Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Origin Story of Ultra Ordinary Running

I really like listening to ultra running podcasts when I run, but more and more I've been feeling like I wish there was one out there that was about people more like me.  Interviews with the elites and news from the top of the field are great, and that's information I want to know, but I also find I have hard time relating to it.  I finish in the middle of the pack.  I don't have an entourage.  I am constantly trying to negotiate my training/racing around Will's and Rob's schedules.  I once got up extra early to put on a crock pot of vegetarian chili for the rest of the family before I left to go run a marathon.  I realize that many elite runners have regular jobs and families too, but the crock pot of chili thing--that's what gets me.  I doubt many high level runners are doing that.

I searched around a little bit to try and find any podcasts about ordinary ultra runners like me, and while I found quite a few good shows that I now listen to, I still was wishing there was something more.

Then one day while I was running in circles, training for Across The Years, I thought... What if I started a podcast.  I am an ordinary ultra runner, I am a person like me.  And then I thought, so are Angela and Christina.  We should do this together.

I came home and messaged Angela and Christina.  What if we started a podcast, I wrote.  And then I deleted the message before I sent it.  They might not want to.  And they almost certainly didn't have the time.

I went about my day and ran again the next morning.  The idea was still there.  We should start a podcast.  Angela and Christina had almost succeeded in reeling me in to train for and run the Javelina 100 next October, and it seemed like it would be kind of a cool thing, if we documented the journey.  They are going to make it there, I know that for sure.  I remain just a little bit on the edge.  I know I can't count my money while I'm still sitting at the table-- I've been dealing with this calf/tibia injury for too long to say that anything is a sure thing.  I'll do my best to get healthy and stay healthy.  I'll arrange my schedule so that its open for that weekend.  I'll try not to go crazy thinking about how far 100 miles really is.

So I sent them the message, and they were in.  Just like that, we started a podcast.

It has been a truly amazing process over the last couple of weeks as we've worked to put this together.  I've learned so much about servers, hosting, websites, Skype, and Twitter.  None of us live in the same place, so we've done this whole thing via text and phone conversations.  I love the way it has come together so organically.  We're all trying to figure this out, and as we come up with something that needs to be done, one of us just does it.  I think it was Angela who first came up with the name.  Ultra ordinary.  That just fits us so well.

We recorded our first episode over the weekend and released it on Monday.  The technical aspect of it was harder than I thought it would be, and Rob had to do most of the work.  He said I will get the hang of it in time.  I hope so.

You can listen to Ultra Ordinary Running on iTunes or streaming from our very own, brand new website!

I've had so much fun doing this with Angela and Christina, and we have a lot of great things planned over the next 10-ish months to JJ100.  And possibly beyond!  I honestly don't know how this will all shake out with me and my chronically-injured tibia and calf, but I figure I will give it my best shot.  And I'm okay with it-- I'm okay with still doing the podcast and cheering on Angela and Christina even if I can't kick this injury and have to pull out or not make it to the finish.  After all, it's about the journey.

Thanks for reading/listening.


And just for fun, this again:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dear William (76 months)

Dear William,
You may have noticed that a few days ago, you turned 76 months old, and I didn't write you a letter.  I think that's the first time this has happened since I started writing to you when you were just 4 or 5 months old.  Sorry about that.  Things have been a little busy around here.  I'll try to recap as best I can.

We had a lot of adventures this past month, including a Weekend of a Little Bit Wild.  Your dad took you rock climbing at an indoor gym, and then we went to Colorado Springs, where we visited the Manitou Cliff Dwellings and Garden of the Gods. We camped in Pike National Forest that night, where it was 18 degrees and there was snow on the ground. You loved it. We were all very happy.

We also had Thanksgiving. Or as we call it, Vegan Friendsgiving.  Friends from Idaho came to visit.  It was the best time ever.

We took them bouldering.

A light saber battle ensued.

Then the next day, it snowed.

We still had a feast.  It was a chickpea based celebration.

After our friends went back to Idaho, we got an Xmas tree.

You and daddy decorated the whole thing while I went for a fun-and-safe nighttime 20 mile run.

Speaking of mileage, you put in a few good runs.

And you kept up with your interest in space.

You were thrilled when school was canceled for today because we got 9 inches of snow overnight.  You wanted to watch movies all day, but we managed to go outside and have some fun for a little while.

William, you are my best little buddy.  Stay gold.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

November 2015 Mileage: Is this the High

Sometimes my tibia injury still hurts. Sometimes.  But mostly it is better.  This is a good thing.

You may have heard about how we went to a sale at REI, and I got some used $20 Hoka Stinsons.

I started making some big plans.  Big, big, plans.

Will's vocabulary sheet
We went on a camping trip to Pike National Forest, where I ran in the snow.

I hope to run a race here in the summer, when there will probably be less snow.

Then I ran a 45 mile week. I wasn't even thinking about it.  It just happened. I made a playlist based on the suggestions from Christina's blog and didn't even realize how far I was running.  I should have been keeping my mileage low until I'm sure the injury is gone.  It hurt again after that week, and I briefly thought I'd ruined everything.  But after 3 days of rest, it seemed fine again.

We had friends visit from Idaho for Thanksgiving, and we had tons and tons of snow.  I ran anyway.

The snow isn't helping me with my long term goals for 2016, which may include up to 3 trips to Arizona.

The first of these trips may actually happen at the end of 2015.  And that isn't too far away.  I hadn't thought I'd get in a long run this past weekend, on account of the snow, ice, and generally terrible weather.  But once I started, I felt like I could go forever.  I wished I'd brought some food and more than 20 ounces of water with me.

It occurred to me that this might be my one chance for a long run before the big, big race I still haven't registered for at the end of 2015.  The remaining weekends are full with other plans, and soon enough, it will be time to taper.

I hadn't run more than 13.4 miles at once since Bear Chase, and I decided it was now or never.  Snow or no snow, food or no food, I had to be selfish, I had to do this.  I came home for some Clif bars, Tailwind, and more water, and told Rob and Will I was going out for a few more hours.  I had to get 20 miles in.  Not like that is some kind of magic number, but maybe it would help me cross some kind of mental barrier, just knowing I could do that.  In the snow.

So I did.  It wasn't easy, but it wasn't necessarily hard either.  I just kept listening to the music and putting one foot in front of the other.  Slowly.  And sure enough, I made it 20 miles.

I still don't know if I'm really up to the challenge of those big plans looming on the horizon.  But I do think that if the weeks of injury following Bear Chase were a low, then this is the high.

148.55 miles in November.  Finally, getting somewhere.  My tibia seems to have survived two fairly aggressive back-to-back weeks despite what conventional wisdom would say about injury recovery.  1452.78 miles year to date.  If I only run another 47.22 in December, I'll make it to my arbitrary goal of 1500. That puts me way ahead of the game as compared to last year, when I was still 170 miles behind.  Anything could happen though.  I'm not going to say that my tibia injury is behind me, even though I wish it were.  I just need to listen, learn to be sensible, and keep my eyes on the prize.

Thanks for reading.