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May 14, 2011

Reflecting back over my marathon training

Filed under: Running — Tags: , — Marcus @ 6:25 am

Note: I will be running the Cleveland Marathon on Sunday May 15th, the marathon starts at 7am, and I am hoping to run it in 4 hours or less, this is my first marathon.

If you want to see how I am doing on the race please check out http://runkeeper.com/user/KD8ITX between 7am-11:30am (when I am planning to run).  I will be carrying my iPhone through the race, and if all goes well it will update that site automatically as to where I am.

Its time.  I have been training for about 8 months, I have lost about 35 pounds, besides taking time off to heal from various minor injuries along the way I have been running 3-4 times a week.  Back in September I ran the Spartansburg 5k and I made it about 1.5 miles before I was exhausted and I had to walk a good part of the way back.  In October I started running in my Vibrams and had to start over again at 1 mile.  I celebrated the first time I ran 3 miles without having to take a walking break, and I blew myself away the first time I broke running three miles in 24 minutes (8 minutes/mile).  It seemed impossible the first time I broke 10 miles, then 15, and recently 20 miles in a single run.

I have covered a lot of ground this last year, basically re-learned how to run, and spent a ton of time at the gym, and more than my fair share of time limping around at work and at home from my long runs.  And you want to know what has driven me to do all of this?  I have no idea.  I would like to have some bit of ancient wisdom that is pushing me on, or maybe some charity or something noble like that, however I can’t think of one.  Instead it was a seed that I planted in my head that I could be an endurance athlete, it was my mind driving me to push myself a bit harder and do something totally out of my ability.

One thing about myself, I love pushing myself to do things.  I firmly believe that each time you push yourself to do something outside of your reach it makes you a better person, just keep raising the bar, even if its a little bit.  I started about 2 years ago getting a membership at the gym to try and strengthen my core muscles in my back so that I could stop throwing my back out and maybe I could keep from causing permanent injury to my back.  Little by little I pushed myself at the gym getting into shape, I got to a point last summer though where I was getting bored and finding it hard to make it to the gym, that was when the seed that I could be a runner was planted.

There is a quote I like from the Matrix, when Neo is in the car about to meet Morpheus there is a point where they stop the car and Neo has to either get out or decide to go with them, the following conversation happens:

Switch: Stop the car. Listen to me, Copper-top. We don’t have time for twenty questions. Right now there’s only one rule, our way or the highway.
Neo: Fine. (Neo opens the door to get out)
Trinity: Please, Neo. You have to trust me.
Neo: Why?
Trinity: Because you have been down there, Neo. You know that road. You know exactly where it ends. And I know that’s not where you want to be.

I like that section from the movie because I feel so many people spend their whole lives going down the same road over and over and over again.  I get to do a lot of cool things, and I write about many of them on my blog here, but in reality, all of the neat things I do is just me deciding that I am going to take half an hour here or an hour there and do something a bit out of the norm.  Do that enough times and your norm will shift into something pretty cool.

So no magical wisdom in what I am doing, just the knowledge that every time I push myself to do something more difficult or complicated, even if I don’t know what I will get out of it, it always seems in retrospect to be one of the greater things that I did.

Now, I do want you to notice I am writing and publishing this before my marathon, I might not think it was such a great idea if I was to write this article the day after my marathon!  Though I have a feeling this is more of the beginning of my real training lesson (and marathon career) rather than the end of my training leading up to my marathon.

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