Light in the Darkness

I’ve been away. From this blog, from the country, from running. And right now the hardest thing to be away from is my hometown.

That hometown is Marysville, Washington. Everyone will know where that is now.  A suburb just north of Seattle that on Friday morning was torn apart, but in the last couple of days is a place I have seen come together so closely that I cannot help but know that it will all be alright.

I graduated in 2008. I walked that campus. I spent my time in those classrooms. My favorite memories include cross country and track end of the year banquets in the cafeteria where the shooting occurred. Since 2008, I have attended Eastern Washington University, but I spent every summer with cross country athletes from Marysville-Pilchuck (and more recently Getchell). I helped to coach, I was honored to be allowed to continue to develop relationships with runners and students, and kids. Those are my favorite memories.  I spent the better part of the last 6 years thinking I would be back at MP coaching and teaching. It broke my heart on Friday to hear the news that no one wants to hear.

It’s a dark time for Marysvile. The light that I can see from across the state is blinding. I can feel the love from Cheney. I can feel the support as I write this.

I know that during these times it is easy to feel alone. I know that at these times it is hard to see the good. To the students and staff at Marysville-Pilchuck, people I call friends, family, and loved ones. I know that you are not alone. I know that there is a community that wants to know that you are okay, that wants you to know that you will be alright. That in this time of pain, suffering and sorrow, that there are people around you, people who care about you, people who want you to know that you are loved. That they love you. That to them, you are the light in this darkness.

Nobaching Down

New Year, New Training Plan

Where does the time go?

It’s 2014 already and I am not sure quite how we got here.

Balancing my life over the last year and a half has been one of those things that I have learned on the fly. Over that time I have been a student athlete, joined many new bible studies, fractured my foot twice, gotten great experience as an intern which has led to continuation of the same job throughout the rest of my schooling, been diagnosed with arthritis (something I am still working through), and entered the last three months of undergrad schooling.

Three months? Are you sure? Quite sure. I will be out into the “real world” in April for better or for worse! I am so thankful for the opportunity to have had a great internship since June, and the chance to gain much needed experience. In the last 7 months I have had a whirlwind of a full time summer job, mixing in with schooling as fall quarter started, and minimally trying to keep my fitness together. Let me tell you I struggled mightly, and failed quickly.

One thing I’ve learned is that when I am busy, I am hard to keep active (or updated sorry about slacking on the blogging front!). There are many other tricks that I’ve come to find as I start back up again in this new year! Let’s get to them!

Number one. Big goals are great, but setting many different types of goals is better.

As I’ve turned back to running and physical exercise over the last couple months I’ve found that my goals have had to change, and I have had to be super flexible. My running has been hit and miss, some weeks my foot feels well enough to handle a couple of short runs, other times (like this week) my foot has been sore enough to keep me wary. I am someone who likes to push myself and tend to overdue it if not caught. I have had to learn self control and the value of changing goals.

Number two. Taking care of the little things is vital.

Stretching, strengthening the ankle, knee, and hips has been crucial to success or even feeling good about my foot and overall well being, when I forget those exercises I don’t feel good, for that day, or the coming days. I know it’s going to be a long road to get me back to where I want to be, but others have gone before me, and others will come after.

Sleep is another thing that I value highly under the “little things” and I know I don’t get enough. Working two days a week, on top of school, and late night commitments to different bible studies keeps me on my toes. Throw in homework and the life of a college student is born. I, however, have never been a normal college student taking on the late nights and fixing them with coffee or energy drinks in the morning. I also have been dubbed “old man” and “grandpa” by multiple social groups. My age (at 24 an old college typical college student) and my sleep habits have always contributed to that.

Number three. The value of communal exercise has been greatly understated in my life so far.

For most of my running collegiate running career I ran alone. I was only on the team for one year, and even though I found that year so very wonderful I have been forced back into singleness in my running life. I hear many excuses “you’re too fast,” “that’s too far,” “not today.” While all may be valid, they never helped me, but anyone in my area, I’m at my slowest, I assure you you can now run with me! I love going back home though, and running with my high school buddies, who never think I’m too fast, and know I will slow down. Always a blessing. I now have an old friend back in Cheney for school, and he will be attending Eastern. Thank goodness he’s also a former runner and willing to help push me back up on the horse.

Many people now visiting my blog are because of the San Francisco Ambassadorship that I have been lucky enough to be a part of this year! I’ll try and help you out where I can! If you have any ideas for my blog, or something you’d like to be written on let me know! Oh and if you’re still considering running, and want a little help with the price here  is a code for an extra $10 off!

TSFM2014AMBASSADOR9

Nobaching Down

Catching up, Thankful, Moving Forward

Injury sucks. Trust me. I know. I counted today, and you know what? It’s been 168 days since my last healthy run. I ran 3 days at the beginning of September for 3 total miles. I’ve had my ups and downs in my running career. I’ve also had all the injuries that come along with putting in the miles. My latest has kept me out for 5 and a half months. It’ll be close to 6 by the time I actually get on my feet, but you know what? I’m thankful for the break.

I love running. It’s been an escape for me for a while. I run to get away from problems, to think, to work things out, but also to be with God. To experience the love he has for me through my love of running. The last 5 and a half months have been tough. They have been some of the hardest times for my life, but I kept busy. I haven’t done any serious exercising (a couple of friends of mine are talking about climbing Mount Pilchuck this week and that will be a doosy!) and I’ve come to terms with the fact that it will take time to get back in shape. I’ve learned a lot of patience over the last year and especially over the last half year. Stress fractures are no fun, but they can help serve as learning points if you let them.

A lot has happened since my last post. I applied in late August or early September to be a part of the 2014 San Francisco Marathon Ambassador program, and I GOT IN!!! Super excited to be among the team that will help guide many of you through to the finish of the full marathon, or either of the halves of the marathon! I ran the full back in 2011 and had a blast! Read up on it here! If you want to run it with me (July 27, 2014) let me know! I have signed up for the first half! It’s an early start, but in my opinion it is the much better half of the race!

I also was just cleared this last week to start running again, albeit slowly, but slow is better than nothing! I’ll take my time getting back into the swing of things, and will be cutting back my running significantly from where I was a year ago at this time. Getting ready to smash my personal record in the half on my way to this pain induced running break! Read about that, here! It’s a chilling tale!

All said, I’m ready to move on! I’m looking into getting a new pair of shoes, hopefully this week, and I will be getting back onto my feet in the coming weeks! #ComebachMonth will be my Twitter hashtag when I do start running again so keep track of me there! Follow myself on Twitter if you want to keep up with me!

Until next time,

Happy Thanksgiving from,

Nobaching Down

Comebach Month Begins

I used to think I didn’t have any talent for this sport. I used to think that I wasn’t any good. That I wasn’t fast. That I wasn’t going to do this long term. That it was just something to make my life busier. It did. I have spent numerous hours running over the last 10 hours. I fill my down time with it. I spend time researching marathons to run, races to find, training plans to help me get better. I take the time to help nurture others into this sport. I spend an hour a week with #runchat, the fastest hour on Twitter. I work training plans out for everyone who asks (even if my best friend never listens to my advice). I work tirelessly on my own training plans. This sport never ends for me. It wasn’t just a passing moment, it has become a part of me, a part of my life so completely. My belief in running is the same as my belief in God. More simply because I know that he loves watching me run more fully than I myself enjoy it.

I no longer think I am untalented. Over the last year I’ve experienced great joy and sorrow at the hands of running. I became a Marathon Maniac. I got to run on a cross country team again, something I did not believe I would ever do again. I also dealt with not one but two stress fractures.

After taking the last 80 days off, I got back up today. I hopped on my bike. I rode up to campus, and I ran a mile on one of the training courses we used last year. It was the first mile of what I initially dubbed #comebackmonth on Twitter. After my run this morning though, I realized I had mislabeled it. It’s #Comebachmonth. This is my story, and I love using my name as a pun. September is my time to make my come back. To make my rise back to who I was a year ago. I am ready if you are. Come take the journey with me.

Until then,

Nobaching Down

80 Days Down, One Bach Up

Saturday is 80 days. 80 days since my last run. 80 days off my feet. 80 days without one of the loves of my life. Sure I have been “active” this summer. Hopping in the pool off and on, and getting a bike ride in here or there. there really is no substitute for the run though. Feeling the ground beneath my feet. Pushing forward with every step. Sweat oozing from my pours. No the pool and the bike have been good alternatives to keep me sane this summer, but Sunday cannot come fast enough.

This summer I’ve had to field the questions from those close to me that just don’t quite understand. Those that know I love to run, but don’t quite realize why I continue to do something that seems to keep me sidelined a lot, and thus “unhappy.” Wouldn’t I rather hang up the shoes? Try something else? What if your foot starts hurting again? What if something else happens? Why keep running if you are always hurt? To be honest they’re hard questions to answer if you don’t run.

I’ll give it a shot though.

No, I wouldn’t rather hang up the shoes in favor of something else. Even injured, running brings me some of the greatest joy in the world. Each week on Twitter I get to participate with some of the best people in #runchat and I love it. We answer questions about running, about this sport that some find insane, and don’t understand. If you’re a runner and on Twitter I highly recommend stopping by on a Sunday evening (1st and 3rd Sundays at 7PST, 2nd and 3rd Sundays at 5 PST), we are a great bunch of people with the fastest hour of the week flying by.

If my foot starts hurting what will I do? I will wait. Sometimes patiently and sometimes not so patiently. I will be back though, even my foot doctor knows I wouldn’t listen to someone who told me I couldn’t run again. I’m going to run again, and it will happen soon. If I have to wait some more time, I will wait some more time. 80 days is a long time, so what’s another few days? There are many stories out there of people who have suffered a lot worse than a stress fracture in their foot, and have come back to run faster than I ever will. So if my foot starts to hurt, I will search for other options. I will find a way to get back to running, and I will someday. I am a hard person to keep still. So if you tell me I can’t run, I won’t believe you.

Why keep running if I am always hurt? With multiple injuries over the years, plantar fasciitis, IT Band issues, stress fractures, tweaked knees, sprained ankles, my heel plates even cracked when I was younger (albeit from soccer and not running). I see them more as a badge of honor. I train mostly on my own. I find what works through different plans, different training. I run because I love it. Because it brings me great joy, but I run mostly because it is where I feel most connected with God, basking in the creation he has made. So I will continue to run, simply because I’ve been made to love it.

Sunday is coming fast. It’ll be here in 5 short days. It won’t be a long run, by my usual standards it won’t be a fast run. For a time I get to simply enjoy coming bach into running, getting myself back into shape. Picking myself bach up. Piecing bach together my normal running schedule.

Until Sunday,

Nobaching Down

Weekly Update: Caffeine Overload

What a week it has been! Trying to get back into the swing of a relatively new work week schedule was brutal, and has forced me closer towards the ever nearing day where I turn to the grasp of coffee as a way of having energy and staying awake as I move about my day.

I don’t like the stuff. Give me water, juice, occasionally tea, anything but the black liquid that I know many people enjoy. Being born in Seattle, and growing up just north of there you would think the stuff run’s through my veins. Seattle being Starbuck’s home and all. I’ve slowly come to terms with chai tea though. In the months of November and December if I find myself in a coffee shop I tend to drink Chai Egg Nog Latte’s, a source of pure bliss as I consume my egg nog (something I do religiously from the moment I can purchase it in stores until the day it goes away). Last summer I was turned onto something that can easily be stated as Summer in a Cup (thanks goes to Mindy from the EWU Campus Thomas Hammer), or an iced chai with coconut. Believe me, if you give it a shot you won’t regret it. I usually get rid of my cup mere minutes after purchase (in part I am sure because of the temperatures I find myself in)>

No I think that when I can start exercising at the level I had been before I may be in better condition to stay awake throughout the day without this addictive bean, that so many enjoy. I know that studies have been done that prove you have more energy if you’re exercising regularly, and that part of the reason during a tapir for a marathon you feel sluggish is because you are exercising less.

Well folks we are 5 weeks into a tapir session, and although I am slowly increasing the amount that I am working out, and I cannot wait to be back on the roads, albeit with a lesser workload than I have had for some time, but a point of my worry and stress has got to come from not running. I miss the roads, the miles, my lonely miles. The miles that I spent with friends, the miles I want back in my life. I know that some of you will tell me to be patient, and that in time they’ll come back to me. I know that they will, I know that this is where my athletic life is right now, but can I not wish for it to come a little faster?

This coming week we will cross over the half way point of my injured time out. I plan on running on September 1st, mark your calendars, that will be a great day!

This week in training:

Monday: Biked maybe a mile or two in total, as I looped to dinner at Rokko’s before a church meeting.

Tuesday: Aquajogged for about 40 minutes, first time in a week, and longer than all of my other sessions! Not too bad though!

Wednesday: Felt so exhausted, so no workout happened, just rested.

Thursday: Aquajogged again about 40 minutes, and this time brought about a workout, Jog-Stride-Sprint in varying sets or laps or lengths of the pool. Jogging was just moving down the pool, focusing on form and just recovering, Striding I lengthened the way my feet legs moved through the water and really just reached, sprinting was a quick turnover and just pumping as hard as I could.

Friday: Aquajogged for 45 mintues, another workout, with a ladder, where I jogged a warm up 2 laps, then moved into striding 3 lengths sprinting one, strode 3, sprinted 2, then 3-3, 3-3, 3-2, 3-1 and a lap of jogging to finish out the day.

Saturday: Floated the river with some friends, if you don’t call that a workout, I must have done something wrong, because my back and shoulders are sore!

Sunday: Rest day!

Wherever you find yourself, and I know I float back and forth between being excited and positive to down and out with where I am in my running life, I know I am an overall positive person. If you need encouragement, or are down with an injury interested in getting some pool time or anything else leave a comment for me!

Until next time,

Nobaching Down

Weekly Update: Running with Love

This last week I continued to Aquajog, getting only one workout in this week as I had a very busy week, and only got myself to the pool on Thursday before heading out on Wednesday for the wedding of a couple of high school friends back home.

Over the last few weeks I have been had the honor or watching two sets of couples in watching them renew or take their vows.

The first couple is a former employer of mine up at Eastern Washington University where I worked as a library assistant. This year they are celebrating 50 years of marriage, something that as I watched them laugh, cry, and tell inappropriate jokes,  as they renewed their vows, I could only hope to get there someday. To be able to spend 50 years with the love of my life, that’s something that I know I want in my life, to at least spend some time with the one I love.

The other couple is a pair of friends that I went to high school with. They have been together, and the greatest thing about their wedding wasn’t getting to see everyone who I have missed over the last 5 months, or the beautiful grounds in which they had the ceremony, overlooking fields and mountains in the distance, no the best part was watching the groom stand up in front with a HUGE smile on his face as his bride walked towards him on her father’s arm. A grin from ear to ear was also present on her face, seeing two people with such joy, and love for their partner brings as much joy to me.

As I’ve written this evening I’ve thought about my running career. In #runchat on Twitter this evening, the opening question was “Introduce yourself, and tell us how long you’ve been running.” A quick count as I sat waiting for my plane to board told me we are closing in on 9 years of running year round here in August. Another year will be my ten year runniversary. At that point it will become my longest relationship with a sport. I played soccer for 10 years as well. It’s the closest thing to a relationship I have in my life at this moment. It takes commitment, dedication, we fight, we cry, we sweat, we hate, and we love. The roads themselves are never the same, even when I run the same route it’s always different. We have our up’s and down’s, but we always build back together, to become stronger, smarter, and we don’t back down from a challenge.

At the moment I am currently sidelined through a time that will take me past my nine year runniversary. I confirmed on Thursday that my stress fracture has returned and will be taking through September off. It’s okay though. I love what I do. I know that injuries happen from time to time. I know that I will get back out on the roads and continue my relationship with them, and the miles we court together. It’s all about,

Nobaching Down

Weekly Update: Learning to Aquajog

Well hello everyone!

Sorry that I have disappeared for a couple of weeks, I haven’t had much time to sit down and write! I promise to be a bit better with my updates in the future! (Although next week will have to wait until Sunday evening as I will be home for a wedding!) The last few weeks have been tough, and I have been trying to get myself into the swing of working out again.

We have had some HOT days here in Cheney. We hit high 90′s Monday and Wednesday, with a nice toasty 100 degree day on Tuesday. Thursday through today have been moderate in the 80′s somewhere, I am slowly getting used to this East Side head! Hydrating lots at work, which can be a struggle when I am in a cool building, and I am not actively working out too much.

Over the past couple of weeks I have gotten in the pool four times to aquajog, I was taught how via the internet, and a friend of mine Carl, who I won entry into the Priest Lake Spring Festival Half Marathon not too long ago. He’s the resident expert around here in all things cross training, so I got in touch with him and learned a little bit.

It’s been a process and I cannot get into the pool everyday because of the bus schedules and work, but I get in when I can, and I try to be quick in the process, changing, signing in, and getting in the pool. The pool is also only open until 6:30, and when I get back into town somwhere between 5:20-5:40, it doesn’t leave much time to get in a workout once I can make my way up to the pool itself.

I hope that your running and training is going better than mine, and if you ever want advice on injuries, I am surely the man to talk to!

Monday: Aquajog 30 minutes

Tuesday: Aquajog 30 minutes

Wednesday: Saw Monster’s University! Great movie!

Thursday: Pool Closed for holiday, took a nice 2 hour nap instead!

Friday: Could have gotten in for 45 minutes, but closed again for the holiday!

Saturday: 12 mile bike ride!

Sunday: Another bike ride perhaps!

I see the foot doctor on Thursday morning, so I pray for some good news!

Until then,

Nobaching Down

Weekly Update: Cross Training in Store

So it’s been a busy week. Starting a new job, getting on a new schedule, and the fact that I have not “allowed” myself to run, have all culminated in pure exhaustion. I fight daily my desire to lace up and get out the door. I’ve been emailing my foot doctor back home, and communicating with other trusted friends for cross training advice.

Since I won’t be home until July 10th, and with a wedding on the 11th to go to, I think the earliest I would be available to see the foot doctor is the 12th of July. So in the meantime I am told activity that doesn’t put the pressure on the foot, as long as there is no pain, is what will be best for me.

So what options are there for the injured runner looking for reduced weight bearing activities? An assortment you may be surprised to find out. The problem for the busy student/summer intern, is all in the timing and availability of facilities. Most days I am not back in Cheney until 5:30. Which is a generous estimate. If I drove, I could be faster, but relying on the bus is a sure way for me to travel at a slower pace. Trying to fit in dinner after a long day, will also be a tactic I have figure out. A fourth meal might have to be prepared for the bus ride home so I can get in activity and have  the energy to do so.

Swimming is the first option I will take up. The pool is open on campus from 5-6:30, so in reality I only have about a half an hour by the time I get up to campus riding the bus the whole way, changed and into the pool. Plenty of time to get in a solid pool workout, as long as I am focused and prepared. I have looked into Aqua Jogging, and hope that our pool facilities have this available, and I can get this to work for me. Worst case I will get in some cardio with straight forward swimming, if the kicking doesn’t bother my foot.

Next up will be elliptical training, with a soft plan from my friend Carl (who I won entry not long ago to the Spring Festival Half Marathon). The gym is open until 10pm, so there is plenty of time to get this workout in, and can replicate my running motion without the full pressure on the joints and most importantly the foot.

Finally biking, which worries me the most. I hope this will work in terms of not applying the pressures for my foot, and I like speed, I like to move fast. I had dreams of biking into work along the Centennial Trail in Spokane, which leads right to my place of employment. A few things have kept me from following through with this plan: my foot (biking still puts pressure on it, I don’t want to hurt it), I’ve never put my bike on the bus (I worry about holding up the bus for longer than necessary), I was showed where to put my bike at work (but worry about getting there on time and remembering where that is exactly).

So I will slowly introduce all of these, the swimming and elliptical work over the coming week, and the bike at least here in Cheney if I don’t have pain.

Until then,

Nobaching Down

Weekly Update: The Turmoil of Running

After weeks, and weeks, of fantastic running, getting myself back into shape, I’ve once again taken a step back down.

I was feeling good, through the first three days of this week I ran with Nathan and we got in a good amount of miles, Wednesday was a great day, just feeling good, pushing ourselves to get in 8 miles in total. We finished that run with a 7:15 pace, and 8.2 miles to our names.

Thursday I woke up, got ready, and went up to the school to get some work, I ride my bike daily when it’s nice out (and summer here in Eastern Washington quite nice!) and parked at the library to return some checked out materials. As soon as I hopped off though, I knew disaster was upon us once more. My foot, the same foot I had been monitoring for ages, was hurting again. Same spot, but not quite the intensity of pain that was there in the fall. Could the stress fracture have returned?

It sure seems that way. Without going to the doctor I may not know, but can make an educated guess.

I took Thursday (aside from a 3 minute run to see if the foot would hold up), Friday, and Saturday off. I’m now typing this up, with thoughts of also taking today off too. It’s not any better, and it sure could get worse.

My goals and my dreams for a high mileage summer are not going to have to change. I am supposed to be running the Northwest Passage of Ragnar in less than 5 weeks, and I may not be able to, especially not the 17 miles I am penned to run. So what is a runner supposed to do? My answer is wait and see.

Weekly Mileage:

Monday- 7.6 miles with Nathan at 7:28 pace

Tuesday- 10.3 miles on my own at 7:42 pace

Wednesday- 8.2 miles with Nathan at 7:15 pace

Thursday-Sunday- Off days. Rest days, I don’t know where this will lead, biking and swimming are options. I just need to get a schedule up for the pool.

Total Mileage- 26.1 miles, just .1 shy of my beloved Marathon distance.

Until the next time,

Nobaching Down