Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Last Saturday, I got up early to run my 12 miles before a scheduled golf outing with my neighbors. As I was nearing the completion of my first 4 mile loop, a white Cadillac slowly passed by. And as it did, an old man leaned out of the driver's window and said, "I admire you, young man." I was a little shocked to have anyone speaking to me and I was even more shocked to be complimented by a passerby. Now this old timer could have been making a bit of a pass at me, like old man Herbert up at the top, but I highly doubt it. But the question of why this guy admired me kept me in a quandary for nearly the rest of the run.
Does he admire me because I am still physically able to run, something he may be unable to do in his advanced age? Maybe. But I think he could totally run if he took his time and started slowly. Louis Zamperini, Olympic athlete, WWII POW, and the subject of the wildly popular book "Unbroken" (if you haven't read this book, you really should), was still running 6 minute miles into his 60's. I have to work my ass off to run a sub-7 minute mile and I am only 34! I certainly would like to continue to run well into my retirement and often use Zamperini as an example of what the human body is capable of enduring.
Maybe this guy admired me for being up early on a Saturday just to go for a run? I hope so. My Saturday runs usually have me finishing up around 7:30am. At this time on the weekend, I have seen next to no one out on the streets or even in their yards. It often saddens me that more people are not out enjoying the morning, going for a ride or a run, or just sitting on thier porch taking in some fresh morning air. I worry that some people are sleeping away their lives or wasting their energy and time watching movies or chatting online late into the evening. I worry even more that too many people are making dangerous choices with their health and lives; choices that will actually end up costing the rest of us a lot of money in health care costs as the incidence of preventable diseases increases.
The truth is I don't have the slightest idea why this guy admired me. I am glad that he said something because it made me feel good to be admired. And if he really was hitting on me, that's not so bad either; everybody like to feel attractive, even to 80 year old men.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
...I just don't want to train for it. Seriously though, I very much want to have the feeling of crossing a finish line after I have just run 26.2 miles. I want people to look at me differently because of my incredible stamina and athletic prowess. I want to wear the big medal, get the nice drawstring bag, and technical t-shirt. But the thought of spending as much as 18 weeks, running as much as 30 miles per week, and just getting out to run for miles week in and week out, freaks me out completely.
I am 5 weeks away from my half marathon, I have possibly 3 more 12 mile runs, and the thought is starting to send shivers down my spine. I am completely ready for the half marathon. I am even having fascinations about how fast I would like to run the race, but the thought of getting up and running 12 miles this Saturday makes me want to curl up and go to bed.
The trouble with all of this is that if I really expect to finish the race in any sort of respectable time, the training is completely necessary! Maybe I am focusing too much on the destination and not enough on the journey. Maybe I am just tired today and feeling a bit of a rut. Or maybe training for long distance races really does suck. Any way you slice it, I don't feel much like training right now!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I do apologize for being absent, but sometimes it seems that life just gets in the way. We had a wonderful family vacation to St. Louis and a trip back to Galesburg for a family reunion. But please do not worry; I have taken no break from my training. I ran on the treadmill in St. Louis and went on another run through some familiar areas in the town that I grew up in.
Running has been going great! I have run 11 miles each of the last 2 Saturdays, and will run that distance one more time this Saturday. After that I figure on running 12 miles for the next 3 Saturdays, and finally tapering off for the last 2 weeks before the race. I had a great tempo run today! i had a lot of trouble getting out of bed this morning because I had to take a Benadryl for my allergies last night, but once I got moving things went really well. I nailed the first mile at sub-7 minutes and then proceeded to run a total of 5 miles in 35:45, exactly 7:09 per mile. It really felt great!
I also got the chance to ride Roxanne the other night. My amazing wife was gracious enough to give me the night to go for a bike ride. So, I raced home from work, suited up, and headed out for a ride. I had a 25 mile route planned for an area north of town, but was quickly denied in the first couple of miles when I discovered the road was completely closed! So, I reconfigured my route and went for a 21 mile ride in an area southwest of town. It was a great ride, a little windy, but definitely not too hot. I was impressed how easy the ride went, and even more impressed with how easy recovery has gone. I haven't noticed the extra workout at all!
I have made one change that I think is helping my overall "good feeling" while training. After much contemplation, I have decided to not drink any alcohol during my training. Earlier in the year I had said that I would limit myself to 7 drinks a week, and for awhile that went swimmingly. But more recently, we had a couple of events that led to me consuming more than 7 drinks per week. My liver never really felt the increase and my weight was staying off, but there were a couple of Saturdays that were pretty difficult to get out and run. One time, I was still feeling pretty poorly on Monday. None of this was helping with the difficult training schedule. So, I decided to lay off the booze until I have completed my half marathon. If you know me, you realize that this is a pretty big sacrifice! I love beer! I love drinking beer! But I also love running, and one of them was going to have to give. So, this decision is definitely not forever, but for now there will be no drinking beer. Funny thing though, the half marathon I am running has a free beer tent at the finish line. So, pretty much 30 seconds after my race is over, I will be back on the sauce; I can't wait!