Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rome: Post Run Update (GTS 2)

Preamble

Saturday mornings are Group Training Sessions (GTS) with Team in Training. For those who are new to my blog, welcome! I'm training for the Rome Marathon and raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. If you're interested in donating, you can go to my personal online fundraising page. I'll be updating my blog / site as my fundraising and training progresses.

GTS

We ran a 4km route starting around Yonge / Eglinton. It was my first time running in that area specifically. The weather was perfect and the people were fun. I woke up a bit late that day (i.e. 7am) so I didn't make it in time for the seminar on proper footwear, but I did make it in time for the run =)

Basically, the way the training works is that we follow a training plan with group runs on Saturdays. It's more of a casual / fun run and a way to update each other on how our training and fundraising are going. I find this kind of community support to be pretty effective - the bulk of the training is on your own and you meet up once a week to share in training, laughs, crazy runs, etc.

Post GTS

After our run, we went for breakfast together to get to know others better. And yes, I had coffee. In fact, I had coffee before the run and a cup of expresso during breakfast. But I must say, I feel much more in control of my coffee cravings.

Looking ahead, I foresee some exciting challenges:
  • Running in the cold and early in the morning (as our runs get longer, we'll have to wake up earlier ... getting to the training site around 7am .... opposed to today's 8am meet time)
  • Fundraising $10,000 (this is my first time raising this amount of money - I'd be extremely grateful for support of any kind)
  • Training for my first full marathon (Within this challenge, I have two secret ambitions: qualify for Boston and run barefoot ... though I'm not sure I can even convince the coaches to let me run barefoot -- everyone told me to get fitted for a proper pair of shoes)
Do you have any thoughts about:
  • Running early in the morning / in the cold?
  • Fundraising tips?
  • Training tips?
  • Running barefoot?
  • Rome?
I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Journey to Rome

Fundraising Goal: $10,000
Fitness Goal: 42.2 km, full marathon

The journey to Rome will be exciting! I'll be raising money for a good cause and training to run my first marathon.

This week, I'll need to plan out my fundraising and also start training. The key to my training (and fundraising) is consistency.

I missed the first Group Training Session with Team in Training this past Saturday since I was in New York for a Taekwondo tournament (blog). I'll be going to my first training session this Saturday (8:00 AM in the morning!! ugh ><).

Today is my 4km tempo run. I'll do the tempo run for my "lunch break" and read through the fundraising manual tonight. This will help me get it done, as I have a tendency of wanting to do many things, but doing only a few.

Ever since I started drinking coffee, I haven't really stopped. I haven't had a cup today and don't plan to. I'm working on breaking free from my dependency on coffee. I don't like the idea of borrowing energy from the future. Okay! Back to work!

Friday, November 12, 2010

New York!

I recently picked up the sport of Taekwondo. And this weekend, I'll be going to New York with my brother for my first Taekwondo tournament! I'm pretty excited and am looking forward to a great time.

As I have been learning the art, I've been learning more than just martial arts. One of the greatest lessons I'm learning right now is in ruling my spirit.
Proverbs 16:32 says, "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who take a city."
What does it mean to be truly strong? As I have been training, I have been slowly trying to build up the physical toughness for knuckle push-ups (yes, I'm a bit soft). But what does it mean to be tough all over ... in body, mind, spirit, and heart? Thick skin, soft heart. Tender Warrior. Food for thought.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rome Marathon with Team in Training


The Basics:
The excerpt below is taken from my fundraising webpage.

About me - Why I run

I love running. Running is an adventure. Running allows me to explore the city, trails, parks. Running connects me with my friends and with my inner self. Running is peaceful yet invigorating.

I was not always a runner and grew up with exercise induced asthma. Over time, running became a lifestyle for me. My journey in pursuit of fitness has inspired me to help others reach their potential as well. My dream, simply stated, is to see everyone smile.

Along the way, I've had the opportunity to influence the lives of others. My personal image (above) shows my various adventures, from being a pace bunny for the Niagara Falls Half Marathon to random adventures with my friends and family.

When I saw the opportunity to run in Rome, the idea of going to Rome caught my attention! Upon hearing their stories, I realized that my fight (in training for the marathon) pales in comparison to the battle many fight for their very lives. I feel extremely privileged to join Team in Training to help raise money and awareness for this life-saving research.

I want to thank you in advance for your support, be it in spirit and / or in your financial support. I would also love to hear your stories, be it running stories, life stories, or survivor stories.

Smile,

Josh =)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Strong mind

Inspiration from Japanese Comics

I was recently reflecting on the characters of Naruto and Luffy (the main characters of two different Anime / Manga series). They start off with relatively little ability or skill but press on with a strong mind. The face enemies despite insurmountable odds and pursue their dreams with relentless intensity.


Strong Mind

There are many areas in my life where I am "weak": academically, spiritually, in discipline, fitness, patience, and so on. I will use the example of running, but this applies to every other aspect of my life.

I used to be a weak runner - and I still am, depends on who you compare me with. I grew up with exercise induced asthma and would make all sorts of excuses to not train or run hard. Then I met someone who also grew up with exercise induced asthma, but was competing at the Canadian Cross Country Championships! It blew me away! He told me he just had to fight. Running was just harder for him.

My journey as a runner started slowly. I remember my first year with the Iron Dragons, I was one of the slowest runners - definitely the slowest male runner. It was sometimes discouraging, but I would still fight. In my third year, I made it my goal to just show up to the gym consistently. Over time, I made running more of a lifestyle opposed to a chore. Running to hang out with friends, to explore shops / different parts of the city, running to reflect, and so on. I grew noticeably stronger when I returned to the dragonboat team in my senior year (well, noticeable to me, anyways).

Running is still a battle for me. And it's something I'm not naturally good at. But this also applies to learning / memory, to focusing, to studying, to whatever craft I wish to master.

Like the childlike characters in those Japanese cartoons, I want to develop a strong mind that has utter laser focus. And with whatever the task is, to do it to the best of my ability. Wherever I end up going, I know that now, in this very moment, the one skill I want to develop with this "strong mind" is in being excellent.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

No Mind ...

The Way of the Samurai

In The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise, there is a particular scene where Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) is learning how to fight, samurai style. After a frustrating defeat, a fellow samurai comes over and tells him, "No mind". He then explains that Algren has too many minds - minds on enemy, minds on people watching, etc. The idea of "no mind" is to clear one's mind of any distractions whatsoever.

This is something I need to work on. To be committed fully to the task at hand. I'm very good at being easily distracted. I'm learning to develop a laser sharp focus and keeping my aim on the target until the very end. To persevere on the right things.

Too often, my mind is littered with excuses: headache, tired, can't do it, frustrated, pointless, too difficult. These excuses permeate my physical discipline, spiritual life, and emotional health. An important lesson that I'm working on is to realize that there is a point for me to choose between stimulus and response (i.e. my response is not a direct function of my stimulus ... or it shouldn't be).

Changing your mind

I am also working on maintaining my resolve. On staying the course. On fighting the good fight (1 Timothy 6:11-12). I had a recent experience with my teacher who said that I change my mind too much. I didn't think much of it at the time, but looking back, I realize that I really need to be careful what I commit to. And for the things that I do end up committing to, to follow through.

Renewing your mind

Now this is different (a mind that is renewed opposed to one that is ever-changing). Romans 12:1-2 speaks of new creations. Of transformed bodies and renewed minds. Not "conforming to the patterns of this world, but being transformed by the renewing of your mind". By "patterns of this world", I interpret this as worldly pursuits or seeking the approval of society. What we do must come from who we are - not who others say we are.

So let me ask you these:
  • Who are you?
  • Where are you going? or What is your dream?
  • What are your experiences with the mind?