He’s Going the Distance!

Start of the 2010 ING Miami MarathonHe’s going for speed!

And, to be honest, failing rather spectacularly, judging by his finish time.

Say what?

Say this!

Back on January 31, 2010, I ran the ING Miami Marathon with a couple of high school friends.

And 18,000 other people, although some 14,000 of them couldn’t nut it up, opting for the wussy half-marathon instead.

Ah well, more pavement for the rest of us.  Suckers! (us? them?)

But how did I, a guy who was moderately portly (mmm, beer) and out-of-shape (mmm, more beer) a mere two years ago, end up doing something that so few people can? What inspired this change, this ambition?  Was it a miracle?  The Baby Jesus speaking to the potential blockages in my heart?

No.  ‘Twas simple, really: I got tired of being fat. And getting older wasn’t making me any more svelte (unlike back in the day, when I once was a dancer, had fire in my eyes, jumped high as the sky, and had legs like a stallion)*.

It wasn’t always that way.

My opinion of running used to be that if I were going to do it, I’d either have to be chased or promised large quantities of good, free beer. The latter was my general preference, as the chase angle tended to involve bears or violent psychopaths.  And, really now, if I were being chased by – say – Lauren Gilmore, I’d stop dead in my tracks and sacrifice myself for both the greater good and a wee bit of a tickle-pickle.

In late 2008, however, my company was a co-sponsor of a local 5K charity race. Someone in our marketing department, after looking around and gauging the relative mass of various employees, asked me if I would do the 5K (represent! yo!) and I agreed (dummy! yo!).

My time wasn’t great (32:48), but I was hooked.

A few months later, after some aimless training, I ran another 5K race, cutting my time to 27:59.  Still not going to win, place, or show (or anywhere close to it), but it was progress and I was loving it.

I’ve read the natural progression tends to be something like run some 5K races, try a 10K, maybe look at doing some half-marathons, and then eventually consider a marathon.  Being an efficient sort, I decided to skip all that middleman 10K/half-marathon stuff, going right for the 26.2.

I read everything I could on the subject, grabbing books from the library, subscribing to Runner’s World, Googling-a-go-go to find websites, connecting with other runners on Twitter, and making my wife watch “Spirit of the Marathon” with me more than once (which does not include the times I watched it alone, which tended to be the rule after making her watch it twice).

During training, I endured injuries such as tendinitis in my left foot, a recurring muscle strain somewhere in my delightful derrière, and a broken toe on my right foot.  OK, so the broken toe I got being a klutz while running down the stairs, but it still complicated matters.

(more to come… because I really don’t have a point with this yet… so expect edits!)

* Fifty mega bonus bucks if you can name the reference.**

** I made that up.  There is no prize.***

*** Don’t be stupid.  Really.

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Category: Fitness, Goal Setting, Running

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