Friday, February 17, 2012

How I started running (revised)

I started running  my junior and senior year in high school (1998 and 1999).  I ran the 100M and 300M hurdles.  I wasn't very fast, but I enjoyed the team aspect of track.  When I saw the longer distance runners I was envious of them.  I thought to myself that I wish I could run long distances.

When I was very young I remember my pediatrician saying that I have a "runner's body."  I never really knew what that meant.  Now, that I have three half marathons under my belt I have more confidence about my ability to run.

The question that I comes to mind next is why half-marathons and now I want to run a full marathon.  That story is quite interesting.  I remember in 2008 my friend's wife ran the half marathon and after that the thought was planted in my mind that maybe I could run a half marathon if I put my mind to it.  It wasn't as though this was in anyway critical if my friend's wife at all... it was almost like "if she can do it so can I."  At that point I got the runner bug and I started training for the Harrisburg Half in 2009.  I tried to train during the winter so that I could have a strong base, but I made it only a few times to the gym.  It was much less than consistent.  This training I did with a close friend and that made those long runs more bearable.  I remember that as the spring and summer came it was hot and I did not get nearly as much training in as I would have like.  I finished my first half-marathon with a decent amount of walking in about 2 hours and 50 minutes.  I felt horrible afterwards.  I remember still to this day that I slept for several hours after it.  Somehow I still wanted to go back for more because I know that my training wasn't that great.

So I did just that.  I decided that I would run regardless of whether or not I had someone to train with me or not.  I did end up having a guy from church run with me on some of the long runs.  He was running the Hershey Half a month or so after me so we had a lot of fun on those long runs together.  What a better way to spend a Saturday morning than to run for two hours and chat about life.  This training went much better because I was able to do a lot of longer runs in the cool and I was determined to be able to run without walking.  I had a a goal of 2:30 which is crazy since that would have been 20 minutes off of my previous half marathon.  I was so close to that goal.  I blame the fact that it rained the days leading up to the race so we had puddles to run around.  I think I missed it by less than a minute.  Another cool part was that my good friend paced me the last 6 miles or so with me (even though he was not registered for the race).  This was a huge help to push me to the finish.  As I recall I did have some tightness in my calf that made a difference in the last 5K of the race.

Anyway, so those previous two half-marathons were fond memories of mine.  I remember thinking that I wanted to run the Hershey Half since I had heard so much about it in 2010 from my friend.  I decided to skip the Harrisburg Half in 2010 and go with the Hershey Half.  At about this time I found the Jeff Galloway method of run/walking the half/full marathon.  I did not spend all of my training using this method so I wasn't sure how I'd do at the Hershey Half.  I lost the mental game for this race.  It had many more hills that the Harrisburg Half and I was not ready for what it was going to hand me.  I want to make clear that the Hershey Half had a lot of fans cheering my name and encouraging me.  This was helpful, but I did not fully use this advantage during the Hershey Half marathons.  That race was really well put together (even though it was only the 2nd annual race).   I remember at the very last mile or so I pulled out energy that I did not know I had to finish the race strong (even though I had walked a good portion of the race).  I felt good about it even though it was my slowest race.  As I look back it was because I did not train very well and did not have any long runs beyond 10 miles during this training season.

So now the next question is why do I need to run a full marathon?  Well the basic answer is found in the fact that as a result of listening to http://gallowayextramile.blogspot.com/  This podcast helped me get through  mental barriers to consider running a full-marathon.  I am committed to running the Marine Corps Marathon October 28th.  The only thing that I'm waiting for is for registration to open up 17 days from now!  I know that there will be incredible obstacles to completing the marathon, but I am willing to go through those challenges in training so that the day of the race I will have a better idea of what I will experience.   My longest training run I plan to be 26 miles so that I will be as prepared as possible and I am hoping and preparing so that I do not need to hit "the wall."

My prayer at this point is for a running partner to run those longer distances with me.  I am not at all concerned about going up to 13.1 miles, but I've never gone beyond that.  It would be awesome if God provided someone to go through this with me ... and it would even be better if that person would want to use the Galloway training method.  I find that it's easier to handle those longer distances when you break it up and use the interval of running for one minute and walking for a minute.  It seems weird at first, but it really does work and I feel amazing afterwards (most of the time :-) ).

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings :).  Until next time.  I will post a race report on the Frozen Foot race 2.  I would like to hear feedback on all of this.  Any thoughts?