Saturday, February 16, 2013

My State of Al Speech

"The world is run by those that show up" - Unknown (to me anyway)

With the President's State of the Union address this week coinciding with tomorrow being the official kick-off day for my (ha!) racing season, it seems like an ideal time to step back and take my own personal overview of where things stand. On this blog, I'm The Decider and so get to make the only speech. Like the Republican response, your rebuttal will be confined to the lesser forum of blog comments. Feel free to grab a swig of water anytime, but please drink American water, not that Poland stuff!

I accept your standing applause, fake smiles, hoot, hollers, jeers, and oddly detached, impersonal hand shakes

My fellow runners...Staring down the barrel of another year, I'm a little nervous and a little excited. These next year will be a bit more intense than the last. More miles. More sweat. More aches and pains. Worse weather.

I won't be training for a large, crowd-friendly event. After I pace a 5 Hour group in the Mercedes Marathon tomorrow, I plan to aim my sites on a number of Trail races events. I love the trails - they give me the perfect opportunity to have an excuse to run the pitifully slow pace that I do. With my ankles constantly saying "Haven't you had enough with this stuff?" and me coming back with "Oh, 35 years is about halfway there", I am perfectly happy to reach across the aisle and compromise with a slower effort (the ankles proposal) and the finish line (my proposal). A bi-partisan agreement!

A few weeks ago, I made a unilateral decision and sent in my application to enter the Oak Mountain 50K, a race I haven't done since 2006. It is 3 weeks after Mercedes (tomorrow). And like the clouds parting, I finally self-diagnosed myself and figured out my running-life's strategy. I must ALWAYS have a race planned for after the race I'm about to do. That way, the race I'm about to do can always be accepted as a training run for the next one on the list. It's a very complicated plan. It's not a plan unanimously accepted in both chambers, but one that I plan to use my unique power to ram through (enthusiastic clapping on one side of the chamber floor!). 

Here in the Birmingham area this year, there is a new series of races called the Southeastern Trail Series and comprises 7 runs throughout the year of varying distances from 6 miles to 50k (possibly 50 miles). Perfect! I can enter the Series and ALWAYS have that race looming ahead so that my current race can only be run at a slow training pace (the only pace I can muster up). I will save energy, I will save money by entering all 7 at once, and I can walk around with the confidence the year is set. It's the right thing to do...all I ask for is a vote! Well, I'm the only vote that counts, but it's nice to know we can work together (a smattering of one standing...Hmmm). 

My overall health is excellent. The state of my ankles has more good days than in years past. The price of shoes has gone up, but I have instituted an alternative shoe plan by going exclusively (road & trail) with Hokas. The initial outlay is more, but down the road (perfect wording) I will save because Hokas easily get 600-700 miles on them. Old road Hokas are recycled to trail Hokas. The plan can work! The plan does work. No need for a committee. I know this plan has a hard uphill (ha, I crack myself up) battle to convince both parties (minimalist vs maximalist), but I will continue to institute my plan. I will continue to run the same daggum course Tuesdays and Thurdays before the sun comes up and put in my "serious" (cough, cough) training on the weekends. I will continue to shun away from any cross-training and use the ever-popular excuse of I don't have time. I will diligently stretch once per month (or so). I feel it is important to be a good example to my patients, and I'd hate to lie when I tell them I stretch because I think it's important.

I will continue to monitor my nutrition. Not fanatically. There is still plenty of room for beer, wine, pizza, and the occasional whole box of Wheat Thins. But I try trending towards more fruit, but doggonit, that stuff gets rotten after a week or so! I cook with a lot of vegetables, so that is good, right! So, we give and take...veggies for fruit. See how easy it is too agree?

My plan is in place. My goals are attainable.

I look forward to the next 11 months of this term (I have unlimited terms) and embrace the challenge of taking the next step towards my goal of continuing to put one foot in front of the other for a long time to come.

I embrace the challenge of taking on asphalt, dirt, roots, rocks,and ruts in a one on one, me versus the road/trail, simple structure. It is a plan designed to accept the limitations I have, yet not lose sight of the dreams still there (again enthusiastic clapping from one side of the chamber - the other saying "Yeah, and how's he gonna do that?")

I look forward to the sweat, miles, and smiles on the way to the finish line.

Overall, the State of good. And ready to roll.

At this point, I assume there is applause all around. I believe I struck a bi-partisan note.

Thank you, God Bless You, and God Bless the United States of America! (I now shake hands with folks I don't care to give the time of day to).

I'll see you all on the roads - AL
"One child lost is too child saved can change the world" 

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