A crazy goal?

I’m posting this on 4/19, but post-dating it to 4/4 because that’s when I wrote it, in the iinterest of chronological purity.

I wrote it, and then hesitated to post it because, well, I didn’t want to make an idiot of myself 😉 Anyway, on the 8th my wife and I had our first child, and that’s had me distracted for a while. Now that things have calmed a bit, I decided to go ahead and post it.

I call it couvade syndrome, but my wife says she knows a beer-belly when she sees one 😉 As her pregnancy has advanced, so has my own re-emerging guttisorous. I hopped on a scale a last night, and when it got done crying and begging for me to get off, it’s statement was a clear explanation for all sorts of issues.

A few years ago a bout with Atikins brought my shape under some control, and I was fairly content with my figure. Not ecstatic, mind you, but content. These days I find Atkins still works a bit, but the real problem is a lack of exercise. I think about chasing a few toddlers in 3 years, and I get scared – I can’t climb stairs without running out of breath, and that surely isn’t good. I would remove the stairs, but then our basement would become nearly inaccessible.

So this, of course, led to various exercise goals, and promises to get in shape, etc., etc. The purpose of this blog isn’t to extol the virtues of exercise, or healthy eating, so I’ll not embark on a long sermon about these things. Instead, I’m just going to describe my latest obsession, and what I’m learning about it.

I’ve become obsessed with the idea of running a marathon this October. Anyone knowing me, or even just looking at me would probably put the back of their hand up against my forehead upon hearing me say such a thing, but I believe it can be done.

This began with a simple interest to start running. That isn’t too crazy. I ran for a while in college, and did close to 3 miles a day for a while. So the first thing I did when this idea popped into my mind was look for the book that got me going last time, Jim Fixx’s Complete Book of Running. Alas, it’s out of print so I started hunting around on Amazon for the latest equivalent. That’s when I found The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer. The premise of the book is that if you can run 3 miles fairly comfortably, in 16 weeks you can learn to run a marathon – 26.2 miles. Along with many glowing reviews written by people who’ve used the book with good success are a few reviews from intelligent-sounding folks who say it’s a bunch of suicidal rubbish. The mileage increases needed to pack the training into only 16 weeks will result only in a more intimate relationship with your doctor. I won’t debate this, except to say I trust my ability to not kill myself, having had many years of practice.

Now, working backward from October 2nd, the date of the Lakefront Marathon here in Milwaukee, 16 weeks puts me in the 2nd week of June. I have until then, about 9 weeks, to determine if I can get to running 3 miles fairly comfortably.

I figure if I can get to the point where I actually need to decide if the 16 week plan is feasible or not I’ll have already made a fairly substantial achievement.

While looking for a good running book I came across another book that was closer to what I was looking for in the first place â?? The Courage to Start. This book is written by a man who began running quite late in life, and considers himself a â??Penguin.â?? A Penguin is an individual who is running for the pure enjoyment of it, with no real competitive drive or extensive natural ability. The kind of person who’s content to simply finish a race, who considers getting to the starting line the real victory. That sounds good.

Last but not least, I ordered a copy of Jim Fixx’s book, used. It would seem that despite many advances in everything else, running has stayed pretty much the same, and I really enjoyed it the first time around.

So, what about the running? Well this all started pretty recently, like two days ago. So I am doing some brisk walking and even mixed a few 30 second bits of running in last night. Tonight is a scheduled off night. More to follow.

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