"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

And we're off...

On July 4th, 2008 I ran in the annual 4th of July race in my hometown. It was the first time I had ever chosen to run just simply to run. The race was 2.6 miles (the "Mini-Marathon" they called it) and I walked to the start line without one day of training or preparation. At 26 years old, how hard could it be? I didn't stop until I got to the finish line, but it certainly wasn't an experience I looked forward to ever repeating.

Skip forward 11 1/2 months to June 12th, 2009, when I was all but guilted in to running the same race this year (all of my siblings, both my parents and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins were apparently going to run it). Determined not to drag myself over the finish line again, I began to run a couple days a week. The first day I ran 1.5 miles. And then 1.75 the next. And then 2, 2.5 and 2.75. The week prior to the race I ran 3 and 3.5 miles before backing off to 2.5 miles a few times before the big day. Needless to say, things went a bit better. I still wasn't quite satisfied though. I felt like I could and should be able to do more. I signed up for a local 5k two weeks later and continued to run a few days a week. The 5k came, and I came fairly close to my goal with a time of 25:35.

I ran a few days the following week, mostly because I was enjoying being back in shape and able to play basketball for an hour without the fear of having to be carried off the court, something I hadn't been able to do since high school. I had my eye on a 10k race in August and decided it was a nice goal to shoot for.

Then, on the Saturday following the 5k race, I returned to the park where it had taken place, determined to run a personal best 4.5 miles. A funny thing happened that day. I ran the 4.5 miles and felt great. So I ran another 1.5 miles. And I still felt great. So I ran another 1.5 miles. And had it not been for a prior engagement that I needed to get to, I would have kept running. The thought went through my head, "Hey, you're not too bad at this." Now, I realize I'm not going to blow anybody away with a 5 or 6 minute/mile pace or even come close to winning any races, but what I can do is compete daily against perhaps my most difficult opponent: myself.

I found a training program for running a 10k and have worked through it the last few weeks in preparation for the race a week from this coming Saturday. But in the back of my mind, this crazy idea kept coming: I should run a marathon.

Entering the picture was the Newport, OR Marathon (http://www.newportmarathon.org/) to be held June 5th, 2010, 10 months from today.

I'm not a runner. I was never the most athletic person on any team and I lacked endurance, despite my best efforts. But I would put my level of competitiveness and desire to win/succeed above any challenger. Whether it's basketball, checkers or Skip-Bo (one of my son's favorite games), I want to win. So it is with this in mind that I launched the Mind Over Body Marathon site.

Over the next 10 months I will detail my experiences preparing for my first marathon. I'll talk about, among other things, goal setting, which training program to use and nutrition. I'll also keep you up-to-date on my progress, which routes I'm running, and offer some thoughts and feelings that I have throughout the process as well as provide motivational stories, quotes and other useful information as I come across it. I'm not completely sure why I want to run a marathon yet. I have some ideas that I continue to think about, but I probably won't know for sure until I cross the finish line.

But for now, here we are at the starting line, ready to embark on a journey of self-discipline, commitment and personal achievement. I invite you to follow along, join in, participate, offer your thoughts and suggestions or let me know what you're doing (or have done) to train for marathon. Or just simply watch from a distance. The time for doubt, nervousness and uncertainty are over. It's time to run. Wait for it...wait for it....BANG! And we're off...


P4 said...

You may be 100% weirded out that I am commenting (this is Lindsey Pettibone) and I'm not even really sure why I am. I could have commented a million times by now on your family blog or facebook or something, but I never felt the need until now. Just wanted to say I think the running is awesome. I never ran a day in my life until 2007 and once I started I also made the goal to run a marathon. I loved the feeling after a long run. There are some awesome training schedules and books out there...my only suggestion...stick to them like glue. I made it to 11 miles and then didn't stick to my schedule and quit. You and your blog may just be the motivation I need to try again. Thanks for that. I always need a little competition. I wish you the best of luck! Oh, and by the way...glad to see you and your family are doing well.

Courtney said...

That's so awesome Rychen- good luck!

whitney said...

I've always known why I wanted to run a Marathon. I need to know that if North Attica is ever invaded by the Persians, I could be called upon to inform Athens.