Monthly Archives: November 2015

Why do so many runners blog?

One of the first things I noticed after diving into the social media world of running … lots of runners blog.  Like ALOT (excuse the poor grammar there).

It made me think – why do so many runners blog?  Runners do like to talk about how much they run … at least that’s what people like to say …

After thinking about why I blog, I’m guessing most folks are blogging for the same reasons I am.


Working on the blog – with a Michigan Beer of Course!  Dark Horse – Crooked Tree, one of my absolute favorites!
  1. It allows me to connect with other runners.  My wife doesn’t run.  My buddies (at least my local buddies) don’t run.  Blogging gives me a way to connect with other runners with similar goals.  Or even other runners who have totally different goals, but still share the same passion for the outdoors.
  2. It allows me to share my running experiences with those who are interested.  My friends can come and read about my adventures, at their own leisure, without me ramming it down their throats at the office or through Facebook.
  3. It’s a record of past adventures.  These words and pictures will let me look back someday to read about race XYZ, see what I wore to handle some particularly bad weather, or even relive a nice hike with my family.
  4. In some odd way, it seems like a way to hold myself accountable.  If others are reading about my journey, how could I let them down!?  Yes, I’m my own motivation, but a little outside motivation never hurts, right?

Whatever the reason, I’m thanking that other runners are sharing their adventures.  I enjoy reading race reports from all distances – half marathons all the way up to 100 milers, product reviews and the simple details of a great training run.  It also opens my eyes to some pretty cool races that I never knew about!

Some of my favorites blogs are:

  1. The 100 Mile Mark
  2. Fat Girl Running
  3. Trail Running Faith
  4. Bradley on the Run
  5. Vanloo Running

Why do you blog?

Have you ever looked past one goal to reach another?

There’s a very good chance I hit my mileage goal for the year -> 1350 miles.  Bummer.  At the moment, on 11/6, I have 258 to go.  After a bit of rest and an ankle injury, post GR Marathon, I was borderline based on the training I have planned for the rest of the year.

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Then came the nagging chest cold / cough that I can’t seem to kick.  Every night before bed and every morning when I awake – cough, cough, cough.  That too has side-lined me as of late.  The longer it’s sidelined me, the more frustrating it’s become.

Mentally, it’s been difficult.

I think I finally made peace with it yesterday though.  I started thinking about why I run.  It’s not to run 1350 miles this year.  That was just an arbitrary number I picked out of the air.  It was me thinking – hey, I wonder if I can run 35% more next year.  35% is a lot.  Which is why it was a goal I suppose – otherwise it’d be a given.

No, I didn’t really run to hit that number.

I run to be healthier. -> Ok, so taking the time needed to actually kick this cold would make me healthier, vs. running myself into the ground on limited sleep and risking pneumonia again.

I run to enjoy the outdoors. -> I can still enjoy the outdoors while I’m sick – on a walk with the kids, or sitting on the deck enjoying the evening (what’s left of it now that we’re back on standard time).  I don’t have to push myself out of bed at 3am every day while sick.

I run to train for my next race. -> The longer I spend with this nagging chest cold, the more I jeopardize my training for the Yankee Springs Winter Challenge.  So, taking a break to fully kick this is a good thing.

I run to ultimately run my first 100 miler.

I run to eventually complete Western States.

Both of those final two are far enough in the future that they’re not really impacted either way here.

Ok – thinking through that helped.

Next I thought about what goals I have accomplished this year …

  1. I ran, and finished, my first Ultra.
  2. I ran, and finished, my first trail Ultra.
  3. I ran a sub 4hr marathon for the first time
  4. I already ran more than I have in any other year

Ok – feeling even better now.

Perhaps the answer is – I need to look past one goal (1350 miles) to reach another one (to be prepared to run the Yankee Springs Winter Challenge).

Have you ever had to look past one goal to reach another?

Week of 10/26/15 in review …

Miles this week: 18

2015 YTD: 1085

Definitely not my favorite week of running.  This was supposed to be the week that I begin rolling with my training for the Yankee Springs Winter Challenge 50k.  Instead – I was sucked further into ‘The Hole.

Monday started off well enough with an easy 6 miler to test the ankle.  The early morning brought lots of stars and a beautiful fat moon setting into the early morning sky.  My ankle held up ok, but was still a little sore through the day.

Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday was disappointment after disappointment after disappointment after disappointment.

I couldn’t get out of bed to run.  For anything.  I’d been fully sucked into the hole.

With some prodding (begging?) from my wife I made it out for a 6 miler on Saturday, and it was beautiful.  Cold, pouring rain, beautiful.  One positive out of the run, I ran a mile in under 8 minutes.  I haven’t done that in a while, but 45 degrees and pouring rain can make one move a little faster.

One of my employees asked about my weekend today – I told him I ran.  It rained.  And I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts.  So you went right home then?  Nope.  I ran faster.  And it was awesome.  You’re crazy.  Aren’t we all?

Sunday was about as beautiful as a day comes in Michigan – Perfect cloudless sky and about 60 degrees.  I took the family over to Kellogg Forest for a hikeImage 11-2-15 at 9.54 PM

Family Hike – Kellogg Forest

The girls had a great time learning about moss and ferns and petting a little garter snake we found.  My oldest daughter taught us what a beech leaf was.  She’s 4.  My wife and I are a wee bit older.  I Googled it – and she’s right – my wife told me as we rounded another corner.  At least we’re getting our money’s worth at the Nature Center preschool??

After the run, the girls went home for a nap and I was back at Kellogg Forest to run trails.

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Sometimes Ma’ Nature stops me in my tracks and all I can say is ‘Whoa!’

The 6 miler took me past some of my favorite areas of Kellogg Forest – including the geocache where I proposed to my wife.  With a ring pop.  Time has changed things.  It was a bit overgrown now, and the pine trees that were about knee-high at the time towered over me.

I also spent some time running along the North Country Trail – the same trail I’m planning to run my first 50 mile race on in August – albeit a section much further North.  It’s cool that it’s so close to home.

That was the week – in a nutshell.

On side note, October was an odd running month.  It was by far my lowest total mileage for the year (barely over 70), but yet I crushed the Grand Rapids Marathon – so I feel great about that.

(By the way – I hear the coyotes raising hell outside at the moment.  I love hearing that.)

Let’s see what November brings.  For now, I’m off to see if I can find the Northern Lights.  They’re supposed to be visible here tonight.

Running and ‘The Hole’

The days clicked off this week without me running a step.  A couple of days I made it downstairs, but most I just slept.  The bed was warm … and safe.  And my shoes sat undisturbed through the week.

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Warm and safe … WTF!?  When has that stopped me from running??  I’ve run for hours before, through the night, on trails.  I’ve run three hours, in -18 degrees last winter – twice – on back to back days.  But here I was – scared back to bed by a 5 or 6 mile run.

I don’t know that scared is the right word, but mentally I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t make myself run.  It’s not that I didn’t want to – I did.  It’s not that I didn’t know I needed to – I did.  My mind was just fighting itself and the piece pulling for the bed won.

Much has been written about how running helps depression.  The brain is powerful organ.  And when you give it a shot of endorphins day in, and day out, life is good.

But can a lack of running send one the other way?  What happens when your brain stops getting its regular hit of endorphins?  That’s what I call ‘The Hole.’  Is it mild depression?  Or just symptoms related to endorphin withdrawal?  I don’t know, but it’s not fun – I feel lazier, the bed feels better, I’m crabby and just generally unpleasant to be around – for others and myself.

Every day spent in ‘The Hole’ feels like it gets exponentially worse.  See – the hole is like a funnel.  At the beginning, you’re not too far in, and could relatively easily jump out, but each day you drop further than you dropped the day before.  And it’s that much harder to crawl out.

So just go run!  How hard is that?  Apparently it’s hard.  Because I couldn’t.  I literally couldn’t run.  I couldn’t even fathom running to the end of the street and back.

I’ve only fallen into the running hole one or two other times over the course of almost three years of running.  I think this time was a combination of tapering for the GR marathon, followed by an ankle injury, followed by a chest cold that I can’t seem to kick.  Is the chest cold a valid reason not to run?  I remember having pneumonia a couple years ago.  It wasn’t fun.  And I don’t really want that to happen again … but … could the chest cold just be an easy excuse to continue not to run since I was already falling into ‘The Hole’?  I don’t know … but regardless, it’s caused me not to run.

The last time I remember falling into ‘The Hole’ was around last Christmas.  I finally began to break out when I hopped out of bed, came straight downstairs, put on my shoes, and left.  I ran in my pajamas.  I didn’t want to give my mind anytime to say ‘no.’  I didn’t go far – only 3 miles, but it helped me turn the corner.  Even if it did look odd to be running in flannel banana pants.

My wife grabbed my arm yesterday and literally pulled me out of the chair in our family room.  ‘I’m going for a nap, but you go run.  You need to run.’

I got up, she walked up to nap.  I walked to the couch to lay down.  I took a short nap myself, but then woke up knowing what she told me was true – I did need to run.

I threw on my running shorts / shirt / shoes, but that was it.  No HR monitor / hydration / etc.  I just wanted to get out quickly and run.  And it was wonderful.  Cold and wet, but wonderful.


I took this picture yesterday just before it started pouring.  45 degrees and pouring rain is a little chilly for shorts / t-shirt, but it only made me run a little faster.  I ran 6.1 miles and hopefully the rain helped to wash away some of the dirt from being stuck in ‘The Hole.’

I wouldn’t say I’m out yet, but working my way in the right direction.

Anyone else experienced this general funk / negativity when you haven’t run in a while?  How’d you pull yourself out?