Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Weather


This morning's weather can be described in a word. Monsoon. Warm temperatures, high winds and lots of rain. This is the type of morning where you just want to stay inside and sip on coffee. Luckily, I find motivation this morning and even torrential rains can't hold me back.

Now after a morning run and a rain affected commute I sit with Zach waiting on the final check for his weekly allergy shot. Zach's weekly progress continues to be a motivator for him and for me.

It amazes me how each little step can positively effect one's overall outlook.  For example, a simple rain drenched 4-miler not only improves my energy level, but also makes me excited to continue planning the 40for40 event and to work on my overall objective of health and happiness for my family.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mileage

One of the benefits of living in Northern Virginia is the access to Washington & Old Dominion bike trail or more commonly known as the W&OD trail. This trail is nearly always the center spine of any training run that starts from home. My home is about one-half mile from mile marker 6.5 for a westerly jaunt and about a half mile from mile marker 6.0 for a trek in the direction of Washington D.C. and its many beautiful trails along the Potomac river.

In fact, my home town of Falls Church City opened the first section of the trail with a project in 1974. Over time, the popularity of Falls Church's foray into trail building on old rail lines caught the attention of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA). NVRPA took over the extensions of the trail and over time it has grown into the jewel that it is today. The National Recreation Trail travels along hill and dale from Shirlington in Arlington near the Pentagon out to the western suburbs of Leesburg, well west of the Nation's capital.

There is another aspect of the trail that interests me. The total length is 44.7 miles. This is very very close to the trek that I'll be taking in April. And while I don't intend running the full length as a trainer this winter, I will no doubt pound many sections of pavement along the old railroad right of way.

My penchant for variety means that I'm not much of an out and back runner, but with two directions of trail to choose and a variety of suburban side streets and other trails for return options, I'm rarely, if ever, feeling predictable when I set out for an early jaunt.

As we descend toward the roll back from daylight savings and on to the winter solstice, my early jaunts are more often than not traveled with a headlamp in full beam. These are the training days that will pay off in spring, so onward and onward we go.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Achievements


Life is measured and indeed oft remembered in increments on the journey forward. Each step, while important overall, becomes a blur of color in our rainbowed memories. And so we erect monuments beside the trail to mark our progress and to remind us of the essence imbued within the shades of progress.

This week, our family celebrates a few milestones. A twelfth anniversary for the parents, an eighth birthday for our oldest son, and another half year older for the runner in training. The last point brings up an interesting thought - today there are less than six months until the forty mile adventure.

And so with a milestone tackled and a goal in sight, it is worthwhile to evaluate our progress and look to the road ahead. Training has been going well. The runs are longer now. Eight milers are no problem now and the longer runs if 14, 15, and 16 miles, while slow and often painful are successfully completed one by one.

The longer runs have shown me that nutrition and hydration will be critical ingredients for success next April. My biggest fear is the possibility of cramping during a forty mile run. And so in the six months ahead, I will increase my endurance and work hard to learn new ways to keep my body going longer and longer.

So this week, we toast our achievements and look to the road ahead to guide us toward the greater good.



Friday, October 8, 2010

Mission Accomplished

Allergy shots completed.

Inspiration


This morning is a perfect morning to think about the driving force behind my desire to knock out 40 miles by fleet foot in April 2011. The reason that today is better than another day is that Zachary and I arose well before dawn to trek across Washington DC interstates to the best allergist in the area. And here we sit in Dr. Economides's lobby waiting for an opportunity to take a shot in the arm for immunity and prevention.

Zachary suffers as many people do from allergies. Today we are attacking grasses and molds and airborne allergens that might weaken Zach as he faces the challenges of a new day at school, at play and at sport. There is a reason that we want Zachary as strong as possible. The reason is his severe allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. This reality has shaped Zach's life over the last few years and today we continue our fight. Everyday is a new victory, an opportunity to live and to love.

As I approached my fortieth birthday, I knew that I wanted to do something that would be a positive change in my life. Exercise has always inspired me and after working through a knee operation in 2009, I was more respectful of what it might be like to lose endurance, sport or even mobility. This respect pushed me to try something that would require life changes. Changes that I will take in tow for the next forty years and beyond.

Health became my first inspiration. But health in self and of body was not enough. To make a statement, the body needs nourishment, but so do the mind and the soul. Five years with Zachary in my life has given my new understanding of the true meaning of soul. I knew that an effort to help Zachary's future while strengthening mine was the right combination for a successful test of mind, body and soul.

Health is still the true inspiration, but now I am running for myself and running for the health of my son. FAAN is the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network and for Zachary, they offer hope in the form of allergy awareness and funding for scientific research. We don't want a silver bullet; we simply want a life for Zachary where he can walk into any restaurant, order wisely and not fear a poisonous reaction. We are confident that success is achievable. And for this success, I run and I work to raise money and support for FAAN.