Running - Racing

A few people here who have stumbled across some of my posts know that I run and I'm sure some wonder why someone would do something crazy like that. Running is fun, keeps my weight down, keeps my energy up, the associated heart-rate gets me high, and I like being outside.

I wasn't athletic growing up - I was a band geek. In high school, I was on the track team for approximately two weeks. They talked me into joining because they needed someone else to run cross-country. Two other guys and I ran a nearby golf course after school every day. We had an established training routine - warm up, stretch, start running, stop at the green on the 3rd hole, smoke a joint, and then run the remaining 15 holes. It was killing me! I didn't see how those guys could run so fast. I couldn't run that fast just jumping into this cold, much less running while stoned. So I quit.

Time passed - I went through the rest of my teens and most of my 20's with a "normal" metabolism and stayed pretty trim at around 160-165 (5'-9"). I was a typical 70's dude - long hair, polyester pants, Famolare shoes (haha). When I hit my late 20's, I found that I could not eat the same way I had been accustomed and still keep my weight down. By age 31, my weight had creeped up to about 210 or so (eek!). I had a wedding planned for the fall of 1993, so in early summer of 1993, I started a diet and exercise program: 1200 calories a day and 45 min of NordicTrack 6 days a week. So at age 32, I lost 55 lbs in 3 months and looked pretty darned good in time for the Caribbean wedding that I singlehandedly planned for my fiancée. :)

I needed to continue working out to maintain my weight - I knew that. But the indoor thing was getting boring so I started mountain biking and then later running because you can do that anywhere. I realized I was an efficient runner, so I learned some training techniques, got faster, and on a whim I did a local race sponsored by the electric company. I came in 5th out of 200 runners and they gave me a trophy made from a telephone insulator. People clapped! It was cool! I was hooked!

From 1996 to about 2002, I was really into foot racing and did well. I usually ended up with an age group award of some sort. The way it works is aside from the very top runners who compete for an overall placing, in most all foot races people are competing with people of the same sex in their 5-10 year age-group. For example... if I were racing right now, my finish time would be compared with males in the 45-50 year old range. Slow old men? Heh... not hardly. Depends what you consider slow, I guess. To stand a chance of winning a top-3 age-group award in most small local races around here, in my current age group I would need to beat a 20 minute 5K (3.1 miles), and maybe 18:30-19:00 for larger races.

If you push yourself too hard and do the wrong things, injuries are possible. I injured myself when pushing a hill in a race and it took several years before I was running completely pain free. I still raced for a year or two after getting hurt, but I struggled. Eventually I said it wasn't worth the pain and the risk and stopped competing. During a foot race, I can get caught up in the competition and it's easy for me to ignore pain. I don't trust myself to hold back, so to avoid re-injury I stay away from racing for now. My last race on record was a 10K (6.2 miles) in 2003 or 2004 where I pushed my then 7-year-old son in a racing stroller - that one was more of a fun just-for-the-helluvit race on July 4... I think we finished in 50 minutes. When he was smaller, we raced a lot. Sometime, I'll write about the fun I had running with him.

My personal record for a 5K race was in 2001 or 2002 with a 18:29. Right now I can safely do a 20:00 on a flat course, but most courses in KY aren't flat. If someone (slower than me) asks me to run with them in a race for motivation and support, I'll do it for fun. My problem is that I have an ego and if I were to race again on my own, I would probably want to go for a top-3 age group time. And I would probably push myself again and that's where I would get injured. I am enjoying the freedom of running pain free and I don't want to jeopardize that right now. Maybe I'll race again later.

Racing does create a different kind of high, though. Of course the endorphin release is good, but you can induce that running at a park, shoplifting, or having sex. However, the special adrenalin produced by racing is a scream and I miss it sometimes.

For those runners/walkers that have never entered a race who wish to try one, I would encourage it. Do it for the fun and the experience and not the competition. Of course you won't win... you just want to finish. Most people are there to just do it and participate for a cause. There is usually a charity that benefits from the entry fees. Doing it on a fun level, it isn't about competing with other people - you should just have fun and finish to the best of your ability. Try it - you'll like it.

Anyway..I have a picture that I took of some of my bling when we moved into our house a couple years ago. These were in a packing box, my wife told me that she didn't want them on her book cases in the new place, so I dumped them out in the yard and took a picture of them. She saw me snapping the picture and rolled her eyes at me - so back into the box they went and that's where they will probably stay until I finish our walkout basement. :( I have a similar collection of mountain bike awards but we'll save biking for another time.





Do some web research on building up to a marathon.  Most programs follow the same basic formula:  Run 5-6 days a week.  4 of those days needs to be your normal distance, one day is reserved for your "long run" which gets longer as your training progresses.

When you get into your marathon training schedule, let me know and I'll throw in a few things I've learned that people forget to others tell about.

Good luck!

Awesome! I'm now focused on strengthening myself to compete in next years Los Angeles marathon (one of my dreams). I will be following your posts on running for pointers.

wow stevie! never did doubt your commitment to the sport/hobby. i can hear the passion in your threads. i too love to run, but not out of doors too much. the opportunity doesn't always  present itself. i do run indoors in my gym. i run for fun, for the cardio, for toning, sometimes if i'm bored, or i get my best run in when i'm pissed off! great way to dispurse some aggretion. but when i click the incline remote when i'm running, i suddenly get my ass kicked and stop quicker! but i try to at least get through a podcast or two when i'm on the tread. it is rather peaceful.


Tuna ><((((*> the other white meat! I am Keeper Of The Whip!

Man, I dunno how you do it. I can't stand running, or most exercise for that matter. I'm lucky in that my job keeps me in decent shape and fairly strong. Maybe I'd like to outside more if it wasn't so hot where I am. I'd get winded and break a sweat going to the mailbox...

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