Saturday, August 31, 2013

Too Many Irons in the Fire

It's been almost two weeks since my last blog post and with some reservation I am sorry to say this may be my last for a few weeks.  I have had so many things going on the last couple of weeks that I need to get a few irons out of the fire.  I have decided that it would be in my best interest to only blog when I can find the time to sit down and write a really good post instead of just throwing one up.  That has really only happened a few times because I did sit down and write it out when I had plenty of time.

As some of you may know, I have returned to college and am taking only one online course.  That is what is taking up most of my free time while on the road during the week.  My marathon training started a couple of weeks ago and that is really important to me as well.

I will return here every few weeks and give an update on how I am doing on my training and write some words of encouragement too.  If you'd like to keep up with me during the meantime, please feel free to "like" my Facebook page because I will still be posting there as I always have.

Thank you all so much for reading my blog and I look forward to see you over on Facebook.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How Do You Define Success?

Last week I had to deliver in Arlington, TX, and while a couple of guys and I were unloading the furniture, one of them says, "What is the secret to your success?"  He just says it out of the blue and I told him I'd have to think about that for a few minutes.  I'm not sure how much of a "success" I am as a truck driver but I thought about the question the rest of the week and how it applies to lots of areas in life.  I believe we all define success different.  Acquiring lots of money may be one person's definition and define it as having what he/she needs.

Today, I want to look at the question like a runner.  I'm sure some of these could also apply to other areas of life as well.  The first thing that comes to mind is "Always be nice to others."  When I first began this journey, I was almost on my own.  I only knew a few runners and really didn't know what to ask.  I hope they didn't get tired of answering my question but they'll never know how much they helped me along the way.  As began to gain knowledge, I was better able to help others.  I still don't know everything, and never will, but I can probably point you to someone who does know the answer.

The second thing that I thought of is "Be patient."  Again, when I first started, it was hard for me to slow down and not do too much too soon.  I wanted to walk just a little farther and do it a little faster.  I wanted to be out there everyday and not take rest days.  I'll never forget when I was about to run my first 5K and saw the start of the half marathon.  I was pumped and felt like I could run 13.1 miles!  I really couldn't but at the time I felt like I could.  It would take me just over a year to run that distance at one time.  Since I am following a training program right now, I am sure I will have trouble not going longer than my plans says.  For example, on August 31st, my plan calls for an 8 mile run.  It has been a while since I've only ran 8 miles on a Saturday.  I will enjoy it because that is my shortest long run.

Thirdly, the "secret" to my success is to help others.  It kind of goes along with the first one but this is a ways to pay it forward.  I've had so many people that have helped me over the last three years and the best thing is the many friends that I have made along the way.  I am thankful for those and also thankful for you that read this blog week in and week out.

Am I the fastest runner? No! Am I successful runner?  In my book, YES!  I've never placed in a race but the feeling you get when you cross that finish line isn't something that you can experience anywhere else.  I love crossing that finish line no matter the distance.  I also love the feeling I get when I go farther than I ever have.

My first week of marathon training is in the books and I logged 24.1 miles running and 21.3 miles on the bike.  I had planned for only 20 miles but got in 4 extra miles last Monday morning before I had to go to work.

Thanks for stopping by this week and I'll see you back here again next week.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Are You Serious?

Does vacation ever last long enough?  I know mine didn't and I had to get back on the truck and delivering freight again.  My marathon training officially started this week and I decided to take most of last week off from running last week.  After a week of eating lots junk food and not eating the most healthy diet, I'm sure my body was glad that I started fueling it with things that are good for it.  Although I haven't given up meat, I have reduced the amount of meat that I eat.

When I first started this journey, I soon stopped eating beef.  I went for about ten month without eating any beef at all except for a small amounts that were probably in pepperoni.  I love pizza and pepperoni is one of my favorite toppings.  Over the next 18 weeks my plan is to still eat the foods that I like but have more control over the portions that I eat.  I'm sure I will start getting hate mail from Little Debbie, McDonald's, and Wendy's.  I will still have my eye on Wendy's chili because of all the fiber and protein in it.

While in Murfreesboro, we went to a store named Lily's As Seen on TV.  When we walked in the door there were three machines sitting right in the middle.  My cousin inquired about them.  I was a machine that simply sat there and vibrated your legs.  Here is a link to it.  The salesman said that it "contracted the muscles in your legs and standing on it for 10 minutes was like being on the treadmill for an hour."  I said to myself, "Is he serious?"  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  They were promoting this device as a way to lose weight and relieve pain.  I don't know about the pain part but I'm sure that it's not going to help you lose weight.  What do you think?

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I don't believe in using pills or other weight loss products.  Sure, those things will help you get started but you can't continue to take them for the rest of your life.  You must make some uncomfortable changes in your diet and also the things you do.  Although I promote running, you can do other things to be active.  Walking and biking are two other things that I enjoy.  I had to start walking before I could run.  One reason was because I was too heavy and the another was because I needed to get my body used to moving.  Losing weight isn't easy but it is so worth the effort.

I went on three bike rides this past week and only ran one time.  I ran 12 miles on those hills of Hwy 350 on Saturday morning with the other Lunatics.  My three bikes rides were on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday with a total of about 56 miles.  Riding with friends is as fun as running with friends but it's much easier to talk while biking.

Thanks for stopping by this week and I'll see you back here again next week.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Thankful I Get To Run

My week of vacation finally arrived and I got a lot of exercise and ate lots of junk food too.  Now it's back to work and I'm ready to start eating things that are good for my body again.  I still ate some fresh fruit this week but not as much as I usually do.

I started my week off with a nice run in Murfreesboro, TN, on the greenway.  I wasn't sure what route I needed to go and ended up in the Stones River Battlefield.  I was a nice trail through the battlefield where only pedestrians were allowed.  As I ran along, I saw a deer up ahead of me and she acted like she wasn't even scared.  I stopped to take her picture and took some video too.  I thought she was going to run off but she stopped and then I went on my way.  After getting back on the greenway, I saw lots of people either walking, running or riding bikes.  I saw 40 people and then stopped counting.  Talked to a guy who said it was crowded on the weekend.  After going out and then back to the hotel, I ended up with 9.5 miles and it was just then warming up.

I had planned on running again on the greenway but going in a different direction on Wednesday but when I got up it was raining so I just went back to sleep.  After we got home that afternoon, I had to get the bike out and ride for a while and rode 13.1 miles.  It was much needed and was a great ride.

After making plans to run with Amy and Jeff on Thursday afternoon, I wasn't about to back out.  As I mentioned in last week's post, I just haven't felt motivated to run in this heat.  Amy and I left downtown and after a couple of miles, I was ready to turn around and just go back home and call it a day.  I did run a total of 6 miles but every single step was terrible.  After I finished I was glad it was in the books.

Friday morning was too beautiful to not get out so I took the bike out again.  This ride was on a route that I haven't even ran before and was something different.  After riding for 18.5 miles I felt that I still had gas in the tank and was feeling great.  I was wondering how my long run was going to go the next morning.

It wasn't very warm at 6am on Saturday but it was humid.  As always, I ran most of the first four miles alone and then Jeff and I teamed up and ran another 10 together.  It was by far my fastest 14 miler but after 3 hours and 14.3 miles I was glad it was in the books too.

I was going to get up and run Sunday morning but decided to stay in bed.  That afternoon I did go on a 17 mile bike ride and it was even better the the previous rides.  If I had known I would love a bike as much as I do, I would have gotten one a long time ago.

This past week I also became I college student again.  I'm only taking one online course but that will probably be enough for now.  With this blog, a college course, training for a marathon starting next week, a full-time trucking job and all the things I do as a family member, I'm sure I will be busy until mid-December.

A year ago, I reviewed the Fitbit Ultra here.  I used it until about a month ago and now have the Fitbit Flex.  It is similar in many ways but also different.  The Flex is worn on the wrist in a band and only has five lights on it.  It doesn't have a display but you can still get live information from it via your iPhone 4S or 5, iPad 3rd or 4th generation, iPad mini, or select Android devices.  Since I don't use an Android device, I can only tell you about the iPhone.  I only use my Flex with my iPhone 5.  If you don't have a compatible device then you can use the included dongle to sync wirelessly.  The Flex uses bluetooth to sync with the Fitbit website and you can see live stats via the mobile app.

Although I never wore the Ultra while running, I do wear the Flex while running because it is water-resistant.  They even encourage you to wear it in the shower but I don't do that either.

One last thing before I go.  I saw a quote on Facebook last Friday that I thought was so true.  It basically said, "We shouldn't fret over having to run tomorrow.  You should be thankful that you get to run!"

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