Sunday, December 20, 2009
I Ran The 30k Around The Bay? No Way!
A scene from the movie Saint Ralph it wasn't.
It wasn't even fucking close.
The start of the story came from my dog, Chewy. He was the main reason I ran the 30k.
You see, with the exception of Chewy, I lived alone. I worked extra long hours and had a crazy long commute. I would come home and things would be in disarray. Chewy, very true to his name, would dwindle down odd things around the house to the point of bits and pieces. He was notoriously high-energy, and when I regularly came home from work, I was the exact opposite. The stress of rush-hour traffic through multitudes of arterial highways, as well as the job itself, left me exhausted.
One day, after coming home from another bullshit day, I just got tired of it. I came home to Chewy beside something that resembled being ass-raped-destroyed, and put on some running shoes and leashed him up.
So we ran. To a body of water that was close to my house and back.
Just like that. He wasn't even breathing heavily. I, on the other hand, was feeling rough.
Our mini runs became frequent. Slowly, I increased the distance. And I didn't die from it, which amazed me, considering how much of a piece of shit my body was(believe it or not, I am a FAT man, trapped in a SKINNY man's body.). My tolerance for pain got better, thanks to some breathing techniques from yoga, keeping me calm and cool.
Stupid Chewy loved the whole thing. I got a good chance to tire him out, and expend his destructive energy. Nothing was torn, as he was calmer and more content.
I, on the other hand started to realize my abs. I thought I had a 6-pack for a while. My body slowly took shape. My lung capacity increased, and my energy levels went up. I started to push for more, and our Sunday-Morning-Fun-Runs became 5 to 10k Nipple-Chafe-rs.
That's when the stupidity dawned on me.
Why don't I run a fucking marathon?
I had months and months of half-assed training, I was in semi-decent shape. I was feeling pretty good about myself, thinking that I can take on the world. What the hell? I kept on with the running while I hacked through a debilitating chest infection, so I thought, 'if I could run through that, I can do anything!'
But 30k of that? Really?
The day of the race came quickly. I didn't think that I had enough training in, to be quite honest. When I walked over to the starting line, seeing everybody in their spandex and all of their gear, I felt intimidated and out of place.
But fuck them. Those fuckers ran in groups, like support groups. The only other soul I ran with was Chewy, who was with me through it all. But he wasn't going to be with me on this run.
It was fucking teeming down with rain. Wicked cold, as well. Out of all my runs, I could never muster up the nerve to go out in the goddamn rain. This day had to be the worst ever picked day to go for a run.
So off we went. I read all the advice through all the websites and blogs, telling me to stay calm and not get into the excitement of it all. Setting a consistent pace that was more suited to me was the mantra. Everybody passed me, but I had to keep my own speed.
Did I say that it was raining and miserable?
It was fun to see everybody come out to give us support, but if lard-ass me could do it, why couldn't they? It drove me nuts when people sit in the stands and are just spectators. A little bit of physical exertion isn't going to kill you, you know.
At the 5k mark, I started to feel a tinge from my left knee. I regret having that extra large, extra greasy pizza that my sister caught me bringing home a week before, saying that I was in, 'deep training,' and she should mind her fucking business.
Good one. Maybe I should have tried some more plyometrics to maybe condition my joints for this kind of torture.
My pace slowed a lot, and I limped through the main parts of the race with hardly any incident. By the time we got closer to the water, the wet conditions felt worse. But we all had to trudge through it, so there wasn't much room for complaining. The people around me were going through the same problems.
The last 5k of the race was brutal. At that point, I was in total agony. Both my knees were fucked totally. I started to think about my future in running, and how it's going to be over after this. Then I started to think about walking out the garbage and the recycling to the curb, and if I will ever get to do that again. I mean, it was a long walk.
I half-sprinted and half-limped to the finish. My time was 3 hours and 47 minutes. I was ranked between the old and the obese.
But that didn't matter. What counts was that I started something with the intention of finishing, and did. My pride would have gotten the best of me if I had quit at the 5k mark, when things started to get hard. It just seemed like my stigma that I couldn't shake, so I did run with a chip on my shoulder.
Chewy also would have my head if I didn't finish. There would be something with the way he looks at me that would be different.
But still, fuck Chewy.
10 Things To Prepare For A Marathon
10. Make sure your heart is in it. If you come out second-guessing yourself and giving into doubt, you've already handicapped yourself before the race even started.
9. Leave enough time before the race to train. And I don't mean the week before. Your legs and the rest of your body need to be conditioned for this kind of physical exertion. Your body doesn't need that kind of shock the day of. Here's a link to a training program specifically designed for this race:
8. Try to eat as clean as possible. When I was training for this ordeal, I'd be ravenous afterward. I was truly burning more calories than I put back in. And whatever I put in my body was straight junk. Over processed fast foods, refined sugars, loads of fat went into my body. Instead of replacing muscle fibers in my body, I actually lost muscle and began to store fat, which hindered my performance. Laird Hamilton would always say, 'garbage in, garbage out.' I never related that message until after the race. Eat as much fibrous foods as possible: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and lean meats will help you on your way. Stay off the greasy pizza!
7. Lay off the alcohol. It is a total detriment. I would spend my Saturday nights boozing it up and shaking my ass off at Absinthe, and spend the following morning running a 10k with Chewy. I'd brag to everybody about this, saying that it was a testament to how great of shape I was in. It was all machismo bullshit. There were mornings when I felt that my liver was punched repeatedly, and I would smell of the shit from the night before. The alcohol would literally be coming off my pores! Boozing does not aid in muscle recovery, just the opposite, while storing fat in your body at the same time. See number 8.
6. Scout the course and try to run the thing in sections. I checked the map, found the 10k mark and ran the rest from there. I found this helpful in the visualization of finishing the race, making mental notes of certain landmarks before the finish. This helped a ton, since I didn't follow much of a training program and had no intention of doing so.
5. Invest in some gel-packs. Go to a running-specific store. They're inexpensive and a life saver. Hunger and weakness is an inevitability somewhere in the race, and will be more than enough to make you quit. In every long distance run that I've done, I've ended up calling it, just so I can quickly get to a burger joint and feed my face. Pocket a handful of these for the race, pop one in your mouth at every 5k increment and you should finish just fine.
4. Hydrate. Early and often. You should be drinking right now. Doing long distance without rehydration is a no-no. It keeps your joints lubricated and protected for the grind of a marathon. Carry a bottle of water and trade hands when you're running. If you don't want to hold it, put it on the small of your back, tucked in your pants. Go get a drink. It will help you.
3. Plyometrics. Look it up, and do it religiously. Save you knees for bigger things. Like walking. Don't destroy them for a stupid marathon.
2. Keep YOUR pace. A lot of these running knobs will peer-pressure you into falling into their speed during the race. Fuck them. Listen to your body. A steady, consistent pace is the most efficient calorie burn with the least lactic acid production. Run YOUR race, not theirs.
1. Have fun with it. Every chance you get, enjoy those little things. Remember to put it in perspective. It is YOUR universe at the moment, but if you step back to take a look, you have to remember: It's only a run.