Start 2 Finish, Week 5 aka "Stuff Gets REAL" . . .

How early did I run on Saturday? I ran five miles
and THEN took this photo (note the position
of the sun. We go early - THANKFULLY).
94 days. 13 weeks. A quarter of a year. That is how long I have get fully prepared (mentally, physically, and spiritually) for my Prairie Fire (Half) Marathon debut.

I've typed quite a bit about what I do and don't like about running and I've shared musical taste for the run and even my long, self-motivating speech on WHY I am running, and even shared a video clip of me right after a particularly painful run but, today, I want to talk to you about something different and be completely candid with you (not that I'm putting on a brave face the rest of the time but I ignore the fairly obvious) . . . slowly, thanks to the program and support from GoRun Wichita, the Prairie Fire Marathon people, and the people I know in my life (real world, social media, or both) who either are runners or who - like me - feel like they could never be runners so they "must" applaud me for my efforts . . . I am becoming a runner.

I don't mean that in the sense that I accept the lifestyle and it is seeping in to my psyche (screw that and the whole notion) but I mean that in the sense that my body is adjusting to the demands of training for a half marathon. What are the demands?

How about a calendar that tells you how many miles you are going to run every day (we have "cross training" days on Friday and "rest" days on Sunday - the other five days of the week we RUN) that is a strong enough plan that I roll out of bed at 5 AM (and/or leave the apartment around 8 PM) and don't ask questions?

How about a decision in my brain to be very, very faithful to a very, very strict (self-imposed) diet so that I don't have to lug around any more weight than absolutely necessary for my runs (average of 3.1 miles/day - a little over 21 miles/week)?

How about obsessively checking my cell phone timer the second I get back . . . my OCD is too much to carry my phone any day other than Saturdays (long runs) to see how my mile times are trending and knowing when/where I get weak (between the 60% and 80% mark of every run is my slowest stretch)? How about logging every workout for the world to see and judge?

How about going to group runs every Saturday morning and as many Wednesday night "Fun Runs" as my parenting schedule will allow (and much love and appreciation to my still-sorta'-wife for taking our child on "my" Friday nights so I can be up at 5ish and running by 5:45ish on Saturdays without having a zombie in tow)? How about chatting with people about running without my eyes rolling in to the back of my head but - instead - hoping to learn and glean some ways to get "better" from them.

How about me getting ANGRY with myself when I have a bad run or when I am slower "today" than I was "yesterday"?

These things (except the self criticism there at the end) are not in my nature or wiring. I'm by my very nature against public sweating, group fitness, being told what to do and when to do it, and sticking to a diet. I was BAREFOOT in public last night and working on "core muscles" (I have none) in a group setting. Humanity died a little in those moments. I digress . . . the "runner" that is buried somewhere in me has taken hold the last five weeks and will HOPEFULLY guide me the next 13 1/2 weeks. I'll need that part of me (and others) to stay engaged and fight the good fight as the expected miles mount, the heat maintains, the challenges of working and parenting make it harder to stay on the schedule, and my general behavior and lack of interest in these things that have become so "important" to me fights to make them less "important."

I WILL run (not walk-run but RUN) 13.1 miles on October 13th. I committed to doing it. I will NOT compete against anyone else that morning (or in the meantime, or after - this is about me and only me (for me - the rest of you can do it for YOU, clearly)). But I also presumed that I would hate every stride of every mile I ran and that I would leave my sneakers at the finish line (like all great Olympic wrestlers do with their shoes at their last matches) and never run again. Five weeks in - I'm not entirely sure of what I'll do with my kicks. But I'm already lusting for a new pair of Trance 12s (color combo 150)!

For I, Sean C. Amore, have discovered that I like the demands that came with this adventure. I, Sean C. Amore, like how REAL it is to utter that - for now - I am a runner. And I will be a decent one by race day.