If you’ll indulge me for a moment, my running story this week starts with a brief history…

Years ago, I bicycled from New York to California.  We took 70 days and covered 4300 miles.  I recall training a lot for that trip.  Although, maybe “training” wasn’t the right word for it.  I just simply loved cycling, and lived to ride.  So, although I may have bumped up my pre cross-country training mileage, I didn’t really need to modify my riding, other than to get used to carrying about 40 lbs of gear.  This was a group trip, organized by a cycling organization.  So, despite the fact that we had taken some rides together as a group, we didn’t really know each other prior to departing from the George Washington Bridge in NYC.  There was one member of the group who was simply out of shape.  We couldn’t believe how slowly he rode, and how he had to walk every hill while in New York State.  The rest of the group was already strong and was having no difficulties.  This struggling cyclist had two choices: he could either drop out of our ride and head home, or push through his obvious pain and suffering (both mental and physical) and carry on.  He chose the second option and continued to ride with the group.  By the time we made it through Pennsylvania, he was basically having no real difficulties in keeping up, and by the time we hit the Midwest, he was seemingly just as strong as any of us. He made it all the way to California with the rest of the group. 

Is the connection between this story and my marathon training obvious? I started running just about two years ago.  When I began running, I would find myself exhausted after a very short time.  In my defense, running in Underhill is, well, hilly… so I could probably blame my exhaustion on the terrain.  Either way, I kept running.  I follow many running sites online, and love reading their inspirational running quotes.  My favorites seem to be the ones with the general theme of “if you finish last, you’re doing better than the people on their couch.”  There really is something to be said about trying new things, and sticking with them.  Children get frustrated when they don’t have immediate success with new endeavors.  They have the expectation of doing well, right from the start.  Maybe we, as adults, aren’t that much different.  We, too, expect success as soon as we begin.  I love the success stories of those who struggle in the beginning.

I’ve certainly gotten stronger as a runner.  I’m now at a point where I’m not embarrassed by my mile times.  Could they be better?  Sure they could.  But I’m getting there.  I get passed by runners who make me feel as though I’m the out of shape guy bicycling in New York.  But I’m no longer wondering if I should drop out and go home.  I’m pushing through, and I’m going to make it to California, or, in my case, to the VCM finish line at the Burlington Waterfront.

Afterward: This morning I ran the GMAA 10k Sap Run.  The temperature at the beginning of the race was 8°, without factoring in the wind-chill.  Despite this, Over 100 people showed up to run.  The really weird part… everyone was cheerful!  Sure, there was a lot of complaining about Mother Nature’s springtime cruelty, but everyone was happy.  I had a PR! But again, this was my first 10k, and a PR was pretty much guaranteed. A special shout out to RunVermont’s Jess Cover for allowing me the opportunity to blog about my training for the PUBVCM, and for answering all my newbie running questions!

Until next week,