Archive for the ‘Daily Runs & Reflections’ Category

A VOL-STATE PHILOSOPHY FROM A ’47 ROADSTER

    Philosophy seems to have a variety of meaning to a lot of people.  I think for most, it is the general beliefs, attitudes, and concepts of the individual.  For some, it could be summed up as a pursuit of wisdom.  Or, in general, it is a search for understanding values and answering the question of, “What is real?”

    Personally, I tend to lean toward a definition espoused by Dagobert D. Runes.  That would be “philosophy is the search for the indefinable.”  That leaves things wide open and, more or less, a mess.

    I think everyone is a philosopher whether they realize it or not.  That does not mean that we all sit around “thinking and meditating” through life.  If we did that, normal life would kind of kick us in our flabby ass.  The French philosopher, Rene Descartes, stated, “I think, therefore, I am.”  We all think.  So, we exist.  We are real.  But, what else is real?

    After the running boom got into high gear, it has been said that our running for distance is the western world’s form of meditation.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

    The Vol-State Road Race is indeed a distance run.  It is real.  The 314 miles gives one plenty of time to meditate, plenty of time to think, plenty of time to become a zombie.  What one thinks about on the way to The Rock is as varied as differing personalities in the race.  And, all those different personalities have different goals, different attitudes about the race, different racing plans (with some, the plan is to have no plan…which is a plan), and different levels of competitiveness.  While traversing the Vol-State course, everything can change and usually does. 

    It is interesting to talk to other runners during the race.  After some chit-chat, each one usually gives an indication of their philosophy about this thing to each other…whether the “other” wanted to hear it or not.  They tell each other their goals, their racing strategy (plan), their problems, how they feel at present, and what they are planning in the immediate future…“immediate” meaning in the next mile or two.  If one listens carefully, one can tell a lot about the runner doing the talking.  And, some will talk and talk and talk to the point that you would wish that they would take a break…or, you fake some excuse to take a break in order to return to some semblance of silence.  A “restroom” break usually does the job quite well…even though, women tend to wait on each other, so another strategy might have to be hatched.

    A runner or walker in Vol-State will come to the point that they are staring eyeball to eyeball at themselves.  We begin to see who we really are, beginning to answer “What is real?” on a personal level.  What we find out can be exhilarating, or, heaven forbid, depressing.  It’s hard to escape reality when our bones hurt, we have been soaked with sweat for most of the day, we’re thirsty, we’re hungry, we’re tired, and there’s no end in sight.  We see a fellow runner and hope we do not look that bad…but, we do, or worse.

    Spending a lot of miles alone on the road can be mind-opening experience.  It is when some questions are answered.  Questions such as, “Why is running important to me?” Or, you find out it isn’t as important as you thought it was.  “What are my goals in running?”  Or, right now, after that 33rd plus mile for the day…your goal is to find a place to rest.  “Is this really worth all I’m going through?”  Or, this chafing is rubbing me the wrong way.  

    Many questions asked, many questions answered.  There is truth in the distance.  As stated in the X-Files, “The truth is out there.”  Way, way out there, probably beyond forty miles.  At that point, if you’re not a zombie, you can face it.  Zombies are the walking dead, and the dead are out of the race.

    We all come to the ferry from different backgrounds and are melded in one common pursuit, getting to The Rock.  We are more alike than different.  We all share some characteristics such as strength, commitment, toughness, endurance, dedication, focus, fitness, as well as, fatigue, stink, dirty, uncoordinated at times, forgetfulness, hallucinations, impaired speech, and general insanity.  But, we are all an athletic event of one.  The most important thing about Vol-State is how “we” do in the race.  How does our finish compare to our previous finishes.  Down deep, it is a matter of survival.  It is our own personal adventure.

    We may change because of the Vol-State experience.  Some of us are in the “one and done” school of experience.  Others of us keep coming back for more.  Obviously, we like what we experience, what we feel.  We return for more or different changes in our psyche.  Or, we just reinforce changes we have already experienced in previous Vol-States. 

    Race director, Laz, understands the intricacies of change and experience in the distance of the race.  He understands and respects what the race throws at the individual.  (He doesn’t care, he just understands and respects.)  His creation gives the ultrarunner the opportunity to have this great experience.  We have the opportunity to accept a grand challenge.  In doing so, we learn about ourselves, the world, people, and reality. 

    The learning from the experience is itself reality.

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“There is something magical about running; after a certain distance, it transcends the body. Then a bit further, it transcends the mind. A bit further yet, and what you have before you, laid bare, is the soul.”

                                                                Kristin Armstrong, author and runner

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Richard Westbrook

JANUARY 1, 2017 (SUNDAY)

Well, here we go again.  I’m running through the neighborhood in the rain and cold and thinking about the brand New Year, 2017.  We all know that New Year’s Resolutions abound at this time, and I fit right in with that.  That is, when I’m not thinking how much I don’t like this cold rain during my run…but, what can ya do?

Resolutions grind their way into my brain as I run, putting my thoughts of cold and rain somewhere else.  I try to think back to thoughts earlier in the year in which runs or races told me facets in which I needed improvement.  So, here I go with the resolutions for 2017.  I’m documenting them here so I can be held accountable.

#1.  Improve my diet to insure that I will ingest healthy food for fuel to insure energy for the run and nutrients for recovery.

#2.  Include a muscular strength program at least three day per week.

#3.  Do flexibility work after each run or, at least, at the end of each day.

#4.  Consistently, be attentive to my bio-mechanics during each run.

#5.  Drink more water.

#6.  Include speed work on a weekly basis.

#7.  Plan ahead with my runs and races.

That seems to be all that I can remember as I ran about what I needed to do to improve my running.  I haven’t been too good in the past with resolutions.  Hopefully, this year will be better.

As I neared the finish of my 11+ miles today, I began to have second thoughts about this stuff.  I decided that I needed to simplify this plan.  So, in my last mile, I had an epiphany, a manifestation of the reality of resolutions.  I made a change before I reached my home front finish.

I gladly finished,being cold and wet, with the satisfaction of simplifying my 2017 RESOLUTIONS to:  #1.  Run every damn day!

Simple, huh?

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

REFLECTIONS FROM A ’47 ROADSTER

Posted: October 20, 2016 by coachwestbrook in Daily Runs & Reflections
Tags:
OCT. 20, 2016 (THURSDAY)

I had an easy run of a little over 5 miles through the neighborhood this morning.  In that run I noticed on three separate times a changing driving behavior that is not a good thing. One of the incidents was definitely not a good thing for this runner.

It’s like this.  Drivers increasingly are stopping and STAYING at a stop sign at an intersection even when no other cars are coming…or even in sight in any direction.  It’s time to move their vehicle on down the road, but they elect to just sit there.

Why?  The drivers are using their phone, that’s why…talking, texting, or any other phone thing they can do at the time.  Meanwhile, their vehicle is sitting there when the driver should be driving to their destination.  They are not focused on their driving, electing to use their phone during this crucial activity.

Today, the first incident during my run had one car sitting at a stop sign while I approached the intersection.  I watched to see if the car was going to pull out and go left or right.  He did neither.  His fat ass just sat there with his eyes down looking at his phone.  I turned right and ran beside him to look into his car.  He never knew I was there.

The second incident was a bit more personal to my running.  Running into another neighborhood, I saw an suv pull up to an intersection of a main connector road.  I was to run straight ahead with that vehicle to my left.  Should I run in front of it?  Should I run behind it?  Should I wait?  I slowed to give the driver a chance to make his move.  He did not move.  Another car came up behind him…and waited.  I don’t know why the lady in the car behind did not lay on her horn.  Too nice, I guess.

With the car behind the idiot in the front car, I chose to cross in front of the suv.  Just as I got mid-front, the driver finally looked up from his phone and started out into the main connector road.  Of course, I was right there in front of him.  I had to stiff arm his hood with my left as I gave a slight jump to get out of his way.  This idiot then blew his horn at me.  I stopped and looked back at him as he accelerated onto the road.  The lady behind pulled up, rolled down her window and said to me, “That man should not be driving!”  And, then she asked me if I was alright.  Yep, nice lady.

Third incident about a mile later.  The driver just stopped his car in the middle of the road and used his phone.  At least he had the sense to not text and drive.  I ran past him while his thumbs danced on his phone.  When I turned at the corner, he was still there in the middle of he road.  I didn’t stop to see how long he stayed there.  It was already too long.

Driving behavior is  changing.  Runners, beware!

 

 

 

MAY 4, 2016 (WEDNESDAY)

I had an easy 3+ mile run today tapering down to the Strolling Jim 40-Mile Run this Saturday in Tennessee.  The race is actually 41.2 miles.  It is on the roads in Wartrace, Tennessee and is a tough race…which makes me wonder…

I have run this race several times over the years.  I remember how tough it is.  I remember how my quads burned in the severe hills early in the race.  I remember baking in the sun on stretches Tennessee asphalt.  I remember thinking they forgot to put out the aid stations as the miles seemed to get longer.  I remember the “walls,” a series of rolling hills late in the race that seemed to be there just to punish the runners (especially me.)  I remember finishing strong over the last two miles on my way to a victory (I have to reach way back for that memory.)

As I ran along in this cool morning, I wondered how I would do (as I normally think before a race) because of my recent training not being like it should be preparing for a race.  I had recovery time from an injured foot followed by a cold contracted from Rainbow, a granddaughter.

Interestingly, I read an article last week in ULTRARUNNING that was written by the Strolling Jim race director, Gary Cantrell.  It hit on the subject of race goals for the “runners with longevity” (which are old runners, like me.)  For those runners, he stated there were often multiple goals.  The first was “just finish” followed by “happy with” and culminating with “dream” goals.  This kept coming back to me as I ran today.

I think I fit into that genre.  I’m sure I will be on the starting line with the first (“just finish”)  goal in mind.  I hope I can progress to the second (“happy with”) goal.  I don’t think I can get to that third (“dream”) goal…just not prepared for that.  My mind bounced around all this as I ran easily through mile three to my finish.  We shall see how it goes on the hills of middle Tennessee

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Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still.”

                                                                                                                           -Chinese Proverb

MAY 4, 2016 (WEDNESDAY)

I had an easy 3+ mile run today tapering down to the Strolling Jim 40-Mile Run this Saturday in Tennessee.  The race is actually 41.2 miles.  It is on the roads in Wartrace, Tennessee and is a tough race…which makes me wonder…

I have run this race several times over the years.  I remember how tough it is.  I remember how my quads burned in the severe hills early in the race.  I remember baking in the sun on stretches Tennessee asphalt.  I remember thinking they forgot to put out the aid stations as the miles seemed to get longer.  I remember the “walls,” a series of rolling hills late in the race that seemed to be there just to punish the runners (especially me.)  I remember finishing strong over the last two miles on my way to a victory (I have to reach way back for that memory.)

As I ran along in this cool morning, I wondered how I would do (as I normally think before a race) because of my recent training not being like it should be preparing for a race.  I had recovery time from an injured foot followed by a cold contracted from Rainbow, a granddaughter.

Interestingly, I read an article last week in ULTRARUNNING that was written by the Strolling Jim race director, Gary Cantrell.  It hit on the subject of race goals for the “runners with longevity” (which are old runners, like me.)  For those runners, he stated there were often multiple goals.  The first was “just finish” followed by “happy with” and culminating with “dream” goals.  This kept coming back to me as I ran today.

I think I fit into that genre.  I’m sure I will be on the starting line with the first (“just finish”)  goal in mind.  I hope I can progress to the second (“happy with”) goal.  I don’t think I can get to that third (“dream”) goal…just not prepared for that.  My mind bounced around all this as I ran easily through mile three to my finish.  We shall see how it goes on the hills of middle Tennessee

*******************

Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still.”

                                                                                                                           -Chinese Proverb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JANUARY 14, 2016 (THURSDAY)

It was 11.91 miles on a great looking day in the county in Clayton of the state of Georgia.  My running is getting better after the slight injury in last few miles of the Nashville Ultra 50 Mile Race on November 7.  I thought I would never get over the sore right ankle that I managed to place into a hole in last three miles of the race.  But, I did recover…only to have a sore, tight left Achilles tendon.  It took a month to the day to recover with the right ankle and left me doing the mile-per-day recovery runs.  Then, it took me about three weeks to get over the left side being messed up.

After a gradual build-up of mileage (which is still progressing), I am feeling a lot better getting some higher mileage under my belt.  Today’s run in my Altra Paradigm 1.5’s was a good one.  My fatigue level in the runs is less.  I’m able to change the pace within the runs without crashing.  I can walk into the house when finished instead of crawling.  Progress!

Now, I’m ready to watch the GOP front runners in their debate tonight.

JULY 28, 2015 (TUESDAY)

On the Silver Comet Trail this morning for 10.6 miles.  The SCT is one of my favorite running venues in the Atlanta area.  And, it’s not very crowded on a weekday morning.  I ran in the old Brooks Glycerin 9’s which now have 2500+ miles on them…still feeling good, but I can tell that the days for long runs in them are over.  Will they reach 3000 miles?  I think so…in small doses.

I think I’m still recovering from the Vol-State Road Race in which I crashed and burned picking up a DNF (Did Not Finish.)  That was on the heels of a debacle of a finish in the Peach State 300 in May which hit me hard physically and mentally.  In fact, if it wasn’t for my daughter, Season, being with me and helping me in the Peach State over the last 15 miles…I might still be there trying to finish.

I didn’t want to feel that way again, especially in the Vol-State.  But, I could feel it coming on after 250 miles. However, the big problem then was in my back with the lower back hurting with increasing pain with every few steps.  So, I decided to stop…to race again another day.  It’s just that a “DNF” is hard to swallow, especially in one of my favorite races.

I did wear the Altra Paradigm 1.5’s in their first race.  The shoes from a somewhat revolutionary company (based on evolutionary physiology) performed very well.  They held up well…better than the Hoka Clifton’s I had used in the Peach State 300.

So, the good run on the SCT had me thinking of trying to get my running through the recovery and feel good for the next race coming up.  I have a couple of problems to solve that I will be working on in training.  One is biomechanical.  The other, I think, is related to electrolyte levels in the long run.  Hopefully, I can solve those before the next race.

The next race is probably going to be “A Race for the Ages” on Labor Day weekend.  It will be a 24-hour run with some handicapping for those over 60 years of age (me.)

*Richard Westbrook