I’ve been pretty good about training this first week. The program I follow starts on Mondays because most marathons are run on Sunday. Where I’m running the Tough Mudder on a Saturday, I moved the start back to Sunday, so I effectively ‘start’ my week with a long run and then do medium length runs, cross training and strength training during the week. So this week I ran 4 miles on Sunday (long run for the week), stretched on Monday, and then just under and over 3 miles on Tuesday and Thursday respectively. I was supposed to do a cross-training day on Wednesday but work and contractors in the house made that easily skippable (notice I didn’t say impossible, I just got lazy).
So what, you might ask, does this have to do with the title of the blog posting? Well, one of the obstacles I face is called the Gauntlet. You can see all the obstacles on the course map, but I thought I’d describe a couple of them as I trained.
The Gauntlet reads as “Prepare to feel like you’re at a South American political demonstration as you get high pressure hosed from both sides as you run through Mount Snow’s half pipe.” For those of you who haven’t been skiing or snowboarding recently, picture a pipe, cut in half, and laid down the slope of the hill with the U facing upwards. It’s used by snowboarders and skiers to perform insane tricks at high velocity. The one I’m most familiar with at Loon Mountain in NH is about 15′ high on the sides, probably 60′ across, and several hundred feet long. Which means I’ll be running through a giant trench, probably uphill, while sadistic volunteers hose me down with fire hoses. Clearly I’m going to want to get out of there as fast as possible (although there’s more obstacles after that so why rush to the next?!?!) To make matters worse, this particular one is nearer to the end, so I should be good and exhausted by the time I get there, making it damn near impossible to get through this in a timely fashion.
Dare I say “yay”? So, when I start running during the week, whining about having to get out on the road, I think back to the Gauntlet and realize that I’d better work my tail off because I have a lot of endurance to build up. Otherwise I might get stuck in South America….
Running up a hill, small by comparison to the one I’ll be running up on May 7th, wind roaring like a freight train, my light running jacket snapping in the wind like the stars and stripes, I wonder to myself “why am I doing this?!” I’m gasping for air through the neck / face warmer I wear snowboarding because it’s only 25F and that’s before the windchill sets in. Oh, and I feel like I’m going to toss my cookies on this very short three-mile run.
I’m a cigar-smokin’, vodka drinkin’, motorcycle ridin’, software geek. I’m not a runner. By any stretch. Forget that I’ve run two marathons, I’m not built for this. At least that’s what’s going through my mind in the moment. But then I think back to how lucky I was that Children’s Hospital was around, and to what an absolutely amazing experience the NYC Marathon was in 2007, and I gradually re-focus on the end goal, running 10 miles and completing 22 obstacles at the Tough Mudder New England at Mount Snow in an effort to raise some money for Children’s.
I’ve trained in fits and starts over the past couple months since I signed up in November, but this week I finally got a schedule together and have started running regularly. Ok, so two days in the first week doesn’t quite classify as running regularly, but really, I will. And so, as I promised, I’m going to share some of my training thoughts here on the blog. Check back here regularly to see what I’m doing (and feel free to comment when I’m not doing enough).
And finally, if you can spare a couple dollars, head on over to my fundraising page here. Thanks to those of you who’ve already contributed we’re at $650 on a $2500 goal. I greatly appreciate all of your generosity.
Those of you who have known me for a few years might remember that I ran the NYC Marathon in 2007 with the goal of raising money for Boston Children’s Hospital. The short version of the story is that through the kindness of friends and strangers alike, Children’s received almost $9,000. I held up my end of the deal by finishing in 4 hours and 23 minutes (plus or minus). Not bad considering that my time in 2003 was 4:59 and I was 4 years older (and rounder). All things considered I was very happy with the results since I’m not exactly built like a marathoner.
About a week ago I signed up for the Tough Mudder New England, to be held on May 7, 2011 at Mount Snow in Vermont. You can read more about the event here. I honestly don’t know what got into me, I’m so far from being in the shape I need to be in order to finish the event. I guess age, ego and a desire to do something notable. Perhaps more importantly, I’ll be running for Children’s again. My goal is to raise $2,500 at a minimum, although I do have a secret “stretch” goal (sorry, can’t tell you yet).
If you’re feeling generous, or maybe even if you’re not, feel free to head on over to my fundraising page at the Children’s Hospital site. All the money raised goes to pay for some of the best pediatric care available in the world, and many times helps those that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford care at all.
I’ll tell you more about why I’m doing this shortly, but that’s a topic for another day. In the mean time, I’ve started training this week, and let me tell you, it’s a good thing it’s a long time between now and the event, I need every day of it.