Marathon training for 2012 starts NOW!

Before I had come to El Paso, I’d done the research on the longer distance races (half and longer) and when they were. There’s a half marathon in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on December 3. However, we might be going back to Illinois around that time (my sis-in-law is due late October with our nephew!) so I don’t want to commit to that race. The El Paso marathon is in February, but I just wasn’t sold on it. It looked like fun (and probably has free beer as it’s sponsored by Michelob) but again, just wasn’t feeling it.

I had heard about this race called the Bataan Memorial Death March that’s held in White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. I scoffed and chuckled when I first heard about it… any 26.2-mile distance around here is a death march! I laughed at my ingenuity… until I realized that the race is actually to commemorate the horrific 85-mile march thousands of POW’s captured by the Japanese started on April 10, 1942 in Bataan, Philippines. Here’s some more history about the race itself.

Last week, like a good little voracious reader, I went to the nearest El Paso Public Library branch and got my card. I’ve been on a war/history/non-fiction kick lately, what with reading War by Sebastian Junger. (It should be known that I was hooked to books on war since my mom gave me Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.)

So I checked out a few books, including Bataan Death March: A Survivor’s Account by Lt. Col. William Dyess.  I started reading it and have been blown away by this part of the war that I personally tend to forget about. Pearl Harbor is about as far as my knowledge goes when it comes to the Pacific theater of World War II.

I did some research on the race and came to find out that it’s on March 25, 2012. Chances are good that Aaron will be able to do this one with me, and he’ll probably carry the heavy ruck (35 lbs). Me? Well, I’ll be carrying whatever I need to get through 26.2 of sand, wind, hills and desert sun.

For once, I’m not interested in this race for a PR. This is a big step mentally for me. I’m always competing with myself, but this is one race where my time is not my goal. The site says that 25% of runners fall out due to injury or inadequate preparation.

So… that means there will be marathon training for the marathon training. I’d like to get a leg up on weight lifting, cross training, and a few long runs, and then in November really hit the pavement hard. Training will include long hikes in the Franklin Mountains and runs up Transmountain Road.

Reading about war really makes me look at my life with gratefulness… I have freedoms because of these valiant soldiers who put their lives on the line. In reality, what’s 26.2 miles compared to the 361 days Lt. Col. Dyess spent in captivity? Not a whole lot, but at least it’s something.

>PR.. was I supposed to do that?

>I ran Race for the Cure 5K this morning here in town.. it’s always nice to not have to drive miles and miles for a race. I was up at 4:15, a very normal time to get up when we have a 20-miler in front of us. I dozed until about 5:45 and then called Amelia.

She came over and picked me up and then we headed down to the start line. We found Gabi, Darla and Cindy, all ladies from church (well you know Gabi!). I thought for sure it would rain this morning, but it turned out to be beautiful!

Gabi and I didn’t want to run too fast, but we both had the same train of thought: What’s the point in running this if we’re not going to try to PR? So we tried to start out slow, and that just did not go well. We were weaving in and out of so many people. I’m more used to the races now with time corrals. Anyway, the first mile of this route is very familiar to me; I’ve run it many times on four and five-mile runs in every kind of weather.

It’s a hilly, twisty route, honestly not my favorite. There was no three-mile marker from what I could see, but I know the neighborhood well enough to gauge how far I was (and I have my trusty Garmin). I went without music… I love the sounds of feet on the pavement and everyone’s breathing.

I had no trouble mentally this morning, but my legs started burning around mile 2 and I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest (not in a bad way though). I finished at 27:56, pace 8:57! My last 5K was in November at 28:43, so I definitely PR’d. I’m not sure if I’m “supposed” to do that one week post-marathon, but I did.

After Gabi and I were done (she finished before me), we saw Cindy cross the finish line shortly after. Gabi and I went back to run across the line with Amelia.. she did great! Right around 40 minutes for her first 5K! So proud of her. I think we might do the Washington Cherry Festival 5K in a few weeks. The three of us went out for breakfast afterwards and despite all the extra traffic in Peoria, we didn’t have to wait that long.

Gabi, Amelia and myself