Out of the Slump

All runners have endured the occasional time when running loses its joy, or you have tremendous difficulty in motivating yourself to get out the door to do it. I have been victim to such a time in my running journey these past few weeks. Every run has been terrible. They were just painful slogs, as I endured each passing minute with anticipation for the end. I felt like Tyrion Lannister stuck in a box going across the narrow sea waiting for the shore to come.

Game of Thrones season is upon us so expect more of these references in the coming weeks.


Usually I run with my wife, Grace. However, I don’t blame her for rarely wanting to run with me recently. I must have been boring, and painful for her to run with. If she suggested adding on a fun mile here or there on a run, I was stuck in this mindset of “oh dear god just let this run be done” as I hobbled along looking longingly at any grass that I could lay down on and rest.  I know it may sound completely lame, but it’s just where I was these past few weeks.

Here’s a visual representation of that. Courtesy of the Andy Dwyer…


Today that changed. I remembered how it was to be in the run rather than waiting for it to end. I ran Towsley Canyon with Grace, and I learned two lessons.

Towsley Canyon is a myriad of trails, hills, trees, rattlesnakes, and more hills. The escape to that kind of scenery is perhaps exactly what I needed. Coming to the end of the run when Grace suggested running up another trail I was all game for it. Even so much as pushing Grace to go further as she got tired. That hasn’t happened in a while. I just truly enjoyed myself, and it reminded me that you need to enjoy running. It shouldn’t be a painful chore every day, but one of the parts of the day you look forward to.

Lesson 1: Love the run!

Lesson 2: Change the scenery every once in a while.

I’m not sure if it was the change that broke my cycle, but it definitely helped.

On a side note this could be a bunch of gibberish. Before my run I had some RunGum. So maybe all these happy feelings about running, and breaking the cycle was simply the product of chewing some before my run.

Either way I’m not too fussed with why my run was good. I’m just happy that it was.



Back From The Shadows

Dearest readers,

Apologies for the recent hiatus. I assume you have all been waiting in eager anticipation to hear if I achieved my goal last season of going under 19 minutes in the 5K. You must all think me evil to leave you in suspense for so long. Well now I announce my triumphant return to the blogosphere with news!

I am continuing my consistent running training after…ehm… let’s just call it “an extended break” after the holidays.

I have increased my supplemental training. Last season I was lazy on all the other important aspects of what makes a runner great – hitting the gym, stretching, mobility drills prior to workouts. I did all these things, but fairly haphazardly and without any real conviction or consistency.

So this year I have joined the gym. Now since I’m paying money I better get my butt over there and actually make use of it so it doesn’t eat into my wallet without purpose. It seems to be a working incentive, as I now enjoy weight sessions and supplementing my easy days with some swimming. The swimming breaks the monotony of running every day. I may love running, but sometimes the body and mind just need a wee change.

In addition to this I have also re-taken up Judo. I did this for many years as a teen. Training sessions are brutally intense, but it has really helped me to step up my conditioning to the next level. Not to mention the fact I love the cathartic feeling of slamming/being slammed into the mat, and the addictive feeling of having my muscles aching with exhaustion.

Now that is where I have been. Now to where I am going. Don’t worry I’m still aware of the lingering 5K suspense…we’ll get to that.

I will restart my running season come summer, and at the moment I am in preparation for that. I have not actually sat down and figured out my goals for the year yet…I know, I know that’s a big mistake but I will get onto it ASAP.

I will keep you all updated on that, and where my training is headed. But my training and goals will come with a new fervor as I did in fact break 19 minutes in the 5K last year!!

I ran 18:53 at a Turkey Trot which was an incredibly hilly course. So I look forward to getting my conditioning back to that level and seeing what heights I can achieve this year.

Here is a before picture with the folks who helped me through it, and an exhausted looking me on my cool down with Rosie (I adopted a dog with Grace shortly after my last post – she will be featured in future posts.).

Well I promise to be back for good.

I hope to update you again in the near future.






#5 Hope for the Future

On November 8th I competed in the Santa Clarita Marathon 5K. It was a chilly morning, but my Scottish lungs didn’t seem to have much of a problem with that.Monique-8335 I was extremely happy with my result, as I improved by another thirty seconds to bring my 5K time of the year down to 19:06 from 19:37 a couple of weeks ago. Feeling that I am now within reach of my season goal of running under 19 minutes I am focused and determined to accomplish this within my two remaining races for the year.

As pleased as I am with my personal result the competitive fires were poked during this race. It is one of the only times in which I didn’t feel like I was going to die the whole way through, and in fact found myself trying to chase down those in front of me. However with 1 mile to go I was passed. He was the only person to pass me after the chaos that is the beginning of a community 5K.  (See below).Bill-6032

This next statement is in utter admiration of this man. After he passed me I came back at him, but he had more in the tank and finished around 13 or so seconds ahead of me. He is in the above picture about 3 feet away from me on the right side of the photo.  See if you can spot him after this next sentence. This man is 61 years old. I’m going to let that sink in for a bit so take your time before reading on.

Welcome back.  This man is 61 years old, and he ran under 19 minutes for a 5K! If that isn’t hope for the future then I don’t know what is. This man is a testament to the nature of running. That if you put the time in, work hard, and train right then there is no telling what you can accomplish. He is the epitome of grit in that anyone can accomplish their goals in running if they put in the work. So the next time you are struggling with a workout. Or are feeling weary that your training isn’t getting you anywhere. Or feel that you can never run as fast as you are trying. Then just remember this 61 year old runner, quit your whining and get on with it.

Briefly to close. A little insight into my previous workout before my next race. I did 3.5 miles of work broken down as such:

  • 1-1.5 mile warm-up
  • 1.5 Miles @ T-Pace (If you don’t know what the paces are in reference to check this out)
  • 5 Minute Rest
  • 4x800m @ I-Pace
  • 400m jogging recovery between each 800.
  • 1-1.5 mile cool down

It was a great workout, and filled me with a lot of confidence moving into next week.

My two remaining races are coming up in the next few weeks. One is the La Canada Turkey Trot, and the other is the Santa Monica/Venice Christmas run. I’m hoping to run under 19 minutes in at least one of these. Wish me luck.

Thanks for reading.

Run Happy