I have to say, I am amazed by how quickly change can take place when you put a specific goal in place and throw in a little accountability. I wanted to break down what my first round of long runs looked like. I need to stop here to say I have not done this on my own. If my family had not been behind my in this I would not be sitting here writing you now. My wife is the keeper of the run schedule. She keeps me on task of making space to run. You don’t really think about it but when you are getting over 20 miles its a huge time commitment. And then of coarse I have to acknowledge my coach Tommy(My 6 year old) who knows what is best for me and makes sure to keep me encouraged to always do my best! And really, I’m going to have to write a post just on all the people that have contributed to me doing this. I’m heading into the 8th week and will be backing down the mileage for three week to prepare for the Sun River Marathon on September 5th. So Here’s what it looks like to go from not having a clue where your running shoes are to breaking 20 miles:
Week 1- Hagg Lake Loop 14.5 miles Starting this project with a couple 5 mile runs tackling a 15 mile trail run pushed my limits. I was surprised to find out I could run ten miles without to many stops and stretches of walking. The problem was this was 15 miles. Holy shit things changed after mile 10. I learned right away your body has physical limits. This was a great lesson to start out with. I still make sure to plan a run every other week that is beyond what I believe I am capable of. This way I can gauge where I am at. Another good lesson on this one was food; my body ran out of the energy needed to keep my muscles working. The right diet is a necessity to carry out any activity you are planning on pushing your limits (that may not seem like much of a surprise to you but I was planning on using brute strength and determination…)
Week 2- Wilson River Trail 10 miles So for week 2 I dropped the mileage down to where I was at.This was awesome
for my confidence! It actually felt great going the ten miles I knew I was capable. I quickly learned that you have to hold back sometimes to give yourself a chance to enjoy what it is your doing. This was a turning point where I started to really enjoy what I was doing. I knew if I could power through 10 miles after 2 weeks, 100 miles should be doable in 10 months. Now, at this point I was not yet tracking my pace and was still running very slow but I was running.
Week 3- Banks-Vernonia Trail 16 miles So here’s where shit got real! I didn’t know this but it turns out 16 miles is a hell of a long way to run. Don’t believe me, go try it. At mile 8 I was getting really sore. At mile 10 again it got extremely difficult. At mile 13 I really didn’t think I would make it. And at mile 14.5 I was nearly crawling. I again had done little the day before to prepare and paid for it. I have to say though, in a way it helps to ignore that the big run is coming. I almost all but tune it out until I am actually there on the trail. This leaves little internal argument and diminished the chance of backing out for some “super important reason” I create….
Week 4-Back to conquer Hagg Lake! I managed to take on the lake loop in just over 3 hours. That was around an hour and a half less than the first time. I felt great but I noticed it was time to start incorporating weight training to strengthen my legs and core. But I really came away from that week feeling like I was right where I needed to be.
Week 5-Cape Kiwanda Beach Run Dist. unknown My wife and I decided to take a little overnight trip without the kids camping and thought a beach run would be a good idea for our long long. What we didn’t do was consider checking what time low tide was at and sure enough High Tide. This forced us to run on a sloped beach in soft sand for 3 hours. I have no idea how far we made it and am sure I don’t want to. It was good to mix up the terrain and add new challenges. It was a very hard run but being next to the ocean was good for the soul!
Week 6-Back to the Banks Trail This was the week to push it. Break 20 miles for the first time. My wife and I had a marathon coming up and needed to make sure we were getting the miles in. Now being on week 6 my mindset was shifting. I knew it was going to be hard. And that stood true, it was. But things are starting to change at this point. Preparation for the run is becoming more routine. I was starting to understand how to stretch and how much water to bring. I made it through most of this OK. But the last mile it was like I slid into a trans like state. My mind turned off, there was no voice inside. I focused on nothing but the tiny little dot ahead that was the finish line. Everything in the foreground swung back and forth with every step. There was nothing but finishing the run.
Week 7- Wickiup Reservoir 22 miles This was the test of running on no sleep, no food, and having every reason not to run. We had drove to La Pine the afternoon before for my wife’s Gramma’s 80th birthday party. I had stayed up until midnight waiting up for my father in law to arrive with Gramma Honey so I could help get them settled into Uncle Al’s house. Of course I was not going to leave Uncle Al to stay up by himself.
This was the only day I would be able to do my long run. It had to happen that day. I had set my alarm for 4am so I would be back in time to recover and help get ready for the party. I hit snooze for over an hour! I maid there telling myself every good reason I did not need to run that day. Finally I started to come too a little and said shit, this has to be done today. Immediately I jumped up, through on my wet shorts (I had worn them into the hot tub the night before) and my running shoes. I grabbed two waterbottles and just started running. I didn’t not let my legs participate in the argument going on in my head. I didn’t even stop to stretch until 2 miles down the road. I figured that would be far enough that I wouldn’t risk turning around. It ended up to be a fantastic run. I did run out of water around mile 16 but my wife swung in to surprise me with a cold waterbottle and GU packet. What a lifesaver! That woman is a saint. Preparation is all well and good but what I took away from this run is nothing can replace action.
There has been little I have done well through this experience but what I have learned is it is easier to make corrections than convince your self to start something. When I started running I was wearing street shoes because I didn’t have running shoes yet. My joints hurt, my diet sucked, and I could hardly finish any run I went on. I pick up helpful tips along the way but I still go out, do it wrong, and fix it. It’s the “going out” part that keeps producing the results!