30 thoughts at 30, pt. 2

I suppose I have been running for most of my life.  I think I started running not long after I started walking.  As I grew older, I began to play sports, which involve running.  I loved football the most, but I’m not very big.  In seventh grade, I went out for the track team, and I made it.  Of course by the  nature of our team, everyone made it.  I ran sprints because a mile was too long.  I was towards the back of the pack when we ran, but I loved it.  I finally got to travel to my first away meet towards the end of that year, and I was hooked.  In tenth grade, I quit football to run cross-country because that was where my friend were.  That is when I began running longer distances such as three, four, and five miles.  Lo and behold, my team one the state championship my first year, and I was hooked once more.  After high school, I didn’t run as much until a friend of mine told me about a friend who needed a running partner.  She happened to be really cute and fun.  Once again I was running again, and loving it for the time we spent together.  One morning on a run, I proposed and she laughed hysterically.  Eventually she said yes and we got married.  After we got married, I found a couple of other friends that wanted to run and we ran our first race a few months later.  Then we moved to New Orleans.  Throughout the past few years, I have tried to run consistently.  Finally something clicked, and last May I decided I would begin running.  I still don’t know exactly why it happened, but it happened this time.  I ran all summer and the Mrs. joined me.  In August we began training for our first half marathon.  In October we finished it.  I was hooked once again.  I love running.  I want others to love it as much as I do.  I am thankful to Jesus that he has given me the ability.  I want to run to please him.  Here are some thoughts on running…

  1. Running is a good friend I hope to keep for a lifetime.  The Mrs. and I often  go run at Audubon Park on Saturdays.  I love seeing the old men running.  You know the ones.  They are barely moving, knees barely bending but moving.  I always say that is my goal.  I want to be one of those guys one day.  I want to run for a lifetime.
  2. Running has brought many special moments in my life.  As previously mentioned, I have had some great running experiences in my life.  I cherish the friendships I made while running in high school and after.
  3. Running is simple.  You just go out the door and move faster than a walk.  One reason I love running so much is that anyone can do it.  You don’t need fancy, expensive shoes or technical gear, though I always encourage new runners to get fitted for shoes.  Running itself does not cost money.
  4. Running is complex.  I am learning more and more about running, and some of those fancy, expensive shoes do some neat things.  There is a ridiculous amount of gear that one can use now.  There are books and coaches that will teach you proper form.  There is the debate over how much should one stretch.  Is minimal or barefoot running better than traditional running shoes?  Some say yes, some say not really.  I say all this because, as complicated as it can seem, running is still putting one foot in front of the other.  The runner that has all the technical gear is no more of a runner than a new runner that knows nothing about the gear or technicalities.
  5. The encouragement from races is hard to duplicate.  I had heard people talk about all the encouragement from running big races.  When I ran the half marathon, I became emotional several times.  It was overwhelming that all of these people were out to accomplish this goal of crossing the finish line.  The first place person and the last place person were going for the same thing.  There is just a unity that brings these runners together.  Numerous obstacles were overcome by so many runners.  I wish I knew how to duplicate that atmosphere in other places.
  6. I want people to love running.  I said this before, but I do want people to love running.  I know not everyone will love it like I do, but I appreciate how it has shaped my life.  I want to be an encourager to new runners, and I want them to see how it can change their life.  I love running with new runners so that I can tell them about how good running has been for me.

There are other things I would like to say, but that would not be fair to my other lists now would it?  Maybe I will do a follow up on things I have learned from running one day. Ooh that is a good idea!  Look for that coming soon.

Now I want to go for a run.  See you outside.

Tomorrow we shift gears once again and I will talk about family, and what it means to me.

What are your thoughts on running?

Any fun memories or exciting moments?

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Mardi Gras Marathon Recap

Mardi Gras Half Recap.
Training
For my first half marathon training I essentially started training seven months out.  Of course that was because I had not been running at all.  When I completed the half in October, I strongly considered running the full marathon, but I soon realized what a time commitment the training would be.  I started running again after Thanksgiving with hopes of running the half and finishing faster, but there was one big problem.  This was right in the middle of school finishing up, the holidays, friends leaving, us moving and much traveling.  So I was behind when January came around.  The Mrs. and I decided on a plan of slowly increasing our mileage as we got closer to the race.  We ran between two and five miles a couple of times a week, and we did long runs on the weekends.  This ended up be a good and bad strategy, but more on that later. We knew this plan would not allow us to PR, but we wanted to run for fun.
Expo
This was our biggest race to date and the first with an expo.  We had a great time with friends on Friday night, and then we went back on Saturday by ourselves.  Since Brooks was the main sponsor, they had a great setup in the store and I absolutely loved their Cavalcade of Curiosities.  We got to hear Kara Goucher speak on Saturday afternoon, and that was a lot of fun.
Race
Finally race morning came.  We woke up around 4:45, and ate some breakfast.  About an hour later, our ride arrived, and we were off.  Because the start and finish line are in different parts of the city, our driver dropped us off, and we walked to the starting line.  We found our corral and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  From the time the race officially began and our corral left, we waited another 45 minutes, but eventually we got started.  The Mrs. and I really like to start races together, and since we were in such a big group of people, we stayed together for about the first two miles.
After that, I sped up a little bit, and ran the next six miles at a pretty good pace.  When I got to mile eight, I could tell that my training lacking.  I was starting to feel tired, so I walked a couple of blocks.  By that time we were back downtown, and I could hear bagpipes.  There is something about running between tall buildings to the sound of bagpipes that motivates me, and so I picked up my pace again.  When we made it to the French Quarter, Brooks had a huge blow-up arch over the road.  It was a guitar player and his legs were the arch.  It was hilarious.  That was the last time I enjoyed any part of the race other than the finish line.  As we neared Cafe Du Monde, the smells of the restaurants and the French Market were too much to take.  I started feeling sick.  At mile ten, we turned on the historic Esplanade Ave.  It is a beautiful street, but a terrible road.  It was so uneven and broken up, that I was worried I might fall in to a hole and never be heard from again.  The last three miles for me were pretty miserable, but it was during these miles that learned how emotional running can be.  I think I went through the gamut of emotions as I ran along this road.   At one point I swore never to run again.  I wanted to cry. I was mad at the road. Then I saw the finish.  I saw a family wearing all crimson, so with all I had I gave them a hearty Roll Tide, and sprinted to the finish line. I was ecstatic to see the finish line.
Afterwards
In the chute, I was greeted by some of the nicest people I have ever met.  They just kept handing me things.  Chocolate milk, water, Gatorade, protein bars, pretzels, bananas, blankets, and of course a shiny medal on a necklace of beads were there waiting on me.  Some people wanted to take my picture.  I felt so sick the whole time.  I just wanted to sit down, but there was no where to go.  Finally I found a spot at the end of the chute to sit and wait on the Mrs.
She called me when she finished and I went to her so we could have our picture made, and then we tried to find a way to leave.  We had made previous arrangements with a friend to pick us up so we could go eat.  We called him and started making our way to him slowly.  We both felt too sick to go eat, so we asked our friend to take us home.  I was so worried we would be sick all day, but after a shower and a nap we both were starving and everything was right in the world.
Interestingly, as I look back on our training plan for this race, the lack of miles definitely contributed our lack of preparedness, but I think it kept our legs fresher.  My legs felt just fine the next day at work.  It just felt like a tough workout the day before.  The worst part was my foot began hurting.  I have only ran twice since the race, but it is finally feeling better.
Overall, I loved the race and hope to do my first full marathon next year.  Any tips?

Running goals for this year

Given that this is my first full year of running since picking it back up, I wanted to set some goals.  Last year I ran my first half marathon, and so this year I thought I would run a full marathon.  Alas, it isn’t going to happen.  I don’t have the time to commit right now, but hopefully next year when I am finished with school.

Anyways, I do want to run another half marathon this year.  Last year my main goal was to finish, but I also wanted to run it around a ten minute pace.  For my next one, however my goal is to break two hours.  This is a big task because that is taking off a minute per mile each mile, but by the end of the year I think I can do it.

Last year I ran around 400 but I did not really start running until May.  This year I want to run 725 miles.  That is a random number, but the Mrs. convinced me to shoot for it.

I also want to run all over New Orleans.  We live on campus at our school, and we have a nice little loop that is pretty easy to run and very convenient considering I just walk out my back door.  There are so many pretty places to run in this city, and we have run some of them, but this year I would like to leave the gates and explore our city by way of my running shoes.

Finally, I want to have fun.  Having the Mrs with me helps a lot, but I want to take joy in running and do it for fun.