Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Our Family Learns To Fight So We Don't Have To Run..."

That was the joke my father told me when I announced proudly that I was going to be an ultrarunner one day.

Now, don't get me wrong. My father is the most supportive person in the world, and if I say I am going to do something...he will be the first one cheering his ass off for me until I do it. But still, if you know my family... "runner" does not come to mind. We just don't do it.

I never ran growing up. Actually, I take that back...I gave cross country one quick try in middle school...and when I say quick...I am not taking about my pace. Other than that...I just went ahead and dated runners. Close enough I guess. However, I had always admired the sport and wanted to give it a try. Growing up I was very active in sports, and as an adult have always been a gym rat. I guess the one thing I have going for me is an addictive personality. When I want to do something...I give it my all until I succeed. Hopefully this will pay off in a few years :)

But before we go any further...I will update you on recent "events".

Over a year ago I lost my mother to breast cancer. No...I take that back...I lost my best friend and mother to the most aggressive f*cking breast cancer some doctors had ever seen. It hit me like nothing else ever has. For a long time (and still sometimes) I am lost...and even worse, I have the fear that I will not get to accomplish everything I want before it is my time to go. See, my parents saved all their "world travel" times for when all the kids were grown and gone. That never happened...they saved and my mom got sick. One of their dreams did not get to come true, and I am determined to never let that happen to me.

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with running. Well, at first I ran for sanity. I ran to run away from all the feelings I had concerning my mothers death. After a while, I wanted to do it so that I could do more....accomplish more in life and collect neat t-shirts. Yes, I said it...collect neat t-shirts. I started running at a local brewery down here in Lexington, KY called West Sixth Brewery.  It was not pretty. A mile felt like eternity. I hated it. I felt stupid and slow as all these sprinters took 3 miles like nothing happened. However, I had my eye on the prize...a nifty little t-shirt after 5 runs. I cool is that? Meet at the then enjoy a beer with family and friends. Perfect Tuesday if you ask me. So, I did it...and 17 weeks and runs later at the brewery I can do quite a bit more than a few miles and if I want...I can wear my neat little t-shirt :)

I have also run in a few 5K's including the MidSummers Night Run and the Race for the Cure (where I learned that if you run and cry your lungs will kind of seize up...leaving you gasping for breath...not recommended). With each run my time and technique has improved...which has given me motivation to try other distances and types of running.

That is where we kind of tie into the whole "ultrarunning" dream. As I was researching trail running I learned that I actually had a customer who is an ultrarunner. Until then, I never knew that people actually ran 50 to 100 miles or more. I was amazed...and intrigued. More research led me to another runner and a manifesto that stopped me in my tracks. There in front of me on the computer was the "Skyrunners Manifesto". With each word the desire to make my running dream come true grew stronger. Google it....sit back and take it all in. It amazed me. I started watching videos and seeing the amazing techniques these runners had mastered...but I also fell in love with the environment in which they were running. It called to me. I wanted to be there. The trails..the mountains...the open areas with no one in sight. I needed to find that. I still need to find that. I have come close in some nature preserves here in Lexington, complete with rock downhills and amazing views at the end....but I need more. I need more and I need to run more. I am at the point now where if I do not run...I feel a little empty at the end of the day.

So, I guess this is where I will begin to share my journey. I am not starting this blog at day 1. I am already on my way. The reason I have started this blog is because of all the wonderful friends and family members who have encouraged me on the way. People have actually asked me to do I will. It will be interesting to look back after my first 50 miler and see where I was each step of the way (even if it is from a hospital :) )

Until then, sit back and enjoy. Currently I am preparing for my first half marathon (13 miles) in March with a few 5K and 10K races before then. It is November in KY and getting I am sure there will be much talk of the cold...the dark...excess snot and not feeling body parts. Enjoy all that too...and come join me if you want. I mostly run alone....but every Tuesday you can find me at West Sixth Brewery. I will talk to you alone with my headphones on during the running portion...and meet back up with you for a beer afterwards. You will have fun...and after 5 runs you get a nifty t-shirt. How many people do you know that have a running shirt from a brewery?

Just please remember...I am just starting this journey an it will be long. In the end my goal is to run in the Western States 100 before I die or hit 40...unless I die while running in it...then that would be OK in my book. I am giving myself 9 years. For once in my life I think people can agree with a time frame like that...I am not rushing things :)

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