Monday, December 31, 2012

Running Retrospective

2012 has been a tough year for my family in many ways. Through it all, the time I have spent running has helped sustain me by providing plenty of opportunity for introspection and prayer. I want to look back briefly to appreciate the investment my whole family has made in this important part of my life.

Early this year, I struggled with injury and motivation. I managed to set my personal record for the half-marathon (1:57:11) in February, and then decided to train for a new milestone. I challenged myself to run 35 miles on my 35th birthday in September. I achieved that goal with family and friends cheering me across the finish line after 8 hours of running. Those final few miles were particularly grueling and took the most time, but since then, nothing has seemed as hard as it once was. In fact, I ran a marathon 4 weeks later and came close to setting a personal record.

I finished this running year in a strong way and am proud of my accomplishments. It was partly perseverance, but I won't discount the part that sheer stubbornness played.

Thank you to my lovely wife, Jean, who has supported me in so many ways. I credit her joy for running and her strength of spirit as the impetus for my running career. I have (literally) run a long way, and I am excited for even more fascinating experiences and all the wonderful places running will take me in 2013 and beyond!

This Year

125 runs covering 950+ miles in 162+ hours
half-marathon personal record - 1:57:11
ultra-marathon personal record - 35 miles in 8 hrs

Overall (since 9/1/2007)

845 runs covering 3750+ miles in 613+ hours
marathon personal record - 4:41:34 (Nov 2010)

Goals

marathon - under 4 hrs by Feb 2013
ultra-marathon - 50 miles by Nov 2013; 100 miles by Feb 2014

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Different Kind of 35th Birthday Celebration

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...
Let's Celebrate! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Our children, like probably all others, LOVE celebrating birthdays. It gives them so much joy to sing the songs, give the gifts, receive a gift or two, eat cake and ice cream, and play, play, play. A few years ago my wife and I were convicted that we should set a better example and celebrate our own birthdays well. So, when I started dreaming about what I wanted to do to mark three and a half decades, I decided to do something different...

I'm going to run my first ultramarathon!

But I'm going to do more than just run it, I've planned this "party" in such a way that I can include all of you! I've planned a route in which I'll run the arbitrary but numerically appropriate distance of 35 miles in a series of short (~1 mile) loops. Don't worry, by the time the party starts at 10am, I'll be going pretty slow and taking frequent breaks. I'm still new to these extreme distances after all!

For those of you more experienced in this sort of thing, I'll be starting quite early (4am) to beat the heat, and will have run over 28 miles before the party actually starts. I plan to start the short loops after that, and I'd love to have company anytime! We'll have some of the festive accoutrements as well, to appease the non-runners and all of our kids too.

What do you think? Will you join me? If I miss you in my invitation messages over the next few days, please accept my apology and post a comment so I can send you the details!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Becoming an Ultraman (Part 1) - Where and When Did I Start

First Father and Son Run - 03Image by Philip J Beyer via FlickrThis post is the first in a series on my journey of endurance.

Feature

For those of you who have been following me on either Twitter or Facebook, you know that my running has definitely been public. But, I never would have thought my running would be featured?! A couple months ago, as the San Antonio Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon got closer, I decided to participate in David Tuttle’s running group, the 3rd Annual Trinity University Dean of Students Half Marathon Challenge. I’m glad I did because it has been an enjoyable way to spend some of the long running hours. Along with encouraging the runners, organizing a companion food drive, and raising awareness about the homeless and hungry, Tuttle has been featuring some runners in a series on his blog, and he included me last week.

History

I’m getting ahead of myself though. My distance running effort began over a year ago, and what I really want to start doing is to get it all written down. I figured Tuttle’s feature was as good a reason as any to share my own background and experience. If I don’t publish it now, you’ll never believe me later!

I started running to chase my beautiful wife (of 5 years, yay!), before we were married. We ran about a mile and a half together back then. I recall a lot of huffing and puffing on my part. But I stuck with it and slowly grew to appreciate the effects running has on me. So, I kept at it. Eventually, I was able to run 2 or 3 miles at a time. Since our new home was in a relatively pleasant neighborhood for running, I decided to be efficient about getting my weekly exercise. When I couldn’t get to the gym, I just stepped outside the house and started running.

For years, running was a chore for me. My goal was to finish as soon as possible and get back to more important things. A little over a year ago is when it all changed. In September 2009, about 4 years after I started running periodically, I felt moved to something that, to my recollection, had never come up in my prayer before. I had a strong desire to go out on Saturday morning and run as far and as long as I could. And I did. That 2.5 hour experience was incredible. The weather was perfect, my route was an exploratory adventure, and I even saw friends along the way. I don’t recommend running that far with neither training, nor a good pre-run meal, nor any water. It’s dangerous, and if you make it, your reward will be temporary but excruciating pain. However, I did emerge with a new found enjoyment of distance running.

And the rest, as they say, is history. I ran the San Antonio Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon last year and have been training for Sunday’s race ever since.

Journey

When I dream, I dream BIG! Isn’t that what it’s all about? If any of us are going to remove all limits on our minds and hearts, BIG is the only way to do it. And though I don’t expect all of my dreams to become a reality exactly as I imagine them, I do believe there is a higher purpose behind our most deep seated dreams. And that is largely what motivates me. The journey in pursuit of a dream is the important part. The destination has little to do with the enjoyment of it all.

Journeys have markers. Each of these markers can be its own milestone, or one of a long series of goals. Though I have really only just started running, my dreams have laid a course and helped establish my personal goals. They grow and change as my own running journey continues. To some my goals may seem implausible or impractical, and to others, they are probably crazy. Since it’s all about the journey, these signposts along the way are only indicators that I am overcoming my greatest challenge, myself.

It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves. - Sir Edmund Hillary

Tomorrow, a year after running the Half Marathon, I will run my first Marathon. Next year, in addition to at least 2 Marathons, I will run my first Ultramarathon (probably a 50K). The year after that, I plan to complete my first Ironman. Then I start getting ambitious… both the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning and Badwater are in my sights. I don’t have any timeframe yet for those, but just like all these other challenges, I will prevail.

Race

You can follow me and keep track of my progress tomorrow. I will use Runmeter on my iPhone to post updates to Facebook and my secondary Twitter account. You can even reply to encourage me, and I’ll hear your message!

Ok. That’s enough writing. Now it’s time to run!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Celebrating 60 Years

Robert and Shirley Fairchild - 60th Wedding AnniversaryRobert and Shirley Fairchild - 60th Wedding Anniversary by Philip J Beyer via Flickr
We went to Houston this weekend to celebrate my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. Though heavy rains delayed and re-routed flights, all of my aunts and uncles made it in to join in the celebration. After loading up the kids and making the trek across I-10, we were able to visit with everyone too. Kimberly properly introduced herself (with spit-up) to many of them for the first time. Since my grandparents can't make the journey to us very often anymore, I'm glad we traveled to see them.

It's hard for me to grasp the full weight and meaning of life together over that kind of time scale. 60 years is a pretty long life, not to mention a very long married life. They experienced so many significant events, both in terms of the world and their own family, not the least of which was raising their 6 children. They've made quite an impact and left a legacy. I'm overjoyed they are having the opportunity to see the fruits of all their labors.

Happy Anniversary Grandpa and Grandma!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Chasing My Pace

Capitol 10k Race Route - April 11, 2010
Next Sunday morning, along with about 18000 other people, I'll be running the Capitol 10k. The annual race in Austin is one of the biggest in the country. I've been running for more than a few years now, but this will only be my second race. To be honest, I'm looking forward to it. If it's at all like the Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio event I participated in last year, I'm going to love it! The energy of the massive crowd is infectious, and with the pace I'm attempting, I'll need all the adrenaline my body will give me.

My goal is to run the distance in 46:30. There, now that I've written it down and published it to the world, I'm committed. I ran 5k that fast a month ago, but in my training, I've not been able to sustain a 7:30 average mile for more than 3 miles. I'm going to give it everything I've got on race day, but ultimately, the dedication with which I've approached running is what makes me most proud. I'll have plenty more to say about that in the next few months. This is going to be a big running year for me!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Our Family of Five

Kimberly Ann Beyer - Three Months Old - 4Kimberly at 3 Months by Philip J Beyer via Flickr
It's been a whirlwind 4 months for us since Kimberly arrived. We hit the ground running and purchased a minivan. As we settled in, it was time to celebrate Christmas at our house for the first time. Before we knew it, we were celebrating Michael's third birthday both in the air and on the ground. And now as we're getting our groove back, we're preparing to celebrate Easter. The joy just keeps on coming!

We've gotten so much help from friends these past few months, which has really made the difference for us. Though our schedule, our life at home, and the ways in which we interact with our community have changed, the support we receive has only gotten stronger. Thanks for being there for us everybody!

For a brief period of time, our newest arrival initiated us into a secret society. A group whose members have little concern for their station at the time, but whose veterans both speak of the experience with joy and rend their garments simultaneously! What cadre could this be? ... 3 under 3

Needless to say, we adjusted well enough. As with most parents of a newborn, we did whatever we could to eat, sleep, and keep the kids alive during the first month or so. After the 30-day trial period, we largely survived by sticking to the basic schedule we developed in the latter half of 2009. Jean and I both get an evening and a day off every week. I extol the virtues of this policy to every parent who will listen to me as often as they let me. It is absolutely refreshing to know that today, I have no responsibility as a parent and that tomorrow, my wife will have the same privilege. This is how my family makes Sabbath a reality in our life today, and it is wonderful!

Now that we're getting back to our routine, we have much to anticipate. We will be Baptizing Kimberly soon, and Joy turns 2 in another few months. If that's what life as a family of five is like, we're excited (and already tired)!

Make sure to follow all the exciting exploits of Kimberly and her siblings (Michael and Joy) on Twitter if you do that sort of thing.

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's a Girl!

Kimberly Ann Beyer was born at home at 10:15pm weighing 7 lbs 7 oz and measuring 20 in. Mom and baby are happy, healthy, and doing well. Delivery at home was a new experience for us and quite pleasant. Jean was in active labor for about 4 hours and handled it wonderfully.

I will continue to use Twitter and Facebook to regularly report the details of our experiences. Thanks so much for all the prayers and well wishes!