Monday, December 29, 2014

Why do I do this (advice to a beginning runner).

My friend of mine is training for his first half marathon.  He was inspired by his wife, and set out to raise money for a charity (it is a a very worthy cause, kick in a few $ if you can).  I have noticed that his Facebook posts and email updates about running generally culminate with "No runners high yet", and I found myself thinking about ways to inspire him.  Whatever I say to him is usually met with, "Well, you enjoy running and I don't" - which caused me to step back and legitimately ask myself, "Why do I do this?"

The answer dates back to December of 2007.  I was newly married, weighed 276 lbs, and was completely and utterly disgusted with myself.  I felt every day of my then 33 years (and then some).  I had aspirations of running a marathon for about as long as I could remember, but every attempt to go from zero to marathon had ended with injury and defeat.  This time, my goal was different.  I was going to get myself to the point where I could run 3 miles, then just run for 1 year with the only goal being not to get injured.

I started the process in December 2007, doing a walk/run program to get up to 30 minutes of consecutive running, and enrolled in the New York Road Runners beginning runner program.  From there, things took a life of their own.  I raced my first race in April of 2008, which I thought at the time was a herculean effort:

I started losing weight, I started feeling better about myself, and things sort of fell into place.  From there, I raced a number of shorter distances (up to 10k) and then my first half marathon in January of 2009, and my first full marathon in November 2009 - and the rest is history.

Did I enjoy running then?  Not really.  I enjoyed the social aspect, I enjoyed the fitness I was starting to achieve, and I certainly enjoyed the weight I was losing.  I would say that for the first 6 months, the hardest part about running was lacing up my shoes and getting out the door.

Eventually, running became part of my life, and part of my identity.  It was something I did, it was the people I hung out with, and it became a passion and a defining characteristic in my life.  I started appreciating (and enjoying) the big picture, and running each day was just a way to maintain the lifestyle that I had achieved.

I ran 9 miles in the cold and rain this week.  Did I enjoy every minute of it? No.  There's a significant part of me that just wanted to stay home.  Did I feel great after it was over? Absolutely.  These days, I find myself feeling that the days I want to run the least are the days that I need to run the most.

My advice to the beginner?  Two words: Patience and Persistence.  Take it slow, build the base, and be consistent.  The gains will come in time.  It will all pay off in the end.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Things they should tell you before you start doing triathlons

1. You will always be hungry
2. You will always be tired
3. You will always be doing laundry
4. You will be broke (equipment and races aren't cheap)
5. You won't see your friends anymore (unless they also do tris)
6. The friends you don't see anymore won't care about your training
7. You will obsess over every accessory (a pedal, a watch, you name it)
8. You will find yourself peeing everywhere (in your wetsuit, on your bike)
9. You will convince yourself that absolutely HORRID energy foods/bars/drinks are actually delicious

What else?