I often get asked why I am running or to be more specific (lately) why am I going to run a marathon. My wife and my brother (and probably other family members as well) think that I am having a midlife crises. I am almost 46 years old and I think I am way past that point of having a midlife crises, so crew that idea, please. Let’s start with why I am running in general and then we will talk about running a marathon.
I started running in 2006/2007. I had started a new job and they had a fitness center on campus and one morning I woke up with the feeling I need to do something for my health. My weight had “ballooned” to 175 lbs. and I felt fat. I could feel the love handles grow. I felt sluggish and tired. My son was born in 2005 and the writing was on the wall that this little guy would outrun me soon if I would not do something about – well, that might not be 100% correct, but you get the idea. Kids are very active and I did not want to be the dad huffing and puffing being completely out of breath when playing wild with my son. I hopped on a treadmill and started running. I was using some heavy Nike Monarch sneakers and after a handful of runs I knew I needed a running shoe if I wanted to succeed. I bought some really cheap Nike running shoes at Sports Authority and ran. I ran for 20 minutes at first and over time increased the time, the distance, and the speed as well. Just a few weeks later the feet hurt and I bought some better running shoes. I switched to the Nike Pegasus and have been buying that type of shoe ever since when I needed new shoes with only one exception.
My mileage increased and I became fitter. I lost weight and I had much more energy. One day I made the daring move to go outside for a run and that’s when I got hooked to running. I really enjoyed being outside running. Fresh air, the scenery, being away from it all – it felt like magic. I came back from these runs totally energized and ready to conquer the world. At one point I bought running tights, gloves, and a runner’s hat and went outside running when temperatures dropped into the upper 20s. The clear cold air felt awesome and I went running outside pretty much every day – even when it snowed (lightly) or when the temperatures dropped into the single digits. Co-workers asked me about my running habits and overall it was a great time. I improved my speeds and increased my distances to 6-7 miles. That’s where I stayed for the longest time.
In 2012 I switched jobs and lost access to the campus gym. I joined 24 Hour Fitness and received 3 free sessions with a personal trainer. I told her that I wanted to improve my running and maybe go longer distances. The trainer helped me and in early summer of 2012 I moved my running from 7 miles to 9 miles and from there to 11 miles ultimately past the half marathon distance. I felt fantastic when a friend asked me to join him to hike up some 14ers here in Colorado. That summer I hiked up Six 14ers. The last one was Mount Elbert – the second highest mountain in the lower 48. I hiked up in a really fast time, but then on the way back down I started running. I had just climbed a tall mountain and I had the energy to run 3-4 miles of the 7 miles down. When I arrived at the car I still felt fit and energized. I continued my casual running with 6-7 miles per run for the rest of the year.
In early 2013 I switched jobs again and my fitness started sliding a bit due to a different work schedule and more work obligations. In summer of 2013 I joined the local Kosama (Bootcamp style workout). I wanted to force myself to maintain a good fitness level. I also decided to run a half marathon distance again to see how I compared to last year’s run. I was about 15 minutes slower, but I was able to finish the run. One week later I hiked up Longs Peak here in Colorado. It is a 14er and it was the most challenging hike I have ever done. It took me 9 hours to go all the way up and to come back down to my car. It was a 17 mile hike in the end.
Now I was doing the Kosama Bootcamp and I felt my fitness improve dramatically. I had run a half marathon distance and I had hiked for 17 miles up and down a brutal mountain. I needed a challenge for my new found energy. A gal at Kosama was training for a marathon in October and I think that’s where I caught the bug. I talked to friends about fitness and marathons in general and then one late afternoon I made up my mind. I decided to run a marathon. I would not be in town for the last marathon of the year here in Denver, but fall season had plenty of marathon races all over the country. I decided to run Las Vegas on November 17. I “received” my wife’s blessing and signed up.
So, why I am running a marathon really? I like challenges and I have done a lot of crazy things in life before. A marathon is a perfect fit for that pattern in my opinion. I am not going to lie, I don’t mind getting recognition for something I have done, but that is not the reason I am doing this. I have been going through some parts of my life with no direction and looking back now I feel I wasted a few years with nothing to show where I could have accomplished something. I had other phases in my life where I had a significant goal and then did everything to achieve it. I simply function better with larger goals. Small goals are not really goals for me – that is kind of something I do on the fly, but something bigger that requires a good amount of planning and preparation and dedicated effort to complete it – that’s where I am best. I also have become to enjoy and appreciate fitness much more and so the Kosama workouts and the marathon really hit the spot.
Whew – long posting. Are you still with me? Feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to hear your take on it.