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The 20-miler

I ran my first 20-miler today. It was rough. Elise texted me around noon (after I’d come home, ate, showered & took a nap) and asked how it was. My response: “Run was a lot like what I think death would be like. Raw, real, painful. Some parts were nice. Other parts not so nice.”

If memory serves me, I think it was 78-degrees at 5:45 a.m. today. So after about 3 miles in, my personal running microclimate was somewhere in the mid-90’s. And it was humid and the air thick. I hit a bit of a wall at mile 15. Then I hit another wall around mile 17. I finally had to stop and walk around the neighborhood I was in and fine a water hose on the side of someone’s house and take some big mouthfuls of nasty, rubbery-tasting water. I slogged through the remaining 3 miles, but it kind of sucked.

I’ve always resolved that I’d just have to slog through the really long runs when it gets hot in Austin. I’m hoping the slogging through will make it easier and better when the cooler weather comes back in 7 or 8 months. In the meantime, it’s kind of a cool feeling of accomplishment to’ve run 20-miles.

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17-miler

I ran 17 miles today. I actually slogged through 17 miles. This week Spring officially sprung, and it’s been hot & humid in Texas. I’m definitely more of a Winter runner. My optimal temperature for running is between 37 and 40-degrees. But, I’m totally fine with my 8:17 pace. This morning’s run was a Zen run. I didn’t look at my Garmin watch once and I didn’t give a rat’s ass about my pace the whole time. I listened to Led Zeppelin’s Greatest Hits and I made sure to pay attention to the scenery around Town Lake. Since it’s now spring, there were lots of flowers and grass and tree buds to enjoy, and people to watch and ducks to see. I also saw an armadillo hanging out in front of the Statesman’s office.

The best part was that I felt great after the run. In fact, I thought about pressing on and making an even 20-miles. But I’m sticking to my plan of increasing my mileage by 1-mile on my long runs each week or two. I know the pace will increase on its own. And even if it doesn’t, I’m fine with that.

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Camping in the backyard

We decided to pitch the tent and all sleep in the backyard last night. The weather was cool, but the ground was hard. It was still fun though. There were many a time when I thought, “what the hell are we doing.” But then I remembered, time goes by so quickly that I knew I’d regret it if we never did it.

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16 miles at 7:16

I ran 16 miles this morning. I prefer to go on my long runs on Saturday so as to have Sunday to recover. This past Saturday it rained all day. In hindsight, I probably should’ve ran on Saturday because the rain would’ve been cool and refreshing. However, wet feet & socks leads to blisters.

I get pretty pumped about going on long runs. I don’t usually dread them. If there’s an ounce of dread, it’ll show around mile 10. Today there wasn’t dread so much as there was some nervous anticipation. I slept terribly last night, last night’s meal was a bit spicier than it should’ve been, and I knew the second half of the run was mostly uphill. Sleep is a big factor. I need a lot of sleep the night before a long run. I think I only slept for a good four hours last night. I stayed up too late farting around with creating my playslist for today. I think I went to bed around 11:30. Then I read for 30 minutes. And then, for whatever reason, I woke up at 1:30 and had a hard time falling back to sleep.

My alarm turned on at 5:45 and I decided to seize the run, despite the normal eight hours of sleep I should’ve given myself. The first 10 miles were okay. The last 6 felt okay, but I didn’t keep the pace that I wanted to keep. I think that’s due to a lot of things: 1) it’s getting hotter outside (it was probably 60-degrees by 8 a.m., which is about the time I hit mile 10. I prefer 40-degree running weather. 2) Obvious lack of sleep. 3) Elevation gain 4) carrying a bottle of water (which I never do) and 5) terrain. I ran a route that consisted of major streets in south Austin with a lot of busy intersections. Luckily it was early on a Sunday, so traffic wasn’t bad, but I did have to stop running a few times and wait on traffic lights and cars.

Nutrition: Today was my first experiment in eating while running. I know I’m fine running between 10-15 miles without eating or drinking. I decided that my first 16-miler would be when I try eating. And by eating, I don’t mean a chicken leg and mashed potatoes. I mean the infamous “goo” that athletes snarf down while mid-run/ride. I’ve always liked CLIF Bars, so I decided to try a CLIF Shot. One of these goo/gel packs is usually a pack of gooey dextrose that provides quick sugars and carbs that your body can use for fuel to burn. After about an hour of intensive activity, your body pretty much depletes its glycogen. The gel packs are relatively quick to digest and bump up blood sugar levels. I’ve always had a hard time fathoming swallowing anything beyond water while running, but knew I had to practice. I took the Mocha CLIF Shot that Elise got in her goody bag from the 3M Half Marathon back in January. And I slurped it down at around mile 8. I actually took it in three servings on a downhill so I could actually close my mouth and swallow when I wasn’t panting like mad. It wasn’t bad and it didn’t jack with my digestive system. I’ve read horror stories about how some gels and goos affect people differently. Thankfully I can eat pretty much anything, so I didn’t experience any kind of gut issues. The package says you’re supposed to drink a mouthful of water after taking the shot, hence me running with a bottle of water. I didn’t much like toting around a pound of water in my hand while running. Extra weight on one arm for any given amount of time makes a difference. So, now I know I can eat & run. I think I’m going to have to carry a much smaller little bottle of water next time. I don’t think I can have one of those drink holsters on my SPI Belt. I can’t imagine that not bouncing all over the place, banging against my ass and bothering the hell out of me.

So, I ran 16 miles today and ate while doing so. I wanted to keep my pace below 7:15, but also knew that given the lack of sleep and terrain, I really just signed up to get used to the 2 hours on my feet. Once it’s cold again, and after a lot more long runs, I’m confident that I can pace myself where I need to be.

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http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/913653761

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The decision to run 26.2 miles

The modern day marathon is homage to Pheidippides, who ran from Marathon to Athens, a distance of approximately 25 miles, to relay the news of the Greek victory over the Persians in 490 B.C. Upon covering such a great distance on foot and making his announcement, Pheidippides collapsed and died from exhaustion.

A marathon is 26.2 miles because “at the 1908 Olympic Games in London, the marathon distance was changed to 26.2 miles to cover the ground from Windsor Castle to White City Stadium, with the 2.2 miles added on so the race could finish in front of royal family’s viewing box.”

When I started running 1.5 years ago, the thought of running a marathon at some point in my life never crossed my mind. This past Tuesday I decided that I would begin my training for a marathon. This decision came on the heels of running my first half marathon race the previous Sunday. A half marathon (13.1 miles. You’ve seen the stickers on cars) is a good distance. A half marathon is hard. Thirteen miles is a long way to run and it’s very taxing on the body and the mind. A full marathon is just insane. I won (or lost) a little bet with myself recently. I told myself if running the 3M Half Marathon didn’t kill me or make me loathe competitive running, I’d consider running a marathon.

I had a blast running the 3M, so I’ve decided that I’m going to train for the Houston Marathon in January of 2016. I’ve presently decided on Houston because 1) it’s my hometown and 2) it’s a flat course.

There are countless groups, clubs and trainers out there, but I’ve decided to train myself. To me, running is an individual thing that harnesses grit, willpower, physical strength, mental fortitude and humility. I have almost a year to train. My plan is to increase my weekend long run by a mile each week.

I started training today with a 10-miler. My goal is to run a marathon in less than 3 hours and 15 minutes.

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First run with Blue

Since we got Blue 10 days ago, the weather has been, well, crappy. It’s been cold and wet. We’re having our 6-week of Austin weather and it’s just gross outside. Because of that, there’s not much motivation to be outside. Today it warmed up a little bit, but there was still some “good” humidity, which means there was enough of a a crispness in the air to make for good running weather.

And in these past 10 days, Blue hasn’t been able to “work.” She needs to run. She needs to herd. She needs a job. Maly and I took her out for a 2.5 mile run this morning at Maly’s pace. After I was finally able to take the Christmas lights off the house and put them back in the attic, and after the girls went to church, I decided to take Blue on our first run together. I’d tried last weekend and failed. We made it past two driveways and Blue saw or heard something that caused her to stop. I kept going and took her leash and collar with me. I figured teaching her how to run was going to be an involved process. Given the luck that Maly and I had this morning, I figured I’d try her out with some mileage and at a faster pace.

That dog can run. And she stayed right at my heels and didn’t trip me up once. We put in some sub-7 miles. Maybe I’ve got myself a free pacing coach.

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Sub-6-minute mile

I usually run anywhere between four and 13 miles. I know how to pace myself for longer distances. Shorter distances, not so much. A few months ago I took the girls to the track to see if I could run a sub-6-minute mile. I hadn’t really considered any kind of strategy when I decided to attempt this on a whim. I just thought I’d run 4 times around the track as fast as I could. That turned into pretty much an all-out sprint that made me have to stop about half a mile in. At that point I resolved to one day run a sub-6 mile.

Yesterday I decided that today would be the day that I’d try for the sub-6 again. My pacing strategy was pretty simple. I’d need to run each lap (400 meters) in 1:30. While I’d wear my Garmin Forerunner 610, I wanted to know how I was pacing without having to look at my watch and potentially break stride, so decided that I’d need to run each 100 meter section in 22 seconds. I figured I could count out small increments like that as I ran. That strategy lasted about 250 meters and then I started relying on the watch at 400 meter increments. The third lap liked to have killed me. I gunned it on the fourth lap.

A mile in 5:44. Checked that one off the list.

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50 miles

That’s a lot of miles on my feet in a week, the most I’ve ever put in.

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And I don’t know what it is… when Wednesday comes around, all I can do is think about how awesome it’ll be when the weekend gets here and I can just sleep and sleep and sleep. I wake up even earlier on the weekends and chase pavement. I love it. There’s no one around. It’s just me, my playlist, my thoughts and the scenery.

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2nd Annual Circle C Turkey Trot

Mom, Elise, Maly, Mara and I woke up early this morning and ran in the 2nd Annual Circle C Turkey Trot. Maly ran the 5K. Mom, Elise & Mara walked the 5K and yours truly ran the 10K.

What’s funny is the 1st Circle C Turkey Trot was some neighbors who went on a run Thanksgiving morning in the neighborhood to avoid the chaotic and huge Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot in downtown Austin. I think the first neighborhood trot (I wasn’t a part of this, but I ran into it while I was going on my own run) had 15 people. This year I’d venture to guess we had over 300 people participate.

It was a great way to burn off a bunch of calories before coming home and indulging in a bit of gluttony. ;-)

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45 miles

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That’s a lot of miles on my feet this week. That’s the most that I’ve ran in any given week since I started running a year and a half ago. And the two long runs are the fastest long runs I’ve ever gone on. My first 10-miler 10 months ago was at an 8:45 minute mile pace. I ran a 13.3-miler at a 7:35 pace this past Sunday and I felt like I could’ve just kept going.

I’m training for the 3M Half Marathon in January and would like to see if I can put in 50 miles weeks for the next 8 weeks. I’m going to see if I like running a half enough to determine if I’m crazy enough to run a full marathon. A full 26 miles. 26 miles. In a row. If so, I’m leaning toward Mount Desert Island in Maine or Big Sur.

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Maly’s first cross country 1-mile race

IMG_5353-Maly-XC-1-mileMy mom got onto me because I rarely update Janicek.com anymore. Guilty as charged. Life happens, Facebook is easier and people just don’t blog like they used to. But I still want to try to memorialize things here.

So that said, today we took Maly to Austin High where she ran in the AAPER 1-Mile Cross Country Run. Last week she ran the 3rd annual Kiker Fun Run (2.5 miles). A few weeks ago she and Elise ran in the Austin County Fair 5K Stampede. I asked Maly tonight if she’s a runner now. She said, “I guess so.” I’m proud of her for wanting to run in these events. I’ve yet to have to nudge her to participate. I’m hoping maybe she’s found her “thing” in running. Maybe it’ll be a short-lived thing, maybe it’ll be a lifetime thing. I hope it’s the latter. I found running again after a 20+ year hiatus and wish I’d never have taken that hiatus.

Maly came in 8th in her age division today. We’d done some 2 to 2.5 mile training over the past couple months. I thought a mile would be a breeze for her. I’d forgotten that a mile is a pretty fast race. The other girls were booking it. Maly’s pace is usually 10 – 11 minutes per mile. Given that this was a fast race with some competitive girls, she wound up running at a 9 minute mile.

After the race she said she was exhausted. She put some heart into it. It was fun watching her amongst her peers and seeing that glimpse of fire in her eyes.

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Minimizing and simplicity

I’ve always been conscious of my own distractions, clutter, and often unnecessary mental inventory. Most of these things I’ve inherently kept to a minimum. But I recently wanted to consciously minimize even more. I love simplicity. I love the freedom of the mental inventory to invest thought in whatever I want, not what I have to invest it in. Simplicity and minimalism means freedom.

I had too much stuff on my phone. I deleted 100+ apps. There’s still some fat that can be trimmed. A lot of them were tucked away in folders with the thought that I’d one day use them. I never used them. I use a few apps, and I use [most of] them to simplify things. And to communicate. Because it’s a phone.

This is what my iPhone used to look like:
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This is what my iPhone looks like now:
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I always keep my email inbox “above the fold.” I strive for “zero inbox.”

This is what my inbox looks like now:
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I use my favorite desktop and mobile app called Things as my running to-do list. I like to check things off of my lists. It affords me daily accomplishments.

This is what my Things looks like now:
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My wallet used to be filled with credit cards, membership cards, expired coupons, receipts, and just stuff. Clutter. I minimized. Now I just carry my driver license, the 2 credit cards I use and my insurance card in a hand-stitched front pocket ID wallet.

This is what my wallet used to look like:
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This is what my wallet looks like now:
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First day of Third Grade

First day of school today:
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First day of 2nd Grade last year
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First day of 1st Grade 2 years ago:
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First day of Kindergarten 3 years ago:
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First day of school 4 years ago:
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First day of school 5 years ago:
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First day of school 6 years ago:
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