Catching up, again

“You already have everything you need to be a long-distance athlete. It’s mindset, not miles, that separates those who do from those who dream.” – John Bingham

So many miles have passed – again – since my last post, and I pledge that I’ll do better as my buildup to the New York City Marathon reaches the halfway point.

For months, I’ve known that I’d be running, I just didn’t know what the journey would look like. It was late June, after more than a month of regular running, that a turning point came in my training. It marked the beginning of my dedicated marathon training. Soon after, a Fourth of July race in Minneapolis gave me hope and reinforced progress was happening. And since then, I’ve piled on plenty of miles, and my gratitude for the blessings in life is abundant. I’m looking forward to the Wild Hog Half Marathon in Grand Forks and running a 26K loop around the lake during the Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon.

Along the way, I’ve built up my weekend long run, re-established my morning running routine, racked up a streak of consecutive days running, and had a blast meeting up with Grand Forks runners for Wild Hog Wednesday at the race’s namesake restaurant.

There’s been some tragedy: Lisa Knudson, another well-known and respected triathlete, died when a vehicle struck her bicycle. I didn’t know her, but I recognized her. Some of my friends knew her well. And my thoughts and prayers go to those family and friends who will miss Lisa.

There’s been some fun: After an Ice Bucket Challenge from WDAZ TV, I had a chance to experience a 5-gallon bucket of ice water being poured on my head – raising some dollars and hopefully some awareness for ALS.

It’s impossible to catch up on all the happenings and thoughts from my recent running adventures. But I’ve booked the airline ticket and hotel for New York, and I’m feeling godo about the progress of training. In part, I feel lucky that I’ve been able to continue building miles, and still sidestep and train through some injuries and other aches.

Expect more frequent postings in the coming days and weeks. Before signing off for today, though, I want to give a shout out to former and current running pals for their awesome performances at last Saturday’s Go Far Half Marathon in Fargo: Mandy Elseth (2nd), Gwen Mars (9th) and Rachel Hellyer (13th). Awesome job, ladies, and congrats to all the finishers.

Going streaking

Nearly every day out on my run, I think about lots of things I should write in my blog when I get home. And, in a rush, I figure I’ll do it first thing when I get logged into work, especially since I tend to show up early.

Inevitably, I jump right into things and the day slips away. By the time I do have a chance to sit down and write, I’m overwhelmed by all the things I could write.

What I failed to write, just a few days after my last post, was how a reader dropped a birthday card off at my work for Coby. Not just a card, though. A card with picture of Golden retriever puppies, a typed “letter” with picture from two Goldens, and a couple of gift cards to help Coby celebrate his birthday. The letter was written with humor and style that still makes me smile. Of course, as I rushed to get out of town, though, I was late on the late reply and thank you. It was appreciated and the random act of kindness made my summer.

As the summer progresses, it seems like we’ve had an amazing stretch of days. Sunny, warm, calm. The mornings have been perfect for running, and I’m in the midst of a streak unlike one I’ve ever experienced.

My streak of consecutive days running has reached into its fourth week, and my legs feel great. I didn’t expect to feel this good. And with 3 straight weeks with more than 50 miles, include a 5K and second-place age group finish at the Bemidji Dragonboat Festival race on the day following a 16-mile jaunt around the lake, I’ve been on a bit of a roll.

In June, I wanted to run every day, but fell short by a handful. Still, I developed strong habits and a routine that has served me well: I missed two days in July but still logged 31 runs. In August, I haven’t missed a day, yet, and I feel great, especially each morning after I get moving and soak in the crisp morning air.

Not every week will end with more miles than the previous one, but this streak has been beneficial in getting me in much better shape. With just less than 12 weeks to the New York City Marathon, my sights are set on a strong run and my spirit filled with anticipation.

Along the way, I plan to run a few half marathons, round up some long runs on the hills and set a course for a strong finish. If I reach my destination, I have a big plan in place as an encore. First, though, my focus remains set on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run New York.

Day of firsts

A bit surprised by the cool, gray weather, my spirit was undeterred this morning about the mission ahead: log a decent recovery run, and make sure my Golden pal, Coby, has a special day.

In part, that meant he’d be joining me for part of today’s workout. After all, today is his first birthday. It’s a bit tough to believe that he’s a year old – from a tiny little dude on a farm near New York Mills to a nearly full-grown, dark caramel and truly athletic canine.

Just a week ago, I marked my first year in my Grand Forks home, ending three months of commuting, and it seems fitting that the bridge between these two important first anniversaries would be another significant marker: today capped my first 50-mile week since I left Bemidji, Minn. To find out the last time I’ve accomplished that feat within a calendar week, I’d have to page through old running logs.

In a lightweight long-sleeved running shirt, I did an improvised version of a loop from my house before returning home to pick up Coby, who joined me for jog along the Grand Forks Greenway. It was a chance to get him a birthday run, a few pictures along the way and my milestone bridge.

Here’s a short video in celebration of Coby’s birthday.