One easy step to get started on running

Ultra-running, ultra-writing

It was a Thursday night and I was drunk again.  I’m not an alcoholic, but every Thursday night, and some Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s, I would go out for a pitcher or two with my buddies Josh and Elicia.  We would grab some fried bar food, order a round or two and log in to do our MBA classes together.  After class we would hang out and tell war stories, business stories and just how easy it is to change the world.

During this particular boasting session, I announced one of my bucket list items; I was going to run a marathon at the age of 40.  It’s funny how this particular milestone is on everyone’s list.  I meet thousands of people every year and the vast majority of them say they want to run a full marathon.  26.2 miles of goal setting goodness. Josh laughed. Elicia said I could do it and I logged in and signed up the Disney Marathon in January.

It was August.  The furthest I’d run in years was 2 miles.  But I figure, if you’re going to go crazy, go full crazy.  Don’t half ass it.  That night, I started training.  I strapped on a pair of worn out Cross trainer’s and took off on a circle around my neighborhood.  I made it one mile.  Then I turned around and walked back.

The next day I did it again.  I ran out a mile and turned around to run a half mile back. I finished with walking the next half mile.   I did it on Saturday, though I went out two miles on this hot gorgeous August day, and walked back.  And again on Sunday. 

This was my formula.  I would keep the distance at 3 miles until I could run the entire route.  Then I upped to 5 miles, out and back.  I would run until I couldn’t run, and then walk back.  I drank lots of water, because let’s face it, August in Florida is hot!!!  But I just kept going.  I didn’t worry about time, or how I looked or what I wore or my shoes.

I just ran.  One step at a time.

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Do you take a running vacation?

I flew into Bentonville on Friday for a weekend away from it all.  I had hoped to visit with my children, but their mom had made plans for them to be out of town, so even though it was piss poor timing on my part, I still made the trip.  I planned to run the River Trail through downtown Little Rock, and even further if I could.

This was my second running vacation.  The first I took over Labor Day weekend, flying out to Los Angeles to run in a 10K, a Half and a Full marathon over three days.  There were no races in Little Rock, just a gorgeous trail that I’d eyeballed many times in town, but never had the chance to run.

The weather was perfect.  It was mid 80’s with a hot sun and a cool breeze that occasionally gusted enough to make headway tough.  I parked at The Big Dam Bridge, no seriously, that’s the name of it, a giant pedestrian bridge that arches over a dam, and took off through Murray Park headed for downtown.  I made it to Cantrell Road before I lost the trail, so my suggestion to Parks and Rec is to mark the trail better.  I turned around and ran back to the bridge, and almost pushed further, but I wanted to save a little bit in the tank for the next day.  It was still a good little 6 or 7 mile run, with a little offshoot adventure over behind some buildings that border the Arkansas River. 

On Sunday, the weather was even better.  The morning dawned rainy and cooler, but the sun quickly warmed it to low 80’s and the wind was still there.   This time I headed North.  The River trail runs under the I-430 bridge to another pedestrian bridge over the Little Maumelle River and winds around into Two Rivers Park.  All I can say is the Parks and Rec department got this one right.  The trail was gorgeous, well marked, well used and with the amazing day, a perfect run.  My legs were a little tired because I skipped dinner and opted for a fro-yo and early bedtime, but other than that, it was simply incredible. 

I have often said if I lived in Little Rock, I would have to be near the River Trail to run up one side and down the other of the river.  The city has put some effort into creating a fitness lover’s paradise, and more people should take advantage of it.  This Sunday the crowds were a little thicker than I’ve seen before, a few hundred walkers, bikers and less than 20 runners scattered along the trail.  Maybe the local runners knew another place to go.  But I found a house I wouldn’t mind living in if I moved back to Little Rock.  Perched right on the edge of the water with a waterview off one side and Pinnacle standing in the distance on the other.  Just yards from the trail.

Signed up for another half and full of expectation…

I signed up for the Xterra Wildhorse half marathon over in Tampa today.  This will be one of my first official trail races.  You know what they say, once you go single track, you never go back.

What are goals for?

My Disney Wine and Dine

Finished in under 2 hours. Goal: 1:30

At the beginning of each year I take a few moments to reflect over what I’ve done the past twelve months, and what I hope do to in the upcoming twelve.  All the greatest success experts say this is a really good practice, and it’s a fairly drawn out process for me.  First I list everything I’d like to do.  It’s broad and general and all encompassing.

Next, I break each down into little bitty steps and write down an action plan to get to that goal.  All good so far, right.  Except this year, 2012, I may have bit off more than I can chew.  Goal wise that is.

It’s 2012, so being the great and wise smart ass that I sometimes am, I published on my Facebook page a goal to do 12 marathons, 12 Half Marathon’s and 12 5K races.  Oh yeah, I’d also complete and publish 12 books on Kindle.

Guess how many marathon’s they have in Florida in a given year?

I was thinking I could run 1 marathon each month, and add a couple of Half’s every so often, and then a 5K to boot.  No problem, right?

Nah!  It gets too hot to run after April in Florida.  And then the rest of the country gets hot.  So if I wanted to knock out 12 full 26.2 mile marathon’s complete with medals, I was going to have to travel.

So I focused on the Half’s.  And now we roll into the last 4 months of 2012.  Here are the standings:

1 Marathon

8 5K’s

4 Half Marathons.

Yikes.  I have to run 24 races in 16 weeks!

Luckily, I’ve been training in the heat.  After all, Florida is practically underwater with high temps and humidity in the 99% range.  It’s hot.  How hot?  Damn hot, real hot.

And there is the trip to LA.  Over Labor Day weekend, I’m running a 10K on Saturday (Awesome 80’s) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, then down the 405 to Disneyland for the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon on Sunday after which I hope to recover with some friends, or at least a six pack and a hot tub, and then it’s off to the Labor Day Marathon in Huntington Beach on Monday morning.

Here’s the thing.  I know it’s going to hurt.  So since you know it’s going to hurt, anything after that is just easy, right?  Plus, I’m not racing, I’m running.  Apparently there’s a difference.  The next guy who says it to me though, I’m going to kick in the balls.  It’s a freaking marathon!  Who cares if it’s racing or running it.

So how does one go about preparing to do all that running?

Turns out, the best way to train for running long distance is LSD.  Lot’s and lots of LSD.

Long Slow Distance; what else could I mean?

And water.  Lots of water.  And salt.  And the right kind of food.  And did I mention a lot of running.

The best way to get the body ready for all those miles is to put some miles under you.

When people ask how I got started, or how I get inspired or how I deal with stress at work, or missing my children when they are with their mother, the answer is always the same.  Hit the road Jack.  I put some tunes on my Ipod Shuffle and take off.  Heart broken?  Run it out.  Depressed?  180 footstrikes baby.  Had a great day at work and the weather is perfect?  How about a slow steady nine mile jaunt?

Hallucinations optional.