Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The I'M POSSIBLE Dream: A Study in Success and Failure

Don't talk about it; be about it.  Once upon a time, I was  an AAU basketball coach.  It wasn't uncommon that one of our players would decorate our vans with those words.  So tonight, it's time to stop talking about it and time to start being about it.  So what is this I'M POSSIBLE dream?

It started out as a Facebook post on the Educator's for Excellence page:

You know what I hate. I hate it when you put a bunch of quotes around your room and you start reading them. You realize that might need to take your own advice.
As some of you might know, a couple of years ago, I lost a lot of weight training with the Covenant Health Marathon Biggest Winner team. (By the way, they are accepting applications for this year--message me for details.) After I was named the Biggest Winner, I spent about the last 18 months of my life helping others along their journeys. I love doing that. It's who I am. I think I've done an o.k. job of it.
Then, this morning I started reading the quotes I put on the wall. Don't meet your goals; destroy them. Grit is doing what you don't want to do to be who you want to be. It never gets easier; you just get stronger. Celebrate every mile of the marathon as if it were the finish line. I read quote after quote and I realized what I needed to do. I have got to be an example to my students. I was successful in school. To show them how I succeeded in school wouldn't be much of a story.
What happens if I set an impossible goal and go for it during the year? What would happen if I put it out there that I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon in Knoxville on March 29th? Right now, I am no where close. I would be on the border line between below basic and basic when it comes to marathoning.
The story may or may not motivate my students. But, what it would do for me is give me a sense of empathy for what my students go through in my class. Some of them face some big challenges. Some of them have a long way to go. What does it take to do something that you have no idea whether you really can or not? I have decided to make my quest to be a Boston Qualifier a study in how to accomplish the impossible. Of course, it might be study on how to deal with failure. Either way, I hope I learn something that will make me a better teacher. If I qualify for Boston, there's a certain teacher out there that promised she would run it with me. I am going to hold her to it.

An I'M POSSIBLE Dream: A study in success and failure---That's the working title of what I'm doing.  There's so much to think about.  There are so many questions to research.  It's time to stop talking about it and being about it.

How fast do I really need to be to qualify for Boston?
How many miles do I need to be running each week?
How hard do I have to train between now and March 29th?
Is it crazy to run Knoxville as a Boston Qualifier?
What do I do about doubters?
Who do I have that can help me?
What other questions do I need to ask?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Day One: The Adventure Begins

It's summertime, time for a new look and some new goals.  For the next 100 days, my blog is a little different.  I've got big goals to accomplish and only 100 days to do it.

Day One of my 100 day challenge actually started yesterday with a 5k that I almost didn't run.  You see, the day before I landed on my foot wrong.  What I thought was a little twisted ankle that I could walk off turned into excruciating pain by that night.  Pain relievers didn't even touch it.  It was getting worse.  I couldn't put weight on it.

I was messaging a friend about it.  She joked about calling Mr. Migayi.  That sparked an idea.  I knew someone who might be able to perform such magic.  After only a few minutes that seemed like torture, my foot was healed, kind of.

The next morning I took off to the race to meet Kelsey and Brittney.  I didn't have any big goals.  At this point, I wanted to finish the race.  That was it.  I didn't even care if I had to walk it.

The race started out by going up hill.  I love races like that.  At least it sorts out the crowd a little.  I made it up the long hill, but not without noticing that it I felt a little pain on the side of my foot.  Not good.  It was then I knew I had to back off.  I planned to go to a run/walk.  Each half mile, I planned to walk. 

It wasn't long before I saw Fast Phil.  He had helped me when I first started running.  I owe a lot to him.  So, I decided to use him as a pacer without him knowing it.  My goal was to catch up to him and take a walk break.  That I did on five different occasions. As I came to the last walk break, I looked at my watch and knew I had to pick up the pace a little which meant passing Fast Phil.  I had to keep my pace under 9:00 minutes and I knew it was going to be close.   Luckily, it was pretty much downhill.  I let the hill carry me, went by Fast Phil and finished at 27:42 or something like that.  It didn't matter to me.  I was hurt and running conservatively.  I didn't want to injure myself.  Even with that, I had just ran what would have been a P.R. a year ago.  It was a tough course.

For the next half hour, I cheered friends as they crossed the line.  We stood around and talked until the awards ceremony.   I always like to hear the times for my age group so I can see how far I am away from getting one of those awards.  Wouldn't you know it that when it came to the 45-49 year olds, they announced my name.  Sure, I was third, but at least it wasn't 3rd place out of 3 runners.  I was number 3 out of 11!  It was my first medal ever that I actually won for something athletic.

I thought what a great way to start off the 100 days of summer.  If the first day could be this good, what would the rest of the summer have in store for me?  That's when I decided why should I leave it up to fate?
If you want a different life.....
You have to live your life differently.
You have to do different things.
You have to think differently.
You have to be different!
That's what this whole summer is about for me.  From Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend, I am living a DIFFERENT LIFE.
Tomorrow, you can read all about it.  Day 2 is all about the plan for living differently in
the Summer of 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Green Legs and Ham: Covenant Health Marathon Recap

I have never been one for coordinating outfits for a run.  So, when two of my friends and fellow bloggers Run Britney Run and theGoGirl told me we had a theme, my first response was fear.  What would they come up with?  They are young.  It can be scary when you let other people come up with ideas of what you should wear.

Green Legs and Ham

They came up with green legs and ham.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but those are lime green compression sleeves.  Yes, that's Waldo.  Now, I don't think Waldo had anything to do with Dr. Seuss, but it worked.  Waldo (Scott) is such a ham.  We had to have him on the team.

I loved seeing my team on the morning of race day. They helped me to stay focused through all the prerace photo ops.  I had one goal......finish the half in less than 2:00:00.  Last year, I missed it by 38 seconds. I was o.k. with that last year because I didn't even plan to come close to that time.  I would have been o.k. with a 2:15:00 last year because it was 45 minutes to a hour faster than I had been running.

Normally, I would have been completely social.  This time was different.  I kept to myself, only talking to my relay team to plan exchanges and reuniting with them to come into the stadium.  The plan was for me to run the first leg of the relay while I  was running the half.

After several photos with the Covenant Health Marathon Biggest Winner team, I made my way outside where I found Amelia and Kaycee.  For Amelia, it was her first race.  For Kaycee, it was her first half marathon. These two ladies happen to teach with me.  Somehow, I talked them in to doing 13.1.  I loved their tribute to Tim Tebow.

February training run with Missy Kane

I lined up early.  It wasn't really early.  They had been asking people to move towards the starting line for a few minutes.  It was cold. People weren't exactly moving fast.  I found my spot in Corral B. This was a new place for me.  I wasn't used to being toward the front of the pack.  I knew I had to be upfront to have a chance.

It's cool to have parents who don't mind to serve as paparazzi.

The gun sounded.  Before I knew it, it was time to run. For the first tenth of a mile, I had one mission: position myself for a photograph.  It wasn't easy.  Some tall guy kept getting in the line of sight.  I knew where my dad was, but it wasn't going to work.  Somehow, it did.

See what I mean?  That guy is tall.  He kept getting in my picture.

With the first incline, I tried to manage my pace.  I didn't want to go too fast and burn out in the first quarter of a mile.  I didn't want to lose the race either in its first few moments.  I held my pace right at goal pace.  I was so thankful when the course turned left and headed through UT's campus.

The first few miles of the race were easy.  I kept an 8:55 pace.  One thing I've learned in racing is to keep your watch on average pace rather than lap pace.  It gives you a better idea of where you are at, especially in the later miles.  Anyway, I kept the pace because I had a relay exchange to get to.  One thing I knew was even if I didn't get my sub 2 hour half, I wanted to get the team off to a good start.

I passed the 10k mark.  I was just off of my PR pace from a couple of weeks ago.  I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.  Was I too fast?  I wasn't sure.  The relay exchange zone was approaching.  I was looking for Waldo.  Yes, it was the book coming to life.  In a sea of people, I had to find him.  As I got closer, I could see the red and white strips of his shirt.  I took of the relay slap bracelet and my race belt that held my relay bib on it.  I made the exchange with Scott and dumped my belt hoping Kelsey would pick it up.

The exchange
I picked up the pace as I headed toward Noelton.  It's a serious hill.  I calculated the time.  I had already banked two minutes.  It was time to be a little conservative and walk the hill. I knew I would lose a little time in exchange for being fresh for the next relatively flat 3 miles on the greenway.

That's just the beginning of Noelton.  There's another hill
 after this one.
At the top of the hill, I grabbed a much needed water and proceeded to take on the next three miles of greenway.  I got in the zone.  I had to reach Mile 10 by the 1:30:00 mark in order to have a 30:00 minute 5k left.  Though I had to weave through a few runners who were slowing, I managed to hit the 10 mile mark right at 1:30:00.

A few moments later, I made it to the Fort and a couple of more hills.  With my watch reading a 9:00 minute pace, I knew I had a little room.  I walked most of the hills getting into the Fort Sanders area.  Once at Children's Hospital, I took off again.  I took when little walk break on a slight uphill and then I kicked it into high gear. I was still on pace for a sub 2.

I passed mile 12 with around 11 minutes left.  All I had to do was maintain a 10 minute pace.  I came down the hill by the Knoxville Art Museum where the marathon and half marathon splits.  I was thinking about taking a walk break going up the hill into the stadium until I heard the cheers of my relay team.  Then I knew I had to run it through with no stopping.

I was trying to smile but I was dead.
I picked up the pace.  I made my way up the hill to the stadium.  I took about a 15 second walk break to catch my breath.  Then, I raced into the stadium and to the finish line.

Official Time: 159:19
I crossed the finish line in 1:59:19 and made my way to the VIP tent where my parents waited for me. I was so happy and so appreciative of my parents supporting me.  I did it!!!!  Then, I realized I was freezing cold.

That wasn't the highlight of the day.  About two and a half hours later, I got to cross the finish line with my relay team.  I think that was as much fun as finishing my race.  Thank you Kelsey, Brittney, and Scott for making it happen.

The day wasn't over.  I waited a little while longer for our friend Phil Kaplan to cross the finish line after doing the marathon.  Fast Phil is the one who helped me become Flyin' Bryan.  I owe a lot of my success to him.

In the end, a good time was had by all at the Covenant Health Marathon.  For me, that time was a PR.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why Not Me!!!

This Sunday, I will run the Covenant Health Half Marathon.  I've never been more excited.  I'm going to try to go for a sub 2:00:00 half. I have no idea whether I'm going to make it.  I know I can do 10 miles at a 9:00 minute pace.  I know I can do 6.2 at an 8:48 pace.  I am going to go for it.  I am going to go for an 8:57 pace.  That'll bring me in under two hours.  Can I do it?  Somebody's going to do it that day.  Somebody is going to push themselves  to their limits and beyond to get that time. If it's going to be somebody, #whynotme?

I have to say one of my best encouragers has been one of my training partners, Kelsey.  It's one of these things where we are good at believing in each other.  (By the way, when you see me wearing bright green compression sleeves and a bright green shirt, it's her fault.)  I have a new energy in my training that I never have had before.  You see, I was kind of helping her get quicker.  I would give her my workouts.  Then, I started figuring it might be good if I did what I told her, but a little higher level since I was the "coach" in situation. 

The problem with being a coach is that you want to be better than the people you coach.  Well, she's been getting faster and stronger.  Just yesterday, she did 10 real pushups which is 10 more than she did just a few weeks ago.  It won't be long before she catches up to me.  I can only do about 25 or 30.  Here I am, as she gets faster, I've had to get faster.  I can't be out of breath when I'm trying to run with her.  I've got to act like I'm the one in good shape.  It's not getting any easier.  I love it.  That's what having people to train with is all about.  Who else can make you get up early, run 4 miles with each one getting faster, walk two miles, and then go for a 5 mile hike up a mountain all before lunch?

Covenant Health Marathon Biggest Winner Team
The most exciting thing about this weekend is that I know it's just the beginning of a whole new me when it comes to running.  I've always wanted to qualify for Boston.  This weekend marks the start of a six month intensive plan to give myself a great shot at qualifying when I run the Marine Corps Marathon.  I know I am know where near in shape enough to do it right now.  I can run a 7:30 mile for 2 miles.  In six months, I hope to do that for 26 miles. I know it's against the odds, but somewhere out there, someone will do what I am hoping to do.  So, why couldn't it be me?  #whynotme?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chasing Snakes

As St. Patrick's Day approaches, what more appropriate race to run than the Chasing Snakes 10k in Johnson City, Tennessee.

I love the race.  What better reason could you have to run a race than to support an interfaith network that helps homeless families?  Plus, I like that it's somewhere different.  

Back in 2009, I started running.  I ran the Straw Plains 10k and I was sick.  I either had the flu, a stomach bug, or food poisoning.  I felt embarrassed when I crossed the finish line.  I was one of the last 10k participants.  Thankfully, there was a half marathon that day and I wasn't the last to cross the finish line.  

So, I made the decision that day to find another race.  I searched the internet, but couldn't find any in Knoxville.  I broadened my search and found the Chasing Snakes 10k  Perfect!!!   No one would no me there.  It was it's first year as a race. It didn't matter how I finished.  I'm glad it didn't.  I finished in 235th place out of 260 finishers.  I ran it again in 2011 and 2012.  It didn't get better.  It got worse.  I finished in 1:21:42 and 1:16:52.  

Today, I returned to the Chasing Snakes with new goals in mind.  I wanted a PR.  I was hoping to go under 56:00 minutes, but wasn't sure if it was possible.  I knew I could come close.  I went into it with the attitude that whatever happens, happens.  I'm going to run at a comfortable pace and enjoy it.

I had hoped to stay at a hotel in Johnson City the night before the race, but with it being Bristol weekend, there wasn't a room in town.  So, I woke up at 4:45 a.m., took a shower, got dressed, and ate some French Toast before I headed out for the two hour drive.  It seemed to take forever and I was tired.  It didn't matter, I had to get there.

Around 7:00 a.m., I pulled into the church parking lot.  Only a few people were there, mostly workers setting up for the day.  I headed into the church, picked up my bib and my t-shirt before heading back to my car to relax for a little while.  I was ready.  What for, I wasn't sure, but I was ready for whatever the day brought me.

After a short warm-up run, I heard them calling runners to starting.  For the first time ever, I made my way towards the front of the pack.  I always lined up at the back of the pack, but it was time to start realizing I didn't belong back there if I wanted a chance of getting a PR.  There was announcer with an Irish accent, America the Beautiful, and a traditional Irish blessing.  Before I knew it, an air horn signaled the start of the race.

I made myself a promise to not check my pace during the first mile.  It was mostly downhill and I knew I would be running a little faster than I wanted.  I couldn't help myself.  At about 0.7 miles, I glanced at my watch.  It read 8:42.  I thought that was a little fast, but I kept on running.  The second mile was mainly flat and worked on maintaining my pace.  The third mile brought some rolling hills.  Somehow, I was able to make it to the 5k mark at 27:00 minutes.  Was it possible to get a 54:00 minute 5k?  Not really.  There were some short, steep hills ahead.

Mile 4 wasn't bad.  I kept the pace.  One thing I noticed when I passed the water stops that they were WATER stops.  I was hoping for a little flavor.

Mile 5 was were I decided to slow down a little.  Why should I kill myself if I wasn't going to make it to a sub 54:00 minute 10k?  Part of me wanted to make sure there was something left to get when I did the flying pig 10k in May.  As I approached one small hill, I made the decision to walk it.  It wasn't that long and it wouldn't hurt my PR.  As I came to the top of the hill, a runner tried to give me a couple of words of encouragement.  "Hang in there!" he said as he passed me. Little did he know I was just waiting for the long downhill on the other side.  Sure enough, about half way down the hill, I passed him.  That wouldn't be the last time.

As we approached the last hill, I walked it.  It was short and wouldn't really affect my overall time. The guy comes by again and tells me I'm almost there.  It was time to have some fun. 

I made it to the top of the hill and walked a little more.  I looked at my watch.  I was 0.6 of a mile from the finish line and it was all downhill from there.  It was time for me to fly.  I took off running, building my speed with each step.  I turned the corner to find a nice gentle downhill and that guy.  I let the hill carry me.  Before long, I was passing that guy with about a quarter mile left.  

As I hit the 6 mile mark, I checked my watch.  I had less than 2 minutes to make it to the finish line to make a sub 55:00 minute 10k.   I picked up the pace yet again.  I turned the final corner to head down the home stretch.  I hated to do it, but there were a couple of runners right there with about a 0.1 of a mile to go.  I sprinted past them.  I wanted that sub 55:00.  I watched the clock.  It was going to happen!!!

 And it did!!!!!!!!!

As a footnote, that guy finished about two minutes behind me. When we went into the church for the awards, he sat down next to me.  He looks over, figures out its me, and gets up and goes to sit somewhere else.  That ended up being a good thing.  He was replaced with a couple of people who ran the Pig  and MCM last year.  It was fun to talk marathons with them.  I ended up with an official time of 54:45.  They used the gun time.  Apparently, the chip timing didn't work or they haven't posted it yet. Even though it was a great race, it was also a kind of fast field in my age group.  I finished 14/17.  The last place guy in my age group did it in 57:00 minutes.  What happened to all the slow people????

Overall, I was happy.  I had fun.  I ran my race.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The hill so big I had to run it twice--NOELTON

Every marathon seems to have "the hill" that defines it.  For the Covenant Health Marathon, it has to be Noelton.  It's your typical steep hill that's actually made of two hills with a short dip in the road between them.  So, when I saw today's training run ended by running up Noelton, I made up my mind that I would run up that hill.  And I did.  Not only did I do, I even picked up my pace along the way.  For the first time in seven attempts at the hill, I ran up it the whole way.

This morning's run was a great one.  We met at Runner's Market in Bearden.  I was happy to see Amelia and Kaycee from school  They're training to do their first half and are doing amazing.  The Saucony shoe rep also made an appearance, complete with a drawing for new shoes.  I was hoping for some new shoes.  I got some great news from Shea Bane that her husband Kenny was going to do the Flying Pig with us in May!!!

The run started out like normal.  It was a little cool so I went with the jacket and shorts.  After letting most of the people get a head start, I took off running and blended in with the pack.  My goals for the day were simple:  I wanted to run the whole way and I wanted to conquer the hills.  I wasn't worried so much about my pace.  I just wanted it to be a very relaxed morning.

I am horrible at pacing myself.  So, I tried to find a group of people to run behind.  The first group I came to must have been in education.  They were discussing the merits of the Common Core.  So, after about 30 seconds, I decided today was Saturday and I didn't want to think about work.  Seeing another group a little ahead of them, I picked up the pace and slid in behind the next group who were discussing things like races and training.  That's more my kind of conversation. 

Wanting to run a consistent pace, I checked my watch frequently.  For the three miles down the greenway, it stayed at 9:50 minute miles, a nice comfortable pace.  About the time we got to Tyson Park, the first of the three women in the group had to fix her iPod or shoe or something.  That's code for I can't keep up with you.  So, we lost one.  I was glad that I saw Brad Nance from spin class.  He is one of the fast runners that I hope to catch sometime this year.  If I wasn't that far behind him, it meant I was having a pretty good day.

For the first three miles, it was pretty flat.  Running 9:50 miles was really comfortable.  As we came out of Tyson Park, the group I was following got confused. Luckily, I had asked before and knew it was time to turn onto Kingston Pike and head to Sequoyah Hills.   The bad part about doing a training run that goes along Kingston Pike is that you have to run on the concrete sidewalks and cross a few intersections.  Somehow, we got lucky when we came to each stop light.  We never had to wait.

The next mile saw an increase in elevation.  One of the ladies began messing with her iPod.  She started falling back a little.  Wouldn't you know that she had to stop and fix her iPod.  It might have had something to do with an increase in pace.  Now, we were down to two and she had no idea where she was going.

At the stoplight at the entrance to Sequoyah Hills, we caught up to Karen Lacey (the Covenant Health Biggest Winner Team's dietitian) and friends.  I love Sequoyah Hills, but as the name suggests, there are hills.  As we came down the first of those hills, I noticed that our pace was increasing slightly.  That was o.k. because we probably would lose some on the uphills.  For the next mile or so, I used Karen's group to pace me.  All the while, I felt like I was running in slow motion.  With the exception of going up the hills, my breathing was practically normal.  I was cruising along doing under 10:00 minute miles, going up hills, and I was breathing normal.  It felt so good.

The more we got into Sequoyah Hills, the faster the pace became.  I noticed the person who had paced me through the first half of the training run was dropping back a little bit.  So, I slowed down a tad bit.  She tucked in right behind me.  Off we went.

As we came to the end of Cherokee Blvd, she asked, "You are doing the 8 or 9 mile option?" She had never run the race or ran in that part of town.  She had no idea where she was.  Of course, it was no problem for me to run with her for the last part of the run.  She was new and she was kind of cute.  Really, she was very cute, but married with 3 kids.

As we came to the last half mile of the run, I introduced her to Noelton.  Most people will say that Noelton is a big hill.  It's really not.  It's more like two hills with a short break between them.  You should have seen the look on her face.   As we started up the hill, someone driving by honked her horn at us and waved.  "Was that Jennifer Meckles?"  We ran a little more up the hill and someone sitting in an SUV in a driveway starting waving and yelling hi to the person I was running with.  It was her neighbor.

As I watched my pace, it slowly increased.  We were actually getting faster as we went up the hill.  How does that happen?  Well, it was close to the end of the run.  How do you conquer a hill like Noelton?  It's all in the training.

Mondays:  It's spin class with the great Chris O'Hearn at Fort Sanders Health & Fitness Center.  I've recently added running a sub 1:00:00 10k before spin class just to make things a little more interesting.

Tuesdays:  It's all about the strength training.  For fun, my friend Kelsey and I add a little more to the workout.  We do things like 100 crunches and 100 push-ups along with a running 2 or 3 miles.  We like to throw in some planks and things like.

Wednesdays/Thursdays:  It's the treadmill workouts.  I never know which one I'm going to do, but they go a little something like this.

  • Hills:  Set the treadmill somewhere between 3.4 to 4.0.  Start walking.  Every 30 seconds, increase the incline by 0.5.  If your treadmill has it in it, go all the way to a 15 degree incline and then come back down.  It takes about 30 minutes for one set.  I usually go for two sets.
  • Progressions: Start with a 2 mile walk.  Then, go all out for 1 minute.  Then, it's a 2 minute run followed by a 1 minute walk.  It keeps going up:  3 min run/1 min walk; 4 min run/1 min walk; 5 min run/1 min walk; 6 min run/2 min walk.  If you've made it this far, you've reached the 30 minute mark.  If you can keep going, you have options.  You can count it back down or just repeat it.  For the more adventurous, you can do walk for 2 more minutes, then it is 7 min run/2 min walk; 8 min run/2 min walk; 9 min run/2 min walk for a 1 hour workout.
  • Sprints:  It's easy.  Do a 1 mile warm-up.  You can either walk or run slowly.  Then, you are running .25 mile followed by .1 mile walk.  You go all out on your runs and recover on your walks.  For me, it's do as many as I can. I like to get 5 miles in.
Thursday:  I've also decided to add Body Combat at Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center to my list of things to do.  That is one great workout.

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday:  Long runs

Sunday:  A hike or short walk.

So, with all this training, it made the hills easy.  Today, I never had to walk.  I didn't even think about walking.  I felt so good, I got a couple of more miles in by going back to run with my friends as they climbed Noelton.  That's my kind of training run.  The only bad part of the day was I didn't win the drawing for new shoes.  My ticket was one number off from the winning ticket.  If only I had been a little rude and cut in front of that person I could have won new shoes.  Oh well...

With a few more runs like this, a sub 2:00:00 half at the Covenant Health Marathon might just be possible.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Feeling Inspired

Some days you just feel inspired.  Today is one of those days.  I wasn't expecting it to turn out that way, but somehow it was.

You see, yesterday afternoon I went for a run.  I was planning on doing 12 to 14 miles.  At the 2 mile mark, my body said no. It wasn't going to happen.  So, I turned around and walked back to my car.  I don't know if it was my nutrition or if it was one of those days, but my legs weren't having any part of it and I wasn't feeling it.  Needless to say, I was disappointed.  It didn't last for long.

One of friends, Kaycee, started running not too long ago.  She's been working her way up, training for her first half marathon.  So, she suffered a little set back yesterday when an old injury reappeared.  I'm thinking most beginning runners would take this as a sign and use it as an excuse to quit running.  But, when I ran into Kaycee this morning, she's all about the training.  A couple of days off and she'll be good to go.  It made me rethink my bad run on Sunday.  I knew I needed to work out a little harder today.

So, I'm checking my facebook out and there's that Kelsey girl, the original Biggest Winner. She's talking about doing 2 miles before spin class this morning.  You should see the excitement on her face. She did put a picture on facebook.  Well, you know what that means for me.  Before spin class tonight, I had to do 2.1 miles uphill on the treadmill.  (Not that I'm competitive or anything like that)  That little bit more inspiration gave me what I needed for probably my best spin class ever.  Usually, I do about 21 to 22 miles.  Tonight was different.  My legs were on fire.  I could feel every muscle in them. (They will all be screaming at me tomorrow.) Chris O'Hearn played Crazy Train and that's all I needed.  By the end of class, I had done 26.2 miles.  Hmmmm.  Even that number was kind of inspiring.  Forget that it was 4 miles more than I had ever done.  It was 26.2 miles!!!!  I did a marathon in spin class.

At the end of class, I caught a little more inspiration from Mark, a member of the Covenant Health Biggest Winner Team. It was so cool to listen to him talk about spin class.  He did so awesome.  Then, talk turned to the school system's eWellness competition.  Last year, my team came in fourth and I came in second in the individual competition.  I can attribute all of that to working out with the Biggest Winner team.  Now, I have a little more competition.  If I had been thinking, I would have signed Mark up on my team.  Instead, he's competition for the individual prizes and his team will be competitive for the team prizes also.  I don't like to lose.  I guess that means I have to take my workouts to a new level, maybe two-a-days.  Thank you Mark for a little more inspiration. 

What I've learned is to surround yourself with people who are accomplishing the positive things you want to accomplish.  It tends to rub off on you.  Hang out with the kind of people who are like want you want to be like.  For me, that's people who are changing their lives one day at a time.  Thank you Kaycee, Kelsey, and Mark.

Sure, I had a bad run on Sunday. But, today was a new day, an amazing day!!!