Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Race Week

The early morning time that I normally spend running is being used for extra sleep and my morning prayers are focusing on health and rested legs. That's right, it's race week. Countless hours of training will be tested this Sunday as I take on 26.2 for the sixth time.

This race feels different than any of my others I have run, perhaps because I am considering it a training run, or maybe just because i'm "settling in" to this distance and have gotten use to pounding the pavement for 4 hours.

Scratch that...I dont think I will ever "settle in" to this distance. While it doesn't scare me the way it used to, I will inevitably hit a wall or fight some nagging pain. Regardless of your physical build, your finishing time or your training, 26.2 will humble you.

I expect to be humbled this Sunday. Discovering (again) my limitations will push me to stretch them and that's what running, and life, is all about.

Monday, October 25, 2010

So you want to run a marathon?

Runners come in all shapes and sizes. If you don't believe me, show up to the start line of a marathon and see for yourself. At any given race, you are bound to see runners with chiseled bodies and others with couch potato physiques, some shaped like body builders and others who carry their AARP cards with them. The only thing that all of these people have in common is determination. Somewhere along the way, they made the decision to run 26.2 and lived up to their commitment.

"Why would anyone want to run that far?" is the question I hear most often. While I could write a novel on the countless reasons to run 26.2, I thought I would share some that you may not have already heard...

-Burning over 1,000 calories a day allows you to eat pretty much anything. I'd be careful though, that double chocolate fudge cake will haunt you on your next run.

- Running allows you to see more of the world. Whether it's your hometown or a vacation spot, take some time to explore.

- Find some sanity. You're gonna spend a lot of time alone with your thoughts, might as well make the best of it.

- Sleep like a baby. Dont believe me? Go run for a couple of hours and take a hot shower...good luck making it to the bed before you fall asleep.

-Free beer at the end of a race. Running 26.2 makes anyone a lightweight!

Some run to stay in shape, others to accomplish a goal, but all run with determination. Find what motivates you and use it to run 26.2, I guarantee you won't regret it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm a junkie

I ran across an article on addiction today and although this is a very serious issue, I couldn't help but ask myself, "Am I addicted to running?". Let's take a look at the symptoms the article listed, followed by my analysis of whether or not I am a candidate:

Tolerance - the need to engage in the addictive behavior more and more to get the desired effect. (I'm running in more races in the next six months than I have run in my 25 years on earth. Check.)

Withdrawal - happens when the person does not take the substance or engage in the activity, and they experience unpleasant symptoms, which are often the opposite of the effects of the addictive behavior. (Feeling restless on a day off or jealous when I see someone else out running. Check.)

Difficulty cutting down or controlling the addictive behavior. (Even with a full schedule, I can't help but look for more races. Check.)

Social, occupational or recreational activities becoming more focused around the addiction, and important social and occupational roles being jeopardized. (Can't stay out late, won't drink and my girlfriend knows how much time I can spend with her is solely based on how many miles I have to run the next morning. Check.)

The person becoming preoccupied with the addiction, spending a lot of time on planning, engaging in, and recovering from the addictive behavior. (Hundreds of dollars and races and even more on gear. Check.)

I am slowly coming to terms with my addiction and realizing the effects it has on other areas of my life. However, the only help I plan on seeking is from my ipod. The only support group I am looking for is more people to run with.

Some people turn to the bottle and others turn to narcotics. Not me. My name is Ryan and I am a running junkie.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

6 in 6: My new challenge

After rediscovering the old joy and excitement I used to have while running (see previous post), I decided i'd test my limits and try to OD on that excitement. In my quest to become a "Marathon Maniac" ( www.marathonmaniacs.com ) I am currently training to run six marathons in six months. I chose to humbly share this with you, not seeking any praise, but rather your support. Here is what I would gladly accept from you:

- An offer to accompany me on a training run...it gets lonely out there sometimes.
- Better yet, run one of the races with me.
- A word or two of encouragement before my races.
- Come see me cross a finish line or two...you'd be surprised how motivated I get knowing people are waiting for me at the finish.
- If you see me out running, throw a brother a red vine.

Following is a list of the races i'll be running in. If you're a runner, join me! If you're not, cheer me on at the race or via your technological messaging system of choice...

October 31 - Silicon Valley Marathon (San Jose, CA)
November 13 - Catalina Marathon (Avalon, CA)
December 4 - North Face Endurance Challenge 50K (Sausalito, CA)
January 23 - Carlsbad Marathon (Carlsbad, CA)
February 6 - Surf City Marathon (Huntington Beach, CA)
March 20 - Los Angeles Marathon (Los Angeles, CA)


Monday, October 4, 2010

Back in the game

Have you ever visited a favorite old childhood spot and felt envigorated thinking about the experiences you had there? Maybe you visited Disneyland as an adult and all the childhood excitement you once had came rushing back to you. Or maybe you hopped on a bicycle for the first time in years and your sense of adventure was renewed. This past July, I experienced this phenomenon while running the San Francisco Marathon.

I know, I know...in my last post I said I may not ever run another marathon. As a matter of fact, I didnt run for nearly four months. Then in March I felt the urge to get back out there, I thought I had kicked my addiction, but my time away only fueled my desire. On my first run in months, I came to a few conclusions:

1. Four months off severely depleted my stamina...I was struggling mightily to finish just a few miles.

2. I can't believe I waited this long to get back out here.

3. From now on, I won't let anything or anyone steal the joy I have when i'm running.

After a few months of training, I headed up to San Francisco and had a blast running 26.2. The course, the crowds and the race were all top notch. Sticking with my theme of just having fun, I paid no attention to my pace or my time, allowing myself to walk when I needed and even took a couple pictures and sent a couple text messages. What an incredibly enjoyable four hours. After finishing, my mind started wandering off as I pondered my next race...that's when I hatched a maniacal plan. More on that in my next post...