Monday, February 21, 2011

Journey to 13.1

I really stumbled into the whole thing.

As part of our adoption process, both Kristy and I had to have full physical exams. At the time, I was not concerned about my health. I figured that the test results would say that I probably ate too many cheeseburgers and fried shrimp po-boys, but other than that I thought I'd be okay.

I went in for my physical exam in September of 2010. It turned out to be everything I thought. Other than my triglycerides being a point or two too high, the doctor said I was fine. He told me to exercise a little more and eat a little better. (Isn't this what doctors always say no matter what?)

So, that's how I began running.

I actually started off on the elliptical machine at the gym. I would work that machine for about 25 - 35 minutes to build up my endurance. I didn't mind this so much because at the gym all of the elipticals have TV's and since Kris and I don't have a TV at home, it was kind of cool to catch up on ESPN. After about 2 weeks on the ellipical, I started running 2 miles, 3 days a week. It took me about 20 minutes or so when I began. I quickly started building up my endurance until one day I invited myself on a four mile run with a friend of mine who is an avid runner. I didn't miss a beat and was able to keep up for the whole run.

That day, I decided to start training for the Rock n' Roll Mardi Gras Half Marathon that was coming up in 5 months.

This turned out to be one of the most fun decisions I have ever made. It was an amazing experience. My training consisted of running 4 days a week. I would run short runs of 3 -4 miles on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursday and then a long run, between 8 and 12 miles every Saturday.

As I started out I was averaging about 10 minute miles. As my training progressed I was able to consistently run at 8:50 miles.

My friends, who I was going to run the race with, had already run a half marathon and had finished in 1 hour and 57 minutes. We wanted to beat that time so we came up with a schedule to help us run the race in 1 hour and 55 minutes. Each Saturday for our long runs we were consistently aiming to run 8:42 miles. On the day of our 12 mile training run, we nailed it. It took exactly 1 hour and 44 minutes, which was right where we needed to be to finish our race on time. We were definitely feeling prepared.

The overall experience was fantastic. I hurt myself twice during my training which led to me missing about 3 training runs. I tweaked my back one day and landed in the chiropractors office within hours. He fixed me up good and had me back in my running shoes within about 3 days. The other injury was a mild foot injury, but I believe that was simply due to the increase in mileage that I was experiencing.

Throughout my 5 months of training, here are a couple of things that I learned:

1. I found that I run much better in cold weather than hot weather and I run very fast when temperatures are below freezing before the sun rises.

2. I run better to music than I do to podcast.

3. Whenever my run mix lands on tracks by Eminem or Rocky soundtrack tunes, my pace picks up considerably and I play the air drums.

4. Running on a treadmill is misery compared to running outdoors.

5. I actually love running and had no idea for a long time.

6. Above everything else, I learned that running with friends is much more fun than running by myself. This in turn has caused me to re-evaluate all things that I have always done by myself. There's something very beautiful about sharing life with others.

I'll post soon about race day and how we beat our desired time.


Ana said...

I Love it! I want to spy on you one day when you are running to see you play the air drums!! :o)

deb said...

"hear, hear"

April Nielsen said...

Ana, I was thinking the same thing. I would love to see the "air drums".

Lindsay said...

I too really prefer running in the cold, the heat is what caused me so much trouble I had to stop.