Contrary to what my perpetually-supportive wife Sarah insists, I might just be an idiot.
I’m a 225-pound rugby-playing heavy-squatting guy who most closely resembles a beer keg. (I’m a scotch guy myself… but I really broke the mold when God made me.)
This is all well and good – everyone has their place in life, and I’m happy with mine. I was built to lumber around the rugby pitch and scare backs and small woodland creatures alike (it’s tough to tell them apart, really), not fly into the try zone on fleet feet.
Plus, while I can definitely stand to lose some bodyfat, there are bonuses that my stature affords me:
- I can stand fully upright while waiting to disembark most commercial aircraft,
- My range of motion for deadlift, squats, and most other movements is absurdly small,
- Nobody (yet) has tried to mug me, and
- I’ve finally nearly mastered that “stick your head out and tilt your chin down” move that hides your double-chin in photographs.
Despite all of this, there’s at least one thing that my body was decidedly not built for: running long distances.
So why, then, (excluding the very real possibility that I’m an idiot) have I ended up training for the upcoming 2015 Cowtown Half Marathon? After all, it’s my first ever Half – and my first race of any distance past 10k*.
It all started when I completed my very first Tough Mudder in early October of this year.
Sarah, bless her heart, signed up for Tough Mudder under the influence of what I can only assume was some high-powered narcotic. Not one to volunteer for the sidelines, I signed up too.
(I should note that despite her fears, Sarah absolutely kicked Tough Mudder’s ass. I am so impressed and proud of her!)
This year’s Dallas Tough Mudder was a ~10 mile course that consisted of 1-2 mile “trail runs” (I use the term loosely because Satan himself surely designed those hills and valleys) broken up by obstacles designed to make you reconsider whether life is really all that great, anyway.
At the end of the race, I stood there with my wife and my friends, caked in mud and, by what was surely a cosmic accident, still alive.
I was pretty proud of myself, and still am, but the realization of what I’d just done didn’t really hit me until the next day.
I was speaking with the owner of SHAGFitness, Shawna – a phenomenal athlete, Ironman, and cancer survivor, and trainer to some incredible marathon runners and triathletes, when she said:
“Dude, Tough Mudder’s no joke. You didn’t run one or two miles and then stop for a pee break – that was 10+ miles of trail running combined with about 10 mini-workouts.”
This got me thinking – which I clearly don’t do much of. If what Shawna said was true, just what exactly was stopping me from completing a Half Marathon? And eventually, a Full? And then – my ultimate goal – an Ironman?
It was Shawna – by way of Tough Mudder – that made me realize: short, squat, stubby-legged and heavy as a bank vault does not mean that I can’t run those distances.
More importantly, I’d just run 4 more miles than I ever had before, over rough terrain with hills and valleys and obstacles, and come out on the other end smiling, never having stopped or walked.
Fast forward about two weeks, and here I am – training for the Cowtown Half Marathon. I’m gunning for a sub-2-hour finish (9:00 pace), which is definitely going to be a challenge, but the ultimate goal (at least for this one, because there will be more) is just to finish without walking. Anything else is icing on the cake.
Maybe I am an idiot. Maybe I’m not. Only Cowtown can tell me that for sure. But until then, it’s time to put some more miles on my shoes and run for success by following The Plan.