Well….  It has been months since I have posted.  I have been focused on my goals and not as much on keeping everyone up to speed.  I started this journey with a BHAG and I reached the point this last week of achieving as much of my goal as I want.  I guess I should explain.

I started off early in 2011 with one goal in mind- to run an ultra marathon.  I planned on running at least 50 miles within the 12 months of posting.  I had run exactly 2 miles in complete succession prior to this statement.  I had no freaking idea what I was getting into.  I figured that I had a pair of Vibrams and had read Born to Run – I was good.  So I started on my journey to an ultra.

I began running in April and quickly found issues, which I discussed on the blog.  I had raw nipples and blisters on my feet.  My calves hurt. I look back on that time and laugh at the minor inconvenience of that pain.  It seemed daunting though.  I was slowly entering the hottest, driest summer that Texas had experienced in over 100 years and I did something dumb- I entered the Houston Marathon Lottery.

I found out the Houston Marathon is one of the flattest, fastest courses on earth.  It was June…  I knew the race was in January so I was training to run the race since May.  What I did not know was that there was a 6 month cut off for sign up AND that not everyone makes it.  I figured I would just rock up in November and pay the fee.  What I learned was that you had to enter a lottery. A lottery of PAIN!  I entered and “won”. I was in.

I was running 3 miles in succession at this point.  I was averaging 11 minute miles.  I would come home winded from my runs.  I was hitting walls.  So I went online and began to read and that’s when I found Hal Higdon.  I grabbed his book, Marathon, from the library.  This should be required reading for all endurance runners.  I realized I had to rebuild the way I was training and fix the way my body burned energy.  I posted a blog on Heart Rate and Aerobic zonesGo Slow to Go Fast……

I pushed through the hottest summer of my life.   I had to run at 9:30 at night… when it was only 95 degrees.  I began to ride a bike on Sundays to do cross training… anything to use my body without exerting lateral movement.  The fear of ripping a muscle was always in my mind.

It was close to September when I decided to join a local Triathlon.  My daughter who was 16 at the time joined as well.  It was in October.  The race was a sprint with a 300 meter pool swim, 10 mile bike ride and 5k run.  I finished in 1:10 in a pouring rain storm.  At this point I was running 7 miles at a time in succession.

Me and Kid!

Me and Kid!

I pushed through October and into November and then something funny happened.  I quit regular training.  I lost my drive.  I had been pushing for months and just got burnt out.  I was super skinny and was so focused on running, I was  not working more core or upper body.  I was tired of long runs and wanted to just rest.  This was not a good decision, but one I made.

I started running again in December for distance and pushed hard for a 14, 16 and 18 mile run the weeks approaching the marathon.  My 18 mile run took 3:30.  I realized that I did not like to run for that long.  I realized at the end of my long run, I did not want to run an ultra.  I loved running for up to 10 or 13 miles, but after that, it was a chore and I did not enjoy it.  Why would I take something that I actually enjoyed and turn it into a chore.  I had made up my mind- run the marathon, but no ultra.  It wasn’t because I didn’t want to push myself- it was because  if I did it, I risked losing the one thing that I learned to enjoy over the last few months and that was not worth it.

I took the last two weeks off before the race.  I ran a couple of short runs, but nothing that risked injury.

The race grew near and it was time to send the kids off with Nama and head to the race.  My loving and supportive wife spent the night with my downtown the evening before the race.  We ate spaghetti in The Village and watched Tom Brady beat down the Bronocs.  I woke up at 4:45 AM and got dressed.

The race was incredible.  I will blog about it more on my site in the coming weeks.  I could not tell anyone what it meant for me to be there and to run through my hometown.  It was amazing.  Each area of town I passed; each place I used to haunt and I passed it all on foot.  I finished running 26.2 miles in 4:59.  I blew out a personal best in the half marathon, but hit a wall at 18 and had to force myself through some pretty severe pain and mental frustration the last 6 miles.  Had I not taken off for a month, I may have been better prepared.

All in all- I feel like I reached my goal.  I believe that I have given my story and reached my BHAG.  I hope that I have inspired a few others.  My next goal is to write a book.  So- I am off to share the one good book I believe I have in my heart.

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