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The Real Illinois- Entry 2

We are back. It is week 2 in The Real Illinois. As you will see in this post, things are going to be a little different week to week. You may notice that two of the people I spotlighted last week are not going to be in this post. That is because I decided it would be tedious for people to write up a blurb every week. Instead, what is going to happen is that Andrew and I are going to write something one week and than the following week, Henry and Jackie will write something. This rotation will continue the rest of the training period and outdoor season. This will allow a fresh perspective every week instead of hearing the same voice every single week (although I will be narrating for the majority of the project). With the extra space from having only two people post, I am going to fill the last part of the post with something special every week. This week will be the exception as I am already late on posting, but look forward to that. It will probably be something along the lines of hearing some additional commentary from other people who could provide some really excellent insight into what it is like to really put yourself into running and a full-time work routine at the same time.

Anyways, because this project was started about halfway through the summer, I thought it would be interesting to get a recap of how the other half has gone so far. In the future, it will be a recap of the two weeks leading up to each post. Andrew is going to speak first about how his experience in San Diego thus far has been.

Ron Burgandy will explain to you how San Diego originated.

Andrew Gazdziak:

So far my summer training has been going smoothly. Once I moved in to my apartment in San Diego I spent that first week exploring places to run and I quickly settled into a routine. The first few days took some getting used to – I get up at 5, start work at 6:30 and I am done by 3:30. At 3:30 I stop at a park 5 minutes away along Mission bay. There is a 7 mile out and back concrete path, however I am able to run in the grass for about 90% of that, so I am getting plenty of soft ground. When I start doing longer weekly runs, which will be soon, I can add on a loop around an island in the bay, which would bump the run into the 8-10mi range.

The Get Fit Plan– Outdoor Edition

On MWF I do strides, mobility, and core. The grass here is perfect for barefoot strides – it is soft and flat. There also is an outdoor gym with a pull up bar, so it works out very well for training. In the afternoon people are always out here exercising – it is great to see people being active and taking advantage of the weather.

Strides along the bay; the grass is much greener now

Overall this park has worked out really well for me – it is convenient, has a place to do strides and core, and it is flexible enough for distances that I want to run. Ideally I would have a place like swallow cliff right next to my work, but there are few places that are as nice as swallow cliff to train. 

Running alone every day has been a change for me. I really miss my friends back at home and at school – it is awesome to be able to run with a group of some of my best friends every day. However, I have found that adjusting to solo runs hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. In the past I didn’t really like running alone and I would usually drag in getting out the door. However I’ve found that I really look forward to running almost every day. I think part of it has to do with getting in a routine – I run right after work almost every day and I do core the same days of the week. On weekends the first thing I do when I get up is go for a run. But part of it is definitely because I just plain love running in the summer. It is really awesome running every day after work while the sun is shining and there is a breeze from the ocean to keep the heat down. I could honestly never get tired of running in this weather.

My attitude has definitely changed from “Will I run today?” to “When am I going to run today”.

Zach Boehmke

This summer has taken some getting used to. There were a lot of changes to my daily routine and I will try to outline them all. I started out the summer with a nice little break between the end of school and the start of my internship at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. I really got myself into a routine with some friends where I would run every day. That is what I wanted to make the focal point of my summer: running every single day. Looking back at my past couple summers, I could always pinpoint legitimate amounts of time where I would take days off for no real reason. It was not that my body was sore or anything; I just did not have the motivation. Even when doing Amor Miles last summer (a nonprofit organization where every mile we ran raised a certain amount of money; we ended up raising over $11,000 as a group for various charities) I did not put in the amount of work I wanted to, much less in fact. I thought for such a good cause, I would easily be able to find the motivation. However, I had nothing to keep me busy. I would wake up late and miss the early run with the guys, then it got too hot, so I would end up taking the day off or something to that end. Anyway, I still ended up running well last year. But then I started thinking over the course of the last track season what I could be doing differently. I am a mid-distance runner (800/1500) and I ultimately did not have the energy to run a full 1500 and it showed. I started looking at my training and realized that I was consistently taking a day or two off every week to recovery from the hard workouts. Thinking about that I realized, if I am trying to run faster, than shouldn’t I run every day? Recovery days are there for a reason and I did not take advantage of them to help clear out my legs as well as get the volume that may have helped in my races.

So, I went into this summer believing that to get into the shape that I wanted to be in to be a leader on my team (outside of my position as President) I needed to really commit to running every day; I needed a routine. And that is exactly what happened. When I started my internship, I tried running in the morning. For a week it worked. I felt surprisingly fresh every morning, but then I wanted to start getting more sleep. So, I began running after work. While I have been able to consistently run and steadily increase my mileage, I noticed that I was too tired for the work I was doing. The heat was killing me. I was running at a place called Rollins Savannah where there was no shade and the 90+ degree heat was killing me. But, I kept with it.

No trees in sight

Outside of running, there were other changes to my normal routine. After watching some documentaries (Food Inc, Forks Over Knives, etc), I made the decision to slowly start taking meat out of my diet. It has been surprisingly easy. When I lived in Gray’s Lake, I had to take care of my food (which was a blessing and a curse because I could do what I wanted, including making meals without meat). My desire to eat meat has really vanished (although Mark Talbot’s pulled pork was really calling to me this past weekend). This decision has come with some skepticism though. My parents are worried that I don’t get the protein I need, but by supplementing my diet with more organic granola bars (Lara bars have 7 or 8 grams of protein), more nuts, more spinach, I have been able to get the protein I need. And I have noticed big changes in my running. First off, I feel great. Outside of lack of sleep, I have more energy in general and my body recovers better than it did before (unless I’m in extreme heat). Also, my digestion problems seem to be alright after the initial influx of fiber to my system. In the last few weeks since I switched over, I do not have the problems that have earned me the moniker of “Bumpkey Butt” or as they say at my highschool, “pulling a Boehmke.” So, that has been wonderful.

On a personal level though, living away from home was tough. Living at college was one thing, but this was another level, especially when my aunt and uncle went to Florida. It took an hour to get to work. At work, I am alone in my cubicle for 8 hours+ (including lunch since I have to watch my organic chemistry lecture during break). Then, I would leave work and drive an hour home, go for a run by myself, and come home and make a meal for myself, eat by myself, and you get the picture. It was lonely, even if it was short-lived. My escape was on the weekend when I got to run with some friends and have home cooked meals ready for me.

Last week I made the decision to come home and commute from home. Although I do miss the car rides with my uncle (when he was not in Florida), I am enjoying everything I do now. I get up and run every morning at Swallow Cliff with my friend Michael Jordan Brassea. I go to work and shower and then get in a nice workday. When I come home, dinner is ready and then I have time to work on chemistry instead of cramming everything in. It is exactly what I wanted with my summer. So, now that I am in the routine I will maintain for the rest of my summer, I am looking forward to how things go with my running and with my work.

Paradise, otherwise known as Swallow Cliff

That is it for this week. Two different perspectives from two different people in two different locations. This is what it will be like with an additional section here talking about someone else or another special topic (perhaps something that peaks my interests). It is meant to be interesting and insightful, so if that is not happening for you, please feel free to let me know. This project is meant to be REAL and an inside look into what people are going through as we begin to make the journey into the REAL world. Next week, Henry and Jackie will have their say, and, fingers crossed, some insight from a special guest. Until next time…

“Sometimes the best journeys aren’t necessarily from east to west, or from ground to summit, but from heart to head. Between them we find our voice.”

– Jeremy Collins


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