Season of Change

My blog, 278toBoston.com is named for a reason that most of you understand.  To be honest, it has really helped keep me in line and give me motivation over the past year or two.

I struggle in two main areas.

  1. Weight
  2. Goals

When I weighted 278 lbs, I never thought I could lose that weight.  I honestly thought I’d die of some heart related disease and everyone who got on to me about my weight would say, “See I told you so.”   I had a hard time with long term goals.  Losing 100 lbs wasn’t possible.  Running a marathon as my dad had, wasn’t possible.  Living a normal healthy life after 50 wasn’t possible.  After all, not only was I obese, but I had hip and leg problems.  In fact my legs and ankles were beginning to swell and just walking up the steps was a difficult task.

One day, on an 11 hour drive home from visiting Chicago (the “fat” pic on the side of this blog was taken that weekend), I had to drive the whole way home and couldn’t stay awake.  I almost couldn’t make it home.  I had to stop twice to sleep.  Ends up I had severe apnea.  At my sleep study I was told that I stopped breathing 110 times in an hour.

Things were not going well.

Seasons of change come and go.  I’ve learned over the years that when a season of change (a good change) comes, I need to take it and run with it or it will pass me by.  In a season of change, I went to a Dr. appointment with my Lovely Wife and that doctor helped me.  I lost weight, I began running, I lost more weight, I began racing, and finally ran a marathon last September.

To be honest, I still struggle with weight and goals.  My weight is consistent, but is about 10 – 15 lbs over where I should be.  My goal (in my blog name) of making it to Boston one day seems but a dream.  It can get so overwhelming.

Sometimes you need a sign.

As I was running a few weeks ago, I was in a new neighborhood and ran past a house with a teen boy kicking a soccer ball.  As I ran past, he waved and said hi and I returned the greeting.  I thought, “How nice! Most kids look down and ignore me as I run, but he said hi and smiled”.

A few days later I was running by the same house.  That boy has not been out since, but as I ran by I noticed his mailbox.

A sign?  I hope.  Maybe I can do this.  I just need to go with the season of change and believe:

Do I believe?

Do I believe?

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New running shoes to the rescue!

So much going on here and the blog is screaming for me to write, so here I am, putting all else behind and writing finally.

Last week, my son got the flu, I got a small version of the flu – to be honest I was over it in just a day or two.  My son is back to normal now and we continue on with life.

I finally broke down and bought me a pair of Brooks PureFlow 3 on Saturday.  I was starting to have pains where I never have pains and my heel spur was getting angry, so I thought I should buy another pair, even though my shoes had less then 200 miles on them.  I’m glad I did.

As soon as I put on my new shoes, I could feel support in the exact areas I was hurting.  Looking at my old shoes, I didn’t really see much wear, but all my hill running had taken a toll on them.  What goes up, must come down, and running down steep hills at times means a lot of pressure on my shoes.

So I ran this weekend some.  Saturday was my off day, but I wanted to try these shoes out.  I put them on and ran a quick 2 miles.  They felt great.  My last mile was at 5K pace and it was over 90 outside.

Sunday I wanted to run a long run or my mountain run, but my body wasn’t over the pain inflicted by my shoes that were wearing out.  I chose to run 5 miles in my neighborhood.  The first three were lousy.  I felt weak, my legs felt heavy and it was very humid outside.  Then at mile 4 I began to come to life.  My legs finally decided to wake up and I had a great ending to my run.  I still kept it at 5 miles for the reasons stated above, but I was satisfied with my run.

Back to work today and then my hill run this afternoon if my body feels up to it.  Looking at the weather, we will be in the 90’s until a week from wednesday when the temps finally plunge into the 70’s.  Of course that is 10 days out and there are no guarantees.

I’m still debating on the marathon in December.  I have a lot going on right now and I remember the huge amount of time and effort goes into training.  So, decisions, decisions.  I have to make my mind up soon though.  Really soon.  It was exactly a year ago I ran my first marathon with TJ.  I must say it was a rewarding experience.

Tom

To marathon or not to marathon…

I’m thinking about it…

I might just do it…

I am debating another marathon.  Of course that shouldn’t be big news to anyone who knows why I named my blog 278toBoston.  However this is big news to me.  I had almost just given up on running another long race.

The summer has been difficult to say the least.  It has been hot and tiring.  My goal is to run 4 miles each day I run (going for at least 5 days a week) and I have just added a 7-8 mile run on the weekend.

Basically I’m in survival mode running.  Just enough running to not lose the gains I have made in the past few years.

Back to the marathon.  I have a great Hungarian Dr. friend who lives in Jacksonville, Fl.  After I ran my last marathon, he said, “Okay Tom, now that you have run a marathon, you aren’t doing any more, right?”  He was afraid that I could hurt myself by running so far.

Well now he is wanting me to run the Jacksonville Bank Marathon in December.  He wants us to come down and spend time together.  I think the marathon is the excuse he is making for us to come down for a visit, but it is tempting.

A couple of pluses… It is a flat course. It is at the end of December in Florida.  It is 80% shaded.  It is very scenic.  He is an awesome friend.

So, now with confidence from my hill/mountain running over the past couple weeks, I am at a place where I have to make a choice to train or not to train for another marathon.  This training will be easier then last years training as I won’t be doing the bulk of my training in the summer heat.

Anyway, I will make up my mind soon.  My last/first marathon clocked in at 4:14, so a sub 4:00 marathon would be awesome.

Decisions, decisions…

Should I or shouldn’t I…

More on my decision within a few days.

Tom

Running strength. Building a base for the future.

Well I ended up with almost 105 miles for the month after my evening run yesterday.  I can’t complain.  I felt great.

I started out my run too fast at an 8:12 pace for the first mile.  What was I thinking!  Fortunately I got 3 calls from work during my workout which gave me an excuse to rest for a few minutes each time.

All in all things are coming along well with my running.  I feel much stronger after all my mountain runs.  It is like I am a whole different runner.  I can push myself up hills in my neighborhood like never before.  I run at paces that I have never run at before except to do a speed workouts.  I just really feel good out there.

I think back to my marathon and specifically remember mile 4.  I was coming down a small but steep hill and I felt my leg give way a bit.  It was very unnerving and made me realize that even after all the training, my legs weren’t really strong enough for the 26.2 miles.  I finished with a 4:15 time, but I had to walk off and on the last 10 miles or so.

Now I feel like I am on the right track.  I am gaining leg strength.  My lungs can handle longer and faster runs.  I run mainly to feel, and have been in the 7:30 – 8:00 pace off and on lately.  Overall my pace averages around 8:30, but I honestly think I am building a base so that I can run a sub 8:00 pace for a marathon and qualify for Boston one day.

So now we start a new month.  All our apps set back to the big zero as we head out today to run.

The future is looking bright.

I love running.

Tom

My life, my running, and stuff you never knew about me

I write a running blog.

Most of the time, all I write about is something to do with running.  Something related to running.  Something/anything I can relate to and want others to relate to.  I write about a tiny slice of my day.  I have written a post for this blog about 90% of the days since I started… Just about running.

Ideas can be difficult to come up with. Sometimes when I run I think of what I will write the next morning.  Hmmm, there is a pain in my left foot… A blog post was born!

One of the consequences of magnifying a single part of my life is that people get the impression that this is all of my life.  If I am hurt and writing about my depression of not running, then people get the impression that all I am all day is depressed and hurt.

There are 23.5 hours of the day that I never write about.  Sometimes I’ll include some personal stuff in my blog, but that is rare and when I do it is usually related to my running.

So I decided to write some random personal things about myself that I don’t think I have written about before, or that people who are new to my blog don’t really know unless they have gone over the 300+ posts from the past year (and I don’t think they have).  Also this is in part accepting the Sunshine award that runningtoherdreams gave me last weekend.  Thank you.  It means so much.  It made me think of putting just a little about myself “out there” and I hope people read her blog.  It was one of the inspirations that got me to my marathon last August.

Here we go:

I was born the youngest of 4 children.

I am now the youngest of 3 living children as my sister passed away in a cave diving accident.

My mom went into labor with me at a Penn State football game.

I was born with hips that turned in so severely that I spent a long time with corrective shoes and a bar between my feet.

I could hear when I was born, but soon lost my hearing. My adenoids grew and blocked my hearing.  Since I could hear for some time, I learned to read lips, so no one caught on that I couldn’t hear.  One day when I was 4 years old my mom put me on her lap, facing away from her and asked me if I wanted ice cream.  I didn’t make a move (I’ve always loved ice cream).  My speaking was so poor that my late sister was the only one who could understand me.  So after lots of tests and a surgery, I woke up from the anesthetics and the first thing I said was, “I can hear”.

I lived in a small town in Pennsylvania.  We left our doors unlocked and open when we left the house.  Us kids would all play at the other kids house and vice versa.  It was a good childhood.

We moved to Northern Va. (Mt. Vernon area) when I was in high school.  George Washington used to fox hunt in the backyard of the home my parents bought (long before I was born ). 🙂

I used to race sailboats with my mom and dad on the Potomac.  We won many trophies over those few years.

I was a messed up kid from the time we moved to DC (age 15) until after my freshman year of college.  During that summer after my freshman year I became a Christian (that story is under my “Faith” tab) and my life has never been the same.

I am married with lots of kids.  They are almost all grown (no more child tax credits), and have all turned out to be honorable, good children.

I have been an evangelical Protestant Christian my whole Christian life, and am becoming Catholic on Easter this year.

Although life has thrown in some challenges over the past few years, I am so thankful and grateful for my life, my family and my work.  I couldn’t have created a better life for me if I was the one creating it.

The day Joe Paterno got fired from Penn State, I was going to have wrist surgery, I weighed almost 300 lbs, I couldn’t get my wedding ring off and they threatened to cut it off, so my Lovely Wife “helped” me get it off.  Hmmm. That hurt.

I lost 100 lbs in under a year.

Running is a big deal to me because it has allowed me to do so much more in my life since I stated.  It was almost 2 years ago when  I ran my first 1.5 miles.  I have run many 5K’s a half marathon and a marathon since then.  I enjoy the outdoors for the first time since I was a child.  I am in great shape for the first time ever in my life.  Since the age of 49, my life has been more impacted from running than almost anything else.

Okay, I’m done.  I guess I wanted those who read this to know that running isn’t everything.  It is just a thing God has used to add value to my life and give me experiences that I never thought I would have.  One day when I finish this ultimate race I am running called life, I will look back and be in awe over my “midlife crisis” called running.

Thank you all for being a part of it.

Tom

My 3 mile run + Bonus

3 miles!!!

I ran 3 miles yesterday.  It went well (of course it was just 3 miles).  I was pretty tight in the beginning and then I loosened up and ran better.

Heading out to run with @BigBigBeek in our beautiful State Park.  I haven’t run there since before my marathon.  I’m looking forward to the run and getting to catch up with Neill.

Short post today.  Just trying to get back into the swing of running.

As an added bonus ( 🙂 ), below is a picture I’m going to purchase from my marathon 3 weeks ago.  This was taken at the end of mile 24.  I’m on the left and running with me was a neat guy I met around mile 22 and ran together until just after this picture was taken.  It really helped me get through those last few miles.

Mile 25

Mile 25

Bye bye running, for now

Okay when I said “for now”, I meant for now.

I had a small procedure done today that will prevent me from running until next Friday.  I can still walk, but nothing beyond that.

Sadly I didn’t get a final run in yesterday.  I got up at 3:30 AM and got home at 6:30 PM.  On top of that I had to be in town at 3:50 this morning, so as soon as I got home, I went to bed.

Any suggestions on what a running blogger should write while he can’t run?  I’ve had one suggestion already, but I am open to more.

Up until yesterday my running has been slowly improving since the big marathon day.  I got up to 4 miles on Wednesday and probably could have done more, but chose not to push it.  The heat has been getting to me again.  I haven’t run in 90+ degree weather for a couple of weeks and I can tell it has made a difference.  Of course it is supposed to be a high of 77 degrees tomorrow and I can’t run.  I guess I’ll have to sit and watch football.  Darn.

TJ has helped me map out my running plan for the next 6 months.  It is so nice to have him as a resource!  My goal for my next marathon is going to be three fold.

  1. Under 4:00
  2. 3:45
  3. 3:30 (BQ)

It is nice to have several options to push for and with cooler weather just a month away, I’m excited to have new goals.

I’m jealous of all you marathoners tapering and preparing for your Fall marathons.  I so enjoyed mine.  I hope I can keep healthy and keep running long distance races.  I really enjoy them.

Finally, a shout out to my running friend Neill (@BigBigGeek – bigbiggeek.wordpress.com) as he runs the Talladega Half Marathon Sunday.  I’m so excited for him.  If it weren’t for my current running situation (or lack thereof) I might think of running it myself – just for fun.  Good luck and God speed Neill (Isa. 40:31).

[I just got a tweet from him asking for advice for a newbie half marathoner – It would be awesome if you all could go to his blog (linked above) and give him some encouragement and support.  He is a great guy and really moving forward with his running!!!]

Sorry to be all over the place with this post.  Now what am I going to write tomorrow.  🙂