How I Tricked Myself in to Running 15 Miles this Morning

If you don’t wedge clay properly, it will explode in the kiln. Wedging also aligns the particles making the clay much more receptive to shaping and throwing. Right now, I suck at wedging. My “wedging” technique makes the clay pliable, but it also fills it with ballon sized air-pockets. Don’t even get me started on the difficulties I face with throwing clay. Yesterday, I was almost in tears because everyone else managed to throw a cylinder, while I was left with a spinning spitting sodden heap of grey mud. I was tempted to throw it across the room punch myself in face. (When I was a teenager I gave myself a black eye–seriously, I used to hit myself that hard). But I didn’t. Instead I just breathed and when I did happiness filled me up. Somewhere in frustration and madness of trying to shape the malleable pieces of earth–the same earth God* used to form humans–there is joyfulness.  It’s astonishing what failure in ceramics teaches me  about running.

Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep. I kept thinking about my failure to wedge properly and also somewhere smashing through my brain was the fifteen mile run I had to do in the morning.  It thrashed my thoughts, leaving me jittery and awake. I kept thinking about how I would have to work a full day after running fifteen miles. It was depressing. Try as I might, I couldn’t fall asleep. Then brilliance struck: Why not call in sick? That way I could sleep off this insomnia and have time to recuperate from my long run.  With that one thought, I skipped happily into dreamland.

Without an alarm, I arose at six o’ clock. (I was planning to sleep in until eight). Since I was up and felt rested, I decided to strap on my heart rate monitor and GPS, slip into my blue shorts,  and drape on my white shirt. The first two miles were horrible and I questioned my decision to run a marathon, but by mile four my youthful vigor kicked-in. The carbohydrate packs and homemade gatorade helped tremendously.  Mile twelve was difficult, and the last three miles forced me to dig deep, but I did and I found a treasure chest of strength and stamina. I finished my run in under two hours, which is right on track with my goal pace for the Boring Oregon Marathon.

Since I would’t have had to have left for work until eleven, I had plenty of time to stretch and rest. After a long hot shower, going to work didn’t seem so bad; so, I pulled on slacks, flung on my short sleeve dress shirt, and headed off to work. I wasn’t even stiff or sore. I did, however, let  out a few great yawns, but I was fully functional. Maybe, I’m not so bad at wedging after all.

* I use God and reference Genesis rhetorically, I am a pantheist.

Boring Barefoot Marathon Fourth of July Edition (Day 6)

I didn’t expect to discover a marathon that only 14 runners have finished in the three decades that it’s been held. And I had no idea that the race resulted from the infamous James Earl Ray.

“You haven’t tested your limits until you try something you can’t do.”
–Founder of the Barkley 100 .

But today isn’t the Barkley 100. Today is the Fourth of July. Happy Independence Day America! I had a pleasant drive along the Columbia Gorge in search of majestic waterfalls. After taking the cool mists of Multnomah falls, I looked to heaven and witnessed a noble bald eagle soaring above me. How American is that? A bald eagle on the Fourth of July! After a serious bout of patriotism, I ate a burger at the Edgefield in Troutdale Oregon with my brother-in-law who visiting us from Spokane and my lovely wife.

In terms of barefoot marathon training, today is another strength/recovery day. I did Jillian Michael’s Week One of Ripped in Thirty. Tomorrow is my long run day. How far will I run? Check back to find out.

Boring Marathon Training Day #1

Right foot barefoot sandals.
Right foot barefoot sandals.

I didn’t at all expect this. Typically, I don’t care about Vo2 Max, Yasso 800s, negative splits, or any other speed based racing lingo.  I ignore competition because I just like to run.  Instead of focusing on speed or competition, I customarily look to weekly mileage. For me, running is about spinning the earth steadily and rhythmically in quiet solitude. It’s not about gagging or choking on my own breath.

I can’t say why I’ve decided to change my routine. Maybe I’m just bored, or maybe I just want to punish myself for working somewhat steady hours. Whatever the reason, in order to slice open the belly of my performance and dissect it like a frog, I bought a heart monitor and a wrist GPS gizmo.

This morning, before work, I tracked my first marathon training run with my Garmen wrist GPS. Incidentally, today, the last Sabbath of June, marks the very first day of my Boring Marathon Training Program. Appropriately, Sundays are my marathon training rest days, which means that I’m supposed to do Yoga or Pilates instead of pounding my toes and bones on the stoney streets. Why did I run on a rest day? Good question. It was symbolic, more importantly it raised my weekly mileage to 25 miles.

When my heart rate monitor arrives Tuesday, I’ll sync it with my GPS wristband. I must admit that I feel a little guilty using a heart rate monitor and a GPS device to inspect my runs. The use of electric technology seems so un-barefoot like. That said, I know that the Barefoot Deities don’t mind, for they approve of  all knowledge that maketh a man swift and sturdy.

This ends my first day of marathon training–2 miles, it wasn’t much. Even so, I’ll continue to post my training each day. Come back tomorrow.