Saturday, October 13, 2012

Let me introduce myself, and a couple of others too!

It all started in 2010 and roughly 30lbs ago.  Well... let me back up a minute to October of 2009.  My wife and brother-in-law Kevin (both of whom I will mention often) were running their first half marathon.  This was the Soaring Wings Half Marathon in Conway, Arkansas.  It is a half marathon which raises money to provide a home for children with troubled family life.  The place... Soaring Wings Ranch.  Our families watched and cheered as they raced and ultimately crossed the finish line.  They were tired, yet elated that they had accomplished such a goal.  They had both previously run a 5K or two... but this was by far their biggest achievement as new runners.  My exact words as they approached me after they finished the race... "You guys are crazy, why would you ever run 13.1 miles?  You will never see me running!"  I meant it too, at the time.  You see, I had never run further than 400 meters, and that was in high school.  I wasn't good either.  We just didn't have enough students to fill a track team so they needed warm bodies.  I digress.

Fast forward to January of 2010.  I had been experiencing some health issues.  I was overweight and had a lot of sinus problems.  While going through a couple of surgeries to correct those problems, I had more than one doctor tell me that my blood pressure was way to high for someone my age.  The fact of the matter is that I felt bad every day.  I have asthma and allergy problems and they had never been worse in my life.  I had no energy and it showed in my daily life.  My mental state at work was bad, I wasn't a very good father or husband, and I realized it was time for a change.

I decided I would put my stubbornness to the side and see if I could manage running a little bit to try and get into better shape.  I stumbled across the Cool Running Couch to 5K plan.  I decided I would give it a shot.  This decision was made in January of 2010 and I made a goal to be ready to run my first 5K in May, the Toadsuck 5K/10K in Conway, Arkansas.  I did most of the early part of my training on a treadmill at the gym.  At the time, I liked it because I had a TV to distract me.  Over time, I learned to hate treadmills and can't stand the thought of getting on one now.  Getting started was very tough.  There were times I thought it was going to be impossible.  However, with the support of my wife, my brother-in-law, and my friend Aaron who was a cancer survivor and new runner himself (much more on him later) I was able to get through the training and ultimately run and finish.  If I recall, my time was just under 30 minutes which was my goal.  I was on what they call a "runners high"!  

So... long story short... I got crazy and signed up for my first half marathon (Soaring Wings) and my first marathon (St. Jude's Memphis Marathon).  Needless to say, Kevin and I have a long history of biting off more than we can chew, or do we?  5 half marathons and 2 full marathons later, I can honestly say I am hooked. Am I fast?  No.  I am an "Average Joe" runner to this day. However, that is what keeps me going.  I can't wait until the day I break a sub 2 hour half marathon and a sub 5 hour full marathon and I won't stop until I do.  I will be running my 6th half marathon in 2 weeks (Soaring Wings again) and my 3rd full marathon next month (White River Marathon). 

I could quite possibly break the 5 hour mark at the White River Marathon because it is so flat.  However, these are just training runs for another ambitious goal that Kevin and I have for next spring...our first attempt at a 50 mile trail run.  I said we get a little crazy, and we have.  I am super pumped about it and can't wait to get to work.  Kevin has already done a 50K so he has a taste for it.  Now I do too.  More on this training later.

I hope non-elite, Average Joe runners will find our thoughts and training useful.  When looking for something similar, someone to encourage us and give us advice, we couldn't find it.  We will do our best to share that with you.

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