On Friday I finally found my stride. I didn’t want the run to end. As I approached the end of my planned 2.4-mile route, I took a turn to make it last longer. It ended up being 2.7 miles.
Before this past summer and fall, I hadn’t run in years. Last March my bro ran in the LA Marathon, which inspired me to get my ass back in shape. So with my running pal Happy Dingo, we clocked in a mile and change here and there for a few months during last summer and fall.
Then it got cold and snowy, and the running stopped — until the end of December, when Hugh asked me one night if I wanted to join him in running a 1/2 marathon (it might have been the night of our now-infamous porch diving). I gave it some thought and decided why the hell not? You only live once and I’ve always admired the personal challenge that goes with running a marathon or half-marathon. It’s a true test of the human spirit, pushing the body to the limit, while challenging one’s sense of dedication and commitment.
So I’ve committed to running my first 1/2 marathon — 13.1 miles. This is a big deal since I’ve never been a distance guy. I grew up sprinting and aside from running track in high school and college, have never competed in any race — no 5k, no 10k, nada. Tom even captured a video of me on New Year’s Eve @ Bloomers committing to it.
Along with agreeing to join Hugh and Ryan, I’ve also managed to recruit a couple other friends (Sarah and Alex — and hopefully my bro,too) to join us in the half-marathon, which will make the run and the event even more fun.
I haven’t been timing myself too accurately so far — just to the nearest minute based on my DVR’s clock when I leave and return, or by glancing at the time on my cell phone — but here’s what I’ve been up to lately on per-week basis starting the day after Christmas (running mostly 2 or 3 miles at a time, and clocking in around the 9-minute-per-mile range):
I’m looking into a pedometer like the Omron HJ-112 or the version that comes with cool tracking software (Omron HJ-720ITC Pocket Pedometer with Advanced Omron Health Management Software). In the meantime, I’ve been logging my miles on this Nike training site Hugh pointed me to. Ideally, I’d get the Nike+ with iPod Nano setup, but that’s a $300+ investment vs. $30 or so. Plus, I’m a New Balance guy.
We’re all given talents in this life… for me, it’s things like skiing, writing, technology, and, I like to think, being a good friend. I think that running may be one of my untapped talents in life. Sure, I was a sprinter in high school (I even ran with this guy: Red and gold — watch what happens around the 2:36 mark; it’s pretty incredible… stick with it or fast-forward ahead) and college — I seem to recall that my best 100-meter time was about 11.9 seconds.
And I was once a finalist in the “Fastest Man at Vassar” 50-yard dash that was part of the annual Field Day in 1995. I found this cool New York Times article about the first Vassar Field Day in 1895 — which was also the first women’s field day in the U.S. I got this shirt for being a finalist:
I’ll never forget my qualifying run in the school gym — up until that point, I’d never set foot in it and I wasn’t on any “official” teams — technically, the ski and track teams were both club sports since we were self-regulated and didn’t have college-employed coaches (but we competed right alongside other NCAA Division III teams). So I showed up for the run wearing some baggy sweats and shirt, and some old shoes. People were kind of looking at me and wondering who I was. I did my qualifying run and left the other guys in the dust, recording the best time to date. All these people I didn’t know gave me high-fives and asked who I was and where I’d come from. It was a good feeling.
Meanwhile, I ran 3 miles on Saturday — which I think is the longest I’ve ever run continuously in my life (can that be true??). I played soccer growing up, and I don’t think I ever ran that far in practices, nor in track practice in high school or college. So running that far was a great feeling. But then my feet hurt.
So I skied for the afternoon on Sunday — great half-day at Gore, though snow was a bit slushy and melted in places.
This morning I got my first root canal and crown. The procedure was about 2.5 hours and, unlike my wisdom teeth removal in 2000, I was fully conscious the whole time, so it felt much longer and was much more uncomfortable.
Then I ran 2 miles this afternoon in about 18 minutes. On Saturday, Alex and I are running in a “Winter Wimp Out Foot Race” — 4.4 miles is the full race, but everyone has the option to stop at the 2.2-mile mark.
Half-marathon here I come! Now I just to figure out what to do about new shoes…