Friday, September 11, 2009

10 things I've learned on the way to 26.2

Longtime readers may have noticed that I blogged about four out of the first five weeks of my marathon training plan earlier this summer ... and then stopped.

Part of the reason? I've been too busy training for a marathon.

In fact, at the end of a nine-mile run through Dilworth on Wednesday, I ticked off my 300th mile since launching July 12 into a 16-week plan in preparation for the Nov. 1 New York City Marathon. (That's north of 40 hours of running in the past 8-1/2 weeks.) Three hundred down, 300 to go.

So far? So good. I managed to foam-roll away some nagging IT band issues early on, was able to stick with the program even while traveling abroad in August, and have finished runs as long as 16 miles still feeling plenty fresh and strong.

I've also learned a few funny things that can happen on the way to race day -- enough, in fact, for a Top 10 list.

10. Your training plan will make you behave like a drug addict. Typical conversation with another runner: "How many you lookin' for this morning?" "I need 15. I'll take 12 or 13, but I really would like to get 15." You'll also constantly be begging, borrowing and stealing time from other parts of your life. Hey, at least you get to keep your teeth.

9. And Facebook is like your virtual Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Except all your running friends will do is egg you on and encourage you to do more speed and LSD. (Uh, that's "long, slow distance," Mom -- I promise!)

8. Your alarm clock will start doing double takes. I swear that when I set it to go off at 5:15 last Saturday morning, it said to me, "Dude, what are you doing? No seriously -- what are you doing??"

7. Your non-running friends will crack the same jokes every Friday. "So what are you up to this weekend, Theoden? You running like 80 miles tomorrow morning?"

6. And they'll crack the same jokes every Monday. "What'd you do this weekend? Did you run a couple of marathons?"

5. You enjoy those new running shoes while they last. Because they don't last long.

4. You're constantly looking for wood to knock on. I'm going to start carrying toothpicks or matches or like one of those old-school rulers around in my pocket so that it's handy for the five times a day when I tell people who ask about my training, "I've been feeling GREAT so far! Just hope I can stay injury-free..."

3. Your car's smell might make passengers throw up in their mouths. I've been thinking about putting a numbered padlock on the trunk of my Passat and plastering it with stickers and yearbook photos, maybe stuffing a freshman inside of it every once in awhile.

2. Your ability to shove food into your piehole will become legendary. Guy I know from my running group, which is sending about a dozen and a half people to the Marine Corps Marathon, sat down next to me at a recent BBQ with a plate of food that must have weighed 10 pounds. Halfway through it, his wife came by and slid a couple of their kids' nibbled-at burgers onto the pile. He looked at her, shrugged, then demolished every last bite.

1. You'll find out who your friends really are. The people who are willing to get up at 5 or 6 a.m. with you to run, to actually hold conversations that early in the morning, and to put up with the way you look and smell after the work is done, they're keepers. Either that or you need to keep an eye on them -- they may be angling for some sort of favor.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget this stop by every water fountain and have a drink, just so you can stay hydrated!

Anonymous said...

You know where all the port-a-johns and large trees and bushes are in your neighborhood just in case you have a natural break while on a run.

ChickenUnderwear said...

That is a good list. See ya in Staten Island.

The Biz Runner said...

Those are all so true.

I'll give you a heads up on another one: when you finish your marathon you'll most likely tell yourself "never again" and be happy to get back to your life "off the plan". But sure enough, at some point down the road you'll get the marathon itch again.

chupacabra said...

There are people on my normal long run route whom I see all the time. They probably think I live in their neighborhood when actually I live several miles and a couple of income tax brackets away from there.

amlinz said...

Love the list! Swore, swore, swore I would not do a marathon in 2009 after two lousy ones in 2008 and what am I doing..another marathon! Some form of sick pleasure that I can't explain. If you are not self motivated and get personal satisfaction from running, you are in the wrong sport! Nobody else knows or cares.

Anonymous said...

#3 is my fav!...febreez has become my car's best friend!

dfore said...

Love this! Especially the number 1reason since my running group runs at 5:00 am, so I am usually up by 4:15 in order to get ready!