A look back at 2018-
If I remember correctly, at the beginning of 2018, I did not have a lot of running plans, but I know I wanted to get more trail races in and do at least 1 ultra event. As always, getting a BQ was on my mind but not something that had to happen.
The end of 2017 did not go great for my running. I just remember feeling worn out, more from other things going on in my life, and not from overtraining. We finished up a big move and still had a house for sale that is over 7 hours away while we rented our home we were purchasing. My mother passed away late in 2017, and the family dynamics changed as that event, and our move hit everyone in a short period. While we were very excited about the future in our new home, we still felt a little lost……….
A big theme that got stronger as 2018 went on was me opening up and putting more out there and taking more of a risk. Not so much with my running, but more with what I did with Eh Hee Runner. If you know me, you know I have been involved in a lot of businesses from start-ups to established companies. When I took it hard on the chin back in 2008, it made me very conservative with my entrepreneurial endeavors. I have been very slow to bring Eh Hee Runner along, and in 2018 I made a few significant moves to lay the foundation for growth. I also put my running out there more on social media. Being humble is something I cherish, and I struggle with every post I put on social media. My question to you is, what do you want to see me post?
My running in 2018 started off with me taking it easy in Jan. and cutting my mileage back for the month. The cut-back was for recovery and just to try to get my head around what I wanted to do with the year. I knew I wanted to run 2600 miles, enter some trail races, do an ultra and run a few marathons. By the end of January, I had a rough plan for the rest of the year.
February brought on the start of a marathon training cycle as I planned to run the Padova Marathon in Italy while on vacation there.
Marathon training went as planned, and I even threw in a 50k to get myself a hard long run. I ran the Fools 50k. That 50k turned out to be a slog and the muddiest event I have ever run. It was a 3 loop course, and after the first loop, most of the trials became slick or just thick mud. That event really tested my will, but I pushed through and finished with a 3rd place age group win.
Our Italy trip was an extension of a work trip, and by the time I ended up running the marathon, I had 2 weeks of GREAT food and not sticking to my ‘clean’ diet very well (go to Italy, and you will understand). The weather during the marathon was warmer than usual. The combination of food and weather brought on a great adventure. I had a great time but did not hit my goal. One note from Italy, it is not as common for women to run and most Italian runners are on teams.
Late spring and early summer led to a number of shorter races. I through in a few 5k’s and such and started to train for the Erie Marathon in Sept. to make a last-ditch effort to get a BQ for 2019.
I have a record of not running fall marathons very well. The summer heat gets to me, and I never hit my training paces. This past summer’s training did not disappoint, and even when it felt good, I knew it was not enough. I went into the Erie Marathon with my plan ‘B’, which was to try to just maintain a constant pace through the marathon, but not aim for my target of 3:10. The first 20 miles went as planned, and if you have run a marathon you know, it starts at mile 20 and my plan went downhill from there. It was a first for me that I had GI issues during an event.
After recovering from the Erie Marathon, I threw in a few more events to finish out the year. I did a few more 5k’s, a half marathon and finished the year with the Bigfoot 50k (see my race report).
A few things learned this year:
- GU gels are not for me! After each time I used one my belly got crampy for the rest of the day. I have used Clif gels for most of my running career. I would like find gels with less caffeine, and I will try a few more in 2019.
- When planning to run an event in a distant land, try not to put to much pressure on yourself to perform. Remember the natives know it better. I do recommend if you plan to combine a race with a vacation too vacation first and race at the end. If you do it the other way around, your travel mates suffer if you have pain after racing.
- I will not run another fall marathon with intentions of getting a PR. Cold weather training for me is best.
2018 was not a bad year and was not a super year. A lot was learned, and Eh Hee Runner moved forward. I started to put myself out there in the public media again, and this will continue. All in all, 2018 was a good foundation year to make 2019 exceptional. Stay tuned……
So moving onto 2019 here are a few Goals-
- Run the Toledo Marathon and get a BQ so I can get that monkey off my back and run Boston 2020. I will do this by tightening up my training plan and hitting my marks or make adjustments so I can hit my marks.
- Repeat a sub 20 min 5k, if things go great, break the 19 min barrier.
- Run at least one 50k and if I get my BQ, add in a long distance ultra for the fall.
- Eh Hee Runner will host its first race event (we have been working on this one!)
- Move Eh Hee Runner forward in the running community.
What are your goals for 2019?
Even if you have not been running for long, you most likely like to put some earbuds in during your run and listen to some tunes (unless you wish to run #naked!). Once you get bored of the same music over and over, you stumble upon podcasts either through the iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or some other app…. (I currently use Stitcher but am switching to Spotify as their library gets more significant, and I use Spotify for all my music.)
I stumbled on podcasts for a different reason many years ago, I travel for work and would spend 75% of my working hours driving in a car….. music gets really old, really quick! Talk radio is not bad but too many commercials and limited topics. So, at the time I had an iPod and figured let me try these podcast things…. At about the same time, I was starting the journey of my transformation to where I am today, and I was fascinated by the fact that I could find podcasts that focused in on what I needed in my journey at that point in time. A lot of them were pretty crud as professional podcasting was just starting to become a thing. Most of the professional podcast back then were radio shows that were replayed as podcasts. Still, it was a godsend as I could listen to what I wanted to when I wanted to.
Soon I was saving a long list of podcasts that I wanted to save for later…… Even with spending that much time in a car, I could never get caught up. About the same time, my running had increased to be a chunk of time in my week. I soon came up with a rule for myself that I would listen to certain podcasts on the run. And so it began…..
Listening to several podcasts (many of them about running & ultra sports) I soon found a few things that set the best away from the rest he is a basic list (If you are thinking of starting a podcast DON’T DO THESE THINGS!):
So what does this all boil down too? Overall I do have one rule for any podcast I listen to, and if they don’t pass this rule, they are removed from my playlist. This rule was born out of my journey and a practice that I made for myself in life. So what is my rule? Simple: All podcasts I listen to must make me smile or laugh each episode! Plain and simple, I want to be happy and enjoy life, so why would I waste my time on something that does not bring a positive influence my world?
Here is a list of podcasts on my weekly playlist:
The Dairy Challenge- What happens when you cut modern dairy out of your diet?
Please read through to the end for my challenge to you!
So, as you may know I say that I am ‘plant based’ as opposed to saying I am a vegan. I do this for many reasons. The most popular reason is that when folks hear the word vegan they think of the tree hugger, animal lover that is against the modern world as a whole. (We vegans know this is not true!) One of the other reasons I say I am ‘plant based’ is that I can’t say I am a diehard vegan, I converted to a plant based diet about 3 yrs. ago and I did it for health and training reasons, not for the animals (But, I will admit the animal welfare side of it is a nice side effect ;-) ). The reason I say I am not a diehard is because there are certain food items that I still crave and one of those is ice cream! So, from time to time after a hard workout or at a celebration, I will have some ice cream, usually in the form of a sundae with a lot of peanut butter and some sort of nuts on it. I know there is vegan ice cream but, in the moment, it just is not the same. I had one of these moments this past week as I took my fellow coworkers out for dinner after a long tradeshow week and for desert we popped into a local ice cream joint. They had vegan ice cream available, but it was made with coconut milk, that I usually find to be watery, so I went for the full-blown milk based ice cream. It was very good! (There is also the sugar side of ice cream that I will get into on another post.)
Dairy has an effect on me when I eat it and it has nothing to do with my bowls, like most folks think. So, I went home, went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night with a major case of ‘cotton mouth’ and feeling really achy. I chugged a glass of water and went back to sleep. I woke up in the morning and went through my normal routine of getting ready for my run and it hit me……… I had a migraine headache that just got worse the more light I was exposed to. If I was still drinking, I would say I had a hangover about equal to a long night of hard drinking. Damn dairy got me again! After going plant based every time I eat dairy I get this effect within 24 hrs. Also, each time it gets worse and I tell myself ‘never again’…………
The longer effect on me is that I feel sluggish, have a lot of flem and after my runs I feel achy. It takes about a week of clean eating for me to feel normal again.
When I first started the process of becoming plant based I remember listening to a Rich Roll podcast about how the human body cannot process modern dairy. During the interview they just kept coming back to saying that dairy inflames the body and in particular the immune system. I did not think much of it at the time, but did proceed to cut dairy out of my everyday diet. The hardest part was cheese! I love some good cheese and crackers. (It does not help that my other half works at Trader Joes and brings home very tempting seasonal choices!) After a few weeks, I could tell I felt better and there was something to it for me. My immune system was much better and today I can feel when my immune system is stressed and take care of it before it becomes a problem.
So I have to stay strong and avoid dairy. There are plenty of dairy replacements and in a lot cases they are healthier for you in more ways than one. I have found I like products made with almonds so this takes the place of milk and cheese for me. Those are the 2 big items for me even though I never was much of a milk drinker.
So how does cutting dairy out effect my running? I cannot say exactly, but I can say that it was part of my journey and continues to help me improve. When I do consume dairy I feel I am taking a step backwards in my training. I will never eat dairy on race week as I know it will slow me down. I also don’t understand how you can drink milk after a race? My mouth would feel like I was chewing on cotton balls!
I suggested to my other half that she drop dairy for her ongoing allergy (pollen/dust) problems and she claims she felt improvement, but not enough to give up dairy. It is tough to avoid dairy. Dropping dairy is not for everyone.
In prep for this post I tried to do research and see if there were studies to support one way or the other……. But what I found was that for every study that showed that dairy causes inflammation, there was a study that showed it did not. The only consistent thing I found was that almost 100% of the studies that showed that dairy does not cause inflammation were sponsored or written by someone in the dairy industry. Wonder why that is, LOL
So my challenge for you: Cut dairy out of your diet for 2 weeks and see how you feel! Then come back and post how you feel. If you have already done it, why did you do it and how do you feel?
Note: I do not have an agenda with this post, but want folks to learn about their bodies and what works for them. I do not make any claims other than what I have posted about myself and I am not a doctor.
So from my early days of running I have pretty much run and trained alone. Early on in my running adventure I thought I wanted a running partner. The truth is, I wanted a running partner for selfish reasons………. I needed someone to pace off of. I could not control my pace worth a crap and was always going out way to fast, so my thought path was to find someone that I could run with that would worry about the pacing for me.
So I signed up for a few ‘Meet-up’ groups in my area with all intentions of going to a few, but my introverted self came out and I never went. I even started my own Meet-up group for my local area and did get a decent amount of folks to sign up and even set-up a few scheduled runs. The run days came and with 3-4 folks saying they were going to ‘Meet-up’, I was the only one that showed up ☹. So that did not work out…..
As I got into the ultra/trail scene, I ran a few events and like everyone says and knows, I quickly made friends with other runners on the course and by the end of the event we would make plans to get together for some fun runs. Unfortunately for me, I lived about an hr away from most of the folks I was meeting.
I do need to clarify here, as I said earlier I am an introvert and also feel very socially off ward in many cases when I am in a social atmosphere. I also don’t do well where there is a large group. I very much dislike crowds. This is one of the reasons I had a drinking problem. When I use to drink my social walls would come tumbling down and I was very interactive and somewhat of a socialite. Funny thing, crowds at races don’t bother me, I am not sure why….. maybe it is because I can keep to myself and not feel out of place? When it comes to my professional career or coaching, I am fine with crowds if I am in a leading type role. I do horrible at cocktail parties; I’m the guy in the corner trying not to make eye contact.
After a few years of running I soon got the idea of using my running to help others and through that I would be able to meet and find running partners while doing this. In a story for another post, I came across Back on My Feet and it appeared to be a great match. The premise of this group was that they use running to help folks that have experienced homelessness and are in shelters to get back to something stable. Running on a regular basis provides stability that only runners understand and the residents (shelter folks) soon learn after joining the team and sticking with it. Even better, the team I joined was with a shelter that was more of a halfway house and a lot of the men we were running with had substance abuse in their past and I could easily relate, again a story for another post. BoMF worked great as a place to meet other runners and also be able to get together for some weekly runs up to 4 miles. I enjoyed my early morning runs and looked forward to them and those who would show up. The only thing I was not getting out of these running partners was someone who was a regular and another runner that would run the longer runs with me. With my recent move to OH, I have left my BoMF team back in Philly.
So when you can’t find another human to be a longtime running partner, you can turn to the furry type. We got Stella just over 5 years ago and it was not long after we got her we knew she was going to be a runner. Stella is an Australian Heeler and if you know anything about that type of dog you know they want a job and it has to involve running. Heelers got their name from the fact that they are herding dogs and the way they herd is to run behind the animals they are herding and nipping at their heels. If you don’t know this, you may think they are being aggressive when they aren’t. Stella started her running career by running 3-5 mile runs with me on a leash and it soon became apparent that I had to get a waistband leash. Stella can hold a good pace, but one drawback is she tends to pull you along and over a long run it wears on you. Probably one of the best things about Stella is she is in it for the long run and has done up to 20+ mile runs with me. Then the question of ‘how much is too much’ comes into play…. Stella won’t stop, so I have to keep an eye on her. So what is better than one running dog? 2 running dogs! After Stella was a few years old, we got her brother Auggie, another Aussie Heeler. Auggie is a much more laidback dog, a lot more like the Australian culture, but he also loves to run. It is a lot gentler of a runner and he does have a limit. He is good for up to about 10 miles. Auggie also does much better on trails as he seems to care more about me, where Stella is all about getting it done. I find 2 drawbacks to running with the dogs, they don’t really help with setting the pace and in hot weather you have to be really careful not to overdo it.
So where do I stand on a running partner? I still have not found that ‘running partner(s)’ I started out searching for. Over lots of miles and using heart rate training I have learned to pace myself. I am not sure I want a running partner….. but, on the other hand it would be nice to have someone I could just meet-up with from time to time for a nice relaxing run and chat about life. I admit, I do not live or have a mainstream lifestyle or views, so whoever(s) that runner is will not be “normal”. I enjoy running alone, it is my thinking time. I normally do listen to podcasts while running, but most times I find myself zoning out the podcast and thinking about major topics for myself or work. I have a common saying around the office ‘let me run on it’ and I do.
So running partner or not, where do you stand?
So it is the end of February and where are you on your New Year’s resolutions? Are you even still working towards them? Where any of them a life changing event?
Well, some of you may know, we decided in the fall to make a major move/change in our lives…… we decided to do something we swore we would never do……. We are relocating from New Jersey to Ohio! (I am already in OH while the rest of the family is back in NJ to finish out the school year and sell our home. Also, this explains why EHR went quiet in the late summer, sorry.)
A much unexpected opportunity presented itself for me to take on a much greater leadership role with my current employer. The new position will allow me to fulfill 2 areas I knew I wanted to keep in my career path. I get to continue to be a consultant for the leading operations in the horticultural industry with cutting edge technology on a much larger scale and second, the part I am most excited about, is I get to build and coach a consultant/sales force, all while having a say in the future.
So, this decision to move for the new position has turned our world upside down. We basically get a restart or as some would say a ‘redo’ as we get to pick what type of town we want to live in. Also, as a family we are about to become empty nesters as our youngest hopes to attend boarding school this coming fall.
Funny how you get to do all things you dreamed of to your home as you get ready to sell it. I spent November & December finishing ripping out and replacing our kitchen, a project that started almost 7 years ago….. and wow, the kitchen was amazing as I left on Jan. 1st. My wife is busy painting the rooms and updating light fixtures as we prepare to put it on the market. Along with all the home improvements, my wife has been tasked with purging the house of ‘stuff’. It is amazing how much ‘stuff’ you accumulate over 16 years in a home. The harder part is it is a trip down memory lane as you come across items that remind of great times and also the struggles you went through.
So I am in Oberlin, OH and looking forward to new beginnings with my wife and family once they join me.
Some goals I have for the upcoming few months are: get my BQ 2018, get my running coaching off the ground and decide on the next big running adventure.
What are your goals now that the 2017 dust has settled?
In the beginning………… Think Positive!
This blog post I am going to start to share my story that led to where I am today in my running and professional journey. Not that my story is worth the length of a book, but I plan to break this adventure up over many blog posts to be sure to hit the key points and things that were aha moments. Sound good?
To begin the journey I think I need to go back to one of the key moments that was life changing for me and made me seek change. It happened about 5 years ago and it had nothing to do with running, diet or fitness.
I had transitioned to a new position in my industry for my current fulltime employer for about 6 months and part of taking on this new role there was chance that I may have to deal with my previous employer as a customer.
When I left that employer, let’s just say I did not leave on the best of terms as I was pretty much running away. (At the time, I did not realize how true it was that I was running away like a hostage that found the door unlocked one day…..) Soon after leaving that employer he sued me over my draw vs. commission. The man was just evil and in the end, the law was on my side, but it did not help with the mental damage, it was done. Looking back, I see how mentally abusive that employer was to me and how jealous and negative of a person he was. He really did not like that customers were more loyal to me and not him and his company, this led to a chain of abusive techniques on his end to try to control me. This in turn made me pursue a new career after my wife begged me to leave him after seeing me crumble. The longer I stayed with that employer my drinking increased………………..
Getting back to the key moment: Like I said there was a chance that my previous negative, abusive employer could be one of my clients. Well it happened…….He requested to try to get in on one of the projects I was working on with my new employer (in the world of sales and contracts it is common for companies to join forces or offer finders fees if they think the other one can help close the deal). My office contacted me with the details and asked my opinion. Clearly they knew I was going to tell them to turn it down, but they felt it may be best that I turn him down myself in person. Needless to say I did not sleep that night.
The next morning I realized there was no way I could face the person that sunk me down into such a dark place face to face. I just knew the negativity that would surround the whole ordeal and I just could not allow any more drain on my mental state. So I decided to send him an email saying I was turning him down, that did not go over well. That day was one of the most nerve racking days of my life. It was at this point I knew I never wanted to feel like that EVER AGAIN!
I did not want negativity to control my life. I did not want to be depressed. I did not want to be around abusive or negative people. I did not want others to suck the life out of me with negative thoughts, words or situations. I had to find a way to get away from it.
How could I do this? Instantly I looked to those who I looked up to as role models and tried to find what made them a role model for me and why I admired them. What traits did these role models have that I needed to focus on? After taking a closer look I found a recurring trait that stood out…….. my role models all had a positive attitude even in negative situations. This was HUGE! I felt like I found the meaning of life and from that day on I said I would try to be positive all the time and look at the brighter side of each interaction. Within a few days I saw a change in my everyday life and it felt great! It is a real battle to stay positive, but in the end it is very rewarding. The other thing that happened is my career took off.
Having a goal!
So I went through June without really having a race goal. I did have my simple goal of getting my 250 miles in to meet my 3000 miles in 2016 goal (a really long goal so you can slide a little here and there) and also to keep my streak going (min 1 mi a day). I met both those goals in June, but I found it very hard to do as I did not have much drive even with a 4th of July 5k coming up. I lacked that desire to go out and run.
I also slacked off on my health and plant based diet goals. I think that is what really sucked me down into the ‘no drive’ zone. This time of year we attend a lot of Dave Matthews Band concerts and as tradition has become, I let my eating habits slide. Products with a lot of sugar kept showing up in front of me and I quickly found myself with that desire to EAT SUGAR all the time! Take it from a person who struggles with addiction, sugar is very addictive. I also let the 1 item that I let slide in my diet once in a while become a habit……. Ice cream! The one item I miss on a plant based diet is ice cream (I know there is good vegan ice cream out there, just not easy to find in my area :-( ) and I allow myself to have it from time to time, normally on long run days. One of the major reasons I only do it once in a while is the milk instantly flares up inflammation in my body and the next morning I have hangover feelings…… yup…… Needless to say I gained some weight and not the good kind in June. So for the past 5 days, I fought and got back on the plant based track minus the sugar.
So with my running in June, I got up every morning and went through my normal routine fighting to get out the door. By mile 2-3 of my run I would start to feel good and end up enjoying my run, but I was tired and lacked the boost to kick it in gear. I lacked the desire to run long, I think my longest run was 14 miles once. My HR stayed in range most days, but my pace time increased. There were a few days were I picked up the tempo, but again just so, so…….. Makes me wonder how I am going to perform at this 5k in 3 days?
Looking forward to July, I knew I needed to get something longer than a 5k on the calendar to give me a reason to keep my ‘long run’ legs fresh. I bounced around looking at different events and last night I decided to enter into the ‘Endless Summer 6hr Run’ in Annapolis, MD on July 30th. This will be my second ‘set time frame’ event and my daughter has already agreed to come crew for me. I think I will be able to make a good showing. I also have my next attempt at getting my BQ in September and need to keep building.
So this morning when I went out for my run, I FELT GREAT! I felt like I had a reason to run and my body agreed (or maybe it is just happy to be off all that sugar?). I had one of those runs were you want to just keep running……………
It is amazing the power of having a goal!