Saturday, December 31, 2011

God Damn It!!!

The Runner

...I felt a dull pain coming on just after my turnaround point at the "Hoppers". It didn't start really bothering me until the last 300 yards when I sensed someone very slowly closing in from behind me along the Marina Green. I kind of threw myself into a Seabiscuit like gallop on the homestretch and from just above and behind my knee to my ass cheek the pain turned into a somewhat incapacitating burning sensation and I knew it was over for the day...

Part of my problem in life is that I get very bored, very fast. I'm always drifting off with grandiose thoughts and notions about what would really make life challenging and interesting.Maybe I think too big?A bored mind can be a dangerous thing.

I've always wanted to be a runner. I was very fast for the short runs but, aspired to be a distance runner. When I was in elementary school I really enjoyed sports and reading about the great sports legends. I still remember the story of Glenn Cunningham and how inspired and amazed I was that someone could come out of such a tragic situation and triumph over what seemed an insurmountable challenge.
Glenn had been seriously burned in a tragic fire that killed his brother and left Glenn injured and crippled. Doctors believed he would never walk again. With rehabilitation and personal determination he recovered to become one of the nation's greatest milers.

The Loser...

After reading the Glenn Cunningham story I began nagging my parents daily to please give me a pair of running shoes for Christmas. After getting the shoes I began running. I trained without supervision and completely the wrong way to a point of just killing myself, losing interest and in the following summer under trained un-motivated and still not able to kick a serious smoking habit, I entered an annual hometown race (4 miles and some change). I came in dead last, humiliated and never wanting to run again after that. I must say I was in absolute pain with a stitch in my side and pretty much had to walk most of the distance. I'm a spectacular failure when I put my mind to it.

I've been embarrassed so many times with my failures and misadventures through my life yet, somehow I find it within myself to get back up and keep banging my giant head against the wall.

Recently I read a book (one of many in the past year since I've purchased my first kindle I've begun enjoying reading again).

"Unbroken" the story of Louie Zamperini. A 1930s track star who endured an amazing odyssey in World War II. His story of a troubled youth, a horrible experience of war and torture along with post traumatic stress, culminating in an alcoholic tailspin, hitting bottom and then finally, redemption and triumph!

I started running the treadmill during my "24 Hour Fitness" sessions back in October just to get a feel for it again. I've kind of developed a genuine cyclist physique and running is a bit painful for me. I actually hate it but, I've been working at it and beginning to enjoy it a bit more. It's more of a different perspective. It makes me feel a bit more free, not being stuck to a bike and all the Goddamned stuff you have to wear and carry with you.

In the last couple of months I've been able to work through some of the pain on my mainly short treadmill runs of 2 to 3 miles, longest being 4 miles.
This week I decided to start training in earnest. Actually I've had to get serious about it. In all my great wisdom I recently registered for the August 2012 "Santa Rosa Marathon". My big plan is to do the "Boston Marathon" on my 60th birthday in 2014 so, I should have plenty of time to train.

Last week I decided I would embrace my whimsicle ambitions and realized that if I'm to do this, I have to do it by the book and try not to fall on my face this time. Starting from the bottom I made the decision to get some serious running shoes. Pulling no punches I headed off to "Fleet Feet" down in the Marina and got some serious assessment and advice. I'm very glad I did this and my feet have been thanking me since. They were helpful and concerned that I make the right choice for what I was planning to do.

The Shoes...
ASICS Gel Kayano

Next, I decided to purchase a Garmin 305 with GPS. I know all to well about staying in the right heart rate zone. I think the physical part of running is a lot harder than cycling. It really beats you up.

I'm going back to "Geek"!

I've gone pretty minimalist and retro when It comes to my bike now. I had stripped off all my electronics along with the gears (one gear only for me). I don't even carry a bike bag. Everything in the pockets. I just  bought flat pedals and toe straps for one of my bikes just so I can ride to where I want to run and not have to carry a full wardrobe of shoes and crap. Pretty freeing actually!
I guess with running I'm easing back into the electronics.

Garmin 305
Today my goal was to do my first 5 mile run. I mapped out my run on "Bikely". It was just a standard out and back from Fort Mason to the Golden Gate and back. I just wanted to gauge how my body felt after a bit of pounding. I purposely went very slow but, got up to tempo about halfway through. I enjoyed the run up until I pulled my hamstring after the halfway point. I'm hoping this won't be long lasting. I'm pretty Gung-ho about the whole idea of running.

I'm very embarrassed but, here are my lame ass stats for today.

I don't know what this new year will bring. I just want to get myself a little closer to peace, happiness and a sense of security. Maybe this running thing is a metaphor for my ambition to get away from the things that have held me back for so long. I need to distance myself from failures in my life that weigh me down...