Long and Strong . . .

If you have one of these on your car - go to a mirror, make a
face like you smell rotten milk and dog poop, shake your head
slowly from side to side and just stare at yourself. I'll wait.
Well, well, well. 13 weeks of Go Run Wichita's Start 2 Finish program later and I can look you square in the eye and say "Yeah, I have run 13.22 miles. And it was not that horrible."

This is not where I say something as cliche as "If I can do it - YOU can do it" (although I did once crack myself up by looking at our HR person and saying "If I can do it - YOU can lower our health insurance premiums.") but this is where I say what I've said for weeks . . . if you set a goal and have a support system and a training plan a half marathon is TOTALLY doable (presuming you don't have health issues, a baby in your belly, some failing knees or some weak-assed kicks). I won't bore you with too much of the details but I will say this - I spent 2 hours and 56 minutes running on Saturday morning and I covered more distance than I ever have before in less time than it took me to do 11 miles or 12 miles. Why? How? I have to presume it is because I've been training.

I have kept notes of my every run (there are even embarrassing videos I've shot where I talk to the camera/myself with useful tips ranging from what color combos of t-shirts and shorts I think I look best in to how to I can best approach (strategically) the 1st and Oliver red light for a break or to not have to stop - depending on how I'm feeling to why my calves hurt after some runs and not others (hint: at the time I truly believed peanut consumption had something to do with it)) and I've not missed a single scheduled work out and I've talked to friends who are runners/athletes (two things I'll never claim to be) for advice and thoughts and suggestions and I've gotten to know Kevin with GoRun Wichita and a few folks with the marathon itself, etc. I've approached this running "thing" as I did school or starting a new job or trying to woo a woman (without overtly staring at her pretty face and errant lipstick on her teeth) and tried to learn.

Simple things:

  1. Hydration and food along the run (you're NOT living until you jog a 14:30 page past a woman who is doing a solid 8:00 mile with a packet of peanut butter in one hand and a water bottle filled with Dt. Mtn Dew - a little jolt of caffeine - in the other).
  2. Walking for just under .1 miles every 2.75 miles so my calves stay calm for the duration.
  3. Mapping out the route and driving it ahead of time to ensure there are sidewalks or broad shoulders.
  4. A playlist that features nothing but runable stuff with a beat that pushes you to go faster vs. slower.
  5. Polyester wicking clothing. I'm kidding. I hate that stuff. 
  6. Gold Bond spray powder. That special tingle that will likely only ever be appreciated by the morbidly obese runner you hope and pray you never become.  
  7. People mean well when they encourage you later in the run but screaming "Look the other f*cking way, assh*le." to the bicyclist with the LED headlight on his helmet that wants to look you in the eye/blind you while chatting you up at 5:30 AM CT is totally acceptable. It is. I promise. 
  8. When you can barely walk and your seven year old helps you off the couch two hours after a run and remarks "I don't get it. You are getting skinnier - why can't you stand up?" you are best off just saying "I don't know, kiddo." 
  9. Cross training and rest days are every bit as important as running workouts. Don't skip or cheat either.
  10. Chik-fil-a ownership is small minded on social issues but their diet lemonade is the greatest reward for a well-done "long run" on the open market today.

And there have been lessons along the way that all combined to making this week's run super, super scary and super, super doable. More important? I've still got 38 days to get ready (stronger, faster, more prepared) for the REAL 13.1 mile run I'm training for and there is NO CHANCE it will be nearly as hot or humid that day as it was Saturday (insert evil laughter here).