Sunday, May 31, 2009

Liftin' Up, Lookin' Ahead

ORN:  5.1 miles total, with 3x1 mile intervals, 8:17 average
May is the time of year where running intersects with umpiring Little League baseball.  So, two or three nights a week, I'm at the local ballpark, trying desperately to make the strike zone big enough to keep the game moving along.  It's also a weird combination of the use of leg muscles; but, as it does each year, the legs work and the kids get some feel for what baseball is supposed to be. 
I'm in taper mode, ahead of next Saturday's Sunburst Marathon.  So, it feels odd to not be doing all that many miles.  I'm trying to keep the intensity up, without the mileage.  But I always wonder if it's right. 
In the meantime, I've had fun encouraging some other runners.  Two folks at our company ran their first ever 10K on Saturday.  For them both, the thought of running 6.2 miles was daunting.  I tried to assure them their training left them in good shape to cover the distance.  It is so cool in running how at any level, there is always a distance or time which represents a challenge.  They will do well.
The big news for other people running was my nephew John doing his first marathon today, the Rock and Roll San Diego Marathon.  As some of you may recall, John is the oldest son of my oldest sister.  While technically his uncle, I'm only 10 years older; relationally, John is much more a brother to me than a nephew.  We have a wonderful friendship.  He started running about 18 months ago in conjunction with a set of life-changing decisions on diet.  We've been gabbing, incessantly, about running since.  A year ago, John and I ran together in his first half marathon at the Sunburst.  Over the winter, he pondered if he could or would ever do a marathon.  Living in San Diego, he began to wonder this spring about doing the was convenient and the date worked.  Gulping a bit, as we all have at the first marathon, he signed up about 6 weeks ago.  We've since talked and emailed on all aspects of a marathon, from the mundane (where to park on race day) to technical (watching out for road camber) to the critical (hydration rates).  We texted each other last around 10pm Saturday night...he emailed me at 4am before he left his house...and, yeah, we've thought a lot about this.
Through the magic of real-time split reporting, I could follow his progress.  Amazingly, he beat his goal by four minutes, finishing in 3:56:03 in his first ever full marathon.  He did this using a run 3/walk 1 pattern, which is also really awesome. I was as excited as he was.  He called me later and we had a full-contact race review.  He did well.  He learned much over the last 8 miles.  He is a marathoner, a sub 4 marathoner at that.   How cool it was. 
Next Saturday, it'll be my chance to phone John with the race report.  Then, in another 13 weeks, I'll be at it again. 
Persevere.  John did.  He's lost weight.  He's in great shape.  And happy for it. 


Sarah said...

Congrats to John! I'm sure no small part of his success is due to your good advice. Good luck at Sunburst and have fun, maniac!

Backofpack said...

John did great! He was lucky to have you to coach him along, and for all the support and enthusiasm you provide. Now, the real question is, when are you two going to run a marathon together?

John said...

Great write-up, Joe! And thanks for the kudos.. Again, I couldn't have made it through without all of your advice. You have taught well, and continue to teach.

On May 31, 2007, I found I couldn't even walk 4 miles. On May 31, 2008, you and I ran the Sunburst Half in South Bend, my first race in 10 years. On May 31, 2009, I finished my first marathon. You've been there each step of the way, my "brother!" It's all about perseverance.

Thanks again, Joe.

Karen said...

Way to go John and Joe! This makes me cry! Crying is one of my major talents, as my nephew and brother know full well!

WADDLER26.2 said...

How exciting!!! Great job to John--also to you Joe for the inspiration and motivation

Wes said...

Way to set the bar high, John! and you're not such a slacker yourself, Joe :-)

Darrell said...

High five to John. That is way cool to go sub 4:00 the first time out of the chute. He had some great weather last weekend. I'm sure he had a few words to say about running on the canted freeway.

Good luck to you this weekend at Sunburst.

David said...

Awesome story. I commend John at the same time I hate him, for going sub-4 in his first race. I guess some of us have speed genes and some don't. I would be one who doesn't, yet I will perservere.

Good luck on your race!