A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step — Lao Zi
It’s been a long time coming.
65 days worth of running time coming.
Over 5 years since I ran my first continuous mile.
35 of those initial miles had no running at all–those in April and early May of 2006.
Many of those initial miles with “running” in them were still at a slower pace than the average daily walker walks–I recall being unable to keep up with a 15 minute mile back then.
I’m about 55 pounds from my peak weight, and maybe about 5-10 pounds heavier than my lightest weight.
My 5k times have went from 33:44 on my 30th birthday to 19:50 5 weeks ago.
My marathon times have went from ok (4:34:06) to great (3:39:45) to disappointing (4:42:33) to not-as-great-as-I’d-hoped (3:32:20) to DNF to I’m-so-glad-to-be-close-to-4-hours-again. 3 extended injury periods (4-8 weeks) during marathon training. One canceled marathon, one failed marathon, 8 marathon finishes are under my belt.
I’ve discovered that the soft, i.e., flat, marathon is often a lie, especially if it’s Chicago. Flat is often harder than rolling hills, and Chicago weather is unpredictable. It seems that cool weather in October is not a guarantee in Chicago–a strange concept to someone living 3-4 hours to the south.
I’ve discovered that you can’t have any time expectations in a marathon of over 20,000 people once you’re behind half of them.
I’ve discovered that running at the beach at sea level is often hot, humid, and rough, even at 5:30am, but you’re still running at the beach.
I’ve discovered that a marathon race experience is often dependent on the nuttiness of the race director.
I’ve discovered, in my training, that I’m not as patient as I’d like myself to believe. That’s where the injury often comes in.
I’ve learned that half-mile repetitions at my 5k pace will more safely improve my 5k time than half-mile repetitions at a pace that my body is unfamiliar with. Making the extraordinary commonplace automatically moves the bar on extraordinary.
Finally, I’ve discovered that running slow for 2 1/2 hours isn’t any easier than running the same distance at a faster pace, and a 4:42 marathon can hurt far more than a 3:39 marathon.
Best of luck to those just now discovering running. You’re guaranteed to have days in which you won’t want to continue. I still do. I had days this past week while on vacation where I laid in bed trying to rationalize sleeping in during my first week of marathon training, but I somehow managed to find a way to motivate myself. Regret lasts forever, and the reward of sleeping in lasts a couple of hours.
I intended to go outside to walk 2 miles, despite my back being pretty tight still. Leaving the gym, I had to decide whether I wanted to bring my iPod Classic (arm band) and phone with me (no pockets). Doing so would have guaranteed that I wouldn’t have run. However, I left both behind.
I started out at a nice trot, just enough to roll the feet forward for a smooth transition. By the 0.2 mile mark, I was down to an average pace of 8’53”. By the end of the first mile, I was down to an 8’37” pace. My second mile was at an 8’14” pace. My limiting factor quickly became aerobic capacity with lungs and heart. Much more than 2 miles and I would have hit a pretty hard wall.
Now that I’m finished with the run, my back (and lingering sinus infection) actually feels better than before.
I ran in the 45 degree rain this morning, starting about 8:30 in the morning. I had originally intended to run with a group from work this morning at 8 am downtown, but the thunder, lightning, and downpours canceled that. However, by 8am at the house, things had cleared up enough to go running.
There was still a steady rain when I started, which continued until about halfway through the run. I overdressed slightly (I wouldn’t wear a mock turtleneck or long sleeve in 45’F weather, normally) to make up for the fact that I’d be soaking wet for most of the run.
My target pace for my easy/long runs has been 9’13”, but in planning today’s run I expected about a 9’30” pace, considering I already had 39 miles in 5 days, and this 16 mile run would make 55. I started out a little fast, but slowed down as I had a couple of hills to climb around the 3rd mile. In the tenth mile, a medium sized dog on a leash lunged and snarled at me, causing me to dodge and land awkwardly on the left leg, making me feel my SI joint injury from last August. That was enough pain to get me fired up to stay under 9 minute miles the rest of the way.
At mile 15, I realized that I could hit a 9 minute pace for the entire run if I just ran that mile below an 8-minute pace. There was plenty left in the tank to hit that time, and it felt good to be able to finish strong on my longest run in a while.