I have a tendency to be impulsive. Sometimes it’s to my credit and other times, not so much. Most recently, my impulsive tendency has manifest itself in my decision to run in the 2012 Prague Marathon, on Sunday, May 13. It helped that I was already going to be in Prague at that time. It also helped that this decision came on the heels of the typical cliche blah-blah health and fitness-style New Year resolutions.
What happened is, I was looking random things up on the Internet rather than being productive, and I came upon the Marathon info. Pondering whether I should sign up for it, I put the inquiry out on Facebook, and received encouragement from a few other friends who have trained for and completed marathons. Impulsively, I ordered a couple of books for novice marathon runners for my e-reader, and I began doing some research and planning my training schedule.
A marathon is 26.2 miles. The Prague marathon is in roughly 18 weeks from today.
I started running rather half-heartedly a few years ago when my then-girlfriend-now-wife picked up the habit. I resisted for a while. I’d never particularly liked running. It was too bouncy. Eventually, though, I ran a half mile, and then a mile. That was a big day for me: I’d run a whole goddamn motherfucking mile! Check me out! I am not even kidding. It was a big deal.
Eventually, I started running in 5K races, although I typically ran/walked in most of them. An average time for my first few races would be about 45 minutes, which is only slightly faster than a leisurely walking pace. Over the course of a couple of years, I gained more confidence in my 5Ks, although I didn’t run a whole race without walking at all until the Lincolnwood Turkey Trot in 2010.
Since then, I’ve run in several more 5Ks, finishing all of them (and getting my time down to a slightly less embarrassing 33 minutes). The most I’ve ever run at once, though, was five miles, and that was only a couple of months ago, and if my memory serves me right, I think I may have actually walked a part of that, because of shin splints.
Growing up, I was never athletic. Sure I kept a softball bench warm for a while, and I kicked around a soccer ball in junior high. In my late teens I did some dance training, and I dabbled in tennis in my twenties. I rode my bike. I belonged to the Y. I think, looking back, the desire to be more athletic was in me, but the actual will, motivation, natural talent and skill, were missing. I preferred to spend my time cooking elaborate meals and going out to restaurants, smoking, drinking, staying up late and sleeping in. Nonetheless, I managed to stay pretty fit-looking.
And then I turned thirty and moved to France and at first I lost weight (7-floor walk-up) but then I gained weight (cream sauce) and I learned a lot about French wine and food, and I joined a gym that was right next door to a GREAT Greek sandwich stand and then I was in my early-mid thirties and I moved back to the states and I worked at a bar and started back at college and still liked to smoke and drink and you know how they say after thirty your metabolism slows down and its hard to keep weight off like you used to?
Something had to change.
This wasn’t easy and it is still a work in progress. But Nikki and I joined a new gym. She began running. I followed ploddingly behind. And then, just over a year-and-a-half ago, our friend Marian duped us into joining a torturous bi-weekly bootcamp class.
It was really hard but we kept up with it and something started to happen.
We became stronger and bootcamp started to become fun. Maybe not as much fun as going out for a multi-course French dinner and drinking loads of wine. Because nothing else is as much fun as that.
But we made new friends. And started doing more fitnessy things together. Voluntarily. For recreation.
And we started looking for new challenges. We joined a new small group training class for high intensity interval training. It hasn’t started yet. It starts next week.
And then it was the New Year, and then I came across the website for the Prague marathon. Why not, I thought. I really love Czech beer.
And now I am off to go make a chocolate mousse. For reals.