05/04/2018: The Start of the Finish Line

To get to the finish line, you must first start well before the starting line. This metaphor is about life, not just a feet-to-the-pavement race. Why did I start Runner’s Notebook, you may ask. I started it for three main reasons; to keep me accountable, to keep track of my training schedule, and to give others an insight into my fairly new life of running. Frankly, if I can accomplish my first objective, I’ll be happy and will have succeeded.

Why do I run? I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count on two hands. Many people run to escape the crazyiness of life. They want to run away from their problems, release tension, and let the road be their therapist. Sure, I could claim the same reasons, but I have a good life; one that I’m not trying to run away from. To be honest, I like the feeling of running. The accomplishment of finishing a race with a new personal best. The adrenaline of finishing a goal that I once felt was too far in the distance and not obtainable. That’s why I run.

It didn’t start out this way. A year and a half ago, I would’ve told you that I hate running. Wait, that’s wrong. I wouldn’t told you that I HATE running! I participated in one race during the April of each year; the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, South Carolina. After each run…er…run and walk, I’d vow to myself that I train for the “next” race. January would arrive and my new goal would make its way to my New Year’s resolutions. I’d start out too ambitious, running too many miles the first and second week. Then, injury. Shin splint became common, causing me to table my training a few weeks. Then, complacency set in, April would arrive and I’d be no closer to a PB than I was the previous year. My time was always the same, no matter how prepared I felt: 1:09:50-something. After the race, the cycle would start again.

Injury Changes Everything

In January 2017, I once again created a goal to break 1:09; and once again, I started strong. Too…darn…strong. During the second week in January, I ran 10 miles and felt pretty good. Short lived. During the 3rd week, I decided to go for a short 2 mile run, as soreness from the previous week was seeping in. After 1 mile, I began to feel a twing in my knees and my shin. I attributed to normal runner’s pain; my inexperience showing. By mile one and a half, my twing has turned into a full blown limp. My knee was on fire. My shins were on fire and my knees were weak. My training was over.

I made the decision. I am going to make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor. He sent me for exams and found that I had a severe case of shin splints, and my knees were weak. He sent me for physical therapy. I hung on every word of the physical therapist, followed through with every appointment, and performed prescribed exercises every day. Do you know what happened? It worked!

After that visit, I vowed never to face a painful climb down stairs, have knee joint problems, or have a pirate limp again. Even though I still ran a 1:09:58 time the following April during the Cooper River Bridge Run, I felt good. Really good.

That was just the beginning. In 2017, I ran 5K, 10K, 15K, and a half marathon; all totaling nearly 250 miles. In 2018, I started out strong and have run a half marathon, 8K, and three 5Ks. Now, I’m gearing up for the New York City Marathon in November. I’ll write about that during a later post.

So, that’s the setup. The majority of these posts are going to be about my training leading to November. To start, I will be participating in the 30 Day Challenge by The Run Experience. I’ll explain more about this awesome training club and the other tools I use in later posts.

For now, lets get running!