Anyone who has spent ten minutes with me knows that I am not a fitness fanatic. In fact, I have run solely for exercise about 10-20 times in my life. My diet has consisted of chili whatever is on the menu and a healthy dose of Dr. Pepper for the past ten years. Adjusting my diet is going to be the most difficult part of preparing to run a Marathon. Gone are the days of double Orange Chicken from Panda Express. While I may have a terrible diet and an ever-increasing lack of inspiration, I am an impulsive person who sometimes comes up with ridiculous plans. Last week I suddenly decided I wanted to continue my childhood dream of playing outfield for the Dodgers. It did not matter that I had not played organized baseball since 7th grade and I was coming off of an 8-3 defeat in Men’s D League softball. Luckily, I decided against quitting my job and signing up for a health club membership to propel myself to that goal. Instead, I settled for an attempt at running the 2010 Napa Valley Marathon. To enhance the experience and provide motivation I have decided to write about my journey.
Week 1, Day 1:
At 6’4 and a prosperous 235 pounds, I have a long ways to go before becoming Marathon ready. The only small amount of exercise I get is the occasionally fly ball during my weekly men’s softball game. Needless to say, jogging is not exactly going to come easy. I lace up my shoes, throw on a cut off shirt and begin to stretch. Shortly after, I realize I have broken a sweat…while still stretching. Following my grueling light stretching I decide to start easy, it is the first day, after all. Near my house is a 1.3mile loop that is great for running, minus the occasional dog. I had envisioned running a slow but steady mile the first day, just to get some pavement behind me. At 5:36 PM on July 28th, I took the first steps towards completing a Marathon. At 5:38 PM on July 28th, I took my first break. Out of breath and completely frustrated, I found myself walking about 1.0 of my 1.3 mile loop. Day 1 was not something to be proud of, but at least I now have it behind me.
Week 1, Day 5:
Saturday morning rolled around and I realized that I needed to hit the road soon, if I was going to get a jog in before my weekend excursion. I woke up at the ungodly hour of 7:45 AM and threw on a pair of shoes. The last few days I had seen my heart rate steadily improve and I was now able to run to the end of the street without gasping for air. That feeling of success was short lived. The Saturday schedule called for a light 2 mile run. I had hoped to complete at least one mile without stopping. That did not happen. In fact, I experienced one of the most demoralizing moments in recent memory instead. Following a healthy half-mile run, I decided to sit down on a park bench to rest for just a few minutes. Before arriving at the bench I passed an older woman, roughly 60-70 years of age. Because of my self-induced break, she was able to pass me. I did not think much of it, until I began to run again. It seemed that she was running the same route as me, but at a slightly faster rate. I attempted to catch up, but I had needed too much rest on the park bench to pass her before she finished her lap. I had been out run, by a senior citizen.
Week 1 Summary:
This week started with desperation, took a slight upturn, and then dove into the depths of pathetic. Hopefully next week I will actually have a few positive stories to convey. In the meantime, I am currently in the midst of Week 2. So far it has been significantly better, but more on that later. This is the first entry in what I hope to be a weekly event. The main idea is to hopefully provide some inspiration for others trying to accomplish difficult tasks and have a way to record the journey. After all, if a guy who used to throw his pillows at the light switch to turn it off because he was to lazy to get out of bed can do it, so can you.