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A few final thoughts as we move to www.myownwoody.com December 7, 2006

Posted by Woody in blog, Blogroll, marathon, sports, www.myownwoody.com.
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In preparation of the move to our new location this will be my final post at this url. This week is a big mental preparing time for the marathon. As the marathon grows near I am finding myself feeling more anxiety about the event. All I want to do is finish. I don’t care nor does it matter how long it takes to finish. Finishing is the goal. I know that I wont be running alone, in fact none of my training has been alone. The Lord has been with me the whole way. I know that through Him this experience will be enjoyable and I will complete it. However believing and knowing that doesn’t stop this anxiety. I found myself emotional the past couple days. I feel like I need a prozac… Or… A cigarette LOL.

It has been a long five months, the pains I feel when I start a run sometimes frighten me as I look towards this coming weekend. I begin to feel a few negative thoughts rush in, in which I promptly mentally slap myself in the face, and begin to review the techniques I’ve learned to complete this marathon. I am aware that what I am feeling is normal. I want to share an email that my wife sent me, words of encouragement, much needed words this week in the mist of my emotional crap.

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From the beginning of July when you were in Tucson and I was back home, you mentioned quitting smoking and running a full marathon. Did I think you would do it? Yes, I learned when you set your mind to something you will do it.

Looking back I rethink of the first few days. I remember asking you on a daily basis how you were doing with the smoking. I also remember you asking me not to ask you because it was harder on you. I remember listening to you tell me you had to run 5 minutes straight and now here you are so many months later getting ready to run at least 5 hours straight! I remember listening to the heart break in your voice when telling me how the people you loved the most had no faith that you would go through with what you set out to do. I remember the countless nights I wished you were home to spend some time with the kids. Or the Saturdays when you had to run for hours at a time. I think about how selfish I was to think that the you needed to be at home, rather than how important this adventure you have set out to accomplish is.

My mind races as I think about the past 5 months of your training. My mind races as I think about the completion of your marathon.

I can not begin to tell you how proud of you I am. To accomplish something that many could only dream about leaves me speechless. I know you will do great. I know whether you walk, run or crawl, across the finish line, you will complete it. I know it will be more for you than the people that have doubted you.

I may not have been the best supporter over the last 5 months. And like you, my mind races as I think about how I will react to seeing you cross that finish line. Will I run out and hug and kiss you while you are sweaty? Will I pat you on the back and tell you good job? Will I get my point across on how proud I am? I can only hope I will. That, what I say and how I will react will get it across. Will you know that the ear to ear grin is for you, because of how proud I am?

I know I have mentioned it to you before but I again want to thank you for thinking of not only yourself, but thinking of your family and your health. I am so very proud of you.

I know you will do just fine on Sunday. I am glad that I will be standing at the finish line and watching you accomplish something you have worked so hard for.

So when you cross the finish line do it proudly! You deserve to feel on top of the world! You truly are an inspiration to all!

I love you now and always will!

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A hard one to read this week as some of you may imagine. Nonetheless words that will ring in my mind during the event to help get me through the event.

As I look to the marathon I pray that it is a beginning and not an end to the five months of training that I have completed. In five months I went from not having exercised in at least ten years, poor health and smoking to become a marathoner.

Recently, a good friend told me that I had inspired him to knock the dust off his home exercise machine and started using it again. I never thought that I would be someone to inspire others to push through the doubt and work towards their goals. It was the furthest thing from my mind when this all started five months ago. If I had a dollar for every runner, trainer, doctor and skeptic who gave me “that look” when I told them what I was doing I’d have a great retirement plan. They were all right! I was a fat out of shape smoker who’s only race was to see how fast he could have his first heart attack. I can’t do it. But, I realized on my long runs during training that I am not doing this alone. This is in God’s plan for me. He’s been there on those runs to see me through them. And it was His plan that used me to inspire others.

A final note to any runner or spectator for Sunday’s Holualoa Tucson Marathon: If you see a guy running down the road, escort trucks in front and back with their yellow lights flashing and a big sign on his ass stating “oversized load”, please try not to knock off his warning flags as you fly by him, for it is I.

My next post will be located on http://www.myownwoody.com. There will surely be a massive post in regard to how the marathon goes, new stories from gym humor to pete and red’s next adventure. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Questions? Comments? email Woody@myownwoody.com

Maybe it’s all a mid-life crisis November 20, 2006

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So why did I quit smoking and drinking. The reasoning and motivation escapes me. Five months ago I couldn’t run across my back yard without being winded. I enjoyed my pack a day habit and the occasional cigar at the shop with the boys. The next two weeks my training tapers off and I begin to gather strength for the marathon. Yet there is a part of me that is ready to walk away from it, stop by the convenient store for a pack of smokes and go back to my old ways. This week my long run is “only” 9 miles. I never imagined that I would look at this week’s training and say to myself ‘piece of cake, its only 9 miles’. Even when I was young I wouldn’t fathom running 9 miles, now it is ‘easy’. Is it all for moot? Does it really matter and is it going to impact my life in some dramatic way that I will walk (or crawl) away from that finish line with something different in me or my outlook on life that this will all be worth it? I can’t say that I know the answer to that question. I was asked last week what my goal was. I looked that man square in the eye and told him it was to finish. period. I’m having enough difficulty getting to the starting line let alone making it to the finish.  I have several mental techniques I need to review in the next few weeks that may very well make the difference in my finishing the marathon. After all, at the end of eighteen I walked away excited to finish, exhausted, and sore. Very sore. and I still have 8.2 more to go. I think the mental aspect of this training is the only thing that will get me through the run. I heard someone say once that running is an individual sport. You can run with a friend but when it comes down to it, training, racing, or for fun, it is you and the pavement and no one else really gives a shit that your there doing it. so why do it? its been an interesting year of experiences and I am scheduled to finish it with a marathon. 

Still, in all this, I question why I am doing this. Am I experiencing some sort of mid-life crisis? Carl Jung wrote about the ‘natural process of midlife transition’, accommodation and the preference tug-o-war, climb a mountain and buy a sports car or a Harley. Run a marathon. So where am I going in this and what is next? I am sure if he was still around Carl Jung would love to pick my brain on this one. Maybe give a frontal lobotomy while he’s at it. 

Thoroughly confused, fuck support I need a smoke. 

Feeding the fire that is blog November 15, 2006

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It was great to be back in the gym last night. It provides a plethora of fuel to feed the fire that is this blog. I was sick over the weekend which pushed the long run back a day in turn cancelling the monday run so I didn’t make it to the gym till last night’s run. I thoroughly enjoyed the run, the comfort level with the pace, distance and most importantly the surroundings. How can I enjoy the surroundings while running on a treadmill amongst the sweat and stench of people I don’t even know. Well, it is very possible dependant on how demented your mind is and how south your sense of humor can run.

Shortly into the run Ms leapswitheverystride starts running on a nearby treadmill. The distance her feet lept off the running surface in combination with the flat footed pounding and flailing arms was enough to cause pain just watching her. Her chiropractor must love her. I could only imagine how out of place her back and hips are with that straight out of hell stride. I found myself concentrating on my feet for the duration of her run as to not be distracted by her. So Here’s to you ms over bouncing treadmill runner gal.

Shortly after she finished her mile she is replaced by ms innocents. A innocent-looking, no make up, square framed glasses blond. I know I know and innocent blond! Yeah right! Ok so back on track. Really she looked innocent enough. Nothing abnormal about her until HE shows up. I first noticed him walk behind her and attempt to get her attention by waving and smiling. At this time I thought by his actions he was trying to get the guy on the other side of her’s attention. Kind of a friend he hasn’t seen in a while hello. Then, as quick as he came by he left. So this guy on the other side of ms innocents finished up his run, she begins her cool down from run to a walk, and like a fat kid on a donut this guy is up on the treadmill to talk to her. I attempted to avoid hearing any of what Cartman really had to say to her. I only felt pity on ms innocents for being polite enough to humor the conversation whilst her body language said “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!”. He rounds his arm over his 38 double d’s to pat his stomach and announces “I’ve already lost 6 pounds!” As if 6 pounds of loss is substantial to Jupiter! He inquires if she’d like to ‘work out’ with him. Sure she does dude! She’s got a death-wish and you laying on top of her is going to achieve it! She calmly and quietly says no and that she has to finish her run (big hint here pal she’s cooling down and if she says she has to finish it that means she is not interested in someone that has bigger boobs then her). He leans over to her to whisper. Quiet for a moment while he plays his best James Dean. She states “ha ha you are funny”. Guys you know the statement not the one where she really thinks your funny and cute and your in. But the one that she is saying “dude your a total dork and you should leave before I rip your heart from your chest and eat it in front of you’. Jupiter ask again, “come work out with me”. Pressing the “speed up” button she begins to run again. Sorry, I can’t I have to finish my run”. He politely leaves the area. Now mind you observing this took a great deal of concentration to not bust out laughing or pee myself. I felt a great sense of self-control. So here’s to you ms i’ll find a way to let him down easy gal.

Continuing that self-control (wow I am getting good at this self-control thing….) the next victim er.. ok look this guy.. Just listen…

My final story begins with chief struts-without-teeth, performing what I like to call the tread-stretch. The tread-stretch occurs on the treadmill prior to the run. Now most of us will stretch before and after we run off the treadmill to allow others to use it when we are not. The tread-stretch occurs when individuals what to gather attention to themselves. Usually people who are there to score some tail and not personal achievement or health.  So five minutes of tread-stretching his arms.  He straddles the treadmill and starts it up. The tread-straddle is another classic technique, used to increase the distance of your exercise without actually having to walk/run on the treadmill.  While using the tread-straddle technique he surfs the channels for another five mins.  He locates his favorite Jerry Springer ephisode and then and only then begins to walk.  Now the treadmill is reflecting almost a quarter of a mile of distance for his workout and he’s just begun.  Here comes the tread-strut. This was my first experience witnessing the tread-strut. Chiefy starts to actually strut on the treadmill. He continues this process for another quarter mile prior to working up to an actual run pace. Now again this is where the self-control kicks in, I find myself smiling and doing all I can not to laugh. I notice him glace around his lcd display to look into the mirror and smile. I see this gaping hole that spans the outter limits of space where teeth used to be. He’d make someone a great girlfriend! oh chiefy! If I was a single guy looking to score some chicks I think I’d get some teeth first, THEN go to the gym and tread-strut.  The story ends with chief struts-without-teeth begins his cool down (cause really its necessary after you jog 1/2 a mile) he begins the cool down walking-tread-stretch-strut.  DING DING DING we have a winner! He’s got the combos down. I haven’t seen a combo like that since I played tony hawlk and threw down the airwalk melon nose grab over the half pipe. So Here’s to you mr everything other then run on the treadmill guy.

Thank you all for providing the fuel to feed the fire that is blog!

Abortion prevents AIDS – Really it does, John Kerry said so November 9, 2006

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I wanted to take a moment today to reflect upon the 2004 presidential debate. This is the 2nd debate between President George W. Bush and idiot er uh Senator John Kerry.

The official transcript can be located here.

DEGENHART: Senator Kerry, suppose you are speaking with a voter who believed abortion is murder and the voter asked for reassurance that his or her tax dollars would not go to support abortion, what would you say to that person?

KERRY: I would say to that person exactly what I will say to you right now.

First of all, I cannot tell you how deeply I respect the belief about life and when it begins. I’m a Catholic, raised a Catholic. I was an altar boy. Religion has been a huge part of my life. It helped lead me through a war, leads me today.

But I can’t take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn’t share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever. I can’t do that.

But I can counsel people. I can talk reasonably about life and about responsibility. I can talk to people, as my wife Teresa does, about making other choices, and about abstinence, and about all these other things that we ought to do as a responsible society.

But as a president, I have to represent all the people in the nation. And I have to make that judgment.

Now, I believe that you can take that position and not be pro- abortion, but you have to afford people their constitutional rights. And that means being smart about allowing people to be fully educated, to know what their options are in life, and making certain that you don’t deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the constitution affords them if they can’t afford it otherwise.

That’s why I think it’s important. That’s why I think it’s important for the United States, for instance, not to have this rigid ideological restriction on helping families around the world to be able to make a smart decision about family planning.

You’ll help prevent AIDS.

You’ll help prevent unwanted children, unwanted pregnancies.

You’ll actually do a better job, I think, of passing on the moral responsibility that is expressed in your question. And I truly respect it.

GIBSON: Mr. President, minute and a half.

BUSH: I’m trying to decipher that.

My answer is, we’re not going to spend taxpayers’ money on abortion.

Surpassing 300 cumulative miles of training November 7, 2006

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I begin this entry by starting at the end.  When I walked in the door this evening my daughter looks at me and says “Hi Dad, how are you? How was your run.” I pause a moment, glance over at my wife , turn to face my daughter and say “Ya know, I am great! It was a great run! Because I just realized that tonight I broke 300 miles of training.”

I arrived at the gym and begin my run as I normally do.  However tonight I am experiencing an increase in discomfort in my left leg. I start the run and realize that I limped my way through at least the first mile.  I found myself looking forward to a few weeks from now when the mileage starts to taper in preparation for marathon day.  I struggled with the negative thoughts, thoughts of slowing to a walk, thoughts of the pain being more then it actually was.  I said a short prayer asking the Lord for favor involving this pain and concentrate on breathing to get my mind off the pain.  Then run was grueling, painful and negative. I was not comfortable at any pace, even the last five minutes felt like an eternity.  But I pushed through and completed my required eight miles.

I’m a marathoner, I love to run and do four times a week, I look and feel great,  I am strong and will never quit a run, I look forward to my next run, I’m a marathoner.

The Wall – All the training won’t prevent it, only I can break through it. November 7, 2006

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There are plenty of people out there discussing “The Wall”. The Wall, is the plain and simply truth that most people’s bodies are not capable of storing enough fuel to go for as long a time as necessary to complete the marathon distance.  Most associate the wall with the point of glycogen (carbohydrate) depletion. The result is inadequate blood sugar in the brain and active muscles. The feeling has been described as total fatigue, and exhaustion. It then comes down to the body’s production of ATP, when the carbs are gone it has to use fat to produce ATP. Now, I have plenty of fat for it to use to produce ATP, the problem is that using fat ATP is only produced at half the rate that it is with carbs. So… that production will cause, for most people, the pace to slow to a walk and for some that walk would be a struggle.

So how do I prepare for this experience psychologically and physically? Well, physically, my body will not really be ready for 26.2 miles. I have to accept that. Sure I just said that I ran sixteen and didn’t feel that bad.  In fact, I run a comfortable pace, and that last 1/4 mile, I pick it up, I run proud and “cook” that last bit. I pretend that the finish line of my ‘solo runs’ is the marathon finish line. I charge across, head high! That instills fear in me. So far, I do concentrate on running, breathing, limited self-talk and that last bit of visualization.  I have used a combination of associative and dissociative mental techniques. But, on the long runs I only use these in a limited sense.  Maybe I am using these techniques more then I realize. But I have a concern about hitting that wall. Am I going to remember these tools to knock it down? Part of me feels like I haven’t hit exhaustion since my twelve mile run. Maybe it’s cause I am using these techniques more then I realize I am. Here’s where the psychologist can jump in with comments about how this is all working cause I don’t feel like I am using these techniques enough but yet I finish a sixteen mile run and feel good about it.

Physically I have been great about training. I haven’t missed a day. I have completed all the miles that the training requires and some. It has been said time and time again that if you can complete eighteen miles you can complete 26.2. They say that on marathon day there is a camaraderie with thousands of people who I won’t know, who share my same goal.

There are four factors that determine whether or not I will hit the wall.  The level of glycogen at the start of the marathon, amount of carbs I  consume during the run, level of conditioning and pace I run.  Increasing the amount of carbs the week of the run while decreasing the amount of carbs used that week will greatly increase the amount available the day of the run.  I have been training with a fuel belt that consist of Gatorade and carb boom (carb gel packs).  It is my hopes that using much Gatorade, and carb replacement gels will greatly assist in wall avoidance.

There is an old marathon saying that the last six miles of a marathon is the last half of a marathon.  I know I have to accept that I will hit the wall, and that I need to make sure it doesn’t stop me before my body can switch from burning carbs to burning fat.

I read some real heart warming stories this week about  hitting the wall, pushing through it and what worked for some people.  I can’t say I won’t hit the wall. I can say that I plan to do all that I can to prepare for and conqure it.  Not finishing this marathon is NOT an option.

Nearing Marathon Training Completion November 7, 2006

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With just over four weeks of training remaining, I don’t know whether to be enthusiastic, apprehensive, or just check out. Part of me wants to eliminate exercise when this is all done. I know better then to allow those thoughts, yet I won’t deny that they do occasionally enter my mind. This past weekend I ran sixteen miles again. This is the third week in a row at that distance. The run takes about three hours to complete and at a comfortable pace isn’t too grueling. I start the eighteen mile runs this week in which I will foresee to be closer to the three and a half hours to complete. I do not have any reservations with the eighteen mile run, simply because I am only increasing the mileage by two miles. It’s a rather amusing thought, thinking it’s not big deal to increase my run by two miles. Take a moment to look back to this post when I “busted the four mile barrier”. Back then it took over fifty minutes to complete four miles. Maybe I need to give myself a little more credit lately. That experience was less then thirteen weeks ago. I remember struggling with that four mile run, pushing myself to what I thought was and may have been my limits to achieve that distance. Four miles… still by any means not a short distance.

Pausing for a moment, I wonder how I am doing this. I’ve completed sixteen mile runs and will complete eighteen this weekend. Thirty-six for the week. Tonight I will break 300 cumulative miles since July. Part of me feels like its not a big deal anymore. Like sixteen, eighteen, twenty miles in a shot is not a big deal. Sure I am tired after the run, but not exhausted. I have to remind myself that these runs are a big deal. A very big deal!

As I look forward toward the next month and the closing of this marathon training I ask myself what is next. I have pushed the cigarettes out of my life, I am making some headway on weight loss, if I do say so myself my legs are looking pretty tight. I’ve thought about weight training. I may just do it. I was thinking about continuing to work on weight loss, I’d like to lose about twenty pounds yet. Once the fat is removed I can then concentrate on building a positive mass, not one based on beer and McDonald’s but on “Beefcake 2000”.

Pete and Red from Haggar Films. November 2, 2006

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Making things right with Pete and Red

These guys are great! I always get a kick out of what they do!

What’s the point of having a big deck if you don’t use it. November 1, 2006

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The 2006 Asshole of the year award goes to Sen. John Kerry November 1, 2006

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John Kerry’s botched joke apparently directed at President Bush but offensive to all military troops.

As most of you are aware yesterday Sen. John Kerry made the following statement about our troops in Iraq. Many claims that this was a botched joke directed at President Bush. Well Johnny if that is your attempt at telling a joke I suggest you pull your head out of your ass and stop telling jokes. It wasn’t funny! Your idiotic attempt at telling a joke has insulted our troops, veterans and our President. You do not have to like our president, but Mr. Kerry, you crossed the line with your comments.

In the news today, John Kerry was quoted as saying yesterday afternoon that he would not apologize. Today there was a half-hearted print saying “I’m sorry for botching a joke”. How about your sorry for belittling the very freedom that our soldiers provide for you?! You are a disgrace to the uniform and should not be representing the people of this country in any fashion! I am in agreement with the White House that John Kerry apologize to the troops for making such a stupid comment!

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I recently located the following photo taken in  Iraq by the  Minnesota National Guard in response to John Kerry’s foolishness.

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