April 4, 2011 - 13 Weeks until Half Marathon
Have you ever awakened one morning, remembered the things you said and did the day before, and wondered how you could lose your mind so easily?
And since I quit drinking for Lent, it had nothing to do with alcohol.
April 4th is the first morning after I committed to run a half marathon.
What was I thinking? There is no way in the world I can run that far!
It’s not that I’m a couch potato but I’m certainly not a runner! The last time I ran for real was 31 years ago when my wrestling coach demanded we run countless flights of stairs at Blanchet High in Seattle. I enjoyed it so much I swore I’d never run again.
Over the years, I’ve stayed sort of fit with an occasional hike in the gorge or walking fast for a couple miles but I’ve never been a runner.
In fact, I enjoy telling athletes that while runners get their “high” from burning miles in their sport, I can think about running and get the same feeling without any of the effort.
But now I’m committed. Grrr.
The trouble started about a year and a half ago when I met Dave and Julie Sobolik at their Fit Right NW shoe store in Vancouver. They were running a shoe drive to help kids in Africa.
I was there to do a story for KGW and, as my photog grabbed some video, get their insights on the best shoes for walking as exercise. I’d been walking a few times a week for a couple miles. Julie began talking about running and claimed anyone could become a runner.
I shared my wrestling memories, my mental “high” story and confided that my knees would probably hurt way too much to run.
She was having none of it and began talking about Jeff Galloway, a former Olympic marathoner and someone who believes everyone can be a runner no matter what the age.
I promised to find his book and consider running. Julie told me not to wait and to find Galloway’s web site which has his basic philosophy.
As it turns out---Galloway knows a thing or two about running.
His biggest and in some ways most controversial idea is that if you take walk breaks early and often and don’t push yourself too hard, you can run without getting hurt until you are 100 years old!
I started using some of his walk-run idea. First I’d walk 5 minutes then run for one minute then walk another five. After several weeks I reached the point where I could run five minutes and walk one or two.
I emailed Julie to share my progress in early February of 2010.
She urged me to sign up for the Shamrock Run 5k in downtown Portland last year.
Since I’ve never been a runner, I’ve certainly NEVER been part of race---much less a big gathering like the Shamrock.
Despite my intimidation, I signed up and struggled through the 5k. Although who knew they offered free beer and chowder at the end?!
A year later, some of the folks here at KGW-TV put together a team to enter the Shamrock and I signed up for the 8k---roughly 5 miles.
I survived that too, using my own form of the walk run method. I’d run 6 or 7 minutes then walk two.
And then it happened.
I got a mass blast email from the Jeff Galloway website telling me he would be in Portland the weekend of April 2 and 3rd. I thought I’d go meet him and maybe even think about training for a 10K run.
Sunday morning, I arrived at the Foot Traffic store in NE Portland to find Jeff talking with a handful of people.
He had a small table in front of him with books he’d written on all things running.
At about 6 feet tall and probably 130 pounds---Galloway looks like a typical runner—the kind we, ah, heavier people do not enjoy competing against.
But he has a confidence and gleam in the eye that can make you believe anything is possible.
I asked him if running is bad for the knees. He said no. Hmmm. Should I run barefoot? No. Stretch before or after I run? No.
Do I need to lose weight (I’m 195) to run? No. Can I really be a runner? Yes!
And then he asked which marathon I wanted to train for.
Ah, that would be none!
But somehow the idea of a “half” marathon seemed much more reasonable, even fun using his actual technique instead of my made up version.
“Then I’ll help you,” he said.
And just like that I was committed.
I’m still not exactly sure how far a half marathon is---but I’ll bet it’s quite a ways down the road.
It will be an amazing mental and physical stretch for me and I feel Intimidated every time I mention the event.
But I’m going to do it.
And for your enlightenment, or entertainment I will keep you updated on my progress here once a week.
If you are training, too, or have done a half marathon yourself, I'd love to hear about your experience and any suggestions you have. You can post them here under COMMENTS, and you can also join in and follow me on Twitter @PatDoorisKGW.
We have 13 weeks.