Monday, July 21, 2008

Runners Funk

Sometimes I just don't feel like running very much. Don't get me wrong, I love to run. But sometimes it is just hard to gather the motivation to go for a run. Maybe the 99 degrees today is what held me back. I think I'll get up early and run tomorrow. In that case maybe I should go to bed right now.

I think it is because I am pretty stressed out about moving and all that needs done before I go. It also probably has something to do that I am now going to be jobless. Oh, well. I just need to go running to clear my mind. If it wasn't so blasted hot I might go for a run right now. It is still like 85 degrees and it is ten o'clock. No, I'll go in the morning.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Moving and Running

I am finally getting separated from the military. They told me this would happen almost a year ago, they are just really slow about doing it. In two weeks we will leave here and head up to the Pacific Northwest. It is just in time too. Our first stop on our trip will be Memphis Tennessee to run the Bartlet Park Ultra. After the 50 mile race, I'm not sure what I'll feel like but I plan on spending a couple days after that touring Memphis. We will then stop in Louisiana for a few days. The next stop will be Utah but we might make a fun road trip out of it. We will be there for two or three weeks before we continue our journey up to the great state of Washington. I'm going to have a lot of places to run over the next month. This will be fun. I'm really looking forward to the Utah mountains and also the Washington Mountains. It has been way too long since I have seen any mountains, let alone run in them. Oak Mountain in Alabama is still just a hill in my book.

I wonder how difficult it will be run run while traveling around the country like this. I'll just have to see.

I am so looking forward to my race. My only concern is the heat, but then I remember that the longest I will go without an aid station (ice is what I will really want) is four miles. That is not bad. I'll just run and see how my body feels. I hope I will be able to finish. I really think I will be able to, I've been feeling great. I did 28 miles on trails last Saturday and I did 30 miles a few weeks ago. I'm ready to run 50 and get it over with.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Running and Meditation

I am not the kind of person that would normally go and meditate. It seems like something a monk would do, not a runner. But over the last couple of weeks I've been turning more to cleaning my inner self. I don't know, that sounds weird, "cleaning my inner self?!" Come on Anton, what are you thinking? Well I grew up pretty religious, always going to church. I even devoted two years of my life serving a full time mission for my church. But over the last year or so, I've been struggling to keep up my spirituality. I've started reading scriptures everyday. I'm not perfect, and nobody is, but that is the first step I guess in becoming more religious again.

A week or so ago I found out about a race that is 3100 miles long. It is called the Self Transcendence 3100. It is in honor of Sri Chinmoy. He started it seven or eight years ago and he just died last year. He was a spiritual leader that was also very athletic. He taught that running was an excellent form of meditation. I started thinking about it and it is so true. When I run I am able to either clear my mind and think about nothing, or I am able to ponder a question or problem that I have.

I think of scriptural prophets who fast and pray to know the truth of something and I am able to liken that to me just a little bit. I don't fast very often or very faithfully, but I run a lot and I am able to ponder life's problems while I run. Two of the few times in my life that I have been overwhelmed with emotion were at the end of both of my previous marathons. I can't really explain it, but when your body is so exhausted and broken down, it is just hard to hold in any emotions. It is an experience like none other to cross the finish line of your first marathon. I hope it will be a similar experience when I cross the finish line of my first 50.

Here are two excerpts from Sri Chinmoy's website. "Sri Chinmoy believed that a balanced lifestyle fosters harmony and inner peace. His integral approach to life encourages physical fitness and sports as a vehicle for personal transformation."

"There are countless people on earth who do not believe in the inner strength or inner life. They feel that the outer life is everything. I do not agree with them," he says. "There is an inner life; there is spirit."

Sri Chinmoy is not of my faith and he has probably taught many things that I would disagree with, but I agree with him on this. We can draw upon the strength of our inner selves. I, being christian, believe this power to be the Holy Ghost helping us out when we need it.

Now, I don't mean for this post to be a religious sermon or anything. I've just been thinking a lot when I run. It a way I feel like I am wasting time when I run. I could be spending time with my wife and kids, or reading and studying, or cleaning the house, or whatever else. But then I realize that I wouldn't be doing anything else anyway. I've been pretty lazy lately. If you take out running from my life I really have done absolutely nothing for the last few months. Well, anyway, I have started to listen to talks and books as opposed to music. I'll still listen to music, but I'll be listening a lot more to books and religious talks and stuff.

This morning I listened to half of Hamlet. I'm pretty sure I've seen it before, I may have even read it. This morning though it was different. I was able to mostly pay attention to it and enjoy it. It really struck me this morning when Lord Polonius was giving this speech to his son Laertes giving him words of counsel. Among other things he said:

"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

I know this is one of the famous lines from Hamlet, but I like it. I also like the other line, even more famous. I've heard it thousands of times before, but now I realize that there is more meaning behind just the words "to be, or not to be." Hamlet starts his speech with this:

"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;"

I think we all go through different stages in life. We struggle from day to day. It is hard for us to imagine any good coming into our lives in the next day, week, month or even year. But "to be" is much better than "not to be." For, if we seek for God and the truth in our lives, then there is always something better to look forward to. There are other times in our lives when nothing can stop us and we feel like life is great. It is during those times that we can not turn our backs on God, or he just might turn his back on us.

Well, I think this post is long enough. Maybe next time I'll tell you all to repent or your going to go to hell. Probably not though, that's not like me. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bartlett Park Ultra

Well, I have made a decission. It was easy and difficult at the same time. I have decided not to run the White River 50 on July 26 and instead to run the Bartlett Park Ultras 50 miler on August 2. It was difficult because I really wanted to run up in Washington in the Cascades. It was easy because I am not up there and I decided that I would rather not spend the money on a plane ticket to go up there right now. The downfall is that this run will be in the south in the hot, humid summer. It shouldn't be too bad though because this is the weather I've been training in. Maybe my hat will get some good use.

The Bartlett Park Ultra is located just outside Memphis Tennessee. It is about an eight hour drive from here. I'm going to take leave and spend some time with my family up there visiting all the sites.

Bartlett Park looks like a pretty nice place to have this race. There are some trails and this race will run several eight mile loops. Durring the race you can choose which distance to run 50k(really 32 miles), 40mile and 50 miles. I of course will strive to do the 50 miles. If it is extraordiarily hot and humid that day, and I'm am literally dieing, then I might consider stopping at the 40 mile, or if is really really bad, the 32 mile mark. so, I will do six, eight mile laps and then one mile out and one mile back to finish the fifty miles. It is a mostly flat course. The website says that the highest point is about 75 feet higher than the lowest point.

I guess I don't have much else to say about it. I'm really looking forward to actually doing an Ultramarathon. It is just four and a half weeks away. Until then I have a couple birthdays and a holiday. I hope I can resist the cakes. I need need a fruit and veggie cake.

A new running hat

I bought a new running hat a few days ago. It came last night in the mail. My wife thought I was wierd because I wore it around the house for like an hour. This is a sun hat designed to keep the sun off head and neck. Here it is:

Isn't that awesome! I can't wait to go running in the hot sun and try it out. I've been running with just a regular ball cap, but this one is designed for running. It is really light weight. It is called the Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap. For days that are not so hot or that have more cloud cover, I can remove the "sun skirt." I can also pull back it back so that it is just covering my ears and the back of my neck. I think that is how I will mostly use it. This will be a perfect hat for my 50 mile race that I am planning. Oh, yeah, I'll write another post about that.