Friday, May 22, 2009

Runner's Tool Kit

There were a lot of things no one told me about when I started running. For example, no one told me that I'd stockpile a bunch of items that I'd use to fend off or deal with the not-so-pleasant effects of running long distances.

Last weekend, as I packed up my bag for the team's long run, I took note of a few items: Body Glide, Band-Aids, GU, The Stick.

Non-runners probably don't even know what those items are or at least what they'd be used for in a running context. My runner-friends are probably smiling -- maybe cringing a bit if they can relate.

I guess it's all part of the deal we make with ourselves -- even unknowingly -- when we commit to push our bodies to places we'd never think they'd go.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just A Number?

Last weekend, as I finished up what was certainly my longest bike ride to date, I asked my cycling companion how far we had gone.

He consulted his trusty bike computer, which tell hims not only the distance but also the time and rate of speed, and said casually, "26.2 miles."

My head whipped around and I looked at him. "26.2 miles? Like, a marathon?"

He admitted that the distance, the actual number, didn't strike him as significant until I mentioned it.

I, on the other hand, immediately thought of the marathon. And quickly -- almost instantly -- was reminded that in a few months I'd be running that entire distance.

Even on a bike it seemed far. I'd be running that?

I thing is, I know I can't psyche myself out by making those types of comparisons. I know I shouldn't even try to imagine myself running
the route we cycled. But I can't help it.

And I just can't seem to escape little reminders about the upcoming -- and somewhat daunting -- 26.2 miles.

Just yesterday, after a long day setting up a show for work, I stepped outside the theater (which happens to be right on the Manchester Marath
on route) and saw this:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Biggest Loser

One of my guilty pleasures is to occasionally tune into ABC's The Biggest Loser.

I like watching the constant battle that the contestants face as they change their bodies and their lives. I am often amazed at their transformations -- both physical and emotional.

If you're not familiar with the show, let me fill you in a bit. The show takes a group of people who are severely overweight, some topping the scales at 300+ pounds or more, confines them to "the ranch" with two intense trainers.... and works their butts off, literally.

The workouts are focused and hard. Contestants sweat like they've never sweat before. They experience things they've never experienced before. I've seen them break down in tears, throw up, collapse and relish personal victories.

They learn proper eating habits, although they all struggle to continue these as they enter "the real world" back home.

And the see the pay-offs, each week dropping more pounds than what seems possible (or healthy?) and becoming a new person. By the end of the show, when they reveal the before and after shots, it's difficult to imagine that it is the same person.

Of course, it's a game and the show's gotta keep the audience engaged, so each week the two people who lose the least weight face elimination, which is determined by a vote of their fellow contestants. (Imagine that, you've lost 100+ pounds, but sorry, not good enough.)

I happened to be home to catch last week's episode -- and I'm glad I did.

At the last "challenge" of the season, the final four contestants ran a marathon. That's right, people who did no exercise and paid no attention to their eating habits just a few months ago ran a marathon. The whole 26.2 miles.

If they can do it, so can I. (Do I get live-in trainers for the next few months to help me be focused?)

And, oh yeah, I developed a new goal: beat the finishing time of The Biggest Loser's marathon winner -- 4 hours, 55 minutes.


Logging Miles

Although I haven't "officially" started my marathon training, I've given it a little push this week -- and it feels great.

On Monday, I took the bike out for a spin and logged 19 miles. On Tuesday, I ran a good, strong 7.5 miles (in the cold an pouring rain). And on Wednesday, I went back and rode the 19-mile loop again.

Phew! 38 miles on the bike and a 7.5-mile run in three days!

No doubt the bike and running miles will increase, something I'm really looking forward to.

Only six months until the marathon. Only? Six months seems a lifetime away... Just hope I can keep up the motivation and stamina until then.