Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Running My Race

I am 49 years old. On May 3rd, 2011, I plan to turn 50. I say “plan to” because I could be run over by a bus or Jesus could come back. But barring any unforeseen or unusual circumstances, I will be a half-century old in less than a year. Five-0. That, my friends, is a milestone birthday if there ever was one! And cause for celebration!

How should I commemorate such an event? Well, I may mark it in many ways and I reserve the right to add to the list as I go along. But I have been giving this some thought and have decided on at least one fitting element of the celebration... good physical health.

After all, I have much to live for and a lot of great living ahead! Have you met my girlfriend, Mindy? Yep, she will keep me busy enough! And then there are my kids! And perhaps… one day… grandkids! So, going forward, I see my life filled with a lot of fun, youthful activity. There’s just no way around it.

To put it simply, I’ve got things to do. I am quite certain there are many tall mountains left to climb and all that mountain climbing could make me tired and out of breath if I don’t take good care of my body. I will. It's important.

And so I have decided that, among other things, I would like to celebrate my 50th year with a physical challenge. Something that makes a statement about the life that still lies before me and what it will require of me in order to enjoy it to its fullest potential. I want to do something that quite literally propels me into the next season of my life.

My Goal: Run a half-marathon. 21 kilometers. 13.1 miles. Uh huh.

Being that I have never been a runner in my life, I do not feel qualified to even consider a full marathon. Of course, the word “marathon” has that romantic ring to it. I can almost hear the soundtrack from “Chariots of Fire,” can't you? But as someone who has not yet run his first race, I must learn what it is I am even asking of myself. I feel a half-marathon is a realistic goal. I can envision it. It “feels” attainable. A half-marathon. Goal set. Check.

But one does not just get up off the couch one day, walk outside and run 13.1 miles. You have to work toward it. At least that’s what I have been told. Remember, I am not a runner... yet. On the other hand, I am not a couch potato either. I work out. I lead a relatively active lifestyle. And I believe I am in reasonably good physical condition. So how do I start the process? I jump in with both feet. (Pun intended.) I commit. That’s all I know to do at this point. So here goes nothin’...

I am now registered to run the “Hottest 10K” on August 15th at White Rock Lake in Dallas. A 10K run is 6.2 miles. I might have been inclined to start with a 5K, but one doesn’t happen to be offered at this event. So 10K it is.

I’d better get to runnin’!

20 comments: said...

Good for you!!!! What a great way to celebrate your birthday. I have a friend who has cancer and runs in as many races as he could find:) He is a huge inspiration to me. He is also in his 50's. And don't forget that 50 is the new 30:) Good luck and have fun with it!
Blog: Capers of the vintage vixens

The Primitique said...

I am so glad you are doing something for you/about you. You do so much for me and others. It's time for some YOU time! In the process, I get to cheer you on. Support you. Enjoy watching the process of goals realized. I just hope I can be as good a cheerleader to you as you are to me, love. You WILL do it. Unless that bus thing happens. Let's stay away from busses, k? Love, Mindy

Sincerely, Alissa said...

Woooo go Dad, i'm proud of you!

trash talk said...

Hmmm...Mindy in a cheerleader outfit? Well if that's not enough to at least get your motor running (if not your feet) then I don't know what is.
I think you've set a wonderful truly attainable goal and I'll be on the sidelines cheering you on.
P.S. When I think marathon I always think about that movie "They Shoot Horses Don't They?). LOL

mya said...

Go for it. Now, that I've said that, let me say, more. Don't just use your feet - use your brain.

I am going to sound like a mother, but that's okay, I am.
Are you consulting any expert advice? Could be running articles, a running club, a health club, a friend who has been there.

Many years ago my husband wanted to run the 5 mile, 4th of July race in Atlanta - The Peachtree. He just went out and ran as far as he could several times a week, and would stop when his brain and body said, "That's enough already!"
Gradually his distance and endurance improved...GRADUALLY.

I'm thinking that you are a smart guy, and you will pace yourself correctly. Just don't let a particular deadline (no pun) push you faster than you should.
Mindy, you watch him!

Oh...he did finish the race, and continued to participate in The Peachtree for the next 6-7 years.
At that point,. it was too much for the hips. He now walks several miles a week. We are in our late sixties.

ALVN of WhisperWood Cottage and Junkologie said...

Yay! So cool!! If you haven't already, you need to search online for a beginner's training schedule. Make sure you have quality shoes that give you the appropriate support. And don't overtrain or increase your mileage too quickly. That's all. Have fun!!

janet said...

excellent! i think it's great and i have no doubt you'll reach your goal! i say, half-marathon for your 50th and marathon for your 60th! that way you've got plenty of time to "graduate" and squeeze in a little couch potato time too! looks like you'll always be younger than me...i'll be turning the big 5-0 in March 2011! feel free to take some comfort in that fun fact!

David said...

First, thanks for all the comments and encouragement. I'll need it!!

Well, I ran 2.2 miles this afternoon. Two "laps" around a neighborhood route that I had pre-measured to be 1.1 miles. Actually, I walked most of the first 1.1 and ran the second. My daughter went with me the first lap, so I went at her pace. I forced myself to run the entire second lap, but it was hard. A few thoughts...

1) There is a muscle in the front of my shin that doesn't get worked in my other activities. It's the muscle that raises your foot. It's not worked on the eliptical either. That sucker better develop fast! The leg pain got to me faster than anything else.

2) The ground shock is worse than I imagined. I was wearing good quality running shoes, but the pavement pounding still feels bad on the bod.

3) The heat. Yeah, I was running in 98 degrees, I understand. And I was expecting to sweat a lot. But it wasn't the outside temp per se that got to me. Nor was it the sun's radiant heat. It was the temp of the air going into my lungs. It felt like my lungs couldn't pull the oxygen out of it. I was breathing HARD!

I have been working myself on an eliptical, routinely doing 4-6 "miles" on there. This is not the same. Although it doesn't have the forward resistence of the eliptical, the effect of gravity feels greater, more than making up for it. I was breathing much harder and, although I wasn't wearing a heart monitor, I feel certain my heart rate was in the 140s by the time I was done.

Right now, a half-marathon feels like a far away dream. But I'm not going to worry about that yet. I'm not even going to worry about the 10K yet. My next goal is to be able to run the same 2.2 miles I ran this afternoon, but without walking.

Amy, I'll check into that training schedule.

thedomesticfringe said...

David, that's a Shin Splint you are getting and I know how to fix it! I can't believe I know this, but would you believe, it's the only muscle in my entire body that is well-developed. Even my husband is impressed and I don't get shin splints anymore.

Ok, I'm going to try and explain this. You get down on one knee like you're going to propose (?) and then you begin lifting the front of your foot as high as you can while keeping your heel on the floor. I'm talking about the foot attached to the leg in front of you (the one with your knee in the air and not on the ground). Repeat the lift of the foot motion many times and you will develop your shin muscle.

If you understood that explanation, you can do anything in life. ;-)

I think a run is an amazingly wonderful way to celebrate your 50th birthday. Kudos to you!!!

Enjoy the running. I was NEVER a runner in my life, but a few years ago, I decided that I needed to start running. It took me a couple of months to build up my endurance to actually run, but I got to the place where I could run for 1/2 an hour straight and feel great. It was the best thing I ever did for myself. Too bad I dropped the habit.

Just stay well-hydrated. I can't imaging running in Aug. heat in Texas. You can do it though. I heard Texans can do anything.

David said...

Thanks, Tricia! I understand perfectly and just did 25 reps on each leg of the exercise you described. Yep, that's definitely the muscle!

I also ordered a DVD and some books on the subject. My form probably stinks and, if I can learn the right way from the beginning, I'm sure I'll be better off.

Linda said...

I guess this is a popular goal for men turning 50. My husband is also turning 50 and is training to run a triathlon. As goals go, I think it is a fantastic one. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

Alices Wonderland said...

Way to go know how I feel about the 'R' word, but I have been running a little here and there myself. (very little) but I'm still walking most nights and now doing that p90x challenge. Really at this point the only way to make it tolerable outside is to go out at 8pm or later. I can't imagine earlier, everytime I try I swear I'm gonna fall out with heatstroke (totally embarrassing)

You have given yourself the right amount of time to make this goal, so I'm certain you'll do fine. Keep us posted as you go along.

red.neck chic said...

da da da da da daaaaahhhh....
da da da da da.....

I'm SO singing chariots of fire right now.... thanks for that. LOLOL

YOU CAN DO IT!!! Crazy man - do you know how hot it's going to be? I'll come throw ice cubes at you. Can you wear a shirt with a target on it?

This is exciting and fun - I'm proud of you and FOR you!!!

When you have grandkids do we all get to start calling you gramps? Just wondering...

Leave the rattlers out on the range... they are SO happy there...

;-) robelyn

Mr. Flannery said...

David - A very wise friend of my elder brother promulgated the "Don Gruber Limited Step Theory". He postulates that each one of us is granted only so many steps in our lives. If you want to waste them jogging, then its your fault.

Good luck and lets just assume that marathon steps don't count against the allocation.

Anne - Fiona and Twig said...

Woo hoo, you can DO it!
I ran a marathon about a million years ago, but my bum knees preclude me from making THAT particular mistake again... ;-)

You're going to look great and feel even better. Good for you!

Ragamuffin Gal said...

David ~
I think you can do it! I believe in you!
A group of us from work began a challenge this Spring and we all started running and working out and now I can not stand to miss a single day! We cheer each other on and that has been a great encouragement.
It seems the first 10 min. it hurts like he(double hockey sticks) but then it begins to get better. I have a couple of years (and probably a couple of pounds) more on me. So if I can, I know you can ~ I will be watching your progress and cheering and praying for you to go on!
Blessings my friend ~ katie

Jaybird said...

I'll come and play "Chariot's of Fire" while you run!! It's one of my favorites!
Grandkids are great, so you better take good care of yourself!!

Tipsy Tango said...

you don't have to have already caught her ya know? There's just Pie in Tawakoni it would make the feeling go away real quick. I hear it is a new great place for desserts without any sugar added...I'm just saying...
Good luck, I wish I had that passion again...wait maybe when I turn 50! hehe

sherry said...

Man, I know exactly what you mean about sucking in extra hot air while exercising. It makes a huge difference when I'm riding. Have you tried using one of those things you soak in cool water and then tie around your neck? I haven't yet but am thinking about it.

Good luck with your goals. Enjoy the journey.

Drama Queen said...

I assume you're in training! Good for you!