What Is “Good Enough”? + Tavern2Tavern5K Recap

It’s been a mind-blowing couple of weeks for me. Within the last few weeks so much has happened…finished Body Beast, broke 190 lbs, got heavy into yoga, blowing away PR after PR running…I’m ecstatic to say the least! Then yesterday, I ran the Tavern to Tavern 5K and completely shattered my last 5K time and my expectations for the day.

But why? How?
I decided that everything I had done and accomplished so far wasn’t good enough.
On this beautiful Motivational Monday Morning I want to talk about the words “good enough”. This is partly a Tavern to Tavern 5K recap and partly a breakdown of that phrase so many people use and can’t break past. The last few weeks has really made me think about those two simple words…it’s time for everyone else to think about it too.

So, let’s start with The Tavern to Tavern 5K Recap
This was a fun race! There were 722 runners total – male, female, young, old…a good mix of people to make things interesting. Apparently the race organizer had a hell of a time – due to construction in Cambridge he had to re-map the course route 17 times in the last week or two. Poor guy! I’m sure he had to deal with the hardcore runners who were all bent out of shape that they didn’t know the EXACT course layout, etc etc. I was a little bummed because I was expecting a flat course, but it didn’t really matter in the end – I had fun anyway. Isn’t that the important part? The course ended up being a kind of lollypop loop – out along one street, took a right and did a loop, eventually came back to the street we started on, ran past where the starting line was and went through the finish line “chute”. There were definitely some hills on the course but overall I feel like I was able to power through it. I had to remind myself to do my own thing, don’t worry about everyone passing me. I don’t care HOW fast I was able to go yesterday…there’s still going to be someone faster than me. I mean…the top finisher came in at a little over 15 minutes…are you kidding me? Yeah, I can deal with people passing me. I think that’s what saved me – if I had let it get to me and tried to go even harder I’m pretty sure I would’ve crapped out.
There was a great post-race party too! Sam Adams / Boston Beer Company sponsored the party so there was free Sam Boston Lager and Curious Traveler summer shandy. Pretty fantastic if I do say so myself. The race organizer was also giving away a TON of swag, so that was pretty cool. Ended up getting this year’s shirt, both a regular and performance version of last year’s, plus pint glasses! Whoever says they don’t care about the t-shirts at a road race is either lying or has too many t-shirts. Get it in a medium and give it to me if you don’t want it. Hah.
Thanks again to Flex Appeal Sports Nutrition for sponsoring me! 

So what about this “good enough” thing?
Well, that’s why I feel I can combine the “Motivational Monday” article I wanted to write and my recap of the race…they go hand in hand. In yesterday’s race I was reaching for the sky and shooting for breaking 25 minutes. Considering I ran a 5K in my neighborhood in 26:30…I thought knocking a minute and a half off was a good goal. And what ended up happening?
I broke 24 minutes instead.

It made me stop and double-check the LED time clock at the finish…”did that really happen?” – I SMOKED the time I was aiming for…absolutely smashed it. I finished in 23:51 (in the above pic I had actually already crossed – can’t tell from the angle). Many people would think that kind of progress was plenty good enough and would be completely satisfied with where they had gotten. They’d understand that it was only 5K and perhaps that pace (roughly 7:40 min/mile) might be a bit too fast for a longer race, like a 10K or 5 miler and they’d be OK with that.
I am not OK with that answer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m THRILLED with my performance yesterday! Absolutely, positively pleased as punch that I went that fast and shattered my previous Personal Record (which, by the way, I only set within the last couple weeks).
But why stop there?
I was having a conversation with a co-worker the other day – she runs, she’s kind of a fitness person…and she said something that stuck with me. It went something like “I see all these other people and I think to myself – I’m doing better than a lot of these other people…that’s good enough for me.” – I didn’t really know what to do with that. She was basing her goals on her opinion that she was in better shape than a lot of other people and thus, didn’t need to go any further. I don’t get it. For me…it’s not about anyone else. It’s about me, and being better than I was yesterday. There’s no such thingas “good enough”…it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t make sense.
As far as I’m concerned, fitness should be about constant improvement of oneself. Continue to reach higher, go farther, run faster, lift heavier, improve your physique…continually become a better you. “Good enough” is an excuse to stop. “Good enough” is (no offense) the lazy man’s way out. It’s a cop-out, and I think it opens the door for “I Don’t Feel Like It Syndrome” to set in. Why should where you’re at be “good enough”?
You have not yet reached the mountaintop.
Over time, yes, progress will slow down. Your improvements will become smaller and will take more time to achieve. That’s OK. I’m losing weight much more slowly now than when I started, but I also don’t have 100 lbs to lose anymore. I’m increasing my weights a bit more slowly now, but I’m not weak and wimpy anymore. I’m reaching farther in my stretches a bit more slowly now, but I can already reach pretty far.
It’s all relative.
After a while, these things happen more slowly and after more work because…well…you’re already doing so well! Take that as another measure of success! I CAN’T lose weight at the rate I used to…because I don’t have that much left TO lose! Don’t lose faith once you get “pretty good”, and don’t let “pretty good” become “good enough”. “Pretty good” can still become “really good” and “really good” can become “wow, I’m impressed”! Continue to work hard and test your limits. Fitness is about how you stack up against Yester-You. Continue to become a better you. It’s not about anyone else, it’s not about how many people you’re going faster than, and it’s not about how many people you’re generally better off than. It’s about you, you and only you. I finished 200th out of 722…that’s pretty good! Next time I’m sure I’ll do even better. There’s no such thing as “good enough”. Don’t forget…
You can always keep improving. Get it.

2 Months, 4 Runs, One Great Cause

Yesterday I talked about how MOCEAN Cape Cod went above and beyond in their sponsorship and helped me get into a second race. Today, I have more news on the same topic….two more runs have been added to the calendar!

People are really responding to this campaign I’m putting forth. The more people and businesses I talk to, the more people want to back me and help me do this thing. It’s great to have support in an endeavor such as this, and it’s nice to know there’s people out there that care about people getting healthy as much as I do. As far as I’m concerned, being able to raise money for charity while doing all that is icing on the cake.

SO, two more runs in preparation for the half-marathon. What are they? And who’s backing me to run them?

Read more…

Getting things in MOCEAN – Running Update!

A lot has happened in the last sixteen days. In order to make fundraising for The V Foundation possible I’ve been hitting the pavement hard in search of sponsors for my big half-marathon run. I’m happy to say…I’ve been incredibly successful! I’ve been floored by the outpouring of support and by all the businesses who have responded to my story and have committed to sponsoring me! I want to recognize and thank all of my sponsors and talk about how some of them have gone a step further to support me, but I can’t do ALL of that in one post…it’d be too long and you’d get bored.  Instead, let’s talk about one particular addition to what’s becoming two months of training and races.

Those who have been reading “So THIS Is Fitness…” know that Sportclips is the title sponsor for my half-marathon run. I called that the “platinum level” sponsor. I have also been seeking Gold and Silver level sponsors. One of the Gold level sponsors I’ve secured went a step further and, among other things, went beyond the “Gold” level, allowing me to register for another race in preparation for the half-marathon! That’s awesome! What race? Who did it?

MOCEAN Cape Cod! That’s who. I poked my head in to the store one day (in Mashpee Commons, by the way), had a GREAT conversation with Ryan, the owner, and he seemed really into the blog, my story, and what I was trying to do. He threw out a lot of great ideas and hopefully late in September or early October we’ll be able to hold a fundraising event at his store (as long as I can think one up!). He was so into everything I’ve got going on with this that he not only signed on to be a Gold sponsor for the half-marathon, but he’s now the title (Platinum) sponsor for another run! How excited do you think I am to add in another run to this little campaign? Yeah. So, what run is this?

The 5th Annual Canal Run For The Troops 10K

October 5th, at 10 am, I’ll be starting what promises to be a beautiful run along the Cape Cod Canal. What a great way to spend day 2 of my birthday weekend! Turn 25 one day, go run a 10K the next. Works for me

This run is put on by a great little organization called Cape Cod Cares For Our Troops, headquartered in Brewster. I poked around their website, and they actually do a lot for Cape-based troops. You should check out their site (linked above).

There’s something I’d like to point out about road races:

One of the nice things many people don’t realize is that when you sign up for a road race like this, where an organization is putting it on, your entry fee isn’t just helping to pay for the running of the event itself – your entry fee is a donation to the organization and the (presumably) good work it’s doing. They plan to use the money raised from this run to send 1500 Christmas care packages to our troops deployed overseas. Seems like a worthy cause to me. Maybe one will make it to my cousin Joshua, who knows.

This Is Only Going To Continue Growing!

That’s not the only run I have the privilege of adding to my little campaign here, but I’ll save the rest for another update. I’m so excited at what this is turning into, so happy at the outpouring of support, and I can’t wait to really get rolling with this! I want to send a BIG thanks out to Ryan and his crew at MOCEAN in Mashpee. You can find them in the Mashpee Commons at 34 Steeple St., on Facebook here, and at their website here.

I’ve got about two weeks until the real training starts. Once I get all the sponsors lined up and confirmed I’ll get everything in order for fundraising, which will probably happen about the same time I start some serious half-marathon training! Keep an eye out for the next update – it’ll probably be about the other runs I’m adding in!

If there’s one thing you learn from this – let it be that anything is possible. In March I had never run before, now I’m sponsored for four races. Wait…did I say four? You’ll have to find out about the other two next time 😉 Don’t forget to “like” the Facebook and follow the Twitter – I post more frequent updates there – you might get some cool insider info!

On To The Next One – 13.1

That’s right. The Falmouth Road Race is over, I finished in 01:10:04, raised (so far) $2,520.00 and feel on top of the world! So what do I do? I go and register for an even bigger race. Because 7.4 miles wasn’t enough…let’s go for 13.1. This is the official announcement –

I am officially registered for the Cape Cod Marathon Half.

But Wait…It Gets Better – I’m Sponsored!

Yeah, that’s right…I have a sponsor for my race entry! How ’bout that, huh? Look at me getting all legitimate up in here. So who would sponsor me?

SportClips in Falmouth. Yes, I actually get my hair cut there. For those who don’t know, SportClips is a sports-themed men’s “haircut place”. I don’t want to call it a barber shop, because it’s not, and I don’t want to call it a hair salon because that’s not manly enough. It’s kind of like a little man-spa. Seriously! There’s tv’s everywhere with sports on – in the waiting area and at each “haircutter”‘s chair. It’s pretty sweet. The reason I call it a “man-spa”? They have this thing called the “MVP”. It’s 5 bucks extra and basically its like they bring back the old school barbershop thing and mix it with something…new? After your haircut you go back to “the showers” and get a hot towel, scalp massage / shampoo, another hot towel, facial massage – its pretty sweet. Worth the 5 bucks each month I go. If you’re in Falmouth, check them out (they’re next to Michael’s and Wal-Mart). If you’re not in Falmouth, find one. I used to go to Procuts or Supercutsand this place blows them out of the water. No offense if you work there (I’m sure you don’t suck) but now I don’t have to worry about hoping I win the “haircutter” lottery so I don’t look like I lost a fight with a lawnmower. Some just people shouldn’t cut hair…

Anyway – about this race!

Image from www.capecodmarathon.com

Just so you know (in case you don’t) – a marathon is 26.2 miles, and a half-marathon is, you guessed it – 13.1 miles. Ever see a sticker on someone’s car that says 26.2 or 13.1? They ran one. There are many marathons throughout the country, with the Boston Marathon and the ING New York marathon being two that are both popular and nearby. The Cape Cod Marathon is put on by the Falmouth Track Club and has been around for a while – this is the 36th running. This year’s half-marathon is only the third one they’ve had, and it’s very popular. They limit entry to 1,200 runners and from what I’ve seen, it has filled up (early) both years they’ve held it. The course looks great, and part of it is actually along the Falmouth Road Race course, so there’ll be some familiar ground there. And it’s right in town! How convenient for me!

Didn’t you just start running at the end of March? You’re gonna double your top distance again in 75 days?

Well…yeah! Why not? Part of how I’ve come so far is that I’m constantly challenging myself, pushing and testing my limits. I don’t know what my limit is and, frankly, I don’t believe there IS a limit. There is only constant improvement. Impossible is nothing. In April I considered it an accomplishment that I made it 3 miles without stopping…now I can go 7 without stopping. By October, I’m sure I can go further, and I have no doubt I can not only finish the half-marathon, but achieve a time I can be proud of. A while ago I said one of my goals was to run the Boston Marathon 2015…and I meant it.

And It’s For A Good Cause, Too!

Image from www.jimmyv.org

I felt great being a part of Team Lanzoni and helping to do something incredible and raise so much money for Dana-Farber!  I want to do it again – this time for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The V Foundation is the official philanthropy of my college fraternity – The Delta Chi Fraternity, Inc. I plan to raise and donate money to The V Foundation on behalf of The Boston Area Alumni Chapter of Delta Chi (of which I am President). We’ll see if I can get a team of Delta Chi Brothers and friends together to do this thing (before the half marathon fills up!). I’m going to have to get creative to do this since I don’t have those sweet raffle tickets Team Lanzoni gave us, but I’m sure with the help of the Boston Alumni Chapter and my friends and family I can come up with some great ways to raise money! I’ll be sure to let everyone know when the fundraising begins!

So Now It’s Time To Start Training Again

I feel good about this. I had such an incredible time at the Falmouth Road Race, and I feel like I can officially call myself a runner. So what am I gonna do? Keep Running. Keep on doing it. Keep on seeing how far I can go, how fast I can get there, how strong I can get, how much I can improve myself. The alternative is to get stagnant or maybe even lose everything I’ve worked for, and honestly that’s not an option. I didn’t get through My Transformation by deciding I had reached the mountaintop – I got where I have by continuing on. So, you know where I’m at…the question is: what are you gonna do?

And Then I Ran… | Falmouth Road Race

I lost 107 lbs. I trained for 140 miles. I raised $2,520 for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (so far). I spent one year of my life turning around my health and fitness. I re-learned how to think about nutrition and what I put in my mouth. I got in tune with my body. I gave it my all. And then I ran… 

All I can say is…wow. What an experience! No wonder so many people want to run the Falmouth Road Race! I had heard that it was the second most popular race in New England, the most desirable race in the country, etc…but I had no idea what an incredible
experience it would be! As you can see from the Runkeeper screenshot above (check out my Runkeeper profile and road race activity), I got the time I was shooting for! Runkeeper reported 1:10:13 and my “unofficial” chip time was 1:10:04.

For the non-runners out there – there are two different “times” many timed races will report – “Gun Time” and “Chip Time” (sometimes called “Net Time”). Gun Time is
the time from when the gun goes off and the race starts to when you cross the finish line. Chip Time (or Net Time) is the time from when you actually cross the starting line to when you cross the finish.  You may think these times would be the same, but if you’re in a large race you might actually cross the starting line one, two, five or even ten+ minutes after the gun goes off. Yesterday in the Falmouth Road Race I didn’t cross the starting line until more than 20 minutes after the gun went off. They call it “Chip Time” because it’s the time when your timing chip crosses the start and finish. They call it “Net Time” because it’s the gun time minus the time it takes for you to get to the starting line (in this case, “Net” is a math term).

In terms of performance and results – Yes, I got the time I wanted. I was pretty steady in my pace and stayed under 9:46 per mile the entire race. Once I got up the big hill in Falmouth Heights (the last challenge where lots of runners drop) I turned it on and zipped to the end on a mission. I felt great, due I’m sure in part to a number of things including proper sleep the night before, being hydrated, good pre-race nutrition, my intra-workout drink during the race and a clear head with a positive attitude. Know what helped? It was like I was the only person out there. Nobody else mattered. I was doing my thing and the other 12,799 people were just…there. People zipped ahead of me early on and I smiled to myself thinking “I’ll see you around mile 5” and I passed people walking from mile 3 onward thinking “I was you during the Finish at the 50 10K”. I learned a lot and it paid off!

There are two things I want to put out there for those of you who don’t know: 1. I ran this race as a part of Team Lanzoni – the 99 Restaurants team. Team Lanzoni is a part of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute running program. 2. I am a Freemason, and so was my grandfather Peter. What do these two things have in common?
Last July my grandfather passed away. During his battle with cancer, he was taken care of in the Dana-Farber center at Faulkner in Boston. They took great care of him, were incredibly compassionate, and were there for my family when we needed them. They took the time to make sure they did everything they could and to make sure we were OK when we ran out of options. I wanted to be able to do something for them – help to give someone else a fighting chance. I ran this race for him, and I carried him with me the whole 7.4 miles (or maybe it was him that carried me).

Speaking of Team Lanzoni…
One of the guys in corral 5 with me was an interesting character. His name is Eric Parent, otherwise known as TheSmoothBear

This guy is a part of Team Lanzoni too. He’s got a vlog (video blog, check it out here) where (among other things) he chronicles his running thing. I checked out some of his videos and he’s pretty entertaining. In one of his videos RFTF: Orange Is The New Black he literally talks about the Netflix show OITNB while running. I mean, I know some runners can just have a conversation like its no big deal while they cruise along, but I guess I was kind of expecting that from those toothpicks in running shoes…TheSmoothBear (no offense buddy) is a big dude, not your typical running toothpick, so I was surprised. I know I sure as hell can’t have a conversation like that while running, so kudos to you on that! As far as content – he just kinda tells it like it is, which I like. It’s always good to see a big guy (read beasty, not fat) rockin’ out in fitness world, so more kudos to you on that! Keep on keepin’ on. Hopefully I see this guy again in next year’s Falmouth Road Race. Be sure to check out his vlog and his Facebook – let him know Darrell sent you from “So THIS Is Fitness…”!

But Perhaps The Best Part Of Yesterday…

We may not have run next to each other, but being out there with my fiancee Megan was great! She’s been right there next to me since day 1 of P90X when this whole thing started, and it was a great feeling to be out there with her for our biggest challenge yet. I’m so proud of her and how far she’s come. Despite knee issues (and no uber-knee brace like I have) and a history of debilitating cramps every time we run she achieved her best pace to date and smashed the time she expected to get, coming in at 1:21:48. Sounds like she plans on being a part of Team Lanzoni with me next year for this race, and in the more immediate future…hopefully she’ll be a part of my next undertaking…more on that soon.

Oh, By The Way:
My Playlist did me a lot of good. I find it ironic that Chelsea Dagger never came on through the whole run, but I did have Lift Me Up on for that last hill climb in Falmouth Heights, and let me tell you it felt pretty badass climbing that hill and flying to the finish rockin’ out to that.

So, Overall?
The Falmouth Road Race was an incredible experience, I performed better than I could’ve expected, felt great and I’m looking forward to next year where hopefully I’ll get a lower number and a better corral.
Just think – if I can do this, anyone can do it. Get out there and get to it.