Sunday, October 27, 2013

2nd 100 Mile Finish - Divine Providence

Driving to Tahlequah, Oklahoma Friday October 18th for my 3rd go at Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd 100 Mile Trail Run was exciting. I just “KNEW” that the 3rd time was going to be the charm. THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE YEAR TO BUCKLE! We had stopped at Walmart 


on the way to the camp ground to pick up a few things & so Skip could fix the plug on the trailer. It was dark at this point & drizzling (Yuck!) as I stood there holding a flashlight so he could fix the plug.

Once done, we headed off to Eagle Bluff. A block or two from Walmart, a nice lady pulled up along side us to let us know that the trailer door was open! A quick jump out of the car & back to the back & I closed the door & we were back on the road.

At Eagle Bluff camp ground & Skip and I began getting the trailer ready for bed when IT HAPPENED!

Me : “Skip, we have a problem!” Skip: “What sort of problem?” Me: “Skip, ewe have a BIG problem! I am missing a shoe! The shoes that I am RUNNING IN tomorrow morning.” By now, it was about 11:00 PM & still drizzling. Panicked that I was going to run in casual shoes or borrowed ones, Skip said for me to get to bed & he was going to had out to look for my lost shoe. (NOTE: Really? A dark blue shoe, at 11:15 PM in the drizzle?). At midnight, Skip opened the trailer door WITH MY LOST SHOE!

Now THIS MUST BE a Divine Sign that I was to finish & earn that coveted buckle this year.


After a good night’s sleep, I awoke to a cold morning & then a wonderful 8:00 AM start.

I was totally pumped! With my new found show (dry I might add), & tremendous excitement, we were off.

I have my crew in line & (2) pacers for loops (2) & (3). 

I was set!

Loop (1) was beautiful in the sun however for some reason, many of the aid station volunteers said I did not look good. I needed some “Go Juice”. I felt good, I just could not get my mouth & face to show it.

By the 2nd loop, I was in my groove. Mishelle Hancock jumped in & we headed off. When we made it to the Mad Dog aid station, it was not yet dark (although it would be on loop 3).
This has GOT to be the aid station of all aid station. Kevin Lemaster at Ultra Gator did a GREAT job!

Matt Wisnewski jumped in for a 1/2 loop before Mishelle (my Angel Runner) jumped in to run again until daylight.

By Mile 91, I was ready to be done. With no pacers left, Skip Gensert (my Crew Chief), jumped out; jeans & tennis shoes & all; & paced me in for the last 9 miles!

At the end, I was DONE!

Well, ALMOST DONE.

What I needed, was that coveted belt buckle. The buckle that alluded me for the past (2) attempts.

This time, I FINISHED! God & me!

I am TOTALLY indebted to ALL who helped. It was not easy, & I could not have done it alone.









Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Training Your Most Important Muscle


Okay, so you finally make the decision that you are going to run your first marathon or maybe you have already been running marathons & want to “take it to the next level” by running your first Ultra Marathon (Note: An Ultra marathon is any race distance further than a marathon such as a 50 km, 50 mile, 100 km, 100 mile or beyond). As would be expected, there is a whole plethora of things that you will need to do. How far out is the race? What sort of training schedule are you going to need to ensure that you peak at just the right time to perform at your best on race day? Do you have too many miles on your current shoes and will need another pair? If so, will they be the same pair or do you need something different for the terrain on which you will be running? A quick visit with your local running store should be able to provide the correct shoes for your race and probably suggest a training schedule for you. There are also plenty of on-line sites where you can get a good training schedule.

With these two issues taken care of, you begin to focus on nutrition needs during the race as well as cross training those core and support muscles. Nutrition during the race often depends upon the specific distance and your race pace. For MOST marathons, a majority of runners can get by with a good electrolyte replacement drink (I.e. Gatorade™) and carbohydrates that are easy to digest and absorb (I.e. GU Energy Gel, Powergel, etc.). Be sure though, to do your training WITH these so that you do not have any race day surprises in your stomach. Strengthening core and supporting muscles in your local gym is also fairly straight forward. Although running mainly uses your legs (duh!), there are many, many supporting muscles that need to be strengthened in order to ensure injury free running and a solid performance on race day. Your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves all need to be worked in the gym along with your core muscles such as your abs, lower back, upper back, obliques, shoulders and arms. What you say? Yup. All of these “other” muscle groups play a critical role in ensuring proper posture, stride, balance and overall running strength that will be crucial during your race.

So - - - you now have all of this in place and in motion all leading up to race day. You have new shoes (broken in, right?), a great training plan, your nutrition is going well and you are feeling strong. Those early morning gym workouts are strengthening your entire core and supporting muscles and you are ready to Rock ‘n Roll on race day - - - Right?

WRONG!

One of the most critical “muscles” to train is above your shoulders, right between your ears! That’s right; your Mental Muscle!

You can perform ALL of the above actions with pinpoint accuracy but without properly preparing yourself mentally, it could all be in vain. There WILL BE a time in your marathon or ultra-marathon that your mental state will begin to unravel. You will be tired, physically fatigued and probably in some physical discomfort. You WILL begin to question whether it was even a good decision to even attempt the race at hand! Your mental strength is one “muscle” that cannot be overlooked if you want to successfully finish your race. You need to KNOW that you will be tired, fatigued, in pain and mentally unfocused at times. It is absolutely essential that you train for it. After your scheduled “long run” when your legs are tired, run again the next morning. Begin mental visualizations of your successful completion of your chosen race. Without the proper training of this often overlooked muscle, your successful completion may never happen.

Friday, June 28, 2013

After Midnight - Pushing the Darkness Boundary


"After midnight, we're gonna let it all . . . " Oh wait, that is not what I was thinking, or was it?
 
Lots of things change or are perceived to change after midnight. The sun has gone down & it is dark! Darkness has a way of changing one's perspective on things & capping or "limiting" what one is willing to do. Notice I said WILLING! Once the sun goes down, many people raise up that boundary that they "cannot" do certain things. As with most things, this is a self set boundaries. Sure you cannot tan on a lounge chair, but you still can go out to enjoy yourself.
If you happen to enjoy running, your boundary breaker is a good headlamp. Night time running can be a great experience physically, but also emotionally & spiritually. The sense of "being out there" in the dark, has a way of causing one to turn inwards & be more introspective. Analyzing one's life in quiet solitude. It also allows one to connect (or in some cases re-connect) with God. It is quite time within which the Ultimate Dialog can occur.
Mentally, it can be challenging & often times strangely eerie. Your field of vision at night consists of ONLY what the beam of light covers. This tends to create a sort of tunnel vision. Outside of this lighted beam, is total darkness!
 
It is in the dark recesses of the night, where one's imagination takes over.
"What was that moving in the trees?"
 
"Do you see "eyes" looking back at you?"
 
"I feel like I am being stalked."

These are just snippets of the thoughts that run through ones mind but they are JUST THOUGHTS. Thoughts that tend to push the limits of our comfort zone & give us the feeling that we cannot do it.
I am here to tell you that YOU CAN do it & you will be a stronger, better person for it. It will push you onward & upwards THROUGH that self perceived boundary that the dark has you bound in.
 
As we at Know No Boundaries are always WALKING THE WALK as well as TALKING THE TALK, we are running the 2013 50 Mile Midnight Madness out on by the TATURs (Tulsa Area Trail & Ultra Runners - www.tatur.org).

Not only will we be pushing through the darkness boundary, but through the temperature boundary as well.
Temps in the Tulsa area are hovering around the century mark during the day, so it will be getting might toasty once the sun comes up.
None-the-less, we will be out with our
headlamps
 & our hearts to break through one more boundary.
Come out & play with us "after midnight" & have a blast"

Remember, there is no mountain top view without a climb. We want that mountain top view & are climbing without boundaries!

God Bless;
Ken

Saturday, April 27, 2013

TRAINING


Training - - - so what is it and what does it mean? How does it relate to "boundaries" or in our case, Knowing No Boundaries?
We all seem to be "training" for something all of the time. Training to improve our skills at school or at work, training to learn a new language, training for our first 5K, marathon or ultra marathon. With this training, comes obstacles; times during our training when we just do not feel that we are making any progress or even backsliding! As with most other boundaries or obstacles, they are mainly in your own mind! YOU have placed them there and YOU have given them the power to hold you back.
The big question is WHY? Why have you let some trivial challenge, some minor setback or difficulty get in your way of achieving what you set out to accomplish?
Has your desire to accomplish it diminished? I think not.
Have you decided that it is no longer something that you want? Also, I think not!
Has it become something that is beyond your true physical, mental or emotional limits? Again, I think not!
What is it then?
I believe that you have decided that it is easier to let the challenge overcome you and your desire and have relegated yourself to a few good excuses to use when asked "Why" you did not achieve what you had set out to accomplish.
Well, I am hear to tell you that IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!
YOU HAVE CAPACITY TO OVERCOME YOUR OBSTACLE! YOU HAVE THE STRENGTH TO BREAK THROUGH THE PROVERBIAL WALL THAT IS SEPARATING YOU FROM ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS!
What you need is a partner, an accomplice, or someone to whom you wil be accountable to. Someone who can understand your challenges and know exactly what it is that you need to push you over that wall or obstacle. Sometimes you actually need something physical like new shoes, that special class, a wheelchair or extra funds.
We all need things at times and for countless reasons. They are there for you; you just need to seek and ask. Not seek anywhere or ask anyone, but seek specifically in the place or places that can provide what you need. Ask those who CAN halp and have the knowledge and skills to help.
Often times however, we are too proud to ask. It just seems easier to pay the price of not achieving our goals, not becoming all that God has in store for each of us.
Here at Know No Boundaries, we say "Swallow your pride." There ARE people who are just waiting on the sidelines of life eager to help in any way necessary if you would only be open to it.
Although an obstacle can appear daunting, appearances can be deceiving!
When looked at through and with the eyes of a friend or a helper, things look very, very different.
KNOW THAT YOU CAN!
YOU CAN BE, DO, BECOME AND HAVE everything that God has planned if you would only look through HIS EYES and take the hands offered.

God Bless;
Ken

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chipping Away


When setting goals, we re often told that we need to "stretch ourselves". To set goals that are just beyond our reach but still achievable. Even with this, we cannot always SEE the end results. It can appear that it is just one obstacle after another, one turn after another with no end in sight.
But have FAITH! As long as you are chipping away at your goal, one piece at a time, overcoming one obstacle at a time & going around one turn at a time, you WILL reach your goal.
Every little but takes you one step closer to realizing your goals.
We cannot always expect to see the "WHOLE PICTURE" when often times what we want to achieve is beyond what we cam see. We have a vision, a desired outcome that we want, a goal to reach that is just over that current obstacle or around that immediate turn. Keep at it with FAITH & you WILL achieve it.
It WILL include struggles, sweat and maybe even some tears. There will be some days that are easy and others when you want to give up. But have no despair! Many a person has made similar struggles only to come out victorious. Keep the faith my friend as worthy goals will be achieved.

Commercial airplanes have a goal too; to arrive at some destination that they cannot see. They KNOW it is there, but cannot see it. They set their controls, dial in the coordinates to where they want to go (their goal). Did you know that airplanes are OFF COURSE almost 90% of the time? How would then ever reach their goal or destination you might think? They are constantly evaluating the situation & making course corrections along the way.

By making constant corrections on the path of OUR GOALS, we can also be assured that we will arrive there too.
Often time we weave this way & that way, often times we look off into the far distance & the road just seems to go on and on and on and . . . but with perseverance, the long and winding road can be one of wonderment and amazing experiences.

It can be our haven for reflecting inwards and connecting with God.
Soldier on my friend and have faith.

Blessings;
Ken