Saturday, August 27, 2011

Week 0: Climbing Back On the Horse

Stomach ailment, pneumonia, bronchitis, all occurring right as I decide I want to run the Houston marathon. A demoralizing start to say the least. But I put money down to run this race. It needs to get done. At this point in time I threw Couch to 5K out the window. It was a two month program. I didn't have to months to start, and now I had lost most of a month being sick. Time to go back to what I knew. Run until you can't.

How much was that? At this point, not very much. I went out to the park near my home after work on a Monday. The park encompassed a city block. The trail in the park was over a little over a quarter mile around. Once again, as its Houston, it was in the high 90's, humid, but I did check that there were no air quality alerts this time. I went and ran around the park four times. It sucked. But I was running again.

So now was the time to sign up for a running group. I was told by a co-worker who had run a couple of marathons that this was a good way to go. It cost some money but so far it has been a great help.

USA Fit is a national program that's goal is to get people to run, and get them to finish marathons. I signed up to run with the Houston branch of the USA FIT program. They provide a workout program, have seminars, have volunteer doctors to help with injuries, and they just provide a large group of people who are all trying to accomplish the same big goal.

So Houston Fit's first orientation run was the upcoming Saturday. Fortunately at this time they only wanted us to run a mile to help determine our pace group. Even more fortunately  you are supposed to run this mile slowly because running a mile as hard as you can is quite different than a pace you will be running a marathon in. Unless you happen to be the freaks who run marathon's in under 3 hours, in which case you pretty much are running full out for 26.2 miles.

Anyway, I ended up getting two runs in during the week. One a little over a mile and one a little under a mile and a half. So I at least knew I could complete my mile pace run. So I showed up for the run and we were just doing one loop around part of the park. It was paved trail so this was the first time I was running on pavement in a long time. It was a little different in that the impacts were harder than I was used to. All in all it was not a bad run. I finished up in around 11:17, which I kind of found embarrassing since at one point in my life I could run a sub six mile. But those days are at least for now over, and this was supposed to be a slow run anyway.

Surprisingly, an 11:17 run put me in the yellow pace group, which was 9-10 minutes per mile. I didn't expect to be put in a group with that fast a pace, but it makes sense as the whole concept is you will be in much better shape by the time you are actually running the race. This made me happy because while you really aren't supposed to set a time goal for your first marathon (the goal is just to finish), I can't help it and I really want to finish in under 4:30. If training with this group really does allow me to run at a 9-10 minute pace I will likely accomplish that goal.

So from this point forward it was time to launch in to the actual training plan to get ready for a marathon.

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