OMG, am I really a morning person?

I read a quote this week that seems pertinent for this week’s blog- “I dare you to train for a marathon and not have it change your life.”  Susan Sidoriak

In my last blog, I whined a bit about Mother Nature and her inappropriate sense of humor.  This past Friday, ahhhh, remember this past Friday… Mother Nature finally relented and allowed spring weather to make an appearance.  I only had a half day of work, and had plans to go skiing with some friends at noon.  I had been offered a free ticket to ski Stowe.  What could have been better than a half day of work, followed by a free day of skiing, followed by a few adult beverages shared among friends?  Well, as it turned out, and much to my astonishment,  I cancelled my plans to ski.  I had to.  I simply had to.  There was no choice.  The sun was shining, it was 60° outside, and I was due for my first 18 mile training run.  Sure, I could have waited and completed my long-run over the weekend, but winter was scheduled to return, and I just couldn’t bear the thought.  The other great part of the day was that, since I was already in Burlington, I could run on the flat, traffic-free bike path.  I parked at Leddy Arena and ran six miles south to Red Rocks Park.  I then turned and headed north back beyond Leddy, over the Winooski river bridge (mile 14.5) and into the neighborhoods of Colchester before returning to my car.  It was right around mile 15 when I really started to feel fatigue setting in.  My longest previous run was 16, so I knew I was beginning to push my physical boundaries.  By mile 16, I was needing to insert some occasional walking into my run.  The last mile wasn’t easy, but the promise of completing 18, sitting down, and getting more fuel on board made my legs continue to move.  I was extremely happy to complete the 18 miles and was so glad that I didn’t have to go any further (I’m not sure that I could have).  Lesson learned: one Gu pack and a few “Sport Beans” are not enough nutrition for this length of a run.  This coming week is a cut-back week for my training.  I’ll be running in the "Thank you Mother Nature! Finally, I was able to remove the ice-screws from my running shoes!"[/caption]

“I dare you to train for a marathon and not have it change your life.”

I hate to admit that I’ve become a morning person, but I almost always run very early in the morning.  This is mostly due to my inability to sleep in, and I still very much need that first cup of coffee to get me going, but I digress.  I’m usually awake and out of the house by 5:00 AM for my run.  I get my mileage done before most people, including my wife and daughter, are out of their beds.  What’s neat about this is that I’ve taken care of myself and have a level of personal satisfaction instilled in me before the “real” day officially begins.  There is something to be said about arriving for work and having five or eight miles already completed.  This same satisfaction extends to my weekend runs as well.  Now that the days are getting longer, I could run after work, but then I’d feel as though I were missing out on family time, or time to do other household chores.  I’m not meaning to pat myself on the back, but it is just a great feeling to have run long-mileage early in the day.  Even after I run long, painful mileage, I can’t help but feel great that I did it.  There have been many days where I didn’t want to run at all, days where I struggled just to get out the door.  But I have never had a day where, once I had completed the miles, I was anything less than happy that I actually laced up my shoes and went for the run.  Many of us are great at taking care of others, but forget to take time for ourselves.  So, of what benefit is my running to others?  Well, I won’t be audacious and, for even a moment, try to answer this for anyone other than myself, but I am certainly a better person as a result of my running.  I take the time to take care of myself, and I believe that the satisfaction and joy that I achieve can’t help but make my small little piece of this world a better place.

So I close this week’s blog with the quote from above- “I dare you to train for a marathon and not have it change your life.” Now that I am ¾ of the way through my training program, I don’t think that I can accept this dare.