Posted by: Drew | August 7, 2007

State of the union: mid-2007

I subtitled this blog “The process of becoming a runner.”  I did so with specific intent.  The first and foremost being that this site would be a collection of things I’d learned through my experiences.  Secondarily, I know that I often will commit very heavily to something for a period of three to twelve months.  Once I have acheived what I initially set out to do (or get bored, whichever comes first), I quit.  In running, I saw an opportunity for me to latch onto something for longer than a year.  I wanted to be able to look back and see how things went (either positively or not).  I started the site on January 11.  Over 200 days have passed since I did so.  I figured now is a good time to look back and see how far I’ve come, where I’m at, and in which direction I’m going.  In conclusion, I’ll look at some major lessons learned.

The short journey to here

When I started this website in early January, I knew that I had a few running goals.  I wanted to better my time in the Komen 5-K race, and Cletus and I had talked each other into running the Columbus Half Marathon in October.  All I knew was that I needed to run more (I barely used my running shoes between May-November 2006), and get faster.  I credit much of my inspiration bear down to WSM/SBG, as she lent me some back issues of Runner’s World which I devoured in quick order.

Despite my goals, my training did not progress (in terms of mileage) very quickly.  Overtraining (hard to do on less than 8 miles a week, but definitely possible), overthinking (a way of life for me), and recurring bouts of laziness were detrimental to getting things rolling.  I think I also spent much of the first part of the year running fast/medium paces too often.  Getting to more than two days of running per week has been a major struggle for me.  I seem to be incredibly eager to let life screw up my plans, or at least let it look like life had a hand if it helps me to be lazy.

Today

I’ve learned one major thing this past week (since starting my half training).  I didn’t train “seriously” for my 4-mile or 5-K races this spring, and I think that may be because those races were distances that were mentally do-able.  I wanted to run more, but found ways to allow other things in life to take up my time.  With the half marathon now less than 11 weeks away, I’m finally faced with a challenge.  If I did no additional training (and maintained my spring plan of 4-7 miles per week), I’m nearly certain that I could complete a half marathon.  Anyone who knows me, knows this about me: if there is something out there I want to do/have, I’ll find a way to get it.

I want to finish a half-marathon, therefore I will.  I’ve set a course I believe to be just, and on October 21st I will reap the rewards of that plan.

Through the looking glass

I’ve decided to not think of too much beyond October.  I’m getting closer to “knowing” (both in mind and body) that I would like to continue running for years to come.  But I have no idea what distances I enjoy or may be best suited (mentally and/or physically).  I do know that I’d like to run a marathon in the near (2-3 years) future, and maybe post a Boston qualifying time in a marathon at some point in time.  I also have some time goals for the 1-mile and 5-K distances, which may be better to keep secret for the time being.  I’m also a bit impressionable (or maybe impulsive is a better term?).  Whenever I read a story of a running athlete, I immediately put myself mentally into running that distance.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a story about a miler, or an ultramarathoner… I’m there.  I think that by late October, I’ll be at a fitness base to focus my training on whichever distance I choose.  Maybe I’ll have an early 2008 mile/5-K season, and then focus on a fall marathon. 

Right now, I’m not too worried about it.  There is only the 13.1 miles to tame on 10/21.

Lessons learned

In no particular order:

  1. Listen to your body.  If you feel good, go as hard as you want.  If you don’t, go easy or rest.  One day of training is not worth any period of injury.
  2. Water is your friend.  Proper hydration has been a huge goal for me, and I’ve been doing very well.  On days where I slack, I can tell the difference.
  3. Don’t be afraid of a pace slower that you want to go.  Not every run has to be a PR.  Not every run can be a PR.  Learn from what others have done, and apply this to your own world.
  4. Have fun.  If you don’t have fun, you won’t do it.  Simple.
  5. Don’t be afraid to dream big.  5:30 mile?  Sub-20:00 5-K?  BQ?  Ultra’s?  All or none of these may be in your grasp.  But you’ll never know unless you try.

Thanks for stopping by.  See you out there.

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