Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Little Introduction

I started running a few years ago.  I had a hard time sticking to an exercise plan during graduate school and I needed something to motivate myself to continue to exercise.  At the time, I came across an article about "Streak Running" and about someone who had completed their 30th anniversary.  For those who are unfamiliar, streak running is about running at least a mile a day, every day.  I figured that I could get through a year.  My wife joined me in the goal, and we eventually made the one year goal.

It just so happened that our one year running anniversary fell on the same day as the City of Angels Half Marathon.  We decided to build up our training to finish with the race.  We eagerly awaited the sign-ups to open, but as the event drew closer, we eventually found that the race could not get its permits and would not be happening.  Disappointed, we continued our streak to finish out the year.  At one point, one of my wife's co-workers told her about a local running group that would be running a half marathon distance anyway on the same date that City of Angels was supposed to occur.  We joined with the group that day, ran together, and eventually finished as the first two runners!

After completing our goal, we told ourselves, "If we can complete a half marathon, then we can do a full marathon!" We signed up for the 2010 Los Angeles Marathon, and with no idea of how to formally train, found an online training plan that slowly built mileage from week to week.  Not suprisingly, we both ended up with IT band injuries.  Despite extended rest, we got to race day and struggled horribly.  We ended up walking the last 16 miles and finished with a time of 5:24:01.  Not exactly what we had in mind.

After getting adequate time off from running to heal, we returned to running, joined a training group, and began taking significant chunks off of our race times.  Our second marathon, only nine months after our first, was the Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon, where we finished in 4:14:23!  Since then, times have only gotten faster!  Skipping ahead to the past few months, I have since become a USA Track & Field Certified Level 2 coach in endurance events.  I am a coach for USA Marathon Training in Los Angeles, and I have cut my marathon time down to 3:08:20 (on a training run, no less) and my half marathon time to 1:28:50 (as an official pace leader).

In August, I decided to take seriously my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, which is a 3:05:00 for my age group.  My 3:08 race came at the Wine Country Marathon in Healdsburg, CA in mid-October.  I had decided that rather than running a 20 mile run, that I would incorporate a marathon into my training plan for the weekend. The conditions were perfect, and I ended up placing second in my age group and seventh overall!  At this point, I knew that my BQ goal was obtainable at the California International Marathon (CIM) in Sacramento in December.

Unfortunately, my plans were altered pretty dramatically.  On Halloween, I was cycling home from my office when my tires got stuck into a drainage groove in the street.  With no time to stop, I crashed into a curb and fell off my bike face-first into a fire hydrant.  I ended up shattering both of my jaws, knocking out a bunch of teeth, and cracking a rib.  The remaining teeth were too lose to actually wire my jaw shut, so I ended up having each jaw individually wired.  The cracked rib made deep breathing too painful, and I missed a month of running.  I was able to run at CIM, but with no recent running, I took my time to enjoy the run (windy & wet!), and finished with a 3:58:01.

My goals are now shifted down the timeline.  I am now shooting for my BQ to occur at the Orange County Marathon in May.  This is where my blog begins!

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