Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Shoes, New Socks, New GU, New Start

Since the Miami Marathon on Jan. 31, I have gotten married, gone on a honeymoon with Lisa to Curacao, worked around the clock with Spring Training under way, enjoyed my slippers and coffee each morning while watching blue jays and cardinals and squirrels take over our back deck, and I have taken the longest break from running since I became a runner on Dec. 1, 2006.

Rededication time is here. I wasn't going to write this because I believe in "Just Do It," but I thought some of this might be helpful to other runners who I know are in my shoes, so to speak. Here are some ways I am rededicating myself.

1. Drink water.

It always starts there. In a perfect world I will drink a gallon a day according to my son Matt. I am just grabbing a Poland Spring here and an Aquafina there. Just. Drink. Water.

2. Buy new running shoes.

Today I went to Super Runners Shop at Grand Central Station and bought a new pair of my trusty Brooks Glycerines -- pictured above, along with new WrightSocks and some GUs. It is my fourth pair of Brooks -- they are "neutral" and are good for above-average arches like mine and they keep me injury free. I have learned in my running career that the ONLY thing that matters about running shoes is that you are healthy. Color, style -- it means zero, so much zero that you can't even see it. After 2 runs they are dirty and you never will think about the color and style after that. The only thing that matters is that you don't have shin splints, plantar fasciitis, knee trouble and more. If you find a pair of shoes that work for you, never ever leave that model unless the shoemaker moves on. If you ever listen to anything I say, listen to that. Unless you like a hundred little sword-like jabs in your shins during your run.

I had to get used to the design on the latest Glycerine look, and I liked it more when I read what is inside the shoe itself. The pictures tell the story above.

3. Schedule some races.

I know this but I had to be reminded -- thanks, Roxy and Traci! I signed up for the NYRR8000 race this Saturday morning at Central Park. I won't be fast but I will be back amongst thousands of other runners and moving my legs one step at a time, and that is the road to a marathon. I don't have anything else on the docket. Too much has happened in my life recently. I will get there.

4. Have a Purpose.

You need a purpose for everything in life. Why am I running? It is good to ask yourself often. I once learned from Tony Robbins that if you want a better answer, ask a better question. Why am I running? I decided to become a runner because I wanted to live a long life for my three boys, rather than smoking and coming up with excuses why not to work out. It makes me feel free. It gives me more energy to be great at what I do for a living. It makes me a happier person, and that makes me a better husband. It increases my creative thought process, which opens new doors in my life and in my job. And because I am pretty good at it when I train. It helps me meet more friends, which is always a good thing, and I cherish friendships I have made through running, as we all like to support each other through thick and thin. Most of all: Running makes me a finisher in life. I finish things. I dance across the finish line.

Who were you dedicating your first races to? To my Dad. To my boys. Who did you raise money for in your first marathon? Team for Kids, to help fight childhood obesity. How many people have you helped with their fundraising? Countless runners. What was it all about? Having a purpose. Inspiring yourself and inspiring others. Running with meaning.

5. Nutrition. Eat smaller portions, and more often. Work in some green stuff, some nuts, some fruit. Stop being a regular at the cupcake place downstairs at work. I know what I need to do. The all-inclusive resort food binge is over. Do I remember fish?

6. Enjoy warmer weather. I know this will be a natural help for me. The days of the 2-foot snowfalls, I think, are over. At my best I am able to train no matter what the conditions year-round, but nothing beats running in shorts and sweating. I much prefer running outdoor to running on a treadmill, and I also like when the running path is not covered with snow, meaning less chance of stepping badly on rocks and turning an ankle.

7. Write this. Hey everyone, do some things that commit yourself. I am never embarrassed about finishing in the back of a pack during a race, but I would be embarrassed if I follow up on this blog post by sitting around and gaining another five pounds. I am going to try. Thanks for reading this far.

8. Keep a log. I need to get back to doing this. I really only was diligent about it my first year of running. I saw one of my marathon times go way down after I had stopped logging my runs, so I just kept running without logging. It is important to do it, though. For one thing, you know how many miles are on your shoes and when to retire them -- one reason I ran with a horrible blister for 14 miles in Miami. More importantly, you guard yourself from increasing mileage too fast from week to week, and you have a better idea where you in your training. This is the one thing I cannot say with total confidence I will do. I am talking to myself right now.

9. Powerjams! Some of my friends may remember when I started the Athletes & iPods Group on myspace at the start of my running days. Sadly, my iTunes library is still mostly composed of that same music. I want to start back but I want to have some new music. I use Pandora heavily on my iPhone. I rarely listen to the iPod app on my iPhone. I take the old iPod with me when I run and the music is old. It is time to work on this section of the list, no question about it.