A Runner's Inception

What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed — fully understood — that sticks; right in there somewhere.
Dom Cobb, Inception

I have a half marathon this weekend that I wasn't planning on running and attempting to come in at 1:58 — a speed I'm not fully trained for. Where did these ideas, inspiration, or motivation come from?

Is Leo in my head planting ideas? The simple answer is that I saw a contest on @DiaryAvgRunner's twitter, then followed it to her blog, which then led me back to twitter to enter. So does that make @DiaryAvgRunner a player in Cobb's Inception machine? Maybe...

But what about the thought that I can run faster miles than I am currently training for? Not just one... 13.1 of them. That's the true Inception. That's the dream WITHIN the dream. Is that kid from 3rd from the sun bouncing off the walls in my brain?

That's why I love racing. The thought that on race day, anything is possible. My average time at this race is 2:13 — having run it the past 4 years. So what makes me think year 5 will produce a 15-minute improvement? I just told you: Inception.

Once an idea creeps into your mind, especially a Runner's mind, it is nurtured, massaged and designed to overcome any rational thought. I have the 13.1 distance in me, that was the part of this venture without question. I just needed to be presented with a way in. Enter @DiaryAvgRunner moving all stealth like. A contest? Sure, I'll throw my name in. Once the opportunity was there, it was the runner's wiring in my brain that came up with the idea to run the fastest half marathon my asics have ever seen. But in order for an idea to take place and stick, the idea has to come from the person. It can't be someone else's idea... or can it? Inception. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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Star Wars Marathon: Episode IV

Ok, I'm a fan of the Trilogy. And I kick it old school, so I am speaking of the original and only trilogy: Star Wars.

Since I'm also a fan of running, and more specifically the marathon, it seems only fair to introduce the two. I've always thought that having a Star Wars themed event would be an instant hit. The mile markers would be parsecs (1 mile = 5.2155242 × 10-14 Parsecs), medals could be tiny lightsabers or characters. A R2D2 medal would be sweet, or take it to a fanboy level, the same medal that was handed out at the end of Episode IV... but that's another post entirely and I'm getting off subject.

This one is dedicated to how the Star Wars characters would do in a marathon. Here is the context:
  • The characters are running (Han Solo), not the actors (Harrison Ford).
  • The race is open to all species — droids are allowed to enter, but judged in their own race division.
  • The runners cannot use powers or aids to give them an advantage over other runners. (Darth Vadar cannot choke grab other runners as he passes them, but his cape is allowed.)
  • Each runner is gaged based on the episode as a separate race. Meaning Luke Skywalker from Episode VI would have a faster finish time than Luke Skywalker of Episode IV since he towards the end of his Jedi training and stronger physically and mentally (Yep, I just wrote that into the rules).

This post will only discuss some of the characters from Episode IV. Future posts planned.

Episode IV: A New Hope
A long time ago... in a galaxy (race) far, far away

Luke Skywalker
Being raised on a desert planet, we can assume that Luke is comfortable in the heat. That's always a plus. He's in good shape and young, also good factors. But the key to Luke's race day success may be his dreams of achieving something bigger and greater than his current situation. Motivation and determination can do a lot for a runner in the later miles, and this is where Luke will dig deep and finish the race strong.

Bonus Factor: Luke may be over-ambitious and go out too fast in the early miles. If so, look for him to remember Obi Wan's teaching's about the Force. Although Luke can't use the force to run faster, it may be enough of a reminder for him to clear his mind and take one mile at a time.

Han Solo
Han doesn't appear to be a "training" kind-of-guy, so this may be his downfall. He has a little swagger to him, complete with an open-shirt and vest on race day. He'll be at the start line over-confident and is likely to crash and burn mid-race. Although Han has the machismo-confidence to talk a good game, going the full distance may be tough on him. His pride might carry him to the finish line, but it isn't a 100% bet.

Bonus Factor: If Han finds himself on the verge of not being able to go the whole distance, look for him at the post-race beer-garden cantina. He'll have his feet up, a tasty beverage and a snarky comment about running being over-rated. He may come off a bit rough, but he's likely to buy the next round of post-race recovery drinks for his friends.

Princess Leia
As a leader of the Rebel Alliance, we can assume she has some fight in her. She may be the runner that curses at her self to get her legs moving in the later miles. She's a toss up come race day. Her feisty attitude has the strength to get her to the finish line, but she may lose valuable seconds yelling at a water-volunteer for not properly handing her a cup and getting her shoes wet.

Bonus Factor: With her home planet Alderaan being destroyed, she may have that extra edge of motivation to run a strong race. Don't underestimate her, she has the determination to win the whole damn thing.

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Don't let Obi-Wan's age let you think that he won't run a strong race. He's fully capable of rocking the old-man shuffle the full distance. He won't have a really fast pace, but he'll be consistent and unlikely to take any walk breaks. His splits should be right within a few seconds of each other and will pass anyone that bonks out early.

Bonus Factor: His cloak may slow him down a bit adding extra weight to his arm movements. He wont finish first and won't finish last, but his beard will be impeccable. Look for him to offer helpful words of advice and wisdom to struggling runners as he passes by them.

Darth Vader
Darth is a tall dude, so factor in a long stride into his pace. He'll have extra weight come race day with a helmet and cape, but he will be an intimidating factor at the start line. His breathing may be an issue as the race progresses, but he's not one to give up.

Bonus Factor: Getting passed by the Dark Lord of the Sith is going to wreck havoc on the confidence of other racers. Darth Vader is an imposing physical force, but dont look for him to be too quick or to weave in and out of runners. Straight lines and a consistent pace get Darth to the finish line.

To keep this post some-what decent in length, I won't dive into R2D2, C-3PO, and Chewbacca (yet). But would love to hear your thoughts on them (or others listed above) in the comments. A post about side characters (Stormtroopers, Greedo, Jawas) would also be nerdy fun. Enjoy.

Who do you think would finish first in the Star Wars Marathon?

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Rock'in Motivation - My Next Race

Runners can get motivation or inspiration from a number of places. It could be the random person that runs by as you stand in line for your morning coffee leading you to think "I'd rather be doing that." As of late, I've been getting my motivation from races. It's a common practice among runners, we simply need something to train for. Put a race on that calendar and you have a locked-in goal: "I need to be race-ready by THAT date."

For me, "THAT" date wasn't until Nov. 6 when I'll be running the US Half. But then I saw a tweet from @DiaryAvgRunner holding a give-away for an entry into the Rock n Roll San Jose Half. I flat out love that race. I signed up for my first RNRSJ in 07 and continued to do so for the past 4 years.

Last year, I decided I was going to take a break from repeating races. RNRSJ fell subject to this race revelation, but when I saw the contest, I couldn't resist. I threw my name in the hat knowing I was pretty close to race ready having run a half 2 weeks ago.

Fate. Destiny. This Awesome Blog! Whatever you want to call it, I won and will be running the RNRSJ for the 5th year in a row. Race day is less than 2 weeks away so I'll tune up my legs... get it? Rock n Roll... Tune Up... your welcome.... with a couple 10 milers and attempt to finish what I couldn't in Davis, a sub 2-hour finish.

Over the next few days I'll be diving into the archives and sharing some of my past RNRSJ memories, photos and of course, revamping my playlist in preparation for the 2011 race.

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Do You Rock? Do You Roll? Do Both in San Jose!

Our twitter friend and fellow blogger "Diary of an Average Runner" — @DiaryAvgRunner — is doing a fantastic give-away on her blog! It's an entry into next month's San Jose Rock n Roll Half Marathon. I love this race. I've done it in the past and have had a blast. I was trying to stay away from it this year, but like destiny or fate or something, it is calling out to me through YOU, my running friends.

Here is the post about the give-away courtesy of Brooks.


Several simple steps to earn multiple entries. Good luck me... and of course, good luck you.

Race day is less than a month away... Oct. 2nd, so Half Marathon-ready runners need apply.


Time for a change

Over Labor Day weekend, I got to some serious thinking. 2011 has been a year of many changes:
  • I'm going to become a father in the next couple of months.
  • I turned 30 in May, and
  • The entire year may go by WITHOUT me running a full marathon (on schedule to run 5 half marathons this year).
Seems like the perfect time to make a change before the year is over AND before my daughter arrives. I've flirted in the past with trying to accomplish P90X. Its a 90-day Xtreme workout program that doesn't mess around. That's the point. It's not a typical 20-minute workout three times a week type program, it's a kick your ass everyday for 90 straight days type of program. I've started and stopped in the past, never really diving into it too much.

I wouldn't consider myself skinny. But on the same note, I wouldn't consider myself over-weight. Sure, I could stand to loose 10-20 pounds, but I'm not out of shape, nor am I significantly in-shape. I run. I run a lot. But that doesn't mean I'm fit. I rarely cross train and my weights are great at collecting dust below my computer desk.

Time for a change.
I get inspiration and motivation from friends on Facebook and Twitter and I think: "Man, if I got a little more "fit," I might be able to become a better runner." Duh! Well, it's that time. I'm diving straight into P90X and kicking up my weekly mileage at the same time. It started on Monday.... so 90 days from now (December), I should be a lean-mean-running-fit machine.

I want my daughter to have a healthy, positive role model and who better to do that than her father. I want her to be proud of me. I want her to say "My Daddy is tough, and fast, and in-shape." Take that snot-nosed kid in the play-ground!

We'll see how it goes. I'm going to start training towards the 26.2 distance and keep my eye out for a December full (Not RNRLV, most likely local in the Bay Area). That combined with P90X should point me in the right direction towards becoming more "fit."

Change is good.