Friday, January 23, 2009

Spring Planning

Okay, on to a different topic. I have really backed off from running the past couple of months. At least the lower back pain is gone. I was in Florida a couple of weeks ago, and had a nice ten-mile run one day, and a horrible 3.5 mile run the next. What I am trying to do now is develop a sound training plan. I need to start getting the mileage back up, but also incorporate speed work. I also have to concentrate on core strength, the likely culprit causing the two+ months of back pain. Having a plan will make it much easier to be motivated to get up early in the mornings again. It will also help me to get back to a better weight for running. To those who say I was too thin over the summer, I'll say I have gained ten pounds since August. That isn't a good thing, as the weight is merely in the form of padding… Once I get back into a regimen, I'm sure things will change. Since each pound of "extra" weight can equal a minute added to a marathon, and given I'm considering a training plan to get down to 3:20, there is easy time to be shed.
As I mentioned before, I'd like to run the Country Music Marathon at the end of April. I think running the Illinois Marathon in early April is too aggressive, and likely will instead run the Sam Costa Half Marathon at the end of March. I'll be more prepared to decide once I'm back on track. For over a year, any time I went running, it was always for at least 40-45 minutes. Any less and it wasn't worth getting sweaty. Now I have to be cautious about ramping up the time and distance, as every injury seems to come down to adding too much, too fast. I'm going to start with my training plan from Dec 2007, and build from there. At least I'm not starting at zero.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Somebody Has To Pay

Now that the coronation is over, perhaps we can focus on what is happening around us. The government has become too big a force in our lives. Look around. The bailout of the financial industry has in effect nationalized the banking industry. Companies are lining up for "free" money. People are depending on government to "fix" things. What??? Try to find one example where government has fixed anything. How about where government has used public funds efficiently? Ronald Reagan used to say, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" The financial industy's mess occurred because of government meddling. There are plenty of articles about it, but why do people think giving more control to the people who put us on our current path will somehow make it better? Is Medicare a good example of good, efficient use of taxpayer dollars? How about Social Security (the grandest Ponzi scheme in history)?

I have voted in the last six presidential elections, and in three my choice did not prevail. Two of those had horrible candidates at best, while the other four were marginal. I'll support whoever wins the election, including Obama, but not policies with which I may disagree. It seems the population centers of the country want more big government, but who pays for it? Government gives away money or spends it only by taking it forcibly from someone else. Someone has to pay. Just as bad, the treasury has borrowed all it can, and now just prints money, which just makes what little I have worth that much less.

The people who seem to gripe the most are those who don't even pay federal taxes. Their idea of paying taxes is of the federal withholding from each paycheck. They then file their 1040 to get it all back, though in their mind they think they paid taxes. In reality, they should change their exemptions to reduce the interest-free loan they are making to the federal government. And many get more back then they paid. I'm sorry, but if you "pay" $500 in federal taxes, and get a $5,000 tax return check after filing (yes, Earned Income Credit), you have no business complaining about how much you "pay" in federal taxes.

I have seen comments from people about how terrible the last eight years have been ("I have awoken fron an eight-year nightmare."). Okay, my worldview is different from everyone else. But a nightmare? I'd really like to hear a few examples of a nightmare, and then understand how one can directly attribute the cause to George Bush. Perhaps a military family can make a connection, but I just don't get it. I think there is a more direct connection to the Congress, to which I say, "Throw the bums out!" But the level of contempt for George Bush is ridiculous. He didn't veto anything until 2006. There were many pieces of legislation that I think should have been sent back, and most were spending related. Bush gave the big-government crowd who have now elected Obama just what they wanted - more big government. The media complained about the cost of the 2005 inauguration, yet yesterday's made the 2005 event look like a child's birthday party. Both are outrageous wastes of taxpayer money. The media double standard is sickening. What's wrong is wrong, regardless of whom or what party is responsible.
Where is The Constitution in this? Doesn't anyone care about it? I think there are too many people who haven't even read it, or understand it. The Federal government exceeds it's Constitutional authority on many things, because we allow it. I'm finished ranting.

So what now? People want more government. Somebody's got to pay.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What to do when your best isn't good enough

What do you when you try your best, whether it be in a race or some other athletic activity, or even in life in general, and it just isn't good enough? Sometimes you may find you thought you were giving 100%, when in reality it may have only been 95%. Other times you may have truly given 100%. During the activity, can you really tell the difference, or does it depend on the situation?

According to my VO2 max testing (two different testing protocols), I have a potential to run a sub-three hour marathon (one test actually had me closer to a 2:20). Interesting. How cool would that be? I guess I could get there if I didn't require any income and could simply train full-time. Not to mention the will to get there. I think I'll be satisfied if I can get to 3:20. Of course that is likely based on statistical projections, but I can't help but wonder what might have been, had I understood it and not only had the drive to get there, but a coach and an understanding of how to train for it.

Upon reflection, if you think you had more to give, you can use the information to dig deeper the next time. But what if you had been giving 100%, but the results are unsatisfactory? You can change the way you train, change behaviors, and work smarter/harder to improve. But what do you do if that still doesn't cut it? Keep working to find a way around/over the wall? Accept it? Choose a different wall? Of course it depends on priorities, time, and will, but what if your best still doesn't cut it?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What's Next?

So, what next? I'm considering the Illinois Marathon and the Country Music Marathon, and may do both, though the three-week recovery time in between races may not be long enough for me. We'll see. I'd really like to do another fundraiser for a destination-based event, though I'm not sure what organizations are out there that do this (besides Team in Training). I enjoyed the experience and it was for a good cause. For now, I'm just trying to get back in the saddle after a couple of low activity months. A few days after the Monumental Marathon I experienced back pain that hasn't yet disappeared, and piriformis issues that caused numbness in my leg. I'm looking forward to getting back on the wagon, as I know I can shave some time off my run. I think if I can get back to where I was at the last marathon, I can reasonably run a 3:34. If I put some quality time into training, and get some serious speedwork, I can get to a 3:20, though it will take a serious breakthrough to get there.