Need motivation? Sign up for a race.

by SCL on January 31, 2017

As part of my renewed interest in getting healthy, I have started to read Runners World again.  Since I’ve mostly not been running the last 4 years, I’ve also mostly not been reading Runners World.  As I was perusing the new March 2017 issue, one of the columns really spoke to me.  It is called The Race to Run by Jonathan Beverly, as part of the These Running Times column.  It doesn’t seem RW publishes current articles on their website so I can’t link to it directly, but if you subscribe to the magazine, look it up.

It is mostly a statement on using a race as motivation to train, and without a race on the calendar the frequency and intensity of training can drop off.  The analogy he uses is of a college course and a final, with the race being the final, and the training for the race all of the coursework that goes into preparing for the final.  Once you know the final (or race) is on the calendar, then it becomes more motivating to put in the work.

In terms of where I am today, I also connect this to the bike rides I am doing in my gym.  In my current mostly pathetic state of training, I find myself doing periodic rides on the stationary bike at the gym, which I really hate.  I enjoying riding outside and running outside, and can do both for long stretches enjoying the scenery and watching life pass by.  But doing the same things in the gym, to me at least, are extremely tedious and mind numbing.  My gym has two Expresso stationary bikes, which have a video screen and different courses to pick from that you virtually ride, so that at least it feels like you are riding somewhere, and making it less mind numbing.  I still don’t really like to do this, but I try to make it a point to start each of my workouts with an Expresso ride.

For 2017, Expresso has been publicizing a ‘ride of the week’, where they select a particular course each week to ride and the rider gets entered into a challenge to see how they did among all the other riders of the same course.  While not a ‘race’ in the strict sense of the word, it is a competition, which for me is close enough, and now I find myself motivated to get to the gym and get my rides in.  The course changes on a weekly basis, which keeps it fresh and different, but over the course of the week I can do 2 or 3 rides on the course working to improve my time and work my way up the leaderboard.  Who knows how long I’ll keep this up, but since it keeps me motivated, it keeps me happy.

I also wrote a bit myself on the topic of races back in January 2011, where I said:

My marathons were both disappointing.  I technically have excuses for both of them (hot weather), but the results were not what I wanted.  It is all about setting the correct expectations though, and I really think that mentally I’m OK with not setting a goal of 4:30 in the marathon going forward.  As it was stated in the Phineas and Ferb episode my kid was watching this morning, “the joy is in the journey.”  That really struck a chord with me.  It is not so much the results in the race that matter to me.  Sure, a PR or excellent race is welcome, and will make me feel good, but the true joy for me is in the process of preparing for the race.  It is the training to get my body to perform the effort needed.  It is the planning of the trip to an out of town race.  It is the anticipation leading up to the race.  It is being a part of the race, toeing the start line.  These are the things that make me happy, and not so much that I finished in 4:29 vs 4:49, etc.  I’ll cover my plans for 2011 in a separate post, but you’ll see from some of my plans, that it is more about participating and less about the time I finish with.

I hope to be healthy enough later in the year to be racing again, and I am looking forward to signing up for more races, so that it ensures I am motivated to put in the training, which is really what is needed to be healthy!



by SCL on January 28, 2017

2017 marks a major crossroads/change for me and my life.  In short, I have left my corporate day job, staking out a new direction in my career, transitioning from a nine-to-fiver to self-employed.  While there are many benefits to having a full time job, with good pay and with good benefits, I’ve just simply grown tired of going into the corporate office every day, and going forward, I’d rather be in control of my own schedule and destiny, and stake out the area of technology I’m interested in and the customer I truly want to work with.

In theory it will mean reinvigorating this blog again because social media is a big part of the technology field I want to focus on, and this platform is perfect for me to use to write about fitness and plug further into this circle that is so important to me.  But I say ‘in theory’, because the fact of the matter is that I have hardly done any running in the last 4 years – a total of 922.6 miles in that time, which works out to a paltry 4.4 miles per week.  In the prior 4 years, I logged more than 3 times the miles, 3093.4 miles to be exact.

Mainly the reason is that I have been almost constantly injured, which have included foot, ankle, knee, back, shoulder and other injuries.  I simply have not been taking good care of myself.  Therefore one of my top goals for 2017 is to get healthy again.  The jury is out regarding whether I’ll ever be able to run consistently again because the knee problem that I have is a torn meniscus.  I’ve had the injury for about 18 months, and in that time I’ve been able to run for a few months at a time, then aggravate the knee, forcing a few months off for it to improve.  Unlike many other things in the body, the meniscus doesn’t heal on it’s own, and while arthroscopic surgery is an option to clean things up, and very common and non-invasive, surgery is often not effective.  The most effective solution, I believe, is a combination of trimming my weight back a bit, strengthening my legs to the point where my knee is well-supported by everything around it, and strengthening my mental health through things like meditation and not commuting 75 minutes each way to work by public NYC transportation!

Therefore, the focus of this blog may be more on nutrition, fitness and mental health in the short term, but in the long term, my goal, as always, is to again reach the goal of a 4:30 marathon!



Mississippi Blues Marathon ‘race’ report


Despite having not run a marathon in almost 4 years, not having a month with more than 50 running miles since 2012, and with a recent training base of only 65.9 miles, I went ahead and ran the Mississippi Blues Marathon a few weeks ago, on my 45th birthday! While there were a lot of […]

Bye Bye 2015, Hello 2016


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Still Love Runmeter


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Long Beach Snowflake 4 Mile Race Report


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Still pleased with my recovery


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Forward Progress


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Quick bump in the road


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