Back in 2014, I wrote a small little book called “The Tao of Running: Lessons on Life From Miles on the Road.” It was one of the first writing projects I published and I have to admit that the overall process and product was a bit kludged together.
About six months after I published the book, I pulled it off Amazon with the thought that I would eventually get around to cleaning it up and re-releasing it. And here we are, 5 years later.
The good news is: the book has a little better flow to it than the first edition. The first edition had chapters with sub-sections throughout which made the flow seem choppy and distracting. So, one of the things I did for this edition was to rewrite each chapter into more of an essay format that centers around one or two topics, but is a continuous narrative, rather than being broken up into multiple sub-sections.
Also, I was able to add some new content from some of the past few years that I’ve been thinking about. This included a new chapter at the end to help summarize and pull out some of the lessons that I believe serve as pillars for the book.
Anyways, I’m glad to finally get this project back out into the wild. It’s been haunting me for years now and I finally get to purge the little nagging voice in my head that was constantly hounding me about getting it re-written.
Update: As of January 29th, 2020 I have also renamed the book “Secrets of the Road: meditations on running.” After doing some looking around, it turns out there is already some well-established content around the title/name “The Tao of Running.” It was easy enough to change the title and cover, so I swapped them out and moved on down the road (pun intended!). Chalk this one up to bad luck and poor research on my part.
So, this past holiday weekend, in between multiple Thanksgiving gatherings, I took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent some time making progress on planking the bridge across the narrow end of our pond.
Everything about the bridge has been reclaimed from the scrap heap. The telephone poles that span the banks were delivered free from a friend of mine who works for an electric company. The boards used to plank the bridge were a mixture of reclaimed pallet boards and various odds and ends that I scrounged from a big junk pile that came with the property that I’ve slowly been tearing apart. Overall, I’ve been able to get about 80% across and it’s cost me nothing but sweat and muscle. Still need to pull about 7 more pallets apart, use the wood to plank the remainder of the bridge, sand everything down and put some sealer on it.
Now that the Route 66 5K is over and most of my winter preparation chores are complete, I figured it was a good project and metaphor to subconsciously begin thinking about transitioning into some new goals.
The winter months have always been a time of rest and relaxation for me. I usually spend my time watching movies with the family, reading books by the fire, and doing everything I can to go to bed early and catch up on some sleep. I also try to pick some sort of writing project and exercise regimen to work on just to keep my creative and physical muscles moving.
Here are some of the new things I’m shooting for:
Running – I plan on continuing my progress and slowly furthering my distance up to 10K. I’ve put together a running schedule for the next 8 weeks that I think will get me there. In addition to increasing my mileage, I’m also adding in a few days of light cross training to try to strengthen my ankles and legs a bit more for the longer distances.
Writing – I’m still working on getting this screenplay over the finish line. I’ve not been as disciplined in my writing as I have been in my running, but I have put together a schedule that I think will get me to THE END by the first of the year, possibly sooner if I buckle down or get a long weekend to focus on it.
Reading – I’m currently reading Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. I’ve got about 50 pages left to go and then I’ll pick up the next book on my reading list. My goal is to read 4 to 5 novels over the next few months as well as a stack of non-fiction books on gardening and a few memoirs from fellow farmers.
2018 Goals – every year I take the month of December and try to set some yearly goals for myself, so over the next few weeks I’ll be thinking through and writing down some bigger goals for the coming year (more to come in a future post).
Well…I have to admit, my first race in over 3 years went a LOT better than I expected. My wife and I ran the Route 66 5K Saturday and I beat my time goal by a minute. I was shooting for an even 30 minutes flat and clocked in at 29:05.
No injuries, cardio felt decent, and I hit my time goal even with there being more hills than I expected.
I call it a win.
So, now I have to build on my momentum and start working toward a new goal. I think rather than pushing my distance a bit farther right now, I am going to train for one more 5K and try and get my time down. This will allow me to get a good base in place and stabilize my core muscles a bit more before upping the distance.
The plan is to add one more day of running in the mix and then supplement the days off with a light bit of cross training. Now I just need to find my next race. :)
Got a nice surprise this morning when I jumped on the scale after an easy 15 minute run on the treadmill. Three days until the race and I’ve hit my weight goal. May actually be under 200 by the time Saturday rolls around.
Next goal is to be at a total of 20 lbs lost (196) by Thanksgiving.
The work is done. Yesterday, we ran our final long run of this training cycle and now it’s time to slow down a bit and rest for the coming week in preparation for the race on Saturday.
Overall, things have gone better than I expected. My Achilles didn’t flare up and cause any problems the entire time and I’ve managed to drop weight without feeling hungry. I consider it a win all around.
Here’s the training log for the past week:
Monday: 28 mins
Wednesday: 30 mins
Saturday: 3.2 miles
It’s been almost 3 years since I ran a race. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to cross the finish line once again.
So, I’m feeling really good about where I’m at with current training. To be honest, I thought it would be a LOT harder for me to get back into running shape after such a long layoff. But it seems that my legs and cardio have quickly remembered what it was like to do regular runs throughout the week.
Yesterday, I put in a solid 3 mile run at about a 10 minute pace. I consider that a big win. Also, I practically ran a 5K and have 2 weeks left until the race. So, knock-on-wood, I’m in a good place. However, I repeatedly tell myself not to push too much as not to re-injure myself and to build strength back in my ankle.
I’m down an additional 2 pounds this week so I’m sitting right around 204 lbs. My goal is 200 by race day.
We spent most of this week hidden away in the Ouachita National Forest camping with my family. It’s always amazing to turn your phone off for almost 5 days, not look at a screen, and get covered in campfire smoke. I sincerely look forward to our trip every year. A perfect time of relaxation and reflection.
Before leaving, the local weatherman predicted that we’d have a frost while we would be out-of-town. So we hurried to get some row covers setup and put over the beans and tomato plants to try to squeeze a bit more production out of them before we closed down the garden for the year.
I arranged for a friend, who was already helping check on the chickens, manage the on/off process of the covers while we were gone. A few leaves on the beans got nipped, but the tomatoes took a pretty big hit. However over the past week, we were still able to harvest almost 8 gallons of beans (with new beans still growing). I’ll call that a win and hopefully we’ll reach over 10 gallons before the harvest is done.
As for running, I had a good week. Still no injuries, but did not get in my long run this weekend. However, we did a 3+ mile hike around the lake on Friday, plus some additional hiking throughout the trip, that I count as a good replacement.
Monday: 19 mins
Wednesday: 22 mins
Thursday: Mild Hiking
Friday: 3+ mile hike
Saturday: Mild Hiking
I weighed in on Sunday when we got back and I was down to 206 lbs, which is a 7 pound weight loss the first week of eating cleaner in addition to my training runs. Pretty dang good. Hopefully, I won’t plateau just yet as I’m trying to hit an even 200 lbs by race day on November 18th.
Now that I’m back at home and on the grid again, I can start focusing on getting back into a routine with writing on my screenplay. Didn’t put any words on the page last week. So, I’ve got some making up to do.