Back in the early 90’s when I was training and running marathons, I discovered the writings of Dr. George Sheehan. Sheehan was a cardiologist, runner, author, and a philosopher. His books were more than just books about running. When he wrote, he painted a picture describing the meaning of life, and he used running as his paintbrush. Through his books and articles, he introduced me to the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. This eventually lead to my visit to Concord Massachusetts and Walden Pond many years later.
Sheehan wrote nine books. He also was a writer for Runners World magazine. When I read non-fiction books (which is pretty much all I read), I always underline anything that I feel is important. While reading his books, I would end up underlining almost every sentence. He provided so many golden nuggets of wisdom. A constant theme in his books and articles was the importance of individuals finding their play. Whatever that may be.
In 1992, George Sheehan was the keynote speaker the night before the Marine Corps Marathon. This was a year before he past away from prostate cancer. I’m glad I had a chance to see my role model.
By 1994, I had run five marathons and tons of smaller races. I stopped running the next year, and didn’t start back until 2011. I walked two marathons a few years earlier, but in 2012, I ran the Hatfield McCoy Marathon. This was my first marathon since 1994. Eighteen years later! During those eighteen years, I would occasionally read Dr Sheehan’s books. Months before the Hatfield McCoy Marathon, I re-read one of his books. It was like he was speaking to me. I think he was…
I found this TED TALK video by his son Tim Sheehan. The title is “Get Into Your Play-Wisdom From George Sheehan”—It’s all play…
This post has absolutely nothing to do with our Health or Fitness, but it just may help confirm that I’m insane.
It all started innocently enough. It was our Friday trip to Walmart to do a little shopping. I was doing the typical guy thing of walking around and passing gas! This drives Adamy crazy.
After spending several minutes annoying Adamy, I headed to the bathroom. (Wherever we are, I always feel like I have to go to the bathroom.) While standing at the urinal doing my thing, I felt the urge to let a little gas seep out. Well, somewhere between standing with Adamy and going to the bathroom, I developed the runs. I might also add that I was wearing boxers under my shorts. So the moment I passed gas, I felt a warm, wet feeling around my ankle area. Immediately, I got in the bathroom stall while trying to figure out what action I should take.
Yes, I had pooped in my pants and down my leg!
I began to clean up the best I could while silently freaking out. I washed the best I could at the bathroom sink, and then I hit the hot air thingy and raised my leg so that I could dry my shorts! While I’m doing this, somebody walked in. Here I am raising my leg looking like an idiot! Even for a Walmart, this was extreme.
Once I finished cleaning up, I headed toward Adamy so we could continue shopping. My intent was to not say a thing. Well, as soon as I walked up to her, she said with a loud voice, “what the hell is that smell?” I then knew I would have to explain to her what I had done, and I would have to hear Adamy say “I warned you,” the rest of my life! After I tried to explain that it was an accident, she sent me outside to air out!
As I lowered my head and walked away, I could hear her mumbling something in Spanish. I think she may have been saying “there goes my sexy man”. Then again, I was walking and pulling my boxers out of my butt, so I may be wrong.
And yes I know, this is TMI. But as Adamy would say, “that’s just Don being Don”…
Listening to the ocean as I write allows me to be grateful for everything I have and everything I can do. Although I can tell my body is aging, I’m in great spirits. The same can’t be said of many people my age.
Growing up, I wasn’t the most active kid. I did bike ride often once I learned to do so, and I jogged once in a while with my dad whenever we found ourselves at the track. I played basketball (in 7th grade) and volleyball (8th grade and all thru high school and college). Until high school, I was always the slow chubby kid on field day events.
For the past 3 or so years I’ve become a more active jogger. When I finished high school 30 years ago, if you would have told that I would complete a marathon, I would have laughed in your face. ME, a Marathoner?? You’ve got to be kidding, right? Fast forward to 2014, as of the end of the year I’ve completed 9 marathons (26.2 miles), 4 ultra-marathons (anything over 26.2 miles), 11 half-marathons (13.1 miles), a 10K and a 5k. Of the four ultra-marathons, 2 had 24-hr duration with the longest distance completed of 43.64 miles.
“Stop bragging!,” you may say, but I’m not. I’m just sharing how someone that is average at best can do anything with motivation and determination. My husband and I changed what we eat and how we exercise. We made an insane lifestyle change in order to have better health and longevity. And if we can do this, anyone else can too.
We are not saying it’s easy, we are saying it’s doable!
It’s 7:00 am and I’m sitting on the sofa sipping coffee at my parents condo at Topsail Beach, NC. This is our usual trip at the end of every year. It is also the time when we review our accomplishments and set our goals for the upcoming year. Two of the main goals for 2015 are to better document our lifestyle change journey and to complete 2,015 miles running and walking (plus biking or elliptical training where 10 minutes = 1 mile) by the end of the year.
Soon, Adamy and I will be going out to mail our applications and checks for the Hinson Lake 24hr ultra. This race usually fills up in 2 or 3 days. We completed this event back in September and fell in love with everything about it. Even the immense pain of completing 54 miles somehow felt good. If we get in, my goal will be 70 miles.
Why? Why do this to my 56 year old body? Why can’t I just run marathons and half marathons and leave these crazy races to runners that don’t crawl at a turtles pace? I’m really not sure. I know it probably has something to do with the fact that I’ve never been much of an athlete. Growing up, I was usually the kid that was picked last when sides were chosen for a game. I was that kid that was the weakest and usually the slowest. I never had the experience of playing ball in high school. I just don’t know what it was like.
As I’ve aged, I’ve been more passionate about my health and fitness level. These extreme races bring play to what I’m doing. Yes, I’m still very slow. When I ran my first ultra in October 2013, there were only 11 runners and I came in last. When I finished, the only people left were the race director, two people helping clean up, and Adamy cheering me on!! All the other runners were finished and gone. Yet, I felt like I had just scored a winning touchdown! (actually, I felt like I had just been beaten with a stick)
Yes, I still look at faster runners and wish that I could maybe do what they do. But in the end, I do the best I can. I learn so much about myself when I push my body to its limit. I find joy when I get to spend long hours on the weekends training with Adamy. I enjoy the people that I’ve met in the running community.
I really think I’ve finally found my play. I guess this is why I do what I do…
First I should explain the title! After taking the writing course The Moo of Writing by local author Nan Lundeen (www.nanlundeen.com), the class continued as a writing group that meets twice a month. Recently we created a cyber community, mooing around.com where we can share our works. This post first appeared there…
I often wonder what other runners think about while they run. Ruminating while running is a common occurrence for me. Lots of times, as I get into the cadence of running, my mind also gets into the rhythm of providing creative ideas.
I run with my husband, Don, and because we both keep a slightly different pace, the longer the run, the more time I spend training alone. Most runners these days use IPods to keep their mind occupied. My playlist usually helps, in my case, it helps keep my mind from concentrating on something other than the pain I feel or how tired I am by the distance.
On race day, because of our pace differences, even though I run surrounded by others, I’m always in my own world. It is inspiring when someone passes by and tells me “good job” or “keep it up, you’re doing great,” especially when I’m trailing behind the average runner. And although inspiring, most runner’s pet peeve is the dreaded “you are almost there!” or “you are half way there!” especially when one is struggling to put one foot in front of the other.
This is when inspiration sets in for me! Sometimes, I wish I could stop to write what floods through my mind, however I have to keep in mind the task at hand. My priority is to complete the training or, most important, finish the race. Once past the finish line, I can worry about putting pen to paper and jot down the ideas that visited along the way.
Back in February during a 15-mile training run, while listening to my IPod, a song came up that stirred memories from the past. Lucky for me, I was able to remember the poem that came to me during the run. “The Best of Times” is the product of that run.
To complete the journey for this poem, later on, I was able to find a picture taken during a visit to my hometown. I believe that my memory of our walking that trail says it all! And it is also another example of “The Best of Times” shared not only with family, but especially with friends!
It’s been more than a year since we started this site and the journey has been difficult but fun. Since June 2011, we have been eating a plant based diet, participated in a 50 day juice fast, became marathon runners, and started the Power90 exercise program.
So far my experience has been one of much fun and learning. There are still everyday challenges on the road. There are mornings when we battle to get out of bed, however once we do and turn on our P90 video, we move thru the motions and wake up.
My marathon journey began in 2008 when we walked the Kiawa Island, SC Marathon. On Valentine’s Day 2009, my husband and I celebrated the occasion walking the Myrtle Beach Marathon. In June 2012, I officially completed my first marathon as a runner, the Hatfield and McCoy in KY/WV. In September I ran my second marathon, Air Force in Dayton, OH.
As of today, we are preparing for the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of this month, and my challenge has been getting the first 20 miles accomplished in less than 5 hours. And in November we are schedule to run Space Coast.
And the journey is just beginning!
It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.