… and a month later, he was still running …

Now that I’m five weeks into this, it feels safe to finally write about my return to running (well, let’s be honest, it’s really more jogging at this point, but why argue semantics?).

So, anyway … I finally got my act together at the beginning of May and started training again. I’m using the same method Bessie and I used when we trained for the Monumental Half-Marathon back in 2011 and ’12: an eight-week couch-to-running program followed by a 10-week half-marathon training plan. I figure if I do that, then repeat the final eight weeks of the half plan, that will take me into this year’s Monumental in pretty good shape.

The nice thing — besides the fact that I’m actually up and exercising — is that the neighborhood where we live now is much more conducive to the whole running (eh, jogging) thing. Amazing what a difference sidewalks and wide streets can make.

The challenge is keeping on track when the work schedule plays havoc with the running schedule.  Last weekend, being on the road, I ended up running 30 minutes on a treadmill at my hotel because the surroundings (an interstate, a McDonald’s parking lot, a state highway) didn’t exactly seem all that run-friendly.

Time to run again

Moments before running my first half-marathon in 2011. No, that’s not fear in my eyes … as far as you know.

The first steps are a challenge. Find your form. Find your pace. Don’t step too hard; it’s almost like you’re lightly ricocheting off the ground, step by step by step. Don’t go too fast either, or you’ll wear yourself out too quickly.
And breathe, not too fast, not too deep, just enough to keep powering this machine you’ve now got lumbering along.
Only 13 miles to go. …

“My sport is your sport’s punishment.” It’s a pretty popular slogan for athletes in track and cross country.
I wasn’t one of those athletes when I was in school. I wasn’t an athlete at all. Not when there were cigarettes to smoke and lunches consisting of a Big Red and a Reese’s cup.
Yep. Picture of health.
But after I got married, my wife and I realized we liked hiking in nearby Brown County. And we would often walk around our neighborhood, just for fun.
And sure, on occasion I would talk about how cool it would be to compete in the local sprint triathlon, a shorter version of those IronMan events. But talk was all it was.

2011 comes around, and I’ve been a former smoker for seven years or so, and through a confusing bit of circumstances about who wants to run and what event it is, my wife and I end up signing up for the Monumental Half Marathon in Indianapolis.
We find a couple exercise programs designed to prepare us. One’s an eight-week program to get you from couch potato to running 30 minutes at a time. The other’s a a 10-week training schedule for first-time half-marathoners.
This event is in November, so we start training at the beginning of July. A hot July. We quickly learn that the best time for us to train is in the morning. Up at 5 a.m., wake ourselves up, out the door. During the week, weekends as well.
We plot out courses nearby. One takes us by farm fields “fresh” with mulch. Another winds in and around and through a community somewhat near ours that actually has sidewalks and streets wide enough to run down, unlike ours.
Damn condos.
So we make it through the hot days and the cold days and the rainy days and the “I just want to stay in bed” days. We persevere through achy knees and sore heels and burning legs and the occasional fall.
November comes around and so does the half marathon, and despite slowing up towards the end with leg cramps and a gimpy knee, we finish in just over 3 hours. Not Olympic competitor time, but still, not bad for a couple first-timers.
I run a couple 5Ks in the spring and we sign up again and we cut a little bit off our time. But we’ve both hit the wall, so to speak, and decide that we’re going to take it a little easier on ourselves in 2013.

2013 bleeds into 2014, and 2014 into 2015, and still no running. The desire’s kind of there for me, but not enough for me to make the effort to actually get out and do it.
But as my gut gets bigger and bigger, I realize how much better I felt when I was running on a regular basis. I was still overweight, sure, but at least I was making an effort to be healthier.
So I signed up again for the Monumental Half Marathon. I’m five years older, (expletive deleted) pounds heavier, but I’m eager to make an effort to break that 3-hour barrier.

Run down

I’m writing this from the IU press box, where on a day like this a year ago, I was chugging Powerade after running my second Monumental Half-Marathon.

I didn’t make it to three.

Two years ago, I signed my wife and I up for the Monumental Half because we were supposed to run it with a friend. The friend backed out — can’t say that I blame her — but my wife and I kept up with the training. We ran it, we finished, even though we hit a wall at the 11-mile mark. My bad knees and my wife’s leg cramps meant walking for most of the last two miles, although we sucked it up and ran across the finish line.

The idea was that we would run it again, trying to break the three-hour mark this time. And we almost did. But again, some health issues out on the course meant that, even though we improved our time, we didn’t break three hours.

And we lost our drive. So we slacked off over the winter and lost whatever running ability we had. So this morning, while one of my former sportswriters was running the half in just under two hours — S.O.B. — my wife and I, well, weren’t.

So why blog about this? Because I realized this morning that I did miss running the Monumental. Especially since there wasn’t sleet this time around.

In case you weren’t aware, running in sleet sucks.

So consider this my public challenge to myself. Get back in shape, get back to running, get my ass in gear.

First, though … the chocolate chip cookies in the press box are delicious.

Running 7.31.12

It’s great when you those rare mornings come along where I actually want to get up and go for a run. The challenge is still getting up in time to fit in a full run. Today, we could only do 25 minutes because we were both slow getting up. Still better than our 20-minute runs the last two Tuesdays.

I don’t think it’s contradictory to want to get up and run while also wanting to hit that snooze button for another 15 minutes of “sleep.”

Anyway, when I did get up, I was raring to go; odd, because I didn’t get to sleep as early as I had hoped for on Monday night. Maybe it’s better to not get enough sleep?