Humbled by the Road

I have come a long way over the past two years. Once upon a time, I used to run cross-country (25 years ago to be exact). So when we decided in the spring of 2011 to run the ½ marathon at Disney World, in January 2012, I figured I could hold off training until the fall. After all, I used to run cross-country.

Lisa and her friend Barb began their training in the spring, but I opted to relax most of the summer and start later. I can still remember my first training run. I had looked over Jeff Galloway’s programs and they looked very good, but he preached a run/walk method, which I dismissed. It was late August when I ventured out to begin my training. I had mapped my route and decided on a 45 minute run. The sun was out and there was just a little breeze. It was a perfect afternoon for a run.

I didn’t even own a watch I borrowed my daughter’s Ariel watch and away I went. Feeling the adrenaline of getting started I took off quickly, but soon after slowed down, trying to find a pace that was comfortable. As I rounded the corner of the second street I started to realize it had been a long time since I had run. At 46 years old, my body was not in the same condition as it was 25 years prior. Looking down at Ariel I swore her hands were not moving and the second hand seemed frozen. I had run exactly 3 minutes. At that time I had a startling revelation: Jeff Galloway was a genius! Who was I to argue with an Olympic runner? If he says do a run walk cycle then that’s what I should do. My only problem was his method spoke of 10 minute run and 1 minute walk, but I wasn’t sure I would be still upright for seven more minutes.

I pushed myself to keep running and managed to run four more minutes. At that time I was convinced my heart was beating too fast and I might be having a heart attack. I stopped running. I really thought at that time maybe I should go home, admit defeat and give up. But something inside me said, “Now that you have realized you are human, just settle down and train”. My wife was never a runner, but now she was running 3 times a week. So, I completed my 45 minute run/walk and never looked back (nor did I ever speak of that day to anyone).

That first day was tough, but it did get easier. After a few short weeks I was running three times a week (two 45 minute runs and one longer run). I used the 10 and 1 training method for all these runs.

Over the next few months I experimented with my running and walking cycles and eventually found for me it was better to run the whole time. NOTE: I would strongly suggest anyone starting to run should use this run/walk method to get started. It is an easier and less discouraging way to get started.

By the time January came around I was ready to run my first ½ marathon, with a time goal of under two hours. Stay tuned for tips for beginning runners.


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