Why I started running…
I always wanted to say that Iâ€™ve accomplished something noteworthy, and as a legitimate mid-30something, I am a perfect candidate for a midlife crisis.
Yes, I said mid-life.
You see, according to most sources, I have quite literally reached the middle of my life. I prefer the Social Security life expectancy table, which is as daunting as it is oblique (as all government documents apparently should be). According to this table, I have lived 36 years and have (statistically speaking) approximately 40.38 years of life left. Other tables give me fewer years, so Iâ€™ll take this one.
Now, the Social Security table also says I have a 0.001770 â€œdeath probability.â€ I have no idea what this means, though somehow I expect it has something to do with the equations that will someday result in my paltry Social Security check. But I digress.
The point is, governmental actuaries consider me to be half-way to the grave. Time to do something.
I chose running because it sounded like something easy to do. You just buy a decent pair of shoes and off you go. More to the point, running an actual marathon had the advantage of sex appeal, a key factor in any mid-life crisis worth its salt. A marathon is also a nice life checklist item. Right up there with sky-diving, just less insane.
Mind you, I had no real clue what I was in for, just a vague sense that running a marathon would take commitment and would be pretty hard.
I found a group interested in training for the 2005 Disney Marathon. 6 months before the race, I bought a so-so pair of New Balance shoes, doned my best baggy basketball shorts, and ran two grueling, exhausting miles. I immediately wondered if Iâ€™d ever make it.
So how did you get started?
October 18th, 2006 at 5:49 pm
How did I get started? Let’s see…My dad was into running when I was a teenager, although not a fanatic, his style was more or less a 10K, especially at the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving! As all goods daughters do, I tried to follow in his footsteps, so to speak. Hmmm, didn’t take.
October 26th, 2006 at 3:05 pm
Come to think of it, I dabbled in running a bit with your dad… a few (what I now consider) short runs to Clearwater Beach. I wasn’t a runner then. Just young.
October 30th, 2006 at 2:59 pm
hi dean! just found your blog. i like the way your thoughts are processed. love the equation, too. when i started running i had no idea how long a marathon was. i heard a lady say she was training for one and decided i wanted to do that too. having quit smoking a year before and not exercising much, i could barely run for 1 minute. i’d run till it got unbearable, walk till i caught my breath, repeat… the rest is history! i’ll be checking on you on your road to kiawah, and eventually boston. take care!
October 30th, 2006 at 3:10 pm
Ha! I’ve been looking for good running blogs to link to, and found yours (we’re neighbors on the rbf list). Allow me to compliment your blog as well. I’m always paranoid that people might find running stories boring. Perhaps this is because I find them boring sometimes myself. But your blog is different. It’s interesting, and interactive (love the polls). It’s an inspiration, thanks! Good luck at the High Desert 50K!
November 19th, 2006 at 10:02 am
Yeah, I used to run…kinda-sorta… in the 80s. Sorry to say, it was not my shining moment. Gained weight (not the goal) because of the popular doctrine of carb-loading going around at that time. I was told, “if you run, you can eat anything you want.” IT WAS A LIE!!! I repeat, A LIE! I am proud of you, Dean for the lofty goal of Boston. You will make it, I know, because I know you and your determination to reach your goals. Oh, and, your blog is great, too!
November 29th, 2006 at 8:14 pm
I ran in the late 80’s in high school, running 4 years of cross country, and did pretty good. When I got to college I did not go out for the team as my acadmecis were more important and the guys on the team were jerks. I stopped running with no motivation there to help me. 16 years later I am a college professor at a small community college that is thinking of bringing back college athletics after 25 years without them. Some students start a ‘running club’ in fall of 2005 to help the institution with their decision. I started running with them and getting in shape again. Eight months later I run my first marathon and finish in 2:59:04. In fall of 2006 I became the assitant cross country coach of the (new) cross country team at the college. In 1 year I ran 18 races ranging from 5K to 50 mile, all (reasonable) intermediate values included.
I only curse myself for the 16 years I wasted (and ballooned in weight) Oh well, I guess this was my mid-life crisis too, being 34. This was a good crisis to have though, as it was cheaper than a new car and I am not a lot more healthy because of it. 🙂
November 30th, 2006 at 10:25 am
So Mark, how does it feel to know you’ve bested Lance Armstrong in your very first Marathon?
November 30th, 2006 at 1:20 pm
I was very happy when I found out I beat Lance. Of course, I know he did not get to train as much as he wanted to, and I did. But I haven’t even COMPETED in 1 Tour de France, let alone win it. 7 times. 🙂
December 9th, 2006 at 10:20 am
While waiting for the updates… I started to read some of the other comments… couldn’t pass this one up…So I’ll add my story of how/why I started running…
On my birthday in April 1998, I just tipped the scale at 205 lbs and had to make the decision of whether to go from 36″ -> 38″ pants or do something about it and move back in the other direction. I chose the latter and for the next six months, I had an apple (yes, ONE) and walked 2-3 miles at lunchtime. Whenever we went out to eat, I would immediately ask for a to -go box and divide my food in half. By September, I’d lost 35 lbs. I joined the fitness center at work (NCR, at the time) and began working out. I usually just rode the bike for putz’d with the stairmaster in addition to working my way thru the weight machines but one day in late December… Oh, yeah, I was still walking around the lakes at the airport. Anyhow, one particularly, yucky day outside in late December, I got on the treadmill and started walking, but then I started to speed up the pace and before you know it I was going along at a pretty good trot. For years, I hadn’t run because my knees had given me problems due to several injuries suffered in the past (1973 working for Daniel Construction Co, and 1983 skiing in Steamboat Springs, CO), but it wasn’t too bad… I continued. Spring arrived and I ventured outside and started running the route that I’d previously been walking. It was nice… I enjoyed it… I could do it.. and it didn’t hurt. It had been year and I was down to 165 lbs and hadn’t felt this good in years! A few months later, Eric, the director of the NCR fitness center, came up and said “You want to run a marathon?” I shot back with one of those “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND” looks! But he was serious and explained how it could be accomplished. I agreed for two reasons… one… it would be an amazing accomplishment and two, the thought of training and running with this totally HOT dude was real incentive (Ok, I’m a dirty old man 🙂 ).
So, in the fall of 1999 a group of us begain our training to run the Myrtle Beach Marathon… Feb 2000, I rolled across the finish line in 4:37… Six months later was the 25th Marine Corps Marathon (4:26) and then 6 weeks later, Kiawah in 4:20 (PR).
I haven’t run any more marathons (still thinking about it though). I’m 53 now and I still get out here and try to get my miles in (Nov. was my first 100 mi month in 2 yrs). I still enjoy (some would question the use of that verb!) running and while I’m not in the same league as you guys, I don’t exactly suck either! 🙂 So, I’ll continue as long as I can!