am 'okay' with that, I really am. In fact, I am pleased with the notion of change of routine and mileage. I am trying to let go of the numbers and focus on quality (of running with life).

Also, actually, most importantly, I need to rework running into my life again, in a balanced way. Running is not everything. That is truth, but too often I let it be everything. Not that I talk about it or act like it constantly, but I tend to get worried, nervous or anxious about the next runs, the next days weather, the next weeks miles, this week's miles, etc. These thoughts distract me from living a full life. I run best when everything else is in order and in turn when I am running well, I am peaceful and engaged with my non-running life; my work, my spiritual life, reading, friends, etc. Deeeeeeeeep breathe.

There is more to life than running. There is more to life than running. There is more to life than running. There is more to life than running. There is more to life than running. There is more to life than re-typing that there is more to life than running.

Be gone worries, fears, anxiety and guilt! Freedom. Sweet, sweet freedom, is found in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. No worries, fears, anxieties or guilt (without Truth). Deeeeeeeeeep breathe. Peace. Love. Truth.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tis the Season to Tempo

Put in about 20 yesterday. Running club went great yesterday. The boys' behavior is improving. We had a good 15 minute, individual pace run.

The weather today was absolutely perfect for a fast, clean tempo. Calm, in the 30s and sunny. I put in an 11-12 miler at an outrageous pace. I threw down on the last 6 miles. It was surreal. I found a really clean, fast stride. 5:30-6 or so pace up and down the undulating landscape of the Coulees. It was great to be a part of such a beautiful day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Heart to Heart

This blog, up to now, has been fairly rudimentary - covering the most basic numbers, thoughts and ideas associated with my running life. Unfortunately, I don't know how to pour out or truly express my emotions and deepest feelings. Just know that I am crying out right now for life, for change, for friends, for love, for God, for family, for companionship, for comfort and for peace.

Now for the numbers and the most elemental thoughts of which I have trouble expressing. Yesterday I put in two clean, steady runs - a 13 miler in the morning and 7 miler in the PM. This morning I had a really nice 11 mile tempo run, again, clean. This afternoon I will head out for another 7-8 mile easy run in the wind.

Yesterday, I crossed the 2000 mile mark, since I began keeping a log in Great Falls (August 24th, 2008).

Monday, December 8, 2008


Not a whole lot to report. 132 miles last week. 23 yesterday. I am not feeling so hot this morning. Feeling a bit down. Trying to keep myself together for these last two weeks before I go home for Christmas. The count-down begins... Anyways, hope everyone else is doing well and finding joy in their days. Peace.

Friday, December 5, 2008

It is Friday and I am Tired

21 cold and snowy miles yesterday. I am tired, on this Friday. Thank goodness it is the last day of the work week. I am trying to take deeeeeeep breaths and appreciate the tiredness for what it is... a result of working hard and running hard this week. This weekend is looking to provide a nice respite. Two awesome runs yesterday. The first was a 9 mile clean cruise through the essing Coulees of the country and the second was a really clean 12 miler around Great Falls, returning, literally at the stroke of midnight - barely keeping the run in the confines of Thursday, Decemember 4th, 2008.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Life Affirming Snow Run

This morning I ran a really clean, smooth 13 miler on the fresh blanket of snow. It was a comfortable 17 degrees with no wind! Awesome stuff. The pavement was covered with a fresh 1-2 inches, which made for a smooth and springy run. It was awesome. Felt like I was running on carpet. I am enjoying this natural, seasonal transition of training. The snow/ice/elements make for lower mileage weeks and slower miles on the whole - I have no choice over that if I am continue to run outside. This is great because I am forced to slow-down, run less and in turn enjoy, truly enjoy the slower pace, smooth runs. This morning was one of those. I cruised this morning, but it felt right. My body felt so fluid and the stride was nearly effortless. It was a transcendental sort of run. Praise be to the Lord! I will go for a nice 7-8 mile snowy stroll this afternoon through the Coulees before running club. Today, the kids probably won't be running outside because of the cold and snow. We will be finishing up our profiled runners research and then present our famous runners to the entire club. Good stuff.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

On Lost Beasts...

Lately, my thoughts have been turning to future work, what to do after Americorps in July. Back in C. Springs I toyed with the idea of returning lost pets for cash rewards. It made sense then, and is beginning to make sense now, in Great Falls. I am on the streets 3 hours a day, everyday, running. I see these "lost pet, reward offered" signs in many of the neighborhoods and what's more, I see many stray animals roaming the alleyways and streets in the wee hours of the morn. Less traffic, slower pace of human life, equals lost pet emergence around 3 in the morning. They are everywhere; effusively, they flow out of the bowels of The Falls when the city goes fallow.

Anyways, I might as well begin returning lost pets, part-time, to see what kind of money I can pull in, to see, if indeed, it would be viable to support myself on critter bounty hunting.  

A Beautiful Sunday

Had a great 10 mile tempo run this morning than a nice walk to and from church. It is such a beautiful day here. In the 50s, only a slight breeze and bluebird. Definitely an 8 or 10 again this afternoon, to chill out with. 

Church was great again. Met a few more folks and enjoyed Pastor Jim's sermon on John the Baptist and the advent of Christ. What hope there was in his talk today. Good stuff. Back to work tomorrow. Very  excited to get back with the kids and get back into the regular schedule before heading home for Christmas in a few weeks! Can't wait. Laundering, presently. That is all for now. Peace and love and all that good stuff.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The end of a glorious running week...

My running goal for this week was met. A long run every morning and a work out in the afternoon. Finished the week with a really solid, strong 15 miler this morning. Mileage for this week is going to end up in the 150-160 mile range. Feeling great.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Importance of Quoting Emerson

"The object of the man, the aim of these moments is to make daylight shine through him, to suffer the law to traverse his whole being without obstruction, so that, on what point soever of his doing your eye falls, it shall report truly of his character, whether it be his diet, his house, his religious forms, his society, his mirth, his vote, his opposition..."

Ralph Waldo Emerson - Spiritual Laws

Challenge of the Week

My training challenge for the week was to run at least a half-marathon every AM. I am one day away from completing that. Most days were 14 and 15 milers in the morning and 8s in the afternoon. This morning I ran a really fun 15 miler. The first 7 or so I put in nice and easy, then kicked it up for the last 7 or  8, bananas in hand (for pancakes of course). I am feeling really strong. Truthfully, this week hasn't been much different in terms of training than any other - the change, though slight, is significant and here is why. 

Typically, I set out in the morning with no idea of how far I will go - completely based on feeling. Usually, I end up going anywhere from 9-15 miles every morning and then something of the same in the afternoon. This week, I committed myself to a training plan, of running solid work outs in the morning - 13-15 milers and then taking, laid-back, pleasure-cruising, errand runs of 7-8 in the afternoon. Some of those 13 milers were run only by heart - feeling out the pace based on what is comfortable and truly easy. Some of those 15 milers were run hard - as tempo runs, essentially. Taking "easy runs" truly easy changed my notion of what my training regime looks like. An easy 15 miler is fun, relaxing and refreshing. A hard 15 miler after an easy 15 miler is fun, energized and confidence-reinforcing. My legs are fresh and ready. Anyways, this has been a good week of training and relearning the importance of having a semi-structured regime. Too much structure can be suffocating and too little structure can be dangerous, erratic and ultimately, doesn't lend itself well to discipline in running and life. Peace.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Trot

Had an incredibly fun, easy, and clean 15 mile 'Turkey Trot' this morning. Wow, I can't say enough about this week of running. I have had some truly transcendental moments out on the road this week. Feelings of total freedom and fluidity. I am so thankful for this health and fitness that the Lord has allowed me. On the run this morning I was contemplating Spring running plans and decided on heading to the 50 mile National Championship in Washington in June, for one. That will be my big trip and adventure of June. During the Spring I will do some personal challenges and run some marathons. I am still set on doing the Colorado Trail in under 8 days in August and am starting to gather the support of an aide crew. 

Blessings abound: What I am thankful for...

- I am so thankful for my families support throughout this last year - things have been difficult, to be sure, but made easier by the kind support of a loving family.
- I am so thankful for my friends - here in MT, and throughout the World - they have sent the right words, at the right times and have always been supportive, wonderful and inspiring. I plan to give more to my friends in the days, weeks, months, years to come... they have given so much to me.
- I am thankful for my health - my fitness. I am well over 300 days into a running streak - everyday for 300 plus days. Over this year I have averaged about 13 or 14 miles a day. All of the mileage only possible because of good health and the Lord's blessing.
- I am thankful for my work. The kids are work with are illuminating and wonderful. They bring life to life and put a face on goodness. It is such a delight to work with the kids of Centerville.
- I am thankful for the Lord's constant involvement in my life. Constantly keeping His watchful eye on me, especially in my darkest hours; keeping me from harm and strong in Him. I am nothing, if not a believer first. Truth.
- I am thankful for pancakes.
- I am thankful for coffee.
- I am thankful for the joy that the combination of pancakes and coffee provides. mmm.

The point is, in a state of thanksgiving, I am strong. We are all made strong in turning to the Lord in praise for the things He has given us. Dwell not on what isn't, or what is and is unpleasant. Think only of honorable, beautiful and lovely things as Paul told the Phillipians. Those are the things that come from the Lord. Have a happy thanksgiving, whomever still reads this blog. Peace.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sweet, Sweet Run'n

I can, with great confidence and in all honesty, say that I am in the best shape of my life. This morning I put in another 13-14 miler at a comfortably steady pace. The run was clean and effortless. This week is the week of AM half-marathons... and afternoon 8 milers. I never thought it possible to be completely comfortable at 140 plus miles a week. Presently, nothing seems more natural than to run 20 miles a day. It has become as habitual as brushing my teeth in the morning and before I go to bed.

I am trying to stay sane with all of this free time, given no school. So far, so good. I have been doing a lot of reading, coffee drinking, newspaper reading, talking with old friends, some writing, and a lot of News Radio watching (great show). Tomorrow is T-giving with Don and Friday/Saturday is T-giving with Dan. Different people - with a slight adjustment in the center vowel. I am thankful for my family, my friends and my health. Thanks be to the Lord. Peace.

Training Adjustment

Mileage reduction justification:

1) 20 plus miles a day, during an off-season, maintenance period, is unreasonable.
2) I am not sure how much longer I can afford to eat 6000 plus calories a day.
3) My body - though I feel it not - probably needs a rest.
4) The high mileage is starting to become more of a burden than I care to willingly choose.
5) Winter is coming and likely my mileage will naturally decrease with the cold/inclement weather - might as well begin making the adjustments for the above listed reasons.
6) Lower mileage will force me to focus my training - a couple of key work outs a week and a lot of cool running miles.
7) It is time to focus my energies on other parts of my life - for everything there is a season... my social and spiritual life are lacking, at present, and it is important to adjust my thinking and perception of each day in light of those needs. It is too easy to become neurotic and pre-occupied with bipedal locomotion when it consumes 3 hours a day. 1-2 hours seems more reasonable. 

Now, this is an important moment for me as I adjust my life, not drastically change, just fine-tune the components of my day-to-day, putting each in its proper place. Doubtless, training will pick up in the Spring, but for now, it is unnecessary, counterproductive and foolish to continue at the volume and intensity that I am now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ode to Schultes

This afternoon I am writing from Schulte's coffee house. I was here this morning briefly to check my emails and such and returned just a moment ago. The regular workers and I are on a first name basis, and having recognized that I came in early in the day, let me drink for free in the afternoon. "Refill" time. What's more, it is "happy hour" and they give away free cookies during this time. So, my imbibing this afternoon is guilt free with a side of cookie. A glorious combination for an Americorps volunteer who is not rich. Awesome.

Tuesday Workout

Had a great 13-14 mile workout this morning. I built my pace up over the first 6 miles or so (to about 6:30) until I got to the 1.33 Gibson Park Loop and put it in high gear. I threw down with a pretty strong loop. After the push I sank back to 7:30-8 minute pace and began building again for the last 6 miles. By the end of this build I was cruising along at 6:30-7 minute pace again.

The workout was great for feeling out different paces and breaking up the run into several pieces - all of which served a purpose. The entire run was very clean and relaxed. My goal was to not just hit paces, but to sit in paces and let my upper body relax and my legs cycle fluidly beneath. 

Today marks the third half-marathon of the week. 21 miles yesterday. Probably something close to the same today. A nice and easy - and beautiful, it is so nice outside today - 6 or 7 miler will go down this afternoon to loosen up.

Monday, November 24, 2008

3-Month Mileage

A little over 1700 miles since I started my Great Falls training log, 3 months ago today. I feel truly blessed to be able to get up each morning and put in these high mileage days, weeks, months and years. One mile at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time - the only possible way to accumulate that kind of mileage. Anyways, the numbers aren't why I am out there. It is for the love of the movement that I run. Nothing feels more natural. The numbers help me stay motivated and remember what kind of work I have done and what kind of progress I have made on days that I am feeling a bit down. Some highlights of the last three months of training in Great Falls:

Sept. - 204 mile week
Oct. - USATF Montana Ultra State Champion for 2008
Nov. - An 11 miler out and back near Stockett, of which the first 5.5 miles were uphill bucking a 20-30 mile per hour headwind (gusts in excess of 55)... hands down the greatest character building run of the last three months. 

Anyways, life is good. Really enjoying the running lately and feel refreshed and renewed with the good things that are abounding in my life. I feel blessed to be able to get out as much as I do and enjoy one of lives' simplest pleasures - bipedal locomotion.

On Half'sies...

Put in 23 yesterday (13 easy in the morn and 10 commuter miles in the afternoon). 13 again this morning - a bit quicker and super, duper fluid. Wow, was it clean. Lately, I have been very content with the morning half-marathons. I have been adjusting a few of my normal 13 mile routes to switch it up and reinvigorate the old and stale. I can't say enough about the half'sy this morning, so I will say no more. 

Had a great weekend. I think I finally found my church home in Great Falls. Just a super good, receptive, sharp and fun group of people at the First Congregational Church. Don goes there and so does his supervisor Liz, who is also very nice. Yesterday, I went to their morning worship service, then was invited to and attended their T-giving dinner last evening. It was awesome. The pastor is very nice and easy to get along with. Too many smiles there to recount. The service was very enjoyable. It felt alive and refreshing. It is nice to have a good friend like Don to go with too. It makes it so much easier to connect with others - especially with Don at the helm. I am definitely going to continue to check out FCC in the weeks to come. Good stuff. Very excited about this.

Also, another great thing... reconnected with a few old friends, one of which I had been trying to back in touch with for ages. Greg Chase. A kindred spirit. What a great guy. Juliann, was another friend that gave me a call yesterday - we were able to catch up a bit. Anyways, it was great to talk to some folks who I have shared some incredible life adventures with and who continue to inspire me and keep me hopeful. Life is good all. Peace.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mileage update

17 yesterday PM. A building 6er this morning. Started out the first 1-2 miles building my pace slowly, until I hit mile 3-4 where I took it to level 8 (out of 10), then came the hilly rise home (mile 4-5) and I pushed it and continued to build until I arrived back home at level 11. Good stuff. Then I did some 1/4 mile intervals. Good stuff. Looking like a 140 mile week. I think that I am going to have to take a cut-back next week to regain some strength. I felt a bit sluggish on the last couple of runs. A 100 mile week would be good and provide some much needed recovery. I ran hard this week, and a lot.

Just sitting down for some coffee, awaiting the arrival of Don Resset at Schultes. This was a good week of work and school and life. Realized some major life things. Enrichments went well at school and I got the press to cover one of our partnerships again. Running club went well and I am excited for getting back to school to keep on with the trajectory that LEAP is going. I am regaining control of my dreams and passions and putting them all into perspective. Well, I must be off. Peace.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Ran an 18 hour marathon yesterday. Put in a really nice and easy 26 miles yesterday. 7 in the AM and 19 in the PM. Good stuff. Big changes yesterday. To be spoken of later. Peace.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


23 yesterday. 24 today. Bigger day again tomorrow. Peace.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Defining Moments

This morning I put in a happy 15 before work. Yesterday, was my shortest day in weeks. 10 miles, and commuter miles at that. It was good to have a shorter, easier Monday. Sunday I put in a solid 27 miles or better. Back to the present... I worry too much. I worry about worrying. I worry about not worrying, when catch myself not worrying. Frickin a. This morning, after a nice run, crossword puzzle sesh, newspaper reading sit-down, coffee and a giant pancake, I left my apartment feeling that the World was different this morn than it was last eve. A subtle, but discernible shift. I will get back to you all when I feel that I have a better grasp on the change. This afternoon should be a beauty. I will probably head out for my usual 7-8 mile afternoon Coulee run.

Today, I am leading LEAP again. Time to get to work on the enrichment for the childrens. Peace and love and stuff.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Emerson on Thoreau

"He [Thoreau] thought that, if waked up from a trance, in this swamp, he could tell by the plants what time of the year it was within two days."

For whatever reason I feel compelled to write on Emerson's description of Thoreau's incredibly acute knowledge of the natural world.

Doubtless, Thoreau was indubitably the greatest naturalist of the 20th Century, and perhaps one of the most thorough in all of American history. Unencumbered by social constraints, expectations on himself, and care for the mirth of his fellow man, Thoreau pursued his passion for all things natural, beautiful and of God's most intimate creation without reservation. He tuned himself to the cycles of the natural world. He became so self-aware - in regards to his personhood in respect to nature - that nothing was less natural to him than removing oneself from the hyper-alert, congruent natural life. Living by the cycles of the Earth fueled Thoreau's passion for studying the Earth. He was brilliant because He chose to be Himself - a naturalist, a writer, a soul free from the societal constrictions of social conventions. Emerson recognized this unique brilliance in his heady, reclusive friend, and in turn, drew strength from Thoreau's unbridled pursuit of his passion.

A great lesson for us all. Drop expectations, follow what you know to be true, honest and empowering and live life with unbridled passion, like Thoreau.

Sunday Cruiser

Put in a really clean, super fun, well-fueled 14 or 15er this morning. All of the miles were nice and easy, 7-7:30 pace. Felt great. Seriously great. Drinking coffee now and eating lots of peanut butter. 

For whatever it is worth, this last week put me up and beyond the 1500 mile mark since I began totaling my weekly miles in Great Falls (8/24). Just a number, but kind of a neat milestone (no pun intended) to note. What a blessing to have the health and daily drive to continue putting in the miles. God is good. Peace.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekly Mileage

Another 130 mile week. Put in 14 "errand miles" this morning and will be putting in a cool 5 before din-din. I am taking advantage of these decent weather days before winter. My guess is once the cold and wind sits down for the winter I will slide back to where I want to be in maintenance mode - 80-100 miles a week. I am feeling sharp and super duper alive at 130 miles. I am very comfortable with this mileage - what with, several hard tempos a week sprinkled in. This fact makes me hopeful for my spring training cycle. I don't think that I will have any problem, Lord willing, maintaining 140 plus for 4-6 weeks during the build-up. This last month has taught me a lot about my capabilities both mentally and physically and has given me great confidence for my next training cycle. I think that a 5:30-5:45 - 50 miler is well within my reach this Spring and that in 2 years the "A Olympic Marathon Standard" will be obtainable. Anyways, time to peace out. Peace out.

Sat. Morn. Coff. + Err. R.

Just sitting down at the library now, nearing the end of my Saturday Morning Coffee and Errand Run. Took a nice and fun 7 miler to get to a little coffee nook. There, I drank a lot of coffee and read from "The Four Loves" by C.S. Lewis. I then went on a nice 3 to 3.5 mile run past the bank (which was closed), ending up at a tea/fudge shop. When downtown, it is a nice store(s?) to stop in and gawk at tea paraphernalia of which I will never be able to afford and have a saunter past glorious piles of decadent, gourmet fudges. Passing by the heaps of sweets in the fudge portion of the store, I pretend myself a serious patron and conjure up a rather sincere, though feigned, interest in purchasing prodigious amounts of exorbitantly priced candies. The confectioners then offer samples upon samples (on good days - bad days I am stuck with one) of their finest sweets. Upon completing my faux patron act - an act replete with oohs, ahhs, technical confectionery jargon, and lots of pointing - I allow actual, serious buyers to slip in front of me, thus distracting the fudge ladies, while I innocently slip back into the tea shoppe, ogle expensive superfluous tea equipment and leave. Today, I had a nutty raspberry fudge. It was divine.

While waiting to enter the library, just now, an older gentlemen, perhaps 70, and I nearly got into it. He approached me, complaining about the homeless man, who essential lives at the library - it is his place of refuge from open to close, every day - making comments about how the police should remove him, how he should be thrown in jail, etc. He spouted out several conventions and ranted for awhile about how Missoula and Billings wouldn't allow homeless people to roam so freely. Frustrated a bit by this, I went on to explain, what I know of the homeless man's situation, how the library is a public place, and he is less disruptive and more peaceful than most folks in the library. He is no harm to anyone. Period. The irate man wouldn't have it. He continued repeating the same things about how the police should be called, etc. Doubtless, this was a lost cause - arguing with this man -, he had most certainly made up his mind and was unwilling to by sympathetic to a fellow human's cause. So I walked away and so did he.

Friday, November 14, 2008


An integral piece of my training is gluttony. Last night I did my weekly calorie recovery. Once a week, typically the night before a slow day of work and running, I ingest food and beverage without reservation. Mostly carbs with a fair serving of protein. You must understand that this is not an exercise in compulsive eating and unbridled indulgence, it is simple a utility I run each week to ensure that my gas tank is full. 

After 18 pretty easy miles yesterday I spent the evening wining and dining... 2 cups of rice, a massive tortilla, 2 bowls of cereal, 2 yogurts, a bowl of granola and yogurt, 2 glasses of cab/merlot, several tbsps of peanut butter and a lot of tea. Needless to say, I went to bed sated. This morning, with a full tank of petrol, I hit the road at an easy 7:30 pace for a super chill, easy and honest 12 miler. Returned to my home feeling rather spry and spunky? I am not sure that I have ever felt spunky in my life, actually. But spry, yes.

Just come off a great week at school. Monday was a wash, but the beauty of starting at the bottom is there is only one way to go on the Y axis, up. And the rest of the week was just that; a rise to complete freedom in my work. I really engaged with the kids this week. Running club went great. I wrote some articles for some local publications, completed a mid-term grant evaluation for our health rocks! program, greased up the Centerville recycling machine, began a new mentoring position with Marshall, created a brochure for LEAP, did some more work on the LEAP video and had some good social outings. Today, Don is going to take me around the GF school system and then we are going to go for some lunch. Tonight I may head to the Banff film festival at the Civic Center. Life is good. Deeeeeep breath. Fully sated, presently.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Asics No More

After 2 weeks on a new pair of Asics I have learned a valuable lesson; to stick with what works... in this case of running shoes, Saucony. I felt the Asics blow out on me on my 11 mile tempo run yesterday. The Asics lasted a solid 250 miles and to their credit, they were a comfortable ride while they lasted. Doubtless, the last couple of weeks have seen some pretty gnarly tempo runs, but my Saucony's typically have been able to go 3 to 4 weeks before meeting a similar fate.

Yesterday, I put in a solid 17 miles of hard, tempo running. My 11 miler yesterday was quick and fluid. One of the better runs of the month. This morning I took it easy with an honest 10 mile cruiser. Felt effortless at 7:30 pace. Good stuff. Anyways, life is good, it really is.

Yesterday was a really solid day of work. Steve and I finally unloaded the recycling trailer (after 3 months of accumulation) at the recycling center. We turned in a solid ton or better of paper. It was great. Also, I took in 4 - 60 gallon bags of plastic bags to Walmart to be recycled and redeemed for the 'Kid's Recycling Program'. Good stuff. Not only will the bags be reworked into some other consumer product, we accrued 20 bucks for the effort. Running club was excellent yesterday. I now have 9 kids in the club and they are all advancing nicely on the marathon chart. We played tag yesterday to warm up and then did a 14 minute, run-at-your-own-pace track run. Everyone did well. Marshall and Tanner really stepped it up yesterday and run some really clean strides. Next week we will shoot for a 17 minute run. How encouraging these guys are! Homework time went well. Did my usually sit down with Joe. Helped him through some of his English work. Good stuff. Peace out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dark Croconaw

Yesterday, I put in an easy 20 on foot and 6 or so on bicycle. Felt fresh and well-recovered this morning and took a nice, little 6er before work. The first three were warm-up and the last three were hard and dirty miles.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Weekend Running Plan

To celebrate life I think that I am going to go for an all-nighter Saturday morning - midnight to sunrise. I have not decided yet how I will do it, but one thing is for sure it will be safe, fun and well planned. I have been feeling mentally tough lately and what's more I have been feeling inspired. What will probably end up happening is the first 20 miles or so will be around town, then I will move to a track and run that for awhile with a headlamp. In this way, my nutritional requirements - food, gu's, water, gatorade - will be readily available on the side of the track. Within an hour or so of sunrise I will head back to the road to finish off the run, finishing at around 7, heading due East towards the morning star. Just a thought, not for sure yet. I would like to do something more creative in daylight (most of miles of been in the dark lately). That is my tentative weekend running plan. An all-night 50 plus miler. Peace.

Easy Running...

Frickin a, I ran the easiest 12 of my life with renewed joy and vigor this morning. Something changed in me yesterday. Something massive changed in me yesterday. An old friend from high school, Megan Cochran, and I recently began corresponding. She is in Africa, working at a Presbyterian medical mission. An unbelievable lass she is. I can't put my finger on it, but after receiving her recap of the last year, including her service in Africa, via email, something came alive in me. Everything is much clearer now about my life of service and what limitless, indiscriminate love looks like. Then, I went out for a drink with Jennifer, in lieu of attending a concert, and had a great time talking about life from a new, clear perspective. At any rate, I should get going. Life goes well. Peace.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Challenge

That's it. I am restless. Time for a new challenge, with a new goal, to bring some new life to my soul. Maybe a super, hyper, flaming, long run this weekend. Hmmm. We will see. Something's gotta give.

5 Miler

Ran a cool 5sy this morning. Took it at 6 minute pace. Felt comfortable, with a bit of effort. A bit of pressure in the form of time prevented me from putting in any more miles. Put in an easy 40 over the weekend. Recovering nicely. Peace.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Post-Tempo, Pre-Church Coffee Bliss

Ran a really clean, tight tempo this morning. An 11 miler. The first 6-7 were real strong and steady with the last 3 very tight and 5:30 or better pace. The last mile felt something close to a 5 minuter. Very fun. Physically, mentally, spiritually, I felt tight. Presently, I am sipping on some coffee at Schulte's coffee shop before I head off to church. Not much new to report. Had a fun Saturday night out on the town with Don - attended the symphony, then went out for a beer. My head didn't hit my pillow until Sunday morning. Good stuff. Life is good. Straight up. 

It is a gorgeous day here in GF, I think I might take a nice and easy cruiser this afternoon. 

Flipp'n a. My right wrist has been a bit sore lately. This seemingly unrelated running injury reminds me of the first time I ran more than 30 miles in one push, back in Colorado Springs. I remember waking up the morning after the circumnavigation/mountain run with the expected soreness in my legs, but was taken aback by completely numb and strangely sore arms. Apparently, my arms weren't nearly as well trained as my legs. The continuous cycling of my arms for 4 plus hours proved rather trying on my wimpy little pea-shooters. Needless to say, I took on an upper-body work out regimen immediately to address the problem. Back to my right wrist, at present. My right hand is basically useless, but all is not lost. I am still breathing. Peace.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Decline Delusion: Slope Misjudgment in Great Falls

My blood is boiling. I can no longer remain silent on this issue. Months of harboring this odious, loathsome misguided, delusion has left me livid and misanthropic. Before going off on a tirade against the City of Great Falls and their marked inability to appropriately label slopes, I will take a deeeeeeeep breath, relax the pressure valves and provide the back story to this polemic.

Though Great Falls provides little in the way of bipedal transit options, what the City does provide for its pedestrians is rather well done; the river walk, crosswalk signage, thru bike routes, etc. The problem with the cities pedestrian infrastructure is this; over estimation and excessive over exaggeration via hazard signs of declines, slopes and hills. Great Falls seems to label all hills, greater than five feet in elevation exchange, with 'decline warning signs'. What's more, on two hills I am thinking of in particular, the city has gone to the trouble of measuring and labeling the grade of the slope - these two slopes I am referring to are less than ten feet in exchange. Firstly, this seems to me a great misappropriation of recreation funds in the city. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, this act of 'crying wolf' on slope values is both dangerous and misguiding for the pedestrians of Great Falls. With mountains within sixty miles on all facets of the city, this conditioning of Great Fallsians - to labeled slopes of less than ten feet of elevation change - is likely to numb the slope judgement sensory receivers in the rear of the brain, so that a sign designating a slope that may well be in excess of several thousand feet in the mountains is taken as a subtle suggestion to 'slow a bit'. Surely, you see how misleading this can be. Alright, I am done with this subject. It only angers me.  Achtung!

Today has been great. It looks like this week will conclude at 130 miles. Feeling great. Had a nice morning drinking coffee at Morning Light, well talking to some rock solid folks, then headed to the library to do some web browsing. Put in 13 miles this morning. This evening Don and I are going to the Great Falls Symphony. They are playing a smattering of pieces; from Dvorak's five to some new, hip, contemporary stuff. Should be solid. Love it. Off to the races. Peace and stuff.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Future Running Projects

The odious truth of my present budget and commitment to my Americrops VISTA position is that races, long adventure runs and exotic running tours are pretty well out of the question until late Summer 2009. Which is 'ok', it simply means that I am going to have to get creative with my training and running projects. At any rate, some running prospects for 2009;

- A sub-6 hour 50 miler, a major 50 mile win
- Leadville 100
- Elkhorn 50
- The Colorado Trail, sub-8 days
- Montana Traverse, sub-10 days
- Colorado, Rocky Moutain Traverse (Denver to Grand Junction)
- A couple of tune-up MT marathons

In the meantime, basically now until April or so, I am going to take on some mileage challenges and set some fairly heavy training goals periodically to spice things up a little. In March, I might shoot for a marathon every morning before work for as long as I can stand it (in other words, until the bowels of Great Falls drive me to the edge of lunacy - at which point I stop). There are some possibilities for gym memberships here through the winter. Which of course means treadmill running. One of the great joys of life. I might contrive a few treadmill challenges to spic things up. Back at the University of Colorado I burned out a few treadmills and ended up having the gym attendent ladies start up adjacent treadmills during the middle of my tempo runs so I could jump from my present mill to the next in an effort to save the motors. Maybe a 50 mile treadmill run. Granted, I had the blessing at UCCS of being friends with the director of the fitness center. Maybe I can talk my way into some sort of a fundraiser challenge at a local gym. Anyways, this winter is going to be all about getting creative with my training - keeping it interesting, exciting and new.

Had a really smooth 10sy this morning and am now in the middle of an 8 mile errand run. Good stuff. Great week at work. I feel like I am getting a good hold on the place, the work and what needs to be done. The kids that I work with are wonderful and eager to learn. Life is good. Time to kick back and enjoy the weekend. Peace.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Revised Off-season Plan

Had a nice and clean 9 miler this morning. Took the first 5 or so nice and easy at about 7 minute pace. The last 3 (before cool-down) I pushed, cutting down each mile by 30 second or more until I came out on the last mile at about 5:30 pace or better. The run felt sharp and well rationed in turns of energy conservation and efficiency, ensuring a rock solid finish. 

Over the last couple of days I have been entertaining some alternative off-season training plans. My goal here, in the off-season, is to have a plan that has a higher percentage of fun and enjoyable runs, than actual fitness/training runs, all the while avoiding even the slightest of injuries. I am very comfortable at 110-120 miles a week. At that mileage I am able to enjoy a majority of my runs without feeling stressed or overly pressured to get out. That kind of mileage, I suppose, is an inextricable part of my daily life. Anything about 120 is heading into extra credit for life and race-prep territory. I will continue sprinkling in a couple of tempo runs a week in an effort to continue increasing my fitness and pace on longer runs. I am going to try to keep the 16+ runs to 3 or less a week - to avoid any possibility of even the slightest injury.

Today will be a nice and short 15 or 16 mile day. Trying to regain some of the energy and calories I lost yesterday. It has been nice to keep the 20 plus days at 3 or less a week, rather than 25 plus, 7 days a week. Eating 6-7 thousand calories a day consistently is super difficult for me in terms of budgeting and actually eating. What's more, I still haven't perfected that kind of calorie load in regards to stomach problems on the 2 a day long runs. 

Alright, time to get to work. Wait, running club was glorious yesterday. The kids were active participates in a meaningful discussion about discipline and what it means for our running, academic and extra-curricular lives. The kids then went to work in the computer lab, researching training, nutrition, cross training, distance and speed-work. My assignment was for them to find some information, drills, training tools that would be beneficial to our club. The kids then presented what they found with excitement before I took them out on a "follow the leader" run. We had a great time. They are truly great little people. Peace.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Easy Running...

My shape is good. I put in an easy 16 miler before work this morning - took it at about 7:30 pace, a nice change from the sub 6 runs I have been putting in lately. I returned to my place feeling rather spry and awaited the morning news to see who are new commander-in-chief was. The run was rather uneventful. Very solid, super smooth, but uneventful. Flurries for most of the run... The 'Mighty Mo' was looking mighty perdy this morning... It just occurred to me that I gathered no more information than that from my 2 hours on the road this morning. I need to be more vigilant and involved on these longer runs. Nay, it was what it was. Really solid. I lost myself in the pace and enjoyed the entire run. Good stuff. The amount of introspection need not always be the standard by which I judge runs. At any rate, life is good... school is abuzz with kids and there is much to look forward to today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, etc.? I don't know what all of that means. Today is club day. I am taking the kids out on a 13 minute individual run around the track today. On our individual timed runs, the kids run at their own pace without thinking about time or distance. The objective is for them to run at a pace that they can comfortably maintain for 13 minutes. We have been building endurance. We started out with a 6 minute run - a run which proved rather difficult for most of the kids. Slowly, but surely we are increasing our time out on the track. The kids are improving and enjoying the fruits of their discipline. Glorious.

This afternoon, I might put in a 6-8 miler, time permitting, before running club. Back to video editing and weak coffee drinking. Love it. Peace.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Strong Tempos

Yesterday I had a nice 16 mile day and today is looking about the same. This morning I threw down a very clean 9 mile tempo run. Most of the miles were around 6 minuters, with a couple sub 6es sprinkled it. It felt great. After running, I threw down on this morning's crossword, finishing it in under 10 minutes. After puzzling, I threw down at the voting booth, registering and voting in under 30 minutes at the Great Falls Melee Center; a great experience. Presently, I am sipping on a Diet Coke and planning for the day at school. God bless America. No matter how this election turns out, one thing is for sure, things are going to change drastically. Of course, that goes without saying, but that is all I could think to say. Peace.

Had a rather soggy 8 mile tempo out at school this afternoon. It was glorious though. Running in the elements is inspiring, and a nice change from the ordinary. The run was strong. I hit the 4 miles back at 6 minute or better pace. Now it is time for the kids to come a fil'n into the LEAP room. Today, the kids will be having a mock election and learning all about how our voting system works. Good stuff. 17 miles for the day. 55 for the week. Awesome. Peace.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Today is Monday

Just had a great running weekend. Put in a little over 40 hard miles. Good stuff. This morning I took 'er easy with a nice and easy 9er before work. Had a great social weekend this weekend as well - put in 5 hours of friendly people time. It was glorious - made a new friend and reaffirmed an old friendship. Isn't it incredibly frustrating how quickly we can come crashing down from an emotional high? It really isn't a crash so much as it is an unsolicited reversion back to the bottom of the philisophical "dell of life". Doubts, fears, anxieties, worries come creeping in and without warning, one (me) finds themself in a place of melancholy introspection. From joy to soy (soy, in this sense is used as a negative metaphor in the context of a dairy farmer's creamy, lactocious, imbibation preference - a leaning towards whole milk over soy) in a matter of minutes. No matter, I am glad I caught the transition mid-stride and recognized it for what it is, so that I may do away with the stink'n think'n (as 'Momma Kay' would say), replacing those thoughts with positive and honest truth. It is time to turn back in thanksgiving and praise from whence blessings flow. Life is good. Peace.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NYC Marathon Today

I ran 15, maybe 16 this morning before coming down to Schultes coffee to follow the NYC Marathon blog. I love big marathon days. Great days for the sport. Fun stuff. Frickin' a, I am a running nerd. Hate it or love it, it is true. Back to the NYC blog. Peace.

Extra Credit for Life

I had a math professor at Colorado Mountain College that would always drop the line, "well, that is extra credit for life" whenever a student would do more work or different work than was actually assigned. He was serious, and with good reason. Doing something that is not required is certainly extra credit for life - character building perhaps? Admittedly, the students who completed the wrong assignments, or did more problems than were prescribed, did so out of ignorance rather than for character enrichment. Regardless, the line "extra credit for life" has stuck with me and has made itself manifest in the last few weeks of running. My maintenance plan through the winter was 60-80 miles a week, but the last few weeks have come to about 100 even (if averaged). The truth is, all of the miles were enjoyable, not forced or obligatory. After maintaining 140 miles or better for a month or better, 100 is a very reasonable workload. I have really been enjoying my shape. To bring this full circle... My maintenance plan hasn't changed, I just consider these last few weeks "extra credit for life" weeks that will likely pay dividends in next Spring's build-up. If it feels good and I am enjoying it, why fight it? Peace.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

On Grammatical/Spelling Errors...


Unexpected Friendships...

Firstly, I ran extra credit on my b-day - 24.5 total. No problem with that. Today, I ran a sick 10 mile tempo run with most of the miles around 6 minute pace - feeling very comfortable the entire way; not too hard, but a good clip. Then, I made a new friend. As I attempt to be ever more present in my day to day activites, I have met new people and made new acquaintances of which I would have never seen as prospective friends. Anyways, cheers to being open to new people and staying present in a good conversation. Life is good. It is amazing what a good conversation can do for the heart. This afternoon I will sprinkle in a nice and easy 6 before din-din to loosen up my legs from this morning. Laundry still needs to be done... frick'n a. Off to the tasks of the day. Peace.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Yesterday I was 22, today I am 23. Next year, about this time, I will be 24. The problem with aging as a neurotic runner is that growing older means running more miles on your birthday. This is a boon to the neurotic part of a runner, but a problem for the more reasonable, rational human within us all. Anyways, a year ago today I ran the Pikes Peak Marathon route to celebrate my b-day and the year before that I was running Waldo Canyon and some other stuff. Today, I put in 15 miles in GF before work and will be heading out on my favorite 8 mile coulee run this afternoon before LEAP. A glorious day. Everyone has been so kind and nice to me on my B-day. My parents, my friends, my co-workers. I need to learn to take love and accept the blessings that come my way. Love myself really. No need to get into all that. This year has been a whirlwind. I sit here, thinking, "how the f did I get to this point"... graduated from college, moved to MT, joined Americorps, began work at a rural school, won the MT Ultra Championship, have made wonderful friends and have wonderful prospects on the horizon. What's more, life is good and more and more it is becoming clear to me how I should be chasing my dreams, concurrently living in the moment and relishing in the abounding goodness in my life. Service is the calling. Losing myself in serving others... it is my calling. My 23rd year will be a year of dedicated service and honest, thoughtful introspection. Peace.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Change of Pace

It occurred to me just a moment ago that this blog, whatever its worth may be, lies in its flexibility. For everything there is a season... running has taken a back seat in my life for the winter and work, social life and intentional spiritual searching have taken up the helm. That is not to say that I am no longer running or that I was not seeking those things just mentioned while running ranked higher in priority. I am - 90-100 a week... and I was committed to work and intentional soul searching during training... The difference is in the volume of miles and intensity of which I approach the work outs in the off season and the amount of honest, positive introspection I am putting into the rest of my life; mind and body. I renamed my blog to 'Life: Mind, Body, Soul' because of this revelation. My life is more than running, thank goodness. Life is obviously a balance of these three elemental life parts. The seasons of our life dictate the emphasis placed on one or more of the component pieces. But the fact remains, all three are present at all times in some capacity. This blog, in the next few months, is likely to read more like a line of muses than a training journal. It is an honest, introspective, unpacking of my thoughts. That is all it is. It isn't a rant of infallible truth dissemination. Life is what it is and this is the best way for me to process the absolute... mind, body and soul.

On Restless Nights...

I awoke this morning at 2, unable to return to a peaceful slumber. Instead of getting frustrated and excerbating the problem, I laced up my running shoes and went for a 15 miler. It was glorious. I ran it steady and clean. The city was quiet, windless and warm. I think what it came down to was needing some time moving to help process many of the changes that have been occuring in my life lately and the need to recognize those things and submit to those changes. Honestly, great things are screaming in my face - God is sending signs in abundance -, and I continue to play it safe and hold on to those things I know, are comfortable and require little to no risk-taking. This morning on my run it hit me, struck me, completely overtook me... I need to take more chances and be open to these new opportunities and fully embrace what the Lord is providing. Then and only then will I know whether or not those things are indeed good additions to my life. Growth requires change. We should always be on an upward trajectory, growing and growing and growing - changing and changing and changing. Changing, not for the sake of change, but for the sake of upward movement, character refinement and growing closer to the Lord. Anyways, restless nights will do that to you; cause you to be introspective and run for awhile. We can either embrace those opportunities or continue to roll around restlessly, becoming frustrated, irritable and stagnate. Stagnation is not an option. If we are not growing, we are dying. If we are not sleeping we are awake. Make sure your waking hours are meaningful, peaceful and true. Life is good. Embrace it and grow. Follow God's signs whole-heartedly (this is all more a challenge for myself than a challenge to anyone reading this). F'n a, I am a safety Joe. Have a glorious day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

5 Mile Loops

Lately, I have been finding myself running at 10K pace, right out the door, on 5 mile loops. They are glorious - fast and furious. The last couple of weeks have been glorious. The race, preparations for Lights on Afterschool, my parents visiting, Lights on Afterschool and life. What great peace God gives us when we sit down, take a deep breath and turn to him in praise and thanksgiving for all the goodness He has bestowed upon us. My parents blow my mind, they are wonderful. My workplace is fantastic. I am loving the kids that I am working with. Running is right where it needs to be. My relationship with God is growing daily. A new and exciting friendship is continuing to deepen. My fridge is full of food and my coffee mug is a'steaming. Life is good. Thanks be to the Lord. There is something glorious about hitting the ground at 10K pace, grinding the hills and pushing hard over the short distance of 5 miles. This winter's training will include several 5 mile grinders a week (in the morn), supplemented with easy 10-12s in the afternoons. I have already noticed the difference in comfort at pace on the longer runs. My goal is to increase my speed over the winter - ultimately I am looking to run a sub 6 hour 50 miler -, before I do my next build-up in the spring. I am on target for that if I continue to maintain consistency and strength in my training. To God be the glory. Getting up and running each morning is not a right, it is a privelage. To God be the glory. Peace.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Over the Mighty Mo

This morning I repeated the 12-13 mile loop that I did in the Monday fog. Today was fogless. It was still a very nice, clean run. I had some serious spunk in me and took the run at a nice, comfortable 6:30-7 minute pace. Not too hard, but enough effort to know I am moving. Yesterday I only made time for a 6 miler, one of the shorter days I have had in awhile...and that six miler was a disgrace. So this morning was a bit redemptive for me. It was great. Chatted with fellow IGA Checkout Runner (I know nothing about him other than that he runs 3 miles on occasion and has back problems from a motorcycle accident) while picking up the morning paper on the way home. Always nice to see him. This evening my parents are rolling into the Falls. I have not seen them since June. It will be a nice break from the stress I create for myself at work. Deeeeeeeeeeeeep breath. Just finished the LEAP video and took out the Elementary recycling... Glorious. Anyways, I have really been enjoying my runs lately. I am in very good shape from my summer and fall training, which has made these morning 12 milers extremely comfortable cruisers. It is nice to come back from a 12 or 15 miler and feel fresh as a button. Good day.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On Coulees and Bowels

The most important step of a 50 mile run is crossing the finish line. Pat, the race director of Le Grizz just sent this my way and I thought what better place to post it than on my running blog. So here it is <----. This morning I pounded out a sick 4 miler. Just awesome. Trying to save myself for a nice, easy run out here in the coulees this afternoon. My favorite place to run in the Great Falls area is out here in the country. The roads are long and gravelly and the terrain is ever-undulating - a perfect training ground. Most importantly, it is just beautiful out here. That is the truth. Many a life affirming run has gone down out here in the gulches. Frankly, it is hard for me to imagine a non-inspirational run out here, having spent most of my miles on runs through the bowels of Great Falls. My point is, coulee running always trumps bowel running. Just kidding. At the end of the day, they are what they are; two distinct types of running. As it is with everything, we must appreciate things for what they are - forgoing constant comparison of apples and oranges. Apples will never be oranges just as coulee running will never be bowel running. In other words, enjoy things for what they are. Eliminate value judgments where value judgments are unnecessary and merely complicate honest realities. For me, this has meant to love running, whether it has been in the bowels of the Falls, in the coulees of the country, in the mountains Colorado, on the shore of Lake Superior, in the National Forests of Wyoming, on the beaches of Cancun, on the flanks of the Montanan Rockies, on the reservations of South Dakota, around the lakes of Minnesota or the canyons of Utah - it has all been running. Each landscape and every place provides us with new and enriching experiences if only we take the time to appreciate the present by forgoing comparison. Love it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Thick Fog Over the Mighty Mo

I hit the road about 3:30 this morning, for what turned out to be about a half marathon. It was glorious; super smooth and super fun. Perhaps the most interesting part of the run was crossing the Mighty Mo and running into a thick fog. It was eerie. The floor was perfectly clear on the southwest part of the city, the northwest was perfectly socked in. No lights visible. The area where the northwest part of town was, appeared as a black chasm in the universe, a succinct void. Needless, to say, I had to check it out. I ran instead the stuff and thoroughly enjoyed the ominuous, uncanny cruise through the ground-floor cloud. It proved to be one of those life-affirming runs, where nothing and everything matters and time is no more. Love it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Upward and Yon

We all progress at different paces,

But most important, that the human race is
moving upward, forward and yon,

Toward the virtuous, great beyond...

And if God is there... oh I know He is,
in that great beyond, where heav'n is,
then our movement is towards everlasting glory,
to that place of the Eden story.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

On pancakes...

There are three ways to know God; through Jesus, Chipotle and pancakes (good ones). The first way, through Jesus, is of course, the only way for us to know our creator. Chipotle is my silly example of an avenue to reach God (though I do think it to be true). Pancakes, my friends, are simply divine. Now, divinity in this sense, is of the Earthly descriptive sort. It is my experience that there are things on this Earth that make us come alive. God programmed us this way. In that way, divinity, comes through those things that make each of us comes alive - we see, feel and know God in those moments. Pancakes, for me, are a reflection of God's greater glory. Divinity shines through an orbus, two-dimensional, wholesome, cake. I don't want to draw this out, the point is, I love pancakes. Presently, I am running errands; just wrote a letter to Brian Jr. in Kenya (my sponsored child); now I am at the library, doing the internet thing and settling my balance (I have a tendency to collect library items and accrue fines, unbeknownced to me, until a freeze is put on my account - fortunately, I have come to budget for this tendency and it is no longer a shock to my pocket-book); next, it is home to eat lunch and take a shower before they turn off the water for the day; then, laundry time. It is game time. Peace and love.

Friday, October 17, 2008

On Obscene Sights...

On my morning 9 miler I cruised past a rather disturbing scene... The thing of it was, that the scene wasn't so disturbing or strange as was the stream of images and memories that the sight elicited. Running 7th Ave. alley I ran past a garage with a freshly slain antelope strewn about. A bit of a shock, as it was unexpected, but beautiful in the sense that the man cleaning the animal seemed to be an honest sportsmen. At any rate, it immediately got me thinking about other strange things I have seen while running, specifically a sight from Colorado Springs. I won't go into any sort of detail, but I will say this, I ran within a couple feet of a teenage couple performing a rather illicit act inside a beater of a car. I am not sure who was more shocked, surprised, or appalled; the couple or me. One thing is for sure, it made us all a bit more conscious of how we behave in public places - at least I hope it is so for the couple. It was a great run this morning... a hard, tempo followed by some pancakes. Glorious. That is all for now. Peace and love and stuff.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

MEA and Post-Modernism

MEA, as far as I am concerned, stands for Excessive Coffee Imbibation. You are probably quick to realize that the acronym there is ECI, a far cry from MEA. But it is my reality, my MEA. Thus, is/are the implications of post-modernism. What feels right to me at a given moment, even if it defies convention, truth, and complete objectivity, is wholly right in my mind's eye - folks who think contradictory to my line of thought are just as right in there mind's eye. This modern philosophy is, of course, absurd. There is a baseline truth that undergirds all reasoning. Some things are right and some things are wrong. Anyways, I don't want to get into it, but this is a philosophy that has been bugging me lately. Presently, I am in the process of running errands. Yesterday I put in a solid 13 miles, today will be closer to 10 or so. Nothing new or exciting to report. My guess is that this running blog, through the next several months, will begin looking more like a rant and rave blog (as the entree) with a dash of running on top. What a great way to process thoughts and feelings, this blog stuff. Everyone should have a blog. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go enjoy my MEA day off. Peace.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On fate, accidents and Don Resset..

Firstly, fate. Not much to say here, other than "stuff happens". Secular fatalists would have us believe that God, as an explanation for all things inexplicable is an uneducated answer to a scientific problem. They have it exactly backwards. Fatalism is a cop-out for all things pre-ordained by God's good and perfect will. Free will gives us choice, which is wholly compatible with the sovereignty of God, and that choice - so necessary to our very essence - allows us to make both good and bad decisions, concurrently allowing evil spirits to be as real as good and perfect, Godly spirits. The more in tune we are with our creator - understanding and abiding - the more His good and perfect Word will be clear to us, hampering the ability of evil spirits to lead us down misguided paths. Sure, stuff happens, but how do you account for it? By chance? Nay, I say. Dig deeper. Fate is a weak answer. Secondly, accidents. Yesterday, on my morning 8 I nearly lost my  life, or at least my health, or something. I nearly lost something is my point. Running 7th St. alley, I edged too close to a 20 foot crevasse in the road and lost my footing... fortunately, there was a bush within reach to grab hold to and pull myself up. Thanks be to the Lord. Thirdly, Don Resset. Great man. Peace.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ahhhh, Recovery...

I am feeling really solid physically. Sunday, I went for a three mile jog. Yesterday day I did a 6 mile cruise and this morning I ran a really steady 8. Doubtless, all the miles I put in prior to the race are coming in to speed up the recovery. I feel loose, limber and spry. It feels so great to go out for an 8 miler without any thought of time, pace or near-term goals. As great as it is to have race to train for it is also wonderful to come out of a running season - letting the body rest and rediscovering why it is you love running. My official time for the Le Grizz was 6:22:59, a minute and a half behind the first place overall runner and 30 minutes ahead of the 3rd place runner. Again, very happy with my effort. Everything came together - the Lord was there guiding me every step of the way (that is not just cliche religious rhetoric, but the honest to goodness truth). The effort was good enough to achieve the distinctive honor of 2008 USATF Montana Ultra Marathon Champion... unexpected icing on the cake. At any rate, I can't get over how wonderful of a run that was. I had a wonderful time and for the first time in a race, felt spot on with my training. What's more, I am very excited for the next couple of months of running for fun -maybe 60-80 miles a week -, retooling - assessing this last training cycle and making changes for the future -, and next spring/summer racing season - maybe some 50Ks, a 50 miler and maybe the Leadville 100 in August... But at this point, who knows - it is all tentative. The time is now and I love it. Excited to continue diving into my life here in MT.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Race Report

The race went great. I felt very fit and spry. Starting at 5, we took a 2 hour bus ride up the winding mountain road that we would be running. After checking in at the start line, we stood around for about an hour, trying to stay warm... it was about 20 degrees and snowing at the start. Took off with a shotgun start at 8AM. I ran alone for the last 48 miles of the race. Through mile 27, I was feeling very strong and fluid in my gait. One of my personal running disciplines is to run as light and as technologyless as possible - no camelbak, water bottles, ipods, etc; no watch, no gps, nada. For me it is all about running with heart and feeling, feeling out your pace and being honest about it, regardless of what your splits are. Anyways, at mile 27 I felt great, hitting all of the aid stations very smoothly. It is interesting to come to the end of what would be a marathon and realize that you have to run another. Miles 37 to 41 were probably the toughest miles of the race. Mentally, I was starting to become unglued and becoming hyper aware of every little ache and pain... but nothing was out of hand. Just the standard pains one would expect for running 40 miles. By mile 42 I was on the count-down and the end was in sight. I knew that I had hit the race with just the right pace and effort to finish strong. By mile 48 the guy running in first place, also named Brian, was within 1 to 2 minutes reach, but however much I tried to dig in and kick up my pace, I couldn't. I crossed the finish just a minute or two behind the first place finisher. I was the first unsupported runner - no pacers, aid crew, etc. to cross the finish. My time for the 50 was 6:22, about 7:38 pace. I was very satisfied with the effort and pace. The race had a couple of thousand vertical in it, which makes me very happy with the pace. Regardless, I finished and finished strong, that was my goal for this race. I truly believe my training and taper was spot on for this race. The high mileage paid off for sure. I am a bit stiff, at present, but no unreasonable pains. All in all, I am feeling great physically and am totally stoked about the days effort. I thank all of you who encouraged me, prayed for me and supported me in this effort. You all are wonderful. Well, that is the end of race season. The next couple of months will be filled with fun and easy (and low mileage) runs and developing plans for the spring running season. Glorious. Love it. Peace.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Television is Glorious

Here I sit, first of all, embarrassed by blogging three time today - that seems excessive - secondly, wholly contented on a hotel bed, watching new episodes of Seinfeld. Now, you are probably thinking, f'n a, Seinfeld was new eight years ago; and you are right. By new I mean 4th season plus. I do not own a TV. A TV addiction in college left me frustrated to the breaking point of giving it away to the first person to walk past my door. Ever since, I have been TVless. All is not lost. I do own the 1st through 3rd seasons of Seinfeld on DVD. I have been watching a couple episodes a day on my computer for the last 2 years. I have them memorized, forward and back. That is why it is such a treat to watch "new" episodes and frankly, anything on television period. What a great, mindless, time passer. Love it. Peace.

My lesson

Just remembered it.

When in close proximity to a bathroom and in need of it's services, use it. You never know when the next bathroom may be available.


Heading up to Hungry Horse today to get some sleep before the race manana. On my loosy goosy 6 miler this morning I was put in stitches (well, cracked a smile) upon eyeing a bumper sticker that read, "save a tree, skin a cat", or something to that effect. As a part-time, fair-weather environmentalist and a lover of funny things, I found it repulsive with a jolt of levity. To each his own. Let's face it, life is too short to be constantly tending to our visceral responses, creating drama where there is none and, of course, miss out on a moment of levity. Presently, I am enjoying my day off, sipping on some coffee and eating a peanut butter bagel at Morning Light coffee in GF.

On passions... never let money, time or nay-sayers be barriers to your pursuit of what makes you come alive. If I were pressed to deliver one, single lesson on the rigors of training 20 plus miles a day while concurrently working full-time, it would be this;

Wait, a preface to my silly lesson. We all have a passion, or six, and they are all equally valuable. In using the raw facts and figures of the last couple of months - mileage, work-time, etc., by no means to I intend to say my passion is the ultimate. It is what it is and I have learned something from it. Hopefully, it is the same with everyone else, assuming there are actually readers of this blog. Emerson exhorts us to "lose live with abandonment...", following those things that make us come alive, forgetting all else; our worries, fears, anxieties, nay-sayers, hecklers?, pre-prescribed limits, etc... Or, as the great poet Marshalus Matherus (Eminem) said, "Lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go..."

My lesson. Well, I honestly just lost it. In the moment I guess. Shoot. Well if, no when, I recall what it was/is I will hop back on here and share it. Coffee time. Peace and love. God bless.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Coming into my shape...

Yesterday afternoon I put in a very nice and smooth 8 miler on gravel, winding through the coulees of rural Montana. I took a GPS with me to start plotting out a 5K and a 10K race route for an upcoming fundraising as well as to plan out a route for my running club, later in the afternoon. Running club went really well. I have 5 kids, 4th-6th grade, who are gung-ho about running a race. Before going out for a mile run, I had the kids fill out purpose and goal sheets for the club and we discussed discipline and how it applies to running and life. The kids were very open and responsive throughout. We went for a nice mile as a team... that is my emphasize with the club, sticking together and encouraging one another. Everyone finished and our post-processing time was swell. This morning I went for, quite possibly, the easiest (in terms of effort, while keeping the pace good and honest) 8 miler of my life. I am coming into my shape. I did my usually 3 mile "boom-boom" at the 24 hour gas station on 7th st. and 2nd ave. n. The whole of the run was a delight. I have my race plan all set and am feeling prepared physically, mentally and spiritually for the race on Saturday. Thanks be to the Lord. Alright, it is off to grant-writing and strategic planning sessions... Peace and love and all that good stuff.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hit by a bus... cont.

Today, October 8th, is turning out to be a much better day physically, mentally and spiritually than many of the previous, October, 2008 days. I awoke this morning with an overall feeling of having only walked into the side of a parked bus (as opposed to yesterday, having been struck by a bus). Yesterday was the shortest day of running, by far, since the beginning of this training cycle - end of July. 10 miles total yesterday and none this morning. This afternoon I will go for an easy 6-8 and call it good. Gotta love the taper. I am already feeling perkier than I have in months. The biggest change is in my diet. I am having to eat significantly less than I have for the last several months, as I am only burning 1/4 of the calories I was turning my peak weeks. Just a simple shift in eating habits, thats all, but sometimes that can be difficult. So far, I think I have it. I am all set to go for this weekend's race... My supervisor gave me Friday off (without my asking, what a delight), my lodging is squared away for the weekend, I have a ride to the starting line, my car is prepped and ready... Things are looking good. Life is good and if anyone tells you otherwise, sock 'em in the nose. No, really, gently tell them, in the most peaceful tone you can conjure up, that they are wrong; and that, life is indeed good if only they choose to believe that it is so. Peace.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hit by a bus...

I woke up this morning at 4 for my morning run. I woke up this morning at 4, feeling like I had been hit by a bus. My knees ached, my muscles quaked. Should I run? Of course! All pain, all gain? Is that how the saying goes... that is ridiculous. Seriously though, I felt like I got hit by a bus. Last night I went for an 11 miler after work. I threw down. It was a grocery tempo day... The first few warm-up miles were sub 7 min., within a couple of miles I was cruising along at sub 6 pace, where I stayed for the remainder of the run - bananas in one hand, yogurt in the other. I shredded great falls. It was a glorious sweater run. As the weather changes to winter so my running outfits change to festive, cold-weather get-up. Spandex on the legs, a beautiful, tan sweater with a green collared, button undershirt on the upper body. This is my favorite time of year to run. Back to this morning's run. I shredded last night. I slogged today. Just a little over an hour for my eleven miler last night, a little over an hour for my six miler this morning. I love it. As I continue to mature in my approach to training I am recognizing more and more the need and the JOY of really slow runs. After work I will plod out another 6 miler to stay loossssssssssy gooosy. Back to work.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Typical day of training...

As stated in an earlier blog, I typically run 10-13 in the morning, easy, then put in 16-20 in the evening (tempo, at pace, or intervals), 7 days a week at the peak of training. The training looks the same, but the mileage about 30% less during tapers and in between build-ups. Typically, I do 300-400 ab exercises a day (ball crunches, crunches, planks, etc.). I used to do push-ups to maintain my upper body strength, but frankly, I loathe the motion. So, to maintain my upper body I throw in a few "fruit runs" a week. Towards the end of a run I pick up some bananas and split them up evenly between hands, then I proceed to finish off the last couple of miles of the run, bananas in hand, toning my arms (trying anyways). A bit silly, it looks, I am sure. Honestly though, fruit running makes for a great upper body workout. Try it. That is about all I do to stay fit and healthy for races. Somedays training is fun, somedays it is drudgery, somedays it is absolutely heavenly... I enjoy the fun days, push through the days of drudgery, and come alive on the heavenly days.

Just Another day, unfortunately...

Put in decent mileage this weekend, definitely a cut-back from the the last couple of months. 18 on Sat., and 16, super easy yesterday. I forced myself to take the morning off in lieu of the race coming up this weekend. Tapering is hard. It is difficult for me to break routine and habitual patterns that have dictated my life for weeks on end. But, for everything there is a season. The season of high mileage ends and the final portion of the taper begins. Anyways, unfortunately, I am feeling a bit down today, for no good reason. Hopefully, I can swing up out of this valley soon. I will put a nice and cool 10-12 miler in after work today and hopefully sleep better than I did last night.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Mileage Log

My mileage in the weeks leading up to the build (8/24-9/21) hovered around 100 miles a week, which I have been fairly consistent with since February.

8/24 - 8/30 = 110 miles...Highlight of the week - running a solid 110 miles, pain-free
8/31 - 9/6 = 132 miles...Highlight of the week - a fast 10 mile treadmill run, at altitude
9/7 - 9/13 = 152 miles...Highlight of the week - a very comfortable 24 miler, followed by an 8 in the eve
9/14 - 9/20 = 204 miles...Highlight of the week - 55 miles in a 24 hour period
9/21 - 9/27 = 159 miles...Highlight of the week - 40.5 miles in a 24 hour period
9/28 - 10/4 = 130 miles...Highlight of the week - bloody urine

About a week now until the Le Grizz 50 miler and I am feeling in tip-top shape. This final taper week my target mileage is around 100, hopefully closer to 90 if I can control myself. Should be a good week at school too, the work there is going well and day by day I am feeling encouraged to engage further with the after school program and sustainable solutions for Centerville School.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Days of Redemption

I took it easy yesterday, 1 day after my screws came loose on that 16.5 miler; bloody urine, pins and needles and little sleep. Easy 8 in the morning, work, easy 9 in after work. That was good. But this morning proved smoother and better yet. I threw down a really fluid 12 miler before work. A total life affirming jaunt. By the 2nd mile I was cruising along at about 6:30-7 minute pace. Very comfortably. Came to the end of the run feeling fresh and ready for the day; very little soreness, clear urine, and an inner vitality which I have been lacking as of late. A good start to a good day. This evening will be a nice and easy 6-8 miler to process the day and let the legs go loosy goosy. I feel like I am coming into my shape. The aches and pains of the 4 or more weeks at 150 miles or better are going away and fluidity is returning to my gait. It is glorious. This is my favorite part of training. The hard work is behind me, the taper and race ahead, and the goodness of life is at hand.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mega-miles and Bloody Urine

Presently, I am tapering for the Le Grizz 50 in two weeks. Its funny how your perspective on mileage and tapering changes as you adjust your training. Two weeks ago I had a 204 mile week - with one 43 mile day (13 before work, 30 after), last week was closer to 160. Less than two weeks to the race now I am going to hit 130 or so and scale back to 90-100 for the final week leading up to the race. Feeling rock solid. Because of my 9-10 hour work days during the week and conferences during the weekend, I have been having to split up my mileage; 10-13 in the morning, 16-20, after work. Its tiring, to be sure, but it provides me with some solid benchmarks that keep me disciplined and fit. Yesterday after a long day of office work, and a 4 hour field trip to the buffalo jump site with the K-6th graders I went for my usual post-work long run. Unfortunately, I hadn't been hydrating well throughout the day to prepare for it - when running so much it is easy to lose respect for distances and take on long distances with a casual air - and man, oh man, did I pay the price. After getting back to my apartment, I peed blood. Freaked out, I begin downing liters of water. I probably imbibed something close to a gallon of water before I had to pee again and thank the Lord, it was yellow-tinged. Anyways, I learned my lesson: never lose respect for the distances and nutritional requirements needed to go the distance. That is all for now. I will be posting my mileage logs soon!

The Beginning

What a great way to process thoughts and feelings, this blog stuff. After weeks and weeks of chronic lethargy from working full-time during the week, weekend conferences and running 20-30 miles a day it has come time to share the peaks and troughs of my life since my move to Montana. About 3 months ago I moved to Great Falls, MT to take up an Americorps position at a little country school. I am working with the existing program to ensure its sustainability in terms of funding, participation and quality in enrichments. Anyways, things have been pretty solid. Still trying to figure out what my purpose is in all of this, life. Since August my schedule has been run, work, run, sleep. The pace is crazy - definitely not sustainable, but it is the only way I have found to maintain an adventurous and exciting life while working a steady job.