One of my goals as I entered this training program was to re-discover the joys of running that I knew as a child. On the eve of my first race as an adult, I like to think I've accomplished that and a whole lot more. While I'm not as fast as I was as a kid, I think I'm prepared to turn in a respectable time and I'm really looking forward to seeing where my results are in comparison to others in the race.
As a kid, I believed the hype and thought that to be fast, I had to buy the shoe that looked the fastest. My parents recently shared with me that I would often try to persuade them in purchasing a shoe for me using this logic. Well...that theory certainly went by the wayside as I got older. Only to be replaced with a theory in my teenage years as I bought into the hype that a certain energy drink would give me wings. Using that product was like the Wright Brothers in the early stages of their work... It certainly got me going, but the crash from the sugar high came quickly and rather abruptly.
So now, I've bought into the hype that is the Who Wants To Get Active training program. And I've seen the results that training can bring. I've lost 30 lbs. since the first of January. I've increased my mile time by a minute and a half. And I have thoroughly embraced running to the point where I'm beginning to wonder if what I'm feeling is what they call a runner's high. Just this last week, I started working as a part-time sales associate for a local running specialty store! While the learning curve with the new job is intense as I am beginning to comprehend the technology behind the products, this position and my participation in this program has allowed me to meet and surround myself with an incredible group of people with the same dedication and love for running.
But I truly realized that I have re-discovered the joys of running that I knew as a child, while I was doing some spring cleaning. Going through an old box that I picked up from my parents, I saw what I thought was just a ratty- old headband. As a child of the 80s, I made a lot of fashion statements with those sweaty headbands. But this one in particular... it was special. Because this one...came with my own set of wings! This was a headband that I wore a lot as a kid, and it's an awesome reminder that what I'm doing is helping me find that joy and freedom of running I felt many times as a kid. I've brought along this special headband for tomorrow's race, but I'm not sure the world is ready for a 31-year-old sporting a child's headband with wings!
So all along... I didn't need the fastest looking shoe. I didn't need the latest energy drink. I just needed a little push with my training, and now with my new (old) wings, I'm ready to fly around the course tomorrow! So thank you to Coach Jenny, the folks at Active.com, and my fellow participants for the motivation I needed to get me going on this incredible journey.
With all the excitement of the Winter Olympics, I've been really excited about training. Yeah, I know a native Floridian of my age and ability has as much of a chance of one day making the Winter Olympics as a snowball's chance in he--, but it certainly helps to motivate when you see people living out their dreams on the world's biggest stage.
I've been running occassionally before the start of this program, but my first run under this program suprised me. I managed to run 2.5 miles in 20:42! I felt a ton of energy and even thought about going a little further. But with the understanding that there's a method to the madness of this training process, I held back.
On Tuesday, the wife treated me to an early birthday present. We went to the specialty running store and I got new shoes! The store experience was incredible. They took a blueprint of my foot to see where I put the most pressure and to look at my arch. Then they put me in a neutral shoe and had me run on the treadmill where they conducted a video-taped gait analysis. Up until now, I always went with the lightweight shoe. I thought that since I was already carrying more body weight than I needed to, the last thing I needed was to lace up with bricks on my feet. But from all the stuff they put me through, I found out that when I run, I pronate- meaning that when my foot lands, it does so on the outside of the foot and rolls inward. The solution was to put me in a shoe that provides stability when my foot strikes the ground.
Thinking that the community pool at my apartment complex was heated, I chose swimming for my cross training. NOT the best idea I've ever had! Turns out the pool isn't heated and central Florida was in the midst of a cold front. So I followed up my polar bear like training with a few minutes of relaxation in the hot tub!
On Wednesday, I learned just how old I am. It was a hectic day with lots of stuff going on. I almost forgot about my training. At 11:30 that night, I laced up my brand new shoes for the first time and headed out. I didn't want to mess with the training schedule in the first week. The results were nothing like the Monday run! I was running into the wind and trying to break in new shoes that weighed significantly more than I'm accustomed to. But at least, I looked good doing it. Near the end, my legs felt like twigs about to snap. Maybe it was the heavier shoe, or running into the wind, or that extra slice of birthday cake, but I was much slower with a time of 20:24 for a total of 2.25 miles.
On Friday, I went up to Tampa to check out the scene of a health and fitness expo for the Gasparilla Distance Classic- Tampa's biggest marathon event. I figured that if I'm going to do one of these one day, I wanted to see what all the excitement was about. I can only imagine what standing at the starting line in April is going to feel like, but if it's anything like the excitement surrounding the anticipation of the event this weekend, I can't wait!
As far as my dieting goes, I'm seeing some great results. A couple of weeks before, my wife and I started on the South Beach Diet. As I weighed in this morning, I am down 24 lbs. from what I weighed in at on New Year's Day!
With all of the temptations and distractions, this week, it's been hard to find consistency with my schedule and diet. I'm sure that over time I will find ways to handle these issues a little better. With that being said, it's hard to find a reason to complain, because the results I've seen so far have been incredible.