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January, 2010:

2010 MS150 Training Ride #4

Here is my second video of the 4th MS150 training ride.

I’m really tired right now. Will come back and edit this back with more info tomorrow or later.

Donate to Eric’s MS150 fund.

2010 MS150 Training Ride #3

Well it’s my first official training for the MS150 for 2010! Unfortunately I was not able to go out with the riding group and get it done. I had a very busy day full of things that couldn’t wait, so I got up extra early and biked at home on the trainer.

I was very excited! Bwhahaha! Hopefully my “video” presence will improve!
Remember I need your donations to help me to raise money to help find a cure for MS. Please go to my donate page and give what you can! Thank you so much!

Donate to Eric’s MS150 fund.

Death is everywhere…

1.) In the morning went to my folks to get ready to take them to the airport for their trip. Helped them out by taking their cat to the vet for boarding. Was taking “Sammy” out of the car into the vet when I noticed the vet technicians bolting out of the vet building carrying a stretcher. They rushed out over to a SUV an popped open the back where a man in a runner outfit was covered in blood. They pulled out a dog covered in blood and not moving. They loaded it on the stretcher and sprinted inside. It immediately shook me. I started crying immediately and told the runner guy covered in blood, “I’m so sorry!”. It was overwhelming. I just stood there in the parking lot for several minutes just crying and feeling the shock and pain of the poor animal. Once I made it inside it was clear that everyone that works at the vet were shocked. Turns out the animal and owners were customers of the vet and had been for many years. Even more sad.

2.) As I was leaving the vet, I was exiting the parking lot out onto the main street/throughfare and I noticed that there was a major, MAJOR accident just up the street in the opposite direction I was going. THREE ambulances and a fire truck at the stop light just up the road. I have no idea what was going on, but the entire lane of the traffic was stopped.

3.) When I got home and relayed the events to my parents, my mother mentioned to me that my sister, two days prior, had lost one of her three dogs from getting hit by a car. Something to the effect of, she had let him outside and he got in the street and got hit by a car.

4.) I was at my place and was conveying the above three events to a close friend when she commented about a book I was reading that was open on the coffee table infront of us as I was talking. I was like, “What about the book?” And she said, look what the page is talking about:

Chart about Death

5.) Me and my friend, later on when to the Asian Market Restaurant and had dinner. When we got out of the store and walked to the car, parked next to me was a hearse vehicle!

I’m not going to try and pretend to understand what this all means. I’m just going to say, I noticed. It is what it is. That being said…my new friend has me feeling more “alive” than I have been in the last 4 years. She’s rocking my universe!

Post marathon…what’s next?

Now I’ve done three marathons. Two completed, one DNF. (Did not finish) With this last year I  was an assistant coach for the Yellow running group for Houston FIT. I’ve had some good experiences with this adventure. The adventure of running a marathon. I’ve come to realize that it is NOT just about the day in which you run the marathon. It is that cliché that they use…it’s about the journey. It is about getting up early on saturday mornings. It’s about making sure you go to bed early on friday night. it’s about being aware of what you eat. it’s about begin dedicated to sticking to the training program, whether you run solo, with a partner or with a group. It is about sacrifice of your free time. But it is also about getting to know your body, through the pain and the growth. I initially started running to meet people and get in better shape. Well I can say now that I’ve done both. I’m in some of the best shape of my life and I have made lots of friends and good acquaintances. I’ve also enjoyed the responsibility of being someone that new people can come and ask questions.
But, I’m not compelled. I’m not compelled to run a marathon in every state. Not compelled to run the legendary Boston or NYC marathons. Or run one on each continent. I improved SIGNIFICANTLY this year over last which is amazing. I do believe I have more room for even more improvement, maybe not as much, but more than just a 5 minute improvement. So for next year, I’m aiming for a sub 4 hr marathon. At this time, I’m not sure I’ll continue to run marathons after that. Because, I’m questioning do I want marathoning to be part of my identity? Is it what I want to spend my free time doing? Planning my vacations around? I can answer both of those with a solid “no”. I know I won’t stop running or doing things to keep healthy, far from it. I just don’t believe that “marathoner” is MY identity. The reason I want to do “just one more” is because I believe that I am almost at the cusp of a maximum level of physical fitness. I want to go there. I believe that many people reach that cusp and then are forever trying to improve and spend a lot of time chasing that improvement. I KNOW I have the room for another large leap of improvement. I want to do that and then move on to the “next” thing. Whatever that may be I don’t know exactly. It won’t be something more harder physically, like a triathlon or ultra run – no cause thats just more of the same training. I’m looking to find something that is more my identity that I can pour my time into. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see where that leads!

Houston 2010 Cheveron Marathon Experience

Yesterday I participated in the Houston 2010 Cheveron Marathon. My third time for Houston. I did pretty well and improved my time significantly over last years time.

2009 – 5hrs 17min
2010 – 4hrs 23min

Not bad eh? That’s a P.R.* in my book! This year’s marathon differed from the two prior in several ways. One of the main differences was my ability to have brought more “awareness” of myself, the run and my surroundings more than I have in the past.

It is without a doubt that my awareness has been heightened lately, partly because of a refocusing on it as witnessed with the latest blog posts here, as well as the recent interactions I’ve been having with my parents and a very nice new young lady I have recently meet. These exposures have been leading to more insight, which I am working out here on the blog.

So what did I noticed this year on the run?

  1. The start song to the second wave was Iron Maiden’s Run To The Hills. Totally rockin’ song, but totally not the best song to start with, except for the lyric refrain of  “Run toooo the Hilllllllllllllllllllllllllllls! Run foooor your LIIIIIIFE!” The song is actually about Native American’s attacking the white settlers. Maybe they were referring to a revival of the KARANKAWA INDIANS to the area?
  2. I was MUCH closer to the start line than I have been in years past. I had expected to take up to 20 mins from gun start to actually crossing the start line! Not so this year, it only took 2 mins.
  3. I was witness to 1 person falling and saw one person already downed. Plus I heard several ambulances AND ran by a patrol officer calling in another! Wow. It was a lot of accidents for perfect running conditions.
  4. Starting closer up to the front had me placed in with lots more people around me while running. This was good and bad. Bad: all the people irritated me. Not at first, but it did get irritating after a while. Especially since I could get my actual run pace at the beginning of the race. I was REALLY looking forward to the Half Marathoner’s turnaround point so the crowd would THIN out. Not so much, because I was running much faster than years prior AND I had started much closer to the start line, I was in the PACK of people. I think the prior years I was so much slower I was simply among the last of the runners! In short, it wasn’t til much further in the race, past the 13 mile mark, did it “thin” out from the people. The Good: Having that many people in the beginning, actually kept me from starting TOO fast in the race. This ends up assisting me to have  the negative split for the race. First half run slower than the later half. I enjoy thinking of myself as the “negative splits man”
  5. I really need to remember, use bathroom before starting the marathon. I don’t think I need to say anything else about this.
  6. It was really great seeing many of the coaches & assistant coaches and friends from HoustonFIT Yellow group out along the course. Running with them or having them cheer me on, friends help out alot! This of course goes without saying how wonderful and supportive it is having my support team of my Mom and Dad out on the course meeting me at the designated meet up spots. They rocked it for me.
  7. 5 G.U.’s and a little bit of some sticky nut trail mix, doesn’t make for a good fuel on the course. BUT I did participate in the weigh in prior to the race and then weighed after the race. Only lost 2 lbs!  I must have been doing SOMETHING right!
  8. I ran this race quite solo. My “training” partner of two years, didn’t run this year and I never really buddied up with anyone from the training group. It was quite lonesome there at the starting line. But it was good. I was focused on “what am I doing” mentally. Still stark comparison from years prior. I wasn’t even with the Yellow group. I think they were behind me at the start line. I dunno, just that I started the race “alone” this year. Not a bad thing, but I definitely noticed it. I think that this was a major reason I was able to notice all these things this year. Not too many distractions.
  9. Speaking of distractions, I was totally expecting to be preoccupied in my thinking about a person, but ended up not as much.  Partly to the forcing of my surroundings, but also because of an article I had read the night before about Managing Stress Through Mindfulness by Catherine R. Barber, PhD. In the article it talked about being in the present moment with the activity at hand. Maybe it’s because I was running, but it was actually kinda hard to be lost in my thoughts outside of the marathon! 4 1/2 hrs of mindfulness!
  10. I noticed when I really “dropped the hammer” on the running around mile 18. My vision focused and I became much more singleminded about my running form. I began to take more much narrowed attention to my actual running. People around me had less focus, although it was during these last 8 miles I saw the most people I know!

All in all, juicy stuff. Certainly a memorable Marathon. I am certainly thinking about running it again. But after that, I’m not so sure. I feel like I have a sub 4 hr marathon in me. With a running program that carries me through out ALL year long, I’m sure that next year this will be possible, bar any accidents or injuries. The question is, after that, what next? I don’t think the next level of physical challenge is what I will really be looking for. Not sure where this will lead me.

* P.R. = Personal Record