I think it’s about time I pull out the Roger Murtaugh card.
I’m getting way too old to run a half marathon without training.
That seems superfluous, right? Regardless of age, people shouldn’t run 13.1 miles without proper training.
Well, it doesn’t go without saying in my universe. Until very recently I didn’t pay too much mind to this so-called concept of doing mini-runs to build stamina and endurance come race day. Explosive performance. Who needs it? Personal best. A tad needy, no? Quick recovery. Why hide the war wounds?
With a complete straight face, I say that my lack of training stems from my belief in being super awesome. I’ve written before how running marathons and logging those miles warps your sense of judgement for other races. I’m stuck in a marathon frame-of-mind … despite having dealt with injuries.
To kick off 2013, I signed up for the Los Angeles New Year’s Race, a nighttime venture that took you through downtown, Elysian Park, Chinatown and ended near LA Live.
I started training four weeks before the race. I stopped training three weeks before the race.
I trained for a whopping ONE WEEK. I showed up at the start line cold, out of practice and taped up.
Result? Pain. Stiffness. Tons of walking. And a crude reality check.
PHOTO: Race promo running past The Times building. From www.newyearsrace.com
I’ve had the same goal for three years — run 500 miles in a calendar year. I’ve been thwarted just as many times.
- Year One: I was making good progress until I busted up my ankle in November.
- Year Two: Because of said busted ankle, I couldn’t physically start running until April.
- Year Three: Some first-half laziness snowballed me at the end of the year. And then, in December, BAM. Out cold.
In early December, I was training for a half marathon. I ran 6.5 miles without incident. It wasn’t until the next day, while walking, that I got an awful, piercing pain in my foot. A week later it hadn’t gone away. A walk through San Francisco floored me. I assumed a stress fracture. But, then, I settled on plantar fasciitis. Ice. KT tape. New shoes.
This 2013 will be different. So different that I’m renaming it. A quick thesaurus search came up with some options. Aim? Too weak sauce. Intention? A built-in escape hatch. I had good intentions, but … Promise? I promise to run … (so ludicrous I can’t even finish)
Resoluteness, though, that’s different. This is my style of word — heady, heavy, purposeful, determined … gravitas.
This is my e-oath to go ahead and rock this thing.
There are two schools of thought in race training. The first is you work hard and consistently so you can rest the week before the race. No long runs. No hills. Pure maintenance. The second is you work inconsistently all the way to race day because planning is not your strength. No rest the week before. You do long runs. You do hills. You get sideswiped by a kid on a bike. You almost fall into a storm drain.
One guess where I lie… Yes, almost in a storm drain.
The half marathon is next weekend and I have no clue what the course will look like. I know it’s in Pasadena, which of course means hills. Here’s the rub: I didn’t really train for hills. Oops
This weekend, when I should be well-trained and well-rested, I ran 10 miles full of hills. It began and ended with mammoth inclines. I didn’t calculate slopes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were around 75 percent. This shit was steep. Like too-steep-to-drive steep.
As can be expected, it sucked. Big time. I was running so slow up the hill I should have just walked and saved my energy. What I was missing was my own assistant coach with a spatula.
Anyone ever see David Schwimmer’s masterpiece Run, Fatboy, Run? It’s classic Simon Pegg as an out-of-shape security officer who decides to run the London Marathon as a way to show up the sexy douche (Hank Azaria) who’s dating his ex-baby mama. Anyway, part of Pegg’s team includes his landlord Mr. G who encourages with more of a stick (aka spatula) than carrot. I feel I could respond to that.
If you see me dying on the course, please feel free to give me a little shove.
PHOTO: Dennis (Pegg) running and Mr. G. close behind with spatula.
Coach Wooden is everywhere at UCLA. And rightly so! But I’ve had him ringing in my ears all week. More precisely, this little truism…
‘FAILING TO PREPARE IS PREPARING TO FAIL’
Alright, Coach! You got me. I’ve been slacking on my training. The half marathon is 16 days away and I still haven’t run 10 miles. I did no running this week (again). I could blame it on the wind or the freak Achilles’ heel pain. But really? Would you believe that?
I hereby pledge to run 10 miles this weekend, come hell or high winds or sporting events. Furthermore, I pledge to conscientiously put on my socks (no wrinkles) and look deep within for my own personal Pyramid of Success.
I am a Bruin, damn it. It’s in our stock. I will not fail.
PHOTO: Wooden wears the net after winning the 1975 NCAA championship.
During my last update, I had nothing to report. This one is much more positive. I ran my 7 miles. I picked a hilly route around my house and attacked it with my new shoes and new soundtrack.
I was feeling some ’90s R&B girl power. Who better than my chicas from En Vogue? Luckily, “The Very Best of…” was just long enough to get me through the distance. That and it gave me the extra kick I needed around mile 6. Made me channel my inner funky diva.
I know “Free your mind” talks about prejudice. But damnit if it isn’t also good advice on a run: Free your mind, the rest will follow.
Ooh, also occurred this week: I signed up for the LA Marathon as part of a two-person relay team. More on that later…
PHOTO: The album cover that’s becoming my new running soundtrack.
It was only a matter of time before I went back to my old routine, meaning no routine. This time around it occurred in Week 3.
I ran a whopping ZERO miles this past week.
Just to recap, I was meant to run 7 miles on the weekend plus some short maintenance runs during the week. When I said zero, I meant ZERO. I didn’t run 7 miles. I didn’t run 2 miles. I didn’t even go out for a 30-minute walk. I racked up a total one hour of cardio — but from Zumba, not running. Oops.
It’s time to re-jigger the ol’ training schedule. I’m supposed to run 9 miles sometime this weekend. Scrap that. I’m going to plan for my 7 miles and catch up with my schedule in two weeks for the 10-miler.
All’s good 😉
Against my better judgment, I’ve started to train for a half marathon. The race is in 43 days, which for me means that I have practically an eternity to train. Here’s hoping I don’t get bored, call it quits and decide to run cold on race day. Hey, it’s happened before.
In an effort to keep myself to the training program, I’m sharing my schedule. It’s nothing fancy and completely doable. That’s its Achilles heel—if it’s too simple, I won’t do it. I’ll check in weekly to offer myself kudos or slap my hands if I haven’t stuck to it.
First KUDOS of the year! I did my light runs for Week 1
Jan 1: Run 3 miles
Also, run 20 to 30 minutes at least twice a week.
Jan. 7: Run 5 miles
Jan. 14: Run 7 miles
Jan. 21: Run 9 miles
Jan. 28: Run 10 miles
Feb. 4: Run 12 miles
Feb. 11: Run 7 miles
Feb. 19: Race Day
I came. I ran. I conquered.
In less than three hours. That’s impressive considering the lack of training and injuries.
After a lazy Sunday, I woke up this morning and hit the gym. Insane or genius?… Still undecided. Nothing really hurts that much, if anything I’m still lagging on sleep and I’m sunburnt so that just zapped my energy levels.
I’m also sad to report that I hurt my left foot in the melee. Boo. Maybe now I’ll even out.
No limping, though, which is good for my body but bad for the sympathy/awestruck reactions one hopes for after a race. Guess those will just have to wait until the Big LA One.
PHOTOS: Official race logo and my medal hanging in the office. I’ll bring in some others so they don’t look so lonely.