Monday, February 20, 2012

Straighten Up and Fly Right

I had the most wonderful walk/run on Saturday!  Ordinarily I wouldn't be happy walk/running 7 1/2 miles but this was the best I've had in a long while, because I got to walk/run with Pete!

Longtime readers will remember that Pete is my running mentor.  He taught me everything I know about running and we ran long runs together for 8 years.  He trained me for every marathon I did and you can only imagine the vast knowledge that I was the beneficiary of during many 20 mile training runs.  But in 2009 he told me he wouldn't run with me anymore stating that I had gotten good and fast and he didn't want to hold me back.  No matter what I said to him he wouldn't budge and so my Saturday runs with Pete ended.

I've mentioned him a couple of times here on Doing A 180 because I always kept track of him.  He had several races that he's been faithful to for years so I would always check to see if he had run. The last time I checked, he did our local half marathon in September of 2011 with a time of 2:58:32.  If you look this up there's an asterisk by his name because that finishing time is under the USATF guidelines.  Maybe that's puzzling to you until you realize that when Pete ran that race, he was 85 years old!

He turned 86 in December and I found out through the grapevine that he planned to do some racing this year.  So I began a campaign to get him to run with me once in a while.  He finally agreed to run with me in honor of Sherry Arnold - and then it snowed.  I was frustrated because I didn't know if I could get him to agree again and then at the end of the week, he emailed me.

So we met Saturday morning and by the end of our time together we had done 7 1/2 miles.  Yes, the pace was very slow for me but I didn't even care because I got to spend some time with my running mentor.  At the end he said, "Will you help me work up to 13.1? You can set your Garmin for intervals so we do better than today."  My heart melted because the roles have reversed and here is my teacher asking for my help.

Anyone who knows anything about running knows that it's all about putting in the miles and not about pace when it comes to long training runs.  Getting your legs used to turning over and over and over for hours.  It was Pete who taught me that.  Of course I'm going to do it - with joy!


Just when I think everything is under control, I get a reminder that I'm not all that after all.  Over the last couple of weeks I've had a myriad of things happen that individually would be just a bump in the road but piled on together created a derailment of sorts for me.

The result has been that I've spent February in maintenance - not because that's what I planned but because of the involved stress.  I've pretty much been losing a pound then gaining it back the next week.  Fine, I'm not going backwards, but honestly, not fine as I've still got a ways to go.

Additionally, right where I am at this moment is very much a danger zone for me... I feel terrific and I'm seeing the results of the work I've put in .  I've dropped two full sizes in clothes, my running paces are quicker and especially in the last two weeks people have been asking me what I'm doing because I'm looking great.

Right here is where it's easy to get lacksadaisical - just to let things ride.  But that's not what I really want and certainly not getting me towards the long-term goal I've had to be at "goal" (whatever that is) by the time I have to start my black belt cycles in July.

So today, I'm challenging myself.  For the next 12 days I'm doing what I'm calling the "Straighten Up and Fly Right" challenge.  Once again concentrating on eating and exercising for my best health and honestly, just saying no to some things I've been indulging in.  Why 12 days?  Well, that brings me right to my birthday and I already know what's going down that weekend.  Then, I have another plan which I'll tell you about later.  For now, I'm just going to straighten up and fly right!


  1. Your run with Peter sounds fabulous. And I can only wish I will be able to run like him at age 86. Impressive!
    I totally understand about your danger zone. Been there too many times (even now I think). You will have no problem with these 12 days. Once you set your mind to something you just do it.

    Thanks for the title by the way, now I got the sung stuck in my head :)

  2. The first part of your post brought tears to my eyes. I'm so inspired by both you and Pete. Running has become a very important part of my life in the last couple of years. I can absolutely imagine myself running in my 80s if I am so blessed with longevity and good health.

    The second part of your post had me shaking my head in agreement. Only I've been in maintenance mode for far too long. It has really been bothering me that I just haven't been able to stay on track. Last night at work I thought about it all night. I came home from work this morning armed with a plan. I've got a tray of squash roasting in the oven. I just made a pot of quinoa. I've got chick peas soaking. Today is preparation day so that I have no excuses for the week. If I can just get through this week then I know I can do it the next and from there is should only get easier.

    Good luck with your challenge Helen!

  3. Love the story of you and Pete!

  4. Pete sounds like an amazing guy. Glad that you got to run together again. :)

    You can do the challenge, Helen! You're a very determined person. And congratulations on dropping two dress sizes!!! That's fantastic.

  5. Wow 86 is amazing. Glad you were able to get together with him again.

    I completely understand your danger zone as well. I've not done so good this past week and weekend and really need to get back on track this week. I'm leaving on a trip on June 2nd, so now I have a new goal to reach towards and I'm going to need all the butt kickin I can handle :)

  6. Pete sounds like a gem! What a wonder friend!! My Hubby turns 57 this week and he's feeling old. I'm sharing this story with him!! Tell Pete, he's an inspiration!!

    Keep focused!

  7. Love your story about Pete - yay on getting some time with him!

    I'll join you, if I may, for your "Straighten Up and Fly Right" challenge.....I've just restarted the 17DD, so getting 12 strong days under my belt with you will be a great reinforcement!

  8. I love that you are able to return the favor to Pete! I agree, it's a bit disconcerting to see the role reversal, but it will be a wonderful experience for both of you. And how much do I love that you'll be doing intervals? See, now I can really picture you running with me like we used to! :)

    You blog post title made me smile - that is one of my mother's favorite expressions! I think sometimes you just know when it's time to go on lockdown and get back to basics. Nice that it's a short time-frame, too - you can do almost anything for 12 days, right?

  9. Your story about you and Pete made me smile and brought a tear to my eye too. As far as maintaining in February, I have two things to say: maintaining a significant weight loss (and 20 pounds is significant) for a month or so is awesome AND it's probably a good thing because it's allowing your head to catch up to your body. Onward!

  10. Love, love that story of you and Pete!

  11. How fun that you got to run with Pete!! That's amazing that he wants to train for a half! And you are an awesome teacher, I am sure.

    I have my eyes set on a 10k this summer - I need to up my mileage though!

    Glad you had a great weekend - you are going to kick ass these next 12 days!

  12. Hi Helen. REALLY love the story of Pete!!!! He sounds like an amazing inspiration. Have a great Monday.

  13. Your story re: Pete is awesome. Cheering you on for your 12 day challenge!

  14. Ahhh, when the student becomes the teacher. I love it, and good luck with he next 12 days, you stronger than you think.


  15. What a sweet story about Pete. How awesome is this, you get to be the teacher this time. I can't wait to hear more about it as you two work together. What a great guy!

    You are in a danger zone, it's hard to be strict with yourself when you are feeling and looking good. That is the place that gets me in to trouble. I can skate there for a while and then all of a sudden the pounds decided to come back.

    So glad you are getting a grip on it now.

  16. It's obvious that Pete is a very special guy. Bless you for working with him again.

    I understand what you are saying about where you are at right now. I've been there in the past, also. But you're going to be OK, because you recognize the dangers. I didn't, until it was too late. You're a smart cookie, Helen!

  17. great Idea's easy to slip and setting a timetable will help. Feeling normal was always a danger zone for me as well. I am glad you have such a good friend.

  18. I neeeed that challenge too.
    in one of my relationships! :-)
    it always amazing me how this fitness thing is so so very very applicable to many realms of life.
    Im in.

  19. Awww, how great that you are running again with your mentor! Good on him for still running and training at 86, too. My hat is off to him.

    I love that you are challenging yourself not to get complacent. I realized last week that I let everything collapse post-vacation and it is time to get it going again too.

  20. I love how you put that - not abut pace... but putting one foot in front of the other!
    Sometimes, I swear, I think I know you... like the gal next door!

  21. Love the title, love the finite time frame for a challenge, and I'm going to do my own SUAFR - starting today. I've been doing and also maintaining - obviously at a much higher weight than I should be maintaining. And knowing you and your task-driven ways, this 12 days is going to be kick-ass for you.

  22. That is so cool about you and Pete. I need that challenge too ... and I need to learn to say no more often!!

  23. I love how you have come full circle with Pete. I love how he is still running. I love how you are still striving. What an inspiration.
    Good luck with your 12 day plan. It's great you've got a milestone to aim for then switch plans. Keeps things from getting boring!


  24. You can do it! I look forward to reading about your progress.