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I See You Savannah, Off in the Distance…

I see you Savannah, in November, off in the distance, with your cool mornings, moderately temperate day time highs, and flat ground.  You are almost mocking me at this point, with our current heat and humidity, rolling hills, and lack of live musical entertainment along the run (Savannah is a Rock ‘n Roll Marathon/music party).

As I put the fingers to keyboard, I have completed 4 weeks of official marathon training.  Four weeks of four runs/week.  Four weeks of 4:50 am Monday wake up alarms. Four weeks of 5:45 am Saturday mornings – you get the idea.  I think I can sum up the feeling of the first leg of training in one word: Optimistic.  Aside of wake-up times and heat, I really have no significant complaints.

Short Runs

The worst part of the weekly shorter runs is the fact that I run them early in the morning and alone.  It’s kind of a requirement due to work schedule/home schedule and weather schedule.  The variety of types of runs (interval, pace changes, etc) has done a pretty good job of keeping intrigue along the way.  I also run them in my neighborhood – which is not flat, at all.  I have a school parking lot that is about 1/3 of a mile in a paperclip shape that is relatively flat so I have used it quite a bit for speed work.  I can pretend I’m at Martinsville Speedway making laps (sarcasm, partly).

Long Runs

The long runs are MUCH BETTER this time around.  Why?  Three obvious reasons: the lawyer, the sportscaster, and the RunnerDude.  Having them along for the run makes it so much easier.  It is less boring that talking to myself.  It’s also helpful, because during each long run, we all have segments of the run where we may have more trouble than the others.  Motivational dialogs transpire.  Bump in the road conquered.  My current outlook on the marathon is really optimistic because these two will be there as motivation, aid, photographer, and hopefully inter-squad competition in the last 400 meters of the marathon (we all want to win, right?).  We have worked our long runs from 10 miles up to 14 miles as of July 26 with good results.  More to come (distance, stories, complaints, and hopefully success).  Long runs are also much better with Thad’s route planning, water cooler set up, and impromptu photo shoots along the way.

So I see you Savannah, in November, off in the distance, with your cool mornings, moderately temperate day time highs, and flat ground.  I’m preparing for you.  My training in the heat and humidity will only make me run easier come cooler weather.  My hill training and elevation gains mock your pancake flat terrain.  I’ll be seeing you soon, and I won’t be apprehensive, I’ll be resolute – and prepared.

Product Update

Those who know me personally have probably seen my plaid Brooks.  They are the undisputed champion of the shoe market.  They are so awesome, I just wear them normal.  Aside from the obvious good looks, the structure of the shoe is amazing, so I decided to try a “normal” colored pair for running last year.  Best running equipment idea since someone offered longer than 5-inch shorts.  I got a new pair of Brooks GTS Adrenaline 17s for the marathon training and just recently surpassed the 100-mile mark on the shoes.  They feel as awesome as the 1st day I wore them, are effective at expressing my Birdland pride (Orioles that is), and show no signs of slowing down.  No blisters, no foot pains, nothing but cloud like support.  While we all have different needs for shoe support, the running and the physical therapist in me is high on the Brooks train for recommendation.

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Running with Friends: Free on the App Store – and on Wed and Sat.

So it may or may not come as a shock to you, dear reader, that I am kind of an introverted person.  I am to introverted as a Reese’s Egg is to awesomeness.  So it might be a little weird that I have a blog where I share the inner workings of my mind – what can I say, I’m expanding my barriers.  As a relatively quiet, let’s say, reflective individual, I tend to do a lot of things solo or with just a few people.  Go hiking by myself for a few hours – done it several times.  Go to a race at Martinsville alone – check.  Ride a bike or run for hours without seeing another human, just farm animals – sometimes I choose it.  My best friends: my wife, my son, my golden retriever. It would probably be no surprise by now if I told you that the majority (96.788% to be exact – give or take a tenth) of my running and exercise is done solo mio.  I’ve often pictured myself as the latter-day Forrest Gump, a folk hero running across America with nothing but the clothes on my back, a glorious mane of hair flowing in the breeze, a masterful beard draped across my chin – imparting wisdom to those that pass by (“stuff” does happen).  Perhaps a little less dirt and some improved fragrance status but none the less – rugged and free.  There are only a few problems I’ve encountered so far: 1) I cannot grow a beard, just can’t.  My wife finally gave me permission to do so and I think she did because she knows I can’t. 2)Unlike Mr. Gump, whose high commercial acumen (he got invested in that fruit company) created a vast quantity of free time, I have to work.  3) Running alone for long distances can get really boring once you run out of things to talk to yourself about.

Enter RunnerDude’s Fitness

Date: Feb/March 2017.  Location: Living Room of House. Activity: Facebook surfing. Enter title RunTheBoro on a friend’s page.  A few clicks later and I see the idea “A field trip for runners.”  So I took a test: Am I a runner? Check.  Do you like field trips? Check.  Is it free? Check.  After a few emails with Thad, I was signed up to be a pacer (someone who runs a specific speed as a guide) for the 8 week series of runs that took place in various neighborhoods in Greensboro.  I knew that there would be a decent group of people coming out but it was consistently 100+!  Week 1 started and I was running in a group but just being my quiet self.  As the run goes on, you typically get in a small little pod of similar speed runners.  I ended up running most of the run with someone that we will call “The Russian.”  The Russian and I spent about an hour or so running, talking about our running experiences, work, kids (I get to do that now, not just dogs), and chicken and waffles.  By the time we finished the run, it felt like we had only been running for a short period of time (we had run 8 miles).  At that point, something that most everyone already knew hit me.  Time passes faster when you have fun conversation.  I was hooked, group runs for everyone, every day from here to the end of time!  The next week, I went back.  I dragged Kenny, the Sportscaster out.  The same thing happened – the long run felt shorter than my short runs at home alone.  A few weeks later, Kenny and I had decided to do a marathon and use the group training aspect at RunnerDude’s Fitness to get us there sane.  We were also able to add another one to our 4 hour pace flock – Lisa the Lawyer.  Now, each week I look forward to getting up really early on a Saturday morning to go run several hours with a group of friends that help pass the time, motivate when the run gets hard, answer physical therapy related questions, complain with about the hills and the heat (more frequently recently), and to celebrate our progress.

So if you are in the Greensboro area, and you like to run, check out RunnerDude’s Fitness and tell Thad that Mike sent you!

Next up:  “Running” My First Marathon

Week 3 Training so far: