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.