Monday, December 15, 2008

2009 - Some early thoughts

So, how did 2008 go? A nice organized essay on the topic would be terrific, but I'm blogging and blogging itself sounds pretty sloppy and my own version of it has been pretty sloppy, in fact 2008 turned-out to be pretty sloppy training/racing wise . . . so I'll just ramble a bit.

First of all, I am almost a year into trail running and blogging about it. Last year at this time I was reading blogs and just getting myself healthy from a sore hip/ITB. I was so new and still am. But the blogosphere has given me a peak into this other world that's online and the insight therein that we find so cool, even sickenly so (I can see how people could spend their whole lives online) has certainly given my running a little electricity. I wonder if it's truly made me a better runner?

I have to kinda parallel the blogosphere and the trail running since the two have been side-by-side so to speak, at least chronologically. My emphasis with the blog has to do with those whom I've met, the feedback and insight I've received that has helped me develop as a runner, at least a student of running discourse. So let me summarize the blobbers I've come to know.

1. I have to start with JW. From this guy, I've learned a lot about dedication and the importance of maintaining a playful attitude while immersed in such devotion. I started following his blog in. . . 2006? Yeah, I think so. It's been a while. I've been along for the ride. In fact, an old friend of mine used to train with him and I remember him talking about JW, how new Walsh was eventhough his road results were pretty sick. You can absolutely trust that the guy has maintained a very keen focus on his goals, been very committed but the work never gets goon-like. He's been a great model in terms of how to stay level-headed, healthy and successful. I don't think those of us who read realize the work he does day-in-and-day-out. I can only imagine. He's the champ.
  • Focus on training and diet
  • Be consistent with the regimen
  • Sacrifice for the goals (develop short term that will long term)
  • Have fun
I've said recently that the best beer is the one right after the run. That's JW. Get the work (that's part of a focused program done) and then have had it. Keep it real!

2. Beth, James' twin (I bet they'll have twins some day God willin') is another freakin inspiration. Her skills are crazy. Like JW, I've learned a lot about staying focused and having fun. They're food blog is not read enough. I'm lame. It's a great resource. Given her recent marathon effort, I can only imagine where she's headed. Oly trials? We'll be watching. One of the things that sparked my approach to this review (summarizing my favorite blogs) was what she said in her marathon race report. I paraphrase, but she said it's time to take a break from running and be gym rat for awhile. As I will explain in my own initial approach to 2009, that's what I need to do. Thanks, Beth.
  • Be a foodie
  • Be a gym rat
  • Be focused,
  • Consistent
  • Sacrifice and
  • Have fun!
3. Hang Nine. Great blog IMHO. Talk about consistency. GZ brings it every day. It's like his running and blogging are becoming more and more intense. I remember the nine toe pose infront of the picture of Pikes as his header image. He's got Pikes on the membrane. Following the 2008 journey with his hernia and all, hitting the tready like a hampster and going nuts last winter/spring during the MAF debate. . .he's stubborness is his clarity. They guy knows what he knows and he can tell it like it is. And I think he won the MAF debate although the wrap of said debate is to be concluded hopefully around a fire pit in the desert somewhere perhaps with the Grand Canyon yawning in our midst.

From GZ I'm learning about focus (the guy has "Pikes on the membrane") and consistency. His family values are awesome, so he's an all-around great read. I was drawn to trail/mountain running because of that kind of spirit. GZ embodies it all, pure of heart and a little nuts. He's definitely keeping it real. He makes his own ale. Are you kidding? He's got the mountain spirit in a bottle. Ask for some and he'll pour.
  • Focus
  • Consistent mileage
  • Train to run (these work-outs are going to be big in my approach to 2009)
  • Training (GZ talks a lot of running discourse. He's got a plan. He's tinkering)
  • Just do it!
4. Lucho. I think he changed his name, but he's still, for now, Lucho. This guy is going big. His spirit is climbing higher. He's buying house in the mountains. He's going to be a mountain runner whether he wants to or not. I love this guy's love of hard rock. With his speed and quickness of mind, the guy is Tony Iommi, not George Benson. He's ripping.

His blog provides readers with a ton of info. His new lay-out is exceptionally helpful. He is a talented writer and thinker. He's a generous coach and friend although I hardly know him. Based on the conversations that go down over yonder, you can tell his generosity and character are big with the endurance efforting community.

He's taught me a lot about training. About HR training. I rebelled last summer. I got frustrated. This week I'm strapping the monitor back on for some weekly runs. I didn't really get injured this year, my first year of trail and mountain running. Sure I wasn't running 50 milers, but I was consistent and did a handful of half marathons on very hilly terrain aside from a lot of mountain trail running. I'm pretty sure the MONTHS of aerobic training had a lot to do with that. I wasn't cross-training. I was just running. I've never run that much in my life. I averaged 50 mile weeks for a few months in a row. Didn't get injured. I owe a lot of that to Lucho. Thanks. Reading his blog can be a regular lesson in exercise physiology/science. Indelible stuff.

And the man's family values are impeccable. He's got it (and I think my favorite post of all was that one about his favorite things --the boots, the tatoos, the lotion. . . .)! Lucho has style.
  • Study the science (read the Noakes book you checked-out you idiot. Read a chapter!)
  • Push the training (Tim talks a lot about the stress of over-training, the benefits)
  • HR training. Especially at the beginning, in Base. Nail it. It pays-off down the road
  • Family values. Get them, keep them. Build on them. Perfect them.
There are many others, but I've got to move on.
ChuckieV, Kerrie, Trevor, Simon Whitfield, Scott Dunlap . . . and many more.

The blogosphere has been killer. Now what about the running in 2008?

I remember talking to Tim about 2008 back in the early spring. I was in the midst of my HR training with Temecula Xduro on the horizon. He said just train right through it. He asked me what my goals were back then. I said I turn 40 in Dec. so being competitive as in Masters would be cool. He responded that 2008 should then just be a base for that. In other words, my entire 2008 season should just be laying down a base from which I can build in 2009 and beyond.

When I think about that, 2008 doesn't seem so unsuccessful. Ironically, I won my age group at Temecula and probably decided to run Hawaii based on that. I don't know if I would have run Worlds if I hadn't qualified. I felt a little justfied. With the way things turned-out here at season's end, I felt initially like 2008 was a bit of a let down. BUT if I remember what Tim and I talked about, 2008 was simply an extended training period. I'm going to go with that.

My strengths
  • Consistency - I demonstrated that I can consistently put together some weeks of decent mileage. I fact months.
  • Durability - I was never laid-up because of running injury. In fact, I was never really sick until this last month. My ability to train consistenly can not be overlooked. Like I said, I think the MAF (base building) running was key to this health maintenance. Jump-roping helped too, as did some days on the elliptical and the stair-master (actually I didn't hit the s.m. really at all). Lucho and ChuckieV are pretty much the Base masters. I don't think one can deny that approach early in a season (on a side note, I noticed Angela is doing some hiking these days). In a world where anaerobic efforts seem to pay the most, the aerobic work-out can be hugely beneficial.
  • Enthusiasm - I definitely want to train and get better. I want to travel and race. I went to L.A. a couple of times, Vegas, and Hawaii this year, not to mention Temecula. I will put in the planning and set aside the time to race. This is a life-style I only want to improve, refine, grow. I want to meet more people involved, build those relationships. I've already met a bunch of folk. The community and its goals drive me to train and become better. This is a good thing.
My Weaknesses
  • Discipline - Although I was consistent, so I got the work-outs in each day/week, I still wasn't very disciplined. Discipline touches on a several fronts.
  1. I need to get to bed earlier. I'm writing this post at nearly 11:00 at night. I'll be asleep at 12:00 just because. I have to stop that. I have to be under the covers by 10:00. Even though that seems late for some, that's a start. I have to do that. Which will address another aspect of my life that needs discipline: training.
  2. I need to train in the early a.m. According to my diet plans, my first meal is affected by my early morning work-out which I have to do. Even if it's doing core work in my living room, I have to get work done in the a.m. (ideally before others are up!) GZ, JW, Lucho are all good examples of that. That's part of the dedication and sacrifice that have to be present for this work.
  3. My diet is horrible! I have to be much more focused and CONSISTENT on what I eat. I'm going to post and querry feedback on this front. I need better snacks (Beth and JW). I need easier mealing so I don't fall back on some plate of crap! Come on now!
  4. Core and strength work. This is a huge focus for me early on. I'm following Beth into the gym-rat mode. I have to get more "fit." I don't mean fit as in, hey you're running well, you're fit. I need to get more fit, as in, wow, Matt, you actually don't fit those jeans anymore because they're too big. I am not being weird. I am pudgy, which is a really nice way saying I'm fat. I am. Even if I'm carrying 8 lbs. too much. Go for a run carrying an 8 lbs. dumb bell. I ran Hawaii about 15 lbs. over-weight I kid you not. I was eating like I was 10. I threw in the towel. Just ask the mud pie at Duke's on my birthday (my wife ordered it without my knowledge, the staff sang, and we all dove in.). My point: get in the gym, lift, do core work, and get ripped. I have to look like a runner. I look like a beer soft-ball league guy. Mountain running? You're kidding. This is my biggest peave right now about myself. I am a gym rat starting now.
  • My other weaknesses which include speed and climbing, a refined training program, etc., will be addressed if I'm more disciplined. I have people to model, to whom I can ask questions, etc. I have books to read, and training plans to download. What I need is discipline. Going back to JW, the guy is nails on so many of these fronts. And the results speak volumes. It's D-day.
Okay, this is long. But I have to get it out there. And more to come.

Right now the focus is Long slow distance, and core and strength work. That's it. Races? I'll post later about that and more specific thoughts on food, etc. Good night.


  1. wow, wow, and wow.

    First, I am humbled to be mentioned in the same post as such company listed above. The blogs you mention are amongst my favorites. I think they embody a passion ... a passion to get out there, dream, believe and dare to do it. And sh*t, if they fail ... they are better for it. Your blog embodies that trip too, and it is why I am here.

    Everyday we get a chance to be what we want to be. As a runner, as a husband, as a father, as a friend. I love that free will and how training and racing puts it right between your eyes, and then serves as a lens for everything else. Your blog shows me that too and that is why I am here.

    Bud, our goals are only one choice away. And one more after that. And one more after that ...

    Thanks for the kind words (although the one that resonates the most is stubborn ... I love the Lucho Tony I reference, you are aging yourself there big time).

    Here's also to hoping we get to meet in 2009. Keep livin' it.

  2. totally great review- we've had fun watching you too! its always great to hear you weigh out the costs and benefits of different types of training here (MAF, vs. hhills, vs. whatever)
    now that you have all this perspective, just go with it! do stuff you love to do, have fun, and take it all in...dont think too much- it hurts the brain! AND you do enough of that in your day job :)

    i know there are great things to come from you in 2009. thanks for always being awesome and offering support.

  3. thanks for the all the props dude... don't know if I deserve it but I do appreciate it.

    i love the little "blog" crew we have. I have learned so much in the past year from reading, commenting, and writing. I know it's kind weird but it has definitely served as motivation.

    2009 is going to be huge... for everyone. You can do whatever you want.

    I can't wait to get out and hit the trails with you soon... almost as much as I look forward to the post run beers!

    I am heading out of town for the holidays but lets run in January for sure!

    thanks again for all the support.