It's been rather quiet on the blog, and on the road. I looked at the calendar, and had a wake up call on Fathers Day. The Marine Corps Marathon is fast approaching, and the habit of running hasn't stuck enough to set a high confidence level that I'd even RUN the Marine Corps Marathon, not to mention be proud of my effort (see, Chicago Marathon experience). The other wake up call happened as a result of actually waking up. Alone. On Fathers Day. It was similar to waking up alone for the first time on Christmas Day when I was in law school. Not a real "energizing" experience, until I started thinking about it. That's when I hit a series of "never again" moments. At the risk of creating New Year's Resolution Moments, I started writing them down. See, I'm guilty of approaching my time on earth with a ton of energy, countered by lack of focus. The result has been a series of unintended results.
And the foundation of it all is physical. In order to build strength throughout your life, you need to be strong physically. From physical strength will come emotional, mental and spiritual strength.
One key is to love the process, not the product. That's stolen from Inky Johnson who is a wonderfully motivational speaker, who lived in poverty as he grew up, earned a scholarship to play football at the University of Tennessee, and was projected to be a top draft pick in the NFL. Then he experienced tragedy on the field where he almost lost his life, and lost the use of his right arm. His story revolves around falling in love with the process, not the product. He fell in love with the hard work, the discipline and the effort it was going to take to make it to the NFL. He didn't fall in love with playing football, and what it meant to be a top talent. And he's been able to build off that love of hard work and effort to build a new life for himself helping motivate and inspire others.
Amy Cuddy, author of Presence, says the same thing. In order to be really good, you need to focus in the INTRINSIC elements and not the EXTRINSIC elements. That's another way of saying it's important to fall in love with the process, not the product. Fall in love with what it takes to get on the road every day, not with the fact that you're "training to run a marathon." One defines you, and the other is merely a label.
Focusing on the process, I love running with the dogs. I also like pushing myself during workouts. I'm ready to do the first one, but not yet ready for the second one. Right now, the focus is on getting the dogs tired. The puppy needs to relax during the day, but he's a puppy. Running for a few miles helps slow him down. At least for a little while. With the process will come results.
Being results-oriented, I took a calendar and backed up from October 30th, the date of the marathon. The "training programs" online start this coming Monday. Most online programs for beginners focus on running 4 days a week. My approach for the first couple months will be to run every day, but at a particular heart rate level. My target heart rate is 135. Right now, my fitness level isn't good enough for me to run consistently at 135. I have to slow down to a walk. So I'll warm up for 5-10 minutes with a fast walk and some dynamic stretching. Then jog easy focusing on form - running tall, pushing my feet into the ground underneath me, and launching - until my heart rate hits 135. Once there, I'll slow to a walk until my heart rate lowers to 115 and then begin running again. This morning's run carried me through Winter Park, past the 9th Grade Center, to Rollins College, along Lake Virginia, then back home through Blue Jacket Park. The pace slowed the second half as I was able to keep my heart rate above 115 by walking quickly.
The dogs carried themselves well. Apollo (8 months old) ran like a puppy, and had his tongue out the last half. Hank (8 years old) stuck with it and kept his pace. Both tired toward the end, which turned out to be 6 miles. That's the farthest I've been on the road in 2016. I won't claim it's the farthest I've run because there was as much walking as running. That'll change over time.
And I finished listening to Presence on this run. Finally. I highly recommend the book. Cuddy does a good job presenting the connection between body and mind, and how you can influence your reactions and strength by how you carry yourself. Well worth the time.