Monday, January 31, 2011

2010 Philadelphia Marathon

This may go down in history as the race of my life, or I may someday surpass it in greatness, but either way it's one that requires documenting.

But first, more exposition.  My first three marathon times are as follows:

2005 Philadelphia - 4:29:49
2006 Philadelphia - 4:12:12
2007 Twin Cities - 4:47:47

I didn't bother to dream of one day qualifying for Boston because I honestly didn't think I was physically capable of it (a male in my age group has to run 3:10:59 or better).  I figured I would have to hire a coach, hire a nutritionist, spend tons of money on high-tech running gear, quit my job and train full-time, and then maybe I would stand a chance at qualifying.  Obviously none of this was going to happen.

Then Philadelphia 2009 happened.  Something must have clicked in my training because I ran 3:30:58 that year, shattering my old PR by nearly 42 minutes. Suddenly Boston seemed possible.  A fire had been lit and I decided that the following year I would amp up my training and go for it.

November 21, 2010 was a perfect day to set a PR, with cool temps, dry streets and cloudless skies. The first 15 miles felt effortless.  After mile 17 I started to feel the strain.  After mile 20 it was a dig-deep, Herculean effort to keep up the pace.  I swore and muttered out loud and continued to leak snot and sweat all over myself.  But I have never been more focused in my life.  A few hundred yards before the finish I heard my dad call my name, and moments later I crossed the finish line in 3:09:45 and instantly collapsed onto the pavement, attracting the attention of a volunteer.  As the volunteer guided me to a table, the magnitude of what I'd accomplished threatened to overwhelm me.

It was one of the greatest moments of my life, having spent months training at such a high level of intensity, only to watch it actually pay off.  It leaves me in awe of what the human body is capable of, and makes me wonder just how much faster I can go. Will I run a sub 3:00 one day?  Only time will tell.

A month after the marathon, I put together a YouTube video of my 3 months of training. It's pretty long by YouTube standards, but if you're a runner you might get a kick out of it, and maybe even some inspiration.  If I inspire just one person to go for Boston and make it, I'd be elated.


And remember - hard work pays off!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Do Life

Went running in Central Park for the first time in my life yesterday, which gave me the opportunity to take this picture of myself looking half surprised/half crazed a lá R.P. McMurphy.

But let's back up a second.

I hate to start a blog with such long-winded exposition, but here goes: Several months ago a guy named Ben Davis posted a video on YouTube that chronicled his weight loss journey. The video went viral and garnered national attention, and Ben has used this attention to start a movement called "Do Life." Through his blog, his national media appearances, and his recent public speaking engagements, Ben has been inspiring countless others to get off the couch, lose weight, run, or whatever else it is they feel doing life entails.

From the Do Life Facebook page: "Do Life is a choice to take control of our lives. It is refusing to accept that life has to be ordinary or inconsequential. It is identifying the areas of our lives that need improvement. It is deciding to change..." The line about life not being inconsequential resonates with me, as it is an attitude I have had for years now. Needless to say, I was hooked on Ben and his Do Life movement.

Ben's blog: Ben Does Life

When Ben announced he was coming to New York and was hosting an unofficial Do Life 5k, I decided to come up to the city for it. I learned Ben is just as cool as he appears to be in his blog: a modest, inspirational, funny, down-to-earth guy. I learned the ladies really like him. And I learned that the second most popular question in the crowd yesterday, behind "what's your name?" was "what's the name of your blog?" I was probably the only one there without one.

I've long toyed with the idea of starting a running blog, and yesterday was the motivation I needed. I vowed to amass a collection of witty and intelligent posts on my life in running, and next time the Do Life train swings through town, I'll be ready with business cards.

Until then, I'll just keep running...

Ben, his dad (Pa), and me

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