It's early on a Monday. My iPod shuffle is charged and loaded and I'm about to lace up my shoes and make my way through six miles. It's what I do in 2009. And now, I'm 2/3 of the way done with my Physical Challenge to run a half-marathon every month.
Early on, I quietly recapped each race, providing business lessons learned from each one. But then, I got lazy (in terms of writing) as I labored through race after race. But, after crossing the finish line near Ground Zero last weekend, I decided I'd provide an update on how the last five races have gone, and what (if anything) I've learned, other than that 13.1 miles still feels like 13.1 miles eight months later.
In April, I ran the very hot Country Music Marathon. This race has become a tradition with two college pals of mine, as they make the trek each year to Nashville. Every time, someone is out of shape and didn't train as much as he should have. One year, that was me, so I decided to walk the whole thing and sample from the spectators' spreads made available along the route. So, as people sped by, I stopped on front lawns and brunched. I think I actually gained weight during that half that year.
Nonetheless, I was ready to go this year, but didn't set a PR on account of the heat. It was sweltering. I still finished with my second-fastest time of the year, but the best memories were made during the entire weekend, playing golf and hanging out with two lifelong friends. Moral of the story? Things are better with friends around.
In May, my mom and I made a trip right outside of Indianapolis to run around the reservoir. The first eight miles were great. Then things got hilly. Like worse-than-Nashville hilly. I ran my worst time of the year. It was pathetic, really. Moral of the story? Keep going. There's a finish line somewhere. There has to be.
My June race was in Kansas City and my dad and I made the trip westward. The race was hilly, too, which meant my time was unadmirable. The race, while historic, was lacking in several areas. But, I finished, got my medal and was halfway done with my Challenge. Moral of the story? Take time to travel with your parents.
I had nearly eight weeks between races, since my June race was at the beginning of the month and my July race in San Francisco was at the end. That meant I had plenty of time to rest, train and figure out how to crack two hours.
All the stars aligned in San Fran. The weather was perfect for running (mid-fifties). The course was flat and fast. There was just the right amount of water stops and fluid stations. And, as fate would have it, I powered through and cracked two hours. Moral of the story? To accomplish something big, you have to have everything line up just right. It may be rare, but recognizing when it happens means you can seize on just the right opportunities.
And in August, the whole family went to New York. Like Nashville, the forecast called for heat and hills. I realized about a mile into the race that it wasn't going to be a fast one for me. The number of runners bunched together and the wait at water stops (it was so hot that every runner needed water at every stop, so there was a line since the volunteers couldn't keep enough cups filled) meant that I'd be enjoying the scenery. And enjoy it I did, running my worst time so far. Moral of the story: Sometimes, you need to ignore the clock and notice what's around you more.
I've got four more of these bad boys this year:
- September - Disneyland
- October - open right now...leaning towards Louisville
- November - San Antonio
- December - Memphis
See you there?
And, this is a good time to mention my sock sponsor, Swiftwick Socks. They're seriously the best running (and golfing and walking and everyday) sock I've worn. So, if you run or walk or do anything at all ever a lot, you should get a pair. Use code SD10 at checkout for 10% off.