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I Need Help

I was listening to a recovering drug addict on the radio this morning. He said asking for help was the hardest thing he ever did. "It changed my life for the better." he said.

My life has been dotted with spiritual interventions. I asked for help a few times.

I don't know about you, but I've made a lot of bad choices. Some of them seemed so innocent at the time. You know, having the third beer before driving home, or loading up my plate for the third time when I was already obese. Sure there were the obvious bad decisions like quitting a good job thinking that this new one was going to fix my career path and continuing to date psycho Sally in high school.

She still haunts me 40 years later.

Three years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer (the first of five times), I decided, instead of having a major surgery, to let the doctors actively watch my tumor. This included blood tests, physical exams (where you get to be #1 with the doctor for a few minutes) and surgical biopsies. I hope I've made the right decision - quality over quantity.

I had another biopsy last Friday.

I hate them, they are messy, and they hurt like holy hell. However; I had to agree with the surgeon, six of these is better than one of those. I have been moving slowly for a few days, sore, and taking it easy so the bleeding stops. My experience is that it can take a week or two.

So what do I need help with?

Everything. I need help staying on track with the food. I need help managing my emotional state as I wait for the results to come back in a week or so. I need to stay focused on working so I can take care of my fiscal responsibilities.

Mostly I want to lay down on the couch and eat bonbons until all this goes away.

Running is my happy place and I can't go there this week. I have a 10K race this coming Sunday and I will take a shot at finishing.
I constantly tell myself I am doing OK with the food, but the scale isn't moving and I am up 15 pounds. I have been eating the same stuff for years, just too much of it I guess. I changed the battery in my food scale. I am on it again. Today is 2145 days that I have been logging in...

I should have learned something by now.

So tell me, what do I need to do to stay on track?

Tips for Life and Running

Just like the law of gravity, there are some rules for running that will produce similar health benefits if you don't fight them. 

Don't run in the house. You should have learned this as a kid!

Get running shoes fitted at a running store. Wear them even if they are not cute.

Prevent injuries by strength training. Nearly half of all runners are injured in any given year. This does not include poking your eye out with a fork at dinner.

Prevent injuries by warming up and cooling down. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) is the most common treatment for soft tissue injuries. Or beer.

Casts are the most common treatment for broken bones and sometimes face-palms.

Prevent injuries by stretching. 82 percent of runners will experience a running-related injury in their lifetime.

Have a training plan. What is the goal of your training? To run far? To run fast? To run a 5K? To get to the bar on time?

Have a flexible plan.

Celebrate your victories!

Don't increase mileage or intensity too much each week.

The best run is the one you don't skip.

Don't just run, strength train and cross-train. Fitness keeps injuries low.

Eat some carbs and protein within 30 minutes after a run. (Lots of geeky scientific reasons, just do it!)

Run facing traffic. You'd hate to miss your last second on earth without knowing what hit you.

Don't run immediately after eating Thanksgiving dinner. 

Remember, you are not on a bike. If you try to coast, as soon as your legs stop, you'll fall flat on your face.

If your muscles are sore after a run, that's good.

Get enough sleep. It's best if it is not while you're running.

Replace your shoes every 300-500 miles, or if they stink so bad they could knock over a skunk.

Learn to run long slow runs and fast short ones. It depends on how long you have until the cops find out what you did.

If you run at night, make yourself visible. Most drivers are not using night-vision goggles.

If you have any sharp pains during/after running, that's probably a sign to take a few days off.

You should be able to talk in complete sentences while running. That is to say, if you can talk in complete sentences when not running.

A headwind always slows you down more than a tailwind speeds you up. It's hearsay, but it feels that way.

Running uphill slows you down more than running downhill speeds you up. Also hearsay.

Buy your shoes a little on the large side. Your feet need room to grow. 

Don't run with scissors. If you are reading this, you probably still have eyes.
(Dr. Finch: Where would we be without our painful childhoods?)

Take rest days! At least one a week. If you are new, start with 4 rest days, and work up slowly. (Have a training plan!)

Don't forget to do the couch part of Couch to 5K. 

Have fun!

Did I miss any? 

Thanks for the votes and comments!

Everyone Should Think Big

Most of you know that I had congestive heart failure in 2011. Since then I have run 7 marathons. Because Boston is next Monday, I thought I would remind my readers that a marathon is always 26.2 miles. 

I love the Boston course.

Boston has been a constant inspiration for me. Running has radically changed my life, second to only prayer. There is something magical about Boston - sort of like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. It's just so big!
We should all think big when it comes to fitness goals! 

My blog is usually related to fitness and weight loss. Today it is about things you need to know about a marathon.

Please vote for it anyway. Sympathy votes are like make up sex.

So you want to run a marathon? Here are some things to keep in mind.
- A marathon is nothing like a half marathon. It's the difference between waking up after a glass of wine or two and waking up after five or six shots of tequila.
- Even when you have trained hard, expecting to run a faster pace then you did in any of your training runs is pathetic.
- Small races are much easier logistically, but they can get lonely those last 10 miles.
- Big races are awesome if you need crowd support.
- If you are planning to walk the last six miles after you hit the wall, why not walk the first six miles and finish stronger?
- The halfway point of a marathon is 20 miles.
- You need to practice fueling on all your practice runs.
- The shoes that work for your 5K and 10K - even your half may not work for a full.
- Any training runs longer than 20 miles can cause long term damage and ruin your big day.
- Long slow runs are as effective for building VO2 Max as long fast runs. Use them to stay injury free.
- Run/Walk is not an option for an untrained runner. It is meant to give you a faster finishing time than running the entire time.
- Get your 20-miler in 6 weeks before the race. That way you have time to fix things and try it again. Or go with the confidence you nailed it.
- The last 6.2 miles are subject to change very quickly.
- Negative splits are essential for a good marathon. (slower miles to faster miles)
- Train with the hydration brand provided on the course.
- During big-city marathons be sure to sit as much as possible. Two or three hours on your feet before a race wastes energy you will need.
- Bring throw-away clothes. Space blankets are cheap! Bring two. One for the ground and one for cover up with.
- Pre-load electrolytes starting three days before a race.
- Hydrate well starting two days before a race.
- If you are going to carb-load, do it two nights before the race.
- Always practice you pre-race meal before a long training run.
- Most courses have hydration every 2 miles, some more often. Small sips during training during these intervals.
- During hot races it's a good idea to bring hydration. Water stops can be a zoo.
- My chiropractor said walk for an hour before sitting down after a marathon.
- To help you go out easy, warm up and stretch during the first mile or two.
- Study the course map. Knowing where hills are is helpful. If you are planning on walking, hills are a good place regardless of your intervals.
- Leg cramps are COMMON in the later miles of a marathon. Bring salt packs!

Thanks for the votes and comments.

A Pathetic Runners Guide to the Universe

Six Years Later, I Am Still Here!

What can I say? Today is the 6th anniversary of my congestive heart failure. The ambulance, the surgery, and the unknown. It was scary but I had been so ill I didn't really care, I just wanted relief. It was a real thriller for me and those around me.

Today I am simply being grateful.

Not long after I had heart surgery I went to watch the Boston Marathon. There I sat and watched tens of thousands of runners doing their 26.2 miles. I was mad at myself for not having taken better care of myself. I went home determined to overcome heart disease or die trying.

That day on the operating table I didn't really care if I lived or died.

Something changed inside that day and I began my dream of running a 5K. I pushed hard on the way home from the route. My home was just barely a mile and it took 50 minutes to get home. I had to stop and rest, sitting on a park bench to catch my breath.

Running has been amazing for me. You know when you wish or pray to feel good? It did that for me.

I finally felt better than I had in decades - maybe ever. I know a lot of you have read my book, but the story doesn't end there. I ran my first 5K and I have finished 7 marathons and I am registered for another.

Life has bumps, and it is true that if you have your health you have everything. Take a chance and get to work. You'll be amazed at what you can do.

Thanks for the votes and comments, I always appreciate those.

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