Is this fun?

Did I ever tell you that I hate to run?  Running can not be natural.  If you think about it, gravity and friction fight against our every step.  But to survive, we pretty much need to  move around to get the food we need to survive.  We need that food to fuel our bodies so we can move around, and, wait a minute…… what a cruel trick.

When I was in High School, I ran 4 years of track and one year of Cross Country.   I was not not a great runner, but I did pretty well.  I hated running then.  Why did I rn if hated running?  I had a bigger goal.  I had something working in me that over road my hate for running.  I was a wrestler.  I had to stay in shape, so if I had run, I might as well get some accountability and competition to drive me on.   So I ran.

I run now because there is something bigger than my hate of running.  I pray that at some point I will get “addicted” to running and will  begin to love it, but I am not holding my breath.

We are all born into a situation that was not intended for us.  God intended only good for us, but we chose a life rebelling against his plan.  Something in us drives us to fight against the very things which would bring us true fulfillment and joy.  The gravity and friction of sin continue to drag me to a stand still.  He has given us a plan and stands by to assist us in overcoming the hurdles that our own selfishness has laid before us.  Thankfully, if we place our faith in the  “Coach of Coaches” and his training plan, we can win against these forces that fight against us.

 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–>20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”  Romans 7:14-25

The Last Preseason Run

I met with 4 other runners today to knock out a last pre season 5 mile run. It was the first time I ran with anyone else since I started running again. I went into it with little trepidation, but maybe I have gotten a little cocky. We started of at a good pace I felt like we were running a little slow. I guess my judgment of pace is not so great.

We ran about a mile when we first hit a bit of an up hill climb. By about 1 1/2 miles I started to feel that tickle in my chest. My normal course has some hills, but no long grades like this. My nose was a bit congested and I was mouth breathing which did not help that chest issue.  I struggled on and at about 3 miles, that chest issue was a full blown wheeze.  This was the first asthma attack since I have been running.   A couple of hits on that performance enhancing steroid, Albuterol, an my breathing returned to normal however, as expected, heart rate increased.

At about 3 1/2 miles I had to walk due t my heart rate monitor alarm.  Every time we went up hill for any significant time, I had to walk a spell.  My teammates graciously slowed a bit so I could catch back.

With all of my little struggles, I still finished with the group and we finished at a better pace than I have yet, 10:20 min/mile.

I want to thank the team for the encouragement and patience.

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

Thanks guys!

Training Up to Now

About a month and a half ago I committed to run in the Derby Festival Marathon (April 26th, 2008) with a few other morons from Mason and Hanger. (see the About page for why) To seal the deal I went out and bought a good pair of shoes (now I have to run). Additionally, we decided to run for a charity. This means other people are counting on us, so I guess this thing is for real. Our official training starts on January 7th, 2008. Wait a minute, I have not run over 3 miles in over 20 years! What have I gotten myself into!

20 years ago, running 3 or 4 miles a few time a week did not seem like much of a challenge. I was an athlete. I ran all the time. I ran Cross Country and the 2 mile in track. It’s like riding a bike. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

I had new shoes, I had new shorts, I new sweats. I was ready. I stepped out the door, stretched out those hammies, calves, and quads.  I tried to touch those toes, but it seems that there is a bit of an obstruction about half way down that not only obscured my view of the little piggies, but also seemed to get in the way of that natural folding point also know as the waist. Well, no big deal, I don’t run with my mid section anyway. I walked down the hill to my pre-measured, ½ mile, block.

After a few minutes of talking to myself and jumping around to limber up, I started off. I fell right into my old cross country pace and breathing patterns. Just like the bike! About 20 steps later, I began to wonder why I was trying to run the 100 yard dash. I slowed down a bit. 10 paces later, I remembered abdominal breathing and realized that my abdomen was supporting other burdens and was not interested in helping me breathe. Better slow down some more. 30 paces later, my knees were really beginning to feel that ½ % grade. Better take a little more off that pace. I didn’t see them, but someone must have snuck-up and thrown a bucket of liquid on me, because all of my clothes were soaked. Can’t run quite so fast with all this extra liquid. Well, at least I am about half way around the block (maybe 400 yards, old days, 60 seconds). I dragged myself around the rest of the block. I never walked, but I sure wanted to.

In 1980, I ran the anchor leg of the 4×800 meter relay at the state championships in Maryland. I ran my 800 meters (1/2 mile) in 1 minute and 59 seconds. 27 years later I struggled through a 1/2 mile in a staggering 6 minutes and 52 seconds. Needless to say, I was not encouraged. But I did not give up.

Our team read a book, Ultra Marathon Man, which helped keep me going. The key motivational phrase I came away with; “If I don’t hurt after a run, I didn’t work hard enough.” Well, I hurt, so it was good training. Over the next month I ran 3 to 4 times a week. For two weeks I increase my speed and distance every run. One month after I started, I ran 5 miles finishing up with that same half mile at twice the speed. I will probably never run a 5 minute mile again, but at least I know that I can always do a little better.

It still hurts when I run, but it is the hurt of muscles complaining about years of neglect. Those muscles never seem to let me forget that they need constant attention. The real training is convincing my will that he is king.

Tomorrow I run a 5 mile run with “the guys”. (pre-season) I am at least ready for that. I’ll let you know how that goes. Monday the real race begins.