Perseverance and Inspiration

Many people have been asking me about my experience training for and running marathons. I wrote this quite a while back, but didn’t do much with it. I hope you enjoy the read and gain some insight into where I am on the road to the marathon on 1/13/08.

I was very active in sports from the age of 5 through high-school. I was involved in everything from soccer, baseball, basketball, track, cross-country, football, and water skiing. In college I played intramural softball and soccer. In the Marines I ran way more than anyone should while wearing boots, but loved it.

I got my degree, a “real” job as a logistics consultant, and twin daughters in the span of 45 days in 1999. Between corporate lunches, endless travel, and little sleep when I was home, needless to say, I lost my athletic build for something that was a little more round.

Fast forward about five years. I am in no better shape. I now have a third child. I am no longer consulting, but I am a workaholic who is still out of shape. I knew I needed to get back into shape. My wife was on her way to the bookstore to pick up something a friend had suggested. I asked her to pick up something on running. I figured she’d come back with something like “Running a 5K and having fun”. Instead she picked up Jeff Galloway’s “Marathon: You Can Do It”. When I read the title I just laughed. She explained that it was the only book that looked like a good read. The others looked like technical manuals from the 70’s. I read the Intro and was hooked. Jeff convinced me that I could go from sitting on my butt to running a marathon in only 26 weeks. I checked the website of our local running store and sure enough, exactly 26 weeks to the day I got the book, the Motorola Marathon was going to be held in Austin, TX just 20 minutes north of me.

I went from couch potato to training for a marathon and it felt great. I slowly built up the miles and can vividly remember the day that I said to my wife, “Today won’t be too bad. It’s only 8 miles.” I finished my 27 mile training run with 3 weeks to go and was set for a 4:30 time goal. Then tragedy struck. My father was in a near fatal car wreck on the Monday before the race. He broke his neck and had to wear a halo for 9 weeks. On race day, I was helping him drink through a straw and trying to help him adjust to eating while being immobilized.

About a month later, my fourth child was born. I kept running, but very low mileage. With an infant in the house, I chose not to attempt training for the 2005 Marathon.

Late in 2005, I decided to begin training for the 2006 Marathon in Austin. Now it was known as the Freescale Marathon. In October of 2005 I got a sinus infection that ended up requiring surgery and bed rest in January of 2006. Needless to say, I was in no condition to run the Marathon in 2006.

2007 was going to be the year. I was finally going to get the Galloway book out, type my plan into my Excel spreadsheet and finally run what is now called the Austin Marathon. On August 13th, 2006, my sister, 24 years young, was hit by a semi-truck traveling at 60 mph when she ran a stop sign. She was killed instantly. She was my only sibling. I have a great wife and extended group of in-laws as well as my parents that are all grouping together to cope with this loss. She would have been 25 on April 21st 2007. Doing anything at all has been tough. I stopped running altogether in favor of just being with my family as much as I could.

Last Christmas was especially hard without her. We knowingly spent way more than normal as a form of retail therapy. We knew it couldn’t replace her, but it made us feel better, albeit temporarily. One of the items I splurged on was buying my wife one of the new video iPods. She was very excited about it. A side benefit for me was that it meant I got her old iPod shuffle.

As soon as I got it, I went to the iTunes store and subscribed to about 50 podcasts. I’d listen to an episode or two of each and deleted most of them. I got hooked on Phedippidations.

Steve, the guy who produces the podcast, got me back on the road. He has been someone that helped me a great deal. He turned me on to Dr. Sheehan. Incidentally, I suggest everyone buy a copy of Running and Being. I love it. Running isn’t just something I do; it is a part of who I am. To be the best animal I can be I need to run.

I hate to wax philosophical, but I think there is a reason that things happen. There is a reason that I have been planning to run a marathon for so long and have not been able to. There is a reason I put down the cheesy poofs and started running. There is a reason that I picked Phedippidations over the 15 other running podcasts on iTunes to try. What are those reasons? I don’t know and probably never will, but I am happy knowing that a greater being out there knows exactly what’s going on.

For the 2008 spring marathon season, I have picked the Houston Marathon on January 13th, 2008. In August, I will start a 4 hour time goal training plan found in Galloway’s Marathon book. If anything comes up that prevents me from being in Houston on that day I can fall back to the Austin marathon in February.

To summarize:
2004 Motorola Marathon: Completed training, but missed race due to father’s car accident
2005 Freescale Marathon: Did not train because of an infant in the house
2006 Freescale Marathon: Training derailed by sinus infection, surgery and bed rest.
2007 Austin Marathon: Sister died in August 2006 and pretty much everything stopped for a while.
2008 Houston Marathon: Training starts in June and I will complete my first Marathon on January 13th 2008. Fifth times the charm?

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