Notifications meeting, presented by Murray

Errors with paws go to Murray

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Coming back

Good news.  I’m back.  It was one week ago, yesterday, that I entered the post “Going down”.

It started off with a runny nose, congestion, then progressed into a chest cold? or deep asthma?  I’m not sure.  Either way, it was in my chest.  I was nervous.  I knew that I could stop training and get better within two weeks, or keep running and either:

a)  Get better


b) Get so sick that I remained so through the Saint George Marathon

But here I am, 8 days out from the first day I noticed symptoms.  I have logged 50 miles since that day and here I am, Thursday morning, feeling like I’m at 95 percent, physically (this does not account for the hamstring issue I have been battling all season).

There was even a point when I wondered if I was battling the beginnings of pneumonia.  But I’ve bounced back, without losing miles.  I may have lost some training, due to the fact that I ran super-easy.  No fast running.  I did throw down a 20 miler for my last peak mileage run, but that’s about it.

Here I am on the other side.  Healthy.  Chances are I’ll remain healthy for a couple of more weeks until SGM (knock on wooden trees on trails).  I don’t know that I can run through everything, but this was the first time I took a chance and pushed through (gently, albeit), when I was pretty darn sick.  I would not do this with pneumonia.

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Yup.  I was right.  I’ve gone through a couple of days of no energy (ran 5, anyway, yesterday).  Had my clothes all ready to go, this morning, but stepped outside to feel the air.  Too cold for how I feel.  It was around 45 degrees, which is nothing for cold running, but too risky for my symptoms.

So I’ve got 20 miles for the week.  Decent, but a long run is supposed to happen, tomorrow.  Supposed to go 20-22 miles.  Heart rate is a bit high, which I assume means my body is fighting.

Will have to take this hour by hour, in regard to tomorrow’s plans.

I have worked very hard to get into running shape, this year, after dealing with pneumonia.  Can’t afford to lose my fitness, but can’t afford to get sick, either.

This is a fine line.

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Going down?

Not feeling great.  Back of throat tingle, plus slight loss of energy.  This started at about 1:30 pm, today.  Had salmon and salad for lunch.  What gives?

Oh, had a very fast run, this morning.  I can’t remember for sure, but this may have happened, last week, after another fast run.

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Nathan finds his marathon pace…and not a moment too soon

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I knew this was a big run.  This was a run that would either tell me that the marathon was going to break me, or that I’d be able to finish with a decent time.

Now I’m not one for counting my chickens before they hatch (I am, however, adept at making sure I get the full 12 wings when ordering from Wingnutz), but I’m feeling really good about Saturday’s run.

Here’s why:

1.  Even Steven
I managed to have enough self-control, to not just blast off and deplete my resources.  My goal was to keep a 9 minute pace and just “see how it goes”.  My first 11 miles were (9:09, 9:05, 9:01, 9:09, 9:11, 9:12, 9:06, 9:13, 9:07, 9:07, 8:52)…pretty much averaging around 9 minute miles.  This afforded me the energy that I needed, to basically keep that pace (until miles 18 and on- where I clearly break down.)

2.  Mindset
I read an excellent article on keeping your mind focused and relaxed and willing to accept, even invite the pain that inevitably comes along with long or intense runs.  During Saturday’s 20 miles, I tried this out.  When my left knee started to hurt (keeping in mind, I have a history of IT Band Syndrome), I didn’t get afraid.  I decided that this pain was ok, not something to get nervous about.  Within minutes, it was gone.  Each subsequent pain was dealt with in the same way.  I need to remember to read this article before the Saint George Marathon in October.

3.  Sticking to the plan
Clothes:  The night before, my clothes were laid out, ready to go, to ensure a timely departure- thus more hours run at cooler temperatures.

Food/drink:  I ate a bagel with peanut butter.  It was…fine.  I also had most of a banana (it was too soft at the end, so I threw the rest out.)  I drank some water and headed out.  I drank as often as possible.  I hit up Will’s Pit Stop for a drink of water on the way up to the canyon (where I turned around after 10 miles) –this was the only place I stopped my watch, due to how long it takes to get my water and what I need– and on the way back, got another drink of water, plus bought a Gatorade from the same place.  This turned out to be smart.  I was running on fumes by the time I got home.

When I finished my run (and as soon as I was able) I drove down to 7-11 and bought a 20 lbs bag of ice and chocolate milk.  I sat in my ice bath for about 10 minutes, studying my Strava pacing and drank down the chocolate milk, plus some Propel.

Having proper clothing ready to go, eating and drinking well, plus taking about an hour for myself to “get right” with the world, post long run, turns out to be essential.  On Sunday I woke up with pretty darn strong and relaxed muscles.  It will be interesting to see if adding the 6.2 miles at the end of the marathon changes this.

All in all, this was a very important run.  It boosted my confidence (after having a pretty rough 13 and 17 mile run, earlier in the month) and gave me a chance to test my overall strength.

Next week:  I’m hoping to peak at 22 miles on Saturday.  It’ll be interesting to see how that goes.  I’m probably pushing a little too much, too fast (breaking the 10% rule), but if I need to, I’ll just call of the balance of whatever I am able to do.  I can always have someone pick me up.  Right?

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A decent, not-bad run

I woke up at 6 am, realizing that my alarm’s 6:15 am would be a hard sell.  So I went back to sleep and decided that tonight or tomorrow seemed like a better time to run.

Then, at 6:45 am, I gave in, to habit, and started getting into my shorts and shoes.

Mile 1:  0:9:04:  The first few steps realized some pain in my right foot, on the inside.  Probably from the pokey rocks that went through my already worn and fading Altra Instinct 1.5’s.  But I plodded on, immediately deciding that today was a recovery day.

Mile 2:  0:8:33:  Recovery from what?  I did no long run this weekend.  I start to think about this and realized that I was feeding myself a line, so that I wouldn’t have to run too hard.  Once I called myself on it, I stepped it up.

Mile 3:  0:8:02:  Once I realized that I was running 8’s, I decided that I was comfortable.  I wasn’t panicking over the pace, or whether I’d have energy for later.  Things were running smoothly.

Mile 4:  0:7:26:  This is where it got interesting.  I decided to sort of go for broke and just open it up, see what the engine could do.  I noticed that I wasn’t doing my typical short, gaspy breaths (always breathing on my right foot’s drop).  I had smooth, deep breaths.  It occurred to me that food and nutrition were not the most important thing for fueling a run.  It’s oxygen.  So without exaggerating, I took in good, deep breaths.  By taking note of the trail, my watch and my energy, I realized that today might be the day to push a little harder on my last mile.

Mile 5:  0:7:03:  My moment of truth.  I try not to open my stride too much (left hamstring issue), but instead quicken my turnover.  My current pace on the Suunto shows that, no doubt, I’ve sped up.  Every time I look at my watch I’m around a 7 to 7:10 minute per mile pace.  Feeling good.  I know that I’m definitely in good shape for today’s run.  It occurs to me that, if I’d decided to not run, I would not be enjoying some of my fastest splits in a long time.

When the run is over, I wonder if I can get to where I can run 5 miles, in 7’s.  That would be great.  If I could do that…


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A horrible, no-good run

This week I haven’t slept…much.  Jackson has been a light sleeper and it’s been taking its toll.  Allergies have been acting up.  On Saturday (with help) I worked on a roof leak (fixed!) and finishing up a deck and stairs in my backyard.  I’m exhausted.

Didn’t have time to go out on Saturday, so I decided to go out after church, on Sunday.  The first 9 miles ripped by rather painlessly.  It wasn’t easy, but I kept checking my pace and was regularly around 0:8:40 or 0:9:00.  I was feeling pretty good.  I ran six miles up the Provo River Trail, then back toward my house.

I arrived home, feeling pretty good.  12 miles in 1:47:13, for an average 0:8:53.  Good.  Very good.  Once home, I drank the Propels that Wendy had put out on the steps for me (if I go in the house, I probably won’t come back out.)

I headed back down 2770 West, and encountered a group of kids that had hassled me, on my way back to to the house.  I challenged them to race (Look, I was tired and cranky) and kept moving on, taunts and all.

My 13th mile (let’s just combine both runs for the sake of this post) was another 0:9:04, so great start.  This would be the end of any semblance of health on this run.

Mile 14 rewarded me with 0:12:32.  Miserable.  The proverbial wall.  I don’t want to run anymore.  Just turn around and go home.  So exhausted.  Through the next four miles, I’d run, walk, run, walk…more walking.

Mile 15:  0:13:29.  I can’t even remember this mile.  It’s safe to say, I was crying a little.  And it’s interesting.  Last week I recall finishing 15 pretty strongly.  That’s the variable nature of running.

Mile 16:  0:14:58.  I’m gasping.  My heart is pounding (not a good sign?)

Mile 17:  0:13:25.  This takes everything I’ve got.  I want to just die.  Why am I in such bad shape?  Why can’t I run a simple 17 miler?  I feel that this shouldn’t be a major ordeal.  Otherwise, how am I going to squeeze out another 9 miles in St George?

When I got in the house, I simply laid down on the family room floor and waited for death.  It took at least four hours before I felt that I wasn’t going to be sick all night.

This run really took it out of me.  I’m going to try not to exhaust myself before next Saturday (19 mile run?), get some good sleep and hopefully kick these allergies.

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Just finished the Book of Mormon

It’s been a while. Glad to be back on track with my reading. Maybe this time I can finish it in less than a year…

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A late night run on the Provo River Trail


Me, after the run, getting a shot of the brighter section of the Provo River Trail


Last night I posted to Facebook, inviting anyone to go on a 4-5 mile run with me. No one took up the offer, so I thought I wouldn’t go. Instead I had a healthy (read: big) serving of Dryer’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream and started to watch Conan. And then I started to dress for a run. Dang it.

I checked Facebook one more time, just in case there was a last minute offer, but there was none. I headed out the door and started an unusually fast for my first mile. I’ll be honest. I was nervous. Apparently, when I’m scared or nervous, I run faster. Good to know.

Once I got down to the path entrance, I considered just taking the road the runs alongside the Provo River Trail. Safer. More light. Shorter distance. Not as scary. Because of this last detail, I chose to take the scary route. Not sure why I do this. With my newfound UDAP pepper spray, I started off into the pitch black, my headlight guiding me.

This is a good time to mention that I really like this headlamp. It sits close to my head, doesn’t distract me, and lights up the road enough. I could see investing in something brighter, though. I’d like something that blinds anything in front of me. Really.

I’ve always had a very defensive posture. Ever since I was a kid. Maybe it was from the time that Chad, when I was in grade school, punched me in the stomach, because I kept singing Steve Miller’s “Abracadabra”, even after he commanded me to stop. Maybe it’s because I got into that one weird fight, on a run, in Springville, about 7 years ago. Either way, while I’m never looking for a fight on a run, I’m always considering my Next Move. The point being, if I had a nice, bright, blinding light, I’d have a little bit of advantage while my attacker couldn’t see. Maybe I’d spray him. Maybe I’d start kicking and punching for all my worth. But I think we both know I’d run like hell, à la Pink Floyd.

Mile 1: 0:8:25

Regardless. Or irregardless, for those of you who don’t know better, I started down this dark trail. Immediately I heard familiar footsteps behind me. Because I’ve already panicked over this sound, I knew that this was the sound of my own footsteps, echoing between the river bank and the trees on my north. Just in case, I risked a quick glance behind me. Just the chasing darkness.

The second mile wasn’t so much that I was running fast. It’s that I was running fast for my visibility. Every once in a while, a foot would brush into a lump or patch in the trail’s asphalt and I’d lose my balance. I very quickly learned to take some higher steps. So for being out of my gait and running in the darkness, I’m clipping off 0:8:00’s…I’m obviously trying to get off of this path. ASAP. As fast as I can without tripping and spilling into whatever enemy awaits. Bears? (Just came back from Yellowstone, so bears are on my mind.) A bad guy? Skunk? Russian Mafia? No idea. But I sense the danger, all around me.


At the Lakeshore trailhead. I run this trail almost 90% of the time. Great trail.

I spend a lot of time on my second mile, sweeping my headlamp from the left to the right-hand side of the trail. There are so many trees and I don’t need to be taken by surprise. Every once in a while I spin my head around to see who’s following me. Can’t see anyone. They must be very stealth and good at self-concealment.

Mile two: 0:7:56

Passing the two mile mark, I realize that the only choice I have is to continue on toward Utah Lake. Otherwise, I’ll find myself running back the way I came, dealing with the consequences of whatever I’ve stirred up on the first half of a dangerous out and back. So I reach the end of the trail (I’m alive!) and start running on the parallel road that takes some of the distance off of the first half. I know I’m close to 2.5 miles, here, so if I run home, I’ll likely get 4.5 out of this run. If I were more of a man, I would have eeked out a clean 5 by staying on the trail. And fighting a ninja, probably. Not worth it.

Mile 3: 0:7:57


Me, with my sweet headlamp in action. This is not a lightening strike, which was flashing in the distance, under ominous clouds.

I only saw two people on this stretch of lonely, freakishly dark stretch of road. The first was a car that drove way too slowly past me, then turned around and drove slowly past me again. I clutched my critter spray and just DARED someone to step out and mess with me (the best defense is a good offense?), but they continued on.

The next person I saw was on a motorcycle or scooter. It sounded like a scooter, but the rider was high up enough, that I couldn’t tell. I gave a friendly wave (hint: if someone doesn’t wave back, they are the enemy). There was no return wave. I am immediately suspicious.

Mile 4:  0:11:26

My shin started hurting, here, so I started walking, just in case I was going to aggravate something that might affect my upcoming long run on Saturday.

At night, every trail, every road is approximately 20% longer than it is in the day. So I ran for what seemed like a few weeks. When I reached the trail entry, I knew I was safe. We’re in my territory, now. During the day, I claim the entire trail and dare anyone to challenge. Except for the faster runners. They get a pass (ha!)

From here, I trotted home, victorious; alive. I walked into my house, dried off with a towel, stretched, showered, fixed a nice (that’s two, now, for those of you keeping score) glass of Dryer’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream and sat down to finish Conan.

I love these night-time runs. Any of you who read this (there is one of you) are welcome to join me.

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My reaction to Robin William’s death

Yesterday afternoon, as we were driving home from the Freeman family reunion, Wendy told me that she saw on Facebook, that Robin Williams had passed away.  My first thought was that it was a hoax, because Facebook posts are always announcing someone’s death, who is in all actuality- alive.

This one was true.  #RIPRobinWilliams was trending on Twitter and it was soon apparent that we were all going to have to figure out how to live without this great comedian in the world.  He really was funny.

I first became acquainted with Robin Williams, through his show, Mork and Mindy.  I thought it was funny and it was one of my first introductions to comedy on TV.  I wasn’t allowed to watch too much in the way of comedy, as a kid, but this was a show that I caught from time to time.  Being endeared to Robin Williams, I loved almost everything that he was in, including Mrs Doubtfire.  He just made everything palletable.

So this is a post to say goodbye to a funny man, a man who seemed sweet on TV and by all accounts, really was as kind as he came off.

Clearly, he had his issues and demons.  I’m not a proponent of suicide, but I do not judge those who take their own lives.  I believe in a merciful God and believe that all who do their best return to a world of peace, and, eventually their families.

God bless Robin Williams and may his family find peace and the comfort of the Spirit.

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