Monthly Archives: December 2008

Best of 2008: Personal Race Experience

Here is a  list of my best performances at each distance this year:

TC 1 Mile 5:27  MCQ = 39:13

USATF 5000m 19:51MCQ = 41:14

Human Race 8k 31:27 MCQ = 39:38

Get in Gear 10k 41:30 MCQ = 41:30

MDRA 15k 1:03:24 MCQ = 40:55

Rochester Half-Marathon 1:33:22  MCQ = 41:58

City of Lakes 25k 1:48:40  MCQ = 40:34

Twin Cities Marathon 3:25:43  MCQ = 43:41

Based on how I felt during and after the race I’m going to say it is between the MDRA 15k and City of Lakes 25k.  City of Lakes was an average pace of 6:59 while the MDRA 15k was a 6:48 pace. The number next to the finish time above is the McMillian Calculator‘s 10k equivalent.

I would have picked City of Lakes as my best performance of 2008 but according the the somewhat scientific method of McMillian the TC 1 Mile was my best overall performance, then the 8k, then City of Lakes.

I know that using McMillian’s calculator isn’t neccessarily the most precise way to figure this out.  Do you have a better method?

Best of 2008: Most Read Articles

Here is a nice objective look at what was the most popular item from 2008 on this blog.  Using Google Analytics I can track which post recieved the most hits.  One small problem is that I left up the old Run Central Indiana site for much of the year before I began auto-forwarding the old links.  So I’ll go back and add up those hits as well to determine the top 5 viewed posts from 2008.

5) Ways to Ruin Your Next Race (which also made last year’s top 5)

4) June 30 & July 4 Races

3) Caffeine is a Banned Substance

2) Race Review of the Indianapolis Half Marathon

1) Merry Christmas from Team Cross

Seriously… that isn’t a slick joke, our last year’s Christmas greeting has almost 2x’s as many hits as any other post.  I’m not really sure why.  Maybe some analytics pro can help me figure this oddity out.

Some notable honorable mentions are Volunteering at the 2007 Chicago Marathon, Race Review of the 2007 Drumstick Dash, and a product review of my Pearl Izumi shorts.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Week in Review

Appropriately this week is full of family time and not so much running time!

Monday I enjoyed my day off running with my Dad’s family in Springfield, OH.

Tuesday I woke for a morning run, checking the weather pleased to see that the temp was 16 with 5 above as the windchill.  Yay for a little warmer running.  I just did an easy 4 mile out and back from their house in about 30 minutes.  They live on the outskirts of Springfield in an area called Forest Hills which has a lot of little hills, starting with a steep downhill from the front door to  the road which immediately goes back up!

Wednesday it had rained all night but at least the temperature was in the 40’s and melted the layer of ice that had grown on everything Tuesday evening.  I went for a 3.4 mile run around the town I grew up in.  It is always interesting to see how some things have changed over the years and some haven’t.  There was some flooding of the creek by our house so I had to turn around instead of attempting to cross the swollen banks. It was a pleasant run in Frankfort OH.

Thursday Merry Christmas!!

Friday an interesting run on the Lawrence Creek and Horse Trails at Fort Harrison State Park.  It was raining off and on, with sections of ice and snow, oh and don’t forget the thunder! I saw a lot of deer and a fox while driving to the trail head, but no animals during the run. A nice easy 4.1 mile run with some hills a wet creek crossing and a potty break only passing one other runner.  I also used the “back to start” function on my Garmin for the first time, it is a little confusing but got me headed back in the right direction. It was about 35 and a little windy.

Saturday what a difference… it was 56 when I left with 90% humidity.  I ran 8 miles along the Frankfort Bike trail.  I was surprised more people weren’t out enjoying the nice change in weather.  The sun actually came out and there was a small bit of wind. I threw in a few 1/4 mile pickups on the out and back finishing in 59:58 for a nice hard run.  It was nice to have the chance to run on a flat trail without snow or anything. I didn’t bring any t-shirts though so I ended up taking my shirt off!

Sunday back in Indianapolis I awoke with my lower back calling out in pain.  Sadly sleeping on air mattresses has caught up to me. I decided this time to not go for a run to loosen everything up.  We are spending way to much time in the car and sleeping on uncomfortable pieces of floating plastic.

Weekly Mileage

Running – 19.5 miles

Last Year

Run: 3.0 Mi
Bike: 8.6 Mi
Elliptical: 40:00
Rowing: 10:00

Last year I wished all of my friends a Merry Christmas before continuing the Best of 2007 Series.  This week it was the Best National Performances, my top 5 most read articles, and a Foto Friday showing my 2007 hardware!

Best of 2008: Foto Friday

The best (in my opinion) fotos from 2008.

Here is the best running Foto:

Part of our team chatting before the Rochester Half-Marathon. Taken by Lifetime Photos.

Not sure about the guy in front though…

Here is the best non-running related Foto:

A leaf/rock trail on the beach along
Lake Superior in Bayfield, WI October 2008

Corrected 12/26/08

Best of 2008: Race Number

Today starts the best of 2008 series. I’ll start by looking at the best race number I posted.  This is completely subjective with no real criteria! I think the TC 1 Mile wins the prize this year!

From May’s TC 1 Mile race.

Do you have a cool number? Send it to me.

Meditation During a Run?

A large statue in Bangalore depicting Shiva me...
Image via Wikipedia

When I say meditation what comes to mind? Yoga? Monks? Probably not Christianity though.  For whatever reason meditation conjures up negative ideas and feelings for many people.  But Warren Kay is willing to take a deeper look at it in his Running the Sacred Art book.

Kay sees meditation as the next step after prayer or a deeper form of prayer. Wikipedia defines it as “a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned, “thinking” mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness” Kay takes it a step further by including the heart or emotions into your pondering relaxation.  He describes it more of a focusing of the mind and heart on God.

We have all gone for a run during a stressful point in time and come back from that run with stress relieved and if we are lucky – a solution to the problem.  Kay calls this anonymous meditation. We don’t necessarily intend to dwell on something but we focus on it and find clarity.  This is a good component of running and one that many runners identify as a reason for running.

Kay thinks we should take it even further.  Anonymous is good, but we occasionally need to take the time to self-reflect and look deeper inside ourselves. On page 79 he differentiates between meditation and religious meditation:

The aim of meditation is to bring enlightenment and harmony to us as human creatures – a harmony of body, mind, and spirit. . . But for all forms of religious meditation, the aim is to allow God’s presence in and with us to become the reality that gives meaning to everything that we do.

Applications of Meditative Running

One way to listen to the inside is by using Seed Mantras. This appears to be the most basic form of mantra and relies mainly on repetitive sounds. This could be deep breathing, sound of crunching leaves or gravel. Other types of mantras are using a special word or phrase to help concentrate your thoughts. This would be like Yoga where you use different mantras with different body positions and motions. The mantra should be short, easy to repeat, and meaningful to you.  When I lived in New Jersey and worked with an immigrant’s rights organization I picked up the phrase – “Si se Puede.” (wikipedia) You may be more familiar with the more recent use of the English translation – “Yes we Can.” Either way it was rythmnical and easy to repeat.  I didn’t use it a lot but would think about it sometimes while trying to establish a pace.

Meditative running is probably easy for rhythm runners like Ryan Hall, who often talks about worshiping God while running.  Here are a few mantras Kay suggests:

  • Peace to all
  • God will help
  • God is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1)

A final form of meditation is using a “divine reading.” This is using a short passage or story to guide your thinking during the run or meditation. It isn’t that you are trying to grasp the actual meaning of the words or story but that you are letting it inform and challenge you.

Obviously Kay suggests that you read something like a passage of Scripture or something from a piece of devotional literature.  He also suggests that you can read a work of philosophy or theology. But more simply you can pick a story out of the local newspaper or a magazine, letting its content soak in.  Ultimately, he says it doesn’t matter what you read, as long as you do so with a spiritual intent.

The Plan

To make it work, Kay suggests three steps for meditative running.  First choosing a mantra or divine reading to focus on during the run.  Actually running, remembering to meditate and enjoy the run.  Finally stretching and relaxing when you return.  He suggests taking some time to transition back into the normal routine through journaling or some other form of reflection.

I appreciate his reassuring point that if you choose to do meditative runs, don’t be disappointed if occasionally they are dull or boring.  This is part of life!

[tags] Warren Kay, Spiritual Art, Meditation, Running [/tags]

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]