Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Our Local Hero & Rockstar

For my 100th post I wanted to do something a little different to make this post particularly special.

I took my first step to becoming a runner on October 1, 2010, but little did I know that I would look back to June 2010 to a day when I met Kenneth "Koach" Williams for the first time.  I didn't know much about him but I did know that he could play the blues harmonica and was a runner.  I told him I wanted to ask him a question.  I asked, "Can a fat boy like me run?"  He told me that it could happen but the most important thing is to avoid injury.  While he was answering my question, I was about to chow down on a couple of cheeseburgers.  After that day, I didn't think much about it until I had "the accident" (you can read about it here) and I felt I had to do something.  I walked out the door at little after 11:30am on Oct 1 and started my journey.

I had the chance to ask Koach a few questions.  I also found a great site about something that I had heard about shortly after I met him but didn't know anything about.  My first question to Koach was, "When and why did your start running?"

I found out that he had starting running in 1977 after a trip with a guy that had "done an unusal thing: he had run a marathon!"  Here is what Koach said happened after that trip:

“I wasn’t very familiar with that and didn’t run at all at that time.  When I got home from the trip I went to the football field the next morning and ran one half mile.  The rest, as they say, is history!!!

"I moved forward fast.  I ran a marathon 10 months after starting running.  I ran the Chicago Marathon on Sept 24th, 1978, along with 9,000 people.  It was to be my only marathon, I thought, but that was not to be.

"After that marathon, I continued running, but just a few days a week and not many miles.  But about 9 months later, the urge hit again, and I decided to try it again.  I was running really well at that time and thought I might just qualify for Boston.  What a mistake!  I went out at a fast pace.  At 10 miles, I was just over 70 minutes; my buddy, who was able to drive the course in the car, pulled alongside and said: “You better slow down, you are going out too fast”.  I responded back… “Naw, Man, I’m in the groove”.  By 18, I was toast and beginning to walk.  I did the marathon shuffle in for a 3:32, which was pretty good, considering.  He never let me forget me saying I was “in the groove”.   I did one marathon per year for years, and finally qualified for my first Boston Marathon in ’90.  It took me 13 more years to qualify for a second one, but since then, I’ve run 11 consecutive Bostons.”

Most of you know that I’m a big fan of the Coke 10K that we have in Corinth every May and I couldn’t pass up the chance to ask Koach why he wanted to found and direct a race.

“In 1981, Corinth didn’t have a really nice race.  We had some that came and went, but not one of our own.  My company, Corinth Coke, was celebrating its 75th anniversary and I talked our folks into adding a 10k race in conjunction with all the other things we were planning.  We teamed up with a local guy, Jimmy Whitehurst, who was very active with one of the kidney nonprofits.  We put together the Coke Kidney Classic 10k.  We had 148 runners the first year.   The first race our employees ever saw, they hosted.  I was very proud of them for that.   The kidney folks weren’t interested the next year and we weren’t interested in having those two words in the title of a race, so we went out alone. Again it was successful and we have continued since then.  But it has not always been easy and has not always been popular with our own people who wondered if we were diverting too much energy on something that had only an indirect effect.  Don’t think anyone has a problem seeing its positive benefits 32 years later.”

“I love running and it’s my passion.  I coach runners that wish to run a marathon and I enjoy doing that so much.  My running friends mean so much to me and I love them all.”  Although Koach tells me much of his spare time is spent with running and running-related things, he does have other interest too.  One of them, and the most important, is his large family.  They include his wife, who was his college sweetheart, their four kids and spouses and all of their 14 grandkids!!!  He says, “We all live within 50 miles of each other and are very close and supportive.”

Koach also looks forward to going into work everyday because he loves the business he is in and the people he works with.

Some of the things he enjoys doing is fishing and duck hunting.  He says, “I also love playing the blues harmonica and played in a blues band for nearly 15 years.  I love kayaking and other water sports and I enjoy checking off bucket list items with my buddy.  I am very, very thankful for the life that God has allowed me to live.”

My last last question was simply, “What advice would you give someone that is just starting out to becoming a runner?”  Not surprisingly, he replied, “Be patient!  You will continue to improve for years.  Never give up!”

With Koach’s help, guidance, and encouragement, I have definitely become the runner I am today.

After poking around online just a little I found that Koach has ran from the Mississippi state line just north of Corinth all the way to the gulf coast.  How Awesome is that?  Here is the link where you can read his daily log of his journey.  Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and read to the top.  Here is another link to the Run it Fast website where you can learn more about Koach and his passion for running.

Thanks, Koach, for all that you have done for me in my pursuit to becoming a runner and all that you do for our great running community in Corinth, Alcorn County, and around the globe.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Small Changes Add Up

It's starting to warm up even more here in Mississippi and I haven't made it to the point that I'm comfortable running in the heat just yet.  I had to carry my truck by the shop on Wednesday and was going to do loops around the parking lot until my truck was fixed but I only made it 1.55 miles because it was so hot.  The temp at the time was 93!

I tried again on Saturday morning and when the group started it was nice.  My first 12 miles or so were pretty good but after that it was all downhill.  Jeff and I ran up the ridge road and when we got back I told him, "You just go on ahead and you can just come back and get me when you finish.  I'll just take whatever I have at that time."  I still ended up with 14.4 miles but my pace was really off at 12 minute miles.

Last week I told you I had a big announcement to make.  I already knew when I posted last week but didn't want to reveal "my secret" until Wednesday.  I did post on the Facebook page for this blog and a little later on my Facebook page.  Three years ago this month, I met Kenneth Williams and asked him about running.  It has taken me that long to prepare for what I'm going to do in December.  I have registered for the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL.  I'm excited and nervous at the same time!  Jeff is running the marathon at St Jude the weekend before and then running the RCM too!  Thankfully I'm only running the half at St Jude.

Most of you know that I drive a truck and while I'm out on the road it isn't always easy getting a healthy meal.  I do carry a cooler with me and that makes it a little easier.  Although I am not the only one that has made small changes over the last two and a half years, I have made some.  I have written before about what I eat but sometimes we need to hear things again.  I have, and still am, making little adjustments in my diet that over time will make a big difference.

One of the changes that I made was back in February.  I started putting almond milk on my cereal and drinking it instead of using regular milk.  According to the package, almond milk has 50% more calcium than regular milk.  That isn't the reason I switched.  The reason was because I had been drinking 1% milk and it has 102 calories per 8 oz.  That doesn't seem like a lot but if you compare it to 30 calories in almond milk and you drink one cup a day, that adds up to 1 pound of weight loss every 7 weeks.

One of my favorite changes are dates.  I will eat a serving of dates (5-6) instead of eating a candy bar.  They are naturally sweet and are so good.  Not to mention the fiber that is in them that makes you feel full longer than a candy bar will.  I'm not say I don't eat candy bars anymore.  I'm just saying I eat fewer of them.

I mentioned cereal when I was talking about almond milk.  It is hard to find a cereal that I don't want to just eat the whole box in one sitting.  Some cereals also require me to eat more than "one serving" because it just doesn't satisfy me.  Take for example Cheerios.  I will eat two cups of them for a total of 200 calories.  Add in the almond milk and a cup of yogurt (80 calories) and I have a total of 340 calories.  On the other hand, I also like to eat Kashi Go Lean Crunch.  One cup of it has 200 calories.  I can eat just one cup of it because of the fiber and protein in it and then add on the other stuff for the same amount of calories.  I do change it up from time to time and eat a banana, some apple slices or might even drink a cup of orange juice.  I don't want to get bored by eating the same thing all the time.

I've been made fun of for making this change.  It's not one that I do all the time but quite a bit.  Instead of having chips with my sandwich, I will have celery.  I know most people like the salty taste of chips but I think I like the crunch better and celery has that "crunch".  Again, here we go with the math.  An average serving of chips has 140 calories.  And since I usually eat 2 servings of celery I will use it in my example.  Instead of eating the 140 calories in the chips, if you changed just three times a week to eating celery you will have saved 330 calories per week or 1 pound in just under 11 weeks.  See how easy it is?

How have you made little changes in your diet to help you?  I'd like to hear.  Please leave your comments below.

That's going to do it for me this week and you will want to come back for sure next week.  It will be the 100th post and I have something very special planned to share with you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Must Read: Hey, Out of Shape Girl

Last week was a very busy week for me but I still had the opportunity to get in just over 22 miles over three days.  Since I took Sunday before last off and knew I was going to Evansville, IN, I ran on the Greenway Passage again for the third time.  I still didn't have my Garmin so used my iPhone to track my mileage and ran 6.5 miles and it was nice.  I was hoping to see Mr Don again but didn't.

Since I had to work the rest of the week and didn't get a chance to run, I had to wait until Saturday morning to pound some pavement.  I had planned to go out to 350 but had to pass this week because I didn't get in until late.  I got up and hit the Coke course and ran for 5 miles with my "new" Garmin.  Even after 5 miles it only lost down to 89% of battery.  Hopefully this one will serve me as well as the old one.

Jenni, Jeff and I decided we were going to meet at the church at 6:30 but nature had other plans for us.  A thunderstorm was moving in from the south and it had lightning in it.  After messaging each other we  ended up meeting a little later.  I ended up with 11miles, Jeff with 14, and Jenni with 15.  I enjoyed the run and enjoyed the company even more.  Thanks y'all!!!

There may have been a reason I didn't make it out the 350 Saturday morning.  As I running up to the 4th street bridge, I noticed a keyless remote laying on the side of the road.  I stopped and picked it up and put it in my pouch.  I went ahead and had forgotten about it until I saw a car and pickup coming down the road really slow.  The guy driving the pickup was hanging out the window and seemed to be looking for something on the side of the road.  I looked on the front of the car and it matched the emblem on the remote.  The lady driving the car wouldn't stop but I pulled the remote out and waved it for the guy.  Of course he pulled on up and thanked me.  It was the least that I could do.  I'm glad they came along. I had met the lady earlier in my run pushing a baby stroller and apparently she had dropped it on her way out.

One other thing that I want to share with you is something that I came across on Facebook and posted it on the Facebook page for this blog but you may not have seen it.  I do know that 360 people have read it just from the page and I'm sure numerous on other sites.  If you are in doubt about starting your journey and you wonder what other runners might think about you, then this is for YOU!  I wished I would have written this.

Hey, Out of Shape Girl. 
Yes, you. The one feigning to not see me when we cross paths on the running track. The one not even wearing sports gear, breathing heavy. You’re slow, you breathe hard and your efforts at moving forward make you cringe.
You cling shyly to the furthest corridor, sometimes making larger loops on the gravel ring by the track just so you’re not on it. You sweat so much that your hair is all wet. You rarely stay for more than 20 minutes at a time, and you look exhausted when you leave to go back home. You never talk to anyone. I’ve got something I’d like to say to you.
You are awesome.
If you’d look me in the eye only for an instant, you would notice the reverence and respect I have for you. The adventure you have started is tremendous; it leads to a better health, to renewed confidence and to a brand new kind of freedom. The gifts you will receive from running will far exceed the gigantic effort it takes you to show up here, to face your fears and to bravely set yourself in motion, in front of others.
You have already begun your transformation. You no longer accept this physical state of numbness and passivity. You have taken a difficult decision, but one that holds so much promise. Every hard breath you take is actually a tad easier than the one before, and every step is ever so slightly lighter. Each push forward leaves the former person you were in your wake, creating room for an improved version, one that is stronger, healthier and forward-looking, one who knows that anything is possible.
You’re a hero to me. And, if you’d take off the blaring headphones and put your head up for more than a second or two, you would notice that the other runners you cross, the ones that probably make you feel so inadequate, stare in awe at your determination. They, of all people, know best where you are coming from. They heard the resolutions of so many others, who vowed to pick up running and improve their health, “starting next week”. Yet, it is YOU who runs alongside, who digs from deep inside to find the strength to come here, and to come back again.
You are a runner, and no one can take that away from you. You are relentlessly moving forward. You are stronger than even you think, and you are about to be amazed by what you can do. One day, very soon, maybe tomorrow, you’ll step outside and marvel at your capabilities. You will not believe your own body, you will realize that you can do this. And a new horizon will open up for you. You are a true inspiration.
I bow to you.

Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you again next week for a big announcement!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chasing Our Shadow

I got lazy writing my post during the Memorial Day holiday but I didn't slack on getting my miles.  The week that ended the day before Memorial Day I ran a total of 25.5 miles.  I got lucky and got to run during the week again on the Greenway Passage in Evansville, IN, that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.  I made it all the way to the Ohio River at about the 4 mile mark.  If you ever get the chance to run on this trail then do so.  You will remember it for a long time.  Unfortunately, I didn't carry my iPhone with me to take pictures because I thought the rain was going to move in but it never did.
During that run, my Garmin 405 decided to die on me. I thought I'd charged the battery but when I plugged it up it had 0% charge. To make a long story short, I called Garmin and was told it was probably the battery and they could send me a refurbished 405 for a fee. Needless to say, I paid the fee and as of this writing my "new" is on the way.

The Saturday and Sunday before the holiday I ran 10 miles on 350 and 7.4 on the Coke route.  While Jeff and I were running on Sunday morning, we were talking about racing and competing.  Neither of us really compete against other runners at the race but if we place the that is the icing on the cake.  As we were talking and having this conversation, I pointed toward the ground in front of me and said, "That's who I'm competing against right there!"  At the time the sun was to our back and our shadows were "running" just in front of us.

This past Saturday I ran the Butterfly 5K in Waynesboro, TN.  Let me tell you, if you haven't ran this race and you live close then it is one your should run next year.  Not only does it benefit a great charity but the race is absolutely the best 5K I have ever ran.  The race director, Jim Beavers, personally invited me to it during the Rotary Run in the Park back in April and I'm so glad that I went.  The course is partly on the highway but the traffic control and the support were great.  I heard that it took 60 volunteers to pull it off and they did just that.  It's a race that I'm looking forward to running again next year.  I had hoped to run a PR and do it under 30 minutes but it was warm and I ran a 31:24.  I was still proud and that is a good time too!

Earlier in the week I two other days of with 7 miles and 3.1 miles so my total for the week was only 13.2 miles.  I slept in on Sunday and did run at all.  I made up for it on Monday but I'll have to tell you about that next week.

Thanks for stopping by this week and hope to see you again next week.