Well, yesterday was the first day of training for my first marathon. You might say "Adam, why run a marathon?"; shoot, I've even asked myself the same thing. After explaining to the others in the coffee shop why I was talking to myself, especially in the third person, I became a little philosophical about it. I wrestled with the old standards of "to prove something to myself and others" and "because it's there" and "for my health" and I finally realized that it wasn't any of those. It was all of those things and more. I ask you to virtually join me on this endeavor and I'll be able to tell you about how it's going, how things outside of running have effected training and how easy or difficult it might be for you if you want to try it... So anyway, in the words of Jackie Gleason... "And awaaaaay we go!"
First let me be clear. I am not training for one marathon. I am planning to run 3 races next year. They will start with the Illinois Marathon in Champaign on May 1, 2010, then the Napa Wine country race on October 25, 2010, ending with the Redding Marathon in Redding California in January 2011. I am doing an 8 month training plan that will allow me to peak around New Year's 2010 and then build back up in time for the May race. I am not going to go on any crazy diets. I'll just eat a balanced diet with a few weaknesses (coffee, cheese, etc.). There will be no major carb loading, no overdoing it on junk, but I will fall to a few treats every now and again. I'll couple the training with a normal 50-60 hour per week office job, a moderate weight lifting program, dealing with normal life issues, putting to bed some old relationships and starting new ones all under the watchful eye of a lot of interested people. After 994 bad days in a row, I've strung together 30 good ones. I hope to keep the trend going. To quote a famous runner, "That's all I have to say about thaaat."
I will track changes in my physical, emotional and mental conditioning through this process. I'm starting out in pretty good shape. I ran a couple of half-marathons this summer in the 2:04 - 2:10 range, did some weight lifting and got my body fat down to less than 8%. I haven't been drinking heavily like I used to; especially since that could land me in a lot of trouble and the fact that I usually do really dumb things when I drink too much (you'll see my dilocated shoulder in a picture I'll post this week).
During my running this past year, I have used training as a sort of meditation; first concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other and "feeling the running" and then moving toward clearing the mind of clutter and addressing issues on a one on one basis as they came up in my mind. I originally thought I could not meditate and run at the same time, but it's kind of like patting your head and rubbing your stomach simultaneously, all it takes is a little practice. I have also asked myself ... (here we go again with the talking to myself) "Self, is running a manifestation of your wanting to run away from things, your problems?" I think of it more as a way to find my "happy place" to be alone (even though it is not too happy a place to be when you start cramping up at mile 8). Nobody is really interested in bugging me when they say "I want to talk" and I say "Great, let's go over what you want to talk about while we are on this 10 mile run!"
All in all, I think this training program will help me most of all in being patient. Being in my situation, it's natural to want things to happen in a hurry. Training for a marathon is not supposed to be easy and it's not supposed to happen fast. It will take dedication, hard work and a little creativity when the wind chill gets to 20 below. That discipline will also be needed for me to succeed in other parts of my life; to grow into the man I want to be. I'm 46, but feel like I'm 35 and still have a lot to do, so I'm getting at it!
I'll post each week a recap of the last week of training and periodically post pictures of physical progress and discuss changes in my physical shape, as well. My challenge there is to not lose the gains I have made in back, chest and arm strength. We'll see how it goes. Anyway, as a wise man from Oak-town told me "Don't talk about it! BE about it!" and so, we begin...
Start - September 8, 2009
Age - 46yrs. 5 months Weight - 189 lbs Body Fat 7.8%
Last night's 5k - 29:39.89 Easy pace