The Connection Runners + [why run?]

The Quest Begins

Today's run officially kicked off my eight-week Detroit half marathon training. Yippee! I'm a sucker for a training plan, and for the next two months, I'll be following The Bible (enter lightning and thunderbolt sound effects), a.k.a, a Runner's World schedule that will hopefully gear me up for a sub-two hour half.

While I've been on a Personal Record Quest this year with little luck, I'm planning on working hard to conquer this particular PR. Previous half marathons have resulted in times of 2:30:50 (2008 Detroit half that I totally hacked) and 2:09:11 (my half time during the 2009 Detroit full marathon... yeah, I'm counting it.)

And there's just something to be said about nailing a PR. Perhaps it's that feeling you get seeing the green/orange/red numbers on the race clock as you round the final bend in the course; in their own glowing way, they symbolize all of the hard work and sweat that's gone into the training and the race. Perhaps it's the fact that you ran your feet off, and passed three other runners on your way down the final stretch with just enough gas left in the tank to smile as you cross the finish line under the time limit. Perhaps it's the simple satisfaction of seeing the numbers go down, especially at particular time thresholds. For me, it's a combination of all of those things, but in the case of this race, it's mostly the third - to see that first number in my time go from "2" to "1". It's the little things in life, I tell ya.

So, on this, the day of my first training run (there's a little Godfather allusion for you), I was scheduled to run an easy four miles @ 10:34. Surprisingly, it was harder than I thought it would be to go that slow consistently. If I wasn't trotting along at 10:40, then I was starting to put the heat in at 9:42. After putting up with those pace shenanigans for the first mile, I finally decided that 10:34 was just too slow and sped up a bit for the remainder. A pace of 10:11 turned out to feel good and simple enough, and for the first time in weeks, I finished without wanting to vomit, quit running for life, or throw my nike watch into the street.

With the ever-ominous Day One in the books and just 17 more miles to run in this first week, I look forward to the rest of the training program. (I'm as much of a sucker for having a goal race as I am a good training schedule.) As the next few weeks progress, I'll surely be updating with training reports, thoughts on scheduled runs, and commentary regarding the ever-changing training diet.

1:59:59... Here I Come!

Today's Point Two: A quote from the legend:
"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement."
-Steve Prefontaine