A Personal Note:
Anyone who has ever run 26.3 miles -- and crossed the finish line running, knows how it changes your life in a good way. Maybe one more non-jock will read this and decide to give it a try.
William Glasser, MD, calls running a Positive Addiction. He says there are a lot of addictions and a lot of addicted people. Pick something healthy to be addicted to.
I often think about running another marathon. I've started training a number of years, however each time an injury cut the training short.
(You can't just show up at the starting line of a marathon without training. The training time for a marathon is 20 weeks of 30-40 hours running per week.) We'll see.
Alan Fendrich Completes Bay Bridge Marathon in 4:36
On October 22, I ran the 26.3-mile Bay Bridge Marathon in 4 hours and 36 minutes. I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to accomplish this, one of my long-term goals.
There are a number of things I learned, both in the course of training for the run and in the run itself that I'd like to share with you, my friends and clients, in the hope, humbly, that these insights may be helpful to you.
As many of you know, I started out training for this race 16 weeks ago with a regimen of 40-45 mile runs each week. Many days I dreaded the thought of putting on my shoes and "getting my miles in." However, I was able to convince myself to do each run because I kept a vision of "depositing" these miles in my bank - and that on race day I would draw on them. On the last 6 miles of the race I needed that bank.
As well, I learned the value of setting and keeping long-range goals. More than ten years ago I had written in my Daytimer that I wanted to run a marathon. Four years ago, I got a knee injury that lasted for three and a half years. Had I not kept sight of the goal through the years it would have faded in oblivion. The worst thing about letting our goals fade is that we "teach" ourselves, over time, not to dream, as dreams never come to fruition. This is a tragedy that we must guard against.
Pre-dawn, the day of the race, we were taken by bus from the finish line to the starting line. As we got out of the buses and felt the 5-7 mile wind blowing in our faces, my thoughts turned dark. Thirteen and a half miles on the Bay Bridge Tunnel with a head wind with protection only as we went through the two tunnels, seemed more than I would be able to stand. I decided, then, that I would do the best I could. If I failed, I would fail, the wind was not what I wanted, but it was what is was. I had prepared myself as well as I could. Onward. As it turned out, the head wind undoubtedly cut into my time, but it didn't beat me.
As the race started, many runners took off. I, instead, held back and maintained my pace. The timer was at the end of the race, not in the beginning. As it turned out, during the last 10 miles, I passed dozens of runners. One "old-timer" who I was running next to in the beginning said, think how satisfying it will be when you pass runners at the end. He was right.
During the race I kept a clear picture of myself running through the finish line. I was particularly clear in my picture that as I finished I would be running in good form, not struggling, but running easily and smoothly. This helped and I was able to sprint (or as close an approximation as I could muster) through the Finish.
Finally, during the race, when pains appeared and threatened to cause me to quit. I would look at the pain and ask "on a scale of one to ten, where eight and above is debilitating, what level is this pain?" A three was nothing to worry about. Toward the end when the intensity grew to a seven, I was glad it never got to an eight. Maybe I changed the grading scale a little to suit my purposes. Who knows, eh?
I make no commitments as to whether I'll ever run another marathon - maybe I will, maybe not. One thing is clear to me, though: nothing worth doing comes easily. But making a plan and executing on it sure feels good deep down inside.