Well I think that any first blog that is to be predominately focused on running has to address “Why do you run?” I don’t think there’s any other possibility. I could tell you how awesome my shoes are but you have no basis for how picky I am. I could tell you how speed work will increase your overall endurance and give you better times on your long runs, but you don’t know how educated or informed I am. So I gotta start out with a good solid base so you can form your opinion of me.
And that’s exactly what I had.. a good solid 272lb base. It was 2006. I was recently married and we didn’t waste anytime to start having kids. Around March we had about 3 months left to go until our first kid would enter the world. I looked a picture of myself at a float trip we had had the summer before and it hit me. “You are going to be a Fat Dad.” I went out the next day for what i thought would be an easy run. I knew I could get a couple miles in and the lbs would melt away. Well about 3/4 of the way into the run (which was barely a mile) my arms started tingling as I was running up a hill. I have been pretty active my life with volleyball and softball and I had never had this sensation before. I knew it wasn’t good. I slowed it down a bit and was able to finish with my run. One mile. Almost had a heart attack. I was in trouble.
I decided to stick with it though. I had no idea why. The mantra of “Don’t be a Fat Dad” was the only thing that kept me going at times. So, I decided that if I was going to go this right, I needed to go big. Naturally, I did what any sane morbidly obese adult would do: Pay money to run a half-marathon. I had ran races in grade school on the parking lot and in college we had Keg Races (this is a wonderful event). What could be different about this race?
Fast forward through my training… In a nutshell I didn’t follow the plan exactly but I had a few 8 mile jaunts & one 10 mile run under my belt. That would be the last time I believe anyone who says “If you can run 10 you can run 13.1.” Oh my wife also give birth to our beautiful daughter during the training time. I was a bit distracted from training with this happening also.
**Warning this is going to turn into a Race Report of a 5 yr old race but its worth reading trust me**
So here we are at Race Day. My first Half-Marathon. I am 20 lbs slimmer and I think I can probably win the damn thing, but man there are a lot of people. Luckily I had a friend with me at the start to help me with the anticipation of smoking everyone in the field. Also, I think my nerves were calmed by making fun of all the people in the their running gear.
The gun sounds and we wait… Since we were back at the 10 min/mile pace group, it took awhile to get to the actual start. We get up to the start and now we are off. Time to start picking these dudes off one by one. I quickly noticed that they weren’t dropping like they were supposed to… and I had to pee. About mile 3 is the first of many humbling experiences. I am not going to win. Not to be out-done by that, I realize that I can’t hold back the urine for another 10 miles which is about 2+ hours at that time for me. So I tell my buddy to go on without me and hopefully he will win. I go and stand in a line to pee. A line. Mile 3. I look like an idiot and all those “running people” I was making fun of are actually moving and I am waiting in a line to pee with the clock running. F.
Fully relieved the race goes on and on and on for miles (pun intended). I am totally digging the free gatorade out on the course too. I am under the assumption that if there’s a watering station, I need to drink. So I do. I already took a pee I have a clean slate to work with… So while I am happy and hydrated, my body takes a dive around mile 8. My legs start to feel heavy. Very heavy. My math skills start failing also. I keep thinking I only have like 2 miles left but then realize its 5. This is why 10 miles are not like 13.1 because of the math involved at mile 8.
I push on. Mile 10 gets here and I quickly realize that I really should have trained longer than this distance because my nipples hurt and I am going into uncharted territory. Right around this part of the race I also get a bit frazzled because its one of those races that make you run by the finish line 2+ miles before you finish. So I run by the finish area. There’s a ton of people there that are drinking beer and having an epic party much like Keg Races. Furthermore I am upset to be missing it the party because I am still stuck out on this damn course. I am also slapped in the face with the fact that i didn’t win. And to make things even worse there is this 50 year old woman who will run for some time and pass me and then will walk and I pass her. I hate it when she passes me. As I go by the epic finish party we head off into a kind of wooded area that’s well shaded and isn’t too bad. I could stand this for another 2+ miles. Until I see what can only be described as the largest hill I have ever had the pleasure of running up. The hill goes up and up. I think I am just about finished with it, but then the hill doubles back on itself and goes higher. It is at this time I start swearing and realize another goal of mine was crushed. I had to walk. I tried to run but my legs were effectively not moving with any efficiency what so ever. As I make this decision I see that the company that was tasked with capturing this race on photograph has strategically placed a camera man at the top of this hill to capture the pain in people’s faces. I kindly wave but want to give him the finger.
Finally, after this hill, there is only one place to go and that is down. This is where I really start knocking people off. I smoke that 50 year old woman and some other chicks too. As I am running I do have headphones on and have been listening to my soundtrack all day. I had planned it out so that if “Eye of the Tiger” came on I better be crossing the finish line during that song. Well it starts and I get fired up. I run it in to the finish and cross the line. I’m dead. I come in with a crowd pleasing time of 2 hrs 38min. I am thrilled to be finished but upset that I am so slow. As I weave through the finish line I see the payoff of this long journey. Not the free food or massages, but my wife holding my 2 month old daughter waiting for me. I about fell over with happiness knowing that all the training I had done for 6 months, the 20 lbs of lard lost, the chaffed nips, were all worth it for that moment.
So there you have it. A little long winded story about why I run and my first race that didn’t involve Beer. If you are keeping score at home, I am down about 70lbs now and have only ran in 1 other half marathon. My 3rd Half is coming up in Oct 2011.