15th Annual GO! St Louis Half Marathon Review

Ever since I ran my first 10K in the Summer of ’94 then my first full marathon a few months later every downtown St Louis 1/2 marathon followed essentially the same routes.  This year was a welcomed departure from the norm and turned this course into one of my all time favorites.

2015-course-map

The course started from it’s usual location on Market Street but instead of starting out by heading South towards the Anheuser Busch brewery, it went East, straight towards the first of two bridges which were to be crossed.  Shortly after the the first mile marker began the “race within a race”  the 3.5 mile Bridge Run which had it’s own starting and finishing strips to time runners.

During the first mile this giant flag was hanging a little too low, and unless you were 4 ft tall or less, you were bound to run into it.

During the first mile this giant flag was hanging a little too low, and unless you were 4 ft tall or less, you were bound to run into it.

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A little low but at least it wasn’t hitting the ground.

With overcast skies at the beginning of the race we didn’t get to see the sunrise until the start of our first bridge, Eads Bridge which was had it’s initial construction way back in February of 1868 and first opened to the public on July 4th, 1874.  I never realized how long this bridge was until running over the whole thing but the beautiful sunrise kept us all company.

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800px-Eads_Bridge_panorama_20090119

another view of the Eads bridge (picture via Wikipedia)

After exiting the Eads Bridge on the Illinois side of the river we made our way over to the Martin Luther King bridge via Collinsville Ave in East St Louis.  I’m not sure how many runners realized this but, along the right side of the road we got to pass the Majestic Theatre.  About 20 months ago, I did a little research and expose’ on the Majestic Theatre after taking a snapshot of the building from the highway and being curious about it.  At a cost of $1 million the Majestic opened in 1928, had seating for over 1,800 people and a 3 tier balcony.  Up until it closed it’s doors in 1960, it was known as the brightest spot in Illinois owing to an illuminated marquee which contained over 3,000 bulbs of various colors and a chasing border surrounded by neon lights.

2015-04-12 07.39.27 2015-04-12 07.39.41

The run back into Missouri via the Martin Luther King (MLK) bridge offered some fantastic skyline views of the city of St Louis.  If the GO! St Louis race directors keep this same route and you’ve never been to St Louis before, I would highly recommend this run as a great way to see the city for the first time.

St Louis skyline. Note the long stream of runners heading into the MLK Bridge

St Louis skyline. Note the long stream of runners on the right heading into the MLK Bridge

As we got closer to the MLK bridge the skyline, the gateway Arch and the Eads bridge we had crossed to get into Illinois provided some more nice views.  In the picture below, you may be able to notice the coast guard in the Mississippi river but there was also a helicopter overhead as well as a drone by the MLK bridge.

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After getting back into St Louis city, we quickly found ourselves at Miles 5 and 6 – the race was nearly half over.  From mile 7 to about mile 12.5 was really cool.  That 5.5 mile stretch was out and back to the Anheuser Busch brewery and it was enough distance that I was able to see my brother on his way to the finish around the 11 mile marker (his side of the road)  It was really fun.  The brewery had one of it’s signature clydesdales horses out for photo ops.

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After hitting mile 12 and turning back on Market St I kept looking for that 13 mile marker ….I think that marker should be about 40 feet tall and in neon lights personally….. after a couple more turns and going one block north it finally emerged.

This was a great race for me.  I hit my sub 3 hr time goal last week at the LPHM and I was just looking to emulate that time but with less pain.  Mission accomplished.  This was one of the easiest half marathons I’d ever done.  I had about 95% less pain then the week before and even shaved about 5 min 30 sec off my time from last week.

Out of the 6,253 half marathon runners, about 28% of them finished between 1 and 2 hours.  63% finished between 2 and 3 hours and the remaining 9% finished in greater than 3 hours and I was just fine being amongst the majority of runners.

A big hat’s off to my brother who was among the 28% who finished under 2 hours.  His final time was 1 hour, 59 minutes and 45 seconds 🙂

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Brother’s Scott & Troy 🙂

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St Pat’s 5 Mile Run & Hot Water Analysis

St Pat Banner

I have a part time gig working at a pizza place where we make our own dough.  With each batch of dough we need 3 gallons of water at a specified temperature.  I suppose the math part of me comes out and I look at the water going in the bucket as the independent variable and the overall temperature of the water in the bucket as the dependent variable.  If the water in the bucket is 84 degrees and the water going in is 92 degrees then eventually the overall temperature of the water in the bucket will go up.

My current efforts as tracked on Nike+ are like the independent variables in my personal running equation and where I end up ranking in various runs is like my dependent variables.  Basically, where I’m ranking in my runs is kind of cold but I’m working to add HOT water to the mix to bring up my rankings temperature 🙂

A picture taken from my Nike+ website page might help better illustrate the hot water going in.

Nike+ you vs community

Since the miles I’m putting in are more than the Community average, I conclude I’m putting in water that’s hotter than what’s already in my running bucket.  To see what temperature the water is in my bucket then I only need to look at my ranking in a previous run.  Below are my results from last Saturday’s (3/14/15) St Patrick’s Day Parade Run.

st pat ranking

Overall, we see I came in 6,784 out of 7,551 runners.  If we divide those two numbers we can obtain my percentage ranking or 89.8% which is to say I did better than about 10% of the runners participating in that particular race.  So, the water in my running bucket is a bit on the cool side.

To be honest, this is still an improvement over last year.  I was entering my half marathons into a running log on halffanatics.com and when I looked at the specifics of my runs last year via athlinks.com most all of my percentages were in the 90’s, sometimes as high as 98% or 99% which means I only did better than 1 or 2% of the other runners in those particular races.

The size of the runs has a lot to do with how I’ll place overall.  With bigger runs, you get a lot more people doing the runs just for fun and who don’t specifically train to get better at running.  In the Nashville, Country Music Marathon last year, for example, there were 19,149 people who did the 1/2 marathon distance and I came in 16,842 or at the 88% mark.  But, in smaller runs where you get mainly hard core runners such as last year’s Washington, MO run there were only 120 runners and I was 99%.

The overall running goal I came up with in my head last year was to eventually work my way up into the top 50%

hmmmm… reality has a way of keeping us humble.  Looking at my next to last place finish for last year’s Washington, MO run I noticed that was also a 5 Mile run and nearly 2 minutes faster than what I got this year.  But, to be fair, that MO run was in August of last year which was well into the running season and during a month where I had knocked out 100+ miles in training.  It’s really amazing how much effort and time needs to be put in to make improvements with running, at least for me anyway.

Last year at this time I still had zero miles in the books and my first run didn’t occur until March 26th.  Currently, I have 52.5 miles logged over 18 runs this year.

Since I broached the topic of humility, I’ll share one more picture.  When I registered for this years Macklind Mile, I saw, for the first time, pictures from last years event and while scrolling came upon the following picture.

I saved this picture with the filename, "cute little girl humbles me.jpg"  :)

I saved this picture with the filename, “cute little girl humbles me.jpg”  🙂

I’m the lumbering guy in the yellow shirt and blue shorts up to the right who’s trying to stay alive and is hoping he doesn’t have a heart attack upon completing the run.  She’s kind of joyful looking and it’s probably no different to her than just being outside and playing.  Sort of like the running is so natural to kids and, i guess, used to be for us too. Now-a-days …running is so rare that we document and log the events using GPS and apps on our phone – blog about them, share the accomplishments on facebook or Instagram.  How different it was back then, when we were kids.

 

Week 11 Weigh-In

“What gets measured gets managed”

Peter Drucker”

AND – when you have a financial incentive you can help increase your odds of losing weight by a factor of 5!  Which, is a great reason to click on my HealthyWage badge below which also doubles as my referral link to help you take a significant step in managing your weight as well as giving me an extra $20 towards my final Jackpot! (link opens in new window)  Plus, 10% of the winnings go to help fight ALS (via www.alsa.org)

Click on the Banner to get your share!

Click on the Banner to get your share!

 


This week, we find ourselves at the lowest weight of the year so far, 267.2 pounds.  That’s a 5.6 pound drop over last week which can be typical following a week where the weight has gone up.  That 267 lb weight has been pretty stable and is exactly what I weighed the day before this week’s weigh-in.  Today (Friday, 3/13) I actually weighed in at 256.8 lbs which is good since I need to be at 264 next week and down to 260 the week after that.

2015 Wallpaper 02 half - 2015

As you may have noticed above, my official HealthyWage prize banner has changed from it’s original $2036.00 base prize to a new total of $2096.00 because I’ve had 3 people click on my link and sign up which has added $60 to my potential prize.


 

2015 Running Preview

I still need to finish up Part II of my running preview for the runs I have scheduled for this year – logistically, this blog is a godsend in terms of helping me keep everything straight.  Current list is as follows;

2015

  1. Saturday 3/14 – St Pats 5M Run. – REGISTERED
  2. Saturday 3/21 – McKendree 5K – REGISTERED
  3. Saturday 3/28 – Bridge & Dam 10K – REGISTERED
  4. Saturday 4/4 – Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – REGISTERED
  5. Sunday 4/12 – 15th Annual GO! St Louis 1/2 Marathon – REGISTERED
  6. Sunday 6/21 – Go! St Louis All American 5k – REGISTERED
  7. Saturday 6/27 – Macklind Mile – REGISTERED
  8. Sunday 6/28 – Pride 5K – REGISTERED
  9. Friday 7/10 – Tour de Belleville – registration not yet available
  10. Saturday 7/11 – Tour de Donut – REGISTERED
  11. Saturday 8/8 – Moonlight Ramble – registration not yet available
  12. Sunday 9/20 – US Navy/AirForce 1/2 Marathon – REGISTERED
  13. Saturday 10/17 – RnR 5K Spinning Medal – REGISTERED
  14. Sunday 10/18 – Rock n Roll St Louis 1/2 Marathon – REGISTERED
  15. Saturday 10/24 – 5K Monster Dash – reg not avail. pending.
  16. Sunday 11/1 – SLTC’s St Louis 1/2 Marathon – reg not available
  17. Virtual Run – Race with Reason – 500 Miles in 2015 for Fighter Medal

The Macklind Mile registration became available so I got signed up for that so I only have two bike rides and two more runs where registration is not available.  I’m not sure if the 5K Monster Dash will be an option unless it’s held  a week earlier due to scheduling conflicts with my Part IV board reviews.  The SLTC 1/2 is the longest running 1/2 marathon in St Louis and I wouldn’t mind doing that again.

Mainly, I’ve been looking at more runs – a few notable mentions would be the Country Music Marathon in Nashville TN.  As a single race, it’s very pricey with a current going rate of $125 and that’s a bit to wrap my head around.  However, the Rock n Roll series has what’s known as a Tour Pass available for $199 that entitles a person to run in any 3 Rock n Roll events.  There is also an extra fee which brings that price closer to $210 but that still comes out to about $70 per run which is easier to swallow than $125.

However – getting that Tour Pass also opens up the option of partaking in two additional RnR 1/2’s this year and in addition to Nashville, I may opt or the Chicago 1/2 which also features the Remix Challenge which means I can run a 5K the day before the half, as well as the 1/2 the next day – this gives participants a total of 3 medals.  One for each of the races as well as the bonus Spinning Medal showing you ran in the back to back races.

For me – the third RnR would only be second to the Washington DC 1/2 marathon I’m already signed up for because RnR #3 would be the Inaugural Run of the Brooklyn, New York 1/2 on October 10th, 2015.  General registration for the run begins March 16 but, as a pass holder I could sign up early.  It even has a special $55 early entry fee.  (which also makes me wonder if using my Tour Pass for this run would be prudent….)

But – I’ve never been to New York before except for flying into the airport once – I’ve never seen the city.  From what I’ve learned the Brooklyn Bridge crosses right over into Manhattan – another place I’ve never seen before 🙂

Most likely – I’ll sign up then figure out how to get there afterwards… 🙂

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Brooklyn-Bridge-of-New-York-USA

 

2015 Running Preview – Part 1

I’m currently signed up and registered for 11 of 15 runs on my list for 2015 and will definitely add the Macklind Mile once registration is available.  Here’s my current list (also found in my Running Log tab) and what’s cool about each of them.  🙂

2015

  1. Saturday 3/14 – St Pats 5M Run. – REGISTERED
  2. Saturday 3/21 – McKendree 5K – REGISTERED
  3. Saturday 3/28 – Bridge & Dam 10K – REGISTERED
  4. Saturday 4/4 – Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – REGISTERED
  5. Sunday 4/12 – 15th Annual GO! St Louis 1/2 Marathon – REGISTERED
  6. Sunday 6/21 – Go! St Louis All American 5k – REGISTERED
  7. Saturday 6/27 – Macklind Mile – registration not yet available
  8. Friday 7/10 – Tour de Belleville – registration not yet available
  9. Saturday 7/11 – Tour de Donutregistration website. ($30)
  10. Saturday 8/8 – Moonlight Ramble – registration not yet available
  11. Sunday 9/20 – US Navy/AirForce 1/2 Marathon – REGISTERED
  12. Saturday 10/17 – RnR 5K Spinning Medal – REGISTERED
  13. Sunday 10/18 – Rock n Roll St Louis 1/2 Marathon – REGISTERED
  14. Saturday 10/24 – 5K Monster Dash – reg not avail. pending.
  15. Virtual Run – Race with Reason – 500 Miles in 2015 for Fighter Medal

 

March 14th, St Pats 5M Run

March 14th – St Pats 5Mile Run
What’s cool about it? – Registration for one thing!  This is a 15,000 person run through the streets of downtown St. Louis and the cost even two weeks out is a mere $29.  What’s really cool about it is that there are NO additional fees tacked on to that price.  It’s really $29!  I’ve never ran this race before so I have nothing to offer first hand but I am anticipating lots of green things and beer.  Which is another cool part – I can take the MetroLink over and have all the green & beer stuff I want and don’t have to worry about driving 🙂


 

Ramble Into Spring 2015

Ramble Into Spring 2015

March 21st – McKendree 5K
What’s cool about it? – McKendree University (population 2358) is nestled into the historic community of Lebanon, Illinois (population 5523)  I’m guessing it’s historic because the last time we played golf out there me and my buddies stopped at a bar afterwards and the road out front was made of cobblestone.
For me this race is cool because it’s local (a plus), it’s 5K (a distance I can actually run) and it was only $15 bucks!  (I’m frugal)  🙂


 

2015 Bridge & Dam Half-Marathon & 10k

2015 Bridge & Dam Half-Marathon & 10k

March 28th – Bridge & Dam 10K
What’s cool about it? –
Are you kidding me?!!?  How about a list?

  1. It’s the INAUGURAL Run!!!  How many times do you get to participate in the very first time a run has ever been ran?
  2. BRIDGES – lake-of-the-ozarks-half-marathon-10k-run-bridge-img2-500x220
    I was under that bridge on a jetski last year on my birthday! 🙂
  3. DAMS – Bagnell-Dam-img-500x220
    Maybe it’s a guy thing but, I think bridges and dams are cool!
  4. LAKE OF THE OZARKS!  My family has had a condo at the lake since the 1980’s so it’s familiar territory but I’ve never ran across any of the bridges or dams so I’m really looking forward to this race.
  5. The MEDALS! – In my opinion, these are some of the coolest looking medals I’ve ever seen:

10K-Medal-e1420488263196 Half-Marathon-Medal-e1420488401650

 


 

 

April 4th – Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon
What’s cool about it? – It’s classic!  Walk where Lincoln walked – literally in Springfield, Illinois.  There isn’t just cobblestone here, there are several streets & houses where Lincoln lived and roamed that have been preserved to this day.
I’m also a bit of a numismatist so the medal has a special appeal to me and traditionally, a GIANT penny is the medal! 🙂

2011-lincoln-presidential-half-marathon-2-e1302026363788

I’m hoping it’s a wheat penny this year.  Those were made from 1909-1959.  Lincoln was born in 1809 and the Lincoln wheat penny helped commemorate that and in 1959 is when we saw the switch to the Lincoln Memorial pennies at the 150th anniversary of his birth.   And, of course, in 2009 to commemorate the bicentennial of his birth there were 4 varieties of Lincoln cents …predominantly made of zinc (97.5%) since 1982…

One really legitimate cool thing about this year’s LPHM is that it has been selected by the Road Runners Club of America as the Regional-Central Championship Half-Marathon and it’s one of only four regional championships sites nationally for the half-marathon distance.  So..there may be a slightly bigger crowd than last year when I ran this race for the first time.

oh yeah – you get to have your picture taken with the PRESIDENT after the run!!!

Major Presidential Cool!

Major Presidential Cool!


 

Landing-Page2

April 12th – 15th Annual GO! St Louis 1/2 Marathon
What’s cool about it? – Actually, plenty.  If you’re from the coastal states and are looking to knock off two states at one time in your quest for 50 then this run will cover both Missouri and Illinois!

This race course has you covering TWO bridges (hence, the two states) and even has a race within a race which consist of the 3.5 miles it will starts at the entrance to the Eads Bridge and concludes after finishing back on the Martin Luther King Bridge.  This race w/in a race is called the “Bridge Challenge 3.5” and comes complete with top age group winners & medals.  More details w/ a map of the race can be found by clicking HERE.

I’m not sure how much this race is, I usually sign up before December 31st of the previous year to get the best deal, as I did for this one and don’t remember.  Anyway, gotta run – to be continued 🙂

Comment Response on Race Relations and Ferguson Rioting

The following comment was left after my last blog, the first part of the question was easily answered in the previous blog comment, the second part of the question has had me pondering to such a degree that my response somewhat exceeds the scope of a simple comment.

I was just browsing through your weight wallpaper and wondered why it skips from week 17 to week 31, just curious. I was also wondering what your thoughts are on how the rioting in Ferguson will affect race relations in the St. Louis region and across the country.

There were two things that immediately came to mind regarding a response to this comment.  The first thing was that I haven’t necessarily seen the riots and protest going on as being specific to black/white race relations.  Although that may be a component, my perspective has seen the gist of protest as unfair treatment between law enforcement and the black community.   The main reason I haven’t seen the protest as being a purely black & white race issue is because I’ve always seen white people participating in the protest whether in Ferguson or the other main crowd of people which persisted in South St Louis city along Grand Avenue.

What really struck me when watching the overhead helicopter views of the crowds gathered in front of the police station in Ferguson was how few people actually showed up.  Reporters put the estimates at 400-500 people on South Grand and it didn’t look like much more than that in Ferguson.  This blog started as a running blog and as such, in the past year, I’ve ran in races with crowds ranging from 500 to close to 30,000 people with most of those runs being done in St Louis simply because that’s the area I’m from.   Even the Go! St Louis marathon with say, 10-15,000 people packs the roadways from curb to curb and goes on for miles.  The crowds in Ferguson weren’t anywhere close to that.

Ferguson is a little over 8 miles North/Northwest of St Louis city.  I live about 12 miles east of the city.  Collectively, both places make up what’s known as the Metro St. Louis Region.  The population of the St Louis Metropolitan Region is about 2.8 million.  This means that even if as many as 2,800 people showed up for the protest that we’re still only talking about 1/10th of 1% of the population.  This also means that about 99.9% of the people in this area did not participate in the protest.  However, about 100% of the news I saw the night the verdict to acquit officer Darren Wilson was ultimately focused on the destruction.  Here again, not all of the protesters caused damage to property, that was a subset of the protesters.  How many?  I don’t exactly know but, say 10% of that generous 2,800 figure participated in destroying property (280 people),  that would mean 99.99% of the population in this area did not destroy anything.

I remember reading about this incident the day it occurred from the St Louis Post Dispatch (via stltoday.com)  at that time the headline simply read “Ferguson Police Shooting”.   A few days later there was news & subsequently the video released of the robbery which occurred prior to the shooting.  Once the story went national, the headlines were pretty much homogeneous and were along the lines of, “Unarmed Teen Shot by Cop”

The 2nd thing I thought of in response to that comment was that I believe things are better today than they’ve ever been.  Keep in mind, the perspective here is of somebody who’s been around close to half a century.  I interact with people from the black community pretty much every day of my life and never really thought much about it but, after all that’s happened I was curious and a bit more aware of the possibility of my interactions being adversely influenced by these current events.  I would rank the demeanor of the people I encounter in this area to range between nice and extremely nice, with the majority being in that extremely nice category.

From personal experience, I think things were more tense in the 1970s.  I can recall incidents from that time of my life which I remember to this day which I would never classify as being nice.

Again, there is a perspective component to all this and I would argue that overall, things are better today than they’ve ever been.  Go back in time a little more to the 1960’s when you had Civil Rights and the riots in Watt’s.  What happened in Ferguson doesn’t even begin to compare to the destruction that happened in Watt’s, Los Angeles.

Then, go back to the 1940’s and 1950’s.  Back then you could still see segregated bathrooms, segregated water fountains & segregated restaurant seating.

Go back to the 1920’s.  I recently saw a program on the History Channel regarding the Ku Klux Klan which, in the 1920’s had a peak membership of over 4 million people and this is back when the population of the US as a whole was around 106 million.   Fast forward to the early 90s and with almost triple the population the membership level has dropped to between 6,000 and 10,000 active members.  Percentage wise, that’s a reduction of 99.75% (more if you factor in the increased population)

I’m not saying things these days are totally right, perfect or ideal …just better.

I would also hope that the overall trend of history will continue and things will continue to get better.

Anyway, that’s a pretty good fraction of my thoughts which were elicited by the comment.

 

These days, you have to be 18 to vote, 21 to drink so maybe …you should have to be at least 30 years old before being allowed to be employed in a position where part of your responsibility may include taking another human life.

I’m going astray from my original comment response thoughts but, the Michael Brown shooting occurred on August 9th and less than two weeks after that on August 19th, about 4 miles east of where Michael Brown was shot another man by the name of Kajieme Powell was shot and killed by St Louis police.  Unlike the Brown shooting there is full video available of Mr Powell being shot & killed.  Two things that stand out to me in that video is the fact that from the time the police SUV pulled up and first opened their doors until the first shots were fired is about 16 seconds.  The other thing is that I counted 9 shots being fired.  Some reports have cited anywhere from 10 to 12 shots so, maybe some shots audibly overlapped and I missed a couple.

If you watch the video, you’ll notice the police draw their weapons immediately after getting out of their vehicle.  From another stltoday.com article, I’ve read this is due to a 21 foot rule.  Studies have indicated that a physically fit individual with a knife can close 21 feet before an officer can get his gun out which, presumably was why the officers who shot Kajieme Powell pulled their weapons when they did because Mr Powell was holding a knife.

I don’t know anything about police training.  I do know a bit about human neurology and I have read, more than once, that the frontal lobes of the male brain aren’t fully developed until around age 25 (or “well into the third decade of life“) which is why I initially mentioned that age requirement.  The part of the brain we’re talking about is sometimes referred to as being the “executive decision making” part of the brain.  It’s where planning and impulse control take place and are among the last areas of the brain to develop.

If police can remember a 21 foot rule then maybe they could also implement a 2 shot rule.  Maybe once you’ve hit your suspect twice then police can be trained to stop, pause and think.  I don’t know what the stats are here but, Mr. Powell was shot at least 9 times and the last two shots fired were after Mr. Powell was already on the ground.

Dare I say retreat?  Mr Powell wasn’t holding a bazooka or an Uzi, it was a knife.  Maybe after a suspect is already hit twice by gunfire and while the stop, pausing and thinking portion is occurring the police could back off a few feet to help maintain their safety distance.  I’d like to see human life valued as much as possible.  Call it a Respectful Retreat for the sake of Human Life.

idk.  Like I said, zero police training on my part.  I recall in karate that we’re taught that an opponent may be on drugs or crazy and simply inflicting pain may be insufficient so physically breaking or killing the opponent may be necessary but we’re also taught the maxim, karate ni sente nashi, which means there is no first attack in karate.

From this layman’s outside perspective, shooting Mr Powell 9 times 16 seconds after arrival seems excessive.  I think people shot twice probably have a better chance of surviving than people shot 9 times.

10 Strategies to Empower Your Life

In this blog:

  • Day 14:  Say No – 10 Strategies to Empower Your Life
  • Week 39 Weigh-In
  • 5K – Karate Testing – Half Marathon
  • Future Plans & Death
  • Week 2 – After Action Review

Start Saying No.   The Day 14 Video is called Say No.  There is a pretty detailed 10 step list which can help a person empower their lives.

A short Yes List and a long No list.

10 Powering and Productive Strategies you can use to empower your personal & professional life.

  1. What strategies, initiatives and activities will you say “No” to?  List the activities that can slow down or prevent progress from happening.  Everything is fair game – nothing is sacred in this exercise.  Simply put, if an activity does not advance you forward, then say no immediately.
  2. What meetings will you decline or delegate?  List every meeting you have in the remainder of the challenge and determine which you will NOT be attending.  Meetings consume large chunks of productive time and most can be declined or delegated to someone else.
  3. What relationships will you not keep?  The way you manage your relationships has an enormous impact on your ability to perform at high levels.  Identify the top three energy draining relationships you are committed to saying No to then, focus on creating strategies to free yourself from each of them immediately.
  4. What competitors will you not follow?  Too much time is lost by following and focusing on too many competitors and so-called gurus.  Identify the top 3 and immediately remove yourself from all of their email distribution list, blogs and other related communications.
  5. What websites will you not visit?  Websites are like magnets & vampires they draw you in and suck away your productive time.  Pull up your list of favorites and delete most from your favorites and keep only the ones of greatest value.  You must institute a “No Surfing” policy and stick to it.
  6. What money will you not spend?  Put yourself on a fiscal diet – every dollar spent should be thought of as an investment towards greater operating income even petty cash.  With this in mind, what things or entire even budget categories will you not spend money on.
  7. What foods will you not eat?  We are all reservoirs of energy and everything we do requires that we use it wisely.  So, it’s imperative that you focus in on your nutritional intake and exercise.  Eliminate any food or drink that compromises your energy levels.
  8. What thoughts will you not entertain?  Remember, that which does not move you towards your goal, takes you away from it.  Therefore, remove those thoughts that are limiting, defeating or downright negative and consciously replace them with thoughts of abundance, optimism and positivity.
  9. What television shows will you not view?  If there was ever a time hog that needed to be slaughtered, television tops the list.  If you stop to think about it those tv hours don’t take long to add up.  Even in a moderately tv watching household, it’s amazing how many hours are spent in front of the box.  The solution — go cold turkey and focus on making huge performance gains.  Take control of those previously lost hours and put them to good use.
  10. What will you no longer tolerate from yourself or others?  Identify the standards you wish to measure your life by and reuse to lower or negotiate at any time or any reason.  No is a tool of liberation and empowerment so use it with absolute authority and conviction.

That’s one heck of a list!


Week 39 Weigh-In

While updating my weekly weigh-in wallpaper for my computer, I realized my weigh-in isn’t until tomorrow BUT …I’ve already done it and we’ll just say it’s close enough for this week.  For today I’m weighing in at 263 pounds which is a 2nd consecutive week of declining weight.  Overall, still maintaining +/- 3% of that 260 weight I started at from a week after my winning weight loss contest so – ….27 weeks of maintaining a weight loss is fine by me!  🙂

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…maintaining a 50+ lb weight loss for over 1/2 a year – 27 weeks 🙂


5K – Karate Testing – Half Marathon

This should be a really fun weekend….

On Saturday I have a 5K in downtown St Louis at 8 a.m. – and ….as soon as that is over I’ll need to get my butt to the dojo back over in Illinois because Karate testing starts at 10 a.m.  On Sunday, the St Louis Rock n Roll half marathon starts at 7 a.m.   Packet pickup for these events ….I’ll do that Friday – there is supposed to be a wrist bank in the 5k packet that I wear during the half marathon then when that run is finished there is supposed to be a tent where I can get my Spinning Guitar Pick medal for participating in back to back runs 🙂   …just remembered – since this will be my 2nd Rock n Roll half marathon of the year I’ll also be getting some kind of repeat performance medal… I think i have pics of these somewhere …. all told, I’ll net 4 medals from this weekend.

obtained for running back to back races in the same weekend

obtained for running back to back races in the same weekend

obtained for running two Rock n Roll runs in the same year

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Future Plans & Death

Running – Here I’m looking at repeating the 26/30 week program I was doing for my 3rd full marathon. It was originally a 26 week program and I added four blank weeks so it would end on the date of my 3rd marathon (November 1st) and, ironically enough, I pretty did exactly what was listed during those extra four weeks …nothing – pretty close to nothing anyway but, I did get in a good 1/2 year of training and made running progress.  When I started that 26 week program it was kicked off by a couple half marathons so I’m going to let this week’s half marathon be the kick off for my next 1/2 year of running.

I will be going back to Kansas City for a week long review for my part IV boards exam which is scheduled for May of 2015.  Part IV is interesting and once you pass you can never take it again and whatever score you get is what you live with for the rest of your life.  It determines which states you can practice in and even which insurance companies will pay you.  It is quite important so – KC review beats out my trip to Wynne Arkansas.

There is a nice half marathon on Sunday, November 2nd which I have run in before – maybe I’ll make that my 2nd kick off half.

Scrolling through media to find those upcoming medals reminded me of several events I want to do in 2015 – Macklind Mile, Tour de Belleville, Moonlight Ramble, Tour de Donut, Lincoln Presidential 1/2 mary, Go! St Louis 1/2, etc.

New Spreadsheet plan – shorter distances but maybe faster times.  I want a much higher percentage of running as opposed to walking … I almost forgot what the Future Plans referred to but I think I remember it mainly pertains to setting up a new program and creating a new spreadsheet.  I think I’ll start a new weigh-in wallpaper with that new spreadsheet.

Death – I’m still pondering this concept – this reality.  I went to another Masonic Funeral last week for a fellow Mason who had been a master mason for 61 years and 9 months.  I remembered during my first Masonic Funeral that one of the higher ranking members of the lodge tried explaining to me that one of the objectives of freemasonry was to overcome the fear of death.  What exactly does that mean, I’ve wondered.  I suppose ….well, I can’t speak for everyone but thinking about dying isn’t a constant thought in my head.  I suppose it’s just ignored but even my awareness level of an impending death but, at this point, I know one thing.  I know partly how my funeral is going to look.  I know there will be Masons present and I’ve heard what they are going to be saying a couple of times now.

I think part of this Masonic teaching kind of embodies that Carpe Diem notion which was briefly mentioned in a previous blog.  Some of the lines from the Dead Poet’s Society such as…. “did these boys wait until it was too late to take one iota from their life of what they were capable of?”  …just paraphrasing from memory there.   or that poem – To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick – “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying and this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying.”

I’ll keep learning.  On a kind of related note, it looks like I’m going to be an officer in the lodge come 2015 or maybe starting in December of this year so… still more to learn.

Week 2 – After Action Review (AAR) phone call – 

compare & contrast….  wow, what a difference a week can make.  week 1 of this 100 Day Challenge was fraught with poorly defined objectives and mainly only served to provide a greater awareness of what a loser I was in certain aspects of my life.  Week 2 AAR – huge difference – yesterday was a simple day consisting of work, karate and then coming home and kicking butt around the house with various endeavors but, at the end of it all, I could honestly say that I had lived that day about the best I possibly could.

Anyway, each week at Noon (CST) there is an AAR phone call with Gary, the guy that made up this 100 Day Challenge and in that 40 minute phone call he mentioned a list of 12 things to help improve our lives so, I took notes in this blog to share with others who might be interested.  My list has 14 items but I wasn’t able to completely differentiate between all the items so …there is a two item bonus in my list.

Also – I mentioned previously that this was a $147 course but there was an offer extended for me to be able to add up to 3 people to the program for $47 each.  Not that I would pay that but, if anyone is interested I’ve still got two extra people I can add to the program.   Leave a message – paypal me $47 to my email address of dukowitz@gmail.com and we’ll set you up.  I’ll probably shoot out a mass email to the 300 or so Masonic brothers in my lodge, maybe one or two of them will be interested as well.

There are 77 days left in the 2014

  1. Elevate your conversations
    – High Achievers talk about Big, Bold, Better Ideas
    – Average People talk about common events
    – Little People talk about other people – gossip, etc
  2. Elevate your Beliefs –
  3. Elevate your Actions
  4. Elevate your Attitude – expose your mind to a better life.  expose yourself to excellence – surround yourself with it
  5. Elevate your expectations by demanding more from yourself and others.
  6. Elevate your discomfort by elevating & challenging your discomfort zone.  it’s inconvenient to workout when you’re tired – reality is it’s convenient and easy to make an excuse.  it’s inconvenient to make a good meal and convenient to buy fast food.  expose yourself to discomfort.
  7. Elevate your value by raising the bar and going the extra mile.  the difference – go the extra mile –
  8. Elevate your gratitude by elevating your consciousness.
  9. Elevate your future by focusing on key priorities.  What we think, know or believe is of little value compared to….
  10. Elevate your joyfulness – it’s perfectly fine to have fun in everything that you do.  joy is a virtue that hides in plain site
  11. Elevate your reputation by delivering exceptional results.
  12. Elevate your network
  13. Elevate your Focus by saying No and Setting Boundaries.  Have a short Yes list and long No list.
  14. Elevate your Fun by laughing more and worrying less.   outlook not determined by circumstances (reminds me of Victor Frankl)

Your thoughts your words and your actions & beliefs can help improve your situation.

77 days left in this year and Each One Counts

– Everything Matters –

Everything Counts

Your thoughts, words, action, beliefs are like an elevator that can either help bring you up or take you down.  Well said, Gary 🙂

Moonlight Ramble

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Saturday was kind of a wacky day.  I had originally planned up getting up and hitting the road by 5:30 a.m. and *thought* I could knock out 14 miles and be back home by 9 a.m. and have an hour before karate.  Well …my car had been acting up and by Friday night had gotten my full attention so I needed to get it into the shop by 8 a.m. on Sat so …. I woke up a little before 3 a.m. and hit the road to knock out those 14 miles and still be home in time to get my car in the shop!

Originally Planned Route

Originally Planned Route

The reality is shown below….

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Do you see that arrow?  That’s me walking up and down the street looking between houses to find one without a fence at 3:30 in the morning so I could cut across a field and get back home ASAP …

As you can tell from the Average Speed (3.3 mph) I was barely walking let alone jogging but, I initially figured it was a long route and I would eventually kick in with some running (never happened).  I was in bed by 10:30 the night before so I got 3 sleep cycles (a sleep cycle is about 90 minutes long) but, I’m thinking 5 sleep cycles would have been better plus, the last meal I had was around noon the previous day since I had to work after that and by the time I got home it was too late to eat.

I did get a nice scale shot the other day – my first dip into the 240’s since the last week of my contest back in April!  🙂

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If nothing else, I did prove to myself that I can get up early and head out the door.  3 a.m. is pretty ridiculous though.  It is what it is.  For the most part, I felt like a phone with a 3% charge left on it.

I did make karate at 10 a.m. and sensei said something kind of interesting at the end of the workout.  He gave a lot of examples which all centered around the notion that if you had a fire that you wanted to put out then you wouldn’t pour gasoline on it, would you?  Of course not.  But, in the realm of human behavior, we generally don’t want to be mad or angry but often times when we are angry or upset – instead of working to put that fire out, we keep adding gasoline to the fire brewing in our mind instead of taking some control and doing something constructive to put it out.

This reminded me of some of the philosophy stuff I’d written about previously, the stuff from Nikolai Berdyaev who mentioned that living the good life is frequently dull, flat and commonplace.  I tend to think that is most true with people who don’t have many aspirations in life in which case I imagine any excitement would be welcome to at least add some texture to an otherwise drab existence.

Start of the Moonlight Ramble

Start of the Moonlight Ramble

Instead of starting a block or more behind the starting line, I did what I did at the Tour de Belleville and started a block ahead of the starting line and, once again, saved over an hour of my life by not having to wait to get started 🙂  The Moonlight Ramble is a ride and not a race so, there are no timing bibs.  The picture shows the very first riders (behind other people standing and waiting to jump in, same as me).  Those are the premier or elite riders and they pay a little extra to start at the very front.  I waited for all those speed demons to pass on by then jumped in myself.  🙂

I gotta admit, my legs were still pretty tired and, for the most part are perpetually sore from all the running so I did something I’ve never done before and that was to take the short route.  Something I noticed being in the first wave of riders is that there aren’t any fun or goofy riders.  The pics below should help explain what I mean by that.

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Every year is a little different route than the year before and this year’s route was very different.  We actually crossed over two highways and at the split between the long and short route was a big sign used in highway construction to indicate the split.  I was tempted to take the long route but the short route proved to be very, very interesting for me.  Most riders, especially in the first wave that I was riding in opted to take the long route but, I could see a dozen or so riders making the turn to take the shorter route.  I quickly passed most of the other riders until I came upon a couple and chatted with them a bit while we were grinding out an uphill incline.  Once that flattened out thought – I kicked it up into about 22nd gear and starting pumping those legs and easily pulled out ahead of them.  I never did see them again.  In fact, I didn’t see anybody, I was riding completely alone and there was nobody else ahead of me.  At one point when I think I was supposed to turn, a cop was yelling at some driver so I think I missed my turn there and then I was semi lost but figured I was only a couple blocks South of where I needed to be.  I took a guess on one of the roads and hoped it would take me back where I needed to be and it did.  I was actually the very first person to finish the short route of this years Moonlight Ramble 🙂

Short & Long Route

Short & Long Route

My Route

My Route

I had my earbuds tucked into my shirt while I was talking with the other riders but, once I was alone I put one back in and had Stevie Wonder was playing then and that helped me kick up the pace a bit.  I maintained a pace over 16 mph for the last 3 miles of the race.

Things are a lot different at the finish when you’re the first one there ….

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