When I turned 30, I decided to set a goal for the year. I wanted it to be something I would look back at when I am sixty and think, “WOW! I did that!” It was partially inspired by my 26th birthday, when I climbed four Fourteeners (14,000+ foot mountains) in the four days leading up to my birthday. So at 30, I decided I would run a marathon each month. I had run one marathon before, and I figured that I could do 12 more. I mapped out all twelve, paid a bunch of registration fees, got some new shoes, and started running. Initially, I tried to “train” for each race, which meant jogging an hour or so per day for a week or two before the race. That wore off. I just ended up running them with little to no maintenance training in between. Stupid, I know. I may not be blessed with a fast body, but at least it is durable. I ran all twelve, and I experienced some of the most sore mornings of my life. Like the kind of sore when I had to use my arms to lift a leg off the bed onto the floor before standing up (slowly), or braced myself against chair/desk/bathroom stalls to lower into a seated position.
Each run was so unique and special. Magical things happen in your mind when you’ve hit your physical limit. I loved being out there, pushing myself to the max, plodding through miles 15, 19, 21, praying to see “Mile 25” go by. I ran one marathon all by myself (the other racers were all 13.1, 10K or 5K). I ran races in Oregon, California, and Washington. One time I got lost and ended up running under a city bridge through a swamp. Once I ran two marathons a week apart. And in one race (the photo below), as my wet and muddy feet froze, snow fell around me in the woods, and my ears went numb, I actually had the thought “I’m just going to lay down. Someone will find me eventually.” It felt completely rational. I knew that hypothermia and death were possible, and that seemed A-OK to my frozen, tired, hungry mind. The rest of the races were more enjoyable, for the most part.
Back to my point. I turned 32 a week ago. I knew I needed a new goal beside the usual, “Get Pregnant!” or “Become a Mother” aspiration. Thirteen marathons seems redundant. I considered 12 Century (100 mile) bicycle rides. It felt uninspiring. So, I’ve decided on 32 (my age) Half Marathons! It feels like more than 12 marathons, but not a whole lot more. I’m going to do a handful of them as Virtual Races (you enter online, get your bib, chart your own course, time yourself, submit the data, and they ship you a medal…it benefits a charity), because I would use a LOT of gas getting to 32 different races if I didn’t. I hope to run races in California, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, maybe Oregon, and probably Colorado. We’ll see.
My wife is on board – she thought the 12 marathons were fun. And she races triathlon, so I think it makes her feel better to play Support Crew to me when I race, since I am usually the one playing that role for her.
So, I promise not to make this an annoying exercise blog. And yes, I’m aware of the health implications and will work with my doctor to make sure everything is fine with Future Fetus, should he/she make an appearance. We are still TTC – insemming this week, in fact. Hopefully a baby pops out amongst all these races. Or at least starts growing in there.
The end. Wish me luck.