I finished my first half-marathon attempt about a week ago. This wasn't a scheduled event. I just took off out my front door and didn't stop until 2 hours and 11 minutes later. It was a long run. It was a painful run. It was a tough run.
But it felt great to finish.
Previously, my longest run was 10.2 miles. I recorded that about two or three months ago. So the thought of going the extra distance of essentially another 5K didn't really faze me. But it should have.
Here are the few issues that crept up during my half-marathon:
1. I started my run with only about 1.5 hours until dusk. So, running the last part of the race, when I was tired and sore and wishing it was over, was only worse with low visibility.
2. A half-marathon is a long run. I probably should have had more water before starting. I sweated A LOT during the run. I should have brought a bottle of water along.
3. I wasn't completely prepared for the numbness and pain in my legs. The bottom of my right foot started hurting around mile eight. It wasn't fun to feel a shock of pain in my sole every step. Also, around mile eleven, parts of my legs started to go numb from cold and exhaustion.
4. I wasn't prepared for the calf cramping that occurred about fifteen minutes after I had finished the run. That took me by surprise. I should have done more extended stretching after the run.
Overall, though, I felt like things went pretty well. I finished my first half-marathon. I made it home in one piece. My time was respectable. I would have preferred to finish in under 2 hours, but now that will be my goal when I run the next one.
When will that be? Stay tuned (but probably next spring)...
Are you in the mood for a few good ole' Halloween stories and scares? Well, step right up and pick your poison.
1. Beware the Blue Hubbard is a children's horror short story similar to the Goosebumps book series. Will the crazy old lady's warning about the mysterious Blue Hubbard squash come true? Beware the Blue Hubbard is available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.
2. Camp Chin-up is a children's horror short story similar to the Goosebumps book series. Eddie isn't looking forward to the last day of summer camp. Will he be able to do enough chin-ups to satisfy Mr. Payne, the unbearable Camp Director? Camp Chin-up is available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.
3. Granny Gruesome: Nursery Rhymes to Terrify Children is a parody of Mother Goose nursery rhymes and features thirty original illustrations. Recommended for teens and older. Granny Gruesome is available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.
4. Midnight Jack is a fun retelling of the tale of "Jack of the Lantern," better known as Jack O'Lantern, and how he became cursed to walk the land with a pumpkin in his hand. The rhyming verses are accompanied by eight illustrations. Midnight Jack is available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.
5. Night at the Nursing Home is a children's horror short story similar to the Goosebumps book series. Ann and Jason are going trick-or-treating at a nursing home on Halloween. Will they get all the candy they want, or will they bite off more than they can chew? Night at the Nursing Home is available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.
1. Granny Gruesome 2: Thoughts and Observations to Terrify Adults is another humorous collection of twisted thoughts and observations about life, careers, and barn yard animals. This time, with only adults in the room, she won’t pull her punches. Be prepared to laugh, cringe, and scream out in horror. Recommended for older teens and adults. Granny Gruesome 2 is available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.
2. Henry Sloan is a short story of 4,300 words written for adults. Driven by past memories, Henry returns to his old church to make things right. Henry Sloan is available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.
3. Incubators is a horror short story of 3,200 words. Stranded in space, three astronauts struggle to accept their fate aboard a crippled ship. Could a last-minute rescue be all they hoped for? Incubators is available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.
I've been living inside my head for the last 33 years, so I sort of know what I'm thinking and what makes me tick and what gets me excited to start and finish a goal. Not all the time, but mostly. So, I knew to get into an "exercise mode" to get in better shape, I needed to get inspired.
My inspiration to start running and actually stick with it came from a book. Earlier in the year, I was in my local county library and happened to look at the right shelf at the right time. There in front of me was a book called Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner. I checked it out and started reading it that night. It was tough to put down. Written by Dean "Karno" Karnazes and full of humor, excitement, and "I can't believe he actually did this stuff!" moments, the book really had an impact on my thinking. Whereas before, I had trouble even imagining running more than one mile at a time, here was a person running hundreds of miles per week and eating marathons for breakfast while working full-time.
My mindset changed from "I know I can't run more than a mile" to "I bet you can run more than a mile."
I ended up reading all three of Karno's books, and they inspired me to get off my butt, get outside, get moving, get running, get going. Karno is inspiration!
Now months later, as I'm running outside, and my mind is wandering from topics like video games, book ideas, and my family, I'll think about Karno's books every once in awhile and still smile at his accomplishments. They still inspire me and keep me running.
On some longer runs, I try to recall a quote from his books, and I'm paraphrasing here, but essentially, "The first half of a race is run with your legs. The second half is run with your heart."
I'm not an expert at running, but I find that to be pretty close to the absolute truth.
This year I bought a Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch to keep track of my running times. Overall, it has been very useful and simple to use. I just wish it could find GPS satellites faster. Sometimes it is ready to go within a minute. Other times, it seemed to take way too long. Once, and this was at the worst possible moment, my watch couldn't get a GPS signal at the start of a 5K race. It wasn't until about one mile in the race that it finally locked onto a satellite.
I have run about 130 miles and biked another 40 miles this year. I've been keeping track of my stats on Garmin Connect. This is a free website where I can upload data from my GPS watch.
I hope to enter and complete a half-marathon race by the end of next year. I can finish one right now, but it is slower than my goal. I want to keep training to get my legs stronger so I can finish in under 2 hours.
Before I started running seriously, I laughed at the thought of running any distance over one mile. I thought it would be impossible for me. Too far, too hard, plain crazy.
But, you know what? I just tried it once. Then again and again. Pretty soon, one mile wasn't enough any more.
So, I kept running regularly. Now, I look forward to it.
So, I'm sort of a runner now. I run on rocks for fun, I guess. From gravel to greatness...or something.
Nothing super serious, but I've been logging about 10 miles a week or so. I usually meet this goal by doing a 5K (3.1 miles) and 10K (6.2 miles) a few days apart.
This whole journey started in the summer when my wife had already been running for several months. I thought that I should get some good exercise, too.
So, without thinking too much, I started running and pushing myself and running and breathing hard and sweating and sweating and sweating. And before long, I was so sore and hurt and injured that I wasn't positive I was making any progress. My feet hurt, my knees hurt, my ankles hurt, and my chest hurt from breathing so hard. But, progress was made. And I could run farther and faster each week.
But I needed some running shoes...
I tried some cheaper Asics shoes from Shopko, but they weren't the final answer. Although they felt good initially, they didn't last long and the heel cushioning gave out. However, thanks to the Shopko shoe size tester, I learned that I've been wearing the wrong size shoe for the last ten years. That was funny and eye opening. I just never realized I was wearing shoes about .5 size too big.
I decided to buy some Brooks Ghost 6 shoes after reading many shoe reviews and researching my foot type all over the Internet. The Brooks shoes have been very worthwhile and have fixed all my knee joint pains due to running. They aren't perfect, though. As stated above, I run on gravel, and the Brooks Ghost 6 bottom sole has just the right type of tread for various rocks to get stuck in-between grooves and refuse to come out while I'm running. But the shoe is light and fast and comfortable, so I live with it.
And I continue to run and run. There's more to all this, but that's the gist of it for now.
Midnight Jack is a fun retelling of the tale of "Jack of the Lantern" - better known as Jack O' Lantern - and how he became cursed to walk the land with a pumpkin in his hand. The rhyming verses are accompanied by eight illustrations. Great for adults and kids alike.
I had heard about this movie called Indie Game: The Movie, but for some reason kept ignoring it. I put it on my "to be watched later" list. Well, that was a mistake. I finally watched it last night on Netflix, and the documentary was amazing.
The movie follows three independent game developers who have varying degrees of struggles, success, and mental breakdowns. The stress involved to bring a good game idea to fruition, on your own and with little money, is truly absorbing and interesting.
I definitely recommend the movie to anyone who likes video games. I hope there is a sequel soon as there are so many other great indie game developers and great stories to tell.
Help the Ball is a puzzle/action game where you must "help the ball" escape the magical tower by creating lines to direct its movement. Try to improve your time and use fewer lines to beat all the levels and enemies. Featuring 30 levels and 3 bosses and lots of fun.
In between writing stories, I also like to dabble in playing and making video games. Here is a game I recently created called Jetpack Jodi. Originally, I wanted to make this into a children's story, but after thinking about the characters, I thought it might be more fun as a video game. It is still a little rough, but you can play it for free on: