Tag Archives: Dailymile

Handling a major disappointment

Participants in the 2010 Boston Marathon in We...

I'll be missing the excitement of Boston this year.

Just after lunchtime today, I called the American Youth Hostel in Boston and cancelled my reservation for April 13-17. All serious runners will read that sentence and think “Oh, man! I bet he is really bummed.” And I am.

For you writers and others who occasionally read my blog, The Boston Marathon will be held April 16 of this year. Boston is arguably the marathoning experience most distance runners long for … and the one comparatively few get to enjoy. It is one of the hardest to gain entry to and it is expensive, both in entry fee and travel/lodging costs. I qualified for it at the last possible moment—in the Top of Utah marathon on September 17, 2011. Now I have to drop it from my schedule and hope that I can qualify again in some future year.

At one point, late this past fall, I had visions of a triumphant Boston experience. The launch my new collection of short fiction—Running Scared—would be at Boston and sell thousands. I’d have a blast meeting hundreds of Dailymile friends at the Boston meet-up. A major personal best in the marathon was all but assured. Now the only thing major about April 16 will be the disappointment I’ll feel as I watch the race on TV.

I think I’m handling the situation pretty well … I haven’t broken any furniture, taken my frustrations out on the dog, or sunk into a pit of despair. So, what’s my secret?

First – I immediately shifted my focus to future events. Two weeks after Boston is a 24-hour run that will raise money for Engineers Without Borders. I signed up for it when the possibility of a Boston meltdown was raising its ugly head. I’m also planning on running the Madison (Montana) Marathon in July with my daughter, a race I’ve really been wanting to run.

Second – I accepted that the reasons for canceling my Boston plans were valid … and they were my choices, hard as they may have been. A launch in Boston was cost-prohibitive; they were asking $7500 for the smallest booth and the location of the expo wasn’t conducive to holding the launch nearby. (Which would have been problematic anyway.) An untimely illness cut into my training and seriously reduced my odds of a major PR and then a flare-up of my achilles tendonitis dropped the odds further. Finally, a conflict with an important volunteer commitment meant that I’d miss the meet-up if I was able to go at all.

Third – I tried to identify the positives. The decision was made soon enough that I’m only out the (hefty) registration fee. It was also soon enough that the intense speed work that would have happened over the next couple of weeks can be switched for the longer, more relaxed training an ultra requires. I won’t be missing my wife for the five days, since she wasn’t going to be able to come. Same for my grandson, Chaitan, who counts on me as nanny.

Fourth – Now I’m thinking about the Bolder Boulder for my launch. More people. Closer. Hopefully less expensive.

Fifth – I’ve decided that, despite being fifty-five years old, my best running is still ahead of me. I’ll just have to qualify for Boston again.

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Filed under Personal, Running

Dailymile is a unique and wonderful place

On Dec.13, 2008, I logged my first workout on Dailymile. Yesterday I went to my training list, clicked “Last” and there it was. What serendipity that the release of my debut novel was today – Tuesday, December 13 – exactly three years later! It is hard to believe how much my life has changed in those three years. And now the most exciting change of all… I’ve become a published author! Dailymile was the first place I announced the release. I wanted my DM friends who have been so supportive to be the first to know. Your encouragement helped me reach this day. Dailymile is far more than “Facebook for Runners”. To me, Dailymile is family.

The heroine of  “Harvest of the Heart” is Elsa, a runner and a character that I hope you will come to love, since HotH is the first book of “The Elsa Chronicles”. I’m already working on Book Two – “Avenging Angel” – and plan on a September release. In addition, “Running Scared”, a collection of running-themed short stories that I’ve written especially for my DM friends, will be released in March.

Something I’ve learned during my three years on Dailymile is that stubborn determination can only take you so far. There are times when you need to admit that you need the support of others; that you need a helping hand. Leadville certainly taught me that. Being willing to ask for (and give) help and advice is a big part of what being a Dailymiler is all about.

Now I’m going to demonstrate how well I’ve learned that lesson. 🙂 I’d really love your help in getting “Harvest of the Heart” off to a fast start. (Even if you’re reading this and aren’t a Dailymiler) Of course, I hope you’ll buy the book :-), but even if exciting, suspenseful thrillers aren’t your cup of tea, you can still help me immensely by spreading the word. A large publicity budget (which I don’t have) can’t beat word-of-mouth for creating buzz and assuring a book’s success. I don’t imagine that HotH will become a viral entity, but even a little spread is better than none.

I know that a number of you have already started helping and I’m guessing  that more would be happy to be part of spreading the word. There are a lot of little things you could do that would mean so much to me:

If you have a Twitter account, please follow me (@MichaelSelmer) and Tweet about the book a few times. My web-site (http://www.michael-selmer.com) has links on where to buy it, and I will also be tweeting the Amazon address the moment it comes online.

Are you on Facebook, My Space, Goodreads, Google+ or any other social networking sites? If so, could you write a post about the release and link to my website? Also, I have an Author Facebook Page and a Google+ Page and I’d love to have you “friend” me.

Once you’ve read the book, please write a review for my Amazon page, which is already online. It doesn’t have to be long or elaborate. Saying that you liked it and mentioning a couple reasons is enough. Having a lot of reviews on Amazon is an important signal of quality to potential readers.

If you are one of my many DM friends that have a blog, I’m open to doing an interview, answering questions for a book review, or writing a guest blogpost. It can be about running or writing. If I’m not already linked to your blog from my website, I’d be happy to do that, as well as tweet about the post. If you know someone who has a blog that might be interested, I’d really appreciate it if you’d refer them to me.

Maybe there is some other way you can help. Are you connected with a reader’s group, book club, or media outlet? Even a little mention in one of these venues goes a long way.

Doing all of these things is too much to ask, but an Indie author can’t accomplish anything alone. Even the smallest part you play in helping make “Harvest of the Heart” a best-seller will be greatly appreciated. Becoming a best-selling author may be just a dream, but if that dream comes true, I’ll never forget the part you played in making it happen.

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Filed under Publishing and Marketing, Running, Symbiotic, Writing

A Chance to Start Over

It is difficult to reflect upon the past ten days because I am now eager to discover what the next few weeks will bring. I have a chance to change my eating habits, re-form my body and recharge my running as result of this cleansing I’ve undergone.  The post I really want to write will focus on the future – my expectations and my goals. But I promised an honest reflection on my experience and so here it is:

This fast was not hard. You might find that difficult to believe, but it is true. My memories of the hunger in the first few days, the mild headaches, the cravings and other minor side-effects are already fading. They vanish like the memories of pain and exhaustion during a marathon in which you cross the finish line exhilarated at achieving some long-desired goal.

Now I am going to qualify that “not hard” statement. Refusing to eat was the easy part. As I said in an earlier post, I even felt like I was cheating when I ate the few calories that I was allowed in order to partially fuel my daily run. Lots of things were challenging during the fast, but skipping meals wasn’t one of them.

“Give it up!” you say. “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”

And you are right; I need to come clean on the hard stuff. At times, the running was physical and mental torture. I tend to look on the bright side in my Dailymile posts, but here I’ll be completely honest and say that, while I was doing it, sometimes it really felt insane to be out there running at all.

Other negatives:

The sleeplessness of the first few nights was hard on my wife and left me more drained during the following day than I really should have been. This put a crimp in my enjoyment of some of the positive effects of fasting.

For almost the entire fast, I had a very low-level pain or tightness across the front of my body between my shoulder blades and under my neck. I got used to it and it often went unnoticed.

And yes, I was tired for most of the ten days. I attribute this to my running, which consumed a lot of calories and kept my body from fully engaging its “hibernation” mode. Maintaining the high level of mental and physical energy that I was asking was a strain. A lot of people who do these fasts report an elevated energy level and I did have periods of that, but they were not long-lasting.

Oh, I almost forgot. I had to wear a lot of clothes during the fast. My body did not want to waste any calories keeping me warm!

But that is it, and so I am in a quandary; a delicate situation where I want to be careful about what I say about the positives of the ten-day fast that I concluded last night. Many of the comments I received during the fast were in the line of “Fine for you, but I could never do that.” How can I disagree without encouraging a person to do something that, if not done properly, has serious health risks? Hence this disclaimer: If you have a screw loose like me and my posts have made you consider a fast such as this, do so for your own reasons, after careful research and at your own risk. Google things like “fasting for health” and “negative effects of fasting” and make your own decision.

On to the positives! The primary, overwhelming and, to me, most miraculous effect of this fast is the elimination of almost all joint and muscle pain in my body. The laundry list of aches and pains I have accumulated at fifty-five years old include: achilles pain, knee pain, IT band soreness, arthritis/stiffness in my fingers and wrists and a variety of other tiny ailments that bother me every so often. When you start getting old, you learn to accommodate and ignore this stuff. A lot of you are in the same boat, I’m sure.

I am working at the computer now and my hands feel better than they have in years. I can massage my achilles tendons and feel no pain at all. All of the little bodily burdens that I usually ignore…  seem to have disappeared. Once again, part of this is attributable to the reduced strain on the joints, tendons and muscles as a result of the lost weight. But I am now a true believer in the cleansing and detoxification effects of fasting.

Another positive is the increase in mental toughness I believe have achieved. It should mean good things for my running. Leadville again? Maybe. Maybe more.

Although losing weight wasn’t the purpose of the fast, the sixteen-plus pounds have allowed me to start over; to rebuild. Imagine you are a skinny sophomore in high school wanting to develop into a strong, fast athlete. I’m now at the same weight at which I started high school. Yeah, I am getting carried away here, but I feel like I have that chance again. If I eat right and follow the right exercise regimen, I can, even at fifty-five, be strong and fast again.

I have also felt very productive these past ten days. Not preparing and eating meals certainly gave me extra time to get things done. New ideas for stories and blogposts were delivered regularly into my mental inbox. So much so that I need to resist getting carried away with my posts. I’m learning to store them for a rainy day.

Getting the chance to improve my act from an eating/nutrition standpoint is another big plus. All that junk is cleared out of my system. It is up to me to keep it clean. This one will be the hardest to sustain. Even ten days is not enough to rewire my brain. I still love all the food I used to love. All that stuff that I KNOW isn’t good for me. And, despite the fast, despite Leadville, despite all the hard things I’ve done in my life, I’m not as strong as I’d like to be, especially in this area. How can I go ten days resisting all food and not be able to resist the bad stuff? It’s different, believe me.

As they say, I could write a book…

Needless to say, this post has gotten too long. Where’s my editor?

In conclusion (really?) I’m certain to do this again. Maybe it will even become my annual “Fall Cleansing”.

Feel free to comment or ask questions

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Filed under Fasting and Health, Personal, Running

Feeling the love

Many people who have fasted for this long have raved about the energy they have during the later part of a ten-day (or longer) fast. And there is indeed a feeling of “aliveness”  that I am enjoying right now. But I certainly don’t feel as if I have the ability to sustain any moderate or hard effort for a very long period. The energy is a spiritual and mental one, not physical. My run this morning was tough, and not just because of the thirty mile-per-hour wind gusts. Thanks to my son-in-law Sid who ran with me “just in case”, I was able to get through it; I even put in six strides during the run and the overall pace was faster than my shorter runs earlier in the fast. Still, a soul-deep exhaustion set in shortly after we started and it took a lot of willpower to go that distance.

One of the thoughts that I am having is that my daily banana that was intended to provide me with a little energy for my run is not very effective and may be detrimental. I’m not a physiologist, but I wonder if some of my body’s resources are being diverted to digestion and therefore causing me to feel more tired during the run. Even if this isn’t true, it sure isn’t setting well on my stomach.

As a result of some other blogs I have read this morning (like these- The Right Way to Fast & Getting Juiced) I am considering switching to a juice fast and eliminating the banana. A juice fast supposedly gives you better detoxification than a water-only fast.

I did sleep very well last night for the second night in a row and feel as though I should be able to accomplish everything that is required today.

In addition to many Dailymile  and writing friends that are following my fast, I now have some other people who are fasting that I discovered by searching tags in WordPress. The comments and encouragement I’ve gotten is rewarding and a big help. Please sign up for the e-mail follow or follow through the WordPress follow button if you have one. All that positive energy that I get from knowing people are watching and rooting for me will be needed in the days ahead.

There is a lot of fascinating history to fasting and I plan on blogging about that tomorrow. I’m still having trouble motivating myself to blog about the negative side-effects of blogging. I’m experiencing some, but I really don’t feel like dwelling on them.

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Filed under Fasting and Health, Running