Thursday, May 26, 2011

Running....Oh, the Places You'll Go

Wow, what a journey the last 365 days has been! There have been ups and there have been downs. But my life has not been the same since I headed out for my first two-mile run on May 26, 2010.

Here are some facts and figures from my first year as a runner:

First Mile - 8:59 on May 26, 2010

Fastest Mile - 6:02 on February 17, 2011

Fastest 5K - 20:06 on May 19, 2011

Fastest 1/2 Marathon - 1:34:26 on May 7, 2011 (Cap City)

Total Races Run - 8 (KCH Fundraiser 4-Miler, Emerald City 1/4 Marathon, Columbus 1/2 Marathon, MVNU Homecoming 5K, 1st on the 1st 5K, Run Cbus 10-Miler, Kenyon Earth Day Challenge 1/2 Marathon, Cap City 1/2 Marathon. Plus numerous other unofficial ones that we staged with our running group.)

Total Miles Run - 1,355

Total States Run In - 6 (Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, California)

Total Days Run - 257

Average Distance Per Day Run - 5.27 miles

Total Pounds Lost - 30

Pairs of Running Shoes - 3 (Asics Gel Kanbarra 5)

First of all, I need to say a big thank you to my wife, Carla, and my daughters, Ashley and Kylie, for supporting me in this new endeavor. Carla had been running for two years before I took this up and she was really the inspiration behind getting me started on this journey. Ashley and Kylie have also had fun with the running and have even participated in two 5Ks in the past year. I'm looking forward to running with them more as time goes on. It takes the support of the whole family for running to become a true part of your lifestyle and I'm thankful for mine.

This year of running has seen me go from being very much a fair-weather, only-run-when-the-conditions-are-ideal runner to a runner who thoroughly enjoyed a -10 degree 10K run in January as part of running 205 miles all outside for the month despite colder than normal temperatures.

I have really enjoyed renewing old friendships and all the new friends that I have made as a result of running. When I started out, I was running solo. However, as the year has gone on, I am now part of a group (the Mount Vernon Running Buddies who are pictured below) that gets together pretty much every morning to run at least a 5K. I've also seen how supportive the running community as a whole is with each other through tracking my running on Daily Mile.

While I'm not an expert by any means, my plan over the next week is to write a few posts about what I've learned about running throughout the past year. I have appreciated all the feedback and tips that I have gotten from other runners and if I can help just one person by posting my experiences then it's worth taking the time to write about them.

As I close this look back over the past year on the run, I can't help but think about these words penned by the incomparable Dr. Seuss:

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Taking Things to the Next Level

Last year, I had the opportunity to be a part of history during the Major League Baseball season as on a couple of occasions I was able to land a seat in the Cleveland Indians' Social Deck. This was an area set aside for fans, bloggers, and other personalities to use social media platforms during games to spread the word about the Indians, the game, and whatever else they wanted to talk about. The Indians were the first pro sports team to have a special area set aside on a game-by-game basis for their social media community.

Fast forward one year. Much like the team on the field that sports the best record in the majors, the Indians' communications and creative services staff has upped the ante again by moving their social media community from the Social Deck in the leftfield bleachers to the Social Suite along the third base line above the Indians' dugout.

On Sunday afternoon versus the Cincinnati Reds, I had the privilege of checking out the Social Suite for the first time with my family and my friend, George Hartz, and his family. We picked up our tickets at will call courtesy of @tribetalk and quickly found our seats. As we were walking to the Social Suite, one of my daughters commented that it was like we were entering a fancy hotel. Little did we know just how right she was as we prepared to enter the Social Suite.

While the Social Deck was nice last year, there was the disadvantage of being stuck outside if the weather was inclement or extremely hot with no shade. Well, the Social Suite has nice shade and protection with the overhang, and the option to sit inside in the air conditioning was something that the kids enjoyed as well. The Social Suite is also much more conducive to in-game blogging if attendees so desire.

Well, the game moved along and the Indians dominated the Reds 12-4. In the bottom of the fifth inning, my opportunity to play in the game came when Jack Hannahan fouled a ball up to the Social Suite which I promptly snagged in mid-air (photo above). It's the third foul ball I've grabbed over the years, but the first outside the state of Colorado as the other two came at a Colorado Rockies game and a Colorado SkySox (Triple-A) game. (The ball at the SkySox game was off the bat of Alex Rodriguez.)

We enjoyed the rest of the game and the kids had a great time. It was the first MLB game for George's two boys and it was fun to watch them take it all in. The only downside is that it will be a little bit of a letdown when they go to their next game and don't have such great seats. :) Following the game, the kids all got to run the bases to cap off what was a great day (photo below).

I need to say a big thank you to Curtis Danburg, Rob Campbell, and Danielle Cherry for the great job that they are doing and for making our fun day possible. For more information on how you might score a seat in the Social Suite, check out this link and follow @tribetalk on Twitter.