Sunday, April 26, 2009

Just another run...

They said the Marine Corps Hard Corps Marathon course was 'predominately flat' and it was predominately flat, if you don't count the endless rolling hills...

The day started off just like any other day. The 8:10 start time meant I was able to get a full night sleep. It also meant the sun was shining bright from start to finish. Guess I can't have it all, right?

This was an inaugural marathon, so the race field was pretty small, somewhere around 500 people. There was about 5,000 in my last marathon, so the difference was noticeable. My parents were there to support me and I was able to chat with them all the way until the start of the race, which was a welcomed distraction from the thought of running 26.2.

Feeling calm and much more prepared than my last marathon, the gun went off and I began the 26.2 mile journey, again. A couple of miles in I noticed that we had been running on rolling hills, with nothing but more rolling hills ahead. I didn't let it bother me and I kept running. The playlist I had made for my ipod was doing a great job motivating me and keeping me from boredom.

Five miles from the start, I saw the ocean. We turned to the north and continued. Rolling hills, no shade, but a great view of the Pacific. The course was an "out and back" course, so at about mile 12 (at San Onofre) we turned around and retraced our steps. My body was beginning to feel tired around mile 13, but my legs, surprisingly, still had a lot of life.

As the mile markers continued to pass, I was enjoying the alone-time I was getting. I felt like the only person out there and at times, I couldn't even see any other runners.

Knowing that I have a half marathon a week after this race and another marathon a couple of weeks later, I knew it wasn't wise to push myself to the point of injury (see previous posts on my last marathon). This was a good excuse for me to not worry about my time and just enjoy myself. I talked with other runners, sang along with my ipod, and tried to encourage everybody I passed/that passed me.
I hit mile marker 21 and turned inland for the final 5.2. More sun and more hills, but I knew the end wasn't far. As I stopped for a quick walking-break I thought about my last marathon and the overwhelming pain and emotion I was feeling at that point. Where did all of that come from and why do I feel absolutely nothing this time around?
As the finish line came into my sights, I pushed hard, finished, and thanked God for helping me through. I'd like to say that I learned something profound during the race, or that it was a once in a lifetime experience, but the truth is that it was just a really good run.
Sometimes in life, we look for the spectacular, hoping and praying for an unbelievable story or a fairy tale ending. The race of life isn't always what we'd like it to be, but i'm gonna run it anyway.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

That peaceful restless feeling

Two more days.

Two more days 'til I get to run again. Two more days 'til I put my body through hell...again.

It's strange the second time around...I know how bad it's going to hurt, but I can't wait for it. Is that sick or what?

The madness begins...Marathon this Saturday, Half-marathon next Sunday and another Marathon three weeks later. BRING IT.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Motivation - One week to go

I will be running the Marine Corps "Hard Corps Marathon" in one week. This one definitely snuck up on me.

I did some thinking during my run this morning and compared my training and preparation to my training for Arizona. While my training plan was almost identical, everything felt so much different this time around. I found myself feeling a little less motivated throughout this training. With the thrill of the unknown no longer there to motivate me, I have had to search for new means of motivation. Here is what I came up with...

1. I challenged myself to test my limits...within the next month I will run a half-marathon and two full marathons.
2. Instead of telling myself "You've never run this far before, how cool is this?!" it has turned into "You've done this before, you can do it again".
3. I have taken 4-6 mile short runs and made them more challenging, adding hills and speedwork to keep my striving toward something on the sometimes monotonous runs.
4. I have challenged others to get out there and run with me. Some of them have been beginners, others just looking to increase mileage. Their commitment motivates me.

Nothing motivates me more than knowing somebody is counting on me. Knowing that somebody believes in me gives me a great sense of confidence and I can't even imagine ever letting them down.

I'll be tapping into these motivating factors during my race next week, but i'll also be spending a solid four hours with the most motivating coach ever, Jesus Christ. When all other motivation fails and the race becomes difficult, I know my lord and savior is running right along side me, believing in me. I wont let Him down.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Let the tapering begin

FINALLY. Just as my legs were shouting, "We've had enough" and my feet were threatening to stop altogether, I have reached the tapering phase of my training program.

The last time I was training for a marathon, I hated tapering. I felt like I was wasting valuable time and miles, that I wasn't fully preparing myself. Now, I welcome the taper with open arms. Between working two jobs and having church-related commitments three nights a week, i'm having trouble finding sleep, let alone energy.

I think the tapering phase of training can be translated into life situations, too, and maybe should be more often. Our culture places a premium on being busy, working hard and never resting. The idea of tapering in training is giving your worn out body a chance to rest while it waits for the opportunity to really be put to the test. I think we need to think of our lives this way, we wear ourselves out and hardly ever take the time to rest so we are fully prepared when we have to face challenges.

My advice to you...TAPER. Taper in training, taper in work, taper in life.