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In case you missed Part 1 of this interview, there's the link for you to check out. There is some great stuff in there. Hope you enjoy the second half of the interview. Enjoy.
TFGIR: During the French Open, the Tennis Channel asked professional tennis players about the contents of their tennis bags (books, iPods, socks, etc.). What sort of items do you fill your racing bag with before a 50 or 100K race?
MRW: Dude, that is super cool, and I saw that piece. It was funny to see them pimp their sponsors' stuff and I would say I am the same.
I carry a "The North Face Base Camp" bag (which rules, seriously, bomber, nothing better). In that bag, I have "The North Face Better Than Naked Shorts & Singlet (with my sponsors: The North Face, MarathonGuide.com, PowerBar)", "The North Face Fireroad Socks", "The North Face Singletrack Shoes", my MarathonGuide.com hat and of course a ton of PowerGels, PowerBars, my Gold's Gym swipe card, Succeed Caps, snacks, a book, and a newspaper.
TFGIR: On your website (mikewardian.com), I notice that you are available to coach aspiring runners. Let's say I just signed up to be coached by you, and I want help preparing for a marathon. What sort of things would I be looking forward to doing?
MRW: I do coach some people, but only a few at this point so I can give each person really custom service. As far as what I have the people do each day, it is really up to the persons fitness level, time, and what they are trying to achieve, but the cool thing is that I have done all the workouts beforehand and they are ones that I know are possible and achieve results. So, I think it works very well and it gets me all excited to see the people I am coaching get faster, stronger, tougher and just enjoy running as much as I do.
TFGIR: The North Face Endurance Challenge is coming to Kansas City at the end of August. You have participated in a couple of the North Face Endurance Challenges so far on their national tour. How has the response been to these events, and do you anticipate that this will become an annual tour?
MRW: The North Face Endurance Challenge is extremely well done and I am so excited to be a part of the Kansas City event. The North Face Endurance Challenge provides an incredible experience for the runners, and it is sweet to see how excited everyone is to be a part of it and to explore their own boundaries. The Endurance Challenges draws a large field and, normally, some of the top athletes and I love to compete against the best, and that is another reason I like to race them. Everyone that I know that has done a The North Face Endurance Challenge has had a great time and I think that the races in Kansas City will be no exception.
TFGIR: Obviously, you are flying through these long distance races if you are the victor. Do you have a strategy for each individual race that you implement when you hit the course, or do you approach each race the same, regardless of distance/course, and other variables?
MRW: I try to always look at each race differently because they are all so unique and even if you have run the course before, the weather can change how you race the event, and also the competition. That is what makes what we do so fun is that you can really get as into it as you like and geek out about a race plan or you can wing it, but I prefer to have a race plan and try and stick to it at much as I can.
TFGIR: The Olympic Trials are coming up in January. I confess I do not know exactly what it would take to qualify for the Olympics, so would you mind taking me through what you would need to do to represent the United States in London in 2012?
MRW: Thanks for the chance to say that we are in the USA, and are really lucky, and I think it is a great way to pick our team for the Olympics. It is really simple and clear: the first three (3) guys to cross the line on January 14, 2012 at the Men's Olympic trials go to London (as long as they run under the Olympic Time Standard which I believe is 2:14-2:15). That is it. No, "Well, this guy was hurt, this guy is faster but had a bad day, etc." It doesn't matter. First three (3) guys go, and everyone else gets to watch on TV. I am definitely not a favorite to make the team but I am in the race and that means if I run well, I get to go.
So, I am planning to bring it, and everyone else better too because if they don't I would be glad to be on the plane to London later in the year.
TFGIR: Your running career is exceptional, but to a non-runner, it can seem very overwhelming. What would you tell someone who has never been a runner in order to convince them that running a marathon is not crazy? How have you convinced someone in the past to give running a shot?
MRW: Well, I think that most everyone could run a marathon if they wanted to, and even a 100 Miler or 135 miles in Death Valley or 150 miles across the Sahara. They just need to want to do it, and train to do it. That being said, it is not easy and it takes discipline, commitment, and heart, and I think everyone single one of us has that in us, we just need to find it.
I don't try and convince anyone to run because, in my view, that doesn't work. What I try and do is show people that I am like them and if I can do it, well, then they might be able to do it, too. So they can say, "Wow, that guy works a full time job, has a family, coaches t-ball and still finds time to run and be competitive and honor his other obligations."
TFGIR: What are some outside interests/hobbies that you have other than running?
MRW: Well, we touched on lacrosse. I also was really involved in my son Pierce's t-ball team, which was cool. I love to ride my bike, play chess, camp, hike, paddle and, believe it or not, work as an International Ship Broker.
I offer my sincere thanks to Mike for agreeing to do this interview with me, and I'm looking forward to following his races in the future, hopefully all the way to London. I hope you guys enjoyed reading it, too. Now, get out there and run! Until next time...later.
Greetings, and welcome to the latest installment of the This Fat Guy is Running Interview Series. I was lucky enough to be contacted recently by a representative from The North Face company regarding their upcoming endurance challenge in Kansas City, which is linked on the right side of the screen. I was offered a chance to conduct an interview with an endurance athlete that they sponsor, and I said I would love that opportunity. I was fortunate to interview Michael Wardian, from Arlington, Virginia. A former collegiate lacrosse player turned ultramarathon champion, Mike was kind enough to answer a slew of questions I had for him, ranging from his lacrosse playing days, to his preparations for marathons, and many things in between.
Throughout his career, Mike has won an astonishing 19 Marathons
(if not more), amongst countless other race victories, (according to athlinks.com) including the 2011 San Francisco Marathon that just occurred yesterday, 7/31/11. Talk about great timing! Mike has won several USA Track and Field National Championships, including distances of 50K, 50 Mile, and 100K. Mike has also set several world records throughout the years, including fastest marathon time on a treadmill, fastest marathon time on a 200-meter indoor track, and, my personal favorite, fastest marathon time while wearing a superhero costume (Spiderman). I thank him for being so gracious with his time, and without further ado, I present to you my interview with the newly crowned San Francisco Marathon Champion, Mike Wardian.
TFGIR: What led you to playing college lacrosse at Michigan State? Do you still play or follow lacrosse?
MRW: I played lacrosse at Michigan State University because I was pretty good in High School (All-Met, Captain of Oakton High School Team, Leading Scorers, etc...) and I was recruited to play for MSU. Yes, I still follow lacrosse all the time. I love that lacrosse is on ESPN now, and I can watch more games. Even before the Comrades Marathon the last two (2) years while in South Africa, I have watched the finals and semifinals of the Division I tournament via "ESPN 360". They try to block it, but if you really want to watch you can find a way, so I was up at like 2:00am on Sunday, watching the Saturday night games, which was super cool. Unfortunately, I am not playing now as I am so busy with work, the family, and running that I haven't been able to make the time.
TFGIR: How did you make the transition from playing collegiate lacrosse, a sport that requires a lot of sprinting and sharp cuts, to becoming a long-distance runner?
MRW: Well, that was easy because I stopped playing lacrosse, and then I needed to do something to stay in shape and I love being in motion, so I chose running because it is also, in my opinion, one of the best workouts for the time (i.e., you get a lot out of a 50 min run and it might take 3 hours on the bike to get the same workout.) That being said, I love biking, also, and swimming and tennis, etc...
TFGIR: According to your USA Track and Field profile (Profile Page), you have been competing in marathons since 1996, when you qualified for the Boston Marathon on your first attempt. When did you figure out that you had a future in competitive distance running?
MRW: Good question. I just was running as a lark and to qualify for Boston, and I knew I had some talent at the first 1/2 marathon I ever ran in 1996. I ran like 1:14 or so and finished 3rd or 4th, and I mean I was seriously surprised. I was in lacrosse shorts, a cotton t-shirt and with my hat on backwards, heavy trainers and just shocked to come in that far ahead of most people. I think my parents were surprised, too, as they were not looking for me so soon at the finish.
TFGIR: You have been all over the world to compete in races. What place that you have been to stands out as either the most unique, most memorable, or one that you would go back to in a heartbeat?
MRW: Another neat question and one I think about all the time. I always try to push the boundaries and while I have been to a number of places, I have not been to even more places, and I would definitely like to check out some races that I haven't been able to get to yet, and to some areas that I haven't explored. But I think of the places that I have been lately, and I really loved Iceland. I went in February, and would love to go back in the summer and check it out even more. That and Kauai, where my wife and I went on our honeymoon. I love Kauai too. I really can't think of many places that I wouldn't want to go as I think you can always find exciting adventures if you try.
4. TFGIR: What does a typical week of preparation for a 50K or 50 Mile race look like?
MRW: My typical week is a lot of miles, over 100 miles, that include speed work, hills, tempo runs, and some races, usually. Stroller runs with the guys (two children, Pierce and Grant), also. I also run and/or bike to work, so that helps too.
TFGIR: At some point, everybody experiences a letdown in a race. What is a race disappointment you remember, and how did you learn from it going forward?
MRW: Another excellent question, and that is also fresh in my mind as it just happened at Badwater. My goal was to win Badwater this year, and I ended up 3rd, so off of my goal, and also off the time I was aiming for. I had some major letdowns during that race, but I fought back with the help of my crew, who were rad, and finished it. I learned a lot, but most important is to get in food and keep it down and, like a hot dog eating contest, try to avoid the "reversal of fortune".
TFGIR: How do you balance your running with having a family and a full time job?
MRW: That is a big challenge, but I have a terrific wife, children, boss, co-workers, and family and I really couldn't do it without them being behind me. They really help and inspire me to explore my limits and allow me the opportunities to train and compete on the highest level.
TFGIR: As a vegetarian, what would a normal day's worth of meals and nutrition consist of throughout a training week? As a non-vegetarian, I have learned a lot of runners seem to thrive on a vegetarian diet, but I believe the perception is that it would be tough to ingest the necessary proteins and stay "full", if you will. How have you tailored this diet to work for you?
MRW: I don't know. I eat a fair amount of food, and I think I would always be hungry even if I wasn't a vegetarian due to the miles I am running. I try to eat a lot during the day and stay up on my fluids, so nothing really special. I tend to eat a lot of cereal and fruit during the course of the day. I think I could crush Seinfeld in a cereal eating contest.
This wraps up part one of my interview with Mike Wardian. I've included a few links throughout the interview, so be sure to click on them so you can see things like the Badwater race, and how hardcore it truly is. Part two of this interview will be posted on Thursday, so please be on the look out for that. Until next time...later.
It's official. Sunday night, I decided to take the plunge into the world of running 26.2 miles at one time by registering to run at the Disney Marathon on January 9th, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. Sure, hundreds of thousands of people run and finish marathons now-a-days, so this is no way makes me unique, but to consider where I was just less than two years ago....
As you know, if you've read this blog since it started, running was never something I intended to take seriously. I started out to try a few races, lose some weight, and blog about it at the same time, in case someone else like me stumbled upon it and thought "If this idiot can do it, so can I." It started with a 5K, progressed to a 10K, and eventually into a Half Marathon. Jumping up to a full Marathon is an enormous jump, but I didn't get here overnight.
I liken the whole experience to the educational process. Starting out, a 10K seemed to be about all I was interested in attempting. I thought if I could run a 10K in under an hour, I would be satisfied with what I have done, and then I'd move on to something else. Running a 5K, though, would be first. Similar to elementary school, every running goal has to start somewhere, and in the scope of running distances, the 5K is the start. It was a struggle, and when I finished that first one, it in no way had me prepared to tackle a 5K. I had to continue to work at it until I graduated from the 5K level into middle school, or the 10K.
Going back through old posts and reading recaps from races is always interesting, if for no other reason than to see what I was thinking right after tackling a distance for the first time. For instance, reading through the recap from my first 10K shows that even at that point, I was still very new to the whole experience (Link), even if I felt like I had been through it all. Jumping from a 5K to the 10K was like that leap from elementary school to middle school. Lots of new kids, tougher curriculum, and new challenges. Running through Manhattan seems like it was just yesterday, and in fact, I'll be doing it again next weekend. Where does the time go?
Of course the most awkward, difficult time in your life is when you hit high school, and the same could be said for running a Half Marathon. It is unlike anything I have ever done. I have completed three half's over the past 10 months, and they do not get any easier....sort of like going through high school. You've got the jocks...the one's who show up and run the whole 13.1 miles in 70 minutes without breaking a sweat, and then you've got people like me, who spend two hours sweating themselves into oblivion for the right to earn that diploma...I mean finisher medal. The main difference is that during a half marathon, people are all encouraging each other towards the finish line, because they all know what it took to get to that point.
In no way do I feel that I have graduated from half marathons, but after spending some time in the club, I feel it is now time to hit up the college scene, a full marathon. This is the group that is the most dedicated of the bunch. Not unlike the college crowd, the marathon bunch spend all their time studying/running, learning to perfect their craft so that they can run for anywhere from 2:10 for the valedictorians, to 6:00 for the incoming freshmen who just trying to complete their undergraduate courses. The only difference between the marathon and half marathon crowd is probably the loss of sanity, as you've got to be nuts to run over 50 miles a week in order to run 26.2 miles at 5:30 in the morning. Similar to the collegiate environment, everyone has the same goal in mind. Just to finish.
That is what I will be doing in 162 days. Just. Trying. To. Finish. Not sure I will, but that's the challenge. I've enrolled for the courses, and now I'm challenging myself to pass them. So, if you want some good laughs, keep following along as I whine about being hurt all the time, and how I'm trying to fit in my 40 mile weeks during football season and snowy weather. I appreciate the support, although, like I've said in the past, haters are welcome as well. Thanks again, keep checking in for new posts, and until next time ...later.
Coming back from a vacation, I had a pretty good idea how tough running a 10K would be on very little training, plus trying to get over a week's worth of boozing and not sleeping. Throw in 97 degree heat and elevated humidity, and you have the 2011 Sunflower State Games Governor's Cup.
I decided to sign up for a race every three weeks until the KC Half in October, just to give me something to keep working towards. That set of runs started on 7/15 with the Governor's Cup 10K race. I ran this race last year (Heat Wave) so I had an idea of what to expect. I do not remember it being this hot last year.
I woke up at 4 PM today in order to give myself plenty of time to eat, drink more water, eat again, and then get to the race that started at 7:30 PM. Or at least I thought it started at 7:30. Navigating through the constantly horrific roads in Topeka, now compounded with construction nearly everywhere you go, I made it to the Hummer Sports Park at 6:40, giving myself nearly an hour to hydrate and warm up. When I got there, I noticed that all the runners were close to lining up and the ceremonial torch had been lit. I grabbed the first person with a running bib that I could find and asked them when the race started, only to then learn that it was scheduled to start at 7PM. I'm usually outstanding at details, but this one totally slipped by me. This gave me about 10 minutes to warm up and stretch, which was not a huge concern to me because of how warm out it was. I was going to be loose in no time, or I was going to cramp up the whole race.
I made it to the line in time, and we were off, winding through the Westboro Neighborhood (minus the protesters), which was covered with lots of trees. That was about the only thing to help alleviate the heat, outside of the plentiful water stations. Also, props to the neighborhood folks who stood out there with hoses and nailed people running by their house. It really is nice. The run was nice, with easy hills and lots of down slopes. A very scenic run through a part of Topeka I've never seen. By the time I was finishing up, I just wanted to stop. I'm sure I wasn't the only one. I ended up not really aiming for a time in this race, because I knew I wouldn't be prepared to run really fast, and the heat was going to kill any non-serious runner. So, I'll just consider this a nice 6.2 mile workout, and I'll focus on running well in Manhattan in 3 weeks. Thanks for reading, and until next time ... later.
First off, welcome back. Things were slow, so I barely wrote. Now, things are going to pick back up again, and you are now going to be able to follow me train, prepare, and get in the mental state to tackle my very first marathon. From everything I've read, this is going to be very difficult. Lots of time, lots of energy, lots of physical exertion, and lots of miles. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 miles or so over the next 177 days, give or take a few miles depending on how bad I'm feeling (probably somewhat frequently, if you remember how fragile I am). Additional speed training, track work, tempo runs, and races line the schedule through the middle of October, as I'm spending the first 14 weeks mostly getting ready for the KC Half on October 15th, where I want to put forth my best performance to date. If all goes according to plan, I'll be in good enough shape to ease into full marathon training, which sort of overlaps with the KC Half. Then, it'll be 11 weeks of runs focusing on distance and stamina, not necessarily running for speed, which certainly will not be the goal for Disney on January 9th, 2012. The only thing I'll be focused on is finishing.
The question I will inevitably have to answer is "Why are you running a marathon?" Honestly, I still don't really know. All I know is that I feel I should, just to know what it is like. I liken it to playing the guitar. You play some guitar and get OK at it, but you want to form a band with someone just to see how that goes. Same thing here. I've stated that I want to qualify to run in the Boston Marathon, but you cannot run that one unless you qualify by running another one. By that fact, I have to run at least one (won't qualify on this first one). Once I figure out if running 26.2 miles is something even remotely feasible, or addictive, or stupid, I'll have to go back and evaluate what I want to get out of running. Running up to this point has helped me lose 45 pounds, greatly lowered my lipid panel results (cholesterol, LDL), and increased my ability to tackle challenges outside of running. I know it sounds corny and trite, but getting stressed out at small things does not really happen to me much anymore, because a lot of those challenges don't seem to be a big deal anymore. Once you run 13.1 miles a few times, once in absolutely sweltering conditions after going without any sleep the night before, smaller things truly become small. Again, sounds stupid, but that's just the way I feel. For that, I am grateful that I decided to lace up the shoes and hit the pavement. I would guess I'll continue to run, but in what respect, I do not know.
This is going to be a tough, tedious 177 days. I hope you have enjoyed watching me start from scratch, from a lazy, 206 pound stiff to a guy that has to figure out days in advance when I can fit in a long run if I might be out of town, or if something has come up. I also am glad to see that other people have taken an interest in getting out there to run a little bit. There are races all over, and if races aren't your thing, events such as Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder have spurred people that might not consider themselves runners to go out and give it what they've got. I want to thank you again for taking the time to read what I'm writing, and I'm glad to know I've got support out there, outside of my immediate circle. I will finally be getting to an new interview for the TFGIR Interview Series, and it will be with a current record setting runner, thanks to my good friends at The North Face, so watch for that at a later date. Also, while I am glad for support, I feel I need some haters. If anyone wants to comment about how stupid this blog is, or how lame I am for running, please feel free to add those notes to any future blog post. If rappers got good at rap because they were out to prove the haters wrong, maybe some haters in my life would spur me to run better than I thought possible. Until next time ... later.
In case you hadn't noticed, I've been very quiet since Hospital Hill back at the beginning of June. Frankly, there hasn't been a whole lot going on. I'm not nearly clever enough to write for the sake of writing, even if it is just to fill space. I've still been trying to get my runs in, and I've been doing a pretty good job of that. I've started trying to mix in some trail runs just for fun and to keep learning. Those trails really feel like you are running in slow motion, but they are extremely taxing at the same time. They will only help me gain some stamina for my eventual preparations for my first marathon. So, check back in about 10 days or so. That's when things will really start to get back to normal. Thanks again for reading. Until next time ... later.
Sorry for the alliteration, but it is time to race again. Hospital Hill came upon us faster than I could imagine. But lo and behold, the race is tomorrow. I won't lie. I'm lacking in confidence for this race. I don't know why, but the hills have me worried. Even though I have been practicing hills for months now, and I ran basically this same course in October for the KC Half, I find myself stressing about hitting my time goal, which really shouldn't be what the run is about. It should be about having fun, and enjoying the hard work that went into preparing for this race. I also think that since I feel about 3 minutes short of my goal in Abilene, that I have that stuck in the back of my head. This race will have pace groups, though, and I feel that will be a major advantage. Trying to pace myself, with my lack of experience, led to me flying out of the gates in Abilene, only to drag it home well behind my goals. There should be no such problems this time around. I have been practicing patience on my long runs, as well as on my pace runs for the past two months, so I don't think I'll be firing on all cylinders to start the race this time.
This race will bring an end to another training cycle, one that started all the way back in the middle of January. Hard to believe that just 14 months ago, I had not even laced up the running shoes, and now I'm thinking about why I missed running a half marathon in under 1 hour and 50 minutes! I've pretty much ran the spectrum of race distances this time around, save for a full marathon. I'm looking to go out with a flourish, and taking on the oldest road race in Kansas City and setting another PR would be a tremendous way to finish this cycle. Also, I'm looking forward to a 7 week break from training logs and speed drills. My body needs to recover, as you know that I am very fragile and seem to hurt easily.
The things I'm looking forward to the most this weekend include getting flip flops for finishing the race, eating at The Brick, and hammering down that ice cold Michelob Ultra after hitting the finish line. HH is doing a unique thing starting this year, where they will be giving to the Half Marathon finishers a piece of a three part medal that will be handed out to finishers over the next three races. Talk about crafty. Now we all have to sign up for the next two races to complete the medal. Also, US Soccer is taking on World Cup Champion Spain, but that doesn't really relate to the race. Doesn't mean I'm not pumped about it, though. Sparks and I are going to be hitting up the starting area around 545 to get a good parking space and just chill until race time. Should be a rocking event. Until next time ... later.
Now that we are basically a full week past the relevance of this post, you are still going to get it. I left off with the recap of the Run for Ronald 5K, followed by the 9 mile Sunday run at Shunga. But my exciting week of new challenges was just beginning.
I recently decided the throw down for a year long membership to join the Sunflower Striders, the local running club in Topeka, and last Tuesday I decided to get out there and join a group workout, just to see what it was all about. They have a speed/track workout scheduled every Tuesday at Washburn, and since I've been mixing in speed workouts every week, I figured I would give it a shot. There were 21 people there, including me! That's nuts! That's a pretty large group of people just getting together to run and get better. I was impressed. The spectrum was wide, with guys who clearly had already run Boston, or had qualified for it at one point, to women who also were Boston Qualifier's and Triathletes. There were also a few newbies there as well, so I didn't feel like a total dope.
The scheduled workout for last week was something called the Yasso 800s. The theory behind these runs is that you can predict your marathon time and fitness based on how you run two laps on the track, based on ten repetitions. For instance, if you can cover two laps in 4:00 by your tenth 800, in theory, you should be able to run a full marathon in four hours. Of course I don't know if this works, but popular reading seems to show that this is a pretty well accepted theory. I didn't make it to 10, as it was recommended that newer runner (me) start with three or four sets, with light jogging in between. I ended up doing five sets, and I was pleased to see that I was able to do them all under 4:00. So high five to me. But it was certainly a learning experience, as I am constantly finding out new things in regards to pacing myself and not expending all of my energy at the start of a run.
Wednesday was another set of hills out at Wanamaker. I am happy to say that I still have not been hit by a car out there. I have learned a long time ago to just stop wondering about the odd things in Topeka, so why there is a 3/4 mile stretch of Wanamaker without sidewalks while damn near every other part of the busiest road in the city has sidewalks is beyond me. Probably the same answer I would get if I asked "Why are there stoplights at 29th and Fremont and 29th and Van Buren when there is absolutely no reason for them because those areas are virtually abandoned?", which would be "We don't know". Anyways, running hills once a week served me great in preparing for KC, and I can only imagine it would help for Hospital Hill. But to sum up, it was a pretty tough and beneficial week. Only eight months until I run a marathon, by the way. Weird to say. No hurry, that's for sure. That's all I've got. Until next time ... later.
We'll start off with Saturday morning of what turned out to be a pretty big week/weekend for running action. Saturday morning was the second annual Run for Ronald 5K out at Lake Shawnee. (Results). I had been a little worried about how this would go, being as I just recently switched to working 10:30 PM to 6:30 AM shifts at the hospital, so I would now be going out to run directly from work, which is fine for a light workout but not necessarily for a race, at least to me. I have still not quite gotten the hang of staying up working all night after sleeping until 2 or 3 (if I'm lucky), so I was a little apprehensive about this race. I have not been injured much since tweaking my calf early in April, so I at least had that going for me. The weather last Saturday could not have been better, as the temperature was in the upper 50s with a stiff breeze coming over the dam.
I had intentions of setting a personal best in this race, as I was hoping to end up with a time of under 24:00, a full six minutes faster than when I ran this very race as my very first road race. This would be interesting because I had not participated in a 5K run since last September. I ended up getting off to a great start and really picking up steam after making the halfway turn. By the time it was all said and done, I crossed the finish line in 22:54, under 23:00, which was a goal of mine for the entire year! I did not receive a medal for my finish, but I was deemed the overall top fundraiser in the pledge/sponsorship collection area, so that was nice. I owe that to my tremendous support group, including my folks, friends, and co-workers, all of whom were so generous for a good cause. I went right to sleep after the race.
Sunday, though, it was back to the long run grind, getting ready for the Hospital Hill run. I could not sit on my accomplishments from Saturday because I had 9 miles to put in. Now, the more I read about training for a marathon (I start that in the fall), I continue to read about LSD, or long, slow, distance (hilarious and creative, I know). This says that in order to increase aerobic fitness, stamina, and other assorted fitness benefits, running at a pace that is 1-3 minutes slower than your race pace works the best on your long runs. Since I'm hoping to hit 1:50:00 at Hospital Hill, I would be pacing this run in the neighborhood of 9:30/mile at the quickest, and up to 11:20/mile at the slowest. For 9 miles at Shunga Trail, I was able to pace myself at around 9:45/mile, which was certainly interesting. First, it really does go against your instincts to purposefully slow yourself down that much. Second, this was going to increase the time on my feet (part of the whole concept, getting you to run for a longer period of time to get used to the punishment), so I had to be ready to not think about the fact that I was running for a much longer time. It actually turned out to be a pretty enjoyable run. Great weather, again, and lots of time to check out the assorted graffiti along the pathway of the Shunga Trail. I think it helped to take it easy, especially on my legs, as they were not dead when I finished, so I'll be trying it out again this next Sunday for a 10 mile run out at Shunga again. I'll post part two sometime later this week, and until next time ... later.
Technically, by definition, I think you could already say that I am a charity runner. As far as I know, every race now-a-days takes a portion of its entry fee and gives it to some type of charitable organization, local or otherwise. I don't think people have been willing to set up races as a strictly for-profit type of venture, with the exception of events such as the Warrior Dash, which appear to be awesome, so don't think I'm dogging on that. Just speaking in generalities, the races I have participated in seem to make it a point to have a cause to get behind. This time last year, I was preparing to run the inaugural Run for Ronald 5k, which would also be my first ever race. The recap is right here, and it is was, well, something else. At the time, without thinking about it, I had been asked, as a race participant, to gather some pledges to sponsor my run for this race. For an inaugural event, the turnout appeared to be pretty good, and the Ronald McDonald House here in Topeka raised over $13,000, of which my race entry fee and very modest pledges played a small part.
But looking back now on the other races, it appears that raising money for a cause through running/racing/walking is a big hit. At a 5k in Wichita last May, the entry fees went towards the Victory in the Valley, a non-profit cancer support organization. The KC Half Marathon in October has the official charity of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. So, when you factor in that 11,000 people or so ran the variety of race distances in Kansas City, that adds up.
This brings me back to this week. I've become involved with the Ronald McDonald House here in Topeka. No, not because I have a child in the hospital, but because my Coach recently has become an employee of theirs and I have been able to spend a portion of my time over there checking out the surroundings and helping out with things to help her get started on the right foot. I literally did not know a thing about the Ronald McDonald House in any facet until about 6 weeks ago. Now, I find myself wanting to help out whenever I can. And this is where becoming a charity runner comes into play. I've been running for a year now, and I've gotten a lot out of it in many ways, as you know. I feel that this year, I can firmly use my limited internet power for some good and helping out a great organization. This will end up being an 18 month thing, by the way, so I hope you don't mind some reminders every now and again.
All of that introduction leads me to discuss that I am once again taking part in the Run for Ronald 5K this coming Saturday at Lake Shawnee. I am also gathering sponsorships for this run in an effort to help the Ronald McDonald House continue to meet their budget needs. If you are so inclined, the Ronald McDonald House and I would greatly appreciate the support! The bigger news is that I will be signing up for the October 2012 Chicago Marathon and will be attempting to raise money to earn a charity slot for one of the biggest marathons in the world! That will be a big theme for me over the next year and a half. Who says that running can't be helpful to others? I don't know, but I would imagine that somebody has said that at one point or another. So, I humbly ask for a little more of your support, even though you have all been so generous with your time reading my ramblings as it is. I've included a link for direct donations to the House, as well as a link to their Facebook page, where you can like 'em. I'm excited to help out with this race, and to do my part throughout the next 18 months to help out a great organization. If you do decide to pledge, please send me an email or something and I will promote your blog, thank you, and give you a follow friday on Twitter. Big stuff, I know! Until next time ... later.