Tag Archives: positive thinking

Hippie Hill Challenge

A month ago, I was psyched about this challenge. But this past week, I didn’t run a single mile and I was dreading the event. I don’t know if it was fatigue, burnout, or just plain laziness, but I just didn’t want to run. And I sorta still feel that way, which is worrisome.

The night before, I prepped all my stuff. I read the final email and set my alarm for 5:30, which would give me an hour to have a decent breakfast. However I missed a small detail about the start time – I had put it on my calendar as 7am when it was actually a 6am start. So my alarm goes off at 5:30, I get out of bed at 5:40, and then I get a text from my buddy Dustin at 5:41: “I’m on my way… gps says 5:55.” I’m wondering why the hell would he get there so early. I reread the final email and see the 6am start time. FUCK!!

Dustin
Dustin Photo credit: Don Flynn

In semi-panic mode, I get dressed, grab my stuff, pack ice into my cooler, and get on the road. I drive as fast as I can, and arrive only 10 minutes late. I parked next to a truck, the guy getting out was like, “You’re late too?” My stomach had been churning on the drive. I ran behind some dumpsters and took a quick dump. That was a good start.

And then the “fun” began. Half mile uphill, then a half mile back down. Four hours and 20 minutes of that. But at least there were a lot of other runners there to share in the miser… fun. I had my ipod and was trying to untangle the headphones. It was way more difficult than it should have been. I finally got them untangled one I reached the top of the hill for the first time. I put the earbuds in and pressed the play button…. beep! beep! beep! The ipod was dead. I know I charged it, but I must have accidentally left it on and drained the battery. I laughed and wondered what else could wrong.

Halfway into the race, a light drizzle turned into a full on rain that lasted maybe 10 minutes. Although I was concerned about how it might affect the footing on the course, it was kind of refreshing.

Tuffy
Tired of it. Photo credit: Don Flynn

The first three hours went by like clockwork, trudge uphill, and then coast down. My left foot developed an issue that made it hard to run downhill. I think what little arch I have in my foot collapsed inward more than usual, likely a result of not running the past week. It wasn’t painful, but I could tell that it was definitely not normal. I was concerned it was going to get worse, so I slowed down on the downhills.

I had one bright spot during the race. Running beside Tanya:

Me: I am so over this.

Tanya: Yeah, me too.

Me: I am so tired of running downhill!

The last hour was tough. Mentally, I was running on empty and I wanted to quit.

In retrospect, it seems silly that you want to quit running so bad. Those moments that you are in, you’re tired, your feet hurt, maybe you’re hungry, your head hurts, and all you can think about is stopping this nonsense. That’s all you can think about. But time passes and somehow you get through it, the clock stops, and you can finally stop running. Later you think, “That wasn’t so bad. I don’t know what I was complaining about.” You sort of forget the struggle. Four hours and 20 minutes is a drop in the bucket compared to most ultras, so I’m a little disappointed that my mental game suffered.

I’m glad I didn’t quit, despite the foot and mental issues. And especially glad that after the 24th lap, with 10 and a half minutes remaining in the race, I went out for one more. 10 and half minutes is plenty of time to get one lap done. I knew my future self would berate my weak willed past self if I would have stopped.

That gave me 25 laps, one shy of my goal of 26. Had I been on time, I’m sure I would have hit that goal. Driving home, I thought I should have done an extra mile after the race. Oh well.

Hippie Hill
Hippie Hill Challlengers  post-race. Photo credit: Don Flynn

Putting it in perspective: Be on time. Suffering is commensurate to the size of the race. Expect that suffering and accept it gratefully when it arrives.

 

Things Change…

Depending on where you live, you might notice the trees turning colors. The trees around here are definitely changing. Not anything super spectacular, but low key Texas style. Maybe that’s what is inspiring me to make a change. Or maybe it’s just because I’m tired of hearing that question, “Do you have a website?”

You may or may not know that I am an artist- I make paintings. I’ve been half-assing it for a long time. I’ve also been unemployed for a while now and it’s really getting me down. But I don’t want to work a stupid job – I want to do something I actually enjoy doing. However, finding a job where I just paint and build stuff all day is probably not going to happen. At least not easily, and not without some blood, sweat, and many many beers.

So where am I going with this? Well, I am going to try and full-ass it as an artist. I want to put my work out there, and that requires a website. And while it would be great if I could make money talking about my running, I know that if I focus on presenting my art, I can sell it. So I am going to be shifting the focus of this blog. It’s not going to be just about running, rather it’s going to be about…. uh… stuff? Yeah, that’s pretty vague, I haven’t quite figured it all out yet, but I will.

However, I have decided to ditch the Shortcuthills moniker and promote myself as Shutupbecky. I love the name- it’s loads snappier and makes people get weird, or laugh or both. I have had the name as an email since 2000, so I feel like the name is a part of me. It’s my alter ego, pen name, stage name, code name, however you want to call it. So yeah, Shutupbecky!

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I’ll leave you with a few pieces I did last week.

A quickish "sketch: painting
A quickish “sketch: painting. (The stuff on the sides isn’t part of it.)
Kids in my Mom's hometown village in Thailand.
Kids in my Mom’s hometown village in Thailand.
Juk. Same kid, same image as the first painting.
Juk. Same kid, same image as the first painting.

I need to start taking better photos-  which is to say NOT USE A PHONE…

Lighthouse 20M Results Bad and Good

Perhaps it’s time to schedule an eye exam.

Two ten-mile loops. Easy peasy, right? Actually, it was super easy.

While it had rained the night before and the threat of mud was high, there was very little mud to speak of. The most mud we encountered was on the walk to the start. The course had a few tiny hills, but it was mostly flat and super runnable. Had I known how fast the course was, I definitely would have signed up for the 50K.

One of the worst parts of the day was when the 50K’ers took off. There was a huge crowd of people, then BANG! They take off and there’s like four other people left. It totally felt like the party just left me behind. And I would have to wait a whole freaking hour for my start.

More people eventually showed up and it seemed like we had our own little party ready to roll. The gun went off and the fun began. I wasn’t really trying, but I got ahead of the crowd pretty quick. However there were two guys ahead of me that were hauling. I tried to keep them in my sights. But the gap widened at mile 2.5 when I had to stop to take a sh*t. After that, I never saw the dudes again.

I cruised along, feeling good and strong. Even though I forgot my handheld in the car, it wasn’t a big deal since there were 4 aid stations per loop. I was totally fine without it and actually glad that I wasn’t carrying water.

For a several miles, it was like I was the only runner. The two dudes in front were just gone, and there didn’t seem to be anyone behind me. Finally, at about mile 5, a guy catches up to me. I  slowed down because I was confused. The fence line I was following ran perpendicular right into another fence. I was like, “What the?!” But then I saw there was an ever so slight trail following this new fence line. And then a hundred feet later, the trail disappears behind some trees. Again I was unsure if I was still on trail. I expressed my doubts to the other guy, he seemed unconcerned. Eventually we saw a big sign with a big arrow, which was perfect.

Trail anxieties relieved, I started talking with the guy. Mike from Boston, just moved to Austin, doing the 10 Miler. It was nice talking to someone after running alone for what seemed like forever. Mike probably felt the same way. We ran for several miles, talking about -what else-  running. About mile 8, he said he was taking off for the finish. I was sad to see him go because it was nice having company, and even nicer having another pair of eyes finding the trail.

When I got back to the start, I saw Mike. I asked how far out the two guys were. Turns out, one was a 10 miler, so there was only one guy ahead of me, although I had no idea how far ahead. But with 10 miles, there was still a chance. Mike had finished second in his race.

The second loop went by quickly. I started passing the slower 50K’ers. I was hustling along. One thing that struck me: I don’t push myself hard enough. Or more accurately, I’m not sure what I am actually capable of. I filed that away for a later training date. I’m nearing the finish and still feel like I have plenty of gas in the tank. Although I’m worried because I seemed to have missed that one section with the fence line business… Or did I just not pay attention?

My Garmin has my finish at 2:30:32. And only 19.52 miles. Oh $%^#!! I did miss part of the course. I tell the three people working the race. They seemed unconcerned and/or unsure what to do. I look at the tiny map on my Garmin and I can plainly see, yep, I missed that right turn. (Later, on Map My Run, I saw that I fudged up not once, but twice, and unintentionally cut off a half mile. A HALF MILE.) I told the lady who handling passing out the medals that I should be disqualified. While it would have been nice to place, it was a 20 mile race, not 19.52.

The more unsettling thing of all this was not having my name listed on the web page official results. No DQ, or even an asterisk. Nope, I was not part of that race. Oh well.

The next two days I redirected that bummer energy onto canvas. Finished two paintings in two days. Maybe I’ll sign up for a 5K and get lost…

bitchin'
bitchin’
THE QUICK BROWN
THE QUICK BROWN

Fun Sun Run

“Fun” may be stretching it a bit, but today’s run was a good one.

bingo_cards-1My mom loves play Bingo. Today, there was a special, so she wanted me to go with her. ( I don’t really like to play, I only go for her sake.) We’d leave at 6pm and get back around 10. If I chose to go, I’d have to run before we left, which meant running at 3, pretty much in the heat of the day. Okay, so what if it’s a million degrees out! I’m from Texas, I can handle the heat, right? And why don’t I run a couple of errands just to make things interesting?!

Oh, and did I mention this would be my first double-digit run in almost three months?

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johnny_automatic_ornate_sunThe high was (only) 97, and yeah, it was pretty dang tough. What’s worse is I couldn’t find my sunglasses. I ran some trail and some paved, staying in the shade whenever possible. Usually I don’t sweat much, but today, I was sweating like nobody’s business! In fact I weighed myself before and after the run, there was almost a four pound difference.

And as much as I hate wearing a Camelback, they are helpful days like this. The peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have enough water is worth the sweaty back. Having food is pretty nice, too. Today, I brought a Powerbar Vanilla gel and one of their new fruit gels. The vanilla gel is one of the few gels I actually like. It’s kind of a strong fake vanilla, but I like it. I just wish it had caffeine in it. The fruit gel I did not eat. I tried one a couple of weeks ago, and it was just okay. I think it’s basically baby food in a different, more expensive package.

My first errand was to deposit cash at my bank. Not even 4 miles in, I was fantasizing about how great the AC in the vestibule would feel. Usually it’s ridiculously cool. Usually, but not today. Dammit Chase! I lingered for a minute after my transaction, hoping maybe it would get cooler… it wasn’t getting any cooler. Very well, to the libary! (sic)

The heat was working its magic, so I stopped and sat down. I saw a deer, it looked at me. I did that slow blink thing that’s supposed to relax cats (it shows you aren’t a threat) and it seemed to work on the deer. It went back to nibbling leaves.

Poppy_FlowerI stared at a bright red flower. My gaze lost focus and then I could see everything. And  those bugs, whatever those bugs are, singing their slow heat song. Everything was very still and it was beautiful. It was a very cool moment. Mighta been the influence of The Power of Now.

Or more likely it was just the heat.

10 minutes later, I’m in the library. The AC feels amazing. I drop off my overdue Ayurveda video, and head to the hold racks. The book won’t fit in my Camelback. Just as well, less for me to carry! I’d like to stay and absorb every molecule of this fantastic AC air, but I feel weird wearing my running get-up here, so I split. 7 miles down, 3 to go.

No, wait, I’m supposed to do 11 today, I’ve got 4 more to go. Fuuuuudge. I mean, awesome!

I tack on a short diversion. I stop and eat my gel, hoping it’s enough to get me through 4 more miles. As I get closer to my finish, I realize I’m going to have to run a bit more. I make it to 10 miles and turn around. I stop and pause under some shade only to discover some stickers stuck to my shorts from sitting in the grass. And a sliver has embedded itself into my finger. Sweating furiously, trying to use non-existent fingernails to extract the thing, I’m cursing my luck, cursing this heat, wondering why did I choose to run now just so I can go play a game I don’t even like.

And then I looked up and saw a deer staring at me.

Doe_1_I immediately snapped out of sourpuss mode. The sliver could wait till I got home. There was only one more mile to go. And I’d just completed my first double-digit run since forever!! And perhaps most amazingly, the whole run went down without a peep from my Achilles. Hot or not, this was a good run. I ran the final mile encouraged and much happier.

*   *   *   *

johnny_automatic_bag_of_money I didn’t pay attention to the time when I got home. I was just making my post run smoothie when I noticed it was 5:55. Holy crap! That took me three hours?! I drank my smoothie faster than usual and iced my feet for a few minutes. I was totally beat and seriously contemplated bailing out, but I didn’t want to upset my mom.

I’m super glad I went because, wouldn’t you know it, I actually won a game! $475! Woo hoo! New shoes, here I come!

 Sometimes doing stuff you’d rather not do pays off.