Sunday, January 20, 2013

Disney 1/2 - Redux

This time last year I’d successfully completed my first ½ marathon, and was ready to take the plunge and sign up for my first full.  However, when the moment of truth came, and registration opened for the Marine Corps Marathon, facing the daunting prospect of doubling my effort/output from the longest distance I’d ever run…I froze.  Two hours later, the race was full, and the window of opportunity closed.  I entered into a downward spiral of self-doubt and shame.  I didn’t look like a “runner“, I certainly didn’t feel like one.  I lost sight of why I started this, and I stopped running…for months.

At some point during the summer, my wife started talking about going back to Disney and running the ½.  I had promised her that if she wanted to do it, I’d run it with her…and so it was time to deliver on that promise.  We signed up for the race, started training, joined on for another year with Team All Ears.  In early December, we went for a training run on a wooded trail, and my wife tripped and fell, spraining her ankle.  A few days later, I came down with viral bronchitis.  A few weeks past, and both of us were still in poor shape.  The race was in doubt.  We had, however, already purchased plane tickets and made reservations, so we moved ahead with plans to make the trip, cheer on our TAE teammates and take our boys to Disney.  A few days prior to the trip, buffeted by the support of running mentors, teammates, and friends, we made the choice to bring our running gear and do the best we could.

The day of the race arrived, I taped up my wife’s ankle, inhaled the steroids my doctor had given me to combat the bronchitis, and we made out way to our designated corral for the start.   It was a long race.  One that tested us.  Somewhere around mile 9 I had a heart-to-heart conversation with myself.  Telling the truth to oneself can be a difficult thing.  I had to admit that the only thing standing between me and my goals was the bullshit story I kept telling myself as to why I couldn’t achieve them.  Non-competitive running is not about what you look like, how fast you are relative to anyone else, or any of the other competitive machismo crap that seems to get injected into pretty much everything we do.  It’s about personal growth.  Setting milestones for yourself and reaching for them.  Sometimes you achieve them, sometimes not…but you always take something away from the experience.  Pushing yourself to keep on trying, striving, growing…to me, that’s what running is about.  The self-confession was freeing. I felt lighter, faster, and suddenly hungry to tackle more.  We finished the race and I felt good.  Good to have overcome the health challenges of the previous weeks, good to have had an honest self-appraisal that didn’t end in recrimination, good to have the chance to replay what happened last year…but this time get it right.  I walked away from that race invigorated, renewed, ready to get back on track to finish what I set out to accomplish.

I am now on a quest to do “13 in ‘13”!  13 races (roughly a 5k, 10k, or ½ every month) over the course of the year, culminating in (dun-duh-dah-daaaa) my first full marathon!  It’s aggressive, I’ll give you that…but if you are serious about getting there, cross the bridge and burn it behind you.  Next up:  looking for a February 5k.

My wife and I running the 2013 Disney 1/2 Marathon

Sunday, February 5, 2012

1/2 Marathon Recap

I'm famous! Or infamous? How about legendary (as in "legend in my own mind")? Either way, the recap of my experience training for and running the Disney 1/2 can be found on the Team All Ears blog, here:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Countdown to Disney 1/2 Marathon

It has admittedly been far too long since posting on my "training blog"...mea culpa. This week I was in San Francisco and went on several runs up and down the hills there (Embarcadero along the water is a great running spot), and it really wreaked havoc with my knees. I recognize that running around with a bunch of extra lbs takes it's toll on a body...but nothing hammers that point home faster than running hills. So far I've lost 10lbs, but I really need to shed another 30 or so (so easy to pack on...such a pain to take off).

For this weeks "long run" my wife suggested that I run with her (she has been training for the 1/2 using a Run/Walk plan). I was torn - a part of me seems to adhere to the "no pain no gain" school of training, the other part just wanted to avoid tearing up my knees anymore than necessary. So we ran 5mi this morning doing a 3/2 split, and it was the easiest 5mi I've done, the average mins per mile were about the same as when I shuffle along the whole time, and I felt great the whole time (a little knee soreness at the very end, but nothing bad). So I'm now a convert! My thinking is I'll use my first run of the week (30mins) to run the whole time and work on getting faster, the second run (30 min) to run/walk and work on pacing, and the long run on the weekend to run/walk and get in my milage...which with 2 months to go until the 1/2 marathon needs some serious attention.

If you see my wife, give her a high five for how well she is doing with training, and for keeping me going as well!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Week 1 Results

Week 1 is now smoothly in the books. Sure, there was the requite shortness of breath and minor muscle aches, but on the whole I’m happy with how things are going...I felt better, stronger, more capable with every run.  The C25k program seems simplistic at first glance, but really works well for fat, lazy, out-of-shape guys like myself. My wife has gotten motivated to train with me, which is a pleasant surprise. I think the salutary benefits of running transcend the physical and push us to grow mentally (self-disciple), and emotionally (our view of ourselves)…so I’m excited that, as a family, we can take this part of the journey together (for if mom and dad are setting the tone with a healthy lifestyle, the kids will follow).

Bring on Week 2!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I’m Back!

It’s been roughly 6 months since my abrupt halt to training, but after a green light from the med staff I am back with a vengeance! I’ve signed up for the Disney half-marathon in January 2012, joined a running/support/charity fundraising group and plotted out my first benchmark/milestone…the 5k (which I’m looking at doing on Father’s Day). I hit the asphalt today for the first time (Couch potato to 5k plan, week one day one)…slow going…no endurance…out of shape, etc. but I’m psyched to be back out there. If you find yourself in the Boston area and see a fat white guy huffin and puffin down the road…give me a honk!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

About as funny as a heart attack

When I set out to run a marathon, the primary driver was to enjoy a certain quality of life for many, many years, and was fueled by the idea of watching my kids have kids of their own and still be in good enough shape to get down on the ground and play with them.  On October 9th, at roughly 1am in the morning, I experienced a “cardiac event”.  I was admitted to the hospital.  After several days, as I was being prepped for a cardiac catheterization (where they stick a camera in your heart), the doctor was telling me that they might have to crack me open and perform open heart surgery…I actually found myself wondering if I would get to see my kids again.  It was a sobering moment that I will never forget. 

I have survived (obviously) a case of pericarditis and am taking some time off from physical activity (per my doctor’s orders) for a few weeks.   I have every intention of reaching my immediate goal of running a marathon, and of course my long term goal of being a healthy and active parent/grandparent/great-grandparent. 

To be continued…

Monday, October 4, 2010

You don’t have to like it; you just have to do it

Day 1, Week 4 – a cold rainy morning provided plenty of excuse not to run…always easier to say “tomorrow” …especially when the bed is so soft, warm and cozy.  Exactly the sort of thinking that got/kept me out of shape and over weight as a few “tomorrows” become “next Monday”, which then become “after the holidays”, and so on.  Training on such a raw day just isn’t fun, but to borrow a phrase from my days in the military, “You don’t have to like it; you just have to do it.”  I’m glad I got out there and ran…it’s exactly the sort of challenge that helps build up self-discipline…something that is a desperately needed tool in today’s mental tool-kit, and one of the much anticipated ancillary benefits of this whole process.  I opted for skipping the missed work-outs of Week 2/3 and pushing ahead with “the plan”, a decision that came back to haunt me on the last 5 min push…however the first twenty minutes I could really feel improvement (legs, knees, lungs, stamina) over where I was just two weeks ago.  Signed up and ready to rock for the 5k Nov 13th, if you’re out there training along with me (Lowsley?), give me a shout and let me know how it’s going (and if you’ve made a similar commitment to a race).